THIS WEEK @NASA: Equipping ISS to Produce More Power, Orion to Test Laser Communications on Artemis II

By  //  June 18, 2023

latest happenings around NASA

ABOVE VIDEO: Equipping the space station to produce more power, our newest experimental X-plane, and preparing to test a new laser communications system … a few of the stories to tell you about – This Week at NASA!

Equipping the Space Station to Produce More Power

On June 15, NASA astronauts Steve Bowen and Woody Hoburg conducted their second spacewalk in a week to install an upgraded International Space Station Roll Out Solar Array, or IROSA.

This was the last of six new IROSAs currently planned for the station. The new arrays are designed to augment the station’s power system and enable the orbiting laboratory to generate about 30% more power.

Next Generation Experimental Aircraft is Newest X-Plane

During the AIAA Aviation forum the week of June 12 in San Diego, NASA and Boeing announced that the experimental aircraft produced through the agency’s Sustainable Flight Demonstrator project has become our newest X-plane – designated by the U.S. Air Force as the X-66A. Working with NASA, Boeing will build, test, and fly the Transonic Truss-Braced Wing concept aircraft with the specific goal of helping the U.S. achieve net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.

Orion to Test Laser Communications on Artemis II

The Orion spacecraft that will carry astronauts around the Moon on our Artemis II mission will also test a new laser communications terminal known as the Orion Artemis II Optical Communications System, or O2O. Laser communications systems offer increased data transfer rates that allow more information to be sent in a single transmission than with traditional radio wave systems. More data could mean more discoveries.

Curiosity Captures Martian Morning, Afternoon in New “Postcard”

Our Curiosity Mars rover recently captured this composite image of an area known as “Marker Band Valley.” The image combines a morning scene, an afternoon scene, and added color for artistic interpretation. The combined dramatically different lighting conditions at those times of day make details in the scene stand out. Marker Band Valley is in the region where the rover unexpectedly discovered signs of an ancient lake.

That’s what’s up this week @NASA