Space Station Crew Discusses Life in Space with California Students (video)

Commander Steve Swanson and Flight Engineer Reid Wiseman

During a NASA in-flight educational event on August 27, International Space Station, Expedition 40 Commander Steve Swanson and Flight Engineer Reid Wiseman talked about their day-to-day activities with students at the Elliot Ranch Elementary School in Elk Grove, California. Swanson, who launched to the station in late March, will return to Earth on Sept. 10, U.S. time, while Wiseman, who arrived on the station in late May, will remain in orbit until November.

 

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NASA Completes Key Review of World’s Most Powerful Rocket in Support of Journey to Mars

Artist concept of NASA’s Space Launch System (SLS) 70-metric-ton configuration launching to space. SLS will be the most powerful rocket ever built for deep space missions, including to an asteroid and ultimately to Mars.

Image Credit: NASA/MSFC

NASA officials Wednesday announced they have completed a rigorous review of the Space Launch System (SLS) — the heavy-lift, exploration class rocket under development to take humans beyond Earth orbit and to Mars — and approved the program’s progression from formulation to development, something no other exploration class vehicle has achieved since the agency built the space shuttle.

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NASA Telescopes Uncover Early Construction of Giant Galaxy

Image Credit: NASA, Z. Levay, G. Bacon (STScI)

Astronomers have for the first time caught a glimpse of the earliest stages of massive galaxy construction. The building site, dubbed “Sparky,” is a dense galactic core blazing with the light of millions of newborn stars that are forming at a ferocious rate. The discovery was made possible through combined observations from NASA’s Hubble and Spitzer space telescopes, the W.M. Keck Observatory in Mauna Kea, Hawaii, and the European Space Agency’s Herschel space observatory, in which NASA plays an important role.

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NASA Completes Successful Battery of Tests on Composite Cryotank

Composite Cryotank Loaded In Test Stand At NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center

NASA has completed a complex series of tests on one of the largest composite cryogenic fuel tanks ever manufactured, bringing the aerospace industry much closer to designing, building, and flying lightweight, composite tanks on rockets. “This is one of NASA’s major technology accomplishments for 2014,” said Michael Gazarik, NASA’s associate administrator for Space Technology. “This is the type of technology that can improve competitiveness for the entire U.S. launch industry, not to mention other industries that want to replace heavy metal components with lightweight composites. These tests, and others we have conducted this year on landing technologies for Mars vehicles, show how technology development is the key to driving exploration.”

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NASA’s New Horizons Mission Continuing Voyager’s Legacy of Exploration

New Horizons

NASA’s Mission to Pluto was a two part televised science event at NASA headquarters on August 25 – the same date that the agency’s New Horizons spacecraft passed the orbit of Neptune on its way to Pluto and exactly 25 years after the Voyager spacecraft’s encounter with Neptune in 1989. During the first event, entitled NASA’s New Horizons Pluto Mission: Continuing Voyager’s Legacy of Exploration, NASA scientists and officials discussed the two missions.

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NASA’s New Horizons Spacecraft Crosses Neptune Orbit En Route to Historic Pluto Encounter

Credit: Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory/Southwest Research Institute (JHUAPL/SwRI)

NASA’s Pluto-bound New Horizons spacecraft has traversed the orbit of Neptune. This is its last major crossing en route to becoming the first probe to make a close encounter with distant Pluto on July 14, 2015.The sophisticated piano-sized spacecraft, which launched in January 2006, reached Neptune’s orbit — nearly 2.75 billion miles from Earth — in a record eight years and eight months. New Horizons’ milestone matches precisely the 25th anniversary of the historic encounter of NASA’s Voyager 2 spacecraft with Neptune on Aug. 25, 1989.

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Galileo satellites experience orbital injection anomaly on Soyuz launch Initial report

Galileo In-Orbit Validation satellite

On August 22, 2014, at 9:27 am local time in French Guiana, a Soyuz ST rocket lifted off with the first two satellites in the Galileo constellation.
The liftoff and first part of the mission proceeded nominally, leading to release of the satellites according to the planned timetable, and reception of signals from the satellites. It was only a certain time after the separation of the satellites that the ongoing analysis of the data provided by the telemetry stations operated by the European Space Agency (ESA) and the French space agency CNES showed that the satellites were not in the expected orbit.

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Launch of Europe’s fifth and six Galileo satellites

Credits: ESA

On 22 August, at 12:27 GMT/14:27 CEST, a Soyuz rocket launched Europe’s fifth and six Galileo satellites from Europe’s Spaceport in Kourou, French Guiana. Rewatch the moment of launch here. These new satellites joined four Galileo satellites already in orbit, launched in October 2011 and October 2012 respectively. This first quartet were ‘In-Orbit Validation’ satellites, serving to demonstrate the Galileo system would function as planned.

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Ozone-Depleting Compound Persists, NASA Research Shows

Image Credit: NASA

NASA research shows Earth’s atmosphere contains an unexpectedly large amount of an ozone-depleting compound from an unknown source decades after the compound was banned worldwide. Carbon tetrachloride (CCl4), which was once used in applications such as dry cleaning and as a fire-extinguishing agent, was regulated in 1987 under the Montreal Protocol along with other chlorofluorocarbons that destroy ozone and contribute to the ozone hole over Antarctica. Parties to the Montreal Protocol reported zero new CCl4 emissions between 2007-2012.

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Releasing Cygnus (timelapse)

ESA Cygnus-1

Timelapse showing the Orbital Science’s Cygnus Orb-2 spacecraft departing from the International Space Station on 15 August 2014. ESA astronaut Alexander Gerst set up a camera to shoot a series of photographs whilst he and his Expedition 40 colleague NASA’s Reid Wiseman operated the Station’s robotic arm to manoeuvre the visiting cargo spacecraft into position for release.  A couple of days later, Cygnus Orb-2 burnt up in Earth’s atmosphere during a destructive reentry.

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