This Week @ NASA

Latest Edition of “This Week @ NASA” (Posted June 23, 2015)

Upcoming Activities and NASA TV Coverage
Monday, June 22
  • Rocket Week at Wallops (though 6/26). Students and educators from across the country will have the chance to be rocket scientists during Rocket Week, June 20-26 at NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia. About 150 university and community college students and instructors will build and fly experiments on a NASA suborbital rocket through the RockOn and RockSat-C programs… RockOn’s 72 participants will receive instruction on the basics of building a scientific payload for flight on a suborbital rocket and then have three days to produce their experiment kits. All kits will then be incorporated into a rocket payload for launch on a Terrier-Improved Orion suborbital sounding rocket at 6 a.m. on Thursday June 25. The backup launch day is June 26. The launch will be carried on Ustream beginning at 5 a.m. EDT. The NASA Visitor Center at Wallops will open at 5 a.m. for launch viewing, which is expected to only be visible in the Wallops area.
  • Astronaut Butch Wilmore at Virginia TechShop. Wilmore will tour the Arlington, Virginia TechShop, a do-it-yourself workshop and fabrication studio for makers. The public is invited to join Wilmore from 6:45 to 7:30 p.m. EDT, during which he will talk about being a maker in space, what it’s like to spend six months in an orbiting laboratory, and NASA’s plans for the future of space exploration and how the public can be involved. A question-and-answer session will follow his presentation. To register for this event, go to
Tuesday, June 23
  • Astronaut Butch Wilmore at Navy Heritage Center Event. The U.S. Navy Memorial Naval Heritage Center will host a public event 3 to 4 p.m. on Tuesday featuring Wilmore, who is also a U.S. Navy captain. Wilmore will give a presentation about his time in space and answer questions from visitors. Wilmore also will be a guest at a free public concert at the Navy Memorial at 7:30 p.m. The Concerts on the Avenue series features the United States Navy Band and Navy Ceremonial Guard and highlights naval history and heritage, honors the Navy fleet and pays tribute to our nation’s veterans. The center and memorial are located at 701 Pennsylvania Avenue, Northwest in Washington.
  • Reid Wiseman Talk at the Science Channel. Wiseman, who gained a large following on social media while sharing the wonders of space exploration, will talk about his experience at a live event with Science Channel at 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday at Science Channel Headquarters in Silver Spring, Maryland. This event is open to the public, however, interested individuals must register at, as space is limited. The event also will air live on Science Channel and NASA websites. Those who cannot attend may still join the discussion on Twitter using the hashtags #SciSpaceLive and #AskReid.
  • 11 a.m. - Space Station Live (NTV-2 (Education), NTV-3 (Media))
  • 11 a.m. - NASA Astronaut Reid Wiseman Discusses Living and Working Aboard the ISS (NTV-1 (Public))
  • 11:30 a.m. - Weekly Update on the New Horizons/Pluto Pre-Flyby Mission (NTV-2 (Education))
  • 12:30 p.m. - ISS Expedition In-Flight Event with CBS Evening News with Expedition 44 Flight Engineer Scott Kelly — Event Begins 12:45 p.m. ET (all channels)
Wednesday, June 24
  • Administrator Bolden Speech and NASA Panel at AIAA Aviation 2015 in Dallas, TX. At 8 a.m. CDT, Administrator Bolden will deliver a speech about NASA and the future of aerospace. At 9:30 a.m. CDT, a number of NASA officials will participate in a panel about excellence and innovation in aeronautics. LINK
  • Astronaut Reid Wiseman at the Air and Space Museum. The Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum in Washington will host a public event 11 a.m. to noonWednesday, June 24 in its Moving Beyond Earth Gallery, featuring Wiseman. The astronaut will give a presentation to museum visitors on his stay aboard the space station. For those who cannot attend in person, the event will air on NASA TV and stream live at The museum is located at Independence Ave. and 6th St. Southwest.
Thursday, June 25
FridayJune 26
  • SpaceX CRS-7 Briefing: ISS Science, Research, and Technology Panel. Participants will be: Dr. Julie Robinson, chief program scientist, International Space Station, NASA’s Johnson Space Center; Dr. Michael B. Stenger, principal investigator, Fluid Shifts, Wyle Science Technology and Engineering Group, Houston; Dr. Alessandro Grattoni, principal investigator, Microchannel Diffusion, Houston Methodist Research Institute, for the Center for the Advancement for Science in Space (CASIS); CASIS representative TBD.
  • 1 p.m. – ISS Science, Research and Technology Panel
Saturday, June 27
  • SpaceX CRS-7 Briefing: International Docking Adapter/Commercial Crew/Prelaunch Panel. A briefing covering the International Docking Adapter, Commercial Crew and a prelaunch status will be held at Kennedy’s Press Site. Participants will be: International Space Station Program representative TBD; Commercial Crew Program representative TBD; Chris Ferguson, Crew and Mission Systems director, Boeing; Hans Koenigsmann, vice president of Mission Assurance, SpaceX; Kathy Winters, launch weather officer, 45th Weather Squadron.
  • NASA TV.
  • 2 p.m. - SpaceX CRS-7 Briefing: International Docking Adapter/Commercial Crew/Prelaunch Panel
Sunday, June 28
  • SpaceX CRS-7 Launch. NASA commercial partner SpaceX currently is targeting Sunday, June 28, for the launch of its seventh cargo delivery to the International Space Station under the agency’s Commercial Resupply Services contract. NASA Television coverage of the launch begins at 9 a.m. EDT. The company’s Falcon 9 rocket will lift off at 10:21 a.m. carrying its Dragon cargo spacecraft to the station from Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. The Dragon spacecraft will be filled with more than 4,000 pounds of supplies and payloads, including critical materials for the science and research investigations that will occur during Expeditions 44 and 45.
  • SpaceX CRS-7 Post-Launch News Conference. A post-launch news conference will be held at approximately 90 minutes after launch. International Space Station representative TBD; Hans Koenigsmann, vice president of Mission Assurance, SpaceX.
  • 9 a.m. – Coverage of the Launch of the SpaceX/Dragon (Launch scheduled at 10:21 a.m. ET) (all channels)
  • 12 p.m. – SpaceX/Dragon CRS-7 Post-Launch News Conference (time is approximate) (all channels)
  • 11:51 (approx.) – Post-launch news conference
News Highlights
  • Solar System & Beyond – There were about 130 articles about the announcement that the Europa mission has gone into development. Coverage included pieces from NPRTime, and the Orlando SentinelNew HorizonsCassini, and Dawn also appeared in the news this week. As a Huffington Post writer said, “It’s a big year for small worlds.”
  • ISS – There were nearly 800 articles about the crew landing last Friday, including pieces from NBC NewsBBC news, and CBS News. There was a number of pieces on the newly released HD video from Station. The Orlando Sentinel published an editorial urging Congress to fully fund Commercial Crew.
  • Earth – News that data from NASA satellites had led to the determination that one third of Earth’s largest groundwater basins are in distress generated a lot of coverage. The AtlanticABC News, and The Hill are some of the outlets that reported on the study.
  • Mars – The Huffington Post wrote a piece about SLS and the AP wrote about the NASA presence at the Martian New Year celebration in Mars, PA.
Press Releases & Web Features June 15-22
Solar System & Beyond
All Systems Go for NASA’s Mission to Jupiter Moon Europa – June 17
Beyond Earth, Jupiter’s moon Europa is considered one of the most promising places in the solar system to search for signs of present-day life, and a new NASA mission to explore this potential is moving forward from concept review to development. NASA’s mission concept — to conduct a detailed survey of Europa and investigate its habitability — has successfully completed its first major review by the agency and now is entering the development phase known as formulation.
NASA’s Hubble Sees the ‘Teenage Years’ of Quasars – June 18
Astronomers have used the Hubble Space Telescope’s infrared vision to uncover the mysterious early formative years of quasars, the brightest objects in the universe. Hubble’s sharp images unveil chaotic collisions of galaxies that fuel quasars by feeding supermassive central black holes with gas.

Pluto and its Moon Charon, Now in Color – June 19
The first color movies from NASA’s New Horizons mission show Pluto and its largest moon, Charon, and the complex orbital dance of the two bodies, known as a double planet. “It’s exciting to see Pluto and Charon in motion and in color,” says New Horizons Principal Investigator Alan Stern of the Southwest Research Institute (SwRI), Boulder, Colorado. “Even at this low resolution, we can see that Pluto and Charon have different colors—Pluto is beige-orange, while Charon is grey. Exactly why they are so different is the subject of debate.” New Horizons will make its closest approach to Pluto on July 14, zipping by about 7,800 miles (12,500 kilometers) above the surface. It’s the first mission to Pluto and the Kuiper Belt, a relic of solar system formation beyond Neptune.

The Mysterious ‘Lakes’ on Saturn’s Moon Titan – June 19
Saturn’s moon Titan is home to seas and lakes filled with liquid hydrocarbons, but what forms the depressions on the surface? A new study using data from the joint NASA and the European Space Agency (ESA) Cassini mission suggests the moon’s surface dissolves in a process that’s similar to the creation of sinkholes on Earth. Apart from Earth, Titan is the only body in the solar system known to possess surface lakes and seas, which have been observed by the Cassini spacecraft. But at Titan’s frigid surface temperatures — roughly minus 292 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 180 degrees Celsius) — liquid methane and ethane, rather than water, dominate Titan’s hydrocarbon equivalent of Earth’s water.

SOFIA Begins 2015 Southern Hemisphere Science Flights – June 19
NASA’s Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy, SOFIA, departed from Christchurch, New Zealand at 6:20 pm local time June 19 for the first of 15 planned Southern Hemisphere deployment science flights. For the next five weeks SOFIA will operate from the U.S. National Science Foundation’s Antarctic Program facility at Christchurch International Airport. Flying out of New Zealand enables SOFIA to study celestial objects that are more easily observed, or can only be observed, from southern latitudes.
OSIRIS-REx Team Prepares for Next Step in NASA’s Asteroid Sample Return Mission – June 22
With launch only 15 months away, NASA’s Origins Spectral Interpretation Resource Identification Security-Regolith Explorer (OSIRIS-REx) team is preparing to deliver instruments for integration with the spacecraft that will travel to, and collect a sample from, an asteroid.  OSIRIS-REx will travel to a near-Earth asteroid called Bennu and bring a small sample back to Earth for study. The mission is scheduled for launch in September 2016. The spacecraft will reach its asteroid target in 2018 and return a sample to Earth in 2023.
Ceres Spots Continue to Mystify in Latest Dawn Images – June 22
The closer we get to Ceres, the more intriguing the distant dwarf planet becomes. New images of Ceres from NASA’s Dawn spacecraft provide more clues about its mysterious bright spots, and also reveal a pyramid-shaped peak towering over a relatively flat landscape.

Lake Fire in California Burns Over 11,000 Acres – June 19
The Lake Fire located in San Bernardino National Forest was reported just before 4:00 pm on June 17, 2015. The cause of the fire is still under investigation. It is approximately 11,000 acres in size and burning in timber. It is currently 10% contained. There are approximately 150 structures threatened, however no structures are believed to be damaged or destroyed at this time.

NASA Gears Up to Test Orion’s Powerhouse – June 17
NASA is getting ready for a series of tests that will check out Orion’s service module, a critical part of the spacecraft that will launch atop the agency’s Space Launch System (SLS) rocket on future missions to an asteroid and on toward Mars. The testing, which will take place at NASA Glenn’s Plum Brook Station in Sandusky, Ohio, will begin with the arrival of a crew module adapter simulator in late June and a test version of Orion’s ESA (European Space Agency)-provided service module in the fall.
HI-SEAS Team Completes 8-Month Isolation Mission – June 19
A team of six volunteer scientists completed one of the most extensive studies of the demands of life on a distant world by closing themselves off to the rest of the world for eight months in an effort known as HI-SEAS. Their chore wasn’t so much to stay alive, but to see how isolation and the lack of privacy in a small group affects social aspects of would-be explorers. The research is expected to bear directly on NASA’s decisions when composing crews for future missions to Mars. The group also experimented with many budding technologies future Mars explorers could employ during real expeditions to the Red Planet. It was the third and longest of the simulation missions. The next simulation is planned to last a year. A mission to Mars may take two and a half to three years, with approximately half of that time on the planetary surface.
Veteran NASA Spacecraft Nears 60,000th Lap Around Mars, No Pit Stops – June 19
NASA’s Mars Odyssey spacecraft will reach a major milestone June 23, when it completes its 60,000th orbit since arriving at the Red Planet in 2001. Named after the bestselling novel “2001: A Space Odyssey” by Arthur C. Clarke, Odyssey began orbiting Mars almost 14 years ago, on Oct. 23, 2001. On Dec. 15, 2010, it became the longest-operating spacecraft ever sent to Mars, and continues to hold that record today. Odyssey, which discovered widespread water ice just beneath the surface of the Red Planet, is still going strong today, serving as a key communications relay for NASA’s Mars rovers and making continued contributions to planetary science.
MAVEN Results Find Mars Behaving Like a Rock Star – June 20
If planets had personalities, Mars would be a rock star according to recent preliminary results from NASA’s MAVEN spacecraft. Mars sports a “Mohawk” of escaping atmospheric particles at its poles, “wears” a layer of metal particles high in its atmosphere, and lights up with aurora after being smacked by solar storms. MAVEN is also mapping out the escaping atmospheric particles.
Landing at Langley, Boeing’s ecoDemonstrator 757 Displays Advances in Green Aviation – June 18
An airplane that’s taking aviation to a greener place visited NASA’s Langley Research Center in Hampton, Virginia, on Thursday, giving dignitaries, employees and visitors an up-close look at a flying aeronautics laboratory. Boeing’s ecoDemonstrator 757 is an airborne test platform, one that allows researchers to try out fuel-saving concepts in real-world conditions. Through a partnership, teams from NASA Langley have run a pair of recent experiments aboard the aircraft, a commercial airliner retrofitted to test technologies intended to make future aircraft lighter, smarter and more efficient.

Future Engineers Finalists Get First Hand Look at Future of Space Exploration – June 18
The American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) Foundation, SpaceX, Digital Domain and NASA gave the finalists of the Space Tools 3-D Design Challenge a chance to see the future of space exploration under development as NASA prepares for a journey to Mars. These future engineers had the opportunity to see how NASA is conducting research and developing technologies that will allow us to live and work off the planet and eventually on Mars; how SpaceX is one of two U.S. Commercial companies developing a new crew transportation system that will take astronauts from the U.S. to the International Space Station and back; and how visual effects studios like Digital Domain can use the magic of Hollywood to virtually transport people to the surface of Mars to see what those future missions will be like. These educational trips coincided with the White House’s National Week of Making that celebrates innovators, makers, and technology pioneers.

Preview attachment SMD Weekly Highlights (5 29 15).pdf