This Week @ NASA

NASA Update – February 23, 2015
Stories in this program include:
•    This Week @ NASA
•    Upcoming activities and NASA TV coverage (all times EST unless otherwise indicated)
•    News highlights
•    Press releases and web features from the previous week
Latest Edition of “This Week @ NASA” (Posted February 20)
http://www.nasa.gov/content/this-week-nasa-february-20-2015
Upcoming Activities and NASA TV Coverage
Monday, February 23
•    #ISSPlayBall Rollout. #ISSPlayBall is a partnership with Major League Baseball in which
Astronaut Terry Virts will post photos from space of cities with baseball teams. LINK
Tuesday, February 24
Wednesday, February 25
•    U.S. Spacewalk. After a successful spacewalk on Sunday, NASA astronauts Barry Wilmore and
Terry Virts will venture outside the space station again on Wednesday, Feb. 25, to deploy two more
cables and lubricate the end of the space station’s robotic arm. NASA TV coverage will begin at 6
a.m. Wednesday ahead of a planned 7:10 a.m. start time for the spacewalk. LINK
•    NASA TV
o 6 a.m. – Coverage of U.S. Spacewalk # 30 (Spacewalk scheduled to begin at 7:10 a.m. ET; Wilmore
and Virts) (all channels)
Thursday, February 26
•    NASA Briefing to Highlight Early Results from New Earth Science Missions. Over the past 12
months NASA has added five missions to its orbiting Earth-observing fleet – the biggest one-year
increase in more than a decade. NASA scientists will discuss early observations from the new
missions and their current status during a media teleconference at 2 p.m. EST Thursday, Feb.
26. New views of global carbon dioxide, rain and snowfall, ocean winds, and aerosol particles in
the atmosphere will be presented during the briefing. The first of the five new missions –
the Global Precipitation Measurement (GPM) core observatory – was launched from Japan one year ago
on Feb. 27, 2014. The most recent – the Soil Moisture Active Passive (SMAP) mission
– was launched from California on Jan. 31 and is in its checkout phase before starting to collect
data. Two missions are collecting NASA’s first ongoing Earth observations from the International
Space Station (ISS). LINK
•    NASA TV
o 8:30 a.m. – ISS Expedition 42 In-Flight Event with Aviation Week and Space Technology and WAAY-TV
(all channels)
Friday, February 27
News Highlights
There were nearly 600 articles about the US spacewalks happening this week. Coverage included
pieces from USA Today, The Guardian, and CBS News.
Several outlets, including CNN and the Los Angeles Times, reported on pictures taken by the New
Horizons mission of two of Pluto’s moons. Jupiter’s moon Europa was also in the news, as several
stories were published in outlets like Newsweek and the San Jose Mercury News about a possible NASA
mission to the icy planet.
Press Releases & Web Features February 17-23
International Space Station
Space Station 3-D Printed Items, Seedlings Return in the Belly of a Dragon (February 18)
Newly 3-D printed wrenches, data to improve cooling systems, protein crystals and seedling samples
returned Feb. 10 aboard SpaceX’s fifth contracted resupply mission to the International Space
Station. Researchers will use samples and data returned to improve scientific studies on Earth and
build on research that will enable space exploration. Printed parts and hardware returned from the
first phase
of operations for the 3-D Printing In Zero-G technology demonstration aboard the station. A study
team from Made in Space and NASA demonstrated the first ever 3-D printer in space using relatively
low- temperature plastic feedstock on the space station. To conclude the test phase, a ratchet
wrench was printed using a design file transmitted from the ground to the printer. LINK
Ceremony Kicks Off Crew Access Tower Construction (February 20)
Boeing and United Launch Alliance teams held a ceremonial groundbreaking Feb. 20 to begin
construction on the first new crew access structure at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in decades.
The preparations will enable Space Launch Complex 41 to host astronauts and their support personnel
for flight tests and missions to the International Space Station. The tower will be used for
launches of Boeing’s CST-100 spacecraft atop an Atlas V rocket. Boeing was selected to finalize the
design of its
integrated crew transportation system and work with NASA’s Commercial Crew Program to certify it
for crew launches to the station by 2017. LINK
First of Three Spacewalks Complete (February 21)
NASA astronauts Barry Wilmore and Terry Virts ended their spacewalk at 2:26 p.m. EST with the
repressurization of the Quest airlock. Wilmore and Virts completed all the scheduled tasks for
today and one get ahead task. They rigged a series of power and data cables at the forward end of
the Harmony
module and Pressurized Mating Adapter-2 and routed 340 of 360 feet of cable. The cable routing work
is part of a reconfiguration of station systems and modules to accommodate the delivery of new
docking adapters that commercial crew vehicles will use later this decade to deliver astronauts to
the orbital laboratory. The 6-hour, 41-minute spacewalk was the first for Virts. Wilmore now has
spent 13 hours  and 15 minutes in the void of space during two spacewalks. The spacewalk began this
morning at 7:45
a.m. Astronauts have now spent a total of 1,159 hours and 8 minutes conducting space station
assembly and maintenance during 185 spacewalks. LINK
Earth Right Now
NASA Snaps Picture of Eastern U.S. in a Record-Breaking “Freezer” (February 20)
NASA’s Terra satellite captured an image of the snow-covered eastern U.S. that looks like the
states have been sitting in a freezer. In addition to the snow cover, Arctic and Siberian air
masses have settled          in over the Eastern U.S. triggering many record low temperatures in
many states. On Feb. 19 at 16:40 UTC (11:40 a.m. EST), the Moderate Resolution Imaging
Spectroradiometer (MODIS) instrument that flies aboard NASA’s Terra satellite captured a picture of
the snowy landscape. The snow cover combined with the frosty air mass made the eastern U.S. feel
like the inside of freezer. The MODIS image was created at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in
Greenbelt, Maryland. LINK
Mars
NASA’s Orion Flight Test Yields Critical Data as Engineers Improve Spacecraft for Next Mission
(February 19)
NASA’s Orion spacecraft continues on the agency’s journey to Mars as engineers analyze data from
the spacecraft’s December flight test and make progress developing and building the spacecraft for
its first mission atop NASA Space Launch System (SLS) heavy-lift rocket. On future missions, Orion
will send astronauts to an asteroid and onward toward the Red Planet. At machine houses across the
country, elements of the primary structure for the next Orion to fly in space are coming together.
Avionics components are being built and simulators for the ESA (European Space Agency)-built
service module that will house the spacecraft’s propulsion and solar arrays are being delivered. By
the end of the year, engineers hope to have the primary structure for Orion’s next mission to
NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida for processing. Meanwhile, every piece of data and each
element of the spacecraft flown in  the December test is being analyzed and compared to pre-flight
models to improve Orion’s design. LINK
NASA’s MAVEN Spacecraft Completes First Deep Dip Campaign (February 19)
NASA’S Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution has completed the first of five deep-dip maneuvers
designed to gather measurements closer to the lower end of the Martian upper atmosphere. “During
normal science mapping, we make measurements between an altitude of about 150 km and 6,200 km (93
miles and 3,853 miles) above the surface,” said Bruce Jakosky, MAVEN principal investigator at the
University of Colorado’s Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics in Boulder. “During the deep-
dip campaigns, we lower the lowest altitude in the orbit, known as periapsis, to about 125 km (78
miles) which allows us to take measurements throughout the entire upper atmosphere.” The 25 km (16
miles)
altitude difference may not seem like much, but it allows scientists to make measurements down to
the top of the lower atmosphere. At these lower altitudes, the atmospheric densities are more than
ten times what they are at 150 km (93 miles). LINK
NASA, Orbital ATK Preparing Solid Rocket Booster Avionics for Mission Success (February 19)
A pretty strand of lights can quickly turn into a pain when one electrical short takes the twinkle
out of the whole brigade. An arduous process begins of checking each bulb to figure out which one
may be the blackout mea culpa. NASA and Orbital ATK engineers have a similar task when preparing
the solid rocket booster avionics for the agency’s new rocket, the Space Launch System (SLS).
However, its “strand” isn’t an average 100 parts to test. It’s millions. When completed, two
five-segment boosters and four RS-25 engines will power SLS to orbit and enable astronauts to
explore destinations in deep space, including
an asteroid and Mars. The avionics system is responsible for igniting, steering and jettison of the
solid rocket boosters for SLS. The boosters used during the first two launches of SLS will be the
world’s largest at 177 feet long and 12 feet in diameter. LINK
NASA Announces Winning Ideas for Mars Balance Mass Challenge (February 20)
A member of the public with an idea to study the Martian atmosphere and a team with a way to study
Martian weather are the winners of NASA’s Mars Balance Mass Challenge. Ted Ground of Rising Star,
Texas, was awarded $20,000 for his idea to study the Martian atmosphere by releasing material that
could be seen and studied by other Martian spacecraft in orbit and on the ground. A team of
engineers, Brian Kujawski, Louis Olds, and Leslie Hall, from Grand Rapids, Michigan, received an
honorable mention and $5,000 for their idea to study Martian weather by looking at wind patterns
near the planet’s
surface. The Mars Balance Mass Challenge, announced in September 2014 at the World Maker Faire  in
New York City, sought design ideas for small science and technology payloads that could potentially
provide dual purpose as ejectable balance masses on spacecraft entering the Martian atmosphere.
The payloads would serve two roles: perform scientific or technology functions that help us learn
more about the Red Planet, and provide the necessary weight to balance planetary landers. LINK
Solar System and Beyond
85 Years after Pluto’s Discovery, NASA’s New Horizons Spots Small Moons Orbiting Pluto (February
18)
Exactly 85 years after Clyde Tombaugh’s historic discovery of Pluto, the NASA spacecraft set to
encounter the icy dwarf planet this summer is providing its first views of the small moons orbiting
Pluto. The moons Nix and Hydra are visible in a series of images taken by the New Horizons
spacecraft from Jan. 27-Feb. 8, at distances ranging from about 125 million to 115 million miles
(201 million to 186 million kilometers). The long-exposure images offer New Horizons’ best view yet
of these two small moons circling Pluto which Tombaugh discovered at Lowell Observatory in
Flagstaff, Arizona, on Feb. 18, 1930. LINK
NASA, ESA Telescopes Give Shape to Furious Black Hole Winds (February 19)
NASA’s Nuclear Spectroscopic Telescope Array (NuSTAR) and ESA’s (European Space Agency) XMM- Newton
telescope are showing that fierce winds from a supermassive black hole blow outward in all
directions — a phenomenon that had been suspected, but difficult to prove until now. This
discovery has given astronomers their first opportunity to measure the strength of these ultra-fast
winds and prove they are powerful enough to inhibit the host galaxy’s ability to make new stars.
LINK
Aeronautics
Sensors Detect Icing Conditions to Help Protect Airplanes (February 19)
When ice accumulates on the surface of an aircraft during flight, it distorts the smooth flow of
air necessary to stay aloft. The result is a reduction in lift, which can lead to stalls and
crashes. Knowing about hazardous icing conditions in advance helps pilots, air traffic controllers
and airline dispatchers navigate airplanes and passengers away from danger. However, icing
conditions can vary wildly within the same airspace. That’s why scientists at NASA’s Glenn Research
Center are advancing the methods, technology and accuracy of sensor systems to provide better
detection of potential icing hazards around the nation’s airports. LINK

NASA Update – February 23, 2015
Stories in this program include:•    This Week @ NASA•    Upcoming activities and NASA TV coverage (all times EST unless otherwise indicated)•    News highlights•    Press releases and web features from the previous week

Upcoming Activities and NASA TV Coverage
Monday, February 23•    #ISSPlayBall Rollout. #ISSPlayBall is a partnership with Major League Baseball in which Astronaut Terry Virts will post photos from space of cities with baseball teams. LINK
Tuesday, February 24

Wednesday, February 25•    U.S. Spacewalk. After a successful spacewalk on Sunday, NASA astronauts Barry Wilmore and Terry Virts will venture outside the space station again on Wednesday, Feb. 25, to deploy two more cables and lubricate the end of the space station’s robotic arm. NASA TV coverage will begin at 6 a.m. Wednesday ahead of a planned 7:10 a.m. start time for the spacewalk. LINK•    NASA TVo 6 a.m. – Coverage of U.S. Spacewalk # 30 (Spacewalk scheduled to begin at 7:10 a.m. ET; Wilmore and Virts) (all channels)
Thursday, February 26•    NASA Briefing to Highlight Early Results from New Earth Science Missions. Over the past 12 months NASA has added five missions to its orbiting Earth-observing fleet – the biggest one-year increase in more than a decade. NASA scientists will discuss early observations from the new missions and their current status during a media teleconference at 2 p.m. EST Thursday, Feb.26. New views of global carbon dioxide, rain and snowfall, ocean winds, and aerosol particles in the atmosphere will be presented during the briefing. The first of the five new missions –the Global Precipitation Measurement (GPM) core observatory – was launched from Japan one year ago on Feb. 27, 2014. The most recent – the Soil Moisture Active Passive (SMAP) mission– was launched from California on Jan. 31 and is in its checkout phase before starting to collect data. Two missions are collecting NASA’s first ongoing Earth observations from the International Space Station (ISS). LINK•    NASA TVo 8:30 a.m. – ISS Expedition 42 In-Flight Event with Aviation Week and Space Technology and WAAY-TV (all channels)
Friday, February 27

News Highlights
There were nearly 600 articles about the US spacewalks happening this week. Coverage included pieces from USA Today, The Guardian, and CBS News.
Several outlets, including CNN and the Los Angeles Times, reported on pictures taken by the New Horizons mission of two of Pluto’s moons. Jupiter’s moon Europa was also in the news, as several stories were published in outlets like Newsweek and the San Jose Mercury News about a possible NASA mission to the icy planet.

Press Releases & Web Features February 17-23

International Space Station
Space Station 3-D Printed Items, Seedlings Return in the Belly of a Dragon (February 18)Newly 3-D printed wrenches, data to improve cooling systems, protein crystals and seedling samples returned Feb. 10 aboard SpaceX’s fifth contracted resupply mission to the International Space Station. Researchers will use samples and data returned to improve scientific studies on Earth and build on research that will enable space exploration. Printed parts and hardware returned from the first phaseof operations for the 3-D Printing In Zero-G technology demonstration aboard the station. A study team from Made in Space and NASA demonstrated the first ever 3-D printer in space using relatively low- temperature plastic feedstock on the space station. To conclude the test phase, a ratchet wrench was printed using a design file transmitted from the ground to the printer.

Ceremony Kicks Off Crew Access Tower Construction (February 20)Boeing and United Launch Alliance teams held a ceremonial groundbreaking Feb. 20 to begin construction on the first new crew access structure at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in decades. The preparations will enable Space Launch Complex 41 to host astronauts and their support personnel for flight tests and missions to the International Space Station. The tower will be used for launches of Boeing’s CST-100 spacecraft atop an Atlas V rocket. Boeing was selected to finalize the design of itsintegrated crew transportation system and work with NASA’s Commercial Crew Program to certify it for crew launches to the station by 2017. LINK
First of Three Spacewalks Complete (February 21)NASA astronauts Barry Wilmore and Terry Virts ended their spacewalk at 2:26 p.m. EST with the repressurization of the Quest airlock. Wilmore and Virts completed all the scheduled tasks for today and one get ahead task. They rigged a series of power and data cables at the forward end of the Harmony
module and Pressurized Mating Adapter-2 and routed 340 of 360 feet of cable. The cable routing workis part of a reconfiguration of station systems and modules to accommodate the delivery of new docking adapters that commercial crew vehicles will use later this decade to deliver astronauts to the orbital laboratory. The 6-hour, 41-minute spacewalk was the first for Virts. Wilmore now has spent 13 hours  and 15 minutes in the void of space during two spacewalks. The spacewalk began this morning at 7:45a.m. Astronauts have now spent a total of 1,159 hours and 8 minutes conducting space station assembly and maintenance during 185 spacewalks. LINK

Earth Right Now
NASA Snaps Picture of Eastern U.S. in a Record-Breaking “Freezer” (February 20)NASA’s Terra satellite captured an image of the snow-covered eastern U.S. that looks like the states have been sitting in a freezer. In addition to the snow cover, Arctic and Siberian air masses have settled          in over the Eastern U.S. triggering many record low temperatures in many states. On Feb. 19 at 16:40 UTC (11:40 a.m. EST), the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) instrument that flies aboard NASA’s Terra satellite captured a picture of the snowy landscape. The snow cover combined with the frosty air mass made the eastern U.S. feel like the inside of freezer. The MODIS image was created at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland. LINK

Mars
NASA’s Orion Flight Test Yields Critical Data as Engineers Improve Spacecraft for Next Mission (February 19)NASA’s Orion spacecraft continues on the agency’s journey to Mars as engineers analyze data from the spacecraft’s December flight test and make progress developing and building the spacecraft for its first mission atop NASA Space Launch System (SLS) heavy-lift rocket. On future missions, Orion will send astronauts to an asteroid and onward toward the Red Planet. At machine houses across the country, elements of the primary structure for the next Orion to fly in space are coming together. Avionics components are being built and simulators for the ESA (European Space Agency)-built service module that will house the spacecraft’s propulsion and solar arrays are being delivered. By the end of the year, engineers hope to have the primary structure for Orion’s next mission to NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida for processing. Meanwhile, every piece of data and each element of the spacecraft flown in  the December test is being analyzed and compared to pre-flight models to improve Orion’s design. LINK
NASA’s MAVEN Spacecraft Completes First Deep Dip Campaign (February 19)NASA’S Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution has completed the first of five deep-dip maneuvers designed to gather measurements closer to the lower end of the Martian upper atmosphere. “During normal science mapping, we make measurements between an altitude of about 150 km and 6,200 km (93 miles and 3,853 miles) above the surface,” said Bruce Jakosky, MAVEN principal investigator at the University of Colorado’s Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics in Boulder. “During the deep-dip campaigns, we lower the lowest altitude in the orbit, known as periapsis, to about 125 km (78 miles) which allows us to take measurements throughout the entire upper atmosphere.” The 25 km (16 miles)

altitude difference may not seem like much, but it allows scientists to make measurements down tothe top of the lower atmosphere. At these lower altitudes, the atmospheric densities are more than ten times what they are at 150 km (93 miles). LINK
NASA, Orbital ATK Preparing Solid Rocket Booster Avionics for Mission Success (February 19)A pretty strand of lights can quickly turn into a pain when one electrical short takes the twinkle out of the whole brigade. An arduous process begins of checking each bulb to figure out which one may be the blackout mea culpa. NASA and Orbital ATK engineers have a similar task when preparing the solid rocket booster avionics for the agency’s new rocket, the Space Launch System (SLS). However, its “strand” isn’t an average 100 parts to test. It’s millions. When completed, two five-segment boosters and four RS-25 engines will power SLS to orbit and enable astronauts to explore destinations in deep space, includingan asteroid and Mars. The avionics system is responsible for igniting, steering and jettison of the solid rocket boosters for SLS. The boosters used during the first two launches of SLS will be the world’s largest at 177 feet long and 12 feet in diameter. LINK
NASA Announces Winning Ideas for Mars Balance Mass Challenge (February 20)A member of the public with an idea to study the Martian atmosphere and a team with a way to study Martian weather are the winners of NASA’s Mars Balance Mass Challenge. Ted Ground of Rising Star, Texas, was awarded $20,000 for his idea to study the Martian atmosphere by releasing material that could be seen and studied by other Martian spacecraft in orbit and on the ground. A team of engineers, Brian Kujawski, Louis Olds, and Leslie Hall, from Grand Rapids, Michigan, received an honorable mention and $5,000 for their idea to study Martian weather by looking at wind patterns near the planet’ssurface. The Mars Balance Mass Challenge, announced in September 2014 at the World Maker Faire  in New York City, sought design ideas for small science and technology payloads that could potentially provide dual purpose as ejectable balance masses on spacecraft entering the Martian atmosphere.The payloads would serve two roles: perform scientific or technology functions that help us learn more about the Red Planet, and provide the necessary weight to balance planetary landers. LINK

Solar System and Beyond
85 Years after Pluto’s Discovery, NASA’s New Horizons Spots Small Moons Orbiting Pluto (February 18)Exactly 85 years after Clyde Tombaugh’s historic discovery of Pluto, the NASA spacecraft set to encounter the icy dwarf planet this summer is providing its first views of the small moons orbiting Pluto. The moons Nix and Hydra are visible in a series of images taken by the New Horizons spacecraft from Jan. 27-Feb. 8, at distances ranging from about 125 million to 115 million miles (201 million to 186 million kilometers). The long-exposure images offer New Horizons’ best view yet of these two small moons circling Pluto which Tombaugh discovered at Lowell Observatory in Flagstaff, Arizona, on Feb. 18, 1930. LINK

NASA, ESA Telescopes Give Shape to Furious Black Hole Winds (February 19)NASA’s Nuclear Spectroscopic Telescope Array (NuSTAR) and ESA’s (European Space Agency) XMM- Newton telescope are showing that fierce winds from a supermassive black hole blow outward in all directions — a phenomenon that had been suspected, but difficult to prove until now. This discovery has given astronomers their first opportunity to measure the strength of these ultra-fast winds and prove they are powerful enough to inhibit the host galaxy’s ability to make new stars. LINK

Aeronautics
Sensors Detect Icing Conditions to Help Protect Airplanes (February 19)When ice accumulates on the surface of an aircraft during flight, it distorts the smooth flow of air necessary to stay aloft. The result is a reduction in lift, which can lead to stalls and crashes. Knowing about hazardous icing conditions in advance helps pilots, air traffic controllers and airline dispatchers navigate airplanes and passengers away from danger. However, icing conditions can vary wildly within the same airspace. That’s why scientists at NASA’s Glenn Research Center are advancing the methods, technology and accuracy of sensor systems to provide better detection of potential icing hazards around the nation’s airports. LINK