This Week @NASA: Boeing Starliner Prelaunch, Earth Day Celebration, Dragonfly Rotorcraft Mission

Boeing CST-100 Starliner Spacecraft in Orbit

An artist’s illustration of Boeing’s CST-100 Starliner spacecraft in orbit. Credit: Boeing

Prelaunch activities for NASA’s next commercial crew flight test…

Celebrating our home planet for Earth Day…

And conducting high-flying science during the recent solar eclipse…

A few of the stories to tell you about – This Week at NASA!

Prelaunch Activities Underway for Commercial Crew Flight Test

On April 25, NASA astronauts Butch Wilmore and Suni Williams arrived at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center where final preparations are underway for NASA’s Boeing Crew Flight Test to the International Space Station. They will be the first astronauts to launch aboard Boeing’s Starliner spacecraft to the space station.

Teams recently moved the Starliner from Kennedy to nearby Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in preparation for launch. Liftoff is scheduled for no earlier than Monday, May 6.

NASA Earth Day 2024 Poster

For Earth Day, NASA wanted everyone to share the planet from their point of view. Need an idea of what kind of picture to take? Get outside and show us mountains, parks, the sky, rivers, lakes – and you! Wherever you are, there’s your picture.  Credit: NASA

Celebrating Earth Day 2024

For Earth Day, NASA invited people around the world to take selfies and share them on social media as part of NASA’s Global Selfie event. NASA’s worldwide celebration of Earth Day also included online resources at NASA studies our home planet more than any other. NASA operates 26 missions in orbit to observe our oceans, land, ice, and atmosphere, and measure how a change in one drives change in the others.

Jake Revesz UAS

Jake Revesz, electronic systems engineer, prepping the UAS for flight. Credit: NASA/Jen Fowler

Uncrewed Aircraft System Studies Weather During Eclipse

A team from NASA’s Langley Research Center was in Fort Drum, N.Y. during the April 8 total solar eclipse with a specially modified Alta X Uncrewed Aircraft System, or UAS. The aircraft was used to study changes in the Sun’s radiation during the solar event. The UAS also collects data on temperature, relative humidity, pressure, and wind, so it is also being tested as an alternative to using traditional weather balloons, which are typically not recovered once they are released.

Dragonfly In Flight

Artist’s impression of Dragonfly soaring over the dunes of Saturn’s moon Titan. NASA has authorized the mission team to proceed on development toward a July 2028 launch date. Credit: NASA/Johns Hopkins APL/Steve Gribben

Dragonfly Rotorcraft Mission to Saturn’s Moon Titan Confirmed

NASA has confirmed its Dragonfly rotorcraft mission to Saturn’s organic-rich moon Titan. The rotorcraft, targeted to arrive at Titan in 2034, will fly to dozens of promising locations on the moon, looking for prebiotic chemical processes common on both Titan and early Earth before life developed here. Dragonfly marks the first time NASA will fly a vehicle for science on another planetary body.

That’s what’s up this week @NASA.

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