This Week @NASA: Cleaner Fuel for Aviation on Earth, Scientific Balloon Campaign, Artemis Moon Rocket

NASA Cleaner Fuel for Aviation on Earth, Scientific Balloon Campaign, Artemis Moon Rocket

In search of cleaner fuel for aviation…

A scientific balloon campaign in Antarctica…

And a key engine test for NASA’s Artemis Moon rocket…

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

Exploring the Effects of Sustainable Aviation Fuel

NASA and Boeing partnered recently to conduct a contrail research campaign. During the campaign, NASA’s DC-8 flying science laboratory measured emissions and contrail ice formation from a Boeing ecoDemonstrator aircraft, as the Boeing plane switched between 100% sustainable aviation fuel and a low-sulfur version of conventional jet fuel.

Data collected will help determine whether sustainable aviation fuels help reduce the formation of contrails, which may trap heat in the atmosphere.

Scientific Balloon Payload Prepared for Launch in McMurdo Station, Antarctica

A scientific balloon payload is being prepared for launch in McMurdo Station, Antarctica. Credit: NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility

NASA Scientific Balloons Rady for Flights Over Antarctica

The scientific balloon flights, planned during NASA’s annual Antarctic Long Duration Balloon Campaign include the GUSTO mission. This Astrophysics mission is aiming for a record 55-plus day flight in the skies above the southernmost hemisphere.

It will map a large part of the Milky Way galaxy, including the galactic center, and the nearby Large Magellanic Cloud. Learn more about NASA’s Scientific Balloon Program at

NASA RS 25 Engine Hot Fire Certification Testing

NASA completed a full duration, 650-second hot fire of the RS-25 certification engine on November 29, continuing a critical test series to support future SLS (Space Launch System) missions to deep space as NASA explores the secrets of the universe for the benefit of all. Credit: Danny Nowlin, NASA

NASA Continues RS-25 Engine Certification Test Fire Series

On November 29, NASA’s Stennis Space Center conducted a hot fire test of an RS-25 engine. Crews gimbaled, or pivoted, the RS-25 around a central point during the test. Gimbaling is a key capability for the engine that is used to stabilize the Space Launch System, or SLS rocket, during flight on Artemis missions to the Moon and beyond.

This was the third hot fire in the current 12-test certification series.

NASA 2023 Student Launch Competition

Student teams and attendees of NASA’s 2023 Student Launch competition observe a rocket take flight near NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama, in April 2023. Credit: NASA

Teams Competing in 2024 Student Launch Challenge

Seventy teams representing 24 states and Puerto Rico were selected to compete in the 2024 Student Launch Challenge. The nine-month-long competition, which requires students to design, build, and fly a high-powered amateur rocket and scientific payload, culminates with final events April 10-14, 2024 near NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama.

That’s what’s up this week @NASA!

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