This Week @NASA: Launching a New Mission Around the Moon

Gateway, a future space station that will orbit around the Moon as part of NASA’s Artemis program.

Launching a new mission around the Moon

Preparing the Space Launch System for its first flight

And undocking a resupply spacecraft from the space station …

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

Capstone Launches to Test Unique Orbit Around the Moon

3, 2, 1 … and liftoff!

On June 28, CAPSTONE launched aboard Rocket Lab’s Electron rocket from New Zealand.

After a 4-month journey, the small spacecraft will arrive at its lunar orbit, where it will act as a pathfinder for Gateway, a future space station that will orbit around the Moon as part of our Artemis program.

CAPSTONE’s data on this unique, halo-shaped orbit will help reduce risk for future spacecraft.

This mission, which is owned and operated by Advanced Space for NASA, will also validate innovative navigation technologies.

Artemis I Completes Wet Dress Rehearsals, Moves Toward Launch

NASA has completed the wet dress rehearsal campaign for the agency’s Space Launch System rocket (SLS) and Orion spacecraft.

During the final rehearsal on June 20 at our Kennedy Space Center in Florida, teams were able to confirm the timelines and procedures for launch.

Next, we’ll roll the SLS rocket back to the Vehicle Assembly Building to prepare for the Artemis I flight test currently targeted for launch in late August 2022.

Cygnus Resupply Spacecraft Departs the International Space Station

On June 28, Northrop Grumman’s uncrewed Cygnus spacecraft successfully departed from the International Space Station after more than four months at the orbiting outpost.

After launching from our Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia, Cygnus arrived at the station in February, delivering 8,300 pounds of supplies, scientific investigations, and other cargo to the orbiting laboratory.

It was the company’s 17th commercial resupply services mission to the space station for NASA.

NASA Tech Helps Firefighters Prepare for Fire Season

This spring, researchers with NASA’s Scalable Traffic Management for Emergency Response Operations (STEReO) project tested prototype tools with the goal of making wildland firefighting safer.

Both crewed aircraft and unmanned aircraft systems, or drones, are regularly used to coordinate firefighting efforts.

STEReO’s prototype device focuses on notifying these drone pilots of the positions of crewed aircraft, allowing them to stay safely out of the way.

Mirror Completes for NASA’s Antarctic Balloon Mission

Commercial partner Media Lario has completed critical components for NASA’s ASTHROS Mission.

The high-altitude balloon will carry a telescope unit with an 8.2-foot primary mirror 130,000 feet above Antarctica.

The mirror will enhance ASTHROS’ ability to study stellar feedback, a phenomenon that halts star formation in some galaxies.

ASTHROS is set to launch no earlier than December 2023.

That’s what’s up this week @NASA

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