This Week @NASA: Private Astronaut Mission to Space Station, PACE Mission & Rocket Engine Testing

Axiom-3 Launch

A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket carrying the company’s Dragon spacecraft for Axiom Space’s Axiom Mission 3 (Ax-3) to the International Space Station lifts off at 4:49 p.m. EST from Launch Complex 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida on Thursday, January 18, 2024. Ax-3 is the third all private astronaut mission to the space station, sending crew members Commander Michael López-Alegría, Pilot Walter Villadei, and Mission Specialists Marcus Wandt and Alper Gezeravci into orbit. The crew will spend about two weeks conducting microgravity research, educational outreach, and commercial activities aboard the space station. Credit: NASA/Chris Swanson

The latest private astronaut mission to the International Space Station

Preparing to launch more research to the space station…

And how climate change is affecting our oceans and atmosphere…

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

Third Private Astronaut Mission to the Space Station

On January 18, Axiom Mission 3, the third private astronaut mission to the International Space Station, launched aboard a SpaceX Dragon spacecraft from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center. The mission is commanded by former NASA astronaut Michael López-Alegría.

NASA will provide integrated operations support, which starts during the Dragon’s approach to the station, continues while the crew is aboard the orbiting laboratory, and concludes when Dragon leaves the area of the space station.

Cygnus Space Freighter in Grips of Canadarm2 Robotic Arm

Scientific investigations being launched to the ISS on Northrop Grumman’s 20th commercial resupply mission include 3D metal printing, semiconductor manufacturing, thermal protection systems for reentry, remote robotic surgery, and cartilage tissue research. Credit: NASA

Science Launching to the Space Station

The research heading to the International Space Station on Northrop Grumman’s 20th commercial resupply services mission to the space station for NASA includes the first surgical robot on the station, an inexpensive orbit re-entry platform to collect thermal protection systems data, and a new Metal 3D printer.

Northrop Grumman’s Cygnus spacecraft will launch atop a SpaceX Falcon 9 no earlier than January 29 from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station.

PACE Spacecraft In Orbit Over Earth

NASA’s PACE (Plankton, Aerosol, Cloud, ocean Ecosystem) spacecraft in orbit over Earth. Credit: NASA GSFC

Investigating Oceans and Atmosphere in Changing Climate

NASA’s Plankton, Aerosol, Cloud, ocean Ecosystem, or PACE mission is targeted for launch no earlier than February 6. The Earth-observing science mission will help us understand how our oceans and atmosphere exchange carbon dioxide, measure key atmospheric variables associated with air quality and Earth’s warming climate, and monitor ocean health.

NASA RS-25 Certification Engine Hot Fire 2024

NASA completed a full-duration, 500-second hot fire of an RS-25 certification engine on January 17, continuing a critical test series to support future SLS (Space Launch System) missions to the Moon and beyond as NASA explores the secrets of the universe for the benefit of all. Credit: NASA/Danny Nowlin

NASA Resumes RS-25 Rocket Engine Testing

NASA resumed a critical test series with their RS-25 rocket engine on January 17 at NASA’s Stennis Space Center. Data from the testing will be used to certify production of new RS-25 engines to help power our Space Launch System, or SLS rocket on future Artemis missions to the Moon and beyond, beginning with Artemis V.

That’s what’s up this week @NASA.

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