This Week @NASA: Artemis I Move to Launchpad, Cargo Dragon Departs, Moon Around Asteroid Polymele

NASA’s Space Launch System (SLS) rocket with the Orion spacecraft aboard is seen atop a mobile launcher as it rolls out of the Vehicle Assembly Building to Launch Pad 39B, Tuesday, August 16, 2022, at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. NASA’s Artemis I mission is the first integrated test of the agency’s deep space exploration systems: the Orion spacecraft, SLS rocket, and supporting ground systems. Launch of the uncrewed flight test is targeted for no earlier than August 29. Credit: NASA/Joel Kowsky

The move to the launchpad ahead of our Artemis I flight test …

Discussing priorities for national space activities …

And cargo and science head home from the space station … a few of the stories to tell you about – This Week at NASA!

Artemis I Moon Rocket and Spacecraft Moved to the Launch Pad

On the night of August 16, teams at our Kennedy Space Center began the approximately 4-mile move of the Space Launch System or SLS rocket and Orion spacecraft from the Vehicle Assembly Building to Launch Pad 39B, in preparation for the launch of our uncrewed Artemis I flight test. The rocket and spacecraft arrived at the pad the next morning. Artemis I is the first in a series of increasingly complex missions to help us establish a long-term presence on the Moon. The mission also will serve as a stepping stone to sending astronauts to Mars. Artemis I is currently targeted for launch no earlier than August 29.

Vice President Kamala Harris met with the National Space Council Friday, August 12, at the Chabot Space and Science Center in Oakland, California, home to the official visitor center for NASA’s Ames Research Center in Silicon Valley. Harris discussed upcoming priorities for national activities in space, including strengthening public-private partnerships and the benefits of space exploration for all. Credit: NASA / Dominic Hart

Vice President Meets with National Space Council in California

Vice President Kamala Harris recently met with the National Space Council at the Chabot Space and Science Center in Oakland, California, the official visitor center for our Ames Research Center. Aerospace companies at the event had the opportunity to display and share their work with the vice president. The vice president – who serves as the chair of the National Space Council – also made a speech, in which she discussed upcoming priorities for national activities in space, including strengthening public-private partnerships and the benefits of space exploration for all.

The SpaceX Dragon cargo craft backs away from the space station moments after undocking from the Harmony module’s forward port during an orbital sunrise. Credit: NASA TV

SpaceX Cargo Dragon Departs from Space Station

On August 19, a SpaceX Dragon cargo resupply spacecraft left the International Space Station and headed back to Earth with more than 4,000 pounds of supplies and scientific experiments for NASA and others. This was SpaceX’s 25th Commercial Resupply Services mission for NASA.

A graphic showing the observed separation of asteroid Polymele from its discovered satellite. Credit: NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center

Lucy Team Discovers Moon Around Asteroid Polymele

Another asteroid has been added to the “to visit” list for NASA’s Lucy spacecraft. Lucy’s science team recently discovered that the smallest of the mission’s Trojan asteroid targets, Polymele, has a moon. With this discovery, Lucy is now on track to visit a total of nine asteroids — one main belt asteroid and eight so-called Trojan asteroids, a previously unexplored population of asteroids that lead and follow Jupiter in its orbit around the Sun.

Students watch as their experiments launch aboard a sounding rocket for the RockSat-X program from NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility on August 11, 2022, at 6:09 p.m. EDT. The Terrier-Improved Malemute rocket carried the experiments to an altitude of 99 miles before descending via a parachute and landing in the Atlantic Ocean. Credit: NASA Wallops/Terry Zaperach

NASA Wallops Launches Student Technology Experiments

Our Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia recently helped teams of U.S. college students launch their technology experiments into space. The experiments were launched on a Terrier-Improved Malemute sounding rocket to an altitude of about 99 miles before descending back to Earth by parachute. The investigations were flown through the RockSat-X program, which gives students the experience of building experiments for spaceflight.

NASA Television programming on the Galaxy 13 domestic satellite is moving from transponder 11 to transponder 15 this month. The move is in line with the Federal Communications Commission’s initiative to free up C-band bandwidth on domestic satellites in support of future 5G terrestrial communications efforts. Currently, both transponders are active. Distribution of NASA TV programming on transponder 11 will end on Monday, August 29. As part of that transition, the modulation format will be changed from DVB-S/QPSK to DVB-S2/8PSK, which reduces the transponder’s required bandwidth.

NASA Television Transponder Change Effective Monday, August 29

A quick note about an upcoming change for NASA Television. NASA TV programming on the Galaxy 13 domestic satellite is moving from transponder 11 to transponder 15. Currently, both transponders are active, but distribution of NASA TV programming on transponder 11 will end on Monday, August 29. For complete details, please visit go.nasa.gov/transponder.

That’s what’s up this week @NASA

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