Once a month or so, I share some current NASA-related items of interest. I firmly believe that more people knowing about what NASA is doing means more people willing to enthusiastically support our missions, so even if you don’t really follow space happenings on a regular basis (or at all), I hope you find these occasional posts interesting!
1 // Astronaut Peggy Whitson has been living on the space station since November and on Monday, she’ll become the new American record holder for most cumulative days in space with 534. By the time she comes home that number will be even higher than originally thought…because she’ll be staying up longer than planned! Her mission was officially extended and instead of coming home in June, she’ll stay in orbit until September.
2 // Speaking of space station crews, we just finished our version of a “shift change” on board. Three crewmembers who had been there since September came home last week, and two new crewmembers launched and docked yesterday. As the Soyuz descended under its parachute last week, NASA photographer Bill Ingalls managed to catch something I’d never seen in a photo before — leftover propellant being vented from the spacecraft before landing! Super cool.
3 // SpaceX pulled off a feat recently that no commercial company had done before when they successfully flew and recovered a “used” rocket stage. Other vehicles have reused components before, like the space shuttle. The shuttle itself was reusable (obviously) along with the main engines and solid rocket boosters. But each item required a huge amount of work before reflight. It took months if not years. So it’s really cool to see SpaceX doing it in a way that has potential to be done on both a larger scale and on a shorter timeline than others have done in the past.