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    • By NASA
      The distorted spiral galaxy at center, the Penguin, and the compact elliptical at left, the Egg, are locked in an active embrace. This near- and mid-infrared image combines data from NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope’s NIRCam (Near-Infrared Camera) and MIRI (Mid-Infrared Instrument), and marks the telescope’s second year of science. Webb’s view shows that their interaction is marked by a glow of scattered stars represented in blue. Known jointly as Arp 142, the galaxies made their first pass by one another between 25 and 75 million years ago, causing “fireworks,” or new star formation, in the Penguin. The galaxies are approximately the same mass, which is why one hasn’t consumed the other.NASA, ESA, CSA, STScI To celebrate the second science anniversary of NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope, the team has released a near- and mid-infrared image on July 12, 2024, of two interacting galaxies: The Penguin and the Egg.
      Webb specializes in capturing infrared light – which is beyond what our own eyes can see – allowing us to view and study these two galaxies, collectively known as Arp 142. Their ongoing interaction was set in motion between 25 and 75 million years ago, when the Penguin (individually cataloged as NGC 2936) and the Egg (NGC 2937) completed their first pass. They will go on to shimmy and sway, completing several additional loops before merging into a single galaxy hundreds of millions of years from now.
      Learn more about the Penguin and the Egg.
      Image Credit: NASA, ESA, CSA, STScI
      Text Credit: NASA Webb Mission Team
      View the full article
    • By NASA
      4 min read
      Preparations for Next Moonwalk Simulations Underway (and Underwater)
      Paul Dumbacher, right, lead test engineer for the Propulsion Test Branch at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama, confers with Meredith Patterson, solid propulsion systems engineer, as they install the 11-inch hybrid rocket motor testbed into its cradle in Marshall’s East Test Stand. The new testbed, offering versatile, low-cost test opportunities to NASA propulsion engineers and their government, academic, and industry partners, reflects the collaboration of dozens of team members across multiple departments at Marshall. NASA/Charles Beason In June, engineers at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama, unveiled an innovative, 11-inch hybrid rocket motor testbed.
      The new hybrid testbed, which features variable flow capability and a 20-second continuous burn duration, is designed to provide a low-cost, quick-turnaround solution for conducting hot-fire tests of advanced nozzles and other rocket engine hardware, composite materials, and propellants.
      Solid rocket propulsion remains a competitive, reliable technology for various compact and heavy-lift rockets as well as in-space missions, offering low propulsion element mass, high energy density, resilience in extreme environments, and reliable performance.
      “It’s time consuming and costly to put a new solid rocket motor through its paces – identifying how materials perform in extreme temperatures and under severe structural and dynamic loads,” said Benjamin Davis, branch chief of the Solid Propulsion and Pyrotechnic Devices Branch of Marshall’s Engineering Directorate. “In today’s fast-paced, competitive environment, we wanted to find a way to condense that schedule. The hybrid testbed offers an exciting, low-cost solution.”
      Initiated in 2020, the project stemmed from NASA’s work to develop new composite materials, additively manufactured – or 3D-printed – nozzles, and other components with proven benefits across the spacefaring spectrum, from rockets to planetary landers.
      After analyzing future industry requirements, and with feedback from NASA’s aerospace partners, the Marshall team recognized that their existing 24-inch rocket motor testbed – a subscale version of the Space Launch System booster – could prove too costly for small startups. Additionally, conventional, six-inch test motors limited flexible configuration and required multiple tests to achieve all customer goals. The team realized what industry needed most was an efficient, versatile third option.
      “The 11-inch hybrid motor testbed offers the instrumentation, configurability, and cost-efficiency our government, industry, and academic partners need,” said Chloe Bower, subscale solid rocket motor manufacturing lead at Marshall. “It can accomplish multiple test objectives simultaneously – including different nozzle configurations, new instrumentation or internal insulation, and various propellants or flight environments.”
      “That quicker pace can reduce test time from months to weeks or days,” said Precious Mitchell, solid propulsion design lead for the project.
      Engineers at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama, assess components of the 11-inch hybrid rocket motor testbed in the wake of successful testing in June. Among Marshall personnel leading in-house development of the new testbed are, from left, Chloe Bower, subscale solid rocket motor manufacturing lead; Jacobs manufacturing engineer Shelby Westrich; and Precious Mitchell, solid propulsion design lead. NASA/Benjamin Davis Another feature of great interest is the on/off switch. “That’s one of the big advantages to a hybrid testbed,” Mitchell continued. “With a solid propulsion system, once it’s ignited, it will burn until the fuel is spent. But because there’s no oxidizer in hybrid fuel, we can simply turn it off at any point if we see anomalies or need to fine-tune a test element, yielding more accurate test results that precisely meet customer needs.”
      The team expects to deliver to NASA leadership final test data later this summer. For now, Davis congratulates the Marshall propulsion designers, analysts, chemists, materials engineers, safety personnel, and test engineers who collaborated on the new testbed.
      “We’re not just supporting the aerospace industry in broad terms,” he said. “We’re also giving young NASA engineers a chance to get their hands dirty in a practical test environment solving problems. This work helps educate new generations who will carry on NASA’s mission in the decades to come.”
      For nearly 65 years, Marshall teams have led development of the U.S. space program’s most powerful rocket engines and spacecraft, from the Apollo-era Saturn V rocket and the space shuttle to today’s cutting-edge propulsion systems, including NASA’s newest rocket, the Space Launch System. NASA technology testbeds designed and built by Marshall engineers and their partners have shaped the reliable technologies of spaceflight and continue to enable discovery, testing, and certification of advanced rocket engine materials and manufacturing techniques. 
      Learn more about NASA Marshall capabilities at:
      https://www.nasa.gov/marshall-space-flight-center-capabilities
      Ramon J. Osorio
      Marshall Space Flight Center, Huntsville, Alabama
      256-544-0034
      ramon.j.osorio@nasa.gov
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    • By NASA
      Boeing’s Starliner spacecraft, with NASA astronauts Butch Wilmore and Suni Williams aboard, approaches the International Space Station for an autonomous docking as it orbited 257 miles above the South Pacific Ocean. Leadership from NASA and Boeing will participate in a media briefing at 12:30 p.m. EDT Wednesday, July 10, to discuss the agency’s Crew Flight Test at the International Space Station.
      Audio of the media teleconference will stream live on the agency’s website:
      https://www.nasa.gov/nasatv
      Participants include:
      Steve Stich, manager, NASA’s Commercial Crew Program Mark Nappi, vice president and program manager, Commercial Crew Program, Boeing Media interested in participating must contact the newsroom at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida no later than one hour prior to the start of the call at ksc-newsroom@mail.nasa.gov. A copy of NASA’s media accreditation policy is online.
      NASA and Boeing continue to evaluate Starliner’s propulsion system performance and five small helium leaks in the spacecraft’s service module, gathering as much data as possible while docked to the International Space Station. Once all the necessary ground testing and associated data analysis is complete, leaders from NASA and Boeing will conduct an agency-level review before returning from the orbiting complex.
      As part of NASA’s Commercial Crew Program, NASA astronauts Butch Wilmore and Suni Williams lifted off on June 5, on a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket from Space Launch Complex-41 at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida on an end-to-end test of the Starliner system. The crew docked to the forward-facing port of the station’s Harmony module on June 6.
      Since their arrival on June 6, Wilmore and Williams have completed half of all hands-on research time conducted aboard the space station, allowing their crewmates to prepare for the departure of Northrop Grumman’s Cygnus spacecraft. NASA also will hold an Earth to space news conference at 11 a.m., Wednesday, July 10, with the Crew Flight Test astronauts to discuss the mission.
      NASA’s Commercial Crew Program is delivering on its goal of safe, reliable, and cost-effective transportation to and from the International Space Station from the United States through a partnership with American private industry. This partnership is opening access to low-Earth orbit and the International Space Station to more people, science, and commercial opportunities. The space station remains the springboard to NASA’s next great leap in space exploration, including future missions to the Moon under Artemis, and ultimately, to Mars.
      For NASA’s blog and more information about the mission, visit:
      https://www.nasa.gov/commercialcrew
      -end-
      Josh Finch / Jimi Russell
      Headquarters, Washington
      202-358-1100
      joshua.a.finch@nasa.gov / james.j.russell@nasa.gov
      Steve Siceloff / Danielle Sempsrott / Stephanie Plucinsky
      Kennedy Space Center, Florida
      321-867-2468
      steven.p.siceloff@nasa.gov / danielle.c.sempsrott@nasa.gov / stephanie.n.plucinsky@nasa.gov
      Leah Cheshier / Sandra Jones
      Johnson Space Center, Houston
      281-483-5111
      leah.d.cheshier@nasa.gov / sandra.p.jones@nasa.gov
      View the full article
    • By SpaceX
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      Image: Eye test for lunar impact surveyor View the full article
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