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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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    • By NASA
      NASA’s Boeing Crew Flight Test astronauts (from top) Butch Wilmore and Suni Williams inside the vestibule between the forward port on the International Space Station’s Harmony module and the Starliner spacecraft (Credits: NASA). Media are invited to hear from NASA’s Boeing Crew Flight Test astronauts discussing their mission during an Earth to space call at 11 a.m. EDT Wednesday, July 10. NASA astronauts Butch Wilmore and Suni Williams will participate in the news conference from aboard the International Space Station in low Earth orbit.
      NASA will stream the event on NASA+, NASA Television, the NASA app, YouTube, and the agency’s website. Learn how to stream NASA TV through a variety of platforms including social media.
      Media interested in participating must RSVP no later than 5 p.m., Tuesday, July 9, to the newsroom at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston at 281-483-5111 or jsccommu@mail.nasa.gov. To ask questions, reporters must dial into the news conference no later than 10 minutes before the start of the call.
      Wilmore and Williams have been living and working aboard the station since docking on June 6, contributing to the expedition crew’s research and maintenance activities, while helping ground teams collect critical data for long-duration Starliner flights to the orbiting complex.
      Learn more about space station operations at:
      https://www.nasa.gov/station
      -end-
      Josh Finch / Jimi Russell
      Headquarters, Washington
      202-358-1100
      joshua.a.finch@nasa.gov / james.j.russell@nasa.gov
      Courtney Beasley
      Johnson Space Center, Houston
      281-483-5111
      courtney.m.beasley@nasa.gov
      View the full article
    • By NASA
      4 min read
      Preparations for Next Moonwalk Simulations Underway (and Underwater)
      Coby Asselin, from left, Adam Curry, and L. J. Hantsche set up the data acquisition systems used during testing of a senor to determine parachute canopy material strength at NASA’s Armstrong Flight Research Center in Edwards, California. The sensor tests seek to quantify the limits of the material to improve computer models and make more reliable supersonic parachutes.NASA/Genaro Vavuris Landing rovers and helicopters on Mars is a challenge. It’s an even bigger challenge when you don’t have enough information about how the parachutes are enduring strain during the descent to the surface. Researchers at NASA’s Armstrong Flight Research Center in Edwards, California, are experimenting with readily available, highly elastic sensors that can be fixed to a parachute during testing to provide the missing data.
      Knowing how the canopy material stretches during deployment can enhance safety and performance by quantifying the limits of the fabric and improving existing computer models for more reliable parachutes for tasks such as landing astronauts on Earth or delivering scientific instruments and payloads to Mars. This is the work Enhancing Parachutes by Instrumenting the Canopy, or EPIC, seeks to advance the ability to measure the strain on a parachute.
      “We are aiming to prove which sensors will work for determining the strain on parachute canopy material without compromising it,” said L.J. Hantsche, project manager. NASA’s Space Technology Mission Directorate funds the team’s work through the Early Career Initiative project.
      Starting with 50 potential sensor candidates, the team narrowed down and tested 10 kinds of different sensors, including commercially available and developmental sensors. The team selected the three most promising sensors for continued testing. Those include a silicone-based sensor that works by measuring a change in storage of electrical charge as the sensor is stretched. It is also easy to attach to data recording systems, Hantsche explained. The second sensor is a small, stretchable braided sensor that measures the change in electrical storage. The third sensor is made by printing with a metallic ink onto a thin and pliable plastic.
      The test team prepares a test fixture with a nylon fabric sample at NASA’s Armstrong Flight Research Center in Edwards, California. The fabric in the test fixture forms a bubble when pressure is applied to the silicone bladder underneath. A similar test can be performed with a sensor on the fabric to verify the sensor will work when stretched in three dimensions.NASA/Genaro Vavuris Pressure is applied to a test fixture with a nylon fabric sample until it fails at NASA’s Armstrong Flight Research Center in Edwards, California. The fabric in the test fixture forms a bubble when pressure is applied to the silicone bladder underneath. In this frame, the silicone bladder is visible underneath the torn fabric after it was inflated to failure. A similar test can be performed with a sensor on the fabric to verify the sensor will work when stretched in three dimensions.NASA/Genaro Vavuris Determining methods to bond each of the sensors to super thin and slippery canopy material was hard, Hantsche said. Once the team figured out how to attach the sensors to the fabric, they were ready to begin testing.
      “We started with uniaxial testing, where each end of the parachute material is secured and then pulled to failure,” she said. “The test is important because the stretching of the sensor causes its electrical response. Determining the correlation of strain and the sensor response when it is on the fabric is one of our main measurement goals.”
      This stage of testing was accomplished in partnership with NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California. A high-speed version of this test, which simulates the speed of the parachute deployment, was performed at NASA’s Glenn Research Center in Cleveland.
      The team used a bubble test for the sensors, which simulates testing of a 3D parachute. It consists of the fabric sample and a silicone membrane sandwiched between a four-inch-diameter ring and the test structure. When it is pressurized from the inside, the silicone membrane expands the fabric and sensor into a bubble shape. The test is used to validate the sensor’s performance as it bends and is compared to the other test results.
      Erick Rossi De La Fuente, from left, John Rudy, L. J. Hantsche, Adam Curry, Jeff Howell, Coby Asselin, Benjamin Mayeux, and Paul Bean pose with a test fixture, material, sensor, and data acquisition systems at NASA’s Armstrong Flight Research Center in Edwards, California. The sensor tests seek to quantify the limits of the material to improve computer models and make more reliable supersonic parachutes.NASA/Genaro Vavuris With the EPIC project nearing completion, follow-on work could include temperature tests, developing the data acquisition system for flight, determining if the sensor can be packed with a parachute without adverse effects, and operating the system in flight. The EPIC team is also working with researchers at NASA’s Langley Research Center in Hampton, Virginia, to flight test their sensors later this year using the center’s drone test, which drops a capsule with a parachute.
      In addition, the EPIC team is partnering with the Entry Systems Modeling Group at NASA’s Ames Research Center in California’s Silicon Valley to propose an all-encompassing parachute project aimed at better understanding parachutes through modeling and test flights. The collaborative NASA project may result in better parachutes that are safer and more dependable for the approaching era of exploration.
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      Last Updated Jun 27, 2024 Related Terms
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