Expedition 60 Crew Returns Safely from the Space Station on This Week NASA – Oct 4 2019

A safe conclusion to the latest long-duration spaceflight … Calling on industry to help us accelerate our return to the Moon … And practice makes perfect – before the real thing … a few of the stories to tell you about – This Week at NASA! The International Space Station’s Expedition 60 crew – including our Nick Hague – is back on Earth, after landing safely in Kazakhstan Oct. 3. The landing capped off a 203-day mission on the orbital complex for Hague and Alexey Ovchinin of Roscosmos, while Visiting Astronaut Hazzaa Ali Almansoori of the United Arab Emirates spent 8 days on the station. Meanwhile, our Christina Koch, Andrew Morgan, Jessica Meir, and others still aboard the station plan to conduct what may become a record pace of 10 spacewalks during the next three months. The series of spacewalks, which could kick off as soon as Oct. 6 will be used to replace some batteries for the solar arrays and to refurbish a scientific instrument that explores the fundamental nature of the universe. The Sept. 30 call out to American companies for proposals to design and develop human lunar landing systems for our Artemis program is expected to be our final solicitation for these systems that will send the first woman and next man to the surface of the Moon by 2024. Based on industry feedback to earlier draft solicitations, NASA adjusted some requirements to help fast-track our return to the Moon, while preserving all the agency’s human safety measures. We expect to make multiple awards from the solicitation. The first company to complete its lander will carry astronauts to the surface of the Moon in 2024, and the second company will land in 2025. We are currently designing and developing a new spacesuit system, called the Exploration Extravehicular Mobility Unit or xEMU, for use during Artemis missions at the Moon and adaptable for missions to other destinations. To that end, we’ve sent out a request for information seeking input from industry on a strategy for production of lunar spacesuits that will support a steady stream of Artemis missions over the next decade and beyond. The core stage pathfinder for our Space Launch System or SLS rocket was delivered recently by our Pegasus barge to Kennedy Space Center in Florida. The core stage pathfinder is one of three full-scale mockups of SLS flight hardware that will be used to train crews on best practices for moving, handling and lifting the various parts of the rocket in preparation for Artemis I, an uncrewed flight test that is the first lunar mission of SLS and our Orion spacecraft. Data from our Cassini mission to Saturn – which ended in Sept. 2017 – have discovered molecules of organic compounds on Saturn's moon Enceladus that are similar to compounds involved in the production of amino acids – the building blocks of life here on Earth. The newly-discovered molecules of nitrogen and oxygen-bearing compounds were detected on material ejected from the moon’s core into space by powerful hydrothermal vents. For more on these and other stories follow us on the web at nasa.gov/twan.