New Arrivals Welcomed Aboard the Space Station on This Week NASA – September 27 2019

New arrivals in low-Earth orbit – welcome aboard the space station! More research, supplies, and other cargo heads to the station … And a new partner for our Moon to Mars effort … a few of the stories to tell you about – This Week at NASA! The three newest occupants of the International Space Station arrived at the orbital outpost on September 25, about six hours after launching from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. Our Jessica Meir, Expedition 61/62 crewmate Oleg Skripochka of Roscosmos, and Spaceflight Participant Hazzaa Ali Almansoori of the United Arab Emirates were welcomed by the crew already on board. The Expedition 61/62 crew will support about 250 investigations and technology demonstrations not possible on Earth, leading to potential benefits for everyday life and enabling future long-duration exploration into deep space. A day earlier, an unpiloted cargo spacecraft headed to the space station from Japan’s Tanegashima Space Center, loaded with more than four tons of supplies, spare parts and experiment hardware for the station crew. The cargo includes six new lithium-ion batteries to replace aging nickel-hydrogen batteries for two of the station’s power channels. The batteries will be installed through a series of robotic operations and spacewalks later this year. U.S. Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross and Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison were on hand for a recent ceremony at NASA headquarters, during which our Deputy Administrator, Jim Morhard and Head of the Australian Space Agency, Megan Clark, signed a joint statement announcing Australia’s intention to join America’s Moon to Mars exploration approach, including our Artemis lunar program. The statement foresees potential Australian contributions in areas of mutual interest – such as robotics, automation, and remote asset management – similar to what is currently used in Australian mining operations. This builds on a unique history of space cooperation between our countries that dates back to the Apollo era. The contract for the production and operations of our Orion spacecraft has been awarded to Lockheed Martin. This sets into motion the spacecraft production line that will support as many as 12 Artemis missions, including the one that will carry the first woman and next man to the Moon by 2024. Spacecraft production for Orion – managed by our Johnson Space Center in Houston – will focus on reusability and building a sustainable presence on the lunar surface. For more about Orion, visit: Just in time for NASA’s Black Hole Week, our TESS and Swift missions gave us a look at an extremely rare, star-destroying phenomenon called a tidal disruption – this particular one was first spotted by TESS in Jan. 2019. Tidal disruptions happen when a star strays too close to a black hole and is broken apart by the black hole’s extreme gravity and intense tides – turning the star into a stream of gas and debris. Astronomers think the supermassive black hole that generated this tidal disruption is about 6 million times the Sun’s mass and sits at the center of a galaxy about 375 million light-years from us. These disruptions take place only once every 10,000 to 100,000 years in a galaxy the size of our Milky Way. Registration is open for NASA’s International Space Apps Challenge. The world’s largest global hackathon, now in its eighth year, takes place Oct. 18-20, and is open worldwide to anyone who is interested in using NASA data to tackle real problems on Earth and in space. No educational or professional background in science or coding is required. For more details go to That’s what’s up this week @NASA … For more on these and other stories follow us on the web at