Caltech Names Laurie Leshin Director of JPL

Laurie Leshin formally assumes her roles as director of NASA JPL and vice president of Caltech in May. (Credits: Worcester Polytechnic Institute)

The distinguished geochemist and space scientist brings more than 20 years of leadership experience in academic and government service to JPL.

PASADENA, Calif. (Caltech PR) — Laurie Leshin, president of Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI), has been appointed director of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) and vice president of Caltech. Leshin will formally assume her position on May 16, 2022, succeeding Michael Watkins, who retired in August 2021, and Lt. Gen. Larry D. James USAF (Ret.), who currently serves as JPL interim director.

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Israel Signs Artemis Accords

Israel Space Agency Director General Uri Oron signs the Artemis Accords during a ceremony in Tel Aviv Jan. 26, 2022. (Credits: Tzipi Vilmovski)

TEL AVIV (NASA PR) — In becoming the first country to sign the Artemis Accords in 2022, Israel affirmed its commitment to a common set of principles to guide cooperation among nations participating in 21st century space exploration.

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NASA Spinoffs Help Fight Coronavirus, Clean Pollution, Grow Food & More

The interior of the Biomass Production Chamber at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida replicated the closed growing environment astronauts will use in space or on other planets to grow fresh crops. As the first controlled environment vertical farm in the United States, the chamber helped NASA provide critical data for the indoor farming industry. (Credits: NASA)

WASHINGTON (NASA PR) — NASA’s mission of exploration requires new technologies, software, and research – which show up in daily life. The agency’s Spinoff 2022 publication tells the stories of companies, start-ups, and entrepreneurs transforming these innovations into cutting-edge products and services that boost the economy, protect the planet, and save lives.

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Orbital Insertion Burn a Success, Webb Arrives at L2

Artist rending showing light reflecting off of the primary and secondary mirrors of NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope, after it has deployed in space. (Credits: NASA/Mike McClare)

WASHINGTON (NASA PR) — Today, at 2 p.m. EST, Webb fired its onboard thrusters for nearly five minutes (297 seconds) to complete the final postlaunch course correction to Webb’s trajectory. This mid-course correction burn inserted Webb toward its final orbit around the second Sun-Earth Lagrange point, or L2, nearly 1 million miles away from the Earth.

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2021 Tied for 6th Warmest Year in Continued Trend, NASA Analysis Shows

2021 was tied for the sixth warmest year on NASA’s record, stretching more than a century. Because the record is global, not every place on Earth experienced the sixth warmest year on record. Some places had record-high temperatures, and we saw record droughts, floods and fires around the globe. (Credits: NASA’s Scientific Visualization Studio/Kathryn Mersmann)

WASHINGTON (NASA PR) — Earth’s global average surface temperature in 2021 tied with 2018 as the sixth warmest on record, according to independent analyses done by NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

Continuing the planet’s long-term warming trend, global temperatures in 2021 were 1.5 degrees Fahrenheit (0.85 degrees Celsius) above the average for NASA’s baseline period, according to scientists at NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS) in New York. NASA uses the period from 1951-1980 as a baseline to see how global temperature changes over time.

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NASA Announces New Chief Scientist, Senior Climate Advisor

Dr. Katherine Calvin, NASA chief scientist and senior climate advisor. (Credits: NASA/Bill Ingalls)

WASHINGTON (NASA PR) — NASA Administrator Bill Nelson announced that Dr. Katherine Calvin will serve the agency in dual roles as chief scientist and senior climate advisor effective Monday.

Calvin succeeds Jim Green, who retired from his role Jan. 1 as chief scientist after more than 40 years of service at NASA, and Gavin Schmidt, who has served as senior climate advisor in an acting capacity since the position was created in February 2021. NASA established the senior climate advisor position to ensure effective fulfillment of the Biden-Harris Administration’s climate science objectives for the agency. Schmidt will maintain his role as director of NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies in New York.

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NASA’s Webb Telescope Reaches Major Milestone as Mirror Unfolds

Shown fully stowed, the James Webb Space Telescope’s Deployable Tower Assembly that connects the upper and lower sections of the spacecraft will extend 48 inches (1.2 meters) after launch. (Credits: Northrop Grumman)

BALTIMORE (NASA PR) — NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope team fully deployed its 21-foot, gold-coated primary mirror, successfully completing the final stage of all major spacecraft deployments to prepare for science operations.

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NASA Armstrong Accomplished Numerous Milestones in 2021

Joby eVOL acoustic test (Credit: NASA)

EDWARDS, Calif. (NASA PR) — This year marks 75 years of flight research at NASA’s Armstrong Flight Research Center in Edwards, California and 2021 adds to those achievements. 2021 continued to be challenging while working in a mostly virtual environment, but progress was surely made.

NASA’s next supersonic X-plane, the X-59, is taking shape for upcoming flights; NASA’s first all-electric X-plane, the X-57, completed ground testing to prepare for flights; several Earth science missions were completed around the globe; and many other goals were met to prepare NASA Armstrong for a successful 2022 and beyond.

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NASA’s 2021 Achievements Included Mars Landing, First Flight, Artemis, More

WASHINGTON (NASA PR) — In 2021, NASA completed its busiest year of development yet in low-Earth orbit, made history on Mars, continued to make progress on its Artemis plans for the Moon, tested new technologies for a supersonic aircraft, finalized launch preparations for the next-generation space telescope, and much more – all while safely operating during a pandemic and welcoming new leadership under the Biden-Harris Administration.

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NASA Announces Extension of International Space Station to 2030

This image shows the planned configuration of six iROSA solar arrays intended to augment power on the International Space Station. The roll-up arrays arrive on the SpaceX-22 resupply mission. (Credits: NASA/Johnson Space Center/Boeing)

WASHINGTON (NASA PR) — NASA Administrator Bill Nelson announced today the Biden-Harris Administration’s commitment to extend International Space Station (ISS) operations through 2030, and to work with our international partners in Europe (ESA, European Space Agency)Japan (JAXA, Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency), Canada (CSA, Canadian Space Agency), and Russia (State Space Corporation Roscosmos) to enable continuation of the groundbreaking research being conducted in this unique orbiting laboratory through the rest of this decade.

“The International Space Station is a beacon of peaceful international scientific collaboration and for more than 20 years has returned enormous scientific, educational, and technological developments to benefit humanity. I’m pleased that the Biden-Harris Administration has committed to continuing station operations through 2030,” Nelson said. “The United States’ continued participation on the ISS will enhance innovation and competitiveness, as well as advance the research and technology necessary to send the first woman and first person of color to the Moon under NASA’s Artemis program and pave the way for sending the first humans to Mars. As more and more nations are active in space, it’s more important than ever that the United States continues to lead the world in growing international alliances and modeling rules and norms for the peaceful and responsible use of space.”

Over the past two decades, the United States has maintained a continuous human presence in orbit around the Earth to test technologies, conduct scientific research, and develop skills needed to explore farther than ever before. The unique microgravity laboratory has hosted more than 3,000 research investigations from over 4,200 researchers across the world and is returning enormous scientific, educational, and technological developments to benefit people on Earth. Nearly 110 countries and areas have participated in activities aboard the station, including more than 1,500,000 students per year in STEM activities.

Instruments aboard the ISS, used in concert with free-flying instruments in other orbits, help us measure the stresses of drought and the health of forests to enable improved understanding of the interaction of carbon and climate at different time scales. Operating these and other climate-related instruments through the end of the decade will greatly increase our understanding of the climate cycle.

Extending operations through 2030 will continue another productive decade of research advancement and enable a seamless transition of capabilities in low-Earth orbit to one or more commercially owned and operated destinations in the late 2020s. The decision to extend operations and NASA’s recent awards to develop commercial space stations together ensure uninterrupted, continuous human presence and capabilities; both are critical facets of NASA’s International Space Station transition plan.

Webb Liftoff on Ariane 5 to Unlock Secrets of the Universe

The James Webb Space Telescope lifted off on an Ariane 5 rocket from Europe’s Spaceport in French Guiana, at 13:20 CET on 25 December on its exciting mission to unlock the secrets of the Universe. (Credit: ESA/CNES/Arianespace)

KOUROU, French Guiana (ESA PR) — The James Webb Space Telescope lifted off on an Ariane 5 rocket from Europe’s Spaceport in French Guiana, at 13:20 CET on 25 December on its exciting mission to unlock the secrets of the Universe.

Following launch and separation from the rocket, Webb’s mission operations centre in Baltimore, USA confirmed Webb deployed its solar array and is in good condition, marking the launch a success.

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NASA’s Webb Telescope Launches to See First Galaxies, Distant Worlds

The James Webb Space Telescope after separation from its Ariane 5 booster. (Credit; NASA)

KOUROU, French Guiana, December 25, 2021 (NASA PR) — NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope launched at 7:20 a.m. EST Saturday on an Ariane 5 rocket from Europe’s Spaceport in French Guiana, South America.

A joint effort with ESA (European Space Agency) and the Canadian Space Agency, the Webb observatory is NASA’s revolutionary flagship mission to seek the light from the first galaxies in the early universe and to explore our own solar system, as well as planets orbiting other stars, called exoplanets. 

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Italy Contributed 3 Instruments to NASA-ASI IXPE Mission

NASA’s Imaging X-ray Polarimetry Explorer (IXPE) mission is the first satellite dedicated to measuring the polarization of X-rays from a variety of cosmic sources, such as black holes and neutron stars. (Credits: NASA)

ROME (ASI PR) — A lot of Italian science born from the exclusive collaboration between NASA and the Italian Space Agency (ASI) was aboard the IXPE (Imaging X-ray Polarimetry Explorer) satellite, which took off punctually from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida at 7.00 Italian time on 9 December. A Falcon 9 carrier from the private company SpaceX was used for the launch. The launch was attended by the president of the Italian Space Agency (ASI), Giorgio Saccoccia, and the administrator of NASA, Bill Nelson.

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Mexico Signs NASA-led Artemis Accords

  • 50 years ago, “We were spectators. Now we are going to be participants. This is a giant step for Mexico”: Ebrard 
  • Mexico joins the NASA-led space exploration project that includes commercial and international partners

MEXICO CITY (Mexican Government PR) — Mexico has joined the NASA-led Artemis Program for space exploration, which aims to establish a sustainable human presence on the Moon.

The signing of the Artemis Accords was announced today at an event led by Foreign Secretary Marcelo Ebrard and attended by the Secretary of Infrastructure, Communications and Transportation, Jorge Arganis Díaz-Leal. The initiative received the support of Mexican legislators and the National Conference of Governors (Conago), and was welcomed by the United States Government.

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NASA Selects New Astronaut Recruits to Train for Future Missions

NASA announced its 2021 Astronaut Candidate Class on Dec. 6, 2021. The 10 candidates, pictured here at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston are: U.S. Air Force Maj. Nichole Ayers, Christopher Williams, U.S. Marine Corps Maj. (retired.) Luke Delaney, U.S. Navy Lt. Cmdr. Jessica Wittner, U.S. Air Force Lt. Col. Anil Menon, U.S. Air Force Maj. Marcos Berríos, U.S. Navy Cmdr. Jack Hathaway, Christina Birch, U.S. Navy Lt. Deniz Burnham, and Andre Douglas. (Credits: NASA)

HOUSTON (NASA PR) — NASA has chosen 10 new astronaut candidates from a field of more than 12,000 applicants to represent the United States and work for humanity’s benefit in space.

NASA Administrator Bill Nelson introduced the members of the 2021 astronaut class, the first new class in four years, during a Monday, Dec. 6 event at Ellington Field near NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston.

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