Record-Setting NASA Astronaut, Crewmates Return from Space Station

NASA astronaut Mark Vande Hei is seen outside the Soyuz MS-19 spacecraft after he landed with Russian cosmonauts Anton Shkaplerov and Pyotr Dubrov in a remote area near the town of Zhezkazgan, Kazakhstan on Wednesday, March 30, 2022. Vande Hei and Dubrov are returning to Earth after logging 355 days in space as members of Expeditions 64-66 aboard the International Space Station. For Vande Hei, his mission is the longest single spaceflight by a U.S. astronaut in history. Shkaplerov is returning after 176 days in space, serving as a Flight Engineer for Expedition 65 and commander of Expedition 66. (Credits: NASA/Bill Ingalls)

HOUSTON (NASA PR) — After extending the record for the longest single spaceflight in history by an American to 355 days, NASA astronaut Mark Vande Hei returned to Earth on Wednesday, March 30, along with Roscosmos cosmonauts Anton Shkaplerov and Pyotr Dubrov.

The trio departed the International Space Station at 3:21 a.m. EDT and made a safe, parachute-assisted landing at 7:28 a.m. (5:28 p.m. Kazakhstan time) southeast of the remote town of Dzhezkazgan, Kazakhstan.

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NASA Administrator Statement on President’s FY 2023 Budget Request

WASHINGTON (NASA PR) — The President’s fiscal year 2023 budget would allow NASA to sustain America’s global innovation leadership and keep NASA at the forefront of exploration and discovery by returning to the Moon with the Artemis program, among other efforts. This budget would enable NASA to address climate change, drive economic growth, and promote diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility.

The Biden-Harris Administration Monday submitted to Congress President Biden’s budget for fiscal year 2023. The President’s budget details his vision to expand on the historic progress our country has made over the last year and deliver the agenda he laid out in his State of the Union address – to build a better America, reduce the deficit, reduce costs for families, and grow the economy from the bottom up and middle out. 

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Annual State of NASA Address, Media Budget Briefing Set for March 28

Bill Nelson

WASHINGTON (NASA PR) — NASA Administrator Bill Nelson will give the 2022 State of NASA address at 2 p.m. EDT on Monday, March 28, from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. The event will air live on NASA Television, the NASA app, and the agency’s website.

Nelson will highlight NASA’s plans to explore the Moon and Mars, address climate change, promote racial and economic equity, and drive economic growth while sustaining U.S. leadership in aviation and aerospace innovation.

Following the State of NASA, Associate Administrator Bob Cabana and Chief Financial Officer Margaret Vo Schaus will host a virtual media teleconference at 4:30 p.m. to discuss the Biden-Harris Administration’s fiscal year 2023 funding request for the agency. Joining them for questions and answers are senior leaders from each of NASA’s mission directorates.

Audio from the budget briefing will stream live on NASA’s website.

Timing of these activities are based on the President’s budget release on Monday and are subject to change. Budget proposal for NASA and supporting information will post online March 28 as soon as possible at:

https://www.nasa.gov/budget

NASA Provides Update to Astronaut Moon Lander Plans Under Artemis

An illustration of a suited Artemis astronaut looking out of a Moon lander hatch across the lunar surface, the Lunar Terrain Vehicle and other surface elements. (Credits: NASA)

WASHINGTON (NASA PR) — As NASA makes strides to return humans to the lunar surface under Artemis, the agency announced plans Wednesday to create additional opportunities for commercial companies to develop an astronaut Moon lander.

Under this new approach, NASA is asking American companies to propose lander concepts capable of ferrying astronauts between lunar orbit and the lunar surface for missions beyond Artemis III, which will land the first astronauts on the Moon in more than 50 years.

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NASA to Release Draft RFP for Second Human Lunar Lander

Artist concept of the SpaceX Starship on the surface of the Moon. (Credits: SpaceX)

by Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

NASA plans to release a draft request for proposal (RFP) by the end of the month for a second crewed lunar lander to join the Human Landing System (HLS) being developed by SpaceX, officials announced during a media conference on Wednesday.

“Competition is the key to our success,” NASA Administrator Bill Nelson said in describing the Sustaining Lunar Development contract.

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NASA Mourns Passing of Visionary Heliophysicist Eugene Parker

Dr. Eugene Parker watches the launch of the spacecraft that bears his name – NASA’s Parker Solar Probe – early in the morning of Aug. 12, 2018. NASA Director of Heliophysics Dr. Nicky Fox stands behind him. Parker Solar Probe is humanity’s first mission to the Sun and will travel closer to our star than any spacecraft before. (Credits: NASA/Glenn Benson)

WASHINGTON (NASA PR) — Dr. Eugene N. Parker, visionary of heliophysics and namesake of NASA’s Parker Solar Probe, has passed away. He was 94.

As a young professor at the University of Chicago in the mid-1950s, Parker developed a mathematical theory that predicted the solar wind, the constant outflow of solar material from the Sun. Throughout his career, Parker revolutionized the field time and again, advancing ideas that addressed the fundamental questions about the workings of our Sun and stars throughout the universe.

“We were saddened to learn the news that one of the great scientific minds and leaders of our time has passed,” said NASA Administrator Bill Nelson. “Dr. Eugene Parker’s contributions to science and to understanding how our universe works touches so much of what we do here at NASA. Dr. Parker’s legacy will live on through the many active and future NASA missions that build upon his work.”

“The field of heliophysics exists in large part because of Dr. Eugene Parker,” said Thomas Zurbuchen, NASA’s associate administrator for science. “Honoring his work by giving Parker Solar Probe his name is one of the proudest accomplishments of my career. My work, my passion for science, and my drive to keep exploring is strongly influenced by this great man. Parker Solar Probe ‘touching the Sun,’ is a fitting accomplishment for his namesake mission.”

In 2018, Parker became the first person to witness the launch of a spacecraft bearing his name. NASA’s Parker Solar Probe continues its mission today in pursuit of the pioneering questions Parker first envisaged more than a half century ago.

“Anyone who knew Dr. Parker, knew that he was a visionary,” said Nicola Fox, director of the Heliophysics Division at NASA Headquarters in Washington. “I was honored to stand with him at the launch of Parker Solar Probe and have loved getting to share with him all the exciting science results, seeing his face light up with every new image and data plot I showed him. I will sincerely miss his excitement and love for Parker Solar Probe. Even though Dr. Parker is no longer with us, his discoveries and legacy will live forever.”

Learn more about Parker Solar Probe and its mission at:

https://www.nasa.gov/content/goddard/parker-solar-probe

NASA to Share Tools, Resources at Upcoming Agriculture Conference

WASHINGTON (NASA PR) — NASA will participate in the 2022 Commodity Classic conference, America’s largest farmer-led, farmer-focused educational and agricultural experience.

Agency representatives will discuss information, tools, and resources, drawn from the NASA’s Earth observation satellites and science research. Farmers and others regularly make decisions about water management, planting, and market decisions based on NASA data delivered by partner agencies and organizations, such as the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

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Romania Signs Artemis Accords

U.S. Chargé d’affaires to Romania David Muniz, left, and President and CEO of the Romanian Space Agency Marius-Ioan Piso pose for a photo following Romania’s signing of the Artemis Accords in Bucharest Tuesday, March 1, 2022. (Credits: Romanian Space Agency)

WASHINGTON (NASA PR) — Romania has become the 16th country to sign the Artemis Accords, affirming its commitment to a common set of principles to guide cooperation among nations participating in 21st century space exploration.

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U.S. Coastline to See Up to a Foot of Sea Level Rise by 2050

New U.S. regional sea level scenarios developed by NOAA and partners will help coastal communities plan for and adapt to risks from rising sea levels. This photo shows flooding in Norfolk, Virginia, on May 16, 2014. (Credit: NOAA)

Report projects a century of sea level rise in 30 years

SILVER SPRING, Md. (NOAA PR) — The United States is expected to experience as much sea level rise by the year 2050 as it witnessed in the previous hundred years. That’s according to a NOAA-led report updating sea level rise decision-support information for the U.S. released today in partnership with half a dozen other federal agencies.

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NASA Offers Up to $200 Million to Help Push New Technologies to Market

OSAM-1 mission (Credit: NASA)

WASHINGTON (NASA PR) — Companies with technologies that may advance exploration but need a little extra push to finalize development have two new opportunities to partner with NASA to make it over the finish line.

Through Tipping Point, NASA seeks to support space technologies that can foster the growth of commercial space capabilities and benefit future agency missions. NASA is also offering businesses a chance to work with agency experts or use facilities to complete their work through a separate Announcement of Collaboration Opportunity.

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NASA Selects Lockheed Martin Space to Build Rocket to Retrieve First Samples from Mars

This illustration shows a concept for a set of future robots working together to ferry back samples collected on the surface of Mars by NASA’s Perseverance rover. (Credits: NASA/ESA/JPL-Caltech)

WASHINGTON, DC (NASA PR) — NASA has awarded a contract to Lockheed Martin Space of Littleton, Colorado, to build the Mars Ascent Vehicle (MAV), a small, lightweight rocket to launch rock, sediment, and atmospheric samples from the surface of the Red Planet. The award brings NASA a step closer to the first robotic round-trip to bring samples safely to Earth through the Mars Sample Return Program.

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NASA Statement on Meeting with US Ambassador to Poland

NASA Administrator Bill Nelson, right, and U.S. Ambassador to Poland Mark Brzezinski are seen during a meeting Feb. 4, 2022, at NASA Headquarters in Washington during which the two discussed a variety of topics related to NASA’s mission that are of importance to both the U.S. and Poland. (Credits: NASA/Justin Weiss)

WASHINGTON (NASA PR) — The following is a statement from NASA Administrator Bill Nelson on U.S. Ambassador to Poland Mark Brzezinski’s visit Friday, Feb. 4, to NASA Headquarters in Washington:

“It was a pleasure to welcome U.S. Ambassador to Poland Mark Brzezinski to NASA last week.

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NASA Statement on New Jet Propulsion Laboratory Director Appointment

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

WASHINGTON (NASA PR) — The following is a statement from NASA Administrator Bill Nelson on the appointment of Dr. Laurie Leshin as director of the agency’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Southern California.

“NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory has a storied history of defying what was once thought impossible in the field of space exploration. In this new era of groundbreaking discoveries and constant innovation, it is clear that Dr. Laurie Leshin has a track record of scholarship and leadership needed to serve as director of JPL and cement the center’s status as a global leader in the 21st century.

“Under Dr. Leshin, the technology invented at JPL will continue to allow humans to explore the places in our universe that we cannot yet reach and spark the imaginations of future mathematicians, engineers, and pioneers in classrooms across America. I want thank Mike Watkins and Gen. Larry James for their contributions that the JPL team will build on for decades to come.”

For information about NASA’s missions, discoveries, and activities, visit:

https://www.nasa.gov

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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