NASA provides ‘insider’s’ look of JSC ahead of Super Bowl LI
HOUSTON, Texas — “Houston, we have a touchdown…”. That is what NASA’s Johnson Space Center (JSC) is preparing to announce when the space agency supports Super Bowl LI, which will be held in JSC’s hometown on Sunday, February 5. SpaceFlight Insider attended an event at JSC to learn what the space center is doing to prepare for the upcoming sports event.
Starting at 7:30 a.m. CST (8:30 a.m. EST) on Feb. 1, the training that astronauts undergo before they launch on Russian Soyuz spacecraft was highlighted. So, too, were the mockups that allow crews to familiarize themselves with the various components of the International Space Station. It was on this topic that NASA provided some first-hand experiences.
Astronauts on board the ISS participated in a live and interactive conversation with fans of social media who were in attendance. NASA’s Shane Kimbrough and Peggy Whitson are among current members of the Expedition 50 crew on board the space station (currently orbiting some 250 miles above our home world).
Johnson Space Center Director, four-time space shuttle veteran Ellen Ochoa, spoke about how the space agency’s “Journey to Mars” is laid out in various phases and what these phases would look like. From the initial phase, which would start out in low-Earth orbit, utilizing the International Space Station, and then progress outward from there.
“We’ve had people on board the International Space Station for more than 16 years,” Ochoa said, noting the orbiting lab’s long history of on-orbit scientific research. “Over that 16 years, we’ve had 225 different astronauts and cosmonauts on the International Space Station and they’ve represented 18 different countries.”
Ochoa went on to detail the work that NASA is currently engaged in to have the agency conduct its first crewed deep space missions in 45 years.
“So, what are we doing to send crews to Mars? In addition to our work on the ISS, we’re developing the Orion spacecraft and Lockheed Martin is our prime contractor on that,” Ochoa said, noting that Orion is scheduled to take to the skies on the Space Launch System, its preferred launch vehicle, in 2018. “[…] those two will fly on a test flight that is planned for late next year.”
Video courtesy of SpaceFlight Insider
Moeller graduated from Texas Tech University's College of Architecture in 2008 and completed the graduate program in 2011. He covered the refueling stop of space shuttle Discovery at Rick Husband International Airport in 2009 after the orbiter had completed its mission to the International Space Station. Moeller also covered the build up to launch shuttle Atlantis on mission STS-132 in 2010 from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. Moeller joined Max Q Entertainment in 2009, leading the development of the website as well as document production streamlining, graphics work and aiding video production for missions STS-125 onward.