A teenager designed a pocket-sized satellite that will fly on a NASA mission

  • An 18-year-old created the world’s lightest functioning satellite, and it’s going to be launched on a real NASA mission next month.
  • Rifath Sharook, who is from Tamil Nadu, India, made the pocket-sized satellite for a competition called Cubes in Space, which is an international design challenge that asks students aged 11 to 18 to fit their space-worthy invention inside a 13-foot cube.
  • The pocket-sized 3-D printed satellite is much smaller than that. It weighs just 0.14 pounds and will measure the rotation, acceleration and magnetosphere of Earth, Sharook told Business Standard. Read more (5/17/17)

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Five Times Astronaut Peggy Whitson Made History

On April 24, 2017, NASA Astronaut Peggy Whitson established the new record for the most time spent in space by an American astronaut. She’s spent more than 76 weeks of her life floating in microgravity!  It’s not the first time in her career at NASA that Whitson has established new milestones: here are just a few.

First NASA Science Officer

Peggy Whitson was the named the first NASA Science Officer aboard the space station in 2002. The position was created to work with the United States research community to understand and meet the requirements and objectives of each space station experiment.

First Female to Command the Space Station… Twice

Whitson became the first female to command the space station during Expedition 16 in 2008. Then Whitson became the first female to command the station twice during her current mission on April 9, 2017.

First Female Chief of the Astronaut Office

In 2009, Whitson became the first female and first non-pilot to achieve the most senior position for active astronauts, Chief of the Astronaut Office.

Most Spacewalks for a Female

On March 30, 2017, Peggy Whitson broke the record for most spacewalks and most time spent spacewalking for female astronauts. Suni Williams had previously held the record at 7 spacewalks.

Most Time In Space By A NASA Astronaut

At 1:27 a.m. ET on April 24, Peggy Whitson set the new record for cumulative time spent in space by an American astronaut. Jeff Williams previously set the record in 2016.

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There are more stars in the universe than grains of sand on the world’s beaches.
More stars in the universe than seconds of time that have passed since Earth formed.
More stars than words and sounds ever uttered by all humans who have ever lived.
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The Moon - Incredible Lunar Views From The Japanese SELENE Orbiter - Earthrise

Take a journey across the surface of the moon. See the earth rise and set from the lunar surface. 🌚 💕

The Start of Cassini’s Grand Finale

Cue drumroll…

For the first time ever, our Cassini spacecraft dove through the narrow gap between Saturn and its rings on April 26. At 5 a.m. EDT, Cassini crossed the ring plane with its science instruments turned on and collecting data. 

During this dive, the spacecraft was not in contact with Earth. The first opportunity to regain contact with the spacecraft is expected around 3 a.m. EDT on April 27.

This area between Saturn and its rings has never been explored by a spacecraft before. What we learn from these daring final orbits will further our understanding of how giant planets, and planetary systems everywhere, form and evolve.

So, you might be asking…how did this spacecraft maneuver its orbit between Saturn and its rings? Well…let us explain!

On April 22, Cassini made its 127th and final close approach to Saturn’s moon Titan. The flyby put the spacecraft on course for its dramatic last act, known as the Grand Finale. 

As the spacecraft passed over Titan, the moon’s gravity bent its path, reshaping the robotic probe’s orbit slightly so that instead of passing just outside Saturn’s main rings, Cassini would begin a series of 22 dives between the rings and the planet.

With this assist, Cassini received a large increase in velocity of approximately 1,925 mph with respect to Saturn.

This final chapter of exploration and discovery is in many ways like a brand-new mission. Twenty-two times, the Cassini spacecraft will dive through the unexplored space between Saturn and its rings. What we learn from these ultra-close passes over the planet could be some of the most exciting revelations ever returned by the long-lived spacecraft.

Throughout these daring maneuvers, updates will be posted on social media at:

@CassiniSaturn on Twitter
@NASAJPL on Twitter

Updates will also be available online at: https://saturn.jpl.nasa.gov/mission/grand-finale/milestones/ 

Follow along with us during this mission’s Grand Finale!

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What is it Like to be a NASA Intern?

We asked prospective interns that follow us on social media what questions they had for our current interns. 

You asked…they answered! Let’s take a look:

Answer: “Yes, sometimes astronauts request to run through the International Space Station simulation that we have using the hyper-reality lab.”

Answer: “Persistence is the key to getting your first NASA internship. Work hard, study hard, keep applying and persevere.”

Answer: “NASA is looking for passionate, smart and curious, full-time students, who are U.S. citizens, at least 16 years of age and have a minimum 3.0 GPA.”

Answer: “In addition to STEM majors, NASA has many opportunities for students studying business, photography, English, graphics and public relations.”

Answer: “The highlight has been the chance to learn a lot more about embedded systems and coding for them, and just seeing how everyone’s efforts in lab come together for our small part in the AVIRIS-NG project.”

Answer: Yes! Here at the Kennedy Space Center is where all the action takes place. Check out the schedule on our website!”

Answer:  “There are 10 NASA field centers and they all accept interns.”

Answer: “Yes, we do! I am currently working in tech development for an X-ray telescope that is launched into space to take pictures of our galaxy.”

Answer: “The greatest thing I’ve learned as a NASA intern is to not be afraid of failing and to get involved in any way you can. NASA is a very welcoming environment that offers a lot of opportunities for its interns to learn.”

Answer: My favorite experience from being a NASA intern is meeting people from all around the world and being exposed to the different cultures.”

Want to become a NASA intern? Visit intern.nasa.gov to learn about the open opportunities and follow @NASAInterns on Twitter and Facebook for regular updates!

Watch the full story on NASA Snapchat or Instagram until it expires on April 6.

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