2012 International Space Station Research and Discovery Highlights
Technicians lower a special fixture
around an Orion spacecraft inside the
high bay of the Operations & Checkout
Building at NASA's Kennedy Space Center
Photo credit: NASA/Tim Jacobs
We'll be watching the skies with you when meteor showers, asteroid encounters and eclipses capture your attention, and we'll surely make scientific discoveries and technological advances we haven't even planned for yet. Meanwhile, we already have a busy launch schedule planned, with destinations from the International Space Station to Mars.
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Tracking and Data Relay Satellite
System (TDRS) K/L single access antenna.
Photo credit: Boeing
- The Tracking and Data Relay Satellite System (TDRS) will update NASA's space communications network.
- The Landsat Data Continuity Mission (LDCM) will gather valuable data and imagery of Earth to be used in agriculture, education, business, science, and government.
- Several International Space Station Expeditions head to the orbital outpost, beginning with Expedition 35 in March.
- The Orbital Sciences Corporation plans tests flight with the goal of sending its Cygnus capsule to the International Space Station.
Orbital Sciences Corporation's Antares
rocket at NASA's Wallops Flight Facility
Photo credit: NASA
- Space Exploration Technologies (SpaceX) plans the second and third contracted commercial resupply flights to the International Space Station.
- The Interface Region Imaging Spectrograph (IRIS) looks to increase our understanding of energy transport into the Sun's corona and solar wind, and provide an archetype for all stellar atmospheres.
- TheLunar Atmosphere and Dust Environment Explorer (LADEE) will gather detailed information about conditions near the lunar surface and environmental influences on lunar dust.
- The Mars Atmosphere and Volatile EvolutioN (MAVEN) mission to Mars is the first devoted to understanding the Martian upper atmosphere, with a goal of understanding how Mars changed through time.