A Tiny Spacecraft Makes a Huge Leap with a Short Flight
NASA’s Ingenuity has hovered its way into history. On April 19, the little Martian helicopter accomplished a huge feat, becoming the first aircraft to complete a powered, controlled flight on another planet. Ingenuity rose 3 meters (10 feet) in the air and remained suspended for 30 seconds before landing back on the Red Planet. Ingenuity followed up with a second, higher flight on April 22. All in all, mission lead Mimi Aung had good reason to celebrate. Pictured: Ingenuity took this photo of its own shadow while hovering over the Martian surface. Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech.
The U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation held a hearing for Bill Nelson, who President Biden recently nominated for NASA administrator. If he’s confirmed, the former Florida senator and payload specialist would become one of only a handful of NASA admins who’ve actually been to space: in 1986, he spent six days on board the Space Shuttle Columbia.
Russia may withdraw from the ISS to build its own space station. Roscosmos chief Dmitry Rogozin told AFP that the country is currently developing a first core module that could be ready to launch in 2025. The Russian space agency has reportedly not yet reached a final decision on whether or not to remain ISS partners at or after that time.
NASA astronaut Kate Rubins and her crewmates are safely back on Earth. On April 17, Rubins and Roscosmos cosmonauts Sergey Ryzhikov and Sergey Kud-Sverchkov touched down in Zhezkazgan, Kazakhstan, after spending 185 days on board the International Space Station. Rubins—who became the first person to sequence DNA in space on her last mission aboard the ISS—spent hundreds of hours working on heart and microbiology experiments that could help future astronauts.
Four astronauts are on their way to the International Space Station after another successful SpaceX launch. The Crew-2 mission blasted off in a Crew Dragon capsule in the early morning on April 23. The Falcon 9 rocket plumes created a dramatic effect, like streamers in the sky—a perfect way to celebrate the occasion.