JPL congratulates NASA astronaut Scott Kelly on his safe return to terra firma after an American-record-breaking 340 days aboard the International Space Station.
During his long stay in space, Kelly conducted a variety of research projects and delighted those of us back on Earth with photos featuring space-eye views of our planet's sunrises, sunsets, auroras, diverse landscapes and city lights.
His stay on the space station is providing valuable information about how the human body reacts to long-duration spaceflight and has implications for future human travel to Mars.
We imagine Kelly is probably more interested in more Earthly endeavors at the moment, (like breathing non-recirculated air, and being able to grasp an object without having it float away). But if his mind does wander to his previous residence some 270 miles (435 kilometers) up, he can rest assured that the two JPL-related instruments that are aboard are still clicking along.
The first one is ISS-RapidScat. A speedy and cost-effective replacement for NASA's QuikScat Earth satellite, ISS-RapidScat is monitoring ocean winds and providing essential measurements used in weather predictions, including monitoring severe storms and tropical cyclones. Launched in September 2014, RapidScat reuses hardware that was originally built to test parts of QuikScat. The innovative approach allowed NASA to create an instrument for a fraction of the cost and time it would take to build and launch a new satellite.
Also on board the space station is Project Sidekick, an augmented reality system to train and increase the efficiency of astronauts already in orbit. Using Microsoft's HoloLens, which allows its operator to place holograms in their physical environment, Sidekick gives astronauts a whole new perspective on orbital space operations. JPL led the development of Sidekick. NASA's Johnson Space Center in Houston led testing and certification of Sidekick for use aboard the space station. The Sidekick project is part of a larger partnership formed by NASA and Microsoft to explore applications of holographic computing in space exploration.
More information about the use of Sidekick aboard the International Space Station is at:
More information about ISS-RapidScat is at:
More information on the International Space Station is at:
News Media ContactDC Agle
Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif.