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NASA Weekly Update from the Administrator - Aug. 31, 2020

Status Report From: NASA HQ
Posted: Monday, August 31, 2020

ANNOUNCEMENT: These difficult times can be especially trying for those with children at home or other dependent/caregiver responsibilities. As we head into the fall, and more schools opt to conduct classes virtually, I am pleased to announce that the agency is able to continue offering excused leave through March 2021. Supervisors should approve all requests, to the extent possible, and work with employees to ensure all available leave options and schedule flexibilities are considered.
 
·       Top News: The virtual Humans to Mars Summit 2020 is underway now through Thursday, Sept. 3, and features a number of NASA experts discussing America’s plans to return to the Moon and get ready for Mars. Deputy Administrator Jim Morhard helped kicked off the summit this morning with a keynote on our exploration plans which calls for the first humans on Mars as early as the 2030s. Between the Mars 2020 Perseverance rover mission and dozens of planned robotic and human missions to the Moon as part of the Artemis program, NASA and our partners are opening the door to smarter, safer human missions to Mars.
 
·       Next Up: This Wednesday, Sept. 2, NASA TV will broadcast the Space Launch System rocket’s full-scale booster test at 2:40 p.m. EDT. This test will help NASA and Northrop Grumman evaluate new materials and processes that could improve the boosters on deep space missions for the Artemis program and beyond.
 
·       Shout Out: Last week, a team from NASA’s Office of the Chief Information Officer/Agency Applications Office (AAO) and the NASA Shared Services Center  (NSSC) rolled out the NASA Enterprise Automation Service to the NASA community. The new service provides an enterprise capability for Robotics Process Automation to create a “digital workforce,” automating the most mundane and repetitive manual computer-based tasks and processes in the workplace. The NSSC began their internal processes and development in 2017, and partnered with the AAO to offer an agency-wide service.  Thank you Pam Wolfe, LaTonya Powell, Mark Forbus, Brian Reid, Katherine Griffith, and the entire team for your work.
 
Last week, when Hurricane Laura threatened the Gulf Coast states as a Category 4 storm, NASA’s fleet of Earth-observing satellites was hard at work relaying important data to authorities on the ground. NASA’s Earth Applied Sciences Disasters Program has long used the agency’s remote-sensing capabilities to help local disaster response teams answer important, time-sensitive questions that save lives.
 
Ad astra,
Jim Bridenstine

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