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Space Shuttle Discovery Home for the Holidays
 
Space Shuttle Discovery nears touchdown after STS-116. Space Shuttle Discovery and its seven member crew are home after a successful 13-day mission to the International Space Station. The astronauts reconfigured the space station’s power and cooling systems from a temporary setup to a permanent mode and added a new piece to the station's backbone. Discovery launched Dec. 9 at 7:47 p.m. CST from the Kennedy Space Center, Fla., and landed there Dec. 22 at 4:32 p.m. CST.

Image above: Space Shuttle Discovery nears touchdown on an illuminated Runway 15 at NASA Kennedy Space Center's Shuttle Landing Facility, concluding mission STS-116.
Image credit: NASA/KSC


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First Images From Hinode Offer New Clues About Our Violent Sun

Hinode X-Ray Telescope image of the sun Instruments aboard a Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency satellite Hinode, or "Sunrise," are returning extraordinary new images of our sun. The international mission, which is studying the forces that drive the violent, explosive power of the sun, launched from Japan in September. The Marshall Center managed the development of scientific instrumentation provided by NASA, which partnered with the space agencies of Japan, the United Kingdom and Europe on the unprecedented science mission.

Image above: This image of the sun was captured by Hinode's X-Ray Telescope, one of three primary instruments on the international science satellite.
Image credit: JAXA/NAOJ


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NASA Michoud Assembly Facility in New Orleans Has Key Role in Space Exploration -- Past, Present and Future

An aerial view of the manufacturing area at NASA's Michoud Assembly Facility in New Orleans Tuesday's external tank shipment from NASA's Michoud Assembly Facility in New Orleans, marked another milestone in the facility’s history -- beginning with the nation's first trip to the moon and continuing as NASA further explores our solar system. As space shuttle work continues at Michoud, NASA is making plans to use the facility's unique capabilities to help build the next-generation rocket and spacecraft that will return humans to the moon and beyond.

Image above: An aerial view of the manufacturing area at NASA's Michoud Assembly Facility in New Orleans.
Image credit: NASA/MSFC


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External Tank for Next Shuttle Mission Shipped to Kennedy Space Center, Fla.

Space shuttle external tank ET-124 Space shuttle external tank ET-124 was delivered to NASA by Lockheed Martin workers at the Michoud Assembly Facility in New Orleans on Dec. 19 and loaded onto the barge to begin its sea journey to NASA's Kennedy Space Center, Fla. ET-124, which will help launch Space Shuttle Atlantis on the STS-117 mission, is expected to arrive at Port Canaveral, Fla., on Sunday, Dec. 24. Atlantis is targeted to launch no earlier than March 16, 2007.

Image above: Space shuttle external tank ET-124
Image credit: Lockheed Martin


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NASA Meets Key Objective in Developing New Propulsion Method

A test of thermal protection system panel Tapping the power of 1,500 suns, scientists at the Marshall Center have met a critical milestone in the development of aerocapture technology, a maneuver that uses a planet's atmosphere to capture a spacecraft and place it in the desired orbit. The recent tests were part of a larger effort to place space vehicles into long-duration orbits around distant planets without requiring heavy, on-board fuel loads.

Image above: A panel of an innovative thermal protection system reacts as sunlight, focused by large mirror arrays, heats up the target during testing.
Image credit: NASA/MSFC/S. Moon


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Marshall Center's Sheila Cloud to Lead Transition of NASA’s Michoud Assembly Facility to Support Exploration Work

Sheila Cloud NASA's Sheila Cloud has been appointed transition director at the Marshall Center for the Michoud Assembly Facility in New Orleans. Cloud will plan and manage the transition from Space Shuttle Program work to operations supporting multiple NASA programs and projects, including NASA's next-generation crew exploration and launch vehicle systems.

Image above: Sheila Cloud
Image credit: NASA/MSFC


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NASA's Dr. John Horack Named Manager of Marshall Center's Science & Mission Systems Office, Appointed to Senior Executive Service

Dr. John M Horack NASA scientist Dr. John M. Horack has been appointed to the federal Senior Executive Service and has been named manager of the Marshall Center's Science and Mission Systems Office -- an organization devoted to conducting advanced, complex research at the intersection of science and space exploration.

Image above: Dr. John M Horack
Image credit: NASA/MSFC


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