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Space Station Live: Interviews (April 1-5, 2013)
 
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Space Station Live: Historic Vacuum Chamber to Test Webb Telescope – 04.05.13
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NASA Public Affairs Officer Dan Huot recently visited Johnson Space Center’s 400,000 cubic foot vacuum chamber, Chamber A, and spoke with Mary Cerimele, the lab manager for this historic facility.

Upgrades have been made to the facility, which is one of the largest vacuum chambers in the world, to prepare it for testing NASA's deep space James Webb Space Telescope. Scientists plan to use the Webb telescope to see further back into history than ever before.

Chamber A has been used in component tests for Apollo-Soyuz, Skylab, space shuttle, International Space Station, Department of Defense communication antennas and various other large-scale satellite systems.

The chamber and its impressive 40-foot diameter door have even been featured in several movies such as “Armageddon” and “Futureworld.” As Cerimele jokes, “It’s our resident diva.”

Since 2007, the chamber has been significantly modified to support testing of the Webb telescope the agency's successor to the Hubble Space Telescope. Scheduled to launch in 2018, it will fly in deep space orbit more than a million miles from Earth. To ensure it will function in the extreme environment of space, Chamber A will be equipped with instruments to measure and evaluate the shape and focus of the mirrors.

“Originally the chamber could go to about -300 degrees Fahrenheit,” Cerimele points out, “but in order to test the James Webb Space Telescope we need it to operate around -440 degrees Fahrenheit.” With its modifications, Chamber A can get much colder than any other facility its size -- and stay that way throughout a 90-day test.

To learn more about the Webb telescope, visit www.jwst.nasa.gov.

Watch the full Space Station Live broadcast weekdays on NASA TV at 10 a.m. CDT.

For more information on science and operations aboard the station, visit http://www.nasa.gov/station.



Space Station Live: First Findings from the AMS – 04.04.13
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NASA Public Affairs Officer Kyle Herring interviews Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer (AMS) Project Manager Trent Martin about the first findings from the AMS. A small team from Johnson Space Center collaborates with AMS experiment operators at control centers at CERN in Geneva, in Taiwan and in Huntsville, Ala.

31 billion cosmic ray particles have been collected since the AMS-2 was installed in May 2011. The first research findings were released April 3, 2013, and more AMS research is ongoing worldwide among 56 nations and partner institutes. At one point over 600 physicists, engineers and technicians were working together to build the AMS. That team has dwindled somewhat since the AMS is now in its operational phase.

AMS-2 began in 1998 in CERN in Geneva and tested in the Netherlands. It was delivered to the Kennedy Space Center in Florida for launch aboard space shuttle Endeavour in May 2011.

Watch the full Space Station Live broadcast weekdays on NASA TV at 10 a.m. Central.

› Read more about the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer-2

For more information on the science and operations about the space station, visit http://www.nasa.gov/station



Space Station Live: Installing the AMS – 04.04.13
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NASA Public Affairs Officer Kyle Herring interviews NASA astronaut Mike Fincke about his contribution during STS-134, the shuttle mission that installed the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer (AMS) in May 2011. As a mission specialist, Fincke conducted a spacewalk and operated the shuttle's robotic arm during the installation of the AMS.

Fincke has visited the International Space Station three times. He was a flight engineer during Expedition 9 in 2004 and a commander during Expedition 18 in 2008. His last mission was aboard space shuttle Endeavour in 2011.

Fincke has lived and worked in space for over 381 days and completed nine spacewalks.

Watch the full Space Station Live broadcast weekdays on NASA TV at 10 a.m. Central.

› Read more about the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer-2

For more information on the science and operations about the space station, visit http://www.nasa.gov/station