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NASA TV's This Week @NASA, Week Ending June 22
This Week at NASA …
SUCCESSFUL MISSION - KSC
Launch Announcer SOT: "Main Gear Touchdown."
Space Shuttle Atlantis landed at Edwards Airforce Base in California after a 14-day mission to the International Space Station. The STS-117 crew delivered a new crewmember for Expedition 115 – Clay Anderson, and conducted four space walks. During the EVAs, the crew installed the Starboard 3 and 4 (S3/S4) truss segment, assisted in the retraction of the solar array on the Port 6 truss and secured a thermal blanket on Atlantis that came loose during the orbiter's ascent.
Danny Olivas SOT: "We presently have 1,2,3,4,5,6."
In another development, Expedition 15's Fyodor Yurchikin and Oleg Kotov restored normal operation to the station's six Russian navigational computers after a glitch shut them down for more than two days.
Expedition 15 flight engineer Suni Williams returned to Earth with the Atlantis crew. During her stay on the space station, she set a new female time-in-space endurance record. Williams broke Shannon Lucid's 1996 mark of 188 days, 4 hours by more than five/six-and-a-half days. Williams also set a new record for most hours outside a spacecraft by a woman. She spent more than 29 hours completing four spacewalks.
DAWN ON DECK - KSC
NASA's next scheduled Science mission is Dawn. The spacecraft will travel to the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter and then orbit Ceres and Vesta, two of the belt's largest asteroids. Scientists believe Ceres and Vesta hold clues to how planets formed billions of years ago. The Dawn spacecraft will be the first to orbit an object in the asteroid belt, and the first to orbit two bodies after leaving Earth. Dawn is scheduled to begin its eight-year flight on July 7.
DOOMED STAR - CXC
NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory and Hubble Space Telescope have been teamed up to provide scientists and astronomers with the latest image of Eta Carinae (Ate-uh cuh-REE-nuh). Located about 75-hundred light years from Earth, this extremely bright and unstable star is thought to be consuming nuclear fuel at an incredible rate. Eta Carinae continues to shed some of its outer layers of gas and astronomers believe the star is headed toward a large eruption and ultimate violent collapse. The explosion would then plow into the cooler expelled gas, creating a brilliant light show.
MARS YARD - JPL
The Jet Propulsion Laboratory officially opened its newly renovated Mars Yard. The "Yard" is used to test robot hardware and mobility software. The renovation expanded the facility to about six times its original size of four-thousand square feet. It accommodates larger robots and tests them on more diverse, Mars-like, surface features like slopes.
Samad Hayati SOT: "The mission in 2009 has a very large rover. That rover is about 850 kilograms. Its more than 2 meters by 2 meters in the dimensions, so it requires a much larger module to actually be able to test all of the capabilities it offer."
Developers of Spirit and Opportunity, the twin rovers currently exploring the Red Planet, drew on data from prototypes driven in the Mars Yard. The newest rover using the site is a prototype for NASA's 2009 Mars Science Laboratory.
COMPLEX 36 HISTORY - KSC
Cape Canaveral's historic Launch Complex 36 has been demolished.
SOT: Natural Sound of Explosion
Complex 36 was the birthplace of NASA's planetary launch program and some of its most successful missions. These include the Surveyor spacecraft that landed on the moon, scooping up lunar soil and helping lead the way for the Apollo program: the Mariner series that sent spacecraft to Mercury and Mars; and the Pioneer space probes to Jupiter and the surface of Venus. Complex 36's two aging mobile service towers were toppled as a safety measure. They've been idle since the late 19-80s, when Atlas rocket launches were shifted to Cape Canaveral's Complex 41.
HISTORIC HOOKUP - HQ
Launch Announcer SOT: "We have three main engines up and running; 2-1 and liftoff of the Space Shuttle Atlantis on a mission that will herald a new day of international cooperation in space."
On June 27, 1995, Space Shuttle Atlantis was launched from the Kennedy Space Center to begin STS-71—the United States' 100th human space launch. During the mission, several historic firsts took place. Atlantis was the first space shuttle to dock with the Russian Mir Space Station forming what was, at that time, the largest spacecraft ever in orbit. STS-71 also featured the first shuttle change-out of a Mir crew, from Mir 18 to 19. During the 10-day mission, the STS-71 crew carried out various life science experiments and collected data in the Shuttle’s Spacelab module. STS-71 successfully concluded with a return to Earth on July 7.
And that's This Week At NASA.
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