NASA TV's This Week @NASA, Week Ending July 6

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NASA TV's This Week @NASA, Week Ending July 6
07.06.07
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This Week at NASA …

Space Shuttle Atlantis is back at the Kennedy Space Center. The Carrier Aircraft made a smooth landing at Kennedy's Shuttle Landing Facility with Atlantis on top, three days after departing the Dryden Flight Research Center in California. Refueling and weather forced the modified 747 aircraft and its prized cargo to make stops along the way in Amarillo, Texas, Omaha, Nebraska, and Fort Campbell, Kentucky. The shuttle's return to Kennedy officially concluded the STS-117 mission. Atlantis's successful journey to the International Space Station covered 5-point-8 million miles.

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Meanwhile, processing for the next space shuttle mission STS-118 is moving along. The orbiter Endeavour was moved to the Vehicle Assembly Building from the Orbiter Processing Facility. There, in the VAB's high bay, Endeavour was attached, or mated, to its external tank and solid rocket boosters. STS-118 will deliver the S5 truss segment to the International Space Station. The truss is the Station's backbone. The seven-member STS-118 crew is Commander Scott Kelly, pilot Charlie Hobaugh, mission specialists Rick Mastracchio, Dave Williams of the Canadian Space Agency, Tracy Caldwell, and Alvin Drew. Rounding out the crew is mission specialist Barbara Morgan. The educator-turned-astronaut will be making her first flight into space. STS-118 will be the 22nd shuttle flight to the International Space Station. Launch is targeted for the early evening of Aug. 7.

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The Goddard Space Flight Center is home to NASA's new Einstein Probes Office. The new division will study the universe's most exotic phenomena: dark energy, black holes and cosmic microwave background radiation. Also, it will support and guide future NASA science missions as they investigate these profound cosmic mysteries. One project under study by the division is the Laser Interferometer Space Antenna, or LISA. LISA would orbit the sun and measure gravitational waves in our galaxy and beyond by "floating" over them like a buoy over ocean waves.

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Joan Centrella, head of the Goddard Space Flight Center's Gravitational Astrophysics Laboratory, has been presented NASA's Exceptional Scientific Achievement Medal. Centrella and her team received the award from administrator Michael Griffin for groundbreaking work in simulating gravitational wave signals from merging black holes. Joining Centrella on the Gravitational Astrophysics Lab Team are, from left, Michael Koppitz, Jim van Meter, and John Baker. Not pictured is Dale Choi.

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Expedition 15 crewmember Clay Anderson took time out of his busy schedule to talk about life and work aboard the International Space Station with participants from the Clay Center for the Performing Arts in Charleston, West Virginia. Anderson is the newest member of the Expedition 15 Crew.

Student: "What do you do in your free time?"

Astronaut Clay Anderson: "In my free time, I'll show you what I do. It's been one of my favorite things in the last few days. I'm going to kick a field goal and you guys tell me if it's good. (pause while kicking ball) I think that one was wide to the right. What do you guys think?"

Anderson's crewmates are Commander Fyodor Yurchikin and Flight Engineer Oleg Kotov. The trio will conduct a space walk later this month.

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Every Fourth of July, American skies are filled with fireworks. In a dwarf galaxy called NGC 4449, 12-point-5 million light years away, stellar "fireworks" are going off all the time. This image by the Hubble Space Telescope captured hundreds of thousands of blazing blue and red stars. Hot bluish-white clusters of massive stars are scattered throughout the galaxy, interspersed with reddish regions where new stars are being formed.

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Forty-five years ago this month, NASA's Launch Operations Center was officially activated at Cape Canaveral, Florida. The Cape, which was later renamed Kennedy Space Center, had been an extension of the Marshall Space Flight Center. From Project Mercury to the Space Shuttle Program, Kennedy Space Center has been the launch site for each of America's human space flights. Since its inception, the Center has hosted millions of guests from around the world who came to see human space flight launches and learn more about America's space program.

And that's This Week At NASA.
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