NASA TV's This Week @NASA, Week Ending July 13

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NASA TV's This Week @NASA, Week Ending July 13
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Space Shuttle Endeavour was moved to launch pad 39A for final preparations for its scheduled launch on August 7. The 3-and-a-half mile trip atop the massive crawler transporter took just over six hours. Endeavour will carry the STS-118 Crew to International Space Station where they will deliver a third starboard truss segment. Commanding the mission is Scott Kelly. Endeavour's pilot is Charlie Hobaugh. Veteran astronauts Rick Mastracchio and Dave Williams of the Canadian Space Agency will be returning to space for their second missions. Mission Specialists Tracy Caldwell, Alvin Drew and Barbara Morgan complete the crew.

Q & A - JSC

Student SOT: "Oleg is it difficult to adjust to living and working in microgravity?"

Oleg Kotov SOT: "It’s really interesting to work in microgravity, but…" (laughter)

Aerospace students from Houston area schools took part in an interactive Education event along with the Expedition 15 Crew aboard the International Space Station, and STS-118 Commander Kelly and Mission Specialists Williams and Morgan at the Johnson Space. From orbit Expedition 15 Commander Fyodor Yurchikhin, Flight Engineers Oleg Kotov and Clayton Anderson describe to the students how they live and work on the Space Station.

Clay Anderson SOT: "We’re doing some experiments now, one of which is called ANITA which will actually measure atmospheric composition and give it to us 24-hours-a-day, seven days a week. And things like that can be possibly used in the mining industry, in the mountains, where those people need to know at every minute what the composition of their air is."

On Earth the STS-118 crew gave the students a preview of their upcoming mission.

Barbara Morgan SOT: "It's an interesting design for a space kind of environment with microgravity."

The session was part of a series of preflight briefings to highlight the goals of the STS-118 mission.


NASA's next science mission, Phoenix, is scheduled for liftoff from the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in August. The Phoenix mission's long-armed robotic lander will touch down on Mars' northern polar region in May or June 2008. It'll examine whether the planet’s icy soil could have been a habitable environment for microbial life.

The Phoenix Mars lander is about 18 feet wide and 5 feet front-to-back. A robotic arm, measuring about 7-and-a-half feet long will dig through to the icy layer, which lies no more than a few inches under the Martian surface. The arm will lift samples to two instruments on the lander's deck. One will use heat to check for volatile substances, such as water and carbon-based chemicals that are essential building blocks for life. The other will analyze the soil's chemistry. The three-week Phoenix launch window opens August 3.


This Phoenix mission builds on previous Mars expeditions like the one that took place on July 14, 1965, when the Mariner 4 spacecraft successfully flew by Mars. The 22 pictures taken by Mariner were the first close-ups ever of another planet. Like the rovers on Mars today, the Mariner 4 spacecraft survived much longer than the approximately 8 months originally planned. It continued to make long-term studies of its surrounding environment for almost three years. Between 1962 and 1973, NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory designed and built 10 spacecraft named Mariner. Each one was a small, lightweight, robotic explorer sent to the inner solar system's planets of Venus, Mars and Mercury.


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NASA's educational outreach television show, NASA CONNECT has been awarded a Golden Cine Eagle, the Oscar of Documentaries. The "Path of Totality, Eclipse DVD special" was honored in the category of Children's Education.

Show narrator SOT: "NASA Connect: Path of Totality."

"Path of Totality" was made for middle school science teachers to educate students about the total eclipse of 2006. The program, which is seen on PBS stations as well as NASA TV, was acknowledged for its high quality professional production and content. Produced by Bill Bensen, the episode was partnered by Goddard's Sun-Earth Connection Education Forum, Langley’s education office and video services, and NASA Headquarters. Recipients of CINE Golden Eagles include Steven Spielberg, Ken Burns, Martin Scorsese, Spike Lee and the producers of Sesame Street.


On July 18, 1966, Gemini X took to the skies from Kennedy Space Center's Pad 19. Crewed by John Young and Michael Collins, Gemini X helped advance the space programs' progress on human duration in space, and rendezvous and docking techniques with orbiting vehicles. During the mission, Young and Collins connected and docked with a Gemini Agena target vehicle that was launched from Complex 14. They also conducted a spacewalk and performed 14 experiments.

In the same month, but three years later, on July 16, 1969, Apollo astronauts Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins launched aboard a Saturn V rocket from the Kennedy Space Center headed toward a defining, watershed moment in human history. Apollo 11 would be the first manned mission to land on the Moon.

Neil Armstrong SOT: "Tranquility Base here. The Eagle has landed."

Four days after takeoff, on July 20, hundreds of millions watched as Commander Neil Armstrong and Lunar Module Pilot Buzz Aldrin became the first humans to set foot on the moon.

Neil Armstrong SOT: “It’s one small step for man. One Giant Leap for mankind.”

While on the lunar surface, the astronauts spent more than two-and-a-half-hours collecting rock and soil samples, testing equipment and taking photos. They brought back to earth the first samples from another planetary body. Five more landing missions followed Apollo 11 through December 1972, each of them increasing the time spent on the Moon.

And that's This Week At NASA!
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