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NASA TV's This Week @NASA, Week Ending August 15
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This Week At NASA…
100,000th ORBIT – Hubble Space Telescope
The Hubble Space Telescope has another achievement. In more than 18 years of service, the NASA space observatory has now made more than 100,000 orbits of Earth. And this was the image captured by Hubble on that milestone orbit: the nebula NGC 2074, a star-birthing region 170-thousand light years away in the Large Magellanic Cloud.
Matt Mountain: "It’s a testament to how well Hubble is built and how productive it’s built so even today after 18 years of observing it’s still producing world class, world beating results that people are cueing up and waiting for."
Since it was deployed by space shuttle Discovery in April of 1990, Hubble has made numerous contributions to the field of astronomy, including the discovery of extrasolar planets, the mapping of mysterious dark matter, the detection of black holes, and this: the 'Hubble Ultra Deep Field', an image of an estimated 10-thousand galaxies that took 400 orbits to capture. This fall the crew of STS-125 will travel to Hubble aboard space shuttle Atlantis for the telescope’s final servicing mission.
DROGUE PARACHUTE TEST SUCCESSFUL – HQ
The first parachute drop test for the Ares I rocket has been conducted successfully. The drogue ‘chute designed to slow the rapid descent of Ares’ spent first-stage motor did its job, helping bring its payload to the desert floor of the U.S. Army's Yuma Proving Ground in Arizona. The drogue parachute, a vital element of the Ares I deceleration system, will permit recovery and re-use of the first-stage motor that helps propel the rocket to space. The successful test is a key milestone for NASA's Constellation Program that will send explorers to the International Space Station, the moon and beyond.
HONOR AWARDS – GRC
Shana Dale: "I’m absolutely delighted to be here today the Glenn Honors Awards ceremony." (applause)
NASA Deputy Administrator Shana Dale was in Cleveland to participate in the Glenn Honor Awards. Dale joined with Center Director Woodrow Whitlow Jr. in recognizing the outstanding achievements of more than 600 Glenn employees.
Awards Host/Moderator: "To the Ares 1-X upper stage simulator team."
Individuals and teams received NASA’s most prestigious medals and awards for their exceptional work in science, engineering and administrative service.
CENTENNIAL CHALLENGES - DFRC
The 2008 NASA Centennial Challenges kicked off with the Regolith Excavation Challenge. Held on the San Luis Obispo campus of CalTech, the first of this year’s seven Centennial Challenges required teams to build a roving excavator that could autonomously navigate, dig and load into a bin about 330 pounds of simulated lunar regolith, or lunar soil -- all in 30 minutes. NASA is looking for streamlined and efficient excavation techniques NASA astronauts can use to help build lunar outposts and mine the moon’s natural resources. Twenty-five teams of independent inventors registered for the event, but none completed the challenged tasks, leaving unclaimed three-quarters of a million dollars in prize money.
MESSENGER MESSAGE - LaRC
Ralph McNutt: "The difference in the light between Mariner 10 and Messenger actually brought out a lot of features."
The principal investigator of the MESSENGER mission to Mercury was at the Langley Research Center to discuss the spacecraft’s latest major milestone. Physicist Ralph McNutt of the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory, and lead scientist for the Mercury Surface, Space Environment, Geochemistry, and Ranging spacecraft, lectured about MESSENGER’s flyby last January of our solar system’s smallest and innermost planet. Following two more flybys, MESSENGER will become the first probe to orbit Mercury in March 2011.
NASA 50TH ANNIVERSARY: GEMINI V -- AUGUST 21, 1965
Forty-three years ago this week, on August 21, 1965, a Titan II spacecraft carrying astronauts Pete Conrad and Gordon Cooper launched from the Kennedy Space Center to begin Gemini V. The mission doubled the space-flight record of its predecessor, Gemini IV, to eight days. That’s the time it would take to fly to the moon and back. With Gemini V, Cooper became the first astronaut to make two orbital missions. Due to a ground-based computer error, Gemini V overshot its landing target in the western Atlantic by 92 miles. But Conrad and Cooper were successfully recovered by naval divers from the USS DuPont before they were helicoptered to the USS Lake Champlain, thus completing the next span of Gemini’s bridge to the moon.
And that's This Week At NASA!
For more about these and other stories, log onto: www.nasa.gov
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