NASA TV's This Week @NASA, Week Ending September 12

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NASA TV's This Week @NASA, Week Ending September 12
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This Week At NASA…

Preparations continue for the October 10th launch of Space Shuttle Atlantis from pad 39A at the Kennedy Space Center. Atlantis’s liftoff will begin STS-125, the final mission to service the Hubble Space Telescope.

The 11-day flight includes five scheduled spacewalks to repair and upgrade Hubble. Astronomers hope the mission will add at least five years of life to the iconic telescope -- in operation since 1990. Commanding STS-125 will be Scott Altman; Greg Johnson will serve as pilot. Mission specialists include veteran spacewalkers John Grunsfeld and Mike Massimino, and first-time visitors to space Andrew Feustel, Michael Good and Megan McArthur.

Atlantis is targeted to lift off on October 10 at 12:33 a.m. Eastern.

“Return to the Moon” was the theme of the Ames Research Center‘s LCROSS Family Night. LCROSS stands for Lunar Crater Observation and Sensing Satellite, a mission to support future human activities on the lunar surface by searching for water ice on the moon. The evening featured informative and fun activities and exhibits highlighting LCROSS and other lunar robotic missions. Visitors watched robotic rover demonstrations, viewed the moon through a telescope, checked out actual moon rocks, and heard from LCROSS scientists about their exciting mission scheduled to launch next March.

Norman Rockwell, Annie Liebowitz, Robert Rauschenberg, just some of America’s cultural icons commissioned by the NASA Art Program to interpret and document the experience of space exploration. When Administrator James E. Webb established the art program in 1962, he believed that artists, like astronauts, constantly probe the unknown and are uniquely equipped to interpret and document space exploration. James Dean was the NASA Art Program’s first curator.

SOT James Dean, Founding Director, NASA Art Program:
"We would call them on the telephone and say we’re trying to do this, would you be interested? They lit up! Artists had been kind of pushed into the background with the advent of great photographic coverage of everything that was happening. And they were being invited back into the front line of something that was new, exciting, and had the world’s attention. They were very eager to get involved."

In "NASA | ART 50 Years of Exploration," a new book co-authored by Dean and the art program’s current curator, the public will be able to see for the first time many of these artists’ interpretations in a historic collection of almost a half-century of space-inspired artwork.

Bert Ulrich, Co-Author, “NASA/Art 50 Years”/Curator, NASA Art Program:
"I think when people see the book they’ll go wow, NASA does that kind of stuff, I mean who would of thought! It really, really tells the NASA story in an interesting way. You really get an idea of what the history of NASA is all about. You go all the way back to the last Mercury Mission, all the way forward."

"NASA | ART 50 Years of Exploration," contains 150 full color illustrations, along with essays by Apollo 11 astronaut Michael Collins, science fiction novelist Ray Bradbury, and curator Tom D. Crouch. This companion book to a Smithsonian traveling art exhibition will be released in October in celebration of NASA’s 50th anniversary.

John Herrington, the first Native American to fly into space, is embarking on a new mission here on Earth, one he hopes will inspire students to excel in school. The former astronaut is participating in a 4,000-mile coast-to-coast bike tour to promote and encourage student engagement in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics. Dubbed Rocketrek, the three month tour began in August in Cape Flattery, Washington and will conclude in Cape Canaveral, Florida. Herrington, who flew on space shuttle Endeavour in 2002, will meet with school students in every state he bicycles through.

Forty-two years ago this week, on September 12, 1966, astronauts “Pete” Conrad and Dick Gordon lifted off from Cape Canaveral aboard a Titan II rocket on Gemini XI. The three-day mission saw Conrad and Gordon rendezvous and dock with the Gemini Agena target, practice related maneuvers and operations, and conduct two spacewalks. Gemini XI was the ninth crewed Earth-orbiting spacecraft of the Gemini program, completing another step in bridging the Mercury and Apollo programs on NASA’s mission to the moon.

And that's This Week At NASA!

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