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Shuttle Crew Explores NASA Glenn
Three members of the Discovery STS-116 crew spent the day at NASA's Glenn Research Center on February 16. NASA Astronauts Joan Higginbotham and Nicholas Patrick and European Space Agency Astronaut Christer Fuglesang answered questions and showed Glenn employees photos from their December 2006 mission to the International Space Station. After that, the astronauts took a tour of the research center.

Image of Higginbotham, Patrick and Fuglesang during panel talk. Image of Everett, Kerka and crew members in the  Fabrication Shop.
Image of Pereira and crew members in Glenn's Ballistics Impact Lab. Image of O'Malley and astronauts viewing the  Combustion Integrated Rack.

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Top left: Higginbotham (left), Patrick and Fuglesang (right) talk to employees about the STS-116 mission. One audience member asked the astronauts about the views from the space shuttle and space station windows. Higginbotham replied, "I had never seen an aurora in my life, but we must have seen four or five of them while we were up there. It was beautiful. The lights were dancing."

Top right: In Glenn's Fabrication Shop, Robert Everett and Joe Kerka show crew members the abrasive material used in the water jets they employ to cut steel. NASA Glenn is fabricating a simulated upper-stage for NASA's new Ares I rocket, which will eventually carry astronauts to the moon.

Bottom Left: Aerospace Research Engineer J. Michael Pereira shows crew members photos of space shuttle heat shield panels that were damaged by foam impacts. Pereira works in NASA Glenn's Ballistics Impact Lab, where engineers helped return the shuttle to flight by testing its ability to withstand hits from debris. The ballistics lab houses three enormous gas guns that can shoot projectiles up to 2,000 miles per hour.

Bottom right: Project Manager Terry O'Malley (white coat) shows the astronauts components of the Combustion Integrated Rack. This flight hardware is designed to support the long-term study of flames and their behavior in space. It will fly to the International Space Station in the fall of 2008. Scientists could use the rack to study fire prevention, detection and suppression, incineration of solid waste, power generation, flame spread and other phenomenon. Also pictured: Center Deputy Director Richard Christiansen (far left) and facility project manager Robert Corban (back right).

Photographer: Marvin Smith (RSIS, Inc.)
Writer: Jan Wittry (SGT, Inc.)