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This Week @ NASA, June 22, 2012
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This Week at NASA…


Administrator Charles Bolden joined other agency officials and members of Congress for a NASA Day on Capitol Hill to showcase the work being done on the International Space Station.

The roles of NASA centers supporting the ISS were discussed by their directors, and more than 20 exhibits illustrated the benefits of the ground-breaking research conducted on the orbiting laboratory.

As well as benefitting research, the ISS program promotes education and career opportunities for students in science, technology, engineering and math.


(Administrator Bolden) -  “If you go back to your experience onboard shuttle and roaming around station, how do you find that life on Aquarius, compares or does it? “

(Dottie Metcalf-Lindenburger) – “You know that being on a shuttle mission is surely a sprint, from the moment you launch to the moment you land you are go, go, go. And over these last few days we are go, go, go from 6am to late at night.”

Via special television hookup, Administrator Bolden paid a visit to the undersea Aquarius Reef Base off Key Largo, Florida to speak with the four members of the NEEMO 16 crew. This year, NASA’s Extreme Environment Mission Operations, is testing concepts for a visit to an asteroid in an underwater environment that’s “the next best thing to being there.”

(Administrator Bolden) – “Based on what you imagined a mission to an asteroid would be like since we haven’t done that yet, do you see this training as realistic?

(Timothy Peake) -  It’s been an incredibility realistic mission yes, absolutely!  I was lucky enough to a cave mission last September with the European Space Agency and that was what I thought at the time was a great analog for space flight, but it’s been fantastic simulation scenario and a tremendous mission.”

The 16th NEEMO crew is Commander Dottie Metcalf-Lindenburger of NASA; European Space Agency astronaut Timothy Peake, Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency astronaut Kimiya Yui and Steve Squyres, Cornell professor of astronomy and member of last year’s NEEMO 15 crew.


Bolden also returned to his hometown of Columbia, S.C., to help kick off 2012 Summer of Innovation, the NASA program that provides STEM-related learning opportunities to underrepresented middle school students during the summer school break.

First stop was the Administrator’s middle school alma mater, W. A. Perry.

At Perry…And at the city’s Challenger Center, Bolden was joined by Cheryl McNair, the wife of fallen space shuttle Challenger astronaut and fellow South Carolinian, Ron McNair.

(Cheryl McNair, Wife of Ron McNair) -  “I wish you all a lifetime of achievement.  
I look forward to hearing and seeing many wonderful things that you will create, and do in the future, reach for the stars, why, because I believe you can.”

Some 450 students and educators availed themselves of numerous hands-on NASA activities that stem from the fields of science, technology, engineering and math.

VAB MODIFICATIONS – KSC (CP) George Diller Reporting

The landmark Vehicle Assembly Building at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida is getting a renovation so it can remain a fixture of America's space program.

After almost five decades stacking and processing Saturn Vs and the space shuttle fleet, the VAB needs improvement on a grand scale to service new launchers expected to debut in the next few years.

The new designs include the Space Launch System, a massive rocket intended to return astronauts to deep space. The building also will be set up to host commercial rockets that are much smaller.

With that in mind, engineers from the Ground Systems Development and Operations Program have designed flexible systems that can meet the needs of several different kinds of boosters. They also are making provisions for handling spacecraft, including NASA's Orion, now in development.

But much of the work will focus on replacing wiring, cables and fire protection system piping to meet modern standards and increase reliability.

Already, 70,000 feet of cabling has been pulled out of the building's cable trays. In all, 50 miles of cables will be removed. Most are bundles of copper wiring that were common in 1965, when the VAB was constructed.

Now, it only requires a couple fiber-optic lines about as wide as a finger to meet the needs of rocket processors.

Seven huge platforms bolted in High Bay 3 to service the Saturn V will be removed to make room for modern structures, each weighing about 90,000 pounds.

The new platforms will be outfitted with everything required to process a rocket and spacecraft.  
The focus is to upgrade the VAB for a new generation of launchers and missions to allow NASA and its partners to continue to meet national goals of space exploration.


And the nice thing about this it really doesn’t leak a hole …

Members of the Virginia Governor's Aerospace Advisory Council toured facilities at the Langley Research Center after holding a meeting at the NASA center for the first time. The Aerospace Advisory Council advises the governor on policy and funding to promote aerospace and the space exploration industry in Virginia. Langley Center Director Lesa Roe is an active, non-voting member of the 19-seat council.



It really is effort like this…

At the Ohio Aerospace Institute in Cleveland, the Glenn Research Center hosted an Industry Day for the city’s Historically Underutilized Business Zone, or HUBZone

Small companies learned the “how-to’s” of doing business with NASA. Their representatives also got to pitch their capabilities to Glenn’s contractors and small business specialists.

(Glenn Delgado) - “At events like this 50% of the companies that are here are mandated to be small business HUBZones and then the rest could be other types of small business.  Because we are really trying to make an effort to find these companies, find out what they can do and see if they can fit into the NASA mission.”

HUBZone was established to stimulate economic growth, increase employment and encourage investment within the area. Government agencies like NASA have been encouraged to increase the amount and value of contracts awarded to qualified HUBZone companies.



“NASA Now,” a weekly 5-7 minute video produced at Glenn for the NASA Explorer School project, was awarded an Emmy by the Cleveland area chapter of the National Association of Television Arts and Sciences. “NASA Now” is a classroom resource profiling scientists, engineers, and technicians as “real people” and how they use science, technology, engineering and math in their work at the agency. “NASA Now” was cited for production excellence.

AEROSPACE SCHOLARS – JSC (CP) Lynnette Madison Reporting

Johnson Space Center’s Office of Education is giving community college students across the country a glimpse into the life of an engineer or scientist through The National Community College Aerospace Scholars program.

(Darri Washburn, Bluegrass Community and Technical College) - “This week we’re working on designing a rover mission to mars. We’ve been put into teams of twelve. It’s designing a budget, your plans; the actual mission and then we actually get to build the rovers and send them through test courses.”

The national program is modeled after a similar initiative for Texas Community College students currently in its tenth year.

(Deborah Hutchings) – NASA Aerospace Scholars Educational Specialist)
“It’s a three day program, it’s incredibly fast paced, so most of the time the biggest challenges they face are getting all their work done in the allotted time, which is a normal engineering problem. it also is a good motivation for community college students to move back into a four year degree.”

Participants also build communication and team work skills and learn about other educational opportunities offered by NASA.

(DJ Stiell) - Alabama Aviation Center of Mobile) - “When I was a little kid I used to want to be an astronaut. I think that’s maybe a common thing for people and when the opportunity came up to get involved with NASA and to do something, I felt like I had to take it, I had to try at least.”


You will also approve the budget…

Stennis’s Infinity Science Center hosted a meeting of NASA’s Informal Education Institutions Grantees. Also hosted by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory and the NASA Shared Services Center, the meeting allowed NASA to gauge grantee progress and foster collaboration within the agency for more efficient and better use of NASA funds.


A major exhibit at Washington, DC’s National Museum of African Art is the first to explore the historical legacy of African cultural astronomy and its intersection with both traditional and contemporary African arts. “African Cosmos: Stellar Arts” is an exhibition of some 80 objects reflecting the continent's long and rich history of astronomical observations. The exhibit also explores how celestial bodies and phenomena serve as inspiration and symbol in the creation of African arts dating from ancient times to the present.

(Derek Hanekom ) – “So what we are celebrating today as we are here to launch with you this magnificent exhibition, is celebrating the connection between  art and  science.”

“African Cosmos: Stellar Arts” will be on display at the National Museum of African Art through December 9.


6, 5, We have three main engines up and running

Seventeen years ago, on June 27, 1995, shuttle Atlantis became the 100th U.S. human spaceflight launched from Cape Canaveral, embarking on a mission that would link it with Mir for the first US space shuttle-Russian space station docking. STS-71 would also mark the first on-orbit crew change out by a space shuttle. Atlantis Commander Hoot Gibson and crew brought with them the members of the new Mir 19 mission, Anatoly Solovyev and Nikolai Budarin, and would return home with the Mir 18 crew of Norm Thagard, Vladimir Dezhurov and Gannady Strekalov. Atronauts and cosmonauts conducted five days of  joint biomedical and scientific investigations. Atlantis undocked on the Fourth of July, and landed back at the Kennedy Space Center on July7th.



“Welcome to the 2012 JPL Open House is now opening.”

“Thank you so much for coming to JPL and our primary mission is robotic exploration of the solar system.”


And that’s This Week @ NASA!

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