NASA Podcasts

This Week @ NASA, September 7, 2012
› Listen Now
› View Now
This Week at NASA…


The outpouring of admiration and respect continues as people around the nation, including members of the NASA family, pay tribute to the late Neil Armstrong.

In the astronaut’s hometown of Wapakoneta, Ohio near Dayton several hundred people attended an event at the Armstrong Air and Space Museum -- -- including NASA astronaut Greg Johnson and Glenn Research Center Director Ray Lugo.

(SOT: Ray Lugo , Glenn Research Center Director)
“Everything you hear about him. About, he’s a humble man, he’s a quite man, he tends to be a little bit private is absolutely true. But there’s not a friendlier person that you would ever meet in your life.”

The Kennedy Space Center honored Armstrong with an event in the Apollo-Saturn V Center of KSC’s Visitor Complex. Among the estimated 400 people in attendance was Center Director Bob Cabana, who hailed Armstrong not only as a pilot and an astronaut, but as a great teacher.

(SOT: Bob Cabana, Kennedy Space Center Director)
“His step was only the beginning of a very long journey that we must now continue as we prepare to move even further from our home planet.”

The Jet Propulsion Laboratory commemorated Armstrong’s life and achievements with a special presentation of “One Giant Leap,” an episode from an award-winning documentary series. The film’s producer, Blaine Baggett, now the JPL director of Communication and Education, spoke before the screening of how Armstrong’s accomplishment impacted the nation and the world.

At the U.S. Space & Rocket Center in Huntsville, ceremony guests gathered around a model of the Saturn V rocket released red, white and blue balloons in honor of the Apollo 11 commander.

And the NASA flag at headquarters flew at half-staff; President Obama has ordered the American flag be similarly flown on the day of Armstrong’s interment; and, this Thursday, NASA TV will broadcast live from the National Cathedral in Washington, DC a special “Celebration of the Life of Neil Armstrong.”


(SOT: JFK Speech)
“We choose to go to the moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard.”

That twenty-five word statement is perhaps the most widely recognizable from the historic speech given fifty years ago by President John F. Kennedy at Houston’s Rice University on September 12, 1962.

(SOT: Bill Barry, NASA Chief Historian)
“The Rice Speech was really the Clarion call for the Apollo Program. It’s one of the most articulate and moving descriptions of civil space policy I think that’s ever been made.”

But the entire twenty minute address was also a statement -- to punctuate JFK’s belief that, for America the moon was a completely achievable goal.

(SOT: JFK Speech)
“The vows of this Nation can only be fulfilled if we in this Nation are first, and, therefore, we intend to be first. In short, our leadership in science and in industry, our hopes for peace and security, our obligations to ourselves as well as others, all require us to make this effort.”

(SOT: Bill Barry, NASA Chief Historian)
“Kennedy was able to combine his incredible delivery, along with some humor and dilation of history to make the case that scientific accomplishment was an important measure of societies.”

(SOT: JFK Speech)
“Condense, if you will, the 50,000 years of man’s recorded history in a time span of but a half-century. Less than two months ago, during this whole 50-year span of human history, the steam engine provided a new source of power. Only last week did we develop penicillin and television and nuclear power, and now if America's new spacecraft succeeds in reaching Venus, we will have literally reached the stars before midnight tonight.

(SOT: JFK Speech)
“But why, some say, the moon? Why choose this as our goal? And they may well ask why climb the highest mountain? Why, 35 years ago, fly the Atlantic? Why does Rice play Texas?

(SOT: Bill Barry, NASA Chief Historian)
“He’s there at Rice and he’s making the point that, in fact Rice does play Texas and that, in fact sometimes Rice actually wins. That was, I think a very deft maneuver on his part to sort of lay that out there as a not so impossible cause.”

CURIOSITY ON THE MOVE – JPL (CP) Saina Ghandchi Reporting - @MarsCuriosity

Hello, my name is Saina Ghandchi. I am a member of engineering, operations team and this is your Curiosity Rover update.

Couple of days ago, we performed some atmospheric measurements with our instrument, SAM. Scientists are going through the data at this point and I’m very excited because since Viking mission, we haven’t had any instruments on Mars than can tell what is the composition of the Martian atmosphere.

We also received these color beautiful HiRise images. They show clearly the back shell, the site where the descent stage crashed. And also, very cool, you can clearly see the rover tracks in these images.

Our goa1 is to get to Glenelg, which is 400 meters to the east of the landing site.

We have been driving for several days now. On Sol 29, we finished another successful 30 meters.

We are going to park here another 7 days and check out the arm and the instruments that are located on the arm.

As you know, the arm is loaded with science remote sensing instruments and also it has a couple of tools that will help us acquire sample from Mars and from rock and deliver them to SAM and CheMin instruments.


The Orion program successfully gauged the maximum pressure Orion's parachutes might face when returning from exploration missions into deep space. In the latest test in the skies high above the U.S. Yuma Army Proving Ground in Arizona, a C-130 airplane dropped a dart-shaped test vehicle with a simulated Orion parachute compartment from an altitude of 25,000 feet. Orion's drogue chutes were deployed at approximately 20,000 feet, followed by small pilot chutes, which then deployed the three main parachutes. Orion’s ‘chutes will be among the systems tested near the conclusion of Exploration Flight Test-1 in 2014. EFT-1 will take Orion 15 times deeper into space than the International Space Station.


“The bolt is out … “

Expedition 32 Flight Engineers Suni Williams of NASA and Aki Hoshide of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency completed the installation of a spare Main Bus Switching Unit, or MBSU to the truss of the International Space Station during a 6-hour, 28 minute spacewalk. Problems installing the spare unit during an initial spacewalk on August 30 necessitated the crew fabricate tools with which they could complete their tasks on this latest EVA. The MBSU relays power from the station's solar arrays to its systems. The spacewalk was the 165th in support of space station assembly and maintenance, the sixth in Williams' career and the second for Hoshide.


The NASA Headquarters roof is now home to an instrument that makes observations of Earth’s atmosphere similar to those made from space by satellites. The instrument, named Pandora, helps validate those space-based measurements. Among Pandora’s measurements is that of ozone, crucial to air quality and climate.

(SOT: Jay Al-Saadi, Manager, NASA Tropospheric Chemistry Program)
“It will help us design future satellites that will view much smaller and smaller areas of the Earth’s surface, so what we’re really preparing for is the next generation of air quality monitoring from space.”

Data from the Headquarters roof will be compared with measurements by Pandora instruments elsewhere in the Washington, DC area to better understand variations across the region.


Operations have wrapped up for The 2012 Research and Technology Studies, or RATS test at the Johnson Space Center. The 10-day asteroid exploration simulation conducted at JSC’s Space Vehicle Mockup Facility helps NASA prepare for future exploration missions. During the exercise, the RATS team used several technologies to mimic life and work on the surface of an asteroid. As NASA makes plans to send humans to asteroids by 2025, such simulations provide the agency with a way to test new operations, concepts and techniques.


At the Langley Research Center, NASA Associate Administrator for Education Leland Melvin, and Grammy Award-winning producer, Pharrell Williams, talked about the importance of science, technology, engineering and math, or STEM, during the Center’s Summer of Innovation graduation and awards ceremony.

“And the number one tool that will lead you out of any and everything is education.”

The event honored Virginia Beach middle school students for their hard work over their summer vacations. Summer of Innovation, part of the President’s Educate to Innovate campaign, is a collaboration between Langley and Pharrell’s From One Hand To Another foundation to encourage students to follow their dreams and pursue a STEM education.


Two space shuttle solid rocket booster casings arrived at the Dryden Flight Research Center from Kennedy Space Center. The inert boosters, now owned by the California Science Center in Los Angeles, will remain in storage at Dryden until the science center's exhibit to house space shuttle Endeavour is built. The boosters will be mounted vertically alongside Endeavour, similar to how they would’ve looked at launch. Endeavour is scheduled to be transported by ferry flight from KSC to Los Angeles later this month.


The Jet Propulsion Laboratory held a party to celebrate the 35th birthday of the iconic Voyager spacecraft. On hand for the festivities was astronaut Stephanie Wilson, a former JPLer. Students at the event talked to scientists and engineers. There were also activities, speeches from local representatives and live music. Launched in 1977 Voyager 1 and 2 are currently providing data about the “Heliosheath,” the outermost region of our solar system, as they make their way deeper into space.

NASA Anniversary: Launch of GRAIL Spacecraft – September 10, 2011- #GRAIL

“3-2-1-zero and liftoff of the Delta two rocket with Grail on a journey to the center of the moon.”

September 12 marks the one-year anniversary of the launch of a Delta II rocket from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station carrying the twin GRAIL spacecraft to the moon. Since named Ebb and Flow.

“Ebb and Flow !!”

The two spacecraft have been flying in tandem around the moon since January 2012 to measure the moon’s gravity field from crust to core in unprecedented detail. The mission is providing scientists with a better understanding of how Earth and other rocky planets in the solar system formed.

NASA Anniversary: Launch of STS-47, September 12, 1992

Twenty years ago on September 12, 1992 Space Shuttle Endeavour carried a seven- person crew to orbit on STS-47. This Spacelab mission included Mission Specialist Mae Jemison, the first African-American woman in space, Payload specialist Mamoru Mohri, the first Japanese astronaut to fly on a shuttle and Mission Specialists Mark Lee and Jan Davis, the first married couple in space. Commander “Hoot” Gibson, Pilot Curtis Brown and Mission Specialist Jay Apt rounded out the crew – which spent almost eight days conducting microgravity investigations in materials and life sciences.

And that’s This Week @NASA.

For more on these and other stories, or to follow us on Facebook, Twitter and other social media, log on to

› Listen Now
› View Now