NASA Podcasts

This Week @ NASA, October 9, 2012
› Listen Now
› View Now
This Week at NASA…


“3-2-1-Zero and launch of the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket ….

In a historic moment for the nation, SpaceX successfully launched its Falcon 9 rocket and Dragon cargo craft from Florida’s Cape Canaveral Air Force Station – marking the start of the first ever commercial cargo resupply flight to the International Space Station The CRS-1 mission, the first of twelve such flights under NASA’s Commercial Resupply Services contract, also marks the return of America’s capability to independently resupply the orbiting laboratory – a feat not achievable since the retirement of the space shuttle.

Charlie Bolden, NASA Administrator: “We’re once again launching spacecraft from American soil with the supplies our astronauts need in space. The SpaceX launch tonight marks the official start of commercial resupply missions by American companies operating out of U.S. space ports like the one right here in Florida.”

While NASA is working with SpaceX and other U.S. industry partners to develop commercial spaceflight capabilities, the agency is also developing the Orion spacecraft and the Space Launch System (SLS), a crew capsule and heavy-lift rocket to provide an entirely new capability for human exploration. The SLS and Orion will expand human presence beyond low Earth orbit and enable new missions of exploration across the solar system.

Discussing the Dragon mission via a Google Plus hangout were NASA Administrator Charlie Bolden and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk. Those who participated in the online video chat could also pose questions through Twitter and Facebook.

Charlie Bolden, NASA Administrator: “I think we’ve got 23 student experiments – that’s special. Some of them are making repeat flights and, you know it’s SpaceX meeting an obligation to students that – where we didn’t get around to doing all of them the first time.”

One of those science investigations going up to station on Dragon, named Micro-6, will look at the effects of microgravity on a yeast our bodies use to stay healthy. But, when our immune systems are stressed, Candida albicans can grow out of control and produce infections in the mouth, throat, intestines, and elsewhere. By comparing cells grown in microgravity to cells grown in normal gravity, researchers hope to learn how to better manage and treat the runaway microbes.


Another important milestone in NASA’s partnership with industry to deliver cargo to the International Space Station has been reached at the Wallops Flight Facility. A test version of Orbital Sciences Corporation's Antares rocket rolled out to the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport’s launch Pad 0A. Antares will carry Orbital's Cygnus cargo module to the ISS. A hot-fire test of Antares’s first stage is slated for later this year, to be followed first by an Antares test launch, then a demonstration flight of an Antares and Cygnus to the orbiting lab.

CURIOSITY ROVER REPORT– JPL (CP) Daniel Limonadi Reporting

Daniel Limonadi, MSL Scientist: Hi, my name is Daniel Limonadi. I’m the surface sampling and science phase lead, and this is your Mars Curiosity rover update.

Curiosity still is heading to Glenelg. We’ve just stopped at the Bathhurst rock formation to check it out with the robotic arm mounted instruments: a hand lens imager and a spectrometer. Got some great science data there for the science team and now we’re moving to a new rover location called Rocknest. And we’ve come to Rocknest because it has nice windblown sand drifts.

At the Rocknest location we really are entering a new phase in Mars exploration with Curiosity. We’re starting the surface sampling part of the mission. The reason this is a one-ton rover with a 200-pound robotic arm, is because we have these tools to acquire bits of Mars, you know, either with a scoop or a drill; process those samples for our very sensitive analytical lab instruments.

So our scoop – this is not a giant backhoe on Mars – we basically have more like a oversized tablespoon attached to the end of the arm and we grab on the order of 20 grams of material. And we position the arm over the soil target and then we just actuate the scoop, do a little bit of vibration to kind of level out the sample and then raise the arm up, close the scoop and carry on with our sampling activity.

Over the next two to three weeks we’ll be doing the scooping and sampling analysis activities and then from there we expect to spend a few more weeks driving over to the Glenelg area proper, doing scratch and sniff science along the way with the robotic arm.

And once we get to Glenelg, we’ll look forward to some exciting first time drilling activities.

This has been your Mars Curiosity rover update. Check back for more reports.

October is National Cybersecurity Awareness Month, and the Chief Information Officer’s IT Security Division at NASA headquarters hosted a symposium to stress for employees the importance of Cybersecurity in our everyday lives.

Lori Garver, NASA Deputy Administrator: “Not only is it such a special to be NASA but we actually do have access to technologies and information that people who do not mean us well would love to get.”

Linda Cureton, NASA Chief Information Officer: “The sophistication of attacks continue to increase every day. NASA employees muyst be aware of these types of attacks in order to protect and safeguard our information.”

To protect the Agency’s IT infrastructure, NASA workers are reminded to STOP and THINK before they CONNECT online. Several centers are conducting similar activities this month to raise cybersecurity awareness.


The countdown continues for the next crew to launch to the International Space Station. Expedition 33/34 Soyuz Commander Oleg Novitskiy of the Russian Federal Space Agency, NASA Flight Engineer Kevin Ford and Russian Flight Engineer Evgeny Tarelkin are scheduled to ride a Soyuz spacecraft to the ISS mid-month. There they’ll join Expedition 33 Commander Suni Williams of NASA, Flight Engineer Aki Hoshide of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency and Russian Flight Engineer Yuri Malenchenko aboard the world’s only science lab in microgravity.


Employees helping shape the future of their center and NASA; that was the theme of the Kennedy Space Center’s first Innovation Expo. The day-long event to promote worker innovation and creativity featured examples of workplace improvements by employees, pitch sessions for new ideas, and tours of laboratories and other KSC facilities not usually open to the general work force. Innovation Expo underscored for Kennedy’s workforce that it is the center’s prime source of ingenuity.

ASTRONOMICAL MIRROR – DFRC (CP) Beth Hagenauer Reporting

The mirror on NASA's Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy was cleaned recently in preparation for the first full cycle of science observations. Because of the sensitive expo: sed optics, the telescope cavity of the heavily modified 747 is designed to serve as a clean room. However, contamination of the optics builds up over time. Thus, while the aircraft and its systems were upgraded at the Dryden Aircraft Operations Facility in Palmdale, California, telescope technicians used water, a mild detergent and a small filtered blower to remove dust and other material that had adhered to the mirror's surface. This is in preparation for the next astronomy observation period, known as Cycle 1, which will begin in late 2012 and continue through December 2013.

The Enterprise Service Desk at the NASA Shared Services Center is now fully operational and supporting employees across the Agency. ESD provides support across the agency in Human Resources, Finance, Procurement, and IT.

Kathy Linn, Acting Manager, Enterprise Service Desk: “We have self-service tools available and also IT call agents available 24 hours a day for the NASA employee to submit service requests for the NASA IT services such as computing seats, mobile devices, printers, firewall rules, static IP addresses, and even bundled services.”

For more about ESD services and the NSSC, log onto:

HAPPY 95TH! – LARC (CP) Sasha Congiu Reporting

The Langley Research Center celebrated its 95th anniversary by hosting some 10-thousand guests at its first open house in five years. Visitors could meet the first mom-in-space, astronaut Anna Fisher, talk with researchers about their projects, and take a tour of facilities like the center’s aircraft hangar. The day’s highlight: watching the 18,000-pound Orion Spacecraft test article drop 25 feet into Langley's hydro impact basin.

EARTHSCAPES FOREVER – GSFC (CP) Michelle Handleman Reporting
In recognition of October as National Stamp Collecting Month, NASA and the U.S. Postal Service held a ceremony at Goddard Space Flight Center to unveil a series of new stamps. The 15 new Earthscape “Forever” stamps depict America’s diverse landscapes as seen from aerial and satellite perspectives.

Joseph Corbett, U.S. Postal Service CFO and Executive Vice President: “Each stamp’s unique perspectives makes it a window into a world most of us never get to see, at least not from land.”

Two of the images, “Volcanic Crater” and “Center-Pivot Irrigation” were captured by NASA and the U.S. Geological Survey’s Landsat 7 satellite. The Volcanic crater stamp depicts Mount St. Helens as it continues to recover from its May 1980 eruption, while the latter shows circular irrigation patterns of crops in Kansas.

Chris Scolese, NASA Goddard Center Director: “Goddard Space Flight Center launched the first weather satellite Tiros 1 almost 50 years ago. So we started looking at the Earth many, many years ago.”

Using global imagery to understand how the Earth changes through time, and the implications of these changes is a major focus for NASA’s Earth science program. The next Landsat satellite, the Landsat Data Continuity Mission, is scheduled to launch in February 2013.

NASA Anniversary: Launch of STS-112, October 7, 2002
“start … 2-1 … booster ignition and liftoff …”

Ten years ago, on October 7, 2002, Space Shuttle Atlantis launched from the Kennedy Space Center on STS-112 – the 15th shuttle flight to the International Space Station. STS-112 was the first shuttle flight to provide views of the launch from a camera mounted on the External Tank. Atlantis’ crew - Commander Jeff Ashby, Pilot Pam Melroy and Mission Specialists Sandy Magnus, Piers Sellers, David Wolf and Fyodor Yurchikhin continued construction of the ISS by delivering the third segment of the station's 11-piece truss. The crew also transferred cargo and used the shuttle's thruster jets to raise the station's orbit.

NASA Anniversary: 130th Birthday of Robert H. Goddard, October 5, 1882
And October 5 is the 130th anniversary of the birth of Dr. Robert Hutchings Goddard, the father of modern rocket propulsion. Goddard is credited with creating and building the world's first liquid-fueled rocket, which he successfully launched on March 16, 1926 from a field in Auburn, Massachusetts. Goddard and his team launched 34 rockets between 1926 and 1941. Named for the noted scientist and rocketeer is NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland.

NASA National Hispanic Heritage Month Profile: Cassandra “Cassie” Rodriquez, ISS Flight Controller – JSC
Cassandra “Cassie” Rodriquez, ISS Flight Controller, Johnson Space Center: Hi, my name is Cassie Rodriquez. I grew up in Corpus Christi, Texas, which is a bit south here of Houston, so a great city. It's where the Texas State Aquarium is (laughter). Being an “OSO”. It’s a console position in Mission Control. It stands for Operations Support Officer and we're responsible for all the IVA maintenance that's done for the Space Station. Robonaut is fun -- he's on orbit, he was launched in September of 2011 and what my project is, is we're working on developing the training products and the procedures to give him some legs. With these legs, he'll have the ability to move anywhere on station. I hope to continue supporting the International Space Station hopefully supporting future projects that help human exploration, hopefully getting us to the Moon or to Mars and helping design those vehicles so that they can be better maintained. I have a lot of maintenance practice working with the Space Station and we're going to need to be able to fix things if we do go to the Moon and Mars. So, I hope to contribute to that in the future.

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