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This Week @ NASA, October 14, 2011
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This Week@NASA...


Charlie Bolden: "The Space Coast is open for business."

Administrator Charlie Bolden led members of the media on a tour of NASA’s new mobile launcher at the Kennedy Space Center. Center Director Bob Cabana and other Kennedy management joined Bolden to discuss NASA’s Space Launch System. The SLS is the agency’s heavy-lift rocket that will take astronauts farther into space than ever before, create high-quality jobs here at home, and provide the cornerstone for America's future human space exploration efforts.

Charlie Bolden: "Everything you see around this complex involves local talent, local skill and energy, and Bob and I are committed to making KSC, keeping KSC, and the entire Space Coast the leader in the world in terms of exploration."

SLS will carry NASA's Orion spacecraft, cargo, equipment and science experiments to space -- providing a safe, affordable and sustainable means of reaching the moon, asteroids and other destinations in the solar system.

Bolden’s media tour was preceded by a breakfast speech at the Kennedy Visitors Complex where he assured Space Coast community leaders that the new mobile launch tower was a symbol of the center’s bright post-shuttle future.

The launch of NASA's National Polar-Orbiting Operational Environmental Satellite System Preparatory Project is fast approaching. As the prototype for the next generation of Earth-Observing satellites, NPP and its five, on-board instruments, will observe the entire globe, once a day, providing continuous data about the Earth’s land, oceans and atmosphere. The observations will be used for long-term monitoring of how our Earth and climate are changing.

Jim Gleason: "NPP’s observations will help NASA make better, long-term data sets, which help scientists make better models, which then lead to better predictions, which hopefully can be used to make better decisions. And, these decision can be as simple as, do I bring an umbrella or as complex as how do we respond to a changing climate."

NPP is scheduled to launch Oct. 27 from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California.

The 15th annual NASA’s Extreme Environment Mission Operations experiments are underway off Key Largo, Florida. Each autumn, astronauts become aquanauts and live underwater for nine days to come up with solutions that may help NASA better prepare for future space missions.

This year’s NEEMO experiments are exploring the challenges of a mission to a near-Earth asteroid. The ocean bed’s buoyancy and topography are a good stand-in, as asteroids have little or no gravity.

Four NASA scientists named by President Obama as recipients of the 2010 Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers were presented with their medals at a Headquarters ceremony. Nominated by NASA’s Science Mission Directorate for a PECASE award were Jonathan W. Cirtain of the Marshall Space Flight Center; Ian M. Howat of The Ohio State University; Gregory G. Howes, University of Iowa; and Benjamin A. Mazin, University of California, Santa Barbara.

The PECASE awards represent the highest honor bestowed by the U.S. government on scientists and engineers beginning their independent careers. They recognize recipients' exceptional potential for leadership at the frontiers of scientific knowledge.

Aboard the International Space Station, where one-of-a-kind science research in microgravity is conducted every day, NASA astronauts will soon be performing innovative experiments “pitched” by students to scientists --- and the public -- on YouTube.

With NASA’s support, Space Adventures, Ltd. of Vienna, Va., will conduct a global competition for students ages 14 to 18 years to design space-based experiments in either life sciences or physics. Each student will apply by submitting a two-minute video to Not only will the public help an esteemed panel judge the entries, but will also be able to watch the winning experiments via video streaming on YouTube's Website, as they’re performed, 250 miles above Earth, in the U.S. National Laboratory aboard the ISS.


“Mr. Keegan does that come with a warranty?” (laughter)

This ceremony in Los Angeles marked NASA’s official title transfer and ownership of space shuttle Endeavour to the California Science Center. The transfer is the first step toward CSC receiving Endeavour in the latter half of next year.

After its post-mission work and display preparation is complete, Endeavour will be delivered on the 747 shuttle carrier aircraft to Los Angeles International Airport. From LAX, the shuttle will travel through the streets of Los Angeles to its final destination at the Science Center in Exposition Park.


Chris Ferguson: “Our love, as we were youngsters like some of you are right now, for things like science, space, aviation, rocketry was all cultivated in wonderful facilities like this.”

The four members of the STS-135 crew paid an extended visit to the Nation’s Capital. Commander Chris Ferguson, pilot Doug Hurley, and Mission Specialists Sandy Magnus and Rex Walheim presented highlights of their flight aboard Atlantis, the final mission of the Space Shuttle Program, to members of the general public in the Moving Beyond Earth Gallery at the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum...

Lori Garver: “Chris Ferguson, Doug Hurley, Sandy Magnus, Rex Walheim.” well as to Headquarters employees, family and friends in the James Webb Auditorium.

Chris Ferguson: “Who went to the launch? Wow, very good, boy you are clearly fans, this is great!”

Ferguson and Magnus also participated in a NASATweetUp with users of the social medium, Twitter, many of whom had traveled a long way to attend.

This is part of a video pieced together by the Opportunity team at the Jet Propulsion Lab to show the Mars Exploration Rover’s three-year trek from Victoria crater to Endeavour crater. The video compiles 309 images taken by Opportunity’s navigation camera between Sept. 2008 and Aug. 2011 as an historic record of the spacecraft’s 13 mile journey across a Martian plain pocked with smaller craters. To watch the complete 3-minute video, visit

And that's This Week@NASA!

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