NASA Podcasts

This Year @ NASA, 2010 (Part 1)
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For NASA, 2010 was another year of new exploration, exciting discoveries, and important milestones.

From spaceflight, to science and technology; from understanding life here on Earth, to where we might find it elsewhere. From protecting our home planet, to inspiring the next generation of explorers.

This was "This Year at NASA."

The December 15th launch of the Soyuz spacecraft carrying Expedition 26 crew members Cady Coleman, Paolo Nespoli and Dimitry Kondratyev to the International Space Station capped another year of important milestones for the orbiting complex – and NASA’s space shuttle program, as the retirement of its fleet of orbiters approaches its retirement.


Astronaut: "All right give me a smile."

Expedition 22 Commander Jeff Williams and Flight Engineer Max Suraev made a safe return to Earth in a Soyuz spacecraft which landed on the remote steppes of Kazakhstan.

Russian recovery teams worked in frigid temperatures to help the crew exit the spacecraft and begin their readjustment to Earth’s gravity.


Launch Announcer: "Liftoff of Alexander Skvortsov, Tracy Caldwell Dyson, and Mikhail Kornienko beginning their journey to the International Space Station."

The new members of the Expedition 23 crew began their journey to the International Space Station with a successful launch from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. Soyuz Commander Alexander Skvortsov, Flight Engineers Mikhail Kornienko and Tracy Caldwell Dyson will spend the next six months aboard the orbiting complex.

The crew of STS-131 returned home to Houston following their fifteen days in space aboard shuttle Discovery.

Mike Coates: "Nice landing. Well done."

A crowd of several hundred well-wishers greeted the seven astronauts at Ellington Field after their flight from the Kennedy Space Center one day after their safe landing.


Launch Announcer: "4-3-2-1, launch, launch, launch."

The first test of the fully integrated Launch Abort System for the Orion crew vehicle was successfully completed at the White Sands Missile Range on May 6. The Pad Abort 1 test is part of an ongoing mission to develop safer vehicles for human spaceflight applications.

Carrying a six-astronaut crew – STS-132 Commander Ken Ham, Pilot Tony Antonelli and Mission Specialists Garrett Reisman, Steve Bowen, Mike Good and Piers Sellers, space shuttle Atlantis concluded its final flight, a 12-day trip to the International Space Station with a smooth landing at the Kennedy Space Center.

"And Houston/Atlantis we have wheel stop. Copy wheel stop Atlantis. That landing was something that your air force crewmates should of really been proud of; that was pretty sweet."

Bill Hardwood: "I think what a lot of us are wondering about is making sure that everything is up and running again."

Tracy Caldwell: "Shannon and Doug removed the last jumpers today and put the racks back and so it’s all spic and span and it’s back to business as usual it seems."

The International Space Station’s cooling system was reactivated and finally back in normal operation.

Mission Control: "The pump is looking good."

Doug Wheelock: "Oh, Sweet! We got our station back!"

Three spacewalks by Expedition 24 Flight Engineers Doug Wheelock and Tracy Caldwell Dyson were needed to remove and replace a failed ammonia pump that had disabled one of the station’s two cooling loops on July 31.

Tracy Caldwell: "I’ll pull it."

Doug Wheelock: "There you can see it."

Mission Control: "Yep I see."


Launch Announcer: "3-2-1 fueling tower separates, booster ignition, and liftoff of the Soyuz Rocket with Alexander Kaleri, Scott Kelly and Oleg Skripochka began their journey to the International Space Station."

Following several days of traditional pre-launch activities and preparations, the Expedition 25 crew successfully launched aboard a Soyuz TMA-01M rocket on October 7, beginning a two-day journey to the International Space Station. Soyuz Commander Alexander Kaleri, NASA Flight Engineer Scott Kelly and Russian Flight Engineer Oleg Skripochka are joining Commander Doug Wheelock and Flight Engineers Fyodor Yurchikhin and Shannon Walker, who have been in orbit since June.

The first SpaceX Falcon 9 demonstration launch for NASA's Commercial Orbital Transportation Services program lifted off on Wednesday, Dec. 8 from Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida.

Launch Announcer: "We have liftoff of Falcon 9 stage one."

Known as COTS 1, the launch is the first flight of the Dragon spacecraft and the first commercial attempt to re-enter a spacecraft from orbit. The demonstration mission proved key capabilities such as launch, structural integrity of the Dragon spacecraft, on-orbit operation, re-entry, descent and splashdown in the Pacific Ocean.



As he did in 2009, President Obama made several calls from the White House to astronauts in space…

But 2010 also saw the president visit the Kennedy Space Center in Florida to present his plans for NASA and reaffirm his support for space exploration.


President Obama: "Hey guys!"

President Obama spoke with the crews of space shuttle Endeavour and the International Space Station from the Roosevelt Room of the White House.

President Obama: "I think I speak for the all young people here, and everybody back home how proud we are of you, how excited we are about the work that is being done on the Space Station, and how committed we are to continuing human space exploration in the future."


President Barack Obama made a trip to the Kennedy Space Center on Thursday to explain his plan for America’s space program. Accompanied by Florida Senator and former shuttle astronaut Bill Nelson, Apollo astronaut Buzz Aldrin, and NASA Administrator Charles Bolden, President Obama addressed an audience comprised of elected officials, leaders from industry, academia and KSC employees.

President Obama: "I am 100% Committed to the mission of NASA and its future. (applause) Because broadening our capabilities in space will continue to serve our society in ways we can scarcely imagine. Because exploration will once more inspire wonder in a new generation: sparking passions, launching careers. And because, ultimately, if we fail to press forward in the pursuit of discovery, we are ceding our future, ceding that essential element of the American character."


Administrator Charlie Bolden joined President Obama at a special White House ceremony honoring educators from across the country for their excellence in mathematics, science teaching and mentoring. The event was part of the President’s “Educate to Innovate” campaign to boost student achievement in STEM subjects: science, technology, engineering and math.

President Obama: "I've challenged the scientific community to think of new and creative ways to engage young people in their fields. That's why we launched the "Educate to Innovate" campaign -- a nationwide effort by citizens, non-for-profits, universities, and companies from across America to help us move to the top of the pack in math and science education."



Through a combination of hands-on projects, creative partnerships and public appearances, NASA continued to promote the education of our youth in science, technology, engineering, and math, the STEM disciplines so important to our nation’s future.

NASA is teaming with Univision Communications Inc, the Department of Education and other organizations to support Univision’s initiative to improve Hispanic students high school graduation rates, prepare for college and encourage them to pursue careers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

Charlie Bolden: "It’s a great extension of the efforts that we’ve been making to foster STEM education to support the President’s ‘Educate to Innovate’ program, the ‘Race to the Top’; it all fits together for us. This program is designated, primarily, to reach kids in the high school area, but I think with our ‘Summer of Innovation’ that’s focused on kids in middle schools, they are kind of a perfect marriage."

Teachers became students while participating in the second annual NASA Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics -- STEM -- Educators, Workshops held this year in Charlotte, N.C. The 40-session workshop provided elementary, middle and high school teachers with creative hands-on ways to incorporate NASA content into their classrooms.


About 25 seventh-grade girls from area middle schools got up close and personal with unique aircraft and high technology when they participated in a "Tech Trek" tour of the Dryden Flight Research Center.

The Tech Trek, to develop interest and excitement about math and science and self-confidence among middle-school girls, included tours of Dryden's main aircraft hangar and several specialized research and support aircraft.

Dozens of teachers are conducting real science in an extreme environment. Through Ames Research Center’s Spaceward Bound project, NASA has sent teachers to California State University’s Desert Study Center in Zzyzx. (nat) Here, on the edge of the barren Mojave Desert, they help conduct NASA-related field science. The data and knowledge they glean at Zzyzx will be used to develop experiments, demonstrations and lesson plans for their students.


NASA Administrator Charles Bolden joined with other NASA volunteers in helping these fifth graders become rocket scientists for day.

The students at the Langdon Elementary School in Washington built and test flew their own paper rockets using a high-power paper rocket launcher.


Leland Melvin: "Please give a warm welcome to Charlie Bolden."

Charles Bolden: "Allright, Allright, Allright. Hi ya doing?"

More than 250 students joined with astronaut Leland Melvin and Administrator Charles Bolden at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory to help kickoff NASA’s Summer of Innovation.

Bolden: "What we want to do this summer through the Summer of Innovation is take young men and women like Malik and we want them understand, yeah science and math may be difficult, but you can learn it."

Also, over the Labor Day weekend, actor/rapper Mos Def and astronaut Leland Melvin teamed up to share NASA’s Summer of Innovation program with young people at the Instituting Science in Schools Science and Cultural Festival at the Chabot Observatory in Oakland, California, and people attending the Tom Joyner Morning Show Family Reunion in Orlando, Florida.



AL NARRATION: Once again, NASA employees proved the importance of community involvement. Centers threw open their doors to neighbors, and reached out to make new friends for the agency. NASA also provided technological assistance to a region of our country threatened with ecological disaster, and expertise to another member of the global community in their time of grave need.

NASA assets continue to help scientists track two events causing worldwide environmental and economic concern. NASA’s instrumented research aircraft, the Earth Resources-2, or ER-2, has been deployed to the Gulf of Mexico to do flyovers of the Deepwater Horizon BP oil spill and the coastline it threatens. The agency is also making extra satellite observations and conducting additional data processing to help U.S. disaster response agencies assess the spread and impact of the slick.


"Okay guys, let’s go!"

The first hatchlings from endangered sea turtle eggs at possible risk by the BP oil spill were released into the Atlantic Ocean off the Kennedy Space Center on July 11.

"There they go. Yeah! That’s awesome."

After their collection at a Florida Panhandle beach, the eggs of twenty-two Kemp’s ridley turtles were brought to a secure, climate-controlled facility at Kennedy where the nest was monitored until incubation was complete.


When she was just six years old, Carolina Gallardo fell in love with the night sky. As a teenager, the young woman from a poor family near Mexico City watched a television show about astronomy and the Hubble Space Telescope that would make the stars her life’s work. Carolina, then thirteen, was so inspired by Ed Weiler, the NASA scientist featured on the program that she initiated a correspondence with him that would encourage her studies for years to come.

Now, at age 30, Carolina Gallardo has finished a summer internship at the Goddard Space Flight Center to complete masters’ programs in aeronautics/astronautics and space technology. A special guest at the Science Mission Directorate’s monthly meeting at Headquarters, Caroline told senior managers how Weiler, now the directorate’s Associate Administrator and others at NASA have impacted her life.

Caroline Gallardo: "Now I graduate with two Masters in aerospace and I can say that thanks to you, thanks to your challenge, to your motivation, I can tell everyone that if it wasn’t for you, I wouldn’t have gone this far. Thank you very much."


NASA Administrator Charles Bolden and the NASA team that traveled to Chile to assist the once-trapped miners met with President Obama on Oct. 28 in the White House Oval Office. The team advised Chilean rescue officials on how to maintain the psychological and physiological well-being of the 33 miners trapped a half-mile beneath the Earth’s surface, as well as the design of the rescue capsule in which each man would finally ascend after 69 days underground.

For nearly eighty years, the LEGO "brick" has helped enhance children’s creativity through playing and learning. Now, NASA is teaming up with LEGO to develop innovative educational and outreach activities to interest youngsters in science, technology, engineering and mathematics. The collaboration, called “Build the Future, kicked off at Kennedy with youngsters building their vision of the future in space.


The continuing study of ice sheets in the Arctic was just one way NASA researchers added to the data about changes in temperatures and sea levels around the globe.

A new NASA Web site can help our future explorers and leaders better understand the how’s and why’s of climate change – and what they can do to make our planet more habitable.

Fish: "Kind of far south for a polar bear ain’t you?"

Polar Bear: "You don’t say. Look, my habitat is shrinking and I obviously fell asleep on the wrong iceberg."

Fish: "What you say?"

Climate Kids can be found at

Operation IceBridge has entered the second phase of its spring 2010 campaign. NASA’s DC-8 aircraft has returned from Greenland to the Dryden Flight Research Center in California, following a successful survey of the entire Arctic Ocean. The plane flew from Thule, Greenland to Fairbanks, Alaska providing a detailed snapshot of sea ice conditions.

As this year’s hurricane season gets underway, the Goddard Space Flight Center has unveiled, for the media, NASA’s new climate simulation center. An amalgam of supercomputing, visualization, and data interaction technologies, the climate simulation center, supports weather and climate prediction research at one of the world’s largest contingents of Earth scientists.

A NASA-sponsored mission in Alaska is exploring how changes in the Arctic’s sea ice cover may be contributing to global warming. ICESCAPE, for Impacts of Climate on Ecosystems and Chemistry of the Arctic Pacific Environment," is working its way through the Bering Strait headed for the Chukchi and Beaufort seas.


From laboratory and wind tunnel research to demonstration tests, NASA Aeronautics continued its green aviation initiatives. Their goal: to make air travel quieter, cleaner and more efficient while increasing the safety and comfort of passengers.

The Ames Research Center was the scene of a gathering of experts from government, industry and academia meeting to discuss the agency’s green aviation research efforts

Researcher: "…doing research in alternative bio-fuels."

and showcase groundbreaking solutions NASA and its partners are developing to reduce the impact of aviation systems on the environment.

Over a two day period, attendees heard researchers, scientists, technicians and leading policymakers, present on the latest emerging environmentally sensitive aviation technologies.

Jaiwon Shin: "Please join us in welcoming our NASA Administrator, Mr. Bolden."

NASA Administrator Charles Bolden addressed the group on day one of the event.

Charles Bolden: "We’re so excited at NASA about the opportunities we’re being given, in the coming years, to help develop solutions to some of our most pressing aviation problems, and create the next generation of air transportation systems that will last generations and make us all safer and make the planet a better place That’s a huge challenge, but we at NASA enthusiastically accept it."

Next week, more of This Year @NASA!

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