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NASA TV's This Week @NASA, February 10
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This Week At NASA…

Space shuttle Discovery’s mission to the International Space Station is scheduled to launch no earlier than Feb. 22. And when STS-119 literally gets off the ground, Mission Specialists Ricky Arnold and Joe Acaba won’t be the only first-time flyers. Pilot Tony Antonelli is also making his premiere venture into space.

Toni Antonelli: "It’s exciting; this is what we come here to do. It took a little while getting here and then it took a little while getting assigned, working the way up the ladder to be next, but it’s pretty exciting. I’m ready to go."

Space flight veterans John Phillips, Steve Swanson and Koichi Wakata and Commander Lee Archambault round out the STS-119 crew. Together, they’ll help install the final piece of the complex’s structural backbone, and switch out Wakata for Sandy Magnus on the station; she’ll return aboard Discovery after three months away from Earth.

It’s nimble and versatile, and could help future explorers, in space and on Earth. Engineers from the Jet Propulsion Lab and students at CalTech have designed and tested Axel, a low-mass robot that can rappel off cliffs, travel over steep and rocky terrain, and delve into deep craters.

Issa Nesnas: "This is a rover that’s fully symmetric, so there is no way to flip this over. It operates right upside down, right side up."

Pablo Abad-Manterola SOT: "This robot has met and exceeded all my expectations basically, just in terms of the way it has performed; going down ninety degree slopes, to traversing to flat ground, and getting over rocks, and all that kind of stuff. It’s been great, and I’m really happy with it!."

Axel could be used by robotic spacecraft to improve exploration of Mars and other foreign worlds. The new rover also may prove valuable to public safety personnel in treacherous search-and-rescue operations.

Representatives from the Langley Research Center and the Wallops Flight Facility joined with Virginia’s business community for Aerospace Day in Richmond. Center directors, Lesa Roe and John Campbell, of Langley and Wallops, respectively, met with members of the Virginia General Assembly to tout the importance of aerospace in the commonwealth’s economy. Roe and Campbell also spoke about how Virginia’s investment in science, technology, engineering and math education can ensure the future of the aerospace industry’s workforce.

Lesa Roe: "Each and every day the scientists, engineers, and technicians at NASA Langley are helping to transform the nation’s air transportation system, ensuring ever safe, more environmentally friendly, and efficient air travel. They’re contributing to the science that will enable a better understanding of our home planet, and helping to develop the vehicles that are going to replace the shuttle and carry humans back to the moon, this time to work and live there."

Other activities included a demonstration by Langley education experts of NASA’s long distance learning capability.

What will be Hubble’s next discovery? To celebrate the International Year of Astronomy, NASA wants you to select one from among six astronomical objects for the Hubble Space Telescope to photograph. These are objects yet to be captured by Hubble: from far-flung galaxies to dying stars. Hubble will create a high resolution image of the winning celestial body; it’ll be released during the International Year of Astronomy’s “100 Hours of Astronomy” April 2 to the 5th. But you only have until March first to vote, at All voters will be entered into a random drawing to receive one of a hundred copies of the winning image. The fifth and final Hubble servicing mission is targeted to begin with the launch of space shuttle Atlantis May 12.

NASA ANNIVERSARY: STS-82, Second Hubble Servicing Mission, Feb. 11, 1997

Launch announcer: " 2-1 ignition and liftoff, Discovery now on its way to service NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope."

Twelve years ago, Hubble’s second servicing mission got underway. On flight day 3, Mission Specialist Steve Hawley, who'd first deployed the telescope seven years earlier during STS-31, successfully used shuttle Discovery's grapple arm to retrieve the telescope from its orbit and place it on a special work platform. Four EVAs were then performed to service and upgrade Hubble's inner workings.

STS -82 CREW: "Doors just sprung open. It sure did. How about that?"

During the second excursion, spacewalkers Greg Harbaugh and Joe Tanner discovered cracks and wear on the telescope’s sun-facing insulation so astronauts Mark Lee and Steve Smith performed an unplanned fifth EVA to attached several thermal insulation blankets to an area housing Hubble's key data processing, electronics and scientific instrument telemetry packages.

STS-82's five spacewalks totaled more than 33 hours.

And that's This Week At NASA!

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