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NASA TV's This Week @NASA, June 12
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This Week At NASA...

Launch is less than a day away for the crew of space shuttle Endeavour. STS-127 will deliver to the International Space Station the final components of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency's Kibo laboratory.

Mark Polansky: "It's a really exciting mission. We are the last mission that is taking up Japanese hardware on a space shuttle, you know, really big pieces of equipment that we’re going to go ahead and leave behind on the space station for construction. So with that in mind, we’ve got five spacewalks during the course of our docked time up there."

Commander Mark Polansky is one of three spaceflight veterans on STS-127; mission specialists Dave Wolf and Julie Payette of the Canadian Space Agency are the others. Making their first trips into space on this 16-day mission are Pilot Doug Hurley, Mission Specialists Chris Cassidy, Tom Marshburn and Tim Kopra, who’ll replace Koichi Wakata as a space station flight engineer. Wakata worked for more than three months aboard the orbiting laboratory.

When Endeavour docks to the space station and its seven crew members board, that’ll bring the number of people on the station to 13, the most ever. They’ll join the six-member Expedition 20 crew, the largest, and first and only station crew drawn from the space station’s five partner nations. Endeavour’s launch is scheduled for 7:17 a.m. EDT Saturday.

NASA's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter -- LRO, and the Lunar Crater Observation and Sensing Satellite – LCROSS are scheduled for launch on June 17 from the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. The two spacecraft will travel to the moon together. LRO will orbit the moon, identifying safe landing sites, locating potential resources, characterizing the radiation environment, and demonstrating new technology.

Richard Vondrak: "LRO is going to be a very exciting mission. The results are going to be significant and I expect we’ll find many surprises on the moon. So I think the public should be looking forward to the results of LRO."

It’ll explore the moon’s poles for one-year, followed by another, multi-year science mission. Approximately four to five months after launch, LCROSS will impact the lunar surface and kick up ejecta containing clues to the presence of water ice or hydrated minerals crucial to future human exploration of the moon.

The Marshall Space Flight Center held a ribbon cutting ceremony for its new "green friendly," environmentally efficient building, No. 4601. Alabama Senator Richard Shelby, along with other dignitaries were on hand for the event.

Richard Shelby: "I’m glad to be here today. I think this is a signal of honor, a statement that we’re, again, committed to NASA, and we’re going continue to build this big footprint right here."

The new 30 million dollar engineering facility was designed and built according to efficient energy and water principles. It will be home to engineers from Marshall's Materials and Processes Laboratory and Spacecraft and Vehicle Systems Department, working on next-generation launch vehicle technologies.

Signing her name to NASA’s next Mars rover is Clara Ma, the 12-year-old Kansas six-grader who renamed it. Clara renamed the Mars Science Laboratory “Curiosity” in a recent contest sponsored by NASA; her prize package included this special signing event in a clean assembly room at the Jet Propulsion Lab.

Clara Ma: "I think it’s a really big sense of accomplishment for me, just to know that I get to come here and meet all these great people, just because I sat down and put my thoughts on paper."

The name beat out more than 9,000 student proposals sent via Internet and mail. Walt Disney studios paid for Ma’s trip and awarded prizes to 30 semifinalists.

Interested in getting your name on a microchip that’ll go to Mars with Curiosity? Go to:, scroll down and click on “Mars Science Lab," then click on "participate."

Curiosity is scheduled for launch in 2011 and will be larger and more capable than any craft previously sent to land on the Red Planet.

NASA has announced the winners of its second annual Lunar Art Contest. High school and college students from around the globe entered the event sponsored by the Langley Research Center. Entrees were accepted in two-dimensional artwork and sculpture, three-dimensional art and digital art, and video. This year’s overall winner was Zachary Madere of the Rocky Mountain College of Art and Design in Lakewood, Colorado. His painting “Crater Core Sample,” shows an astronaut holding an icy cylinder in a darkened crater while two other astronauts look on. Top winners in each category will be recognized at Washington’s National Air & Space Museum as part of a July 20th celebration on the 40th anniversary of the first Apollo landing. The winning art will become part of a digital exhibit.

And that's This Week At NASA!

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