NASA TV's This Week @ NASA, Week Ending Jan. 26

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NASA TV's This Week @ NASA, Week Ending Jan. 26
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This Week at NASA…

At the Kennedy Space Center's Vehicle Assembly Building, the external fuel tank for Space Shuttle Atlantis was attached to its twin solid rocket boosters. At 154 feet tall and almost 28 feet wide, the rust-colored external tank is the largest element of the space shuttle system. The "mated" external tank and solid rocket boosters will be attached later to the orbiter Atlantis for mission STS-117, which is targeted for a mid-March launch.

After a two-day trip, an unmanned Russian Progress resupply craft automatically docked to the International Space Station. It delivered 2-and-a-half tons of food, fuel and supplies to the Expedition 14 crew.

Flight Director SOT: "3 meters left, two meters, contact."

NASA engineers and scientists building the infrared, James Webb Space Telescope have created a new technology called "micro-shutters." Micro-shutters are tiny doorways about the width of a hair. They'll enable scientists to mask unwanted light from foreground objects appearing no bigger than a pinpoint so they can focus on fainter objects in their field.

Dr. Moseley SOT: "We can think that of the micro-shutters as performing a function of a sun visor on a car. Imagine that you are driving into the setting sun into the west and you are having a hard time seeing the road and, as you flip down the sun visor, it blocks the direct rays of the sun from getting into your eyes and you’re much more able to see the road in front of you at that point."

This will permit the telescope to focus on the faint light of the first stars and galaxies that formed in the universe and open up the most distant stars and galaxies to astronomers around the world. The James Webb Space Telescope is scheduled to launch in 2013.

NASA pays tribute to the astronauts who gave their lives for the cause of exploration and discovery. Forty years ago, on January 27, 1967, the three members of the Apollo 1 crew perished when fire raced through their command module during a launch pad test at the Kennedy Space Center.

On January 28, 1986, 73 seconds after launch, a booster failure and subsequent explosion aboard Space Shuttle Challenger led to the loss of its crew of seven.

And, on February 1st, 2003, at the end of the STS-107 16-day science mission, the seven astronaut crew aboard Space Shuttle Columbia perished when the orbiter reentered Earth's atmosphere.

As NASA continues the Vision for Space Exploration, it does so guided by the memories of these fallen heroes.

And that's "This Week at NASA."
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