NASA TV's This Week @NASA, Week Ending May 18

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NASA TV's This Week @NASA, Week Ending May 18
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This Week at NASA …

Space Shuttle Atlantis is on launch pad 39A at the Kennedy Space Center. The orbiter made the 3-1/2 mile rollout from the Vehicle Assembly Building after repairs to its external tank were completed. A February hailstorm damaged the tank and delayed the shuttle's mid-March mission. The launch of STS-117 to the International Space Station is targeted for the evening of June 8.

Already at the station …

Mission Control SOT: "…Okay. Contact. Docking Confirmed."

The Progress 25 resupply craft. The unpiloted Russian cargo ship successfully docked with the International Space Station's Zvezda Service Module, bringing with it two-and-a-half tons of food, fuel and supplies to the Expedition 15 Crew.

A ring of dark matter formed long ago during a collision of two galaxy clusters has been discovered by astronomers using NASA's Hubble Space Telescope. They found the ring unexpectedly while mapping the distribution of dark matter within the galaxy cluster Cl 0024+17. Although astronomers cannot see dark matter, they can infer its existence by mapping the distorted shapes of the background galaxies. This ring's discovery is among the strongest evidence that dark matter does exist.

(music "Hail to the Chief")

President and Mrs. Bush visited Jamestown, Virginia to help honor the 400th anniversary of the first permanent English settlement in North America. NASA teamed with Jamestown 2007 organizers to help Americans embrace the spirit of exploration then, now and in the future. NASA Administrator Michael Griffin was among the dignitaries in attendance.

Michael Griffin SOT: "The same values that inspired the Jamestown colonists, the drive to explore the unknown, to advance commerce, to spread the rule of law in representative government, will propel the explorers and settlers of our time."

Visitors to the NASA exhibit used interactive displays to learn about the parallels between Jamestown's early settlers and modern-day pioneers who'll realize the Vision for Space Exploration.

Suni Williams SOT: "The same courage and conviction that brought Jamestown settlers to America in 1607, continues to drive today's exploration to establish the first human outpost on the moon."

Suni Williams SOT: "There's probably more alien-looking things down there than there are up here. (laughter)"

The station crew spoke with their underwater counterparts in the Aquarius habitat 62 feet beneath the surface of the Atlantic. The NEEMO program, for NASA Extreme Environment Mission Operations, sent a flight surgeon, two astronauts and a Cincinnati doctor into the ocean depths off Key Largo, Florida for 12 days.

Heidemarie Stefanyshyn-Piper SOT: "This is mission day eleven and we are about to start decompression later on today, and then we splash up tomorrow morning."

They're testing new concepts in space medicine, robotic telesurgery and moon-walking techniques in the 45-foot long, 13-foot diameter underwater habitat and lab.

This simulated aircraft emergency was part of an earthquake disaster drill at the Ames Research Center.

Emergency Response Personnel SOT: "All units on fire operations, please sound your sirens for ten seconds."

The simulated 7-point-3 quake, which was said to have "caused" catastrophic damage throughout the San Francisco Bay Area ...
Emergency Response Personnel SOT: "We have multiple facilities with damage. We have a mass evacuation occurring at this time."
…helped Center employees understand earthquake emergency protocols and their roles and responsibilities in a real disaster.

Twenty-five schools were added to the NASA Explorer School program beginning a special three-year partnership with the Agency. Each school team will develop a plan using NASA's programs and missions to inspire its students in math, science and technology. The NASA Explorer School program targets students in fourth through ninth grades. The 25 teams represent all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands.

Rob LaSalvia SOT: "We are very proud to have all of you as members of our team."

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