NASA TV's This Week @NASA, Week Ending July 27

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NASA TV's This Week @NASA, Week Ending July 27
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This Week at NASA …

It’s official! The launch date for STS-118 is August 7. The decision was announced following a Flight Readiness Review for Shuttle Endeavour. During the mission the STS-118 crew will install a new truss segment and replace a failed motion control gyroscope on the International Space Station. Scott Kelly is commander and Charlie Hobaugh will pilot the orbiter. Rounding out the crew are mission specialists Al Drew, Dave Williams, Tracy Caldwell, Rick Mastracchio and Barbara Morgan. The STS-118 launch is targeted for 7:02 p.m., eastern.

A successful spacewalk was conducted outside the International Space Station by Expedition 15 Flight Engineer Clay Anderson and Commander Fyodor Yurchikhin. During the almost 8-hour excursion, Anderson shoved a refrigerator-sized ammonia tank away from the complex.

(nat SOT): "Jettisoned"

The tank was no longer needed, and jettisoning the vessel was the safest method of disposal. The tank is expected to burn up on reentry to the earth's atmosphere within the next year. Anderson and Yurchikin also replaced a faulty circuit breaker and cleaned a docking seal for future station assembly work. The spacewalk paves the way for space shuttle Endeavour's visit next month.

The Mars rovers may be facing their biggest challenge yet. Over the last month, a series of severe storms on the Martian surface have whipped up enough dust to block most of the direct sunlight needed to power Opportunity and, to a lesser degree, Spirit. To conserve power, Opportunity has been commanded to drastically reduce its communications. Signals recently sent by Opportunity indicate its power situation has improved slightly. The fear is that Spirit and Opportunity may be permanently damaged or disabled by the storms. The robust rovers are well into the fourth year of their ninety-day mission.

The Students became the teachers at the Ames Research Center's Fluid Mechanics Lab. There, summer aeronautics interns demonstrated their projects for NASA Explorer School team members from Arapaho, Wyoming and Elk Grove, California. Team members attended a weeklong workshop to help them implement Explorer programs at their schools this fall. Decked in pirate regalia, participants also attended a special picnic for the interns. The Ames Fluid Mechanics Lab holds unique testing equipment that includes small-scale wind tunnels and a water channel.

The recent arrival of the Ikhana unmanned aircraft was reason to celebrate at the Dryden Flight Research Center. Ikhana staff and their families enjoyed a barbecue lunch, and then got up-close-and-personal with Ikhana, its ground control station, simulation facility and hangar. Ikhana is a modified Predator B aircraft that's scheduled to fly its first science mission, a wildfire imaging demonstration, in August and September.

NASA employees were treated to preview screenings of the award-winning film, 'In the Shadow of the Moon.' Voted best documentary at the Sundance Film Festival, the film features Apollo program astronauts discussing their journeys to the moon, as well as original NASA film footage and audio recordings from Mission Control. The movie opens in theaters in September, and premieres on television next year.

It launched us to the moon. But, for twenty years, this Saturn V rocket, one of just three remaining, sat out in the elements, left to corrode and degrade while on display at the main gate of the Johnson Space Center.

(ribbon cutting/applause)

Now, with this ribbon-cutting, the center's Saturn V officially has a new home. And, the massive vehicle didn't have to go anywhere. With grants obtained through the Save America's Treasures Program, a climate-controlled structure was, literally, built around the 30-story tall rocket. Once inside and shielded from sun and precipitation, the Saturn V was restored to near original condition.

(SOT Allen Needell)

"A few ribs and things were so badly deteriorated that we had to fill them in and paint them over, but for the most part we were able to retain most of the original material."

The Saturn V is the most powerful rocket ever built. It was launched 13 times from 1967 to 1973. Eight of the missions it launched went to the moon. Two other Saturn Vs are on display, at the U.S. Space and Rocket Center in Huntsville, and the Kennedy Space Center Visitors Complex. Johnson's new Saturn V facility is open to the public daily.


Nat SOT: ("Tranquilly base here, The Eagle has landed.")

What put our Apollo astronauts on the moon was the Lunar Lander.

Members of the Grumman Corporation team that designed this remarkable vehicle were at Headquarters to share lessons learned with current NASA employees.

The five panelists and other team members in the audience answered questions about their roles, the challenges they faced, and how they overcame them. They received words of gratitude and praise from audience members and Constellation Program managers planning NASA's return to the moon.


"Every time we peel the onion on trying to do a new design, and we get back to what they did, it was a significant accomplishment, every time we think we might have a cute answer, we get back and realize that they really had the right solution."

And 47 years ago this week, on July 29, 1960, the name "Apollo" was officially chosen for NASA's advanced program for manned spaceflight. Six Apollo missions achieved the program's goal of landing humans on the moon and bringing them safely back to Earth.

The seven-member crew of STS-118 was at the Kennedy Space Center for the mission's terminal countdown demonstration test. The test is a key stage in the final round of crew training. It includes procedures to remove the crew from the launch pad in an emergency. The exercise concludes with a simulated launch countdown. Space Shuttle Endeavour's STS-118 crew is Commander Scott Kelly, Pilot Charlie Hobaugh and Mission Specialists Alvin Drew, Dave Williams, Rick Mastracchio, Tracy Caldwell and Barbara R. Morgan. Endeavour's launch is targeted for the evening of August 7.

Marshall Official SOT: "Let’s give a warm Marshall Welcome to the crew of STS-117."
The crew of the successful STS-117 mission visited the Marshall Space Flight Center. Atlantis commander Rick Sturckow and other crewmembers showed highlights of their 14-day mission to employees in the center's Morris Auditorium. STS-117 increased the power capability of the International Space Station and prepared it for the future delivery of European and Japanese laboratories. It also returned Expedition 15 Flight Engineer Suni Williams to Earth, and carried Expedition 15/16 Flight Engineer Clay Anderson to the station.


[nat sound of sonic boom]

Experiments conducted at the Dryden Flight Research Center measured how modern housing construction is affected by sonic booms. A NASA F-18 aircraft flew at high altitudes in unique profiles to produce the explosive sounds. [nat sound of sonic boom] A house built with modern construction methods and materials was rigged with more than 100 sensors inside and out. The sensors measured both the pressure and vibration produced by the booms, which were focused on the area around the house and away from surrounding communities. Engineers will compare the results with data from a similar test conducted in 2006. NASA continues to explore ways to reduce the effects of sonic booms. The information collected from these experiments could someday make overland supersonic flight a reality.


Ed Weiler SOT: "Ready, Let’s do it."

(nat shovels)

Goddard Space Flight Center broke ground on a new, environmentally friendly Exploration Sciences Building. The three-story structure will give scientists state-of-the-art laboratories and technology for continued world class research in space and Earth science. The building will be designed to use energy and water efficiently, and will be constructed of materials known to have minimal negative impact on the environment. The multi-million dollar Exploration Sciences Building is the first project of Goddard's campus master plan and anchors a new pedestrian-friendly "science neighborhood."

One of the last remaining Saturn V launch vehicles is getting a new home. The massive three-stage rocket was ceremoniously rolled over from its outdoor perch of almost 40 years at the Marshall Space Flight Center to its new home out of the elements. The 36-story tall Saturn V will be on display inside in a new exhibit hall at the U.S. Space and Rocket Center in Huntsville, Marshall's official welcome center. The new 42-thousand square foot space is slated to open next January and will seat 350 people.

President Kennedy SOT: "I believe that this nation should commit itself to achieving this goal before this decade is out of landing a man on the moon and returning him safely to earth."

After President Kennedy said we'd go to the moon by the end of the 1960's…

Launch Announcer SOT: "Ignition TRR."

…it was the Saturn V rocket that got us there. Its cluster of five first stage engines produced 7-and-a-half million pounds of thrust that ultimately powered nine Apollo missions to the moon and back.


[nat sound ]

July 21, 1961, Astronaut Virgil "Gus" Grissom launched on a Mercury Redstone 4 on America's second manned suborbital spaceflight. Like Alan Shepard's two months before, Grissom's suborbital mission helped research and develop human capabilities in space for future orbital flights. From launch to splashdown, Grissom's successful flight traveled 302 miles in less than 16 minutes. But, his Liberty Bell 7 capsule sank shortly after its parachutes brought it down in the Atlantic Ocean. The capsule was recovered on July 20, 19-99, almost 38 years to the day after it sank.

And that's This Week At NASA.
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