NASA TV's This Week @NASA, Week Ending Nov. 2

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NASA TV's This Week @NASA, Week Ending Nov. 2
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This Week At NASA …

With the help of its famous alumnus and namesake, the new Neil Armstrong Hall of Engineering was dedicated at Purdue University. The $53.2 million building houses the School of Aeronautics and Astronautics and other engineering programs.Armstrong, the first man to walk on the moon, is one of 22 Purdue alumni who went on to become NASA astronauts. Among them is Armstrong's friend and fellow Apollo astronaut, Eugene Cernan.

Eugene Cernan: "This building right here is a recognition of that dream and a recognition of those people who made not just all those steps we made on the moon even possible, but all the steps any of us ever made into space."

Also on hand to herald Armstrong's accomplishments was NASA Administrator Michael Griffin.

Michael Griffin: "The first person to go to the moon, to occupy a position which for as long as human history is recorded will be a unique position. Neil Armstrong has given us a lesson for the last 38 years in how to handle yourself in that situation."

A featured competition at the Wirefly X Prize Cup at Holloman Air Force Base in New Mexico was the Northrop Grumman Lunar Lander Challenge. But, with none of the participating teams meeting the Challenge's requirements, the $2 million in prize money offered by NASA's Centennial Challenges Program went unclaimed. Teams had to successfully create a rocket-propelled vehicle and payload that could take off vertically, climb to a defined altitude, fly for a designated amount of time, and then land vertically on a fixed target. The vehicle had to then take off again within a predetermined time, fly for a certain period, and then land back on its original launch pad. An X PRIZE is a multi-million dollar award given to the first team to achieve a specific goal with the potential to benefit humanity. The Lunar Lander Challenge aims to spur development of a commercial vehicle capable of ferrying cargo or humans back and forth between lunar orbit and the moon's surface. NASA's unclaimed purse rolls over to next year's competition.

The crews aboard the International Space Station and space shuttle Discovery got a surprise phone call from a distinguished visitor to the Johnson Space Center: Former president George Bush.

Former President George Bush: "It's a most impressive display as you all came in there and started tumbling around."

Bush and former first lady Barbara Bush spent about an hour at the Center, where they paid visits to both the space shuttle and space station Flight Control Rooms.

Langley Research Center celebrated its 90th birthday with an open house. An estimated 24,000 people visited the center in Hampton, Va., including some very excited youngsters …

They got to fly in simulators, venture inside a lunar habitat and learn how airplanes are made quieter.

Since its establishment as America's first civilian flight laboratory in 1917, Langley Aeronautical Laboratory, and later Langley Research Center has sought to unlock the mysteries of flight. Langley has provided many of the basic building blocks of aeronautics and lead advances in space exploration. Langley simulators helped astronauts learn how to rendezvous and dock in space, and land on the moon. Thousands of hours of wind tunnel tests at Langley helped develop the space shuttle. And today, the Center continues its groundbreaking efforts, helping design the next generation of space vehicles that'll take astronauts back to the moon and onto Mars.

Seven years ago this week, the International Space Station received its first occupants. On Nov. 2, 2000, the Expedition 1 crew -- Commander Bill Shepherd and Flight Engineers Yuri Gidzenko and Sergei Krikalev began their 136-day stay on the station, activating critical life support and other equipment brought up by shuttle crews over the previous two years. The International Space Station has had a continuous human presence on board ever since.

Five years ago this month, in November 2002, John Bennett Herrington became the first member of a Native American tribe to fly in space. A distinguished naval aviator selected as an astronaut in 1996, Herrington served as a mission specialist aboard STS-113, the 16th space shuttle mission to the International Space Station.

Before his eleven-day trip, Herrington got a special send-off from the Kennedy Space Center that included native dancers and a special performance by legendary singer, Buffy St. Marie. He carried into space a Chickasaw Nation flag presented to him by the tribe's governor. During the STS-113 mission, Herrington performed three spacewalks totaling almost 20 hours.

And that's This Week At NASA!
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