NASA TV's This Week @NASA, Week Ending Nov. 16

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NASA TV's This Week @NASA, Week Ending Nov. 16
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This Week at NASA …

It was a busy week aboard the International Space Station. First, Expedition 16 Commander Peggy Whitson and Flight Engineer Yuri Malenchenko performed an almost seven-hour-long spacewalk. Then, Flight Engineer Dan Tani used the station's Canadarm2 robotic arm to detach and relocate the new Harmony connecting node and a newly attached docked port to their permanent location at the front end of the Destiny Laboratory. This helps set the stage for the arrival of space shuttle Atlantis next month.

In preparation for its scheduled December launch, Atlantis was rolled out to launch pad 39A at the Kennedy Space Center. During its 11-day mission to the International Space Station, the STS-122 crew will deliver the European Space Agency's Columbus science lab. The module will expand the station's research facilities and enable crew members and scientists worldwide to conduct a variety of experiments.

Technicians at the Dryden Flight Research Center constructed an actual-size mockup of the Orion crew module. The model will help with the development of the actual crew capsule's launch abort system. The mockup will help teams properly install and integrate wiring and instruments.

This could be home to future space explorers. NASA, the National Science Foundation and ILC Dover unveiled this inflatable, Antarctic-bound habitat under development at ILC Dover's facility in Delaware. The habitat, a product of NASA's Innovative Partnership Program, will be a component of the McMurdo Station in Antarctica from next January through February 2009. Reports from personnel braving the harsh Antarctic environment, and data collected by the habitat's sensors will help evaluate whether inflatable structures like this can support future explorers on the moon or Mars.

A new 18-meter KA Band Antenna Network was unveiled by Goddard Space Flight Center engineers at the White Sands Test Facility in New Mexico. "KA band" refers to a section within the microwave portion of the electromagnetic spectrum. The three new 18.2 meter dishes help ground stations handle higher volumes of science data generated by today's new satellites.

White Sands was the site of another NASA groundbreaking, this one for a new test launch pad. The pad will test a launch abort system that will help ensure the safety of astronauts aboard the new Orion spacecraft. NASA's Constellation Program is developing Orion to carry astronauts to the International Space Station, the moon and beyond.

NASA's DC-8 airborne science laboratory was returned to the Dryden Flight Research Center after an absence of more than two years. Since 2005, the flying science lab's missions have been managed by the University of North Dakota. Dryden flight crews continued to operate the aircraft on its world-wide, data gathering missions.

Mercury astronaut Scott Carpenter was honored by NASA with the Ambassador of Exploration Award. Carpenter received the award during a ceremony at the Denver Museum of Nature and Science. The award, a moon rock encased in Lucite, will remain on display at the museum to inspire a new generation of explorers. The rock is part of the 842 pounds of samples collected during the six Apollo lunar expeditions from 1969 to 1972. Carpenter was one of NASA's original seven astronauts, and the fourth American in space. During his historic flight in 1962, he orbited the Earth three times and manually controlled his capsule's splashdown in the Atlantic Ocean.

And that's This Week At NASA!
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