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NASA TV's This Week @NASA, July 24
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This Week At NASA...


Neil Armstrong: "That’s one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind."

The 40th anniversary of the first moon landing spurred a multi-day celebration of the Apollo program and the Apollo 11 Crew -- Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins.

On Capitol Hill, Armstrong, Aldrin, and Collins, and Mercury and shuttle astronaut John Glenn were honored with the distinguished Congressional Gold Medal, the highest civilian award given by Congress.

Neil Armstrong: "Mercury 7 did an outstanding job and everyone knows their flights were outstanding, but I would point out something they did that was equally, in my view, even more important. They changed the one man space craft from a man in a can to a place where the pilot was an integral part of flying the machine. For that, John and Scott and your colleagues, we thank you now and every subsequent astronaut is in your debt. Thank you!"

Mike Collins: "Apollo was a dividing line putting earth, for better or for worse, into a new category, into the big leagues of planets. To me, that is what is the most significant thing about Apollo; the accomplishments, the major accomplishment, was the not the flight of Apollo 11, but the 11 Apollo flights."

The Apollo 11 crew shared details of their historic mission when they participated in the John Glenn Lecture Series at the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum.

NASA’s Headquarters hosted a panel discussion entitled “Apollo: History and Legacy.” Led by Chief Historian Steven Dick, the roundtable explored the program’s accomplishments and its impact on the design and operation of NASA’s next generation of space vehicles.

Mission Control: "…And we’re getting a picture on the TV."

Washington, D.C.’s Newseum hosted the release of digitally-enhanced video from the live broadcast of the Apollo 11 moonwalk. The release features 15 key moments from Neil Armstrong's and Buzz Aldrin's historic walk on the lunar surface, using what’s believed to be the best available broadcast-format copies of this historic event; some of the footage had been locked away for nearly 40 years.

Richard Nafzger: "Everything had to go perfect for a live transmission from the moon to come down, be converted, be fed all the way to the U.S. and to Houston and sent back out. Anyone could have pulled the plug by mistake and we wouldn’t have seen it."

The release is part of a comprehensive Apollo 11 moonwalk video restoration project expected to be completed by this fall.


At the Kennedy Center, Salute to Apollo: The Kennedy Legacy included a stellar lineup of performers including opera star Denyce Graves, and singers Chaka Khan and Jamia Nash.

Buzz Aldrin: "It is good to be here in the Kennedy Center."

Buzz Aldrin was joined by STS-125 Commander Scott Altman to introduce portions of Holst’s The Planets performed by the National Symphony Orchestra under the baton of Emil de Cou – and enhanced with spectacular images captured by NASA spacecraft and telescopes.

Guest appearances were made by Lost In Space astronaut, June Lockhart, and Star Trek’s Nichelle Nichols, via videotape…

(Audience and Nichols humming Star Trek opening theme music – laughter)

To conclude, Apollo fight director Gene Kranz conducted the NSO and the U.S. Army Chorus in a favorite piece, Stars and Stripes Forever.

Gene Kranz: "It was the kind of thing where you say how come I’ve been so lucky all my life, and this was just one of the instances."

June Lockhart: "So many of the astronauts told me that watching Lost In Space, when they were little, let them know what they wanted to do when they grew up, and I thought that was just such a complement. I did Lassie for six years, but nobody said to me when I grew up I want to be farmer." (laughter)

The following night, Air and Space hosted more than 2,000 guests at the Apollo 40th Anniversary Celebratory Reception. Emceed by Hayden Planetarium director Neil deGrasse Tyson, the event included remarks by Neil Armstrong, Scott Altman, Administrator Charles Bolden, and former Maryland lieutenant governor Kathleen Kennedy Townsend, who accepted the Ambassador of Exploration Award on behalf of her uncle, the late President John F. Kennedy.

Kathleen Kennedy Townsend: "On behalf of my family I’m very, very grateful. When they told that I would get a Moon rock, I was really excited, and I was gonna put it on my mantle piece, but I was told I was not allowed to do that. So, I thought what would be the appropriate place for the Moon rock to go."

In turn, Kennedy presented the award to an aerospace engineering student at Rice University, where the award and its moon rock will permanently be displayed.

Diana Krall singing: "Fly me to the Moon and let me play among the stars…"

The evening was capped with a performance of Fly Me to the Moon by Grammy-Award winning Jazz musician Diana Krall.

Project engineers at the Marshall Space Flight Center hoisted the final component of the Ares I rocket’s upper stage from the world's largest robotic welding tool. The liquid hydrogen fuel tank dome was completed using an innovative metal-joining technique called friction stir welding; it produces high-strength welds that are uniformly bonded together. NASA is using friction stir welding to manufacture the Ares launch vehicles.

Robert Carter: "This is the first Ares-1 Upper-Stage hardware that has been completed in this facility so it’s a pretty big milestone for the program and the project."

The Ares I is the spacecraft that will power NASA’s return to the moon. Its first test flight is scheduled in the fall.

Ames Research Center’s Moonfest 2009 feted all things related to the moon --from Apollo to LCROSS, and Beyond! The day included guest speakers, musical performances and hands-on family activities and exhibits including model rocket launches, robotics demonstrations, real moon rocks, puzzles and interactive games.

And that's This Week At NASA!

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