NASA TV's This Week @NASA, Week Ending Feb. 1

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NASA TV's This Week @NASA, Week Ending Feb. 1
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This Week At NASA …

Space Shuttle Atlantis is scheduled for a February 7 launch the International Space Station. The STS-122 Crew lead by Commander Steve Frick are slated to lift off from the Kennedy Space Center's Launch Pad 39A at 2:45 p.m. Eastern. Testing at the Marshall Space Flight Center indicates that the fuel sensor problems, which caused STS-122 to be delayed, have been fixed. A redesigned connector on the engine cutoff sensors has passed tough cryogenic and vibration tests, verifying its readiness for flight.

On orbit aboard the International Space Station, Expedition 16 Commander Peggy Whitson
Peggy Whitson: "I’m in the APFR. I tried leaning back. It's a little bit challenging, but I might have to take one foot out, but I think I can do it."

And, Flight Engineer Dan Tani…

Dan Tani: "November, November Golf Three."

Mission Control: "That’s good copy Dan."

Dan Tani: "Any sentence with the word golf in it is a good one."

completed a spacewalk during which they successfully replaced the Bearing Motor Roll Ring Module also called the 'broom.” The motor, located at the base of one of the International Space Station's solar arrays, drives the starboard solar wings as they tilt along their axis to follow the sun for optimal power generation as the station orbits the Earth. The spacewalkers also inspected the starboard solar array joint on the station's truss for debris contamination. That device causes the starboard solar wings to rotate in a paddlewheel-like motion to keep the arrays pointed toward the sun. Previous inspections revealed contamination and debris inside that joint. It was the sixth career spacewalk for both Whitson and Tani.

A new take on a popular piece of exercise equipment may improve the health of future astronauts. The device built by a team of engineers at the Glenn Research Center is the Standalone Zero Gravity Locomotion Simulator. It’s a vertical treadmill that allows people to run while lying down and imitates what it feels like to exercise in weightlessness. It'll be used in bed rest studies managed by the Johnson Space Center at the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston. The goal is to develop better exercise protocols that lessen the harmful health effects of long-duration space travel.

Ambassadors from more than 45 countries visited the Kennedy Space Center. The international dignitaries toured various locations, including the Space Station Processing Facility. The tour was part of the State Department’s new "Experience America" program. Members of Washington, D.C.'s diplomatic corps are visiting cities and towns throughout the U.S. to learn more about American life outside our Nation's Capital.

Langley Research Center Director Lesa Roe led a NASA delegation to the state house in Richmond to participate in Virginia’s Aerospace Day. Roe and astronaut Andy Thomas met with members of Virginia’s General Assembly to highlight the contributions that Langley and the Wallops Flight Facility have made to the state’s aerospace industry. Thomas also spoke with students about his career in space exploration. Together, Langley and Wallops provide 10-thousand high-paying jobs and generate more than a billion dollars for Virginia's economy. Further south, representatives from the Stennis Space Center visited the state capital in Jackson to meet with legislators as part of NASA Space Day in Mississippi. Stennis and its nearly 5-thousand employees had an estimated impact of $839 million on Mississippi's economy in 2007, a 27 percent increase from the previous year.

Veteran astronaut Mike Foale thanked Mississippi legislators for their continued support of NASA.

Astronaut Mike Foale: "…And so that the journey continues beyond earth’s orbit and on to the moon and to Mars."

The Ames Research Center hosted regional participants in the 16th annual National Engineers Week Future City Competition. (applause) This year's contest focused on nanotechnology. Using SimCity 3000 software, each team of students created its own "city" and demonstrated how nanotechnology would help monitor its infrastructure. They then sculpted a table-top model of their city from recyclables. More than 30-thousand students throughout the U.S. were expected to compete in this year's contest.

Steve Cook, the Ares Project Manager at the Marshall Space Flight Center, took part in a live, televised discussion with Huntsville area middle school students. WHNT-TV, Huntsville's CBS affiliate, and E-TV, the city's educational channel, broadcast the one-hour event. Select students interacted with Cook through a Digital Learning Network; others emailed Cook questions about Ares, NASA's launch vehicles that will take humans back to the moon and later to Mars and other destinations.

A half-century ago, Explorer 1 became America’s first Earth-orbiting satellite. In Huntsville, the birthplace of the U.S. space program, remembering Explorer was part of a gala celebration for the grand opening of the Davidson Center for Space Exploration. The gala also kicked off a yearlong commemoration of NASA's 50th anniversary by Discovery Communications with special events, projects and programming in partnership with the agency. Dr. Wernher von Braun and his team designed, tested and built Explorer's rocket at the Marshall Space Flight Center, in Huntsville. The Jet Propulsion Laboratory, which built the Explorer 1 spacecraft, celebrated with numerous events. JPL also produced a documentary about Explorer to air on Los Angeles public TV, and nationally on Discovery HD Theatre and NASA Television. The launch of Explorer 1 50 years ago propelled America into the space age.

And that's This Week At NASA!
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