NASA TV's This Week @NASA, Week Ending April 18

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NASA TV's This Week @NASA, Week Ending April 18
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This Week At NASA…

NASA engineers have adjusted the flight path of the Phoenix Mars Lander, setting the spacecraft on course for its May 25 landing on the Red Planet. It was the third trajectory maneuver of the mission, but the first to target a specific location in the northern polar region of Mars. A tentative landing site in a broad, flat valley informally called "Green Valley" awaits final approval.

Peter Smith: "I see this mission as a stepping stone toward the search for life on other planets. We’re hoping to find the place that we consider really a habitable zone on Mars."

Phoenix will dig to an ice-rich layer expected to lie within arm's reach of the Martian surface. It will analyze the water and soil for evidence about climate cycles and investigate whether the environment there has been favorable for microbial life.

Preparations continue for the launch of the STS-124 mission. Technicians inside the Vehicle Assembly Building at the Kennedy Space Center are shown here preparing to attach, or mate, space shuttle Discovery’s external fuel tank to its twin solid rocket boosters. During its 13-day mission, the STS-124 crew of seven astronauts will deliver Kibo’s large Japanese Pressurized Module, or JPM, and its remote manipulator system, or RMS, to the International Space Station. Discovery Commander Mark Kelly and his crew are targeted to begin their mission May 31st.



Crew members of the STS-122 space shuttle mission visited the Marshall Space Flight Center. Led by Commander Steve Frick, they showed highlights of their February delivery of the Columbus module to the International Space Station. Following a question-and-answer session, Frick and company signed autographs for Marshall employees.

Ames, Goddard and Johnson were among those NASA centers sponsoring Yuri's Night World Space Parties. The Bay Area celebration drew an estimated 7,000 people to the Ames’ Moffett Field hangar and was highlighted by music, dance, technology and art. Goddard Space Flight Center played host to hundreds of partygoers, with another 15-hundred estimated in attendance at Space Center Houston. Held simultaneously in more than 25 countries and 80 locations worldwide, Yuri's Night commemorates humanity's first venture into space by Yuri Gagarin on April 12, 19-61, and recognizes the first space shuttle mission on that same date, twenty years later.

The John C. Stennis Space Center has been designated an historical aerospace site by the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics. NASA’s official rocket engine test site since 1961, Stennis has tested the massive Saturn V engines used in the Apollo program – and every main engine used in the space shuttle program. Stennis will also test the J-2X rocket engine, a critical component of NASA’s Constellation program to return humans to the moon. The AIAA’s historic designation makes Stennis the fourth NASA center, after Marshall, Johnson and Langley, to be so honored, putting it in elite company with Kitty Hawk, North Carolina, site of the Wright brothers first airplane flight, and Tranquility Base, where astronauts first landed on the moon.

Stennis employees also celebrated NASA’s 50th Anniversary – with a picnic. Employees enjoyed a lunch of hamburgers, hotdogs and chili, while the Stennis band named MECO, the acronym for the space shuttle’s Main Engine Cut-Off, performed.

Iowa State’s annual Veishea parade had a hometown celebrity as its Grand Marshall. Astronaut and native Iowan Clayton Anderson did the honors this year. Anderson, an Iowa State grad, is also being inducted into the school's aerospace engineering hall of distinguished alumni. Anderson earned his master's at the school before joining NASA in 1983; Anderson returned to Earth last November after five months on the International Space Station. VEE-sha is an acronym for the colleges that formed Iowa State when the festival was created in 19-22.

And that's This Week At NASA!
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