NASA TV's This Week @NASA, Week Ending May 9

Text Size

NASA TV's This Week @NASA, Week Ending May 9
› Listen Now
› View Now
This Week At NASA…

The beginning of the next robotic exploration of the Red Planet is drawing nearer. The Phoenix Mars Lander is scheduled to set down on the Martian surface on May 25th at approximately 7:30 pomp Eastern Daylight Time. Once there, Phoenix will dig into the Martian arctic's ice-rich soil to study its history of water and potential for supporting microbial life. A model of the Lander was on display at a reception on Capitol Hill. Dr. Ed Weiler, Associate Administrator of NASA’s Science Mission Directorate, was on hand to discuss the mission's challenges with members of Congress and their staff. Also present were members of the Phoenix science team from the University of Arizona.

Preparations continue for the scheduled May 31st launch of space shuttle Discovery. The orbiter is in launch position on pad 39A at the Kennedy Space Center…

…while the STS-124 crew finishes its training for the mission. The terminal countdown demonstration test is a full launch dress rehearsal where crew members familiarize themselves with equipment and emergency procedures. During the 14-day, STS-124 mission, astronauts will deliver the large Japanese Pressurized Module and its robotic arm system to the International Space Station. The STS-124 crew is Commander Mark Kelly, Pilot Ken Ham, mission specialists Karen Nyberg, Ron Garan, Mike Fossum, Greg Chamitoff and Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency astronaut Akihiko Hoshide.

Akihiko Hoshide: "It’s really great to be here. We took a look at Discovery and it was beautiful. And we’re looking forward to seeing the Kibo Module in the payload bay."

The May 31st launch is scheduled for 5:02 p.m. eastern daylight time.

Crewmembers from STS-125, the 4th Hubble Space Telescope Servicing Mission, flew into Moffett Federal Airfield to train on the Vertical Motion Simulator at the Ames Research Center. Commander Scott Altman, Pilot Gregory Johnson and Mission Specialist Megan McArthur simulated space shuttle landing and safety procedures in a wide variety of weather conditions at landing facilities around the world.

The VMS offers the largest motion range of any flight simulator in the world and its high-fidelity; out-the-window graphics allow astronauts to practice realistic space shuttle landings in a safe, yet highly effective, environment. STS-125 is scheduled to launch August 28/October 8.


Test Announcer: "One, Fire."

NASA's Space Shuttle Program successfully test fired a space shuttle reusable solid rocket motor. The testing was conducted by engineers from NASA and ATK Launch Systems Group at the company’s facilities in Utah. The test firing evaluated possible performance changes as motors age. Space shuttle solid rocket motors are certified for flight for five years from their date of manufacture. The four-segment motor tested here was more than seven years of age, the oldest ever fired. The test not only provided important information for continued launches of the shuttle, but also the development of the Ares I rocket, a key component of NASA's Constellation Program that’ll return humans to the moon.

The crew of STS-123 visited with Stennis Space Center employees. Inside StennisSphere visitors’ center, Commander Dom Gorie and his crewmates described their recent mission aboard space shuttle Endeavour to the International Space Station, where they delivered the first section of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency’s Kibo laboratory and the Canadian Space Agency’s two-armed robotic system, Dextre.

Leland Melvin: "We fly the arc like the top of a roller coaster and then we go down, and then we come back up and fly again."

And mission specialist Leland Melvin returned home to Virginia. The STS-122 mission specialist visited Seaford Elementary School, just north of the Langley Research Center. Melvin worked at Langley as a chemist before joining the astronaut corps in 19-98. Melvin showed highlights and spoke with students about his mission to the International Space Station last February as a member of the STS-122 crew aboard space shuttle Atlantis. Melvin operated the station's robotic arm that helped install the European Space Agency’s Columbus laboratory. A native of Lynchburg, Virginia, Melvin earned his bachelor’s degree from the University of Richmond and his master’s from the University of Virginia.


Bill Nelson: "Old nine millimeter film is suddenly going to come alive."

To help celebrate NASA’s 50th Anniversary this year, the Discovery Channel has produced a special multi-part series entitled “When We Left Earth: the NASA Missions.” Clips from the series were shown to members of Congress and media. Also present: former Ohio Senator and Mercury and shuttle astronaut, John Glenn.

John Glenn: "I think it’s great what Discovery has done, taking a lot of the old films and the old records and HD-ing them, and putting them on. I hope these are in such a form, at sometime, they can become available for DVDs for schools all over the country."

For “When We Left Earth,” Discovery restored and converted into high definition more than 150 hours of original film captured by astronauts and NASA cameras.

The Jet Propulsion Laboratory welcomed the public to its annual Open House. Among the highlights were 700-pound robots gliding under artificial stars in JPL's Robodome, and demonstrations of how spacecraft are prepped for their space travels. Also on display were NASA instruments that measure greenhouse gases and help scientists better understand global climate change. Children also participated in many hands-on activities.

Alumni of the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics, NASA’s predecessor, held their twelfth and final reunion in Hampton, Va. From 1915 until October 1, 1958, NACA engineers and researchers worked at five locations around the country, carrying out much of the United States’ cutting-edge research in aeronautics, and laying the groundwork for America’s space program.

Michael Griffin: "They aren’t contributions to aviation and space. They are aviation and space as it has been developed by this country and therefore by the world."

Hundreds of those early aerospace pioneers and other NACA employees attended the reunion hosted by NASA's Langley Research Center and the Langley Alumni Association.

And that's This Week At NASA!
› Listen Now
› View Now