NASA TV's This Week @NASA, Week Ending August 22

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NASA TV's This Week @NASA, Week Ending August 22
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This Week At NASA…

Engineers at the Marshall Space Flight Center have made the first "official" weld with one of three new tools to be used in the development of the upper stage of the Ares I rocket. A cutting-edge, metal-joining process known as friction stir welding will aid in the manufacture of major test hardware for Ares I. First used by the aerospace industry in 2005, friction stir welding produces high-strength, almost defect-free bonding at joints with uniform precision. The Ares I rocket is scheduled to propel the first Orion crew capsule to the International Space Station in 2015 – and on to the moon.

Marshall employees got a glimpse of how two sophisticated robotic spacecraft will help lead NASA’s return to the moon. The traveling Interactive Lunar Exhibit is used by NASA to educate the public about the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter, LRO, and the Lunar Crater Observation and Sensing Satellite, or L-CROSS. The exhibit features 3-D models, animations and videos, and lunar mapping images – all through a collection of interactive displays. The LRO and L-CROSS missions, NASA’s Lunar Precursor Robotic Program, will provide critical information for engineers and scientists designing and planning a human outpost on the moon.


(nat) Propeller Sounds

The latest NASA Centennial Challenge competition was held at the Sonoma County Airport in Santa Rosa, California. The 2008 General Aviation Technology Challenge asked competitors to demonstrate innovations to make aircraft safer, more affordable, easier to fly and more environmentally friendly. A prize of $50,000 was awarded to a team from El Dorado Hills, Calif., and their modified Pipistrel Virus. That aircraft was judged to have the overall best safety features. Its team also won prizes for shortest takeoff distance, best angle of climb, and lowest cabin noise. Seven Centennial Challenges are held each year to encourage innovations in aeronautics and space technologies from non-traditional sources. A total of 97-thousand dollars in prize money was awarded at this second Centennial Challenge this year.

Greg Chamitoff is ready for your question -- 220 miles above the Earth! The Expedition 17 flight engineer and NASA Science Officer will answer as many email questions as allowed by his duties aboard the International Space Station.

(nat) Question: Will the space station ever be able to get supplies to the upcoming moon base

Answer: It won’t be a place where you necessarily launch future mission from, it’s more of a research and development platform to learn how to do theses things

To submit your question to Mission Control, visit, then check back periodically at the website for transcripts and audio clips of Chamitoff’s responses from space.

NASA astronaut Bob Cabana was honored by the Minnesota Twins in his hometown of Minneapolis.

(nat) Announcer: Colonial Cabana it’s your pitch

The Hall of Fame astronaut threw out the first pitch of a recent baseball game at the Metrodome between the Twins and the visiting New York Yankees. Cabana, a veteran of four space flights and the director of the Stennis Space Center, is a graduate of Minneapolis’s Washburn High School.

(nat) Announcer: Please welcome American astronaut Clay Anderson

In Seattle, NASA astronaut Clay Anderson was similarly honored by throwing out the first pitch of a recent Mariners game with Cabana’s favorite baseball team, the Twins. Anderson was a member of the STS-117 shuttle crew and spent five months working as a flight engineer on the International Space Station. Both astronaut appearances came through NASA’s Hometown Heroes partnership with Major League Baseball honoring the agency’s 50th Anniversary.


Is it? Or, isn’t it?

(nat) That’s all you had to talk about

Should Pluto be considered a planet?

(nat) You gotta let me start before add…

A featured event at the two-day Great Planet Debate held at the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Lab pitted physicist Mark Sykes of the Planetary Science Institute, who’s pro-Pluto, against Neil deGrasse Tyson of the Hayden Planetarium. Two years ago, the International Astronomical Union cast out Pluto from our club of planets when the IAU redefined what a planet is. The Great Planet Debate didn’t settle the issue, but participants agreed that the scientific process is ongoing and always evolving.

Five years ago this week, the Space Infrared Telescope Facility was launched from Florida’s Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. Since renamed for astronomer and physicist Lyman Spitzer, the Spitzer Space Telescope has captured revealing images of celestial objects in infrared energy that can’t be detected here on Earth. Spitzer and its three cryogenically-cooled science instruments allow us to observe star-forming regions, the centers of galaxies and new planetary systems hidden from optical telescopes. These unique infrared views of our Universe help us understand our cosmic roots.

And that's This Week At NASA!

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