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NASA TV's This Week @NASA, October 2
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This Week At NASA...


Launch Announcer: "Lift off of the Soyuz rocket!"

NASA astronaut Jeff Williams launched to the International Space Station aboard a Soyuz spacecraft from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan along with Soyuz Commander Max Suraev and spaceflight participant Guy Laliberte.

Williams will serve as a flight engineer for the Expedition 21 crew on the station and later will command Expedition 22. In all, Williams will spend six months in space.


Tour: "Apollo astronauts actually trained here…"

NASA’s 2009 astronaut candidate class was at Langley Research Center for training.

Tour: "And you can see the simulated moonscape."

They were joined by Canadian and Japanese astronauts for tour of the center, including a stop at the Landing Impact Research Facility where Apollo astronauts practiced lunar landings. The group received an overview of aeronautics, space and atmospheric science research being done at Langley. Among the candidates is Navy Lieutenant Commander Reid Wiseman, who formerly flew fighter jets at nearby Oceana Naval Air Station.

Reporter: "So you’re enjoying your training?"

Reid Wiseman: "Oh, it’s awesome, so far, absolutely fantastic, way better than I had imagined."

More than thirty five hundred people applied for this year's astronaut class.

The Planck spacecraft has returned its first, albeit rough images, to demonstrate it’s in proper working order and has begun surveying the entire sky. The European Space Agency mission with significant NASA participation will help cosmologists and astrophysicists learn more about the history and evolution of our universe by measuring light from the dawn of time.

Charles Lawrence SOT: "We see things in the solar system; we see things in the milky way; we see things in nearby galaxies; but we also see light that’s coming to us 380 thousand years after the Big Bang, and that glow has now been traveling to us for 13.7 billion years."

Planck is in orbit around the second Lagrange point of our Earth-sun system, a relatively stable spot 930,000 miles away.

(ribbon cutting nat/applause)

In Washington, DC, a new Public Observatory was opened at the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum. The 22-foot dome on the museum’s east terrace houses an astronomical telescope that’ll be available during museum hours every Tuesday through Sunday, weather permitting, to view the sun, moon and planets. The telescope will be the museum’s focal point for the International Year of Astronomy throughout the rest of 2009 and into 2010.

Also unveiled in the museum’s Einstein Planetarium was the new digital-dome show “Journey to the Stars,” developed with the cooperation of NASA and astronomical experts worldwide.


Nat: "2-1." ( applause & cheers)

Retired Apollo astronaut Jim McDivitt was honored by the City of Lancaster, Calif., with his induction into the city’s Aerospace Walk of Honor. McDivitt commanded the Gemini 4 mission in 1965 and the Apollo 9 mission in 1969.

Jim McDivitt: "I flew a couple of space flights; they’re a lot of fun, real challenging. Later on I managed the Apollo spacecraft program for Apollo 12 through 16. And at that end of the program I thought that the American people could do anything, I mean anything, given enough time and money."

Four more former test pilots and astronauts were also honored at the 20th induction ceremonies. Apollo 17 commander Gene Cernan, the last man to walk on the moon, delivered the keynote address.

Gene Cernan: "Let me tell you, if I could have every human being on this planet of ours standing right next to me for five minutes on the surface of the moon looking back home, the world would be a different place today; I truly believe that."

McDivitt and Cernan were joined by retired NASA astronaut Gordon Fullerton, Lancaster Vice-Mayor Ron Smith and NASA Dryden Flight Research Center Acting Deputy Director Gwen Young for the planting of a commemorative moon tree in front of the Lancaster Performing Arts Center, scene of the event. The Sycamore sapling is a second-generation descendant of Sycamore trees that were germinated from seeds that were flown on the Apollo 14 moon mission in 1971.

The Langley Research Center held a NASA Exploration Day at Virginia’s Busch Gardens. Big and small kids were encouraged to explore the Earth, moon, Mars and beyond with NASA researchers. The universe was revealed to them through the eyes of the Hubble Space Telescope.

Kid Question: "What is it like in space?"

Susan Kilrain: "It’s a lot of fun."

Former astronaut Susan Kilrain spoke about the marvels of spaceflight while showing footage from her flights. Kilrain was pilot for two space shuttle missions, STS-83 and STS-94, both in 19-97.

And that's This Week At NASA!

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