NASA TV's This Week @NASA, Week Ending October 3

NASA TV's This Week @NASA, Week Ending October 3
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This Week At NASA…

Preparations continue for Space shuttle Endeavour’s STS-126 mission to the International Space Station. The seven-member crew commanded by Chris Ferguson will deliver equipment enabling larger crews to reside aboard the complex. Piloting Endeavour will be astronaut Eric Boe; mission specialists rounding out the 126 team are Steve Bowen, Bob Kimbrough, Heidemarie Stefanyshyn-Piper, Don Pettit and Sandy Magnus.

Magnus will remain on the station as a flight engineer and NASA science officer for Expedition 18. She’ll replace Expedition 17/18 Flight Engineer Greg Chamitoff, who’ll return to Earth with the STS-126 crew.

The launch of Endeavour is scheduled for November 16.

Endeavour was to have been the emergency backup vehicle for space shuttle Atlantis on STS-125, the fifth and final mission to service the Hubble Space Telescope. But Atlantis’s October launch has been delayed since a computer problem aboard the spacecraft no longer allows Hubble to store and transfer science data to the ground.

It’s Earth vs. space, as student chess champions and enthusiasts challenge Expedition 17 flight engineer Greg Chamitoff in an out-of-this-world match. For each Earth chess move, members of the K through third grade U.S. Championship team, and chess club teammates from a Bellevue, Washington, elementary school are selecting four options. The public then votes on which move to transmit to the International Space Station. That’s where Chamitoff, a chess aficionado, is making his moves 220 miles above the Earth, using chess pieces with added velcro to keep them from floating away. To play along, go to the U.S. Chess Federation website, at

NASA's Stardust sample return capsule is now on display at the Smithsonian's National Air and Space Museum in Washington, DC. The capsule joins numerous flight icons that include the Wright brothers' 1903 Flyer, Charles Lindbergh's Spirit of St. Louis and the Apollo 11 command module that carried the first men to walk on the moon.

In January 2006, Stardust completed a seven-year, 3-billion-mile journey and returned the world’s first particles from a known comet. Comprised of a spacecraft and capsule, Stardust flew within 150 miles of the comet Wild 2 in 2004, extended its tennis racket-like, aerogel-lined collector and captured its precious cargo. It then started its two year journey home.

The Stardust capsule went on display in the museum’s Milestones of Flight Gallery on Oct 1, the 50th anniversary of NASA.

Some 25-hundred juniors and seniors from area high schools attended the Dryden Flight Research Center’s Salute to Youth career day in Palmdale, California. The annual event highlights career opportunities at NASA and other organizations. Students were treated to displays of NASA aircraft including the F-15 and F-18 and SOFIA, the agency’s Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy. Other exhibits highlighted career opportunities in public service, law enforcement, media and communication and other specialties. Dryden employees discussed their careers and answered students’ questions.

NASA 50TH ANNIVERSARY – HQ October 3, 1962
Forty-six years ago in NASA history, astronaut Wally Schirra blasted off in Sigma 7 headed toward space, the first of two longer-duration Mercury missions. The six-orbit trip lasted nine hours and 13 minutes, much of which Schirra spent in what he called "chimp configuration," a free drift that tested the Mercury's autopilot system. Schirra also tried "steering" by the stars, took photographs with a Hasselblad camera, broadcast the first live message from an American spacecraft on radio and TV and made the first splashdown in the Pacific.

On October 6, 1990
And eighteen years ago, the Ulysses spacecraft lifted off from the Kennedy Space Center aboard space shuttle Discovery on mission STS-41. Ulysses was the first mission to survey the space environment above and below the poles of the Sun. The enormous amount of data Ulysses has returned over its 18-year life has changed the way scientists view our star and its effects on the solar system. The spacecraft has operated successfully four times longer than originally designed.

And that's This Week At NASA!

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