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NASA TV's This Week @NASA, October 9
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This Week At NASA...


LCROSS Flight Director: "Go for observing impact."

The Lunar Crater Observation and Sensing Satellite mission came to a smashing conclusion. Three cameras aboard LCROSS beamed back imagery as the upper stage of its spent Centaur rocket impacted a permanently-shadowed crater on the moon.

Mission Commentator: "The shepherding spacecraft has hit the surface of the moon and this marks the end of the LCROSS flight mission."

Then, four minutes later, after flying through the debris kicked up by the impact, the LCROSS satellite itself crashed near the moon’s south pole.

Jennifer Heldmann: "The philosophy behind the observing campaign was one of cooperation and collaboration. We’re looking at each other’s data, sharing data, collaborating with the spacecraft, and all the other space orbiting assets that collect the data as well, because that’s how we’re going to learn the most from this unique experience we just did today:"

Mike Wargo: "What you’re seeing here is Exploration and Science working together to provide great information for both. This is going to change the way we look at the moon and our planning for continuing to explore the solar system."

Both debris plumes provided valuable data that’ll be analyzed for the presence of water ice or water vapor, hydrocarbons and hydrated materials. The results could help pinpoint future moon landings. The conclusion of the LCROSS mission was watched at public viewing parties around the country, including this one at the Newseum in Washington, DC.


President Obama: "I want to welcome all the students and teachers and amateur astronomers to the White House."

With that, President Obama kicked off Astronomy Night on the South Lawn of the White House. Some 150 middle school students from the Washington area got to learn more about their universe using more than 20 telescopes provided by NASA and other organizations. They observed Jupiter, the moon and selected stars. Other activities included science presentations with samples of meteorites and moon rocks. NASA's Museum Alliance, a consortium of museums, science centers and planetariums conducted activities worldwide to coincide with the White House event. Astronomy Night helped note the International Year of Astronomy, a global celebration of contributions to society and culture in the 400 years since Galileo first used a telescope.

Masten Space Systems has qualified for the Lunar Lander Challenge Level 1 prize. Unlike its first attempt last month, the company’s lunar lander mockup this time successfully completed the required two-leg roundtrip at its test facility at Mojave Air and Space Port in California. Level 1 requires a lander to take off from a designated launch area, fly about fifty meters for at least 90 seconds before landing on a pad, then repeat the course in reverse. During a first attempt last month, extensive engine damage prevented Masten’s lander from attempting its return trip. Masten is up against three other lunar lander teams. Armadillo Aerospace who claimed the Level 1 first prize in 2008, has already qualified for this year’s prize. The Lunar Lander Challenge is one of six current Centennial Challenges overseen by NASA that awards cash prizes for technological achievements.

Two F-18 aircraft from the Dryden Flight Research Center participated in a demonstration of sonic boom suppression for the United Nations-supported International Civil Aviation Organization. Pilots flew both straight and diving flight patterns at Edwards Air Force Base in California to demonstrate different degrees of noise, and how the intensity of sonic booms can be reduced to acceptable levels. The series of flights was a major milestone for the international organization’s Supersonic Task Group charged with monitoring supersonic aircraft development and establishing noise-based rules for supersonic flight over land.

Aboard the International Space Station, NASA astronaut Jeff Williams is keeping spaceflight fans updated through several new media. As Astro Jeff, Williams has been using Twitter to provide unique, behind-the-scenes insight into all aspects of his mission, from preparation at the Johnson Space Center in Houston to his final month at the Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Center in Star City, Russia. Williams is also using a blog and short video clips to share his experiences.

For Williams, who recently arrived at the space station aboard a Soyuz spacecraft with cosmonaut Max Suraev and spaceflight participant Guy Laliberte, this is his third stay in space. He’ll spend six months at the station as NASA Flight Engineer for Expedition 21, and later as commander of Expedition 22.

To follow Williams on Twitter, visit:
You can check out Jeff’s blog at:

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