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NASA TV's This Week @NASA, October 15, 2010
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This Week at NASA…

Those 33 miners rescued after spending more than two months trapped a half-mile underground in a Chilean copper and gold mine are doing well, thanks in part to NASA. A team of experts -- two medical doctors, a psychologist and an engineer, traveled to Chile to assist the Chilean government on everything from what the trapped miners should eat and drink to how they could best adapt to their cramped, prolonged confinement.

Al Holland: "One of the things we try to do is to shift that mindset in the miners, in the families, from the topside personnel and in the message that went out from these people toward the long-term run, so that their expectations about when they might be coming out were more realistic, and therefore their coping would be more realistic, therefore their health would be better."

J.D. Polk: "We had a preconceived notion of what things might apply from spaceflight to the Chilean mine and what was surprising to us and probably to our Chilean counterparts, once we got down there and actually understood what the miners were going through and looked at the difficulties that the Chilean health authorities and engineers were going to attempt to tackle, was how many thing we could actually translate from spaceflight that were over and above, well over and above what we had anticipated."

NASA's long experience in training astronauts for emergencies in spaceflight proved useful in the miners' rescue.

Dr. Michael Duncan: "NASA's part in this was just one small part in a very overwhelming effort by the Chilean government. It's all about the miners; it’s all about the Chilean’s response and their spirit and tenacity to go after that; we were just pleased to be a part of it."


Charles Bolden: "Thank you for tuning in."

In an address to employees following a two-day, senior leadership retreat at the Langley Research Center, administrator Charles Bolden said that the recently-passed and -signed NASA Authorization act provides a clear road map for the agency's future.

Charles Bolden: "There have been a lot of productive discussions over the past 48 hours, and we're all on the same page and ready to move out in a united way to implement the goals of the agency that will lead to new capabilities, new industry and new jobs."

As the shuttle is safely flown out, NASA will continue to: develop capabilities to send astronauts to explore beyond low Earth orbit; ensure an energized, innovative program of technology development and scientific and aeronautics research; and improve the agency’s standing as the 5th best place to work in government.

Charles Bolden: "Even with the tremendous accomplishments of our past, I believe NASA's best days are still ahead."

The next space shuttle crew is revving up for its upcoming launch to the International Space Station. Discovery Commander Steve Lindsey, Pilot Eric Boe and Mission Specialists Alvin Drew, Michael Barratt, Tim Kopra and Nicole Stott journeyed to the Kennedy Space Center for a week’s worth of prelaunch activities including the Terminal Countdown Demonstration Test. This full-up dress rehearsal of the launch gives the STS-133 crew and ground teams a chance to simulate countdown activities, including equipment familiarization and emergency exit training.

The shuttle and crew will carry and install the Permanent Multipurpose Module, critical spare components for the station and deliver R2, the first human-like robot, who’ll become a permanent space station resident. The cargo has been loaded into the orbiter’s payload bay on launch pad 39A. Discovery is scheduled to fly, for the last time, on Nov. 1.

The Dryden Flight Research Center hosted the NASA Advisory Council for its two-day quarterly meeting at the AERO Institute in Palmdale, California. The council advises the NASA administrator on major agency programs and policy issues. The sessions included reports by committee chairmen, and comments by Deputy Administrator Lori Garver that NASA needs to better inform the public about future aerospace research and scientific exploration in the post-shuttle era.

Lori Garver: "There somehow seems to be this view that NASA and our proposed budget for the Obama administration was ending human space flight. The president’s budget was all about leading human space flight into the future, having a more robust and strong program that can last for decades and centuries."

On a tour of Dryden's facilities, the council was briefed on the SOFIA observatory, the Global Hawk science aircraft and other major research and development efforts underway at the center.


Launch Announcer: "Main engine Ignition and liftoff of the Atlas V rocket with the LRO/LCROSS."

NASA's Lunar CRater Observation and Sensing Satellite mission has won Popular Mechanics magazine's 2010 Breakthrough Award for innovation in science and technology. On time and under budget, "last packet, 11:35.35: 054 seconds" the LCROSS team confirmed the presence of water ice on the moon by slamming into the lunar surface the spent upper stage of the spacecraft’s Atlas V rocket, then flying through the resultant debris plume to detect concentrations of water comparable to those of the Sahara Desert.

"Fabricated with commercial off-the-shelf parts, the LCROSS spacecraft was cited by Popular Mechanics for setting “a new standard for low-cost, high-impact NASA programs."

Daniel Andrews: "A whole lot of the team is made up of engineers and so we grew up reading Popular Mechanics, and so for Popular Mechanics to actually award us with a Breakthrough honor is fantastic, kind of a dream come true!"

NASA was among the participants at this year’s International Balloon Fiesta outside Albuquerque. Not only did visitors see hot-air balloons fill the New Mexico sky with brilliant color, a special aeronautics exhibition showed them how NASA research is improving aviation. The installation showcased how NASA’s “green aviation” initiative is researching ways to reduce aircraft noise and emissions while improving air-traffic management. The International Balloon Fiesta covers more than 200 acres and accommodates balloons from around the world.

And that's This Week at NASA!

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