NASA TV's This Week @NASA, Week Ending October 24

NASA TV's This Week @NASA, Week Ending October 24
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This Week At NASA…

When Space Shuttle Endeavour travels to the International Space Station next month, Chris Ferguson will command the seven-member STS-126 crew. This will be Ferguson's second journey to space. He logged more than 12 days as pilot for the September 2006 STS-115 mission that successfully restarted assembly of the ISS.

Chris Ferguson: The internal volume of the space station has just about doubled since I was last there, just under two years ago. So, internally the volume is getting larger and I’m looking forward to seeing that. We have a multi-purpose logistics module we’ll be bringing up with us and attaching it to the space station so we’ll have that internal volume as well.

Other members of the STS-126 crew are Pilot Eric Boe, and mission specialists Steve Bowen, Don Pettit, Shane Kimbrough, Heidemarie Stefanyshyn-Piper, and Sandy Magnus. She'll trade places aboard the station with Greg Chamitoff, who'll return to Earth aboard Endeavour.

STS-126 is scheduled to launch the evening of November 14.

Full-scale components of the Ares I-X test rocket designed and manufactured at the Glenn Research Center were showcased for media prior to their journey to the Kennedy Space Center. The components represent the size, outer shape and mass of the second stage of the rocket. They'll travel from the Wellsville, Ohio Intermodal Facility on a 12-day trip to Kennedy, where they'll be integrated on the Ares 1-X test rocket scheduled for launch next year. Ares is the launch system that'll power NASA astronauts back to the moon.

Northern Alabama became the center of the gamma-ray universe with the sixth Huntsville Gamma-ray Burst Symposium. Experts in gamma-ray astronomy from 25 nations discussed the latest science findings from NASA’s Swift and Fermi missions. Fermi, the world's most powerful gamma-ray observatory, recently discovered an example of a new class of pulsar that only "blinks" in gamma rays. Both Fermi and NASA's Swift satellite study phenomena like pulsars, black holes and cosmic rays that help scientists understand the origins of the universe.

Astronaut Mike Fossum went on a different kind of mission recently in Watertown, South Dakota. The Sioux Falls native took part in Space Days 2008, an annual event where students and teachers from around the state participate in hands-on educational activities in science, math and technology. They also visit with experts in fields like aerospace, aeronautics and earth science. Fossum, who earlier this year helped bring components of the Japanese Kibo Laboratory to the International Space Station on mission STS-124, encouraged youngsters to prepare for the future and follow their dreams – like he did.

Mike Fossum: "If this kid can go up to be an astronaut and fly in space on two space missions and hopefully more, you know there’s no dream that’s too outrageous."

Space Days was sponsored by NASA, Lake Area Tech, and the South Dakota Space Consortium.

NASA 50th ANNIVERSARY: October 29, 1998 – STS-95 Launch (John Glenn)
Ten years ago in NASA history, 77-year-old John Glenn returned to space aboard shuttle Discovery, making him the oldest person to fly in space.

Launch Announcer: "Booster Ignition and lift-off of Discovery with a crew of six astronaut heroes and one American legend."

During the nine-day science mission, the former U.S. senator was put through a series of experiments to investigate aging and spaceflight. Data on Glenn's metabolism, blood flow, bone and muscle density and other factors were compared to physiological data captured on his Friendship 7 mission in 1962 when he became America’s first astronaut to orbit the Earth.

And that's This Week At NASA!

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