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NASA TV's This Week @NASA, October 29, 2010
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This Week at NASA…

The launch of space shuttle Discovery from the Kennedy Space Center has been delayed so engineers can troubleshoot a circuit breaker in the shuttle’s cockpit.”

Discovery’s six-member crew commanded by Steve Lindsey is scheduled to hook up with the International Space Station about 44-and-a-half hours after liftoff.

Steve Lindsey: "We’re probably one of the more unique shuttle crews in that number one, we’re all experienced, we’ve all flown in space before and the three of us, Mike, Nicole, and Tim have done long duration flights on space station. So, they’re intimately familiar with space station, and actually, all three of them flew very recently to space station, so they know the ends and outs and that’s very valuable."

The STS-133 crew includes Pilot Eric Boe and Mission Specialists Alvin Drew, Mike Barratt, Tim Kopra and Nicole Stott. They’ll deliver to the ISS equipment, cargo spare parts and the first humanoid robot. Robonaut 2 will become a permanent resident of the station.

NASA Administrator Charles Bolden and the NASA team that traveled to Chile to assist the once-trapped miners met with President Obama on Oct. 28 in the White House Oval Office. The NASA team is, from left, Dr. Michael Duncan, deputy chief medical officer; Albert Holland, psychologist; Dr. J.D. Polk, medical officer; and Clint Cragg, engineer. The team advised Chilean rescue officials on how to maintain the psychological and physiological well-being of the 33 miners trapped a half-mile beneath the Earth’s surface, as well as the design of the rescue capsule in which each man would finally ascend after 69 days underground.

The team was also honored at Headquarters with the agency’s Exceptional Achievement Medal for its contributions to the NASA mission.

NASA Deputy Administrator Lori Garver attended several events in the “Land of Enchantment” New Mexico. Garver was keynote speaker at this year’s International Symposium for Personal and Commercial Spaceflight held in Las Cruces. While there Garver discussed the agency's latest plans for commercial access to space.

Lori Garver: "All of the key agreements for a healthy space program are here; extending the life of the International Space Station, increasing earth sciences and green aeronautics funding, accelerating heavy lift and crew exploration vehicle development, and launching a commercial space transportation industry."

The symposium served to promote discussion and collaboration among members of the commercial spaceflight industry.

Garver also helped celebrate the completion of the runway at Spaceport America. The world's first spaceport built specifically for commercial spaceflight will serve as a launch pad for a new era of space travel.

Lori Garver: "We at NASA know firsthand the challenges, the daring, and amazing purpose of this very undertaking. I, for one, am proud to be able to play just a very small roll in your story, and I can assure you, we wish you nothing but clear skies and success ahead. Godspeed! Thank you."

Garver was also among a group of NASA women honored by Women in Aerospace at the organization’s 25th annual awards dinner held near Washington. She was recognized for her contributions to WIA, as well as, quote, her passion and dedication to opening the high frontier of space to the everyday person.

Presenting her award was NASA Administrator Charles Bolden.

Charles Bolden: "I do want to spend a couple of minutes with you talking to you about my Deputy Lori Garver because she’s one incredible woman."

Lori Garver: "But there is truly no greater compliment than for women to help each other, and so for that I will always, always, thank you!"

Among the others honored were Langley Research Center Director Lesa Roe, former NASA chief astronomer Nancy Grace Roman and Langley engineer Jill Lynette Hanna Prince. Women in Aerospace is a nonprofit organization dedicated to expanding women's opportunities for leadership and to increasing their visibility within the aerospace community.

A series of roundtables kicked off NASA’s commemoration of the 10th anniversary of human life, work and research on the International Space Station. The events, originating from three NASA centers and headquarters in Washington, aired on NASA Television and featured former space station residents, key leaders and team members who have guided the station through its first 10 years.

Among them, Expedition 1 Commander Bill Shepherd and Flight Engineers Sergei Krikalev and Yuri Gidzenko, who became the first residents of the space station on Nov. 2, 2000.

Bill Shepherd: "It was kind of a strange day for me because Sergei and Yuri were very experienced. I was pumping my fist mostly because, as a crew, we’d waited a long time to get to that point in life where this was actually happening and I was very keen to emphasize, let’s go get this done."

Sergei Krikalev: "The main thought I had was that now it’s starting for real and launching the Expedition, this is our first work and oftentimes the way you start it, it’s the way it’s going to go."

Since Expedition 1, 200 explorers have visited the International Space Station; 15 nations have contributed modules and hardware; and more than 600 experiments have been conducted aboard the orbiting complex.


Abby Sunderland: "The whole satellite system, everything that they do is the reason that I’m here today, so you can imagine how thankful I am to them."

What 16-year-old Abby Sunderland attempted to do in June 2010 is more than most adults would ever even contemplate. The teenager attempted to break the record for the youngest person to sail, solo, around the world. Unfortunately, a storm sunk her chances when violent winds and enormous waves damaged the mast on her 40-foot sailboat. Stranded in the turbulent southern Indian Ocean, Sunderland relied on a 30-year-old NASA-developed Personal Locator Beacon to beam her location to a Search and Rescue satellite 22,500 miles above in space.

Sunderland recently visited the Goddard Space Flight Center to meet the NASA team that developed the technology that ultimately saved her life.

Abby Sunderland: "Having the beacon on board was a real peace of mind. Knowing that I had that as a last resort, and knowing that if all my communication did go down and I was in a serious situation that I could set that off and somebody would hear."


Headquarters noted National Disability Employment Awareness Month with a special program in the Glennan Center.

Featured were musical selections by the Association for Adult Musicians with Hearing Loss.

Providing the keynote speech was Kate Adamson, author of "Paralyzed but not Powerless." The program was co-sponsored by NASA HQ and the Southwest Interagency Committee.

And now Centerpieces…

From the street, few would guess that what's tucked inside this NASA building has saved thousands … maybe millions of lives over the past 50 years.

It started in 19-60 with an airplane model, a tunnel, some wind and very smart engineers from NASA and industry.

Bill Reed: "These airplanes – there were three of them – that had crashed, Lockheed Electras and it was unknown what caused these crashes. By fortunate circumstances, Lockheed had a model of that, a flutter model, and at that time the Transonic Dynamics Tunnel was just beginning to accept tests, so as a result they discovered what the problem was; corrections were made in the engine mount system and from that point on the airplane was safe."

The Transonic Dynamics Tunnel has contributed to the safety and development of a variety of aerospace vehicles and structures: from planes …to rockets and space ships… to parachutes.

Hundreds of people recently came to NASA’s Langley Research Center in Hampton, Virginia to celebrate the TDT’s half-century of accomplishments.

Woodrow Whitlow: "When we look at the TDT…"

Among them, the NASA Associate Administrator for Mission Support, who started his career as a researcher at the tunnel.

Woodrow Whitlow: "I just really enjoyed going in watching the tests as they were being conducted, working with the people and really the opportunity to have the best facilities in the world and then working with the people who were leaders in the field that I worked in."

The TDT still takes a leading role in aerospace research, whether it’s for a rocket that might lift off from Earth … a design for an unmanned aerial vehicle … or a model of an inflatable that, someday, might help a vehicle land on another planet.

Headquarters employees took time out of their normally-attired schedules to toss aside their suits and ties and dresses in favor of a variety of Halloween costumes. Trick or Treaters: "Happy Halloween!"

The HQ Exchange Council sponsored this Halloween Costume Contest and awarded prizes for "Most Original", "Funniest", and "Best Costumed Associate Administrator."

And that's This Week at NASA!

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