NASA TV's This Week @NASA, Week Ending October 31

NASA TV's This Week @NASA, Week Ending October 31
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This Week At NASA…

NASA Administrator Mike Griffin gave the keynote speech at the Von Braun Symposium. The event was held at the Von Braun Center in Huntsville, Alabama and brought together aerospace professionals with leaders in the space industry.

MIKE GRIFFIN: "Engineering Techs do not touch on the most important of all elements in the success or failure of any space mission and that’s the human system. It is people who power our spacecraft who build the machine to carry out every complex space mission that we do. It’s people that matter, how we organize and utilize their energy, how we bring their skills to bear, how we listen to and work with each other, how we inculcate an ethos where the best ideas take flight."

The theme of this year’s symposium was "Building on the Past to Power the Future." Panel discussions and speakers focused on the current state of human spaceflight and exploration.

Former President George Bush hosted a reception for the Beyond the Moon: NASA’s Continuing Mission exhibit now on display at the George Bush Presidential Library and Museum. Various dignitaries were on hand for the event, including some of NASA’s pioneering Apollo astronauts.

CHARLIE DUKE: "If they can walk through this and get a... capture the emotion, the excitement, the feeling, the adventure, I think the exhibit will be well worth it."

The exhibit focuses on Skylab, Apollo-Soyuz, the Space Shuttle, and the International Space Station. It showcases artifacts, flight hardware and the latest imagery from the Chandra and Hubble telescopes. Visitors also can experience interactive simulations that include driving the Mars Rover, piloting a shuttle launch, and video Q & A with active and retired astronauts. The exhibit will remain at the library through August 2009.

150 astronomers, representing 20 countries attended this year’s, International Astronomical Union, (IAU) symposium held in downtown Baltimore. The IAU's mission is to promote and safeguard astronomy through international cooperation. This year’s symposium focused on the latest research in calculating the age of stars in our universe, but with special emphasis on how old stars are when they form planets. Having this information makes it easier to find 'exoplanets' which are those found outside our own solar system. STSci, the Space Telescope Science Institute co-sponsored the event.

The first airship to fly over the U.S. in more than 70 years floated over the Golden Gate Bridge landing at Ames Research Center’s Moffet field, after a dramatic cross country flight. The Airship Ventures Zeppelin is 246-feet-long, 50 feet longer than the Goodyear Blimp, and capable of carrying up to 12 passengers. NASA and Airship Ventures have entered into a lease agreement to base the Zeppelin at Moffet Field. The deal allows NASA to use the airship for disaster response, scientific research and educational training. The Zeppelin is also available, commercially, for aerial tours of the San Francisco Bay area.

NASA engineer Darren Spurlock was honored by friends and family during a special ceremony at Redstone Arsenal, part of the Marshall Space Flight Center complex. Spurlock was killed in May when a woman pursued by Huntsville, Alabama police, crashed into his car. A local fire station has been named in his honor and a special college fund arranged for his children. Spurlock is survived by his wife Kelly and two sons. Darren Spurlock was 39 years old.

NASA 50th ANNIVERSARY: November 3, 1973 – Launch of Mariner 10
35-years ago in NASA History, Mariner 10, the first spacecraft to explore the planet Mercury, lifted off on board an Atlas Centaur launch vehicle destined for a dual-planet mission to Mercury and Venus. It was November 3, 1973, the last launch in a series of Mariner missions designed to survey other planets in the solar system. In 1974, Mariner 10 made its first flyby of Venus, discovering evidence of rotating clouds and later accomplished three flybys past Mercury mapping about half of the planet's surface and revealing its thin atmosphere and magnetic field.. The Mariner 10 mission lasted until March 1975 when the spacecraft was shut down and placed in orbit around the sun.

NASA 50th ANNIVERSARY: October 31, 2000 – Launch of Expedition 1
And eight years ago, a new chapter in human space flight history unfolded with the launch of the first permanent occupants of the International Space Station. The Expedition One crew, Commander Bill Shepherd, Soyuz Commander Yuri Gidzenko and Flight Engineer Sergei Krikalev, launched October 31st on a Soyuz rocket from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. During their four months on board the Station, Shepherd, Gidzenko and Krikalev received two unmanned Russian Progress resupply vehicles and hosted three visiting Shuttle crews, which brought key hardware to the station including the Destiny module.

And that's This Week At NASA!

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