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NASA TV's This Week @NASA, November 5, 2010
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This Week at NASA…

Mike Leinbach: “Disappointed for the team today for sure. But, as we always say, and it’s’ absolutely the truth, we’re going to fly when we’re ready and clearly we’re not ready to fly today.”

The 35th shuttle mission to the International Space Station has been scrubbed until the end of the month according to Mission Managers. Originally scheduled to lift off on Nov.1, the STS-133 mission was postponed several times due to a series of problems including a circuit breaker problem in the shuttle’s cockpit, improbable weather, and a hydrogen gas leak detected while filling the external tank in preparation for a third attempt to launch Discovery on Friday, November 5.

STS-133’s Mission Management Team discussed their decision to select a new window of opportunity – November 30 through Dec. 5, during a news conference at the Kennedy Space Center.

Mike Moses: “Right now the 30th is the first time that beta opens back up to allow us to allow us to launch. We’ll go make sure that’s really the date we want, and we’ll work that through the normal change process of the shuttle program:”

STS-133, with crew members Commander Steve Lindsey, Pilot Eric Boe and Mission Specialists Alvin Drew, Tim Kopra, Michael Barratt and Nicole Stott, is the last planned mission for 2010, and Discovery's final flight to the complex.

The EPOXI mission spacecraft made its planned flyby of comet Hartley 2 – and the pictures it sent back to investigation team members at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory did not disappoint.

(cheers, applause)

“Deep Impact,” so named for the 2005 mission it initially served as the “in-flight” spacecraft, flew by Hartley 2 about 435 miles above its surface, close enough to image the heart of the comet, its nucleus.

Mission Announcer: "Congratulations on a fantastic flyby. God job everybody!"

Michael Ahearn: "The data we have, I am convinced, the comic Hartley will have increased our knowledge of how comments work by at least three Hartleys. The Hartley is a real unit of information and three Hartley’s is about a factor of ten."

EPOXI, an acronym combining the names of its two extended missions, is expected to shed new light on how our solar system formed some 4-point-six billion years ago.


Charles Bolden: "I always like to tell people that you all are incredible ambassadors as you’re there representing just two of the many nations that are partners in the International Space Station. What you do is actually a modern-day Star Trek, if you will; kids are excited about watching you."

NASA Administrator Charles Bolden helped mark the tenth anniversary of a continuous human presence aboard the International Space Station by discussing life aboard the complex with its current residents, the Expedition 25 crew.

Doug Wheelock: "Everyday there’s new excitement and new adventure as we venture out with some of the science that we’re doing. And, of course, being here in space never ceases to amaze us of the surprises it has in store for us."

Expedition 25 Commander Doug Wheelock and Flight Engineers Alexander Kaleri, Oleg Skripochka, Scott Kelly, Fyodor Yurchikhin, and Shannon Walker are the latest of almost 200 men and women who, over the past decade, have called the ISS home while away from Earth.

Charles Bolden: "I want to thank you for what you’ve done and for what you represent, and congratulate you on being the occupants of the station as we celebrate its tenth anniversary."

Discovery’s scheduled liftoff provided a launch pad for other events at the Kennedy Space Center.

Some 150 people from 35 states and six countries, including Australia and the Philippines, participated in a Tweetup at KSC. The Tweeps, as devotees of the social messaging medium, Twitter, are known, met informally and spoke with astronauts, shuttle managers, technicians and engineers, as well as members of NASA's social media team.


For nearly eighty years, the LEGO “brick” has helped enhance children’s creativity through playing and learning. Now, NASA is teaming up with LEGO to develop innovative educational and outreach activities to interest youngsters in science, technology, engineering and mathematics. The collaboration, called “Build the Future, kicked off at Kennedy with youngsters building their vision of the future in space.

Nichelle Nichols: "What can we build together? That’s beautiful!"

On hand for the event was a woman long associated with future space travel, actress Nichelle Nichols, Lieutenant Uhura of “Star Trek.”

Nichelle Nichols: Something as simple as LEGO used to be used as a pacifier and fun for kids. Here they have specific work; it’s fascination that drives the creative spirit.”

"Building the Future" will strive to educate youngsters about NASA’s research in exploration, technologies, science and aeronautics.


Peter Coen: "We're working on the technology that will enable the next generation of supersonic aircraft that the public can fly on. But we don't want to do that in a way that creates a disturbance. So, the technology that we're developing will result in quiet supersonic aircraft."

NASA recently conducted flight experiments at Edwards Air Force Base in Southern California to examine the effect of low-amplitude sonic booms on large office buildings.

Peter Coen: "We're simulating what we anticipate will be the boom level of a new aircraft by using an existing F-18 airplane. To do that, we have to dive the airplane in a unique manner, and that creates both a quiet boom at the location where we want to measure, but also some loud booms in the vicinity.”

As part of the Sonic Booms on Big Structures effort, two NASA F/A-18 aircraft from the Dryden Flight Research Center flew a series of supersonic runs that caused multiple sonic booms of varying intensity over Edwards.

Peter Coen: "Edwards is an ideal place to do this because there's a lot of open land, we have the supersonic corridor, and people are generally experienced with sonic booms, so we don't create a negative reaction with those loud booms, while we're trying to focus on getting the data from the quiet booms."

NASA engineers are now reviewing data from sensitive instrumentation installed in a recently-constructed office building at Edwards to determine the building's structural response to the momentary pressure caused by the sonic shockwaves.

Thirty years ago, on November 12, 1980, the Voyager spacecraft flew by Saturn about 78,000 miles above the planet’s cloud tops. The result was a series of spectacular photos like these, as well as the discovery of five new moons, including Titan and Enceladus. Also revealed: a ring system consisting of thousands of bands. Voyager 1 is a NASA mission that keeps on giving. Forging ahead towards the boundaries of our solar system at a speed of almost 36-thousand miles an hour, Voyager 1 continues to collect unprecedented data about the giant outer planets -- and beyond.

And that's This Week at NASA!

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