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NASA TV's This Week @NASA, November 6
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The six crew members of STS-129 continue to ready for a November 16 liftoff aboard space shuttle Atlantis. Commanding the 11-day mission to the International Space Station is Charlie Hobaugh, pilot is Barry Wilmore and Leland Melvin, Randy Bresnik, Mike Foreman and Bobby Satcher are the mission specialists.

The crew will use Atlantis to deliver two storage platforms filled with spare parts to the ISS, and during three spacewalks, install the platforms on the station’s truss.

Charlie Hobaugh: "The shuttle is an amazing vehicle; it can bring up a tremendous amount of equipment externally, internally, and bring it back. For our mission, we’re bringing up probably the long-term external stores or external parts that are critical spares to keep the station healthy and on orbit for a long period of time."

STS-129 will also return flight engineer Nicole Stott to Earth following three months in space. Atlantis’ launch is scheduled for 2:28 p.m. November 16th.


Charlie Bolden: "This isn’t about money. This is about vision."

Two innovative aerospace companies are big winners in one of NASA’s six Centennial Challenges. Masten Space Systems of Mojave, Calif., received $1 million dollars and Armadillo Aerospace of Rockwall, Tex., $500,000 for their first and second prize wins in the Northrop Grumman Lunar Lander Challenge. The pair successfully simulated landing a spacecraft on the moon and lifting off again during the contests’ Level 2 face-off. Masten and Armadillo met earlier this fall during the Level 1 phase of the Challenge, but with a reversal of fortune. In that competition, Armadillo came out on top. The companies received their awards during a special ceremony on Capitol Hill.

David Masten: "We've demonstrated a very capable team that can build launch vehicles, and we're now ready to start doing truly inexpensive reusable launch vehicles and I think this will be a big help to the entire country, NASA, and the entire world."

Phil Eaton SOT: "We need to go from prizes to profits and this represented a bootstrap to that for Armadillo Aerospace as well as for many other companies out there, and we’re excited to participate in that and continue to move forward with our efforts to bring the access to space to the common man."

The NASA-funded Lunar Lander Challenge comes under the direction of the agency's Innovative Partnership Program. Other Centennial Challenges include a Regolith Excavation Challenge and a Power Beaming contest. With these events, NASA hopes to encourage participation of independent teams, private companies and others to find innovative solutions to technical challenges. The Lunar Lander Challenge competition was managed by the X PRIZE foundation.


Mission Control: "Welcome Home Discovery."

Members of the Crew of STS-128 were at Headquarters to share with employees their experiences on the recent mission.

NAT: "Capture, Confirm" (applause/cheers)

Commander Rick Sturckow was joined by Mission Specialists Pat Forrester, Jose Hernandez and Christer Fuglesang of the European Space Agency in presenting highlights and answering questions about their late summer, 14-day mission to the International Space Station.

Student Question: "When you're on the mission is it more or more play?"

Jose Hernandez: "It's definitely more work. We're only up there for a limited amount of time so we try to maximize our time up there by trying to do as much work as possible. However, there are times where we will get a moment to take a quick look out the window and look at the scenery of our planet."

Among the items brought to the station aboard space shuttle Discovery was the Leonardo Multi-Purpose Logistics Module, a pressurized "moving van" filled with equipment, including the COLBERT treadmill.


Students from the Maryland School for the Blind were welcomed to NASA headquarters as part of the agency’s community mentoring program.

The event was organized to foster student interest in science and engineering and to expose them to the wide variety of career opportunities at the agency.

Kenneth Silberman: "As a blind person, I'm really interested in getting more kids to pursue science and engineering; I want to give back. People before me made it better for me, the few who had made it. I want to make it better for the next generation."

Students also listened to presentations about NASA's missions from staff members and interacted with tactile presentations of the shuttle, and the Moon and Solar System. This is NASA's first community outreach event with the Maryland School for the Blind.


Emergency personnel from Edwards Air Force Base, and the Dryden Flight Research Center took part in an exercise to rescue astronauts from the orbiter's crew compartment, and after triage assessment, safely evacuate injured crewmembers in the unlikely event of a landing mishap. The exercises are held periodically at the Kennedy Space Center and Dryden for Air Force and NASA fire/rescue and medical personnel.

The Dryden Flight Research Center is the primary alternate landing site for the space shuttle.


Student Question: Hi Nicole. This is Diamond. Is there prove that there is water on Mars?

(Student questions in foreign languages including French and Russian )

Student Question: "How does water technology from life in space relate to providing cleaner water on earth?

Jeff Williams: "That's a very good question."

The Expedition 21 Crew aboard the International Space Station assisted the Department of Education's in touting International Education Week Nov. 16-20.

Student Question: "What is being done by NASA to select more females in inspiring young girls to consider careers in astrophysics or aeronautics?"

Nicole Stott: "There's more to what's going on here than the space flight missions themselves, on orbit. If you look at the ratios of women to men in mission control and all of the ground teams I think you’ll find that women are very well represented. There are many outreach programs at the middle school as well as the high schools and university levels that are encouraging young women to get into science and engineering."

Students from the Washington area were able to question NASA astronauts Jeff Williams, Nicole Stott, and other crewmembers serving aboard the station.

Kristin: "This is Kristin. How does pushing the boundaries of our capacity in space result in terrestrial benefits, and what are some examples?"

On the ground, they met and asked questions of astronauts Don Thomas, and STS-128 Crewmembers Patrick Forrester, Jose Hernandez and Christer Fuglesang.

ISS crewmember: "We are reading you five-by-five."

Arne Duncan: "I hope that means well." (laughter) "Thanks so much; this is an absolute thrill for us."

Also in attendance were Education Secretary Arne Duncan and NASA Administrator Charlie Bolden.

Charlie Bolden: "International Education Week and events allow NASA, the Department of Education, and education communities to collaborate to inspire the next generation of the country’s scientist, engineers and explorers. Okay, enough talk."

International Education Week celebrates international education and exchange programs worldwide, helping prepare Americans for a global environment and attracting future leaders from abroad to study here in the United States.

And that’s This Week At NASA!

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