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NASA TV's This Week @NASA, November 13
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This Week At NASA...
SHUTTLE UPDATE – KSC
The STS-129 crew is at the Kennedy Space Center awaiting its scheduled Monday launch aboard space shuttle Atlantis to deliver almost 14 tons of spare equipment and supplies to the International Space Station. NASA flight engineer Nicole Stott will catch a ride home on Atlantis following four months on the orbiting complex.
The 11-day mission will feature three spacewalks during which Mission Specialists Mike Foreman, Randy Bresnik and Bobby Satcher will install and service equipment on the exterior of the ISS. For rookie flyers Bresnik and Satcher, it’ll be their first steps into the vastness of space.
Randy Bresnik: "It’s going to be, it’s going to be really neat. You think about going into space and the things you can see and be able to experience and, for everyone that’s done EVA, this is just a whole new level because there’s your face place, it’s just between you and space."
Bobby Satcher: "I hear people describe it and they all say that it has a significant impact on their perspective over all and it’s a life changing event. I’ve heard a lot people say that and so there aren’t too many things in my life that I’ve experienced like that so I’m really looking forward to it and just taking it all in."
The spacewalkers’ crewmates are STS-129 Commander Charlie Hobaugh, pilot Butch Wilmore and Mission Specialist Leland Melvin. Monday’s scheduled launch is slated for 2:28 p.m. EST.
FREE SPIRIT? – JPL
Ashley Stroupe: "We can see, again, the right leg is moving mostly down…"
During the next week, NASA will begin transmitting commands to its Mars Rover Spirit to try and free it from its sand-trap on the Red Planet. Spirit has been stuck at a Martian site scientists call "Troy" since April 23 when it bogged down in soft soil hidden below a crusty surface. In a series of attempts that could last through early next year, scientists and engineers will rotate Spirit’s five working wheels, then try and drive the rover out of trouble. If freeing Spirit is possible, which is uncertain, simulations at the Jet Propulsion Lab show the process will be lengthy.
Ashley Stroupe: "We believe we have done our due diligence and we know what the best chance to get Spirit out will be, but we don’t know for sure whether it will work or not."
If Spirit can’t be unstuck, it’ll continue providing scientific data from its current stationary position straddling the edge of a 26-foot-wide crater. The crater was filled long ago with sulfate-bearing sands produced in a hot-water or steam environment.
Spirit and its twin rover, Opportunity, landed on Mars in January 2004. Their missions, planned for 90 days, have lasted more than five-and-a-half years.
For updates on Spirit’s progress, visit: www.nasa.gov/rovers
POWER BEAM CHALLENGE – DFRC
Game Announcer: "Okay you may begin landing…"
This is part of the demonstration that won a Seattle company $900,000 from NASA. In competition at the Dryden Flight Research Center, LaserMotive captured the cash in the Power Beaming Challenge by developing a wireless transmission system to power a robotic device more than half a mile up a vertical cable in less than four minutes.
Game Announcer: "Four minutes, and they hit it. Four minutes."
NASA is interested in power-beaming technology for anything from supplying power to communities crippled by natural disaster to remotely-powering rovers and instruments on the moon, and even helping power an elevator to space.
Andy Petro: "This has been really an ideal Centennial Challenge Competition. The Power Beaming is truly a 21st century technology and what we saw here this week were teams that represented students, entrepreneurs and the independent inventors and those are the kinds of people we hope to engage in the challenges that we hold."
The Power Beaming Challenge is one of six Centennial Challenges sponsored by NASA's Innovative Partnership Program. Their goal: to stimulate advancements in aerospace technology, and research and development by independent teams, individual inventors, student groups and private companies of all sizes.
WOMEN IN ASTRONOMY – GSFC
The University of Maryland’s University College in Adelphi, Md. was the site of this year’s Women in Astronomy and Space Science Conference.
Anne Kinney: "The first meeting was almost twenty years ago, and we’ve seen a drastic change in those twenty years, in that there is a much higher percentage of women coming out with PhDs now in Astronomy and Physics."
Sponsored by NASA, the three-day event focused on continuing that trend by helping develop a stronger, more diverse workforce. Presentations highlighted best practices for recruiting, promoting, mentoring, and retaining women and minorities in the majority-dominated fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics.
Dara Norman: "They really wanted to open it up to be a discussion of diversity and astronomy and so to not just focus only on women, but to focus on underrepresented minorities."
AMES TURN 70 - ARC
A special ribbon cutting ceremony kicked off the NASA Ames Research Center’s celebration of 70 years in the field of innovative research and development. Numerous exhibits honoring the anniversary are on display throughout downtown Mountain View, a small northern California town three miles north of Ames. Included are historic photos and research equipment, a 3-D panorama of Mars, and a display detailing the Cassini-Huygens mission to Saturn.
Located at Moffett Field, California, Ames was founded on Dec. 20, 1939, as a laboratory of the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics, or NACA. The Ames Research Center is named for Joseph Sweetman Ames, who chaired NACA for 20 years and is widely recognized as the architect of aeronautical science. NACA became NASA in 1958.
VETERANS’ DAY PARADE - DFRC
Dryden Flight Research Center employees and retirees who are Veteran’s of the United States military represented the Center in Lancaster’s first Veterans' Day Parade. Retired NASA astronaut, research pilot and Air Force colonel Gordon Fullerton rode atop a float as Dryden Veteran’s walked alongside. The float featured an inflatable display model of a NASA F/A-18, one of the aircraft Fullerton flew during his 20 years as a research pilot at Dryden.
For more on these and other stories, log onto: www.nasa.gov
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