NASA TV's This Week @NASA, Week Ending November 21

NASA TV's This Week @NASA, Week Ending November 21
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This Week At NASA…

Technicians and scientists got more familiar with the 2.5-meter infrared telescope on NASA's Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy, or SOFIA, during seven nights of operational testing. The performance tests at the Dryden Aircraft Operations Facility in Palmdale, California checked a number of telescope functions, including star tracking. And another key piece of hardware has been installed aboard SOFIA. The High-speed Imaging Photometer for Occultation, or HIPO, will support a month-long study of the telescope's optical performance. SOFIA is scheduled to begin its 20-year mission of Great Observatory-class astronomical science in 2010.

A special awards ceremony highlighted NASA’s first Small Business Symposium in Washington. Deputy Administrator Shana Dale and Assistant Administrator for the agency’s Office of Small Business Programs, Glenn Delgado, presented awards recognizing those who’ve played a significant role in supporting NASA’s small business goals.

Glenn Delgado: "The significance of the awards are to recognize NASA civil servants as well as our industry partners. What we’re recognizing in civil servants are the best contracting team, which means the team that went out of their way to make sure that small business receive an award, and they structured the contract so that it was small business friendly."

The two-day conference familiarized industry, academia and domestic small businesses with NASA’s future missions and initiatives, and the skills, resources and technologies needed to achieve the agency’s goals. NASA representatives also provided information about conducting business with the agency and its prime contractors.

The QuikSCAT satellite team is among this year’s recipients of a prestigious Pecora Award for contributions to understanding our home planet. Since 1999, QuikSCAT has advanced Earth science research and helped improve environmental predictions using a scatterometer for early detection of ocean storms and the exploration of global ocean wind patterns. A scatterometer transmits high-frequency microwave pulses to Earth's surface and measures the strength of the radar pulses that bounce, or scatter, back. The QuikSCAT mission team includes personnel from NASA, the Jet Propulsion Lab, Ball Aerospace, and the University of Colorado. NASA and the Department of the Interior present annual Pecora Awards to honor the memory of William T. Pecora, former director of the U.S. Geological Survey and under secretary of Interior.

Former NASA astronaut John Herrington has completed his cross-country bicycle tour to promote student interest in science, technology, engineering and math. Herrington arrived at the Kennedy Space Center three months and more than 41-hundred miles after departing from Cape Flattery, Washington. Herrington met with school students in every state through which he bicycled.

Herrington became the first Native American to fly in space aboard shuttle Endeavour in 2002. As a mission specialist on STS-113, Herrington logged more than 330 hours in space, almost 20 hours of which were spent on three spacewalks.

Bill Ingalls: “This shot was taken at the last launch I went to in Kazakhstan, Expedition 18, I like this one because it’s a unique perspective that I hadn’t gotten before. It’s taken from down inside the flame trench. I had tagged on to the backup crew when they were given the VIP tour. They took us down to the flame trench, and it was really fun to be able to get this whole perspective, and to see it all the way from top to bottom.

The photos of NASA Headquarters Senior photographer Bill Ingalls are on exhibit at the Washington School of Photography. Ingalls’ celebrated images from around the world document select moments in the U.S. and Russian space programs, from the Kennedy Space Center to Kazakhstan.

Bill Ingalls: "I chose to make this show about Russia, Kazakhstan and NASA; relationships with the Russians, primarily because I felt it was something that a lot of folks haven’t seen, and it was something that I had a unique perspective on that I could show others."

Among his many photographic achievements, Ingalls has documented the groundbreaking collaboration between the U.S. and Russia on the International Space Station since 1991. United Press International selected one of his pictures as among the best of 2007. The showing helped kick off FotoWeek DC, a special city-wide exhibition celebrating photography.

Bill Ingalls: "I was in one of these positions waiting to get this picture and thinking “oh my God, its going to look the same as every launch I’ve ever shot here.” And then out of the corner of my eye I see this guy walking through the field towards the rocket and I starting thinking 'oh yes, please just stop.' I was so happy when this guy walked into my frame at the last moment. Thank God I’ve got something different that will make this picture stand out from the other ones that I’ve shot."

And that's This Week At NASA!

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