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NASA TV's This Week @NASA, November 26, 2010
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This Week at NASA…

Launch announcer: "Touchdown confirmed."


After almost six months aboard the International Space Station, Expedition 25 commander Doug Wheelock, and flight engineers Fyodor Yurchikhin and Shannon Walker landed safely in their Soyuz spacecraft on the steppe of Kazakhstan.

The trio launched to the ISS in June. Left behind aboard the orbiting complex were Expedition 26 commander Scott Kelly, and Flight Engineers Alexander Kaleri and Oleg Skripochka.

The three other members of the Expedition 26 crew, Dmitri Kondratyev, Paolo Nespoli, and Cady Coleman, are scheduled to launch to the station from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan on December 15.

Bill Gerstenmaier: "This is turning out to be a little more complicated from an analysis standpoint and it doesn't lend itself to a very easy answer."

STS-133 will now begin no earlier than December 17th. That moves Discovery’s possible liftoff for the International Space Station from a November 30th - December 6th launch window. Technicians at the Kennedy Space Center’s launch pad 39A have completed repairs to the shuttle, but program managers say they want more time to test and analyze whether it’s now safe to fly– or additional modifications are needed.

John Shannon: "What happened the first time we loaded the tank, is when that first bending moment started on the stringer, a crack appeared along one of the feet of the stringer and the stringer basically cracked on the other side in an over load condition and popped out about half of an inch."

Program managers will meet again before deciding whether to target a launch date within the new four-day window that ends December 20th.


Launch Announcer SOT: "4-3-2-1, lift off."

The SpaceX Corporation has reached a milestone in commercial spaceflight. SpaceX’s Dragon spacecraft has been granted a license by the Federal Aviation Administration to re-enter Earth’s atmosphere on its return from space. The Dragon, a free-flying, reusable spacecraft in development under NASA's Commercial Orbital Transportation Services, or COTS program, is designed to transport cargo and/or crew members to the International Space Station. Its first demonstration test flight atop SpaceX’s Falcon9 launch vehicle is scheduled for early next month. This is the first license issued by the FAA for a commercial spacecraft’s re-entry from Earth’s orbit.


Student Question: "Do you have a telescope on board and if so what can you see through it?"

Doug Wheelock: "Hi Elizabeth. Good question, we do not have a telescope onboard but we do have very, very powerful camera lenses and some binoculars and things that we use."

Students from two D.C.-area middle schools got answers to their questions about life in orbit from International Space Station astronauts Doug Wheelock, Shannon Walker and Scott Kelly in a special event held at the U.S. Department of Education in Washington. Student Question - "How is food on earth different from food in space?"

Shannon Walker: "The main difference between food on Earth & food in space is so much of what we have up here is dehydrated."

Hosted by Education Secretary Arne Duncan and NASA’s Associate Administrator for Education, astronaut Leland Melvin, the live, 20-minute hookup with the three Expedition 25 crew members in space helped celebrate International Education Week.

Arne Duncan: "I want to thank you guys so much for taking the time to spend with our students, again this is just fascinating. I look forward to this so much each year." "MODE TRANSITION" TESTING - GRC

A series of tests conducted inside the Glenn Research Center’s 10x10 supersonic wind tunnel could help further routine and efficient access to space. The Combined-Cycle Engine test series is meant to demonstrate how the CCE can smoothly transition from turbine to scramjet power. Showing that this so-called "mode transition" is possible may boost the future use of highly-efficient, air-breathing propulsion as a less costly and more efficient method of sending vehicles into space.

Dave Saunders: "This new method of going into space should be more cost efficient because the traditional method, with space shuttle is expensive, with air –breathing propulsion we will be able to reduce the launch vehicle cost with more airport like operations."

Astronaut and Cleveland area native Mike Good made a series of appearances in his hometown. A veteran of four spacewalks, Good signed autographs in the NASA Glenn Visitor Center located at the Great Lakes Science Center and before introducing the OMNIMAX movie "Hubble", Good recounted his experiences aboard space shuttle Atlantis’s STS-125 servicing mission to the telescope in May 2009.

Baseball Announcer: "Please welcome Colonel Good to the cue as he returns to Cleveland."

Good also attended two local sporting events: an NBA basketball matchup between his hometown Cavaliers and the visiting Indiana Pacers, at which he presented the Cavs with a team jersey flown with him aboard Atlantis during STS-132 earlier this year.

That mission to the International Space Station also carried into space a Cleveland Browns jersey. Good presented it at the Browns/New York Jets game to a local student-athlete who suffered a severe spinal injury playing high school football last year. Undeterred, Kory Wiita plans on majoring in Aeronautical Engineering and, someday, working for NASA.

And that's This Week at NASA!

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