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NASA TV's This Week @NASA, January 15
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This Week At NASA...

With less than one month away from their targeted launch date, the six members of the shuttle Endeavour crew are busily preparing for their STS-130 mission to the International Space Station. They continue to review their flight equipment and rendezvous procedures while technicians on Launch Pad 39A at the Kennedy Space Center complete prelaunch propellant servicing.

Commander George Zamka and Pilot Terry Virts, 130’s only first-time flyer, will be joined by Mission Specialists Bob Behnken, Nicholas Patrick, Kathryn Hire and Steve Robinson aboard Endeavour. They’ll deliver Tranquility, a third connecting module to the station, and a seven-windowed cupola to be used as a control room for robotics. Endeavour is targeted to launch on February 7 at 4:39 a.m. eastern.

The STS-129 crew was in Washington for a busy round of activities. Kicking things off was a visit to NASA Headquarters where the six astronauts recounted their November trip to the International Space Station aboard space shuttle Atlantis.

In words and video, Commander Charlie Hobaugh, Pilot Butch Wilmore, and Mission Specialists Mike Foreman, Randy Bresnick, Leland Melvin and Bobby Satcher inspired, entertained, and informed an eager crowd of students, headquarters staff and guests with stories of their 11-day mission to the complex.

Student: "How many gallons of fuel does it take to launch the space shuttle?"

Butch Wilmore: "The propellant that is flowing into the three main engines on the back end of the space shuttle, every second, is about equal to the size of a standard swimming pool."

Two of the Mission Specialists, Melvin and Satcher, visited with and gave a similar presentation to students at Howard University’s Middle School.

Melvin, along with astronauts Wilmore, Foreman, and Bresnik, was also part of a post-flight presentation event for the public at the National Air and Space Museum's new "Moving Beyond Earth" exhibit, once again wowing a crowd of students, visitors, employees and invited guests.

Sydney Fletcher: "Meeting astronauts had to be the coolest thing because I’ve never met an astronaut, and no one I know is an astronaut."

Simone Hinton: "I want to become an astronaut because you can go out in space and have fun and you can discover about planets and research them at the same time."

And at another venue, D.C.’s Verizon Center, team STS-129 watched two basketball teams battle it out, the Washington Wizards and the Detroit Pistons. The astronauts participated in pregame activities, bringing with them an NBA jersey flown on their shuttle flight. The jersey will be returned to the NBA during the All-Star game in Dallas next month.

Bobby Satcher: "One of the things we try to promote, as astronauts, is physical fitness. Obviously there’s no better example of being in shape than what is demonstrated by these players in the NBA, and it was a lot of fun taking the jersey, and we are having a lot of fun bringing it back and presenting it to the teams."

The STS-129 astronauts, aboard shuttle Atlantis, delivered parts, including a spare gyroscope, to the International Space Station.

NASA is testing segments of the primary mirror that will help the James Webb Space Telescope seek out star-forming planetary systems that connect the Big Bang with our own Milky Way galaxy. Over a period of five days, six of the 18 Webb telescope mirror segments will be chilled to minus 414 degrees Fahrenheit to ensure they can withstand the rigors of extreme space.

The tests are being conducted at the Marshall Space Flight Center’s X-ray & Cryogenic Facility, the world’s largest X-ray telescope test facility. Designed to work primarily in infrared, JWST measures 21.3 feet in diameter and will have a sunshield the size of a tennis court. It’s scheduled to launch in 2014.

International Space Station Commander Jeff Williams is helping correspondent Steve Hartman with his weekly series of special segments on the "CBS Evening News" called, "Everyone in the World Has a Story."

Steve Hartman: "Last November, when the shuttle Atlantis took off from the Kennedy Space Center, it was not only carrying supplies for the International Space Station; it was also carrying something for us – a plastic, inflatable globe."

Williams and the Expedition 22 crew were asked by the network to randomly select places on a globe for CBS’s crew to visit and show how people there live. Williams’ selections will introduce Hartman’s pieces on three consecutive Mondays. The commander’s first randomly-selected spot on the globe is Rewari, India.

With waters warming up again, scores of endangered green and loggerhead sea turtles rescued from the Kennedy Space Center should soon be heading back home to Mosquito Lagoon or the Indian River. Kennedy employees teamed up with the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission to rescue the turtles from uncharacteristically cold waters during early January’s cold snap. The turtles were cold-stunned, a condition that occurs when water temperatures drop below 60 degrees Fahrenheit. Uncommon in Florida, the last time that happened in the Sunshine State was 1989. Over several days, more than 270 endangered turtles were identified, verified, and shipped to facilities in warmer environs where they were cared while waiting out the extreme cold. Kennedy is home to the Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge and has numerous tropical and subtropical animals.

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