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NASA TV's This Week @NASA, January 22
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This Week At NASA...

With skies overcast skies, the next space shuttle crew set down their T-38s at the Kennedy Space Center, eager to begin their launch dress rehearsal, or Terminal Countdown Demonstration test.

Kathryn Hire: "It’s great to be back. It feels like I’m coming home."

During a question and answer session with the media, STS-130 Commander George Zamka, pilot and first time flyer Terry Virts, and Mission Specialists Bob Behnken, Nicholas Patrick, Kathryn Hire and Steve Robinson expressed excitement about their upcoming mission.

George Zamka: "This is a very special trip for us. It marks the transition for us from flight preparation and training to the operation stage of our flight. We’re looking forward to flying this flight, here, in just a few weeks."

The rehearsal simulates the countdown to a launch. The crew and ground teams can familiarize themselves with their equipment and practice procedures in the event of an emergency.

The crew will fly aboard space shuttle Endeavour bringing the Tranquility node and its cupola for installation on the International Space Station. The STS-130 mission is scheduled to liftoff from the Kennedy Space Center on Sunday, February 7, at 4:39 a.m. Eastern.

The scheduled launch of NASA’s new Solar Dynamics Observatory, or SDO, is drawing near.

Madhulika (Lika) Guhathakurta: "SDO is the solar variability mission; it is going to revolutionize our view of the sun."

Its prelaunch briefing, conducted at NASA headquarters in Washington and the Kennedy Space Center, gave media a look at SDO’s unprecedented mission to study the sun and its dynamic behavior. SDO is designed to help us understand the Sun's influence on Earth and near-Earth space by studying the solar atmosphere on small scales of space and time and in many wavelengths simultaneously.

Dean Pesnel: "We know how much SOHO and other spacecraft have revolutionized solar physics. SDO has been designed to take advantage of what we have learned from those missions, and I see this as a revolutionary mission and the data that SDO produces, in five to ten years we are going to be looking back and be amazed at what we learned from it."

The Solar Dynamics Observatory is scheduled to launch aboard an Atlas V rocket from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station on February 9, between 10:30 and 11:30 a.m. eastern. SDO is the first Space Weather Research Network mission in NASA’s Living With A Star program.

23’S NEXT! – JSC
The next International Space Station crew briefed reporters on their upcoming mission. NASA astronaut Tracy Caldwell Dyson was joined by Russian cosmonauts Alexander Skyorsov and Mikhail Kornlenko to discuss their upcoming Expedition 23 mission.

Tracy Caldwell: "We have highlights of our mission mainly focusing around vehicle traffic. During our mission, we’ll see Progress, shuttles, and Soyuz. We will have both a U.S. stage EVA as well as a Russian stage EVA and a whole host of science experiments and ISS maintenance to perform."

The trio of space travelers are scheduled to launch aboard a Soyuz spacecraft April 2, then dock with the International Space Station two days later.


Stennis Center Director: "I’d like to thank everyone for joining us this afternoon."

Members of the STS-129 crew continued their whirlwind tour of NASA centers. Five members of the space shuttle Atlantis crew thanked employees at the Stennis Space Center for their part in a safe STS-129 mission to the International Space Station in November.

STS-129 was the last scheduled space shuttle crew rotation mission to or from the space station, returning ISS crew member Nicole Stott to Earth on Nov. 27. The 11-day mission also delivered supplies and spare parts to the complex.

The Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity this week celebrates six years of exploration and research on the surface of the red planet. Opportunity landed on Mars on January 24, 2004 nearly a month after its twin Spirit landed on the other side of the planet. Spirit is currently stuck in a sand trap and its prognosis for getting out is not good, although it will, in any event, continue providing observation data to scientists back on Earth. Opportunity, however, still chugs along, currently on a seven-mile trek from Mars' Victoria crater to the Endeavour crater to continue its research. Both rovers have well exceeded expectations, surviving more than five-and-a-half years longer than their original 90 day missions.

The most powerful camera aboard the NASA spacecraft orbiting Mars will soon be taking photo suggestions from the public.

Mike Meyer: "And what we’d like to do is have lots of eyes looking at lower resolution pictures figuring out what might be very interesting and the public can help us point to things that maybe somebody else has not noticed. So we can bring everybody along. We can pick places to get high resolution images. The public gets to play, and we get some cool pictures."

Since arriving at red planet in 2006, the High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment, or HiRISE, camera on the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter has recorded nearly 13,000 observations of the Martian terrain. Now, students, researchers and others can view Mars maps using a new online tool to see where images have been taken and suggest locations for new ones.

To check out how you can nominate your Martian photo op, visit:

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