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NASA TV's This Week @NASA, February 26
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This Week At NASA...

NASA is teaming with Univision Communications Inc, the Department of Education and other organizations to support Univision’s initiative to improve Hispanic students high school graduation rates, prepare for college and encourage them to pursue careers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

Charlie Bolden: "It’s a great extension of the efforts that we’ve been making to foster STEM education to support the President’s ‘Educate to Innovate’ program, the ‘Race to the Top’; it all fits together for us. This program is designated, primarily, to reach kids in the high school area, but I think with our ‘Summer of Innovation’ that’s focused on kids in middle schools, they are kind of a perfect marriage."

The three year education initiative called “Es El Momento,” (The Moment is Now) is aimed at parents as well as students. It was developed in response to rising statistics that show Hispanic high school and college graduation rates are lower than the national average.

Cesar Conde: "NASA’ s been a pivotal partner of Univision and the coalition since the very beginning. NASA really understands the importance of, not only educating Hispanic youth as a driving force of the American population, but you also want to put a particular emphasis on insuring that our Hispanic youth is focusing on science, math and technology. We know that this is a tremendous opportunity, but particularly for our community, and NASA has been pivotal in supporting us in that effort."

Univision’s television and radio networks and internet platforms will help Hispanic parents encourage their children to complete high school and prepare for college, as well as provide information about sources of financial assistance for further education.

The Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite-P -- GOES-P is ready for launch. GOES-P is the last in the GOES N series of geostationary weather and environmental satellites, and like its companions will improve overall weather service quality.

Paul Richards: "GOES satellites are operational satellites, meaning they’re not experimental, they are constantly up there. In fact, we have three up there at a time. They are so important we have a spare and two active satellites."

The satellite’s highly stable pointing platform will improve the performance of instruments used to create daily weather prediction models and hurricane forecasting. Data from GOES-P will broaden global climate change databases, and help support civil and government environmental forecasting organizations that rely on this type of information to save lives.

Mickey Fitzmaurice: "The search and rescue system which has existed since the mid-nineties is another valuable tool for these satellites. It allows us to detect persons, vehicles, planes, vessels in distress."

GOES-P is scheduled for launch aboard a Delta IV rocket from the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida on Tuesday, March 2, at 6:19 p.m. EST

It’ll be a match made in the heavens.

A recent adjustment has put the Stardust spacecraft on a path through space that will result in an encounter with the comet Tempel 1 on February 14, 2011 – Valentine’s Day and allow Stardust to see areas of interest previously imaged by NASA's Deep Impact mission in 2005.

Lindley Johnson: "The encounter will be fairly quick; It will only be a few minutes as the spacecraft flies by the comet. So, we want to time the flyby of the comet at least part of what we’ve seen before is visible to the spacecraft, but also to see some of the new area of the comet."

Stardust will not only provide high-resolution images of the comet's surface, but also take measurements of the composition, size distribution, and flux of dust emitted into the coma, the hazy envelope surrounding the comet’s nucleus. Scientists hope this new data will tell them more about the evolution of Jupiter family comets like Tempel 1 and how they formed 4.6 billion years ago.

The National Full-Scale Aerodynamics Complex wind tunnel at Ames Research Center is normally used to test aircraft.

But, in support of the Department of Energy’s effort to reduce the nation’s dependency on fossil fuels, the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory and truck manufacturer Navistar Inc. of Warrenville, Ill., brought this semi to Ames to test devices developed by the Livermore Lab to reduce aerodynamic drag on tractor-trailers.

Tractor-trailers account for about 12 percent of the United States petroleum consumption. That’s 21 million barrels per day. Livermore Lab scientists estimate that aerodynamic devices placed in critical drag-producing areas of tractor-trailers could save America’s trucking industry almost 5 billion gallons of diesel – and 14-point-7 billion dollars -- per year.

NASA ANNIVERSARY: NACA’S 95th, March 3, 1915 – HQ
Despite the Wright Brothers’ pioneering powered flight of 1903, the United States lagged behind Europe in airplane technology when World War I broke out eleven years later. That’s when Congress created the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics, the NACA, on March 3, 1915. Its mission: to coordinate aeronautics research already underway in the U.S. However, the NACA’s mission and workforce soon grew to conduct its own research. From 1917 through 1958, it was responsible for many significant achievements in aviation history.

Among them: the construction in 1922 at the then-named Langley Memorial Aeronautical Laboratory in Virginia of the variable-density wind tunnel. For the first time, the NACA’s researchers could compress air and simulate high-altitude flying. This provided aircraft manufacturers with accurate data for producing better aircraft.

The NACA also provided invaluable support for America’s effort in World War II. The addition of two new laboratories, the Ames Aeronautical Laboratory at Moffett Field, Calif., the future Ames Research Center, and the Aircraft Engine Research Laboratory in Cleveland, today’s Glenn Research Center, helped test and develop no fewer than 137 different aircraft between 1941 and 1945.

The NACA’s post-war focus was on supersonic flight, beginning with the success of Chuck Yeager and the X-1 flights at the NACA Muroc Unit, later re-named the Dryden Flight Research Center at Edwards Air Force Base, Calif.

In 1958, with the Soviet Union rapidly developing a space program, the NACA’s missions and projects were incorporated into a new agency responsible for, not only aeronautical research, but also civilian human, satellite, and robotic space programs: the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, NASA.

And that’s This Week @ NASA.

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