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NASA TV's This Week @NASA, April 23
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This Week at NASA…

The crew of STS-131 returned home to Houston following their fifteen days in space aboard shuttle Discovery.

Mike Coates: "Nice landing. Well done."

A crowd of several hundred well-wishers greeted the seven astronauts at Ellington Field after their flight from the Kennedy Space Center one day after their safe landing.

Alan Poindexter: "It’s a very special day and we’re very happy to be back in Houston. We were very happy to be back in Florida yesterday."

The Discovery crew spent ten of their fourteen days in orbit docked to the International Space Station. They delivered science racks, new crew sleeping quarters, and several additional tons of equipment and supplies. During three spacewalks, the crew installed a new ammonia storage tank for the station's cooling system, replaced a gyroscope for the station's navigation system and retrieved a Japanese experiment from outside the Kibo laboratory for examination on Earth.

Joining Commander Alan Poindexter on the flight was Pilot Jim Dutton and Mission Specialists Rick Mastracchio, Dottie Metcalf-Lindenburger, Stephanie Wilson, Clay Anderson, and Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency astronaut Naoko Yamazaki.

The first images are in from NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory, or SDO, and scientists who study the sun say they are a stunning treasure trove of data about Earth’s star.

Dick Fisher: "The first images are now in hand and these are truly spectacular and they show the details of our sun that have not been available to us before in a comprehensive and multidimensional manner."

Launch Announcer: "Ignition and lift-off of the Atlas-5 with the Solar Dynamics Observatory."

Launched on Feb. 11, 2020, SDO is the most advanced spacecraft ever designed to study the sun. SDO’s images confirm an unprecedented new capability for heliophysics to better understand our sun’s dynamic processes and how and why these solar activities affect everything on earth.

Dean Pesnell: "SDO is the first mission in the Living With A Star program. It’s designed to study the sun, and how the sun affects us here on earth. Most of the affects come from the magnetic field of the sun, and we’re going to see today that, that magnetic field is never the same twice, it’s always changing."

During its five-year mission, SDO will provide images with clarity ten times better than high-definition television and will return more comprehensive science data faster than any other solar observatory spacecraft.

NASA helped celebrate Earth Day's fortieth anniversary with nine consecutive days of activities and public exhibits on the National Mall in Washington.

The 'NASA Village' of three domed tents highlighted how NASA science and technology has helped advance knowledge and awareness about our home planet with exhibits and hands-on demonstrations of environmental technologies developed by NASA, and multimedia presentations by NASA scientists and others.

Robonaut 2, or R2, as it, or he, is also known, is scheduled to become the first human-like robot to take up permanent residence on the International Space Station.

The 300-pound robot consists of a head, a torso, and two arms and legs. Developed under a cooperative agreement by NASA and General Motors, R2 was designed to assist and work alongside humans, whether in space or at manufacturing plants on Earth. R2 will head into space later this year aboard space shuttle Discovery. Once aboard the ISS, R2 will be confined to operations in the station's Destiny laboratory. However, future enhancements and modifications may allow it to move more freely around the station's interior or even outside the complex.

Discovery’s launch on STS-133 is targeted for September 16.

Hundreds of students from middle schools, high schools, and colleges representing 20 states were in northern Alabama for the annual Space Launch Initiative, or LaunchFest.

Each year, NASA challenges young, aspiring rocketeers from around the country to design and build these launch vehicles complete with a working science payload, then send them aloft, here at LaunchFest, to an altitude of one mile.

LaunchFest is meant to inspire students to combine engineering practices with high-flying creativity and pursue long-term goals as professionals in the STEM fields of science, technology, engineering and math.

Launchfest is organized by the Marshall Space Flight Center and sponsored by ATK Aerospace Systems.



The STS-130 crew paid a visit to NASA Headquarters where they played highlights of their February mission to the International Space Station for employees and guests. The six-astronaut crew of space shuttle Endeavour was commanded by George Zamka; Terry Virts was the pilot; Mission Specialists were Nicholas Patrick, Bob Behnken, Steve Robinson and Kay Hire.

Among the number of other D.C. area events, the STS-130 crew members talked about their mission with local students at the Smithsonian’s Air and Space museum.

HST LAUNCH 20th ANNIVERSARY - April 24, 1990 – HQ/STSci

Launch Announcer: "3-2-1 and liftoff of the space shuttle Discovery with the Hubble Space Telescope -- our window on the universe."

On April 24, 1990, the Hubble Space Telescope launched aboard Space Shuttle Discovery from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. Since then, the observatory orbiting 350 miles above Earth has produced hundreds of thousands of unprecedented images of different corners of the universe.

Ed Weiler: "Not many humans get to work on things that a hundred years from now history will remember, Hubble is certainly one of them."

Named after the American astronomer Edwin Hubble, the telescope’s gaze has helped determine the age of the universe, the identity of quasars, and the existence of dark energy. Hubble is one of NASA's most successful and long-lasting science missions, shedding light on many of the great mysteries of astronomy.

And that's This Week at NASA!

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