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NASA TV's This Week @NASA, April 30
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This Week at NASA…


The STS-132 crew completed a series of terminal countdown demonstration tests needed to ensure they and their grounds teams are prepared for their targeted May 14 launch aboard space shuttle Atlantis.

The six astronauts will spend 12 days in space during which time they'll conduct three spacewalks to stage spare components such as a Ku-band antenna and parts for the Canadian Dextre robotic arm outside the International Space Station. The STS-132 crew will also deliver Rassvet, the Russian-built Mini Research Module-1. The STS-132 crew members are Commander Ken Ham, Pilot Tony Antonelli and Mission Specialists Garrett Reisman, Michael Good, Steve Bowen and Piers Sellers.

STS-132 is the final scheduled flight for Atlantis. Atlantis took its maiden voyage on October 3, 1985 on mission 51-J.


NASA Administrator Charles Bolden joined EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson for a special Memorandum of Agreement signing event at Howard Middle School situated on the campus of Howard University in Washington, DC.

Charles Bolden: "What we're here today to do is extend a memorandum of agreement between our two agencies that's hopefully going to allow us to combine our assets, our forces, our people, and involve all of you as you continue to grow and mature and decide what it is you want to do in protecting the planet."

The agreement promotes collaboration between NASA and EPA to improve environmental and Earth science research, technology, and environmental management, also the application of Earth science data, models and technology in environmental decision-making, and is a renewal of an existing Agreement signed in 2005.

The re-invigorated partnership focuses on science leadership to motivate continued exploration, innovation and protection of our home planet.

The areas of applied research and applications expected to benefit from this partnership include climate change, air quality, and water. As science leaders in government, Jackson and Bolden challenged the students in attendance to continue a pursuit of science and excellence.


To celebrate the 20th anniversary of this scientific icon, NASA has released a unique collection of Hubble images with commentary. "Hubble: A Journey Through Space and Time" highlights its spectacular visual legacy to humanity and includes what many consider to be the observatory's 20 most important scientific findings to date. The pictures were selected by NASA astronomers and run the gamut from images of stars being born and dying, to galaxies colliding and reforming. Commentaries by notable scientists, and testimonies by astronauts who helped repair and maintain the telescope, complement the stunning imagery. Available in book stores, "Hubble: A Journey Through Space and Time" is authored by Dr. Ed Weiler, NASA’s associate administrator for Science, who served as Hubble’s Chief Scientist from 1979 until 1998. The book’s foreword was written by Administrator Charlie Bolden, who piloted the space shuttle that launched the telescope.


Operation IceBridge has entered the second phase of its spring 2010 campaign. NASA's DC-8 aircraft has returned from Greenland to the Dryden Flight Research Center in California, following a successful survey of the entire Arctic Ocean. The plane flew from Thule, Greenland to Fairbanks, Alaska providing a detailed snapshot of sea ice conditions.

John Sonntag: "A lot of scientists believe that climate change will first show up at the polar regions. Greenland, because of its presence, and Antarctica - all the ice masses together - act as buffer on climate and if they were to start to melt, which many people believe that they are, then the eventual affect will be a warmer climate after all.

A specially-fitted P-3B airplane to measure the Greenland ice sheet, glaciers and sea ice will be employed for the remainder of the campaign which runs through May. The aircraft carries a Multichannel Coherent Radar Depth Sounder instrument - a radar, provided by the University of Kansas, that measures ice sheet thickness and maps the varied terrain below the ice. P-3B will also depart from Thule and Kangerlussuaq, Greenland.


Weeks before "first light" imagery and data missions begin, NASA's Stratospheric Observatory For Infrared Astronomy was on display at the Dryden Aircraft Operations Facility in Palmdale, California. The joint NASA/ German Aerospace Center program incorporates a German-built 17-ton infrared telescope installed in the rear fuselage of a Boeing 747SP.

SOFIA program manager Bob Meyer said the flying observatory will "open the infrared window to the universe."

Bob Meyer: "This observatory will soon be bringing world class scientists here to Palmdale and to California, and they'll be working on unlocking the secrets of the universe and our own solar system while flying the telescope behind me."

John Carter, SOFIA aircraft project manager, outlined major milestones in SOFIA's development, while the German SOFIA Institute's telescope assembly and science instrument manager Thomas Keilig and Erick Young of the Universities Space Research Association detailed SOFIA's astronomical science capabilities. SOFIA will carry astronomers and educators to altitudes above 99 percent of the water vapor in Earth's atmosphere while collecting infrared imagery of the universe.


49 years ago, on May 5, 1961, Mercury-Redstone 3, launched a Freedom 7 spacecraft from Launch Complex 5 at Cape Canaveral, Florida.

Alan Shepard: "Allright Now. Liftoff and the clock has started."

It carried the first U.S. human into space, Alan B. Shepard.

Alan Shepard: "This is Freedom 7 and the fuel is go – 1.2 G."

45 million Americans were riveted to their televisions as the flight took him up to an altitude of 116 miles, for 15 minutes, 28 seconds, traveling at a velocity of 5,134 miles per hour, then returned him to a safe landing in the Atlantic. Alan Shepard later went on to command the Apollo 14 mission and he was the fifth person to walk on the moon.

And that's This Week at NASA!

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