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


Mission Control: "You’re looking straight into the camera, absolutely."

Cosmonauts Fyodor Yurchikhin and Mikhail Kornienko spent nearly seven hours spacewalking to replace a video camera and improve cable connections to the International Space Station.

The two Expedition 24 Flight Engineers outfitted the new Rassvet mini module to host automatic linkups with Russian vehicles arriving at the station. They also routed and mated Command and Data Handling cables on the Zvezda and Zarya modules.

A video camera was removed and replaced on the aft end of Zvezda then successfully tested. It’ll be used to provide television views of the final approach and docking of future European Automated Transfer Vehicles carrying cargo to the complex.

Aerospace engineers at the Ames Research Center are using wind tunnels to test a launch abort system, or LAS, for the Orion spacecraft. A six per cent scale model of the spacecraft, complex parts and all, is being used to mimic various launch conditions so researchers can better understand the aerodynamics of Orion’s liftoff and climb to orbit.

Kevin James: "We're looking at how the aerodynamics are affected as we do an abort and separation maneuver, and then how to control the vehicle as we go through the abort and recovery as it comes down and the shoots come out."

Comprised of a tower and cover, Orion’s LAS has a powerfully built launch abort motor which would quickly move the craft and its human cargo away from the launch vehicle in an emergency. The ability to protect astronauts from a launch pad failure is a critical component of human spaceflight, and tests like these help maintain the safety of astronauts throughout their mission.

Like proud parents watching their baby take its first steps, mission team members gathered in the gallery above the clean room at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory to witness the Mars Curiosity rover roll for the first time.

Curiosity was guided by engineers and technicians in "bunny suits" as it made its first roll on the clean room floor, moving forward and backward about a meter.

Dr. Ashwin Vasada: "It's gone from designs on napkins, to Power Point, to CAD drawings, to blueprints and now it’s a rover."

Curiosity, also known as the Mars Science Laboratory, will be the largest rover ever sent to the Red Planet. It’ll carry ten instruments to detect places where life may have existed and whether they have the capacity to preserve the evidence. MSL is scheduled to launch in fall 2011 and set down on Mars the following August.

A camera aboard NASA's Mars Odyssey spacecraft has helped develop the most accurate global Martian map ever. And not only can researchers access the map – so, can the public, explore and survey the entire surface of the Red Planet as well.

The map is made from nearly 21,000 images taken by the Thermal Emission Imaging System, THEMIS, a multi-band infrared camera on Odyssey. The pictures have been smoothed, matched, blended and cartographically controlled to make a giant mosaic. Users can pan and zoom into the images, with some of the smallest surface details just 330 feet wide. Researchers at Arizona State University's Mars Space Flight Facility and the Jet Propulsion Laboratory have been compiling the map since THEMIS began observations eight years ago.

While some portions of Mars have been mapped at higher resolution, this map is the most accurate one to cover the entire planet.

Dr. Michael Meyer: "This 100 meter resolution map is going to be extremely helpful in making the planet accessible to everybody, and also for adding in higher resolution images."

Explore Mars yourself by following the links at:


T.J. Creamer: “Welcome all, and thanks for coming, thanks for playing with us, and by all means, thanks for joining me through the Twitter-verse."

TJ Creamer, the first NASA astronaut to send a live message from space via the social messaging medium, Twitter, hosted a special Tweetup at NASA Headquarters.

T.J. Creamer: "And here we are doing synchronized swimming."

A Tweetup is an informal meeting of Tweeps, or people who use Twitter.

Tweep Question: "I understand part of your mission was to set up the live internet connection on the space station. Can you speak a little more about that?"

While in space, Creamer set up the International Space Station’s live Internet connection and posted updates about his 161 day-stay aboard the complex to his Twitter account, sending the first live “tweet” from orbit.

T.J. Creamer: "When I got up there; I made it a pet project. I did what any good geek does on a Saturday night, pizza and playing with stuff, trying different variables and poof – I got lucky! Once we were able to make that connection happen, the first thing I did was -- "hey Twitterers."

Some 100 participants randomly-selected from Web registrants attended the event broadcast live on NASA Television.

The Ames Research Center hosted Exploration Day featuring NASA’s out-of-this-world missions and technology programs. Fresh from her recent tour of the Johnson Space Center, “Star Trek” star Nichelle Nichols was the special guest at Ames, meeting with students at a science poster session and touring several of the center’s simulators. Youngsters were treated to a variety of hands-on educational experiences. Among them, the Traveling Space Museum, offering more than ten stations of fun and interesting activities.

The day-long event was part of NASA’s Summer of Innovation initiative.

Yvonne Cagle: "We’re sharing with them just how exciting and how engaging science, technology, engineering, mathematics is, and we’re doing it by giving them a first-hand, hands-on, front row seat in the experience."

The STS-132 crew continued its road trip with a multi-site stop in Ohio and the nation’s capital. Five crew members, including local native Michael Good, shared their mission highlights with an attentive crowd at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland. They toured the iconic landmark and presented museum CEO Terry Stewart with several items that flew with the shuttle Atlantis crew to the International Space Station in May. These included the official Rock and Roll Hall of Fame flag, and copies of the lyrics for Jimi Hendrix’s “Purple Haze” and Bruce Springsteen’s “Born in the U.S.A.” Joining Good for the event was Commander Ken Ham, Pilot Tony Antonelli and Mission Specialists Garrett Reisman and Steve Bowen.

Good and crewmates also met with singer Jon Bon Jovi and band and later attended a concert by the rock group.

In Washington, the five astronauts were joined by 132 Mission Specialist Piers Sellers and Expedition 22/23 Flight Engineer T.J. Creamer to show mission highlights to NASA headquarters employees.

They also participated in other events, including a presentation to the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum of Dr. John Mather’s Nobel Prize medal flown on their mission.

Finally, the astronauts joined with 500 Headquarters and Goddard employees at Nationals Park for ‘NASA Night at the Nats,’ where they took part in pre-game ceremonies of a baseball matchup between the visiting Atlanta Braves and the hometown Washington Nationals.

And that's This Week at NASA!

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