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NASA TV's This Week @NASA, September 24
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This Week at NASA…


Veteran Astronauts Chris Ferguson, Doug Hurley, Sandy Magnus and Rex Walheim will make up the crew of STS-335. The mission will fly only if members of STS-134 aboard space shuttle Endeavour, would need to be rescued. STS-134 is the last scheduled shuttle mission to the International Space Station.

Since the loss of Columbia in 2003, NASA has had a crew ready to fly if a shuttle suffers irreparable damage in orbit. The STS-335 crew will not only train for rescue but will stand ready in case a new shuttle mission is added to the launch manifest. If that happens, STS-335 would be re-designated STS-135 and would be targeted to launch in June 2011 aboard space shuttle Atlantis.

And now Centerpieces…

Preparations continue for the next space shuttle mission to the International Space Station, STS-133. Space shuttle Discovery is now at Launch Pad 39A at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida following its move, or “rollout” from the Vehicle Assembly Building. STS-133 is the next-to-last scheduled shuttle mission and the final flight of Discovery before it’s retired.

The orbiter and its six-member crew commanded by Steve Lindsey will carry to the station the Permanent Multipurpose Module, or PMM, packed with supplies and critical spare parts, as well as the first human-like robot in space, Robonaut 2.

Discovery is targeted to launch on Nov. 1.

Looking from behind glass into a controlled-atmosphere clean room at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, invited media satisfied their curiosity about Curiosity, the next Mars rover. Along with other elements of the Mars Science Laboratory spacecraft, Curiosity has been undergoing tests inside JPL’s Spacecraft Assembly Facility, driving short distances and moving its robotic arm.

Sean Haggart: “Now just about everything you see on the mobility system looks black, that doesn’t mean it’s the same material. The tubes, the suspension arms coming down to the wheels, those are all titanium; the tires themselves, those are aluminum; the shell on those tires is actually a piece of machined aluminum about 30-thousandth-of-an-inch thick; that’s about the sickness of seven pieces of paper, and when they’re that thin, it makes them actually soft and so they to behave in much the way that a rubber tire would behave.”

“This test was sort of an obstacle course for the rover because we have to drive over obstacles at certain heights and those correspond to rocks at certain heights we expect to see on the surface of Mars. So those ramps are mimicking those rocks to make sure we actually drive over them and get to the science.”

MSL and its rover are scheduled to launch to Mars in late 2011.

Ames and Marshall were among the NASA centers hosting a celebration of International Observe the Moon Night. Center guests viewed the moon and other celestial objects through large telescopes, guided by local astronomical groups, and visitors enjoyed several hands-on games and activities, including an inflatable planetarium to learn more about the stars, moon and planets. NASA scientists also talked about the presence of water on the moon and upcoming missions to our nearest neighbor in space. International Observe the Moon Night was celebrated in more than 30 countries worldwide.

And that's This Week at NASA!

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