Text Size

Transcript: This Week at NASA, January 28 - February 3
Listen Now (mp3)


Engineers at the Marshall Space Flight Center completed final testing on an oxygen generation system for the International Space Station that can provide enough breathable air for a crew of six. The system is now at the Kennedy Space Center, for installation in Leonardo—the Multi-Purpose Logistics Module for the ISS. Space Shuttle Discovery will deliver them to the ISS during STS-121 in May.


Thanks to a NASA-led team, meteorologists in the United States are able to provide better local weather forecasts for pilots. Researchers at the Langley Research Center successfully led the way in developing the Tropospheric Airborne Meteorological Data Report instrument (TAMDAR) which enables aircraft to automatically sense, and report atmospheric conditions. The instrument is currently used in commuter aircraft flown by Musaba Airlines. Meteorologists at the National Weather Service have found TAMDAR to be useful in forecasting severe thunderstorms, dense fog, precipitation types of winter storms and low-level wind shear.


NASA’s Stardust spacecraft is in hibernation mode after successfully completing its mission to return cometary and interstellar dust samples to Earth. Scientists believe putting Stardust to ‘sleep’ will allow them to reuse the Spacecraft in the future. According to Project Manager, Tom Duxbury, the spacecraft’s deactivation is a reward -- “Stardust performed flawlessly these last seven years, and after traveling 2.88 billion miles it deserves a rest for awhile, like the rest of the team.”


Astronaut Alan Poindexter and Kennedy Space Center Director, Jim Kennedy visited the Warrenton Middle School in Pensacola, Florida. The school is one of KSC's fifteen "Explorer" schools. Poindexter & Kennedy interacted with students and talked with them about NASA’S Vision for Space Exploration.

KENNEDY SOT: "Kids matter to NASA and that’s you --the sixth graders of Warrenton Middle School -- have an opportunity to be the next generation of explorers."

POINDEXTER SOT: "Continue to work hard in school. Stay in school. Study math and science and learn what there is out there for you."


In its February edition, Black Enterprise Magazine has added NASA’s Chief Financial Officer, Gwendolyn Sykes, to its list of the 50 most powerful black women in Business. Sykes, NASA’s CFO since 2002, oversees the Agency’s fiscal operations and tracks its budget of $16.5 billion dollars. Sykes joins a prestigious group that includes; Susan Chapman, the Global Head of Operations for Citigroup Realty Services, Debra L. Lee, Chairman, President and CEO of Black Entertainment Television, and talk show host Oprah Winfrey, Chairman of Harpo Productions, Inc.


NASA marked several anniversaries in the last week of January…

January 31, 1958 saw Explorer 1 become America’s first orbiting satellite. During its mission, Explorer’s instrument package detected intense bands of radiation surrounding Earth. Scientists now refer to those bands as the Van Allen Radiation Belts -- the first major scientific discovery of the space age. Three years later on January 31, 1961 as part of Project Mercury—the Mercury Redstone 2 spacecraft was successfully launched into Earth’s orbit carrying “Ham,” a chimpanzee. Ham helped NASA accomplish the main objectives of Project Mercury – proving Human Kind could function in space, and that the Agency was able to safely return humans to Earth and recover spacecraft safely.

Also on this date in 1971, Apollo 14 launched carrying commander, Alan B. Shepard, Jr., command module pilot Stuart A. Roosa and lunar module pilot, Edgar D. Mitchell.

SOT: “…Apollo 14 marked the beginning of large-scaled use of the moon for science.”

It was the third Apollo mission to take humans to the moon.

And, that’s this week at NASA.

Listen Now (mp3)