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Transcript: This Week at NASA, February 4 - 10
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NASA Administrator Michael Griffin hosted a news conference on the agency's Fiscal Year ’07 budget and how it supports the agency’s Vision for Space Exploration.

SOT Griffin "I would say that in a fiscal environment where domestic non-defense discretionary spending is decreasing at one-half percent, that NASA's overall increase of 3.3 percent is very welcome frankly."

Griffin was joined at the news conference by NASA’s four associate administrators, who responded to questions about the budget’s impact on their respective Mission Directorates.

SOT Gerstenmaier "We're going to try to figure out the most efficient way to put the space station together. To use a minimum number of flights. But, if something unforseen were to happen, that's a major event, we do have some flexibility to accomodate that in the sequence."


Expedition 12 Commander Bill McArthur and Flight Engineer Valery Tokarev conducted a five-hour, 43-minute spacewalk outside the International Space Station. During the EVA, the Crew removed a cable on the rail car system to prevent it from being severed accidentally, and jettisoned an expired Russian spacesuit into space. Equipped with an amateur radio transmitter, the spacesuit sent prerecorded messages to ham operators worldwide. This was the Expedition 12 crew’s second spacewalk of their six-month mission.

Also aboard the Station, Commander McArthur fielded questions from KOMO-TV, Seattle and Men’s Health Magazine about his life and work on the complex.

SOT Men's Health Reporter: "What do you hope to learn from your half-marathon that you performed? Was it just to do it, or are you looking at some physiological responses?

SOT Bill McArthur: "I think you hit the nail on the head. To a large degree it was just to do it. We orbit the earth, it takes slightly longer than 90 minutes to orbit so one of my goals this flight was to run around the world, in other words stay on the treadmill for a full orbit.

McArthur praised the Seattle Seahawks for their Super Bowl efforts and wished them better luck next time.


The NASA Advisory Council met in Washington, DC. Members were updated by agency officials on NASA's progress in realizing the Vision for Space Exploration. The NAC's chairman is former U.S. Senator and Apollo moon walker, Harrison Schmitt.

SOT Schmitt: "I’m very optimistic! I’m sure something,a lot that is useful has come out of it. We have certainly learned a lot. Everybody is sort of new, in one way or the other, to the new programs of NASA and that has been an extremely useful exercise in getting the council up to speed and in a position where I think we can make useful recommendations to the Administrator."

The council also heard fact-finding reports from its five committees examining, among other topics, NASA's future exploration missions.


Air Force and NASA fire-rescue crews participated in a simulated Space Shuttle landing mishap training exercise last weekend on the dry lakebed at NASA's Dryden Flight Research Center. The exercise, called a "Mode 7," simulated a landing accident in which Shuttle astronauts are helped by fire-rescue crews to escape the orbiter and evacuate the immediate area. U.S. Army and Navy search and rescue helicopter crews also participated. Rescue teams conduct Shuttle safety training exercises at Dryden about every six months.


February 9th marked the 16th anniversary of the Galileo Spacecraft’s flyby of the planet Venus. While this flyby helped propel Galileo on to Jupiter, its ultimate destination, it also gave scientists a better look at Venus's cloud-shrouded atmosphere and environment. Galileo was launched in October 1989 aboard Space Shuttle Atlantis and arrived at Jupiter in December 1995. During its six-year journey, Galileo sent back to earth more than 30 gigabytes of data, including 14-thousand pictures.

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