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Transcript: This Week at NASA, September 12-16

NASA has released the results of its Exploration Systems Architecture Study.

In a September 19 news conference at NASA Headquarters carried live on NASA Television, Administrator Mike Griffin revealed details of the study he commissioned to serve as the blueprint from which NASA will build the nation's future spacecraft and launch vehicles.

SOT Griffin: "…The Crew Exploration Vehicle is designed with its launch system to go with lower earth orbit. Once you’re in lower earth orbit you can do any number of things. You must go through lower earth orbit to go anywhere else. We can go to the moon. In later decades, we can go to Mars. We can service the space station. We can undertake the service of the Hubble Space Telescope or other space telescopes as may exist. We can do anything. This new vehicle is the vehicle that lets us do that."

The Exploration Systems Architecture Study will help meet the goals and objectives outlined by President.Bush January 14, 2004, when he set a bold Vision for Space Exploration, instructing NASA to return the space shuttle to safe flight, complete the International Space Station, return to the moon and continue on to Mars.

Conditions have improved at NASA's Stennis Space Center and the Michoud Assembly Facility. Both Stennis, where space shuttle main engines are tested, and Michoud Assembly Facility, where space shuttle external fuel tanks are manufactured, have been closed for normal operations since Hurricane Katrina hit.

Presently, Crews are restoring services and repairing damaged buildings.

Daily convoys are moving between both sites transporting personnel and supplies as Michoud prepares to open as does Stennis with limited operations.

NASA Stennis continues to support the Federal Emergency Management Agency's relief efforts in the surrounding area.

More than 25 million pounds of ice, 3.6 million gallons of water and 2 million ready-to-eat meals have been dispatched from Stennis to six Mississippi counties. More than 1,700 tractor-trailer loads of relief supplies have been processed through Stennis. At Michoud, limited commercial power has been restored, with full power expected by the week of September 19th. Land-line telephone service has been restored.

The agency is making progress determining the whereabouts and condition of workers at both Stennis and Michoud. Those who have yet checked in are urged to call, toll-free,

(877) 470-5240

The 19th Progress spacecraft docked with the International Space Station September 10, bringing with it more than 5,000 pounds of food, water, oxygen, spare parts and other supplies. Expedition 11 Commander Sergei Krikalev and NASA Flight Engineer and Science Officer John Phillips are in the fifth month of a six-month mission aboard the ISS.

DEPUTY ADMINISTRATOR GREGORY RETIRES - HQ Former Astronaut Frederick D. Gregory announced he would be ending 31 years at NASA, most recently as the agency's Deputy Director. Among other roles, Gregory has served as a research test pilot and, most notably, an astronaut. Gregory logged 455 hours in space aboard three Space Shuttle missions, two of which he commanded. Gregory will stay in his role until the U.S. Senate confirms a successor.

The Aircraft Landing Dynamics Facility at NASA's Langley Research Center is celebrating 50 years of helping make air travel safer. Since 19-55, the ALDF has tested tires, braking equipment, and pavements, in search of the best combinations for the safest possible landings for aircraft and the space shuttle.

The astronauts that returned the space shuttle to flight aboard Discovery this summer threw out the first pitch at the Houston Astros' Sept. 13 baseball game, officially designated as 'NASA Night.' As part of the ceremonies, Astros owner Drayton McLane was presented the NASA Public Service Medal in recognition of his exceptional contributions to America's space program.

NASA Mission Specialist John Herrington, the first Native American in space, announced his retirement as a NASA astronaut September 9th. Herrington, a member of the Chickasaw Nation of Oklahoma, performed three spacewalks, or EVAs, totaling 19 hours and 55 minutes aboard Space Shuttle mission STS-113 in November-December 2002.

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