Monday, March 30, 2009

NASA's Shuttle Atlantis Starts Move to Launch Pad at 4 a.m. Tuesday

Monday, March 30, 2009 0 comments
CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. -- Space shuttle Atlantis' rollout to Launch Pad 39A at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida has been rescheduled to begin at 4 a.m. EDT on Tuesday, March 31, as preparations for the STS-125 mission move forward. Atlantis is targeted to lift off May 12 to service NASA's Hubble Space Telescope.

NASA Television's live coverage of the event will begin at 6:30 a.m. Video highlights will air on the NASA TV Video File.

Journalists are invited to a photo opportunity of the shuttle's move to the pad and an interview opportunity with Atlantis Flow Director Angie Brewer at 8:30 a.m. Tuesday. Dates and times of this event are subject to change. Updates are available by calling 321-867-2525.

Reporters must arrive at Kennedy's news center by 6:30 a.m. Tuesday for transportation to the viewing area. Media accreditation for this event has closed. Badges can be picked up through Tuesday at the Kennedy Badging Office on State Road 405. The badging office opens at 6 a.m.

The fully assembled space shuttle, consisting of the orbiter, external fuel tank and twin solid rocket boosters is mounted on a mobile launcher platform and will be delivered to the pad atop a crawler-transporter. The crawler will travel slower than 1 mph during the 3.4-mile journey. The process is expected to take approximately six hours.

During Atlantis' 11-day mission, the crew of seven astronauts will make the final shuttle flight to Hubble. During five spacewalks, they will install two new instruments, repair two inactive ones and replace components. The result will be six working, complementary science instruments with capabilities beyond what is now available, and an extended operational lifespan for the telescope through at least 2014.

Scott Altman will be the commander of Atlantis. Gregory C. Johnson will be the pilot. Mission specialists will be John Grunsfeld, Mike Massimino, Megan McArthur, Andrew Feustel and Michael Good.

For NASA TV downlink information, schedules and links to streaming video, visit:

For information about the STS-125 mission and crew, visit:

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Thursday, March 26, 2009

Celebrate Apollo: NASA Commemorates the 40th Anniversary

Thursday, March 26, 2009 0 comments
WASHINGTON -- NASA is planning a number of activities and events in 2009 as America nears the 40th anniversary of the first moon landing on July 20. The events will celebrate the Apollo Program, its accomplishments, and the benefits to our lives today.

"Celebrate Apollo: Exploring the Moon, Discovering Earth" is an effort to engage the public and disseminate information about NASA's historic, current and future missions. Several items have been developed to aid the celebration, including an Apollo 40th anniversary logo, calendar of events and Web site.

The site NASA developed specifically for the Apollo 40th anniversary includes the special anniversary logo, an interactive feature about "Moon Trees" grown from seeds that flew on the Apollo 14 mission, and a "First Footprints" toolkit for use throughout the anniversary, which includes downloadable videos, images and events listings. NASA's official Apollo 40th anniversary Web site is located at:

NASA's Apollo missions Web site provides easy access to various NASA resources and multimedia about the Apollo story, the program and the history of human spaceflight, including gallery of images from the Apollo program. The Apollo site is online at:

NASA also has developed an interactive Apollo Program feature. On the anniversary of each Apollo mission, NASA posts a new feature that allows users to relive each mission with video, photos and a unique animated comic. The feature can be found at:

For more information about NASA and agency programs, visit:

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Monday, March 23, 2009

NASA Honors Apollo and Shuttle Astronaut Thomas K. Mattingly

Monday, March 23, 2009 0 comments
WASHINGTON -- NASA will honor astronaut Thomas K. "Ken" Mattingly, II, with the presentation of an Ambassador of Exploration Award for his contributions to the U.S. space program. During a ceremony on Thursday, March 26, Mattingly will accept the award at the Samuel Ginn College of Engineering at Auburn University in Alabama and present it for display at the university.

NASA is giving the Ambassador of Exploration Award to the first generation of explorers in the Mercury, Gemini and Apollo space programs for realizing America's goal of going to the moon. The award is a moon rock encased in Lucite, mounted for public display. The rock is part of the 842 pounds of lunar samples collected during six Apollo expeditions from 1969 to 1972.

Mattingly was born in Chicago and received his bachelor's degree in aeronautical engineering from Auburn University in 1958. He was the command module pilot for the Apollo 16 mission. He also was designated command module pilot for the Apollo 13 flight, but he was removed from flight status 72 hours before the scheduled launch because of exposure to the German measles. Mattingly is one of a few Apollo astronauts who also flew aboard the space shuttle. He was the shuttle commander on missions STS-4 and STS 51-C. For biographical information about Mattingly, visit:

Beginning Wednesday, NASA Television will air a video file with highlights from Mattingly's missions. For NASA TV downlink, schedule and streaming video information, visit:

For information about and pictures of the NASA Ambassador of Exploration Award, visit:

For more information about Auburn University, visit:

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Monday, March 16, 2009

Galaxies Collide to Create Hot, Huge Galaxy

Monday, March 16, 2009 0 comments
Galaxies Collide to Create Hot, Huge Galaxy

This image of a pair of colliding galaxies called NGC 6240 shows them in a rare, short-lived phase of their evolution just before they merge into a single, larger galaxy. The prolonged, violent collision has drastically altered the appearance of both galaxies and created huge amounts of heat -- turning NGC 6240 into an "infrared luminous" active galaxy.

A rich variety of active galaxies, with different shapes, luminosities and radiation profiles exist. These galaxies may be related -- astronomers have suspected that they may represent an evolutionary sequence. By catching different galaxies in different stages of merging, a story emerges as one type of active galaxy changes into another. NGC 6240 provides an important "missing link" in this process.

This image was created from combined data from the infrared array camera of NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope at 3.6 and 8.0 microns (red) and visible light from NASA's Hubble Space Telescope (green and blue).

About the Object (1)
Object name:NGC 6240
Object type:Galaxy
Position (J2000):RA: 16h 52m 58.97s Dec: 2° 24' 1.70"
Distance:400,000,000 Light Years
About the Data
Spitzer Data
Image Credit:NASA/JPL-Caltech/STScI-ESA
Wavelength:3.6 and 8.0 microns (red), visible light (green and blue)
Release Date:2009/03/16

Additional Info
Press Release: Hearts of Galaxies Close in for Cosmic Train Wreck

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Sunday, March 15, 2009

NASA's Shuttle Discovery Launches to Fully Power Space Station

Sunday, March 15, 2009 0 comments
CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. -- Space shuttle Discovery and its seven-member crew lifted off from NASA's Kennedy Space Center at 7:43 p.m. EDT Sunday to deliver the final set of power-generating solar array wings and a new crew member to the International Space Station.

Discovery's STS-119 flight is carrying the space station's fourth and final set of solar array wings, completing the station's truss, or backbone. The arrays will provide the electricity to fully power science experiments and support the station's expanded crew of six in May. The 13-day mission will feature three spacewalks to help install the S6 truss segment to the starboard, or right, side of the station and deploy its solar arrays. The flight also will replace a failed unit for a system that converts urine to potable water.

Shortly before launch, Commander Lee Archambault thanked the teams that helped make the launch possible.

"It's truly an honor to be part of this team representing NASA, the nation and the international partners," Archambault said. "See you in a couple of weeks."

Archambault is joined on STS-119 by Pilot Tony Antonelli and Mission Specialists Joseph Acaba, Steve Swanson, Richard Arnold, John Phillips and Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency astronaut Koichi Wakata. Wakata will replace space station crew member Sandra Magnus, who has been aboard the station for more than four months. He will return to Earth during the next station shuttle mission, STS-127, targeted to launch in June 2009.

Former science teachers Acaba and Arnold are now fully-trained NASA astronauts. They are making their first journey to orbit on the mission and will to step outside the station to conduct critical spacewalking tasks.

Discovery's launch was postponed Wednesday, March 11, after a leak associated with the gaseous hydrogen venting system was detected during fueling. Technicians rebuilt and replaced seals and other components associated with the system. No leaks were detected during the Sunday's fueling.

NASA is providing continuous television and Internet coverage of Discovery's mission, which is the 125th shuttle flight, the 36th for Discovery and the 28th shuttle mission to the station. NASA Television features live mission events, daily mission status news conferences and 24-hour commentary. NASA TV is webcast at:

NASA's Web coverage of STS-119 includes current mission information, interactive features, news conference images, graphics and videos. Mission coverage, including the latest NASA TV schedule, also is available on the main space shuttle Web site at:

Live updates to the NASA News Twitter feed will be added throughout the shuttle mission and landing. To access the NASA News Twitter feed and other agency Twitter feeds, visit:

Daily news conferences with STS-119 mission managers will take place at NASA's Johnson Space Center, Houston. During normal business hours of 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. EDT Monday through Friday, reporters may ask questions from participating NASA locations. Please contact your preferred NASA facility by its daily close of business to confirm its availability before each event.

For NASA TV streaming video, downlink and schedule information, visit:

Johnson will operate a telephone bridge for media briefings that occur outside of normal business hours. To be eligible to use this service, reporters must possess a valid media credential issued by a NASA center or for the STS-119 mission. Media planning to use the service must contact the Johnson newsroom at 281-483-5111 no later than 15 minutes prior to the start of a briefing in which they wish to participate. Newsroom personnel will verify their credentials and transfer them to the phone bridge. The capacity of the phone bridge is limited and will be available on a first-come, first-serve basis.

For information about the International Space Station, visit:

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Monday, March 2, 2009

NASA Flying Wing Model Soars into National Air and Space Museum

Monday, March 2, 2009 0 comments
WASHINGTON -- A flying model NASA built to research futuristic aircraft designs will spend its future in the United States' premier air and space museum.

The 12-foot wing span blended wing body, or BWB, model, used during wind tunnel flight tests at NASA's Langley Research Center in Hampton, Va., is on long-term loan to the "How Things Fly" gallery at the Smithsonian Institution's National Air and Space Museum in Washington.

"One key focus of NASA aeronautics research is to develop technologies to make aircraft more fuel efficient and environmentally friendly," said Jaiwon Shin, associate administrator for NASA's Aeronautics Research Mission Directorate in Washington. "Because of these technologies, airplanes may look very different 20 years from now. This model will give visitors to the Smithsonian a glimpse into the future of air travel."

The model was tested in a wind tunnel to help engineers better understand how the blended wing body handles. The five-percent scale model has 18 control surfaces along the trailing edges of the wing, compared to four on most airplanes. Those four are the rudder, the ailerons, the elevator and the flap. One of the challenges to controlling a flying wing is determining how to blend the control surfaces to make the vehicle turn and climb.

The blended wing body resembles a flying wing, unlike today's "tube-and-wing" aircraft. "When you get rid of the tail you have to come up with different ways to control the plane," said Dan Vicroy, a senior research engineer at Langley. "We have a lot of experience with conventional airplanes. We know how to predict how they are going to fly. But with this type of a flying wing design, we have fewer examples and less confidence in our flying quality estimates."

Vicroy led the "free flight" experiment in the Langley Full Scale Tunnel's huge 30-by-60-foot test section. "We actually flew this BWB in the tunnel in 2005," said Vicroy. "We had control systems on board the model as well as high pressure air that we used to simulate the engines." The model was constrained only by a tether cable.

In the National Air and Space Museum, the blended wing body model will hang from the ceiling about 15 feet above visitors' heads. "The model is an important part of a facelift of the gallery that we hope will be done by March 2009," said Michael Hulslander, the How Things Fly gallery manager. "This is the most visited gallery in the museum, and the BWB will be the largest artifact in it."

Research on blended wing body designs continues in the Subsonic Fixed Wing Project of NASA's Fundamental Aeronautics Program. They are part of hybrid wing body research into acoustics, structures, aerodynamics and flight controls.

To learn more about NASA's blended wing body research and view video of the model in flight in the Langley Full Scale Tunnel, visit:

Video of the of the blended wing body model on display at the National Air and Space Museum, plus video of its use in wind tunnel tests at Langley, will air during NASA Television's Video File beginning at 4 p.m. EST March 2. For NASA TV downlink, schedule and streaming video information, visit:

For information about NASA's aeronautics research, visit:

For information about other NASA projects, visit:

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