This Week at NASA -- This Year at NASA (Part 1&2)

Uploaded by NASAtelevision on 23.12.2010

For NASA, 2010 was another year of new exploration, exciting discoveries, and
important milestones.
From spaceflight, to science and technology; from understanding life here on Earth, to
where we might find it elsewhere. From protecting our home planet, to inspiring the
next generation of explorers.
This was “This Year at NASA.”
The December 15th launch of the Soyuz spacecraft carrying Expedition 26 crew
members Cady Coleman, Paolo Nespoli and Dimitry Kondratyev to the International
Space Station capped another year of important milestones for the orbiting complex –
and NASA’s space shuttle program, as the retirement of its fleet of orbiters approaches
its retirement.
“All right give me a smile.”
Expedition 22 Commander Jeff Williams and Flight Engineer Max Suraev made a safe
return to Earth in a Soyuz spacecraft which landed on the remote steppes of
Russian recovery teams worked in frigid temperatures to help the crew exit the
spacecraft and begin their readjustment to Earth’s gravity.
“Liftoff of Alexander Skvortsov, Tracy Caldwell Dyson, and Mikhail Kornienko
beginning their journey to the International Space Station.”
The new members of the Expedition 23 crew began their journey to the International
Space Station with a successful launch from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in
Kazakhstan. Soyuz Commander Alexander Skvortsov, Flight Engineers Mikhail
Kornienko and Tracy Caldwell Dyson will spend the next six months aboard the
orbiting complex.
The crew of STS-131 returned home to Houston following their fifteen days in space
aboard shuttle Discovery.
“Nice landing. Well done.” A crowd of several hundred well-wishers greeted
the seven astronauts at Ellington Field after their flight from the Kennedy
Space Center one day after their safe landing.
“4-3-2-1, launch, launch, launch.”
The first test of the fully integrated Launch Abort System for the Orion crew vehicle was
successfully completed at the White Sands Missile Range on May 6. The Pad Abort 1
test is part of an ongoing mission to develop safer vehicles for human spaceflight
Carrying a six-astronaut crew – STS-132 Commander Ken Ham, Pilot Tony Antonelli
and Mission Specialists Garrett Reisman, Steve Bowen, Mike Good and Piers Sellers,
space shuttle Atlantis concluded its final flight, a 12-day trip to the International
Space Station with a smooth landing at the Kennedy
Space Center.
“And Houston/Atlantis we have wheel stop. Copy wheel stop Atlantis. That landing was
something that your air force crewmates should of really been proud of; that was pretty
“I think what a lot of us are wondering about is making sure that everything is up
and running again.”
“Shannon and Doug removed the last jumpers today and put the racks back and so it’s
all spic and span and it’s back to business as usual it seems.”
The International Space Station’s cooling system was reactivated and finally back in
normal operation.
“The pump is looking good.”
“Oh, Sweet! We got our station back!”
Three spacewalks by Expedition 24 Flight Engineers Doug Wheelock and Tracy
Caldwell Dyson were needed to remove and replace a failed ammonia pump that had
disabled one of the station’s two cooling loops on July 31.
“I’ll pull it.” “There you can see it.”
“Yep I see.”
“3-2-1 fueling tower separates, booster ignition, and liftoff of the Soyuz Rocket
with Alexander Kaleri, Scott Kelly and Oleg Skripochka
began their journey to the International Space Station.”
Following several days of traditional pre-launch activities and preparations, the
Expedition 25 crew successfully launched aboard a Soyuz TMA-01M rocket on October
7, beginning a two-day journey to the International Space Station. Soyuz Commander
Alexander Kaleri, NASA Flight Engineer Scott Kelly and Russian Flight Engineer Oleg
Skripochka are joining Commander Doug Wheelock and Flight Engineers Fyodor
Yurchikhin and Shannon Walker, who have been in orbit since June.
The first SpaceX Falcon 9 demonstration launch for NASA's Commercial Orbital
Transportation Services program lifted off on Wednesday, Dec. 8 from Launch
Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida.
“We have liftoff of Falcon 9 stage one.”
Known as COTS 1, the launch is the first flight of the Dragon spacecraft and the first
commercial attempt to re-enter a spacecraft from orbit. The demonstration mission
proved key capabilities such as launch, structural integrity of the Dragon spacecraft,
on-orbit operation, re-entry, descent and splashdown in the Pacific Ocean.
As he did in 2009, President Obama made several calls from the White House to
astronauts in space…
But 2010 also saw the president visit the Kennedy Space Center in Florida to present
his plans for NASA and reaffirm his support for space exploration.
“Hey guys!”
President Obama spoke with the crews of space shuttle Endeavour and the
International Space Station from the Roosevelt Room of the White House.
“I think I speak for the all young people here, and everybody back home how proud we
are of you, how excited we are about the work that is being done on the Space Station,
and how committed we are to continuing human space exploration in the future.”
President Barack Obama made a trip to the Kennedy Space Center on Thursday to
explain his plan for America’s space program. Accompanied by Florida Senator and
former shuttle astronaut Bill Nelson, Apollo astronaut Buzz Aldrin, and NASA
Administrator Charles Bolden, President Obama addressed an audience comprised of
elected officials, leaders from industry, academia and KSC employees.
(applause) “I am 100% Committed to the mission of NASA and its future. (applause)
Because broadening our capabilities in space will continue to serve our society in
ways we can scarcely imagine. Because exploration will once more inspire wonder in
a new generation: sparking passions, launching careers. And because, ultimately, if
we fail to press forward in the pursuit of discovery, we are ceding our future, ceding
that essential element of the American character.”
Administrator Charlie Bolden joined President Obama at a special White House
ceremony honoring educators from across the country for their excellence in
mathematics, science teaching and mentoring. The event was part of the President’s
“Educate to Innovate” campaign to boost student achievement in STEM subjects:
science, technology, engineering and math.
“I've challenged the scientific community to think of new and creative ways to engage
young people in their fields. That's why we launched the "Educate to Innovate"
campaign -- a nationwide effort by citizens, non-for-profits, universities, and
companies from across America to help us move to the top of the pack in math and
science education."
Through a combination of hands-on projects, creative partnerships and public
appearances, NASA continued to promote the education of our youth in science,
technology, engineering, and math, the STEM disciplines so important to our nation’s
NASA is teaming with Univision Communications Inc, the Department of Education
and other organizations to support Univision’s initiative to improve Hispanic students
high school graduation rates, prepare for college and encourage them to pursue
careers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics.
“It’s a great extension of the efforts that we’ve been making to foster STEM education
to support the President’s ‘Educate to Innovate’ program, the ‘Race to the Top’;
it all fits together for us. This program is designated,
primarily, to reach kids in the high school area, but I think with our ‘Summer of Innovation’
that’s focused on kids in middle schools, they are kind of a perfect marriage.”
Teachers became students while participating in the second annual NASA Science,
Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics -- STEM -- Educators, Workshops held this
year in Charlotte, N.C. The 40-session workshop provided elementary, middle and
high school teachers with creative hands-on ways to incorporate NASA content into
their classrooms.
About 25 seventh-grade girls from area middle schools got up close and personal with
unique aircraft and high technology when they participated in a "Tech Trek" tour of the
Dryden Flight Research Center.
The Tech Trek, to develop interest and excitement about math and science and self-
confidence among middle-school girls, included tours of Dryden's main aircraft hangar and
several specialized research and support aircraft.
Dozens of teachers are conducting real science in an extreme environment. Through
Ames Research Center’s Spaceward Bound project, NASA has sent teachers to
California State University’s Desert Study Center in Zzyzx.
Here, on the edge of the barren Mojave Desert, they help conduct NASA-related field
science. The data and knowledge they glean at Zzyzx will be used to develop
experiments, demonstrations and lesson plans for their students.
NASA Administrator Charles Bolden joined with other NASA volunteers in helping
these fifth graders become rocket scientists for day.
The students at the Langdon Elementary School in Washington built and test flew
their own paper rockets using a high-power paper rocket launcher.
“Please give a warm welcome to Charlie Bolden.”
“Allright, Allright, Allright. Hi ya doing?”
More than 250 students joined with astronaut Leland Melvin and Administrator Charles
Bolden at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory to help kickoff NASA’s Summer of Innovation.
What we want to do this summer through the Summer of Innovation is take young
men and women like Malik and we want them understand, yeah science and math
may be difficult, but you can learn it.”
Also, over the Labor Day weekend, actor/rapper Mos Def and astronaut Leland Melvin
teamed up to share NASA’s Summer of Innovation program with young people at the
Instituting Science in Schools Science and Cultural Festival at the Chabot Observatory
in Oakland, California, and people attending the Tom Joyner Morning Show Family
Reunion in Orlando, Florida.
Once again, NASA employees proved the importance of community involvement.
Centers threw open their doors to neighbors, and reached out to make new friends for
the agency. NASA also provided technological assistance to a region of our country
threatened with ecological disaster, and expertise to another member of the global
community in their time of grave need.
NASA assets continue to help scientists track two events causing worldwide
environmental and economic concern. NASA’s instrumented research aircraft, the
Earth Resources-2, or ER-2, has been deployed to the Gulf of Mexico to do flyovers of
the Deepwater Horizon BP oil spill and the coastline it threatens. The agency is also
making extra satellite observations and conducting additional data processing to help
U.S. disaster response agencies assess the spread and impact of the slick.
“Okay guys, let’s go!”
The first hatchlings from endangered sea turtle eggs at possible risk by the BP oil spill
were released into the Atlantic Ocean off the Kennedy Space Center on July 11.
“There they go. Yeah! That’s awesome.”
After their collection at a Florida Panhandle beach, the eggs of twenty-two Kemp’s
ridley turtles were brought to a secure, climate-controlled facility at Kennedy where the
nest was monitored until incubation was complete.
When she was just six years old, Carolina Gallardo fell in love with the night sky.
As a teenager, the young woman from a poor family
near Mexico City watched a television show about astronomy and the Hubble Space
Telescope that would make the stars her life’s work. Carolina, then thirteen, was
so inspired by Ed Weiler, the NASA scientist featured on the program that she initiated
a correspondence with him that would encourage her studies for years to come.
Now, at age 30, Carolina Gallardo has finished a summer internship at the Goddard
Space Flight Center to complete masters’ programs in aeronautics/astronautics and
space technology. A special guest at the Science Mission Directorate’s monthly
meeting at Headquarters, Caroline told senior managers how Weiler, now the
directorate’s Associate Administrator and others at NASA have impacted her life.
“Now I graduate with two Masters in aerospace and I can say that thanks to you, thanks
to your challenge, to your motivation, I can tell everyone that if it wasn’t for you,
I wouldn’t have gone this far. Thank you very
NASA Administrator Charles Bolden and the NASA team that traveled to Chile to assist
the once-trapped miners met with President Obama on Oct. 28 in the White House
Oval Office. The team advised Chilean rescue officials on how to maintain the
psychological and physiological well-being of the 33 miners trapped a half-mile
beneath the Earth’s surface, as well as the design of the rescue capsule in which
each man would finally ascend after 69 days underground.
For nearly eighty years, the LEGO “brick” has helped enhance children’s creativity
through playing and learning. Now, NASA is teaming up with LEGO to develop
innovative educational and outreach activities to interest youngsters in science,
technology, engineering and mathematics. The collaboration, called “Build the Future,
kicked off at Kennedy with youngsters building their vision of the future in space.
The continuing study of ice sheets in the Arctic was just one way NASA researchers
added to the data about changes in temperatures and sea levels around the globe.
A new NASA Web site can help our future explorers and leaders better understand the
how’s and why’s of climate change – and what they can do to make our planet more
“Kind of far south for a polar bear ain’t you? “
“You don’t say. Look, my habitat is shrinking and I obviously fell asleep on the wrong
“What you say?”
Climate Kids can be found at
Operation IceBridge has entered the second phase of its spring 2010 campaign.
NASA’s DC-8 aircraft has returned from Greenland to the Dryden Flight Research
Center in California, following a successful survey of the entire Arctic Ocean. The
plane flew from Thule, Greenland to Fairbanks, Alaska providing a detailed snapshot
of sea ice conditions.
As this year’s hurricane season gets underway, the Goddard Space Flight Center has
unveiled, for the media, NASA’s new climate simulation center. An amalgam of
supercomputing, visualization, and data interaction technologies, the climate
simulation center, supports weather and climate prediction research at one of the
world’s largest contingents of Earth scientists.
A NASA-sponsored mission in Alaska is exploring how changes in the Arctic’s sea ice
cover may be contributing to global warming. ICESCAPE, for Impacts of Climate on
Ecosystems and Chemistry of the Arctic Pacific Environment," is working its way
through the Bering Strait headed for the Chukchi and Beaufort seas.
From laboratory and wind tunnel research to demonstration tests, NASA Aeronautics
continued its green aviation initiatives. Their goal: to make air travel quieter, cleaner
and more efficient while increasing the safety and comfort of passengers.
The Ames Research Center was the scene of a gathering of experts from government,
industry and academia meeting to discuss the agency’s green aviation research efforts
“…doing research in alternative bio-fuels.”
and showcase groundbreaking solutions NASA and its partners are developing to
reduce the impact of aviation systems on the environment.
Over a two day period, attendees heard researchers, scientists, technicians and
leading policymakers, present on the latest emerging environmentally sensitive
aviation technologies.
“Please join us in welcoming our NASA Administrator, Mr. Bolden.”
NASA Administrator Charles Bolden addressed the group on day one of the event.
“We’re so excited at NASA about the opportunities we’re being given, in the coming
years, to help develop solutions to some of our most pressing aviation problems, and
create the next generation of air transportation systems that will last generations and
make us all safer and make the planet a better place That’s a huge challenge, but we
at NASA enthusiastically accept it.”
2010 brought new discoveries by NASA scientists and researchers exploring the sun,
its orbiting planets and moons, the farthest reaches of the universe – and the nature
of the life itself here on earth.
NASA scientists drilling through the thick ice of Antarctica’s Ross Ice Shelf last
November didn’t expect to see this shrimp-like thing swimming underneath. The
creature, a three-inch long Lyssianasid amphipod, was captured 600 feet below the
West Antarctic ice sheet by a borehole camera lowered through the ice. This was the
view looking upwards. The critter was about 12-and-a-half miles away from open
water. Scientists say this is the first time such a sophisticated life form was found in
this type of sub-glacial environment.
Scientists now believe Earth’s nearest neighbor Venus is more like our planet than they
previously thought. New findings based on pictures and infrared imagery captured by
the European Space Agency’s Venus Express mission
and NASA’s Magellan spacecraft confirm that Venus is not a cold rock but a dynamic host
of active volcanoes like those found in Hawaii.
“The fact that we have discovered this volcanism that’s pretty recent on the surface of Venus
definitely moves us toward a picture of Venus where it continues to have volcanism today
and, in a lot of ways, is more like the earth than we
had imagined.”
Relatively young lava flows within the last 3 million years have been identified by their
emissions of infrared radiation. These observations
suggest Venus is still capable of volcanic eruptions.
Venus Express has been in orbit around the planet since April 2006.
The first images are in from NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory, or SDO, and
scientists who study the sun say they are a stunning treasure trove of data about
Earth’s star.
“The first images are now in hand and these are truly spectacular and they show the
details of our sun that have not been available to us before in a comprehensive and
multidimensional manner.”
“Ignition and lift-off of the Atlas-5 with the Solar Dynamics Observatory.”
Launched on Feb. 11, 2020, SDO is the most advanced spacecraft ever designed to
study the sun. SDO’s images confirm an unprecedented new capability for
heliophysicists to better understand our sun’s dynamic processes and how and why
these solar activities affect everything on earth.
“This discovery is just astounding.”
After continually monitoring the brightness of more than 156,000 stars, NASA's Kepler
team has released the first 43 days of science data…
“This is the biggest release of candidate planets that has ever happened. The number
of candidate planets is actually greater than all the planets that have been discovered
in the last 15 years.”
“ 3-2-engine start—1, zero, and lift off of the Delta II Rocket with Kepler.”
Since its launch on March 6, 2009, Kepler has been on the hunt to find planets similar
in size to our Earth, especially those in the habitable zone of stars where liquid water
and possibly life might exist.
New observations by the Hubble Space Telescope’s Cosmic Origins Spectrograph
(COS), confirm the existence of a giant scorched planet traveling extremely close to its
star. Named HD 209458b, it’s being called by astronomers a "cometary planet"
because it has the components of a planet - but with a trailing tail like a comet,
possibly the result of strong stellar winds sweeping
off its super heated atmosphere.
“Mass is being stripped of at the rate of about 100,000 cars per second. So, a typical
big car plant on the Earth might make 100, 200,
300-thousand cars a year. That’s how many they’re making. This planet is losing that
much mass per second.”
HD 209458B is 153 light years from Earth, weighs slightly less than Jupiter, and
speeds around its star in about 3 and1/12 days, which means one of our weeks is
equal to two of its years.
The EPOXI mission spacecraft made its planned flyby of comet Hartley 2 – and the
pictures it sent back to investigation team members at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory
did not disappoint.
(cheers, applause)
“Deep Impact,” so named for the 2005 mission it initially served as the “in-flight”
spacecraft, flew by Hartley 2 about 435 miles above its surface, close enough to
image the heart of the comet, its nucleus.
“Congratulations on a fantastic flyby. Good job everybody!”
“The data we have, I am convinced, the comic Hartley will have increased our
knowledge of how comments work by at least three Hartleys. The Hartley is a real unit
of information and three Hartley’s is about
a factor of ten.”
“I always like to tell people that you all are incredible ambassadors as you’re there
representing just two of the many nations that are partners in the International Space
Station. What you do is actually a modern-day Star Trek, if you will; kids are excited
about watching you.”
NASA Administrator Charles Bolden helped mark the tenth anniversary of a
continuous human presence aboard the International Space Station by discussing life
aboard the complex with its current residents, the Expedition 25 crew.
“Everyday there’s new excitement and new adventure as we venture out with some of the
science that we’re doing. And, of course, being here in space never ceases to amaze
us of the surprises it has in store for us.”
Expedition 25 Commander Doug Wheelock and Flight Engineers Alexander Kaleri,
Oleg Skripochka, Scott Kelly, Fyodor Yurchikhin, and Shannon Walker are the latest of
almost 200 men and women who, over the past decade, have called the ISS home
while away from Earth.
“I want to thank you for what you’ve done and for what you represent, and congratulate
you on being the occupants of the station as we celebrate its tenth anniversary.”
Soil inside shadowy craters on the moon is rich in useful materials. That’s one of
the findings by NASA scientists after analyzing
the impact plume created by the Lunar Crater Observation and Sensing Satellite (LCROSS)
mission last year. The lunar soil also showed that the moon is chemically active
and has a water cycle.
“There are a variety of sources, either comets or the solar wind, and these sources
are coming to the moon and then, once at the moon,
this water is migrating, moving around the moon and finding its way to various places,
like the cold craters. But it doesn’t stop there. Once in the cold craters, there’s
chemistry going on that’s further changing these
compounds, having them interact with each other and resulting in this mix of water and
other things.”
LCROSS collected invaluable data as it flew through the debris kicked up by the crash
of its Centaur rocket’s spent upper stage into a permanently-shadowed region of a
lunar crater on October 9, 2009.
The establishment of NASA’s Office of the Chief Technologist helped underscore the
bold new course set for future exploration. 2010 brought scientific advancements and
technological developments that will help lead the way forward.
The first, full-scale, friction stir welded and spun-formed tank dome was unveiled by
NASA and its partners at a special ceremony at the Marshall Space Flight Center.
“It’s terrific to be here in person to publicly thank this team and to recognize
the great efforts that come out of this work over the
last four-to-five years. It’s been a terrific effort.”
Tank domes are a necessary component in fuel tanks for securing liquid propellant.
The 18-foot prototype was developed using cutting-edge manufacturing techniques
that, by eliminating complex welding, machining and inspection steps, are proving
more reliable and less expensive. They can create domes for any large liquid
propellant tank.
A six-member team of aquanauts is testing exploration concepts off Florida's east
coast in the difficult and often dangerous work environment of the ocean.
During the 14-day undersea mission, the NEEMO crew lives and works aboard the
Aquarius Underwater Laboratory, where they’ll perform life science experiments on
human behavior, performance and physiology. They’ll also venture out into the depths
to simulate spacewalks, and operate and maneuver mockups of vehicles future space
explorers might use in setting up a habitat on another planet.
The Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy, or SOFIA, has conducted its
"First Light" mission, producing this composite infrared image of Jupiter. A recent
visual-wavelength picture of approximately the same side of Jupiter is shown for
comparison. The white stripe in the infrared image is a region of relatively transparent
clouds through which the warm interior of Jupiter can be seen. Recording the imagery
was the recently-installed Faint Object Infrared Camera, or FORCAST. FORCAST will
be used to study celestial objects such as planets and star-forming regions.
A camera aboard NASA's Mars Odyssey spacecraft has helped develop the most
accurate global Martian map ever. And not only can researchers access the map – so,
can the public, explore and survey the entire surface of the Red Planet as well.
The map is made from nearly 21,000 images taken by the Thermal Emission Imaging
System, THEMIS, a multi-band infrared camera on Odyssey. The pictures have been
smoothed, matched, blended and cartographically controlled to make a giant mosaic.
Users can pan and zoom into the images, with some of the smallest surface details
just 330 feet wide. Researchers at Arizona State University's Mars Space Flight Facility
and the Jet Propulsion Laboratory have been compiling the map since THEMIS began
observations eight years ago.
NASA's next-generation, five-segment solid rocket development motor -- or DM-2 –
was fired in its test stand at ATK’s facility in Promontory, Utah. The successful cold
motor test was completed in less than three minutes and was designed to advance the
understanding, safety, technology and capability of solid rocket motors. The DM-2's
overall temperature was lowered to 40 degrees Fahrenheit to validate the motor's
performance in cold weather -- in contrast to the DM-1 testing which was conducted at
ambient temperature.
“This was a cold test, which is one of the most severe and tough environments for a solid
rocket booster to undergo, and it looks like the motor performed brilliantly.”
In a year when NASA was recognized as a government leader in its use of social
media and the Web, the agency further expanded how it enables the public to engage
with America’s space program. NASA’s centers, programs and projects can now be
found on more than 200 locations across Facebook, Flickr, YouTube, Ustream and
Twitter, some of whose users participated in special agency events.
NASA is bringing the public one step closer to the universe through a partnership with
Gowalla. The mobile web application lets users check-in via smart phone as they visit
a location. When users visit a NASA-related venue, such as the Kennedy Space
Center or here at the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum, they’ll be awarded
a virtual NASA item, such as moon rocks or a space shuttle. Gowalla users collecting
enough of these items will qualify for the chance to win a special limited edition
NASA/Gowalla map.
The virtual items will be “available” at NASA visitor centers and at more than 400
museums, science centers, observatories, and other NASA Museum Alliance
To view the NASA/Gowalla map and connect with NASA and @Astro_Mike on
Gowalla and other social media applications, visit:
As in years past, NASA and its employees garnered numerous awards for their
achievements in science, aeronautics, exploration, technology and other disciplines.
Brenda Manuel, NASA Associate Administrator for Diversity and Equal Opportunity,
was honored by the Society of Women Engineers as this year’s recipient of the group’s
President’s Award. A lawyer by training, Manuel was recognized for her longtime
encouragement of women to pursue careers in the STEM fields of science,
technology, engineering and mathematics.
STS-125, the fifth space shuttle servicing mission that gave the Hubble Space
Telescope a new lease on life, and L-CROSS, the mission that definitively proved the
presence of water on the moon, received awards from the Space Foundation at its 26th
annual National Space Symposium in Colorado Springs.
“The award this year goes to the Hubble Telescope repair team and the repair mission
team.” (applause)
For program success in the evolution of space exploration and development, the STS-
125 crew of Commander Scott Altman, Pilot Greg Johnson and Mission Specialists
Drew Feustel, Mike Good, John Grunsfeld, Mike Massimino and Megan McArthur
received the Foundation’s annual Space Achievement Award.
“On behalf of the entire Hubble Servicing team I’d like to thank the space foundation.”
The LCROSS mission team was presented with the 2010 John L. "Jack" Swigert, Jr.,
award for Space Exploration. Established in 2004, the annual award is a tribute to the
late Coloradan and his enduring legacy of space exploration as a member of the
Apollo 13 mission. LCROSS crashed one spacecraft into the moon; another, following
minutes behind, found the water by analyzing the debris kicked up after the impact.
“Thank you very much. I must admit this is somewhat surreal for LCROSS team. I feel
like the independent film winning the best picture at the Academy Awards.”
“We’ve explored deep craters, we’ve climbed mountains, we’ve survived rover-killing
dust storms and several harsh cold winters. The adventure is still not over for these
two intrepid vehicles.”
The team that operates the NASA rovers already on Mars Spirit and Opportunity was
honored by the Space Ops organization with its 2010 Award for Outstanding
Achievement. The presentation was made at the group’s annual conference held in
Huntsville, Alabama.
“My team, the team that has earned this, goes to work on Mars every single day. I have
the great pleasure of being up here to accept this award, but it really is award that goes
to not only the ten people listed on the certificate, but the hundreds of people that have
contributed and continue to contribute on this really great project. Thank you all very
NASA's International Space Station Program has been awarded the 2009 Collier
Trophy, considered aviation’s highest honor. The National Aeronautic Association, the
country’s oldest national aviation organization, bestowed the prestigious award on the
ISS team not only for its design, development and assembly of the world’s largest
spacecraft, but also for the complex’s promising discoveries and pioneering new
standards for international cooperation in space.
Accepting the award on behalf of the ISS team was NASA Deputy Administrator Lori
“I truly am standing on the shoulders of giants.
Garver was also among a group of NASA women honored by Women in Aerospace at
the organization’s 25th annual awards dinner held near Washington. She was
recognized for her contributions to WIA, as well as, quote, her passion and dedication
to opening the high frontier of space to the everyday person.
“Main engine ignition and lift off of the Atlas 5 rocket with LRO/LCROSS.”
NASA's Lunar CRater Observation and Sensing Satellite, or LCROSS, mission has
won Popular Mechanics magazine's 2010 Breakthrough Award for innovation in
science and technology.
“Last packet 11-35-35.054 seconds.”
On time and under budget, (nat) the LCROSS team confirmed the presence of water
ice on the moon, by slamming into the lunar surface the spent upper stage of the
spacecraft’s Atlas V rocket, then flying through the resultant degree plume to detect
concentrations of water comparable to those of the Sahara desert. Fabricated with
commercial off-the-shelf parts, the LCROSS spacecraft was cited by Popular
Mechanics for setting “a new standard for lost-cost, high impact NASA programs
Each year brings milestones marketing events of significance and import. 2010 was
no different, as NASA noted and celebrated successes both past and present.
It began as a 90-day mission, but NASA’s Mars Exploration Rover, Spirit, roamed for
more than six years to gather and return unprecedented science from the Red Planet.
Now, impossibly stuck in a sand trap, Spirit has been designated a stationary science
platform after efforts during the past several months to free it have been unsuccessful.
“With the loss of mobility on Spirit, people are disappointed. These have really become
public icons, globally, not just in the United States. Even children, easily, identify with
the rovers; they’re cute, and they give you a human’s eye view of the surface of
another planet for the first time.”
The John Glenn Lecture Series at the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum
in Washington honored the 40th anniversary of the Apollo 13 mission. Joining
Commander Jim Lovell was Apollo 13 Flight Controller, Gene Kranz; Lunar Module
Pilot, Fred Haise; and astronaut Ken Mattingly, who was replaced on the mission by
the late Jack Swigert after contracting measles just before the mission’s start.
In April 1970, Apollo 13 was to have been NASA’s third moon landing. But Lovell and
crew would never make it to the lunar surface. On the way to their destination, the
Apollo 13 spacecraft was crippled by the explosion of an oxygen tank, casting doubts
about their survival.
“Houston, we’ve had a problem.”
“We didn’t know it was an explosion at that time. The majority of my controller’s
data was absolute gibberish. The numbers of calls
that came in literally about a 30 second period as each controller was reporting what
he thought he was seeing in the console, but truly didn’t believe it , couples with
what the crew was calling, it was literally chaos.
The fortunate thing was the training kicked in a after about 60 seconds.”
Thus began the crew’s perilous but safe return to Earth, made possible through the
heroic efforts of the ground control team and the astronauts themselves. Apollo 13 has
been called a “successful failure” and one of NASA’s finest hours.
“-2-1 and liftoff of the space shuttle Discovery with the Hubble Space Telescope, our
window on the universe.”
On April 24, 1990, the Hubble Space Telescope launched aboard Space Shuttle
Discovery from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. Since then, the observatory
orbiting 350 miles above Earth has produced hundreds of thousands of unprecedented
images of different corners of the universe.
“Not many humans get to work on things that a hundred years from now history will
remember, Hubble is certainly one of them.”
Named after the American astronomer Edwin Hubble, the telescope’s gaze has helped
determine the age of the universe, the identity of quasars, and the existence of dark
energy. Hubble is one of NASA's most successful and long-lasting science missions,
shedding light on many of the great mysteries of astronomy.
NASA's Mars Exploration Rover, Opportunity, is the new robotic record-holder for
longevity on the Red Planet. Opportunity surpassed the duration mark set by NASA's
Viking Lander I of six years and 116 days operating on the surface of Mars.
“Spirit has likely passed that record, but right now Spirit is deeply asleep, so we haven’t
heard from the rover in about two weeks, but once she wakes up she’ll reclaim the title
as the longest lived asset on the surface of Mars.”
Cheered on by hundreds of handkerchief-waving employees to the strains of a
traditional New Orleans brass band…
…the last external fuel tank scheduled to fly on a space shuttle mission was rolled
away from the Michoud Assembly Facility in New Orleans in preparation for its 900-
mile sea journey to the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. The tank, designated ET-
138, was completed by Lockheed Martin workers on June 28.
For nearly 33 years, Voyager 2 has returned data about the giant outer planets, making
important discoveries like Neptune's Great Dark Spot and its 1,000-mph winds. On
June 28, Voyager 2 reached an operations milestone – 12,000 days.
When Voyager 2 launched on August 20, 1977Jimmy Carter was president. Its twin,
Voyager 1, launched about two weeks later on Sept. 5, 1977; Built and managed at the
Jet Propulsion Laboratory, the Voyagers 1 and 2 are the most distant human-made
objects, traveling the outer edges of the heliosphere -- the bubble the sun creates
around the solar system.
”Ignition and liftoff of the Atlas V rocket with MRO.”
Five years ago, NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter was launched in search of
evidence that water persisted on the surface of Mars over a prolonged period of time.
Previous Mars missions indicated that, at some point in the Red Planet’s history,
water flowed across its surface. Throughout the
years, MRO has continued to analyze minerals, look for water, trace the distribution of
dust in the atmosphere and monitor Martian weather.
The Marshall Space Flight Center marked its 50th anniversary with multiple events
honoring the work of several generations.
Marshall Space Flight Center leaders unveiled an Alabama historic marker
commemorating the formation of the NASA center -- and the subsequent 50 years of
Marshall innovation. The marker was placed at the visitor’s center for Redstone
Arsenal, Marshall’s home for the past 50 years.
To commemorate the historic anniversary, Marshall employees posed for an aerial
photograph, by forming a giant “50.”
On Sept. 8, 1960, President Dwight Eisenhower visited Huntsville to lead the Marshall
Center’s dedication ceremony.
“I dedicate this, the George C. Marshall Space Flight Center. May this great center
be ever worthy of its honored name.”
He unveiled a bust of the center's namesake, U.S. Army Gen. George C. Marshall, who
received the Nobel Prize in 1953 for overseeing the European Recovery Program or
“Marshall Plan,” which secured $13 billion dollars in post-war food, machinery and
other aid for Europe.
Two historic milestones have been marked at the Kennedy Space Center -- the arrival
of the Space Shuttle Program’s final external fuel tank, and the departure of the
program’s final solid rocket boosters from the Assembly and Refurbishment Facility.
The external fuel tank for STS-134, the final planned shuttle flight, was removed from
the barge that carried it 900 miles over six days at sea from the Michoud Assembly
Facility. STS-134 is scheduled for launch next February.
A series of roundtables kicked off NASA’s commemoration of the 10th anniversary of
human life, work and research on the International Space Station. The events,
originating from three NASA centers and headquarters in Washington, aired on NASA
Television and featured former space station residents, key leaders and team members
who have guided the station through its first 10 years.
Among them, Expedition 1 Commander Bill Shepherd and Flight Engineers Sergei
Krikalev and Yuri Gidzenko, who became the first residents of the space station on
Nov. 2, 2000.
“It was kind of a strange day for me because Sergei and Yuri were very experienced. I
was pumping my fist mostly because, as a crew, we’d waited a long time to get to that
point in life where this was actually happening and I was very keen to emphasize, let’s
go get this done.”
“The main thought I had was that now it’s starting for real and launching the Expedition,
this is our first work and oftentimes the way you start it, it’s the way it’s going
to go next.”
Since Expedition 1, 200 explorers have visited the International Space Station; 15
nations have contributed modules and hardware; and more than 600 experiments
have been conducted aboard the orbiting complex.
And, of course, no year @NASA would be complete without a look back at those
annual events the public has come to rely and depend upon to expand our knowledge
of space and exploration – with a little fun.
Yuri’s Night 2010 celebrated humankind’s achievements in space exploration with
music, dance, fashion, and art at countless locations around the world, including
several NASA centers.
Yuri’s Night is named for the first human in space, cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin, who
rocketed into Earth’s orbit on April 12, 1961.
Hundreds of students from middle schools, high schools, and colleges representing 20
states were in northern Alabama for the annual Space Launch Initiative, or
LaunchFest. Each year, NASA challenges young, aspiring
rocketeers from around the country to design and build these launch vehicles complete
with a working science payload, then send them aloft, here at LaunchFest, to an
altitude of one mile.
Huntsville’s U.S. Space & Rocket Center hosted the 17th annual Great Moonbuggy
Race. (nat)
Competing were upwards of 600 student drivers, engineers and mechanics
representing more than 70 teams from 18 states, Puerto Rico, Canada, Germany, India
and Romania.
“We got around the obstacle; we had a flat on our tire, and the chain was slipping. I
burnt a lot of energy out there, but I never gave up.”
And that was This Year @NASA! For more, log onto
Happy Holidays – and see you next year!