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/ 6:33 p.m. CT (2333 GMT)
Shuttle launch ejects Apollo-era debris
: Space shuttle Discovery's liftoff resulted in "unprecedented" damage to its launch pad, though why it occurred is not yet known. A 100 by 20 foot section of Pad 39A's "flame trench" wall was stripped, sending bricks flying 1500 feet. "As I understand it, that is the original structure from the pad build," said NASA's mission management team chair LeRoy Cain, referring to the damaged area's history. First built to support the Apollo program, 12 Saturn V boosters and 70 shuttle missions (to date) launched from Pad 39A.
/ 7:55 a.m. CT (1255 GMT)
Souvenirs from space
: The STS-124 crew worked inside and outside the International Space Station on Tuesday to configure and dock their primary payload to the outpost's Harmony node. The Japanese Kibo module sets the record for the station's longest laboratory. Space shuttle Discovery's cargo bay is now empty, but not all of STS-124's payload has been moved to the ISS. On-board the orbiter is a small stash of souvenirs for celebrities, as well as the crew's families, friends and fave organizations.
/ 7:58 a.m. CT (1258 GMT)
Stay at home to leave Earth
: On Sunday, Discovery Channel will premiere their high definition miniseries celebrating the United States' first 50 years in space, "When We Left Earth: The NASA Missions". Although Discovery's advertising claims of 'never before seen' film may be exaggerated, it is likely you have never seen the footage quite like this nor the interviews accompanying it.
/ 1:11 p.m. CT (1811 GMT)
GLAST blasts off
: The Gamma-ray Large Area Space Telescope (GLAST) launched atop a Delta II rocket Wednesday morning. The observatory will focus on staggeringly powerful explosions, known as gamma-ray bursts, to search for signs of new laws of physics and to answer what comprises dark matter. Once tested in orbit, GLAST will be given a new name submitted by the public.
/ 11:13 p.m. CT (0413 GMT June 12)
Hock's private stock
: STS-124 Pilot Ken "Hock" Ham was at Discovery's controls on Wednesday as the shuttle undocked from and circled the International Space Station, beginning his and his crew mates return to Earth. After landing on Saturday, Ham may offer to toast their success with a sparkling wine, at least if his mission mementos are any clue. Ham chose corks and labels for Schramsberg Vineyards. "We are already looking forward to Ken's next visit to the winery after his return to Earth," said Schramsberg, in a release statement about the flight.
/ 10:39 p.m. CT (0339 GMT June 13)
From Earth's seas to lunar mare
: NASA selected a new lead contractor for its next generation spacesuits Thursday, choosing Oceaneering International over ILC Dover, which made suits for Apollo, and Hamilton Sundstrand, which provides the space shuttle's pressure garments. Primarily an under water exploration company, Oceaneering's partners include the David Clark Company, which was responsible for the first U.S. spacesuit for the first American spacewalk, and the United Space Alliance, which serves as NASA's current spacesuit servicer. The Constellation Space Suit System (CSSS) to be designed and manufactured by Oceaneering will outfit crews lifting off on Orion vehicles and eventually walking on the Moon.
/ 10:22 a.m. CT (1522 GMT)
: Shuttle Discovery returned to Kennedy Space Center on Saturday, two weeks after launching the STS-124 crew to deliver the largest lab, the Kibo pressurized module, for the International Space Station. Cmdr. Mark Kelly brought the orbiter to a 10:15 a.m. CDT touchdown, ending the 26th U.S. flight to the ISS and the 35th mission for Discovery. Among the astronauts: Karen Nyberg, the 50th woman in space, and ISS flight engineer Garrett Reisman, who lived for 90 days aboard the station.
/ 12:24 p.m. CT (1724 GMT)
NASA's new ranger and robot reps
: This week NASA revealed new videos featuring Disney-Pixar characters, continuing a new educational partnership between the space agency and the media company. Tuesday, Buzz Lightyear made his orbital debut alongside Gregory Chamitoff on-board the International Space Station at the grand opening of Disneyland's Toy Story Mania. Then on Wednesday, NASA's released its new commercial for its website featuring WALL-E, the title robot of Pixar's movie.
/ 10:06 p.m. CT (0306 GMT June 20)
: Barbara Morgan will retire from NASA in August, returning to the role that led her twice being chosen and trained as an astronaut. Morgan, who flew on shuttle mission STS-118 in August 2007, will join the faculty of Boise State University as its Distinguished Educator in Residence, a position created for her to lead policy development, advocacy and fundraising in science, technology, engineering, and math educational programs.
/ 2:54 p.m. CT (1954 GMT)
: What is black, white, and orbits the Earth? Cows on Parade. But beyond the fiberglas bovines, a new statue program started Thursday by the Astronaut Scholarship Foundation also completes the riddle with more than 100 space shuttles. The orbiters, to be painted by artists who apply for the program, are to be displayed at the Kennedy Space Center's Visitor Complex prior to moving to locations of their sponsors' choice for a year, and then being auctioned to raise funds for students.
/ 3:50 p.m. CT (2050 GMT)
NASA Speak, The Home Edition
: Those who work for NASA have a vocabulary of their own, both out of necessity and out of convenience (the latter well represented by the multitude of acronyms). Now, you can test your own ability to speak like an astronaut through a new partnership between NASA and McNeill Designs for Brighter Minds. "You've Been Sentenced! — NASA 50th Anniversary Special Edition" builds upon McNeill Designs' sentence-building game by adding terminology from past, present and future NASA missions. McNeill plans to ship the YBS add-on NASA 50th Anniversary deck in October.
/ 6:42 p.m. CT (2342 GMT)
A dream come true
: Buzz Lightyear, you have just been to the International Space Station, what are you going to do next? If John Lasseter, chief creative officer of the Disney-Pixar Studios gets his wish, the 12 inch figure won't be going to Disney World or Disneyland. "Frankly, I would love it to go to the Smithsonian so that kids can actually see this Buzz went to space," Lasseter said to collectSPACE. "It is a character I created and for us at Pixar to have him go, there are so many times I've said, 'It is a dream come true,' but this one truly, truly is."
/ 9:48 p.m. CT (0248 GMT)
Student space patch
: Richard Garriott will carry a t-shirt to space this fall featuring an insignia designed by Sarah Nakata, 12, the winner of the Challenger Center for Space Science Education's student mission patch contest. Nakata's artwork depicts various spacecraft from history, spanning Sputnik to the Garriott's destination, the International Space Station. The son of Skylab astronaut Owen Garriott, Richard plans to create works of art during his own mission that reflect his experience of space flight.
/ 1:09 p.m. CT (1809 GMT)
In the shadow of the machines
: From the director and producer of "In The Shadow Of The Moon" comes "Moon Machines," a six part miniseries debuting during the Science Channel's 2nd annual Space Week. Where as "Shadow" featured the astronauts' stories, "Machines" focuses on the efforts of the 400,000 people who created the equipment used to achieve the lunar landings. Among the hardware highlighted by "Machines" are the Saturn V, the Apollo spacecraft, the spacesuits, and the lunar rover.
/ 1:00 p.m. CT (1800 GMT)
If these walls could talk
: NASA released Thursday its repair plan for the damage to Pad 39A's flame trench that came after the May 31 launch of space shuttle Discovery. Having gathered the 3,500 asbestos-laden bricks that were ejected from the under-pad tunnel, focus has now turned to the walls themselves. Before repairing the damaged east wall, engineers will strip its facing wall, removing even more of the original Apollo-era bricks. The trench will then be patched with steel mesh and spray-on concrete while the historic bricks, which saw 12 Saturn V and 70 space shuttle departures are destined for disposal.
/ 12:31 p.m. CT (1731 GMT)
Robert Seamans (1918-2008)
: The deputy administrator of NASA from 1965 to 1968, Robert C. Seamans, Jr., 89, died Saturday. Seamans joined the space agency in 1960, serving as associate administrator. He left NASA to teach at MIT, where he would years later be the Dean of its School of Engineering. Before then, Seamans was appointed secretary of the U.S. Air Force from 1969 through 1973, and then headed the Energy Research and Development Administration until 1978. He retired in 2000.
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