Science and Technology News

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Shuttle Crew Prepares to End Mission

The STS-134 crew members were awakened at 4:57 p.m. CDT with the song “Sunrise Number 1,” performed by the band Stormy Mondays. This song was chosen in an online vote of the general public as the winner in the Space Shuttle Program’s Original Song Contest, which attracted 1350 entrants.

The shuttle crew begins deorbit preparations at 8:26 p.m. and should close Endeavour payload bay doors at 9:49 p.m. By 12:19 a.m. Wednesday Entry Flight Director Tony Ceccacci will poll his team for a “go” or “no-go” on the deorbit burn; assuming the decision is “go,” Commander Mark Kelly will fire Endeavour’s engines at 12:29 a.m. to slow the orbiter enough for it to fall out of orbit and begin the last leg of its trip, concluding with a touchdown on runway 15 at the Kennedy Space Center’s Shuttle Landing Facility at 1:35 a.m.

Space shuttle Atlantis will begin its journey to Kennedy Space Center’s Launch Pad 39A at 8 p.m. EDT and the four-member crew of STS-135, the final shuttle mission, will field media questions at 8:30 p.m. Both events will be live on NASA Television and the NASA web at http://www.nasa.gov/ntv.

New NASA Map Reveals Patterns Of Tropical Forest Carbon Storage

Steve Cole
Headquarters, Washington
 
Alan Buis
Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif.

WASHINGTON -- A NASA-led research team has used a variety of NASA satellite data to create the most precise map ever produced depicting the amount and location of carbon stored in Earth's tropical forests. The data are expected to provide a baseline for ongoing carbon monitoring and research and serve as a useful resource for managing the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide.

The new map, created from ground- and space-based data, shows for the first time the distribution of carbon stored in forests across more than 75 tropical countries. Most of that carbon is stored in the extensive forests of Latin America.

"This is a benchmark map that can be used as a basis for comparison in the future when the forest cover and its carbon stock change," said Sassan Saatchi of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif., who led the research. "The map shows not only the amount of carbon stored in the forest, but also the accuracy of the estimate." The study was published May 30 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Deforestation and forest degradation contribute 15 to 20 percent of global carbon emissions, and most of that contribution comes from tropical regions. Tropical forests store large amounts of carbon in the wood and roots of their trees. When the trees are cut and decompose or are burned, the carbon is released to the atmosphere.

Previous studies have estimated the carbon stored in forests on local and large scales within a single continent, but there existed no systematic way of looking at all tropical forests. To measure the size of the trees, scientists typically use a ground-based technique, which gives a good estimate of how much carbon they contain. But this technique is limited because the structure of the forest is extremely variable and the number of ground sites is very limited.

To arrive at a carbon map that spans three continents, the team used data from the Geoscience Laser Altimeter System lidar on NASA's ICESat satellite. The researchers looked at information on the height of treetops from more than 3 million measurements. With the help of corresponding ground data, they calculated the amount of above-ground biomass and thus the amount of carbon it contained.

The team then extrapolated these data over the varying landscape to produce a seamless map, using NASA imagery from the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) instrument on NASA's Terra spacecraft, the QuikScat scatterometer satellite and the Shuttle Radar Topography Mission.

The map reveals that in the early 2000s, forests in the 75 tropical countries studied contained 247 billion tons of carbon. For perspective, about 10 billion tons of carbon is released annually to the atmosphere from combined fossil fuel burning and land use changes.

The researchers found that forests in Latin America hold 49 percent of the carbon in the world's tropical forests. For example, Brazil's carbon stock alone, at 61 billion tons, almost equals all of the carbon stock in sub-Saharan Africa, at 62 billion tons.

"These patterns of carbon storage, which we really didn't know before, depend on climate, soil, topography and the history of human or natural disturbance of the forests," Saatchi said. "Areas often impacted by disturbance, human or natural, have lower carbon storage."

The carbon numbers, along with information about the uncertainty of the measurements, are important for countries planning to participate in the Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation (REDD+) program. REDD+ is an international effort to create a financial value for the carbon stored in forests. It offers incentives for countries to preserve their forestland in the interest of reducing carbon emissions and investing in low-carbon paths of development.

The map also provides a better indication of the health and longevity of forests and how they contribute to the global carbon cycle and overall functioning of the Earth system. The next step in Saatchi's research is to compare the carbon map with satellite observations of deforestation to identify source locations of carbon dioxide released to the atmosphere.

For information about NASA and agency programs, visit http://www.nasa.gov.

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Over the Earth

Earth's atmosphere and a starry sky just off the port wing of the docked space shuttle Endeavour are the subject of this image photographed by the Expedition 28 crew, while the shuttle was docked with space station on the STS-134 mission.

Endeavour and the STS-134 crew undocked from the station on Monday, May 30, and landing is slated for 2:35 a.m. EDT Wednesday, June 1 at the Kennedy Space Center.

Image Credit: NASA

Digital Forensics: Regional Labs Help Solve Local Crimes

In 2008, Illinois police received disturbing information about a Chicago woman who had taken a 3-year-old to a “sex party” in Indiana where the child and an 11-year-old girl were abused by three adults. However, by the time the tip was received, the crime had already occurred, and there seemed to be no evidence to support criminal charges.

But there was evidence, buried deep within the woman’s computer, and examiners from our Regional Computer Forensics Laboratory (RCFL) in Chicago found it—a deleted e-mail titled “map to the party” that contained directions to an Indiana hotel. The evidence led to charges against all three adults, who were later convicted of aggravated sexual abuse and are currently in prison serving life sentences.

“That’s just one example of what we do every day,” said John Dziedzic, a Cook County Sheriff’s Office forensic examiner who is the director of the Chicago RCFL. “Evidence we produce here—and testify to in court—is crucial in a variety of major investigations.”

The FBI established the first RCFL in San Diego in 2000, and today there 16 Bureau-sponsored labs located around the country, staffed by agents and other federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies (see sidebar).

Each facility is a full-service forensics laboratory and training center devoted to examining digital evidence in support of investigations—everything from child pornography and terrorism to violent crime and economic espionage cases.

Using sophisticated tools and technology, RCFLs analyze evidence from all kinds of electronic devices, including computers, cell phones, video game consoles, and even reel-to-reel tapes.

“Anything that can store data electronically can be analyzed,” said Special Agent Justin Poirier, deputy director of the Chicago RCFL.

RCFL examiners—all certified by the FBI—specialize in locating encrypted, deleted, or damaged file information that could be used as evidence in an investigation.

“Digital evidence has become part of just about every type of investigation,” Poirier said, “because today everybody uses computers and portable electronics such as cell phones.”

The benefit of having a regional forensic facility, he added, is that the FBI can bring its expertise and training directly to where it is needed.

“The idea is to create regional resources,” Poirier explained. “We train the state and local examiners, who make a three-year commitment to the RCFL. When they return to their agencies, they have expertise and access they didn’t have before. And in the process, we build lasting relationships with our regional partners.”

Dziedzic added, “Instead of sending evidence to the FBI Laboratory in Quantico, we can analyze it much faster here in our own backyard.”

Chicago’s RCFL was established in 2003 and consists of five FBI employees and 13 examiners from agencies including the Chicago Police Department, Cook County Sheriff’s Office, and U.S. Customs and Border Protection. It is the only digital forensics lab in Illinois to be accredited by the American Society of Crime Laboratory Directors/Laboratory Accreditation Board.

“Accreditation is the gold standard when it comes to prosecuting cases and testifying in court,” Dziedzic said. “It means that we operate at the highest professional standards.”

“Criminals are using more sophisticated electronic methods to commit crimes,” Poirier said. “This regional approach to digital forensics—pairing the Bureau with local law enforcement to collaborate on cases—is the future for law enforcement. It really works.”

RCFL By the Numbers
The Regional Computer Forensics Laboratory program, a national initiative funded and administered by the FBI, recently released its annual report for fiscal year 2010. Below are a few of the program’s accomplishments. For more information, read the entire report.

- Number of RCFLs nationwide: 16
- Participating agencies: 130, from 17 states
- Examinations conducted: 6,564
- Examiner court testimony: 80
- Computer hard drives processed: 57,067
- Agencies making requests: 722
- Training conducted: 7,403 law enforcement personnel.

Space Shuttle Endeavour Returns to Earth for Final Time Wednesday

Joshua Buck
Headquarters, Washington                                   
 
Candrea Thomas
Kennedy Space Center, Fla.
 
CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. -- Space shuttle Endeavour is scheduled to return to Earth for the final time on Wednesday, June 1, completing a 16-day mission to outfit the International Space Station. If Endeavour lands Wednesday, it will have spent 299 days in space and traveled more than 122.8 million miles during its 25 flights. It launched on its first mission on May 7, 1992.

Wednesday's landing opportunities at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida are at 2:35 a.m. and 4:11 a.m. EDT. Endeavour's entry flight control team led by Tony Ceccacci will evaluate weather conditions at Kennedy before permitting Endeavour to land. If the shuttle is unable to return Wednesday, additional opportunities are available on Thursday at Kennedy and at backup landing site Edwards Air Force Base in California. For recorded updates about landing, call 321-867-2525.

Approximately two hours after Endeavour lands, NASA officials will hold a briefing to discuss the mission. The participants will be:
-     Bill Gerstenmaier, associate administrator for Space Operations
-     Mike Moses, space shuttle launch integration manager
-     Mike Leinbach, space shuttle launch director

After touchdown, the astronauts will undergo routine physical examinations and meet with their families. The crew is expected to participate in a post-landing news conference about six hours after landing. Availability is subject to change due to real time circumstances. The news events will be broadcast live on NASA Television and the agency's website.

The Kennedy Press Site will be open for shuttle Atlantis’ rollout to Launch Pad 39A scheduled for 8 p.m. Tuesday and will remain open until 4:30 p.m. Wednesday.

News media representatives who have been approved for STS-134 mission badges but have not picked them up yet may do so at NASA's Pass and Identification Building on State Road 3 on May 31 from 4 - 6 p.m. and 10:30 p.m. to 12:30 a.m. on June 1. The last bus will depart from the news center for the Shuttle Landing Facility one hour before landing.

If the shuttle landing is diverted to Edwards after Wednesday, reporters should call the public affairs office at NASA's Dryden Flight Research Center at 661-276-3449. Dryden has limited facilities available for previously accredited journalists.

The NASA News Twitter feed is updated throughout the shuttle mission and landing. To follow, visit http://www.twitter.com/nasa.

For NASA TV downlink information, schedules and links to streaming video, visit http://www.nasa.gov/ntv.

For the latest information about the STS-134 mission and accomplishments, visit http://www.nasa.gov/shuttle.

For more information about the space station and its crew, visit http://www.nasa.gov/station.

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Docked One Last Time

Backdropped by a night time view of the Earth and the starry sky, the Space Shuttle Endeavour is photographed docked at the International Space Station on May 28, 2011. The STS-134 astronauts left the station the next day on May 29, after delivering the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer and performing four spacewalks during Endeavour's final mission.

Image Credit: NASA

Endeavour Prepares for Return Home

Endeavour undocked from the International Space Station at 11:55 p.m. EDT Sunday, ending a stay of 11 days, 17 hours and 41 minutes at the orbiting laboratory.

Pilot Greg Johnson, at the aft flight deck controls, flew Endeavour in a circle around the station at distances of about 450 to 650 feet. Crew members took still and video images of the station.

As Johnson was about to begin the flyaround, Commander Mark Kelly radioed mission control that he could see the $2 billion Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer particle physics detector Endeavour had brought to orbit. "It's a new day for science on the space station," he said to mission control.

After the flyaround and a separation burn, Kelly took the controls for a test of an automated rendezvous and docking system called STORRM, for Sensor Test for Orion Relative Navigation Risk Mitigation. Endeavour moved about 20,000 feet above and behind the station, then to a point below and behind it.

Kelly subsequently maneuvered the shuttle on a rendezvous-like course, winding up at a point about 950 feet below the station. There the shuttle did a separation burn, beginning its departure from the area with the STORRM sensors still tracking the station until contact was lost. Initial reports were that the test had produced good data. All Endeavour crew members, including Mission Specialists Mike Fincke, Roberto Vittori, Drew Feustel and Greg Chamitoff, were scheduled for almost four hours of STORRM work.

STORRM Complete, Endeavour Sets Course for Final Return to Earth

At 4:38 a.m. EDT, Endeavour fired its jets to complete the final separation from the International Space Station, setting it on its course for return to Earth Wednesday, June 1. The shuttle will begin to increase its distance behind the station with each trip around Earth.

The shuttle's re-rendezvous with the space station for the Sensor Test for Orion Relative-navigation Risk Mitigation, or STORRM, was completed as planned, with Commander Mark Kelly flying Endeavour to an approach within about 950 feet of the station as the systems visual navigation system was tested.

Today's Mission Status Briefing is at 6:30 a.m. with Space Shuttle Lead Flight Director Gary Horlacher and Heather Hinkel, principal investigator for the Sensor Test for Orion Relative-navigation Risk Mitigation, or STORRM, system.

Endeavour Undocks from Station

At 11:55 p.m. EDT Sunday, space shuttle Endeavour undocked from the International Space Station. Endeavour spent 11 days, 17 hrs and 41 minutes docked to the orbiting laboratory. At undocking, the spacecraft were 215 miles above LaPaz, Bolivia.

The fly around of the space station will begin at 12:22 a.m., with Pilot Greg Johnson maneuvering Endeavour to circle the station at a distance of about 600 feet. The shuttle crew members will take detailed photographs of the external structure of the station, which serves as important documentation for the ground teams in Houston to monitor the orbiting laboratory.

Once the shuttle completes 1.5 revolutions of the complex, Johnson will fire Endeavour’s jets to leave the area. Nearly two hours after undocking a second firing of the engines, which would normally take the shuttle further away, will serve as the first maneuver to bring Endeavour back toward the station for the Sensor Test for Orion Relative-navigation Risk Mitigation, or STORRM. Commander Mark Kelly will pilot Endeavour for the re-rendezvous.

The test will characterize the performance of sensors in Endeavour’s payload bay and acquisition of reflectors on the shuttle’s docking target at the station. The re-rendezvous will mimic the Orion vehicle’s planned rendezvous trajectory and will approach no closer than 600 feet to the station. Endeavour is targeted to approach the station to a point 1,000 feet below and 300 feet behind the station at its closest point.

Studying Hard in School Opens Doors, Stresses Astronaut

By Lt. Jennifer Cragg, Submarine Group 2 Public Affairs Officer

GROTON, Conn. (NNS) -- More than 1,100 students and teachers from 12 area high schools were treated to a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity at Robert E. Fitch High School to learn from a former submariner and veteran of three NASA space shuttle flights, May 26.

Capt. Stephen G. Bowen, NASA astronaut, a native of Cohasset, Mass., stressed the importance of education, particularly in science and math, which help to expand the number of career choices, especially in his own life during the science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) event.

"A lesson learned for me was if you study hard in school and do well in a lot of classes, you have more choices," said Bowen. "There are many other places I could have gone, but I chose to go to the U.S. Naval Academy. By the time I got out of the Naval Academy … I chose to go into submarine force."

Bowen graduated from Cohasset High School, Cohasset, Mass. He earned a degree in electrical engineering from the U.S. Naval Academy and a degree in ocean engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. In July 2000, he was selected to be a mission specialist for the Space Shuttle Program, becoming the first submarine officer selected by NASA.

"He is unique. He is the only submariner to be accepted for the astronaut career track," said retired Navy Cmdr. Tony Quatroche, a former New London Submarine Base and Submarine School executive officer, who currently teaches math at Robert E. Fitch High School.

Capt. Paul Kelleher, commanding officer, Naval Submarine Medical Research Laboratory along with Eastern Connecticut Workforce Investment Board and EASTCONN helped to arrange Bowen's visit. Also attending the STEM event was fellow U.S. Navy Academy classmate, Capt. William Merz, commanding officer, COMSUBDEVRON Twelve.

Bowen reflected on working in the "world's greatest job," and his thoughts on being chosen for the astronaut program.

"You feel very lucky to be chosen," said Bowen. "Of those that apply and qualify only about .8 percent gets selected," said Bowen.

During his visit Bowen discussed both his career track in the submarine force and the astronaut program, stressing the importance of the teamwork aspect of flying in space.

"STS-132 was the first mission in over a decade where every single crew member had flown in space previously," said Bowen. "Based on that, we chose to emphasize the team effort required while in space."

The Eastern Connecticut high schools participating included: Robert E. Fitch High School, Bacon Academy, East Lyme High School, Ellis Technical High School, Ledyard High School, Lyme-Old Lyme High School, Norwich Free Academy, Old Saybrook High School, Stonington High School, Windham High School, Woodstock Academy, and Valley Regional High School.

Geostellar Discovers Solar Market on Rooftops

May 26, 2011 By Dean Kuipers, Los Angeles Times

Geostellar debuted late last year as a way to speed up solar and wind-power energy projects, and Chief Executive David Levine was pounding the pavement from coast to coast giving demos mostly to engineers and developers.
The company’s Web-based modeling tool offers new and dramatically faster ways to measure solar resources on a given plot of land, and he was sure the development community would be all over it. But he was so focused that he almost missed his real audience.
About a month ago, he started listening: Yes, Geostellar was a development tool. But it was an even better marketing tool.
“Duh, listen to the customer,” laughed Levine in an interview last week. He had just come out of a meeting with a major Southern California utility that had asked him to pitch Geostellar as a way to identify and target homes and commercial buildings that are suitable for rooftop solar installation in a ZIP Code, and thus potentially saving tons of marketing money.
“We had been hearing this for months, but we were so thick about it,” adds Levine. “Now we understand that this could be the first use that pulls the technology forward. All the other things, we’re still going to do, but it’ll be pulled by the market need, rather than trying to push, push, push.”
In April, Geostellar received its first round of financing with a $2 million investment from Flash Forward Ventures.
A West Virginia-based serial entrepreneur with experience in gaming platforms, geomatics and energy data management, Levine pulled together a team to develop Geostellar. It would crunch huge quantities of data on sun power, shadows, topography, vegetation cover, tax parcel data, critical habitat distinctions and other factors that might affect a specific building site -- with an unprecedented degree of accuracy -- and then give detailed reports at a touch of a button. It was squarely aimed at helping renewable developers choose the best sites, faster.
Several other long-established companies provide detailed site studies, and even online modeling tools, such as 3TIER, AWS Truepower and Clean Power Research. But the Geostellar team capitalized on its gaming expertise to create innovative modeling techniques that allow for instant access to highly detailed information, such as the amount of average solar energy on a one-meter-square piece of every single rooftop in a given area. No one else could do this.
Companies like Solar City, however, saw another use. Instead of blanketing whole neighborhoods with marketing materials, they could instantly identify the top 200 rooftops best suited for producing electricity, and focus their efforts on those instead.
Griffith Harrison, vice president of sales for Geostellar, said the big breakthrough came about two weeks ago.
“I was meeting with the U.S. Department of Energy in downtown Washington, and after we went through the overview, basically the response was, 'You guys could just put these results into batches or packages, that could be based on ZIP Codes or counties, and be delivered to these companies that really need to know who these premium rooftops are.' ”
Meanwhile, Levine was at a meeting with Mountain View Solar, a West Virginia-based company that serves the mid-Atlantic states, and they were telling him exactly the same thing.
On the day before this interview, Geostellar's leaders gathered in a big huddle and changed their entire business model. “Yesterday, what we did was: We have to pivot. We have to make it formal. We have to get everybody in a room and say, ‘This is the way we’re going,’ so we’re not fragmented,” Levine said.
Armed with new pricing models and a new pitch, they headed west.
Levine sees that this use of the technology could aid the adoption of renewables. When developing rooftop solar, he says, “a huge part of the cost is marketing and efficient marketing. And if you could take that out, then you get to grid parity a lot quicker. Because there’s no marketing costs for coal. So we could totally collapse that, and suddenly the whole industry gets cost competitive.”
A stunning video of the software in action can be viewed here and is definitely worth taking time to watch.

NVIDIA Introduces New 3D Vision Wired Glasses for Only $99

New Wired Model Delivers Same Award-Wining 3D Vision Quality and Features With Sleek New Design, Making Full HD (1080p) 3D PC Gaming More Affordable



TAIPEI -- (Marketwire) -- 05/29/2011 -- COMPUTEX 2011 -- NVIDIA today announced a new addition to the NVIDIA® 3D Vision™ product family: NVIDIA 3D Vision wired glasses. The new glasses make the world's best 3D PC experience more affordable at $99 (U.S. MSRP), and offer the same award-winning 3D quality and features of 3D Vision wireless glasses.



NVIDIA 3D Vision wired glasses, which feature NVIDIA's advanced active-shutter technology, allow gamers and 3D enthusiasts to access the broadest selection of high-quality 3D content available today, including more than 525 full-HD 3D games, Blu-ray 3D movies, and streaming 3D video from YouTube and 3DVisionLive.com. NVIDIA 3D Vision wired glasses also support more than 65 different 3D Vision monitors, notebooks, and projectors, giving users complete flexibility in configuring their 3D Vision PCs.

NVIDIA 3D Vision wired glasses include a 10-foot USB 2.0 cable for direct, easy connection to a 3D Vision PC or notebook. This makes it ideal for LAN gaming events and iCafe gaming centers, as it does not require batteries and the cable can easily be secured to a PC with an optional computer lock to minimize theft.

"3D Vision provides gamers and enthusiasts with the world's largest ecosystem of 3D products and features," said Phil Eisler, general manager of 3D Vision at NVIDIA. "3D fans have been waiting for more affordable glasses, and we're expecting our new 3D Vision wired glasses to hit the sweet spot for them."

NVIDIA 3D Vision wired glasses are expected to be available beginning in late-June 2011 from the NVIDIA Store, as well as from leading retailers and e-tailers. For more information about 3D Vision visit www.nvidia.com/3dvision

Monday, May 30, 2011

Undocking Day for Endeavour

The crews of space shuttle Endeavour woke at 7:27 p.m. EDT to the song “Slowness” performed by Calexico, a Tucson band, for Commander Mark Kelly.

Today is undocking day for Endeavour and the six crew members of the STS-134 mission. Undocking is scheduled to take place at 11:55 p.m., while the spacecraft are 215 miles above and over La Paz, Bolivia.

At 12:22 a.m., Pilot Greg Johnson will fly the shuttle one lap around the station while the other crew members take photos to document its configuration. Following the fly around, Kelly will pilot Endeavour on a rendezvous maneuver that returns the shuttle within 600 feet of the station as part of the Sensor Test for Orion Relative-navigation Risk Mitigation, or STORRM.

Another View

A fish-eye lens attached to an electronic still camera was used to capture this image of NASA astronaut Greg Chamitoff during the mission's fourth STS-134 spacewalk. During the spacewalk, Chamitoff and fellow astronaut Michael Fincke stowed the 50-foot-long boom and added a power and data grapple fixture to make it the Enhanced International Space Station Boom Assembly, which extends the reach of the space station's robotic arm. The docked space shuttle Endeavour is visible at top right.

Image Credit: NASA

Hatches Closed For Final Time Between Endeavour and Station

Shortly after 7 a.m. EDT, the six crew members of space shuttle Endeavour said farewell to the three Expedition 28 crew members aboard the International Space Station. At 7:23 a.m., hatches were closed between Endeavour and the station 12 days, 22 hours and 27 minutes into the mission. The hatches between the two spacecraft were opened at 7:38 a.m. on May 18 and were open for joint crew operations for a total of 10 days, 23 hours, and 45 minutes.

During the docked operations, the crew delivered and installed the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer-2 to study cosmic particles and the ExPRESS Logistics Carrier 3 with spare parts, and performed four spacewalks to perform maintenance and install components on the station, including the Enhanced International Space Station Boom Assembly that marked the completion of the U.S. Orbital Segment of the station.

Endeavour's crew now will prepare for undocking at 11:55 p.m. by completing a check out of the rendezvous tools and installing the centerline camera before concluding their flight day at 11:26 a.m.

Shuttle Crew Wrapping Up Work Aboard Station

Mission Specialist Mike Fincke is wrapping up work on the Carbon Dioxide Removal Assembly while Mission Specialists Drew Feustel and Greg Chamitoff are organizing and stowing spacewalking tools.

Later in the crew day, Commander Mark Kelly will offer congratulatory words to the participants in the Space Shuttle Program’s “Face In Space” campaign for the STS-134 mission. Participants submitted 128,940 photos for uplink to Endeavour via the Mission Control Center at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston. The images will return to Earth through a data transmission, and contributors will be able to print certificates verifying their photos flew aboard Endeavour.

At 6:56 a.m. EDT, the crew of Endeavour will say goodbye to the Expedition 28 crew members then close the hatches between the International Space Station and Endeavour for the last time as the shuttle crew prepares for undocking and return to Earth on Wednesday.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Crews Complete Workday

Spacesuit reconfiguration, work on a carbon dioxide scrubber, and movement of equipment and supplies between Endeavour and the International Space Station kept crew members of the docked spacecraft busy during their just-completed workday.

Early in their day, at about 9:15 p.m. Friday, STS-134 Commander Mark Kelly and Pilot Greg Johnson along with Expedition 27 Flight Engineer Ron Garan talked with middle school students, teachers and others gathered at the University of Arizona in Tucson. At about 7:45 a.m. Saturday Johnson answered questions from representatives of Gannet, Houston's KPRC-TV and the Voice of America.

Maintenance, Cargo Transfers and Interviews for STS-134 Crew

The STS-134 crew is performing maintenance on the Carbon Dioxide Removal Assembly, reconfiguring the spacesuits from yesterday's spacewalk, and transferring cargo between the shuttle and station.

Crew members are scheduled to talk with reporters from television stations in Michigan and Ohio at 8:46 a.m. EDT.

NASA's STS-135 Crew Available To Media At Final Shuttle Rollout

Joshua Buck
Headquarters, Washington     
 
Candrea Thomas
Kennedy Space Center, Fla.
 
CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. -- The four astronauts for the final space shuttle mission, STS-135, will answer reporters' questions at 8:30 p.m. EDT on Tuesday, May 31, as shuttle Atlantis is moved to its launch pad at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida. The question-and-answer session will air live on NASA Television and the agency's website.

STS-135 Commander Chris Ferguson, Pilot Doug Hurley and Mission Specialists Sandy Magnus and Rex Walheim will take questions outside Kennedy's news center while Atlantis moves in the background from the Vehicle Assembly Building (VAB) to Launch Pad 39A.

Atlantis' first motion out of the VAB is scheduled for 8 p.m. NASA TV will provide live video of the start of the move, known as rollout, and then switch to the crew media event. NASA TV's Video File will broadcast highlights of the entire rollout. For NASA TV downlink information, schedules and links to streaming video, visit http://www.nasa.gov/ntv.

STS-134 mission badges are valid for all rollout activities, including an 8 p.m. photo opportunity of the move, the STS-135 crew event and an interview availability with Atlantis Flow Director Angie Brewer at about 9 p.m., which will not be shown on NASA TV. News media representatives must arrive at Kennedy's news center by 7:30 p.m. for the rollout photo opportunity.

NASA also will provide a sunrise photo opportunity at the launch pad on June 1, after Atlantis' early morning arrival. Reporters must be at the news center by 6 a.m. for transportation to the pad viewing areas. Updates for events are available at 321-867-2525.

Journalists who applied only for STS-135 rollout events, may begin picking up their badges starting at 6 a.m. on May 31 at the Kennedy Space Center Badging Office on State Road 405. Journalists who have been approved for STS-134 mission badges, but have not picked them up yet, may do so at NASA's Pass and Identification Building on State Road 3 on May 31 from 4 - 6 p.m. and 10:30 p.m. to 12:30 a.m. on June 1.

Atlantis' astronauts are targeted to launch to the International Space Station on July 8. For more information about the mission and crew, visit http://go.nasa.gov/STS-135.

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NASA Astronaut Cady Coleman Available For Interviews On Eve Of Shuttle Landing

Joshua Buck
Headquarters, Washington     
 
Kylie Clem
Johnson Space Center, Houston
 
HOUSTON -- NASA astronaut Cady Coleman, back on Earth after working last week in orbit with the space shuttle Endeavour and International Space Station crews, will be available for live satellite interviews from 6 - 8 a.m. CDT on Tuesday, May 31. This is one day before Endeavour's final landing at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida, scheduled for 1:35 a.m. June 1.

On May 23, Coleman completed 159 days in space as a member of the Expedition 26 and 27 crews. This was the first time a station crew returned to Earth while a shuttle was docked to the complex.

Coleman's interviews will air live on NASA Television. To arrange an interview, news media representatives must contact the Johnson Space Center newsroom at 281-483-5111 or send an e-mail to stephanie.l.luna@nasa.gov no later than 2 p.m. on Sunday, May 29. The e-mail must include contact information and technical points of contact to allow a NASA producer to finalize the interview arrangements during the Memorial Day holiday weekend.

Coleman and her crewmates, Expedition 27 Commander Dmitry Kondratyev and Flight Engineer Paolo Nespoli of the European Space Agency, landed at 9:27 p.m. May 23 in Kazakhstan. During their mission, they worked on more than 150 microgravity experiments in human research, biology and biotechnology, physical and materials sciences, technology development and Earth and space sciences.

Coleman is a graduate of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and received a doctorate from the University of Massachusetts. Before her flight on Expedition 27, Coleman flew on two shuttle missions, STS-73 in 1995 and STS-93 in 1999.

The interviews will air on NASA TV's Live Interview Media Outlet channel. The channel is a digital satellite C-band downlink by uplink provider Americom. It is on satellite AMC 3, transponder 9C, located at 87 degrees west, downlink frequency 3865.5 MHz based on a standard C-band, horizontal downlink polarity. FEC is 3/4, data rate is 6.0 Mbps, symbol rate is 4.3404 Msps, transmission DVB-S, 4:2:0.

Video b-roll from Coleman’s mission will air May 30 from 5:30 to 6 a.m. CDT. For NASA TV streaming video, downlink and scheduling information, visit http://www.nasa.gov/ntv.

For Coleman's complete biography, visit http://www.jsc.nasa.gov/Bios/htmlbios/coleman.html.

For more information about the International Space Station, visit http://www.nasa.gov/station.

For more information about the shuttle mission, visit http://www.nasa.gov/shuttle.

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Friday, May 27, 2011

Endeavour's Thermal Protection System Cleared

Mission managers met this afternoon to discuss the data collected from late inspection of the shuttle’s Thermal Protection System (TPS). After reviewing the imagery obtained, managers cleared the TPS of any issues and gave a “go” for Endeavour and its crew to return to Earth.

Friday’s Mission Management Team briefing has been canceled.

Shuttle Endeavour’s first landing opportunity at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida is at 2:35 a.m. EDT on June 1.

NASA's STS-135 Crew Available To Media At Final Shuttle Rollout

Joshua Buck
Headquarters, Washington     
 
Candrea Thomas
Kennedy Space Center, Fla.
 
CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. -- The four astronauts for the final space shuttle mission, STS-135, will answer reporters' questions at 8:30 p.m. EDT on Tuesday, May 31, as shuttle Atlantis is moved to its launch pad at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida. The question-and-answer session will air live on NASA Television and the agency's website.

STS-135 Commander Chris Ferguson, Pilot Doug Hurley and Mission Specialists Sandy Magnus and Rex Walheim will take questions outside Kennedy's news center while Atlantis moves in the background from the Vehicle Assembly Building (VAB) to Launch Pad 39A.

Atlantis' first motion out of the VAB is scheduled for 8 p.m. NASA TV will provide live video of the start of the move, known as rollout, and then switch to the crew media event. NASA TV's Video File will broadcast highlights of the entire rollout. For NASA TV downlink information, schedules and links to streaming video, visit http://www.nasa.gov/ntv.

STS-134 mission badges are valid for all rollout activities, including an 8 p.m. photo opportunity of the move, the STS-135 crew event and an interview availability with Atlantis Flow Director Angie Brewer at about 9 p.m., which will not be shown on NASA TV. News media representatives must arrive at Kennedy's news center by 7:30 p.m. for the rollout photo opportunity.

NASA also will provide a sunrise photo opportunity at the launch pad on June 1, after Atlantis' early morning arrival. Reporters must be at the news center by 6 a.m. for transportation to the pad viewing areas. Updates for events are available at 321-867-2525.

Journalists who applied only for STS-135 rollout events, may begin picking up their badges starting at 6 a.m. on May 31 at the Kennedy Space Center Badging Office on State Road 405. Journalists who have been approved for STS-134 mission badges, but have not picked them up yet, may do so at NASA's Pass and Identification Building on State Road 3 on May 31 from 4 - 6 p.m. and 10:30 p.m. to 12:30 a.m. on June 1.

Atlantis' astronauts are targeted to launch to the International Space Station on July 8. For more information about the mission and crew, visit http://go.nasa.gov/STS-135.

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Final Spacewalk for STS-134

NASA astronaut Michael Fincke worked outside the station during the fourth and final spacewalk of the STS-134 mission, which lasted more than 7 hours. Fincke and fellow astronaut Greg Chamitoff completed the primary objectives for the spacewalk, including stowing the 50-foot-long boom and adding a power and data grapple fixture to make it the Enhanced International Space Station Boom Assembly, available to extend the reach of the space station's robotic arm.

Image Credit: NASA

Astronauts Complete Final STS-134 Spacewalk; Briefing Time Changes

Astronauts Mike Fincke and Greg Chamitoff completed a seven-hour, 24-minute spacewalk at 7:39 a.m. EDT. The primary objectives for the spacewalk were accomplished, including stowing the 50-foot-long boom and adding a power and data grapple fixture to make it the Enhanced International Space Station Boom Assembly, available to extend the reach of the space station's robotic arm.

Today's mission status briefing now is scheduled to begin at 9:30 a.m. NASA Television will air the briefing with International Space Station Lead Flight Director Derek Hassmann and STS-134 Lead Spacewalk Officer Allison Bolinger, who will discuss today's spacewalk.

This was the final spacewalk conducted by space shuttle astronauts. It also was the last of the four spacewalks for the STS-134 mission, for a mission total of 28 hours, 44 minutes.

At 5:02 a.m., Fincke and Chamitoff surpassed the 1,000th hour astronauts and cosmonauts have spent spacewalking in support of space station assembly and maintenance. The milestone occurred four hours and 47 minutes into today's spacewalk, the 159th in support of station assembly and maintenance, totaling 1,002 hours, 37 min.

It was the 248th spacewalk U.S. astronauts have conducted and the 118th from space station airlocks.

It was Fincke's ninth spacewalk for a total time of 48 hours and 37 minutes; he is sixth on the all-time list. At about 8 p.m. this evening, he will become the U.S. astronaut who has spent the most number of days in space, surpassing Peggy Whitson's record of 377 days in space.

It was Chamitoff's second spacewalk for a total time of 13 hours and 43 minutes.