NASA’s Shuttle Discovery Launches to Enhance Space Station Science

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CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. — Space shuttle Discovery, with its seven-member
crew, launched at 11:59 p.m. EDT Friday from NASA’s Kennedy Space
Center in Florida. The shuttle will deliver supplies, equipment and a
new crew member to the International Space Station.

Inside the shuttle’s cargo bay is the Leonardo Multi-Purpose Logistics
Module, a pressurized “moving van” that will be temporarily installed
to the station. The module will deliver storage racks; materials and
fluids science racks; a freezer to store research samples; a new
sleeping compartment; an air purification system; and a treadmill
named after comedian Stephen Colbert. The name “Colbert” received the
most entries in NASA’s online poll to name the station’s Node 3. NASA
named the node Tranquility.

Shortly before liftoff, Commander Rick Sturckow said, “Thanks to
everyone who helped prepare for this mission. Let’s go step up the
science on the International Space Station!”

The 13-day flight will include three spacewalks to replace experiments
outside the European Space Agency’s Columbus laboratory, install a
new ammonia storage tank and return the used one. Ammonia is needed
to move excess heat from inside the station to the radiators located

Sturckow is joined on the STS-128 mission by Pilot Kevin Ford, Mission
Specialists Pat Forrester, Jose Hernandez, Danny Olivas and European
Space Agency astronaut Christer Fuglesang. NASA astronaut Nicole
Stott will fly to the complex aboard Discovery to begin a three-month
mission as a station resident. She replaces NASA’s Tim Kopra, who
will return home on Discovery. Ford, Hernandez and Stott are
first-time space fliers.

The mission marks the start of the transition from assembling the
space station to using it for continuous scientific research.
Assembly and maintenance activities have dominated the available time
for crew work. As completion nears, additional facilities and the
crew members to operate them will enable a measured increase in time
devoted to research as a national and multinational orbiting

Discovery’s first landing opportunity at Kennedy is scheduled for
Thursday, Sept. 10, at 7:09 p.m. EDT. This mission is the 128th space
shuttle flight, the 30th to the station, the 37th for Discovery and
the fourth in 2009.

NASA is providing continuous television and Internet coverage of
Discovery’s mission. NASA Television features live mission events,
daily mission status news conferences and 24-hour commentary. For
NASA TV streaming video, downlink and schedule information, visit:

NASA’s Web coverage of STS-128 includes mission information,
interactive features, news conference images, graphics and videos.
Mission coverage, including the latest NASA TV schedule, is available
on the main space shuttle Web site at:

Hernandez and Stott are providing mission updates on Twitter. For
their Twitter feeds and other NASA social media Web sites, visit:

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

Daily news conferences with STS-128 mission managers will take place
at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in 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 before its daily close of business to confirm
its availability before each event.

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 valid media credentials either issued by a
NASA center or issued specifically for the STS-128 mission.

Media representatives 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.

NASA Sets Briefing, TV Coverage of Japan’s First Cargo Spacecraft

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HOUSTON — NASA will hold a news briefing at 12:30 p.m. CDT on
Wednesday, Sept. 2, to preview the maiden launch and flight of
Japan’s unpiloted H-II Transfer Vehicle (HTV) cargo spacecraft to the
International Space Station.

NASA Television will broadcast the briefing live from NASA’s Johnson
Space Center in Houston. Participants in the briefing will include
officials from NASA and the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency
(JAXA). NASA TV also will broadcast live HTV’s launch and flight.

The HTV is scheduled to lift off on an H-IIB rocket from JAXA’s
Tanegashima Space Center in southern Japan at approximately noon
Sept. 10 (about 2 a.m. Sept. 11 Japan time). NASA TV coverage of the
launch will begin at 11:45 a.m. The HTV will augment the European
Space Agency’s Automated Transportation Vehicles and the Russian
Progress ships that deliver supplies to the space station.

NASA conducted an HTV readiness review on Aug. 27. The HTV was
formally approved for flight and rendezvous. The launch window will
be open from Sept. 10-30. In the event of a launch postponement after
the H-IIB rocket is fueled, a 72-hour turnaround will be required
before the next launch attempt.

As the 16.5-ton cargo craft makes its week-long journey to the space
station, flight controllers in Tsukuba, Japan, and at Mission Control
in Houston will conduct a number of tests of HTV’s rendezvous and
navigation systems.

NASA TV coverage of the cargo craft’s arrival at the station will
begin at 2 p.m. Sept. 17. As the HTV moves within about 40 feet of
the orbiting laboratory, space station crew members will capture the
craft using the station’s Canadarm2 robotic arm. The crew then will
attach the HTV to an Earth-facing docking port on the station’s
Harmony connecting module. The robotic maneuvers are set to begin at
about 2:50 p.m. Sept. 17.

The HTV will remain attached to the station for about six weeks while
supplies are transferred. In addition to interior supplies and
equipment, two new experiments carried on the exterior of the HTV
will be moved to the Japanese Kibo module’s external experiment porch
using a combination of maneuvers with the station’s Canadarm2 and
Kibo’s robotic arm.

For NASA TV downlink information, schedules and streaming video,

For more information about the space station, visit:

NASA Selects 16 Small Business Research and Technology Projects

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WASHINGTON — NASA has selected 16 small business projects to address
important research and technology needs. The awards are part of
NASA’s Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business
Technology Transfer (STTR) programs.

The SBIR program selected 12 proposals for negotiation of phase II
contracts, with a total value of approximately $7.2 million. The
awards went to 12 small, high technology firms in nine states.

The STTR program selected four proposals for negotiation of phase II
contract awards, with a total value of approximately $2.4 million.
The awards went to four small high technology firms in four states
partnered with three research institutions in three states.

These selections are supplementary to the 142 phase II SBIR awards
announced Oct. 28, 2008, and the 16 STTR phase II awards announced on
April 15, 2009.

SBIR and STTR are part of the Innovative Partnerships Program Office
at NASA Headquarters in Washington. The office partners with U.S.
industry to infuse innovative technologies into NASA missions and
transition them into commercially available products and services for
the agency and other markets.

A few of the research areas being pursued among this group of selected
proposals include:

– Innovative technologies for improvement in design and analysis
of flight deck automation
– Technologies for long-term cryogenic propellant storage
applications in-space, on the lunar surface and on Earth. The
technologies also include fluid system components, cryogenic
insulation and conditioning systems.
– Development of advanced power conversion, energy storage and
power electronics to enable or enhance the capabilities of future
science missions
– Technologies providing novel approaches in reconfigurable,
reprogrammable communication systems for human and robotic missions

NASA’s Ames Research Center at Moffett Field, Calif., manages the SBIR
and STTR programs for the Innovative Partnerships Program. Individual
projects are managed by NASA’s field installations.

For a list of selected proposals, visit:

For more information about the Innovative Partnerships Program, visit:

USAF C-130 Avionics Upgrades Fate Unclear

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Amy Butler

The U.S. Air Force is reviewing the C-130 Avionics Modernization Program (AMP) as part of its fiscal 2011 budget review, and it is unclear when — or whether — it will enter production….
USAF C-130 Avionics Upgrades Fate Unclear

Lufthansa Cleared To Take Over Austrian

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Robert Wall/London

Lufthansa will officially sign for Austrian Airlines on Sept. 3, with the deal formally closing in mid-September after European Union antitrust authorities clear the deal….

Lufthansa Cleared To Take Over Austrian

JASSM Production Gap Manageable, USAF Says

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By Amy Butler

As the U.S. Air Force prepares for a critical set of flight-tests to gauge the reliability of retrofits on the Joint Air-to-Surface Standoff Missile (JASSM), production on the Lockheed Martin assembly line is hampered….
JASSM Production Gap Manageable, USAF Says

NTSB Plans New Emergency Medical Helo Rules

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Frances Fiorino

The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) plans to propose 19 new safety recommendations aimed at minimizing the risks of helicopter emergency medical services (HEMS) operations at a Sept. 1 board meeting in Washington, D.C….

NTSB Plans New Emergency Medical Helo Rules

Shuttle Discovery Departs For ISS

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Frank Morring, Jr.

More updates on the mission will be posted as developments warrant at the On Space blog.

A crew of seven astronauts lifted off for the International Space Station on the shuttle Discovery tonight, dodging Florida weather to make a stunning liftoff into the midnight sky….

Shuttle Discovery Departs For ISS

Boeing Celebrates 70 Years in St. Louis

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ST. LOUIS, Aug. 28, 2009 — Boeing Integrated Defense Systems President and CEO Jim Albaugh addresses the audience at the Boeing St. Louis 70th anniversary celebration on Aug. 27.

Hundreds of Boeing employees were joined at the site by community leaders, politicians, company executives and others to celebrate the anniversary of James S. McDonnell founding the company that for decades bore his name and is now part of The Boeing Company [NYSE: BA].

The ceremony also highlighted production milestones for several Boeing products built in St. Louis, including delivery of more than 1,600 F-15 Eagles; 400 F/A-18E/F Super Hornets; 200 C-17 subassemblies; 220 T-45 Goshawks; 220,000 Joint Direct Attack Munitions; 7,000 Harpoon missiles and 4,000 Small Diameter Bombs.

Seated behind Albaugh from right to left are former Chairman and CEO of McDonnell Douglas Corporation and current Boeing Board of Directors member John McDonnell, Sens. Christopher “Kit” Bond and Claire McCaskill, Rep. Russ Carnahan, International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers District 837 President and Directing Business Representative Gordon King, St. Louis Central Labor Council President Robert Soutier, and Department of Economic Development Representative Linda Martinez. Click the below links to watch videos of their speeches.

Boeing Integrated Defense Systems is the largest manufacturer in Missouri and the state’s second largest employer, with approximately 16,000 employees.