Monday, September 17, 2012

9/17/12 news

        Monday, September 17, 2012     JSC TODAY HEADLINES 1.            NASA Family Honors Dr. Sally Ride Tomorrow With Tree-Planting Ceremony 2.            Crew Health & Performance Improvements and Resource Impacts with Reduced CO2 3.            NASA Night at Constellation Field 4.            JSC Annual Holiday Bazaar - Now Taking Vendor Applications 5.            Dodge, Duck, Dip, Dive and Dodge -- Dodgeball Returns to Starport 6.            Learn How to Manage Your Manager This Week 7.            NASA Night at the Paint Pub 8.            Nutrition Tour Next Week 9.            All About E-books at the JSC Library 10.          Communications Satellites: An Introduction 11.          Job Opportunities ________________________________________     QUOTE OF THE DAY “ I'm sick of following my dreams. I'm just going to ask them where they're goin' and hook up with them later.”   -- Mitch Hedberg ________________________________________ 1.            NASA Family Honors Dr. Sally Ride Tomorrow With Tree-Planting Ceremony JSC team members are invited to attend the tree-planting ceremony in honor of Dr. Sally Ride on Tuesday, Sept. 18, in the Memorial Tree Grove at 9 a.m. Following will be a reception in Building 4S, Room 6600, at 9:30 a.m.   Ride was born May 26, 1951, in Los Angeles, and passed away on July 23. Renowned as the first American woman in space, Ride was an inspiration to a new generation of female explorers. A veteran of two spaceflights (1983 and 1984), she also served as a member of the Presidential Commission that investigated the Challenger accident.   Her legacy will continue to live on, as in 2001 she founded Sally Ride Science to pursue her long-time passion of motivating girls and young women to pursue careers in science, math and technology. The company creates entertaining science programs and publications for upper elementary and middle school students and their parents and teachers. Ride also authored five science books for children: "To Space and Back;" "Voyager;" "The Third Planet;" "The Mystery of Mars" and "Exploring Our Solar System."   Diana Norman x32646   [top] 2.            Crew Health & Performance Improvements and Resource Impacts with Reduced CO2 There are reports that ISS crews are experiencing adverse health effects from on-orbit exposure to CO2 levels well below the current Spacecraft Maximum Allowable Concentration (SMAC) of 5.3 mmHg for 180 days of exposure. John James, NASA's chief toxicologist, discusses: 1) comparison of reports of headaches by the crew during private medical conferences to cabin CO2 levels to find at what level crews were really at risk; 2) whether neuro-cognitive effects could be associated with CO2 levels; 3) resource utilization to meet various levels of CO2 control if the SMACs were lowered; and 4) potential interactions of intracranial pressure and CO2 levels in eliciting ocular effects.   Thursday, Sept. 20, 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Location: Building 5 South, Room 3102 (corner of Gamma Link/5th Street/third floor)   SATERN Registration: https://satern.nasa.gov/learning/user/deeplink_redirect.jsp?linkId=SCHEDULED_..   For additional information, contact any EC5 spacesuit knowledge capture point of contact: Cinda Chullen (x38384); Juniper Jairala (281-461-5794); Rose Bitterly (281-461-5795); or Vladenka Oliva (281-461-5681).   Juniper Jairala 281-461-5794   [top] 3.            NASA Night at Constellation Field It's NASA Night with the Skeeters! Join in on the baseball fun with an out-of-this-world experience as the Sugarland Skeeters take on the York Revolution on Sept. 19 at 7:05 p.m. Discounted field box tickets are only $8. Visit http://starport.jsc.nasa.gov/Events/ for more information and to purchase your tickets.   Shelly Haralson x39168 http://starport.jsc.nasa.gov/   [top] 4.            JSC Annual Holiday Bazaar - Now Taking Vendor Applications The Starport JSC Holiday Bazaar at the Gilruth Center will be Nov. 3, and we are now taking applications for vendors. If you have special arts and crafts, jewelry, candles, holiday d├ęcor, baked goods, etc. that would be a great addition to our event, submit your application by Sept. 28 for consideration. Application and more information can be found on our website: http://starport.jsc.nasa.gov/Events/   Shelly Haralson x39168 http://starport.jsc.nasa.gov/   [top] 5.            Dodge, Duck, Dip, Dive and Dodge -- Dodgeball Returns to Starport Dodgeball is returning on Thursdays at Starport this Fall! Registration is now open (closing on Sept. 24) for the Thursday evening league! Games start on Sept. 27, so register your team today! http://starport.jsc.nasa.gov/Fitness/Sports/   Registration closing on Monday, Sept. 24 - Dodgeball (Thursday games)   Free-agent registration now open for all leagues. All league participants must register at: http://www.IMLeagues.com/NASA-Starport   For more detailed information about each league, please visit http://starport.jsc.nasa.gov/Fitness/Sports/ or call the Gilruth information desk at 281-483-0304.   Sign your team up today, so you and your friends don't miss out on an awesome dodgeball season!   Steve Schade x30304 http://starport.jsc.nasa.gov/Fitness/Sports/   [top] 6.            Learn How to Manage Your Manager This Week Please join the JSC National Management Association (NMA) for a free professional development discussion for administrative officers and support professionals.   If you've ever wondered how to manage your manager as an administrative support professional more effectively, please attend this JSC NMA Brown Bag designed to share lessons learned and best practices.   On Sept. 19, this interactive discussion will be available at two different sessions to choose from -- 11 a.m. to noon and noon to 1 p.m. -- in the newly renovated Building 12, Conference Room 253.   Please submit information you'd like to discuss about this topic in advance to Heather Williams at heather.d.williams@nasa.gov.   This opportunity is open to all JSC team members, civil servants and contractor administrative professionals.   For additional information and for on-site badging, please contact Carolyn Fritz at x32017.   Carolyn Fritz x32017 http://www.jscnma.com/Events   [top] 7.            NASA Night at the Paint Pub Let your inner-artist shine with NASA Night at the Paint Pub! Get ready to paint, drink and be merry as an artist is provided to guide you and the group to create your own piece of art.   Each artist will paint a specially designed NASA-themed portrait and get to take their masterpiece home!   No experience necessary, and all art supplies will be provided. Refreshments will be available for purchase for your enjoyment.   Sept. 19 at 6:30 p.m. $35/person. Reserve your spot: 281-333-2200 or http://www.thepaintpub.com   http://starport.jsc.nasa.gov/Events/   Shelly Haralson x39168 http://starport.jsc.nasa.gov/   [top] 8.            Nutrition Tour Next Week Dining Out with the Dietitian: Are you are making the best choices when dining out? With hectic schedules, many of us find ourselves visiting restaurants for meals. Regardless of why we dine out, we often wonder which menu items will fit into a healthy lifestyle. Join the JSC registered dietitian at a local restaurant to learn how to make sensible choices when dining out. Family members are welcome to attend but need to be registered to attend the class.   You can sign up for this class and other upcoming Nutrition classes online at: http://www.explorationwellness.com/WellnessCSS/CourseCatalogSelection/   If you're working on improving your approach to healthy nutrition but can't attend a class, we offer free one-on-one consultations with Glenda Blaskey, the JSC registered dietitian.   Glenda Blaskey x41503 http://www.explorationwellness.com/Web/scripts/Nutrition.aspx   [top] 9.            All About E-books at the JSC Library The JSC Library will have an e-books training webinar on Wed., Sept. 19, from 9 to 10 a.m. Christa George will show users how to search e-book collections such as Knovel, EngNetBase and ASM Handbook and the Wiley Online Library. To register for the WebEx, go to the link below, then click on the Classroom/WebEx schedule. http://library.jsc.nasa.gov/training/default.aspx   Provided by the Information Resources Directorate http://ird.jsc.nasa.gov/default.aspx   Ebony Fondren x32490 http://library.jsc.nasa.gov   [top] 10.          Communications Satellites: An Introduction The program for the September IEEE Galveston Bay Section meeting will introduce the concept of communications satellites. Details of communication satellites support subsystems and their components will be described. The presenter, Dr. Zafar Taqvi, worked for 41 years on the Apollo, Space Shuttle and International Space Station (ISS) mainly on Communication and Tracking subsystems. Taqvi also taught at the University of Houston as an adjunct professor. He is professionally active in IEEE, ISA and AIAA, holding local and national positions.   The presentation will start at noon and finish by 1 p.m. on Sept. in the Discovery Room of the Gilruth Center. We will offer lunch at 11:30 a.m. for $8 for the first 10 requestors; there is no charge for the presentation. Please RSVP to Stew O'Dell at stewart.odell@ieee.org and specify whether you are ordering lunch. Lunch is free for unemployed IEEE members; advise when reserving.   Stew O'Dell x31855   [top] 11.          Job Opportunities Where do I find job opportunities? Both internal Competitive Placement Plan (CPPs) and external JSC job announcements are posted on both the HR Portal and USAJOBS(http://www usajobs.gov) website. Through the HR portal, civil servants can view summaries of all the agency jobs that are currently open at https://hr.nasa.gov/portal/server.pt/community/employees_home/239/job_opportu...   To help you navigate to JSC vacancies, use the filter drop down menu, and select JSC HR. The "Jobs link", will direct you to the USAJOBS website for the complete announcement and the ability to apply online. If you have questions about any JSC job vacancies, please call your Human Resources representative.   Lisa Pesak x30476   [top]   ________________________________________ JSC Today is compiled periodically as a service to JSC employees on an as-submitted basis. Any JSC organization or employee may submit articles. To see an archive of previous JSC Today announcements, go to http://www6.jsc.nasa.gov/pao/news/jsctoday/archives.       FERRY FLIGHT UPDATE: The next weather briefing to managers occurs at 10 am Central (11 EDT) today and managers will determine if weather will cooperate to begin Endeavour’s cross-country flight to California Tuesday. You’ll get an email with the outcome.   NASA TV: ·                     9:30 am Central (10:30 EDT) - Video File of Exp 32 Kazakhstan welcoming ceremony; Joe Acaba interview; return of Gennady Padalka & Sergei Revin to Chkalovsky Airfield ·                     5:45 am Central TUESDAY (6:45 EDT) - SCA/Endeavour departure from KSC coverage ·                     ~6:15 am Central TUESDAY (7:15 EDT) - SCA/Endeavour departs KSC for Ellington Field ·                     ~10 am Central TUESDAY (11 EDT) - Coverage of SCA/Endeavour Ellington flyover/landing   Human Spaceflight News Monday – September 17, 2012 NASA’s Carla Cioffi captured this beautiful shot of Soyuz TMA-04M, which landed Monday night   HEADLINES AND LEADS   Soyuz TMA-04M lands in Kazakhstan   William Harwood - CBS News   Two Russian cosmonauts and a NASA flight engineer bid their three space station crewmates farewell Sunday, strapped into their Soyuz ferry craft, undocked from the lab complex and fell back to Earth, making a pinpoint landing in Kazakhstan to close out a 125-day voyage. Descending through a clear blue sky under a large orange-and-white parachute, the charred Soyuz TMA-04M descent module settled to a rocket-assisted touchdown near the town of Arkalyk at 10:53 p.m. EDT (GMT-4; 8:53 a.m. Monday local time). The final stages of the descent were carried live on television relayed through the Russian mission control center and NASA's satellite network, showing the last-second firing of the crew's braking rockets and billowing clouds of dust and smoke as the module touched down and the parachute collapsed.   ISS crew returns to Earth Soyuz lands trio after 125 days   Todd Halvorson - Florida Today   U.S. astronaut Joe Acaba and two Russian crewmates are back on Earth today after a landing that capped a 125-day expedition to the International Space Station. Flying in a Russian Soyuz spacecraft, Acaba and cosmonauts Gennady Padalka and Sergei Revin touched down in Kazakhstan at 10:53 p.m. EDT. Still on the station: Cosmonaut Yuri Malenchenko, Japanese astronaut Akihiro Hoshide and U.S. astronaut Sunita “Suni” Williams, now serving as the second female commander of the outpost.   US, Russian space trio lands in Kazakhstan   Peter Leonard - Associated Press   An international three-man crew onboard a Russian-made Soyuz capsule touched down successfully on the cloudless central Kazakhstan steppe Monday morning after 123 days at the International Space Station. A fleet of Russian Mi-8 helicopters deployed from towns near the landing site ahead of the capsule's arrival early Monday morning to ensure swift interception. NASA's Joe Acaba and Russian colleagues Gennady Padalka and Sergei Revin undocked from the orbiting laboratory somewhere over Nairobi, Kenya, some 3 1/2 hours before touchdown. The Soyuz craft remains the only means for international astronauts to reach the space station since the decommissioning of the U.S. Shuttle fleet in 2011.   U.S.-Russian space crew lands safely in Kazakhstan   Nastassia Astrasheuskaya - Reuters   A Russian Soyuz capsule landed on the Kazakh steppe on Monday, delivering a trio of astronauts from a four-month stint on the International Space Station. The capsule, carrying U.S. astronaut Joseph Acaba and Russian cosmonauts Gennady Padalka and Sergei Revin, parachuted through a blue sky and touched down in a cloud of dust as its soft landing engines ignited at 8:53 local time (0253 GMT). "Bull's eye landing," a NASA TV commentator said as the capsule lay on its side in the Kazakh steppe circled overhead by approaching search-and-recovery helicopters.   Touchdown! Soyuz Spacecraft Lands Safely with Russian-US Crew   Mike Wall - Space.com   A Soyuz spacecraft carrying two Russian cosmonauts and an American spaceflyer has landed safely back on Earth, wrapping up a four-month mission to the International Space Station. A Soyuz space capsule carrying Russian cosmonauts Gennady Padalka, Sergei Revin and NASA astronaut Joe Acaba landed on the Central Asian steppes of Kazakhstan at 10:53 p.m. EDT Sunday, where the local time was early Monday morning.   Space Station 'nauts touch down on Kazakh steppe Sparky spacemen trio return after power supply job done   Brid-Aine Parnell - The Register (UK)   Three International Space Station crew have made it safely back home, landing early this morning in Kazakhstan in the Soyuz TMA-04M. Cosmonauts commander Gennady Padalka, flight engineer Sergei Revin and NASA astronaut and flight engineer Joe Acaba touched down just before am BST (8:53 local time), after decoupling from the International Space Station's Poisk module five hours earlier.   Boeing completes spacecraft milestone   Florida Today   The Boeing Co. completed its first performance milestone last month for NASA’s Commercial Crew Integrated Capability initiative, which will lay the groundwork for human spaceflight. Boeing presented designs for its CST-100 spacecraft, United Launch Alliance’s Atlas V rocket launch system, and ground and mission operations. The company set out plans for safety and mission assurance, which will help certify the system for human spaceflight.   Sequestration would come at 'great cost' to NASA   Stephen Clark - SpaceflightNow.com   NASA stands to lose nearly $1.5 billion in 2013 unless Congress acts to reduce budget deficits by the end of the year, and the outlook is even worse for U.S. military space programs, according to a report released on Friday by the White House. The report was ordered by Congress to detail the Obama administration's plans for sequestration, automatic across-the-board budget cuts due to take effect Jan. 2. The White House and Congress agreed on the sequestration plan in 2011 as part of a compromise to raise the federal government's debt limit. Sequestration was meant to be a "poison pill" to compel leaders in both parties to reach an agreement to reign in the budget deficit.   100 Year Starship Symposium – a Disappointing First Day The First Day of a Symposium to Create an Interstellar Civilization   Charles Phillips - Yahoo News (Commentary)   As I reported yesterday, a unique symposium is being held this weekend in Houston. The symposium is the second in a series that was started by the NASA Ames Research Center and the Defense Advanced Research Project Agency. The original goals of the 100 Year Starship effort were to set up the conditions so that people could travel to another star within 100 years. To do that, a series of intermediate goals were established, such as landing a person on Mars within 10 years. Interestingly, in the goals there was no mention of landing people on the Moon, an asteroid, or other objects in our solar system.   ENDEAVOUR FERRY FLIGHT NEWS   Shuttle ferry flight delayed due to weather   Houston Chronicle   NASA says space shuttle Endeavour and the Shuttle Carrier Aircraft are ready to go, but the weather is not. The cold front approaching Houston is not expected to clear Houston in time for a safe arrival Monday at Ellington, the space agency has decided during a flight readiness review on Sunday. NASA has, accordingly, decided to delay the start of the ferry at least one day and provide a briefing on the weather again at 10 am CT on Tuesday. So the plan now shifts at least one day — with a Houston/Ellington stopover on Tuesday provided the weather is good, including one night now on the ground at Ellington Field, with departure for California near sunrise Wednesday. (NO FURTHER TEXT)   Endeavour's departure moved to Tuesday   David Breen - Orlando Sentinel   Space shuttle Endeavour, which had been slated to take off Monday en route to its permanent home in Los Angeles, will stay in Central Florida for at least one more day. The shuttle's departure from Kennedy Space Center was delayed by a forecast of bad weather in Texas. Endeavour, piggybacked atop a 747, was to land at Ellington Field near Johnson Space Center later Monday. According to NASA, the shuttle will now take off no earlier than Tuesday en route to Texas, then California. The revised schedule has the shuttle arriving at about midday Thursday at Los Angeles International Airport. The craft will go on display at the California Science Center in October. (NO FURTHER TEXT)   NASA keeps Endeavour in Brevard one more day   Florida Today   Endeavour is ours for one more day. The forecast of bad weather along the route Endeavour and its ferry flight will take west from the Space Coast caused NASA to postpone the flight 24 hours. Now, weather permitting, the piggybacking duo is set to take off at sunrise Tuesday on the first leg of the trip to California, where the baby of NASA's shuttle fleet will spend her retirement. The plan is still to get Endeavour to Los Angeles International Airport by Thursday.   Space shuttle Endeavour delayed by bad weather   Los Angeles Times   One leg of the space shuttle Endeavour's final journey has been delayed because of bad weather, but the craft will still arrive in Los Angeles on schedule Thursday, NASA announced Sunday. Endeavour was to travel from NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Orlando, Fla., to Houston on Monday but the flight was pushed back one day because of stormy conditions. Despite the delay, the shuttle — mounted on a Boeing 747 aircraft — will still do low-level flyovers in Florida, Texas, New Mexico and Northern and Southern California before touching down in Los Angeles.   Shuttle Endeavour embarking on new mission to Los Angeles museum   Irene Klotz - Reuters   The space shuttle Endeavour, built to replace NASA's lost ship Challenger, prepared for a final flight th is week, heading not into orbit but west to a Los Angeles museum. Riding piggyback on top of a specially modified 747 jet, Endeavour will be the second of NASA's three surviving shuttles to leave the Kennedy Space Center and begin new roles as space ambassadors. "We finally get to really show her off," NASA astronaut Kay Hire, who flew aboard Endeavour in 2010, told reporters on Sunday on the shuttle's runway. "I t's a great vehicle, but it was designed in the '70s. We've modified it along the way and it's certainly served us well, but it is time to move on."   Space Shuttle Endeavour's Final Flight to Calif. Delayed by Weather   Robert Pearlman - collectSPACE.com   Space shuttle Endeavour's trip to California has been delayed by a weather front in its way. NASA on Sunday postponed Endeavour's final liftoff from Florida, planned for Monday morning, just a few hours after rolling out the shuttle atop its modified Boeing 747 Shuttle Carrier Aircraft (SCA) to be ready for the flight. Endeavour is being flown to Los Angeles, where it is going on display at the California Science Center (CSC).   And, don’t forget… CONSTITUTION DAY     225 years ago today on Sept. 17, 1787, the delegates to the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia completed work on the Constitution of the United States. In so doing, they ensured the survival of the bold promise of freedom made 11 years earlier by the Declaration of Independence. Although the fulfillment of that promise required 27 amendments to the Constitution, as well as a Civil War, the basic principles enunciated during that extraordinary gathering proved to be the lasting foundation of a democratic government that, in Thomas Jefferson's immortal words, "derives its just powers from the consent of the governed." __________   COMPLETE STORIES   Soyuz TMA-04M lands in Kazakhstan   William Harwood - CBS News   Two Russian cosmonauts and a NASA flight engineer bid their three space station crewmates farewell Sunday, strapped into their Soyuz ferry craft, undocked from the lab complex and fell back to Earth, making a pinpoint landing in Kazakhstan to close out a 125-day voyage.   Descending through a clear blue sky under a large orange-and-white parachute, the charred Soyuz TMA-04M descent module settled to a rocket-assisted touchdown near the town of Arkalyk at 10:53 p.m. EDT (GMT-4; 8:53 a.m. Monday local time).   The final stages of the descent were carried live on television relayed through the Russian mission control center and NASA's satellite network, showing the last-second firing of the crew's braking rockets and billowing clouds of dust and smoke as the module touched down and the parachute collapsed.   Russian recovery teams deployed near the landing site quickly rushed in, reporting the descent module had tipped over on its side, a relatively common occurrence.   They quickly got to work opening the main hatch to help Soyuz commander Gennady Padalka, flight engineer Sergei Revin and Joseph Acaba out of the cramped module after four months in the weightlessness of space. Padalka, the first out, looked relaxed and in good spirits as he rested in a recliner and enjoyed a cup of tea. U.S. flight surgeons were on hand to provide initial medical checks before a two-hour helicopter flight to Kustanai.   At that point, the crew planned to split up, with Padalka and Revin flying back to the Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Center in Star City near Moscow while Acaba flies back to the Johnson Space Center in Houston aboard a NASA jet.   Touchdown on the steppe of Kazakhstan marked the conclusion of a 53-million-mile 2,000-orbit voyage that began with liftoff from the Baikonur Cosmodrome on May 15.   It also moved Padalka up to No. 4 on the list of most experienced space fliers, with 711 days in orbit over four space flights. Acaba has now logged 138 days aloft during two missions while Revin's mark will stand at 125 days for his first flight.   The trio bid their three Expedition 32 crewmates farewell Sunday afternoon, moving back aboard the Soyuz TMA-04M spacecraft that carried them into orbit last May. They undocked from the Poisk compartment attached to the station's Zvezda command module at 7:09 p.m. as the two spacecraft sailed 250 miles above Kenya.   After moving about seven-and-a-half miles away from the space station, Padalka monitored a four-minute 16-second deorbit rocket firing starting at 9:56:18 p.m., slowing the ship by about 258 mph to begin the long fall back to Earth.   At 10:40 p.m., the spacecraft plunged back into the discernible atmosphere at an altitude of 63 miles. Just before atmospheric "entry interface," the three modules making up the TMA-04M spacecraft separated and the central crew module, the only one equipped with a heat shield, continued the descent.   After enduring the hellish heat of atmospheric friction, the Soyuz descent module deployed its braking parachute around 10:38 p.m., at an altitude of about 6.6 miles. Recovery crews quickly spotted the spacecraft and Padalka radioed that all three crew members were in good shape.   Acaba, a former high school teacher and shuttle veteran, operated a battery of laboratory experiments during his stay in space, performed maintenance as required and operated the lab's robot arm during two dramatic spacewalks by Williams and Hoshide to replace a faulty power switching unit.   "We're at times glorified maintenance personnel," he said in a pre-flight interview. "It's just like living in your house. On a Saturday, you know, you got to fix the plumbing, you've gotta, you know, cut your yard, things break down, and the space station is very complex and takes a lot of our time to maintain it.   "If you look at the amount of time we spend on science, there's a goal of about an average of 35 hours per week between the three (U.S.-sponsored) crew members. When I first heard that number, well, it seems like a pretty small number, but if you look at other extreme environments where people are studying and living, we're right on par if not higher, because it takes a lot of effort to maintain this very complex laboratory-home up in space."   That responsibility now falls to Expedition 33 commander Sunita Williams, veteran cosmonaut Yuri Malenchenko and Japanese astronaut Akihiko Hoshide, who were launched to the space station aboard the Soyuz TMA-05M spacecraft July 15.   They will have the sprawling lab complex to themselves until Oct. 17 when three fresh crew members -- Soyuz TMA-06M commander Oleg Novitskiy, Evengy Tarelkin and Kevin Ford arrive two days after launch from Baikoniur.   In a change-of-command ceremony Saturday, Padalka formally turned over command to Williams, a veteran astronaut and military helicopter pilot making her second long-duration stay aboard the station.   "I would like to express my (gratitude) to my crewmates for keeping (a) great psychological climate on the crew, sharing everything between us, we got along very well," Padalka, speaking English, said during the change-of-command ceremony. "It's time for tradition, 32 crew to hand over command to the new crew commander, Sunita Williams."   "Thank you Gennady, and thank you everybody," Williams replied. "Just like Gennady said, I want to thank everybody on the ground for preparing us, but most of all for the last two months I'd like to thank our (Expedition) 32 crewmates here who have taught us how to live and work in space and, of course, to have a lot of fun."   Speaking to Padalka, she said "you pay more attention to the people that work with you and for you than than the people you work for. And that's universal leadership."   "I appreciate all the lessons learned and again, all the great humor that we've had up here," Williams said. "It's been a lot of fun and that's mostly because of you and your crew. We hope as our crew, Aki, Yuri and myself, to maintain that and pass that on to Kevin and Oleg and Evgeny when they get here. So thank you."   ISS crew returns to Earth Soyuz lands trio after 125 days   Todd Halvorson - Florida Today   U.S. astronaut Joe Acaba and two Russian crewmates are back on Earth today after a landing that capped a 125-day expedition to the International Space Station.   Flying in a Russian Soyuz spacecraft, Acaba and cosmonauts Gennady Padalka and Sergei Revin touched down in Kazakhstan at 10:53 p.m. EDT.   Still on the station: Cosmonaut Yuri Malenchenko, Japanese astronaut Akihiro Hoshide and U.S. astronaut Sunita “Suni” Williams, now serving as the second female commander of the outpost.   Padalka, the only three-time ISS skipper, turned command over to Williams during the weekend.   Williams thanked Padalka and his crewmates, saying they “taught us how to live and work in space, and of course, to have a lot of fun up in space.”   Acaba, an educator-astronaut, taught science at Melbourne High in 1999 and 2000. He flew aboard Discovery in 2009.   His total tally now: 138 days in space.   Padalka has tallied 711 days in space — fourth on the all-time list. Cosmonaut Sergei Krikalev holds the world record: 803 days.   US, Russian space trio lands in Kazakhstan   Peter Leonard - Associated Press   An international three-man crew onboard a Russian-made Soyuz capsule touched down successfully on the cloudless central Kazakhstan steppe Monday morning after 123 days at the International Space Station.   A fleet of Russian Mi-8 helicopters deployed from towns near the landing site ahead of the capsule's arrival early Monday morning to ensure swift interception.   NASA's Joe Acaba and Russian colleagues Gennady Padalka and Sergei Revin undocked from the orbiting laboratory somewhere over Nairobi, Kenya, some 3 1/2 hours before touchdown. The Soyuz craft remains the only means for international astronauts to reach the space station since the decommissioning of the U.S. Shuttle fleet in 2011.   The size of the three-person complement currently at the space station will be doubled when they are joined next month by U.S. astronaut Kevin Ford and Russians Oleg Novitsky and Yevgeny Tarelkin.   NASA's Sunita Williams took over command at the station Saturday from Padalka, becoming the second woman in history to do so. Williams, veteran Russian cosmonaut Yuri Malenchenko and Aki Hoshide of Japan are due to return to Earth in the middle of November.   Padalka, who piloted the Soyuz craft back to Earth, was the first to be pulled out of the capsule, which rolled onto its side after coming down softly in the flat Kazakh countryside some 85 kilometers (50 miles) north of the town of Arkalyk.   Upon their return, astronauts are typically lifted onto reclining chairs to ensure comfortable acclimatization after months of living in gravity-free conditions.   Looking relaxed and smiling broadly while sipping a mug of tea and basking in the mild sunny conditions, Padalka waved at cameras that descended on the site soon almost immediately after landing.   "We honestly could not have asked for better weather out here today. The temperature's really good (and) the crew is obviously enjoying this weather," NASA spokesman Josh Byerly said in an online link-up from the landing site. "I have never seen the amount of clarity we had today."   With this mission complete, Padalka becomes the fourth most seasoned space traveler, having spent 711 days in space over four missions.   "I feel great," Padalka told attending recovery staff, before thanking colleagues for their assistance in his mission.   Acaba, who followed Revin out of the prone Soyuz capsule, gave the thumbs up sign as he was being lifted to his reclining chair and said: "It's good to be home."   In an uncustomary gesture, the astronauts signed their names on the capsule, which is due to be displayed at the Tsiolkovsky Museum in the town of Kaluga, southwest of Moscow.   The precision of the landing enabled a Russian recovery crew in all-terrain vehicles to reach the capsule within seconds of touchdown. Astronauts were given immediate medical attention and then shortly afterward transported by helicopter to a forward base in the Kazakh city of Kostanai, from where they were to begin their trip home.   Russia has suffered a series of blows to its space prestige in recent months with a string of failed launches, provoking some anxiety about what some observers believe to be excess U.S. reliance on the Soyuz program.   In August, a Russian booster rocket failed to place two communications satellites into target orbits, stranding the Russian Express MD-2 and Indonesia's Telkom-3 satellites in a low orbit where they could not be recovered.   A Russian robotic probe designed to study a moon of Mars got stranded in Earth's orbit after its launch in November and eventually came crashing down in January.   A few months before, a Soyuz booster rocket similar to those ferrying crews and cargo to the International Space Station failed, prompting officials to consider leaving the space outpost unmanned.   U.S.-Russian space crew lands safely in Kazakhstan   Nastassia Astrasheuskaya - Reuters   A Russian Soyuz capsule landed on the Kazakh steppe on Monday, delivering a trio of astronauts from a four-month stint on the International Space Station.   The capsule, carrying U.S. astronaut Joseph Acaba and Russian cosmonauts Gennady Padalka and Sergei Revin, parachuted through a blue sky and touched down in a cloud of dust as its soft landing engines ignited at 8:53 local time (0253 GMT).   "Bull's eye landing," a NASA TV commentator said as the capsule lay on its side in the Kazakh steppe circled overhead by approaching search-and-recovery helicopters.   Veteran mission commander Padalka, who has logged 711 days in orbit to make him the world's fourth most experienced astronaut, was the first out of the cramped descent capsule.   "I feel great," said Padalka, wrapped in a blue blanket, sipping hot tea and smiling, enjoying the balmy steppe air under the early morning sunlight as medical personnel wiped sweat from his brow.   "This was my fourth flight, and so it is nothing of the extraordinary already," he said, looking relaxed.   During his stay at the orbital station, Padalka conducted a six-hour spacewalk on Aug. 20 to relocate a crane, launch a small science satellite and install micrometeoroid shields on the space station's Zvezda command module.   He and fellow crew members Acaba and Revin were carried over to autograph the Soyuz, scorched black by re-entry, to be displayed in a Russian provincial museum.   The crew returned after spending 123 days in orbit aboard the International Space Station, a $100 billion research complex involving 15 countries and orbiting 240 miles (385 km) above Earth.   The mission was shorter than the usual six months after launch delays in order to ready a new spaceship to replace the initial Soyuz craft, which was cracked during pressure tests.   Moscow hopes Monday's smooth landing will help to ease concerns over relying solely on Russia to service the ISS following a string of recent mishaps in its space programme.   "Everything is to cheer today," Russian space agency chief Vladimir Popovkin told reporters at Mission Control in Moscow.   "Padalka, Revin and Acaba are feeling well, and they will all go home today."   Three other International Space Station crew members - veteran Russian cosmonaut Yuri Malenchenko, NASA astronaut Sunita Williams and Japanese astronaut Akihiko Hoshide - remain in orbit.   They are scheduled to be joined by another trio - Kevin Ford, Oleg Novitsky and Yevgeny Tarelkin - due to blast off from the Baikonur cosmodrome in Kazakhstan next month.   That mission was scheduled to launch on October 15 but will be delayed by about a week due to a technical glitch with equipment aboard the Soyuz, Popovkin said.   "We've had a worry over one of the devices. We decided to change it, test it again and so the launch has been put off by one week," Popovkin said.   The Soviet Union put the first satellite and the first man in space, but Russia's space programme has suffered a series of humiliating set-backs in recent months that industry veterans blame on a decade of crimped budgets and a brain drain.   While none of the mishaps have threatened crews, they have raised worries over Russia's reliability, cost billions in satellite losses and dashed Moscow's dreams to end a more than two-decade absence from deep-space exploration.   Since the retirement of the U.S. space shuttles last year, the United States is dependent on Russia to fly astronauts at a costs to the nation of $60 million per person.   U.S., Russian ISS Crew Descends Safely to Earth   Mark Carreau - Aviation Week   Russia's 30 Soyuz mission spacecraft departed the International Space Station late Sunday,  descending safely to Earth in Kazakhstan with three U.S. and Russia crew members.   The descent of the TMA-03M capsule under parachute ended a 125-day mission for NASA's Joe Acaba and  Gennady Padalka and Sergei Revin, of the Russian federal space agency Roscosmos, while bringing a a conclusion to the 32nd ISS Expedition.   Command of the ISS transitioned from Padalka to U. S. astronaut Sunita Williams, with the departure of the Soyuz capsule from the station's Russian segment Poisk module at 7:09 p.m., EDT.  Williams, a U. S. Navy Captain, becomes the second woman to assume command of the orbiting science laboratory.   In 2007, she established the current record of 195 days in space for a woman during her first space station assignment. Padalka departed after an unprecedented third command of the ISS.   Padalka, Acaba and Revin touched down aboard the Soyuz TMA-03M spacecraft north of Arkalyk in Kazakstan at 10:53 p.m., EDT, or 8:53 a.m., local time.   Williams remains aboard the station for the start of Expedition 33 with flight engineers Yuri Malenchenko, of Russia, and Akihiko Hoshide, of Japan.  They're scheduled to be joined by U. S. astronaut Kevin Ford and cosmomauts Oleg Novitskiy and Evgeny Tarelkin on Oct. 17, or two days after they lift off from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan in the 32 mission Soyuz spacecraft.   The returning station crew's tour of duty was was marked by the first U.S. commercial re-supply mission,  carried out by the SpaceX Dragon in May,  and the August spacewalks by Padalka and Malenchenko and Williams and Hoshide. The Russian outing readied the station for the eventual arrival of Russia's Nauka multi-purpose science module.   The station crew also participated in,  or oversaw, more than 100 multi-national science experiments and engineering demonstrations.   Acaba, Padalka and Revin were greeted quickly after their landing by helicopter born Russian recovery forces and NASA medical personnel and managers.   They were to fly by Russian helicopter from the landing site to Kostanay. There, they were to split after resting and further medical checks.   Acaba was to board a NASA jet bound for Houston, Tex., and NASA's Johnson Space Center. Padalka and Revin were to fly to  to Star City, Russia, aboard a second transport.   Touchdown! Soyuz Spacecraft Lands Safely with Russian-US Crew   Mike Wall - Space.com   A Soyuz spacecraft carrying two Russian cosmonauts and an American spaceflyer has landed safely back on Earth, wrapping up a four-month mission to the International Space Station.   A Soyuz space capsule carrying Russian cosmonauts Gennady Padalka, Sergei Revin and NASA astronaut Joe Acaba landed on the Central Asian steppes of Kazakhstan at 10:53 p.m. EDT Sunday, where the local time was early Monday morning.   NASA spokesman Rob Navias of the Johnson Space Center called the touchdown a "bull's-eye landing." The Soyuz TMA-04M spacecraft landed under a clear blue sky and touched down in a wheat field, with Russian recovery crews swiftly extracting the three spaceflyers from the capsule   A mission to remember   Now that they're back on terra firma, Acaba, Padalka and Revin may begin to reflect on a spaceflight experience filled with memorable and dramatic moments. Their 125-day spaceflight began in mid-May and included three spacewalks and several robotic cargo ship arrivals.   The drama started before they even left the ground. The three spaceflyers were originally slated to blast off in March, but a pressure test incident cracked their first Soyuz capsule, causing a six-week delay while another spacecraft was readied.   The trio finally launched on May 14 and arrived at the $100 billion orbiting lab May 17. Just eight days later, SpaceX's robotic Dragon capsule docked with the station on a historic demonstration mission, becoming the first private vehicle ever to do so.   Dragon is likely to make the first of 12 contracted cargo runs to the orbital outpost for NASA next month, space agency officials have said.   Toward the end of the three astronauts' stay, on Sept. 5, crewmates Sunita Williams and Akihiko Hoshide performed an extra spacewalk — the third for the mission — to replace a vital power unit on the station's backbone-like truss. Using improvised tools such as spare parts and a toothbrush, Williams and Hoshide defeated a stuck bolt that had delayed the fix a week earlier.   "Looks like you guys just fixed the station," astronaut Jack Fischer told the station crew that day from Mission Control at NASA's Johnson Space Center in Houston. "It's been like living on the set of Apollo 13 the past few days. NASA does impossible pretty darn well, so congratulations to the whole team."   New station crew takes charge   The departure of Acaba, Padalka and Revin brought the 430-ton orbiting complex's Expedition 32 to an end. Padalka commanded the expedition, while Acaba and Revin served as flight engineers.   Williams is now in charge of the new Expedition 33. She, Hoshide and cosmonaut Yuri Malenchenko will have the station to themselves until mid-October, when three more astronauts will float through the hatch and bring the expedition up to its full complement of six crewmembers.   Tonight's landing wrapped up the first-ever spaceflight for Revin and the second for Acaba, who visited the station during the space shuttle Discovery's 13-day STS-119 mission in 2009.   Padalka, on the other hand, is a veteran of several long-duration space station stays. He commanded the orbiting lab's Expedition 9 in 2004 and its Expedition 19 in 2009. Padalka also logged 198 days in orbit as commander of Expedition 26 aboard Russia's Mir space station from August 1998 to February 1999.   With the Expedition 32 mission now complete, Padalka has a total of more than 700 days in space, placing him fourth on the list of people who have spent the most time in space.   Space Station 'nauts touch down on Kazakh steppe Sparky spacemen trio return after power supply job done   Brid-Aine Parnell - The Register (UK)   Three International Space Station crew have made it safely back home, landing early this morning in Kazakhstan in the Soyuz TMA-04M.   Cosmonauts commander Gennady Padalka, flight engineer Sergei Revin and NASA astronaut and flight engineer Joe Acaba touched down just before am BST (8:53 local time), after decoupling from the International Space Station's Poisk module five hours earlier.   The 'nauts spent 123 days aboard the station to finish Expedition 32, which featured multiple spacewalks to prep the Pirs module for its replacement and attach a new power-switching unit.   Flicking that switch proved to be harder than the expedition expected when a bolt kept sticking, forcing the crew to take a second run at it.   Japanese 'naut Akihiko Hoshide and NASA 'naut Sunita Williams took those two walks, before lining up to take control of the station and move into Expedition 33 after the Soyuz left.   Williams takes over as commander, while flight engineers Hoshide and Yuri Malenchenko make up the rest of the crew until 12 November.   The station will get a bit more crowded up when flight engineers Kevin Ford, Oleg Novitskiy and Evgeny Tarelkin launch on 15 October for a rendezvous with the ISS on 17 October.   Boeing completes spacecraft milestone   Florida Today   The Boeing Co. completed its first performance milestone last month for NASA’s Commercial Crew Integrated Capability initiative, which will lay the groundwork for human spaceflight.   Boeing presented designs for its CST-100 spacecraft, United Launch Alliance’s Atlas V rocket launch system, and ground and mission operations. The company set out plans for safety and mission assurance, which will help certify the system for human spaceflight.   Technical experts from NASA’s Commercial Crew Program completed the review in Houston. They are providing comments and advice based on more than 50 years of human spaceflight experience. Boeing also presented results from numerous tests, which included parachute and air bag drops, abort engine firings and wind tunnel tests.   This will set the stage for a crewed orbital demonstration mission near the middle of the decade. The overall goal of NASA’s commercial space effort is to make low Earth orbit accessible for government and commercial customers.   Sequestration would come at 'great cost' to NASA   Stephen Clark - SpaceflightNow.com   NASA stands to lose nearly $1.5 billion in 2013 unless Congress acts to reduce budget deficits by the end of the year, and the outlook is even worse for U.S. military space programs, according to a report released on Friday by the White House.   The report was ordered by Congress to detail the Obama administration's plans for sequestration, automatic across-the-board budget cuts due to take effect Jan. 2.   The White House and Congress agreed on the sequestration plan in 2011 as part of a compromise to raise the federal government's debt limit. Sequestration was meant to be a "poison pill" to compel leaders in both parties to reach an agreement to reign in the budget deficit.   But the White House and Congress have not come up with a plan for deficit reduction. House Republicans demand a budget using only spending cuts to put a dent in the deficit, while President Obama and Senate Democrats favor a blueprint with tax increases and funding markdowns.   Congress must present a spending plan with targeted cuts by the end of the year, or the sequestration scenario will become a reality.   Proposals from the White House and House Republicans have, so far, collected no support from the other side.   Under the sequestration plan released by the White House's Office of Management and Budget, military programs would see a 9.4 percent budget cut next year. Like other non-defense agencies, NASA would be hit with a 8.2 percent reduction, equivalent to nearly $1.5 billion less than its fiscal 2013 budget request of $17.7 billion.   "While we hope for the best, we certainly are planning in case the worst happens, and it will come at a great cost to the space program," said NASA Deputy Administrator Lori Garver.   NASA's space operations budget line, which funds the International Space Station, would be cut by $346 million. Exploration programs, including the Orion capsule, the Space Launch System, and commercial crew development, would be trimmed by $309 million.   The sequestration would net $417 million in savings from NASA's science budget. The space agency's science directorate contains funding for climate research satellites and solar system exploration projects to the moon, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Mercury, Pluto, and asteroids.   NASA's space technology and aeronautics lines would each receive reductions of $47 million.   The agency's cross-agency support costs, which cover overhead and center operations, would be exempt from sequestration.   "In an organization like NASA, it doesn't take much to recognize that our very high institutional and overhead costs mean that those things that would be cut ... would be the meat - the programs," Garver said Tuesday at the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics Space 2012 conference in Pasadena, Calif.   NOAA's satellite budget would be slashed of $149 million meant for the next-generation GOES-R weather observatories and polar-orbiting spacecraft.   The Air Force's missile procurement account, which contains military communications, early warning, and navigation satellites, would be cut 9.4 percent next year, or about a $668 million reduction from the service's expected budget.   "The report leaves no question that the sequestration would be deeply destructive to national security, domestic investments, and core government functions," the White House report said.   "The sequestration itself was never intended to be implemented," the White House report said. "The administration strongly believes that sequestration is bad policy, and that Congress can and should take action to avoid it by passing a comprehensive and balanced deficit reduction package."   A joint "super committee" - with membership from both parties in both houses of Congress - failed to agree on a deficit reduction plan last fall.   100 Year Starship Symposium – a Disappointing First Day The First Day of a Symposium to Create an Interstellar Civilization   Charles Phillips - Yahoo News (Commentary)   As I reported yesterday, a unique symposium is being held this weekend in Houston. The symposium is the second in a series that was started by the NASA Ames Research Center and the Defense Advanced Research Project Agency. The original goals of the 100 Year Starship effort were to set up the conditions so that people could travel to another star within 100 years. To do that, a series of intermediate goals were established, such as landing a person on Mars within 10 years. Interestingly, in the goals there was no mention of landing people on the Moon, an asteroid, or other objects in our solar system.   The Symposium consists of several "tracks," a number of Workshops, some classes, and other events such as the Plenary Sessions. I was able to participate in some Workshops and the Plenary Session today. The tracks are titled "Time-Distance Solutions," "Becoming an Interstellar Civilization," "Destinations and Habitats" and several others. They intend to divide the task into manageable parts and allow people to bring their expertise to contribute to the project, even if they did not bring a scientific background to the effort. According to Space News, there are many people attending that span the spectrum from entertainers to serious scientists.   In addition, there were many displays that you could see at any observatory or planetarium.   Sadly, this symposium often seemed to consist of unfocussed discussions by people with little expertise. In a workshop on "Researching Priorities in the first 100 Years" there was a guy who was convinced that the solution was a hydrogen-powered economy (with no idea of where to get hydrogen or how to distribute it) rubbing elbows with Ph.D.s who were talking about how to involve commercial companies.   One group that was strangely absent was the new commercial spaceflight companies. While government-funded efforts are stuck presenting symposiums, private efforts such as SpaceX and Orbital Sciences are flying the spaceships of tomorrow. In a session that I worked in, a group considered the potential contribution of commercial companies and discounted it. This seemed in contrast to the apparent progress by commercial companies over the last few years such as Virgin Galactic, which has tested Spaceship Two.   There has apparently been little progress towards the original goals, since no one was talking about putting people on Mars at all. There was a person who spoke of his design for a nuclear-powered starship but in his explanation it was obvious that he did not understand the difference between fusion and fission. They did have papers such as "Human Exploration Issues for the 100 Year Starship" by a person who was running his project out of his apartment.   This was an extremely fun symposium and it is cool to mingle with Hollywood stars and hear presentations such as "Spacecraft Propulsion Via Chiral Fermion Pair Production from Parallel Electric and Magnetic Fields," but it seemed that many of the participants sat their with their eyes glazed over.   ENDEAVOUR FERRY FLIGHT NEWS   NASA keeps Endeavour in Brevard one more day   Florida Today   Endeavour is ours for one more day.   The forecast of bad weather along the route Endeavour and its ferry flight will take west from the Space Coast caused NASA to postpone the flight 24 hours.   Now, weather permitting, the piggybacking duo is set to take off at sunrise Tuesday on the first leg of the trip to California, where the baby of NASA's shuttle fleet will spend her retirement.   The plan is still to get Endeavour to Los Angeles International Airport by Thursday.   On Sunday, Endeavour and the Shuttle Carrier Aircraft, a modified Boeing 747, backed out of the mate-demate device that bound them together.   “Today, I’m feeling a tremendous amount of pride. We’re finally able to show this space shuttle off,” said NASA astronaut Kay Hire, who orbited Earth aboard Endeavour 217 times during the STS-130 mission in February 2010 and was at the Shuttle Landing Facility to watch Sunday's operation.   “It’s been a great workhorse for us: 25 missions into space. It was such a significant part of building the International Space Station, also carrying science and technology into space. And we get to share that with the world now,” Hire said.   When the joined jumbo jet and spaceship take off Tuesday, expected around 7:15 a.m., they're due to fly low over Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, down the beaches to Patrick Air Force Base, swing across Pineda Causeway and back up the Indian River before a final farewell pass over the KSC Visitor Complex and Shuttle Landing Facility.   The duo will head west and conduct low flyovers of NASA's Stennis Space Center in Mississippi and the Michoud Assembly Facility in New Orleans, where the shuttle's booster rockets were made.   The destination Tuesday: Ellington Field near NASA's Johnson Space Center. Wednesday night, the duo are scheduled to reach NASA's Dryden Flight Research Center at Edwards Air Force Base in California, and then Thursday brings them to Los Angeles.   Endeavour is eventually headed to the California Science Center.   Space shuttle Endeavour delayed by bad weather   Los Angeles Times   One leg of the space shuttle Endeavour's final journey has been delayed because of bad weather, but the craft will still arrive in Los Angeles on schedule Thursday, NASA announced Sunday.   Endeavour was to travel from NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Orlando, Fla., to Houston on Monday but the flight was pushed back one day because of stormy conditions. Despite the delay, the shuttle — mounted on a Boeing 747 aircraft — will still do low-level flyovers in Florida, Texas, New Mexico and Northern and Southern California before touching down in Los Angeles.   After arriving, Endeavour will spend several weeks in the United Airlines hangar at Los Angeles International Airport undergoing preparations for a two-day, 12-mile journey Oct. 12 and 13 via surface streets to the California Science Center in Exposition Park.   Celebrations are planned along the route and the public will be able to view the $2-billion shuttle, which made 25 missions and traveled 122,883,151 miles, as it snakes its way along La Tijera, Manchester, Crenshaw and Martin Luther King Jr. boulevards.   Endeavour is so large that crews have had to remove about 400 trees from the planned route. Every tree removed will be replaced by two trees. Workers also will take down many overhead utility poles and signs to make way for the spacecraft and will reassemble them after it passes.   The shuttle will be on display at the science center starting Oct. 30.   Shuttle Endeavour embarking on new mission to Los Angeles museum   Irene Klotz - Reuters   The space shuttle Endeavour, built to replace NASA's lost ship Challenger, prepared for a final flight th is week, heading not into orbit but west to a Los Angeles museum.   Riding piggyback on top of a specially modified 747 jet, Endeavour will be the second of NASA's three surviving shuttles to leave the Kennedy Space Center and begin new roles as space ambassadors.   "We finally get to really show her off," NASA astronaut Kay Hire, who flew aboard Endeavour in 2010, told reporters on Sunday on the shuttle's runway. "I t's a great vehicle, but it was designed in the '70s. We've modified it along the way and it's certainly served us well, but it is time to move on."   Endeavour was built as a replacement for Challenger, which was destroyed i n an accident that killed seven astronauts in 1 986. NASA lost a second shuttle, Columbia, and se ven more crew members in 2003. That ship was not replaced.   Endeavour's lifespan was relatively short by shuttle standards - 25 missions over 20 years, totaling 299 days in space.   But those flights ran the gamut of orbital odysseys, including the sheer moxie of its May 1992 debut when three astronauts made an impromptu and unprecedented spacewalk to rescue a stranded Intelsat communications satellite.   Eighteen months later, Endeavour flew a high-stakes mission to repair the Hubble Space Telescope, which, to NASA's horror, had been launched in 1990 with a misshapen primary mirror.   A dozen of Endeavour's missions were devoted to building and outfitting the International Space Station, a $100 billion research laboratory that flies about 250 miles (400 km) above Earth.   In December 1998, Endeavour carried the first U.S.-made piece of the fledgling station, a connecting hub named Unity that astronauts attached to the Russian-launched Zarya base module.   Twelve years later, Endeavour carried the last U.S. connecting node, Tranquility, as well as the station's gemstone - a dome-shaped room of windows for outside viewing.   Its final mission in May 2011 was to deliver and install a $2 billion particle detector that is searching the cosmos for signs of dark matter and other exotic phenomena.   The shuttle, named after the ship that 18th century British explorer James Cook sailed during his first voyage of discovery in the Pacific Ocean, will spend its retirement at the California Science Center in Los Angeles.   Sister ship Discovery, NASA's oldest surviving shuttle, is on display at the Smithsonian Institution's Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center outside Washington.   Atlantis, which flew NASA's 135th and final shuttle mission in July 2011, will not need a plane ride to reach its retirement home. In November, it will be towed down the road to the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex.   Heading West   Endeavour's cross-country flight was due to begin after sunrise on Monday, but a cold front moving over Texas and into the Gulf of Mexico will delay its departure until at least Tuesday, NASA said on Sunday.   Endeavour will make a low pass by the beachside communities surrounding the Kennedy Space Center before heading west. Additional low flyovers past NASA centers in Mississippi, Louisiana and Texas are planned, weather permitting, before a two-night layover at Ellington Field near the Johnson Space Center in Houston.   Endeavour is due to depart Houston at dawn Thursday , refuel at Biggs Army Airfield in El Paso, Texas, then make low passes over the White Sands Test Facility near Las Cruces, New Mexico, and NASA's Dryden Flight Research Center at Edwards Air Force Base in California, before landing around midday at Dryden.   On Friday, Endeavour will be flown to northern California to pass by NASA's Ames Research Center at Moffett Field, California, and various landmarks in and around San Francisco, Sacramento and other cities.   The final leg of the journey will take Endeavour on a tour over Los Angeles before the 747 jet touches down at Los Angeles International Airport around 11 a.m. PDT (2 p.m. EDT/1800GMT) on Thu rsday.   The shuttle will be taken off its carrier jet and moved to a United Airlines hangar to be prepared for transport next month to the California Science Center, located about 12 miles (19 km) from the airport. It is due to go on display on Oct. 30.   Space Shuttle Endeavour's Final Flight to Calif. Delayed by Weather   Robert Pearlman - collectSPACE.com   Space shuttle Endeavour's trip to California has been delayed by a weather front in its way.   NASA on Sunday postponed Endeavour's final liftoff from Florida, planned for Monday morning, just a few hours after rolling out the shuttle atop its modified Boeing 747 Shuttle Carrier Aircraft (SCA) to be ready for the flight. Endeavour is being flown to Los Angeles, where it is going on display at the California Science Center (CSC).   "To ensure a safe flight for Endeavour and the [Shuttle Carrier Aircraft], NASA managers, in consultation with the California Science Center decided Sunday to delay the flight because of inclement weather predicted along the flight path between Houston and NASA's Kennedy Space Center, where the flight will originate," NASA explained in a statement announcing the one-day delay.   The space agency had planned a four-leg, three-day ferry flight for Endeavour, with the first stopover in Houston at Ellington Field, located near the Johnson Space Center. A cold front approaching Houston has slowed and was not expected to clear the area in time for Endeavour's arrival on Monday.   Despite the one-day delay departing Kennedy, NASA still plans for Endeavour to arrive at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) on Thursday, Sept. 20.   Originally, NASA had scheduled Endeavour to remain in Houston for two nights, before departing for points west. If the weather forecast cooperates and the ferry flight begins at sunrise on Tuesday (Sept. 18), the shuttle will now spend just one night at Ellington before resuming its original flight plan on Wednesday.   NASA managers will meet on Monday morning to assess the weather forecast for a Tuesday departure.   After departing Houston and making a stopover to refuel at Biggs Army Airfield in El Paso, Texas, the carrier aircraft will fly to Dryden Flight Research Center at Edwards Air Force Base in Southern California. Endeavour will spend the night there, marking its final visit to the space shuttle fleet's primary West Coast landing site, before embarking on the last leg of its final flight on Thursday morning.   From Dryden, the SCA will fly Endeavour north for scenic flyovers of Sacramento and San Francisco, before circling Los Angeles and landing at LAX by noon PDT (3 p.m. EDT or 1900 GMT). A ceremony will welcome Endeavour before shuttle workers begin the process of removing the orbiter from the aircraft using two large cranes.   Endeavour will spend several weeks in a United Airlines hangar before leaving the airport on Oct. 12, beginning a two-day, 12-mile (19-kilometer) road trip to the California Science Center. Traveling atop a wheeled transporter, the shuttle will be paraded through the streets of Inglewood and L.A. to arrive inside the CSC's Samuel Oschin Space Shuttle Endeavour Display Pavilion.   The science center will open its new pavilion to the public, debuting Endeavour on exhibit, on Oct. 30.   The youngest of NASA's orbiters, the shuttle Endeavour entered service in 1992 and flew 25 missions. It spent 299 days in orbit and orbited Earth 4,671 times while traveling 122,883,151 miles (197,761,262 km).   And, don’t forget… CONSTITUTION DAY     225 years ago today on Sept. 17, 1787, the delegates to the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia completed work on the Constitution of the United States. In so doing, they ensured the survival of the bold promise of freedom made 11 years earlier by the Declaration of Independence. Although the fulfillment of that promise required 27 amendments to the Constitution, as well as a Civil War, the basic principles enunciated during that extraordinary gathering proved to be the lasting foundation of a democratic government that, in Thomas Jefferson's immortal words, "derives its just powers from the consent of the governed."   Each of these principles was by itself revolutionary; together they represent the greatest step forward in the history of human government. First, the new nation was founded on popular sovereignty, whereby the government is created by and for the people. Second, the sovereignty of the people was guaranteed by the rule of law. Third, the power of the central government was deliberately weakened through the separation of powers, whereby authority was divided between the President, the Congress and the courts. Fourth, the central government was required to share power with the states through the creation of a federalist system.  Finally, with the passage of the first 10 amendments, known as the Bill of Rights, individual rights and liberties were protected against government encroachment.   Today, there are more than 100 democracies in the world, all of which can trace their lineage back to that Philadelphia summer when the founding fathers debated how to create a government that would serve the people, rather than the other way around. As civil servants, we have a special responsibility as the stewards of that legacy, reflected in the oath of office that every one of us, and every one of our predecessors, has taken. In keeping with the importance of this responsibility, we honor Constitution Day, Sept. 17, the anniversary of the American way of life.   END    

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