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Latest NASA news and updates

Money Matters - Simplified

NASA

NASA’s goals not in alignment with its budget: Report

Washington, September 9 -- According to a report submitted by the Human Space Flight Plans Committee to the White House, NASA’s present budget might create a hurdle in its dream of reaching the moon.

NASA awards helium contract

Cape Canaveral, Fla. -- U.S. space agency officials say they've selected five companies to provide liquid and gaseous helium for 17 NASA locations across the United States.

The new five-year, fixed-price contract, valued at about $56.6 million, is for the acquisition of approximately 3.3 million gallons of liquid helium and 235.7 million standard cubic feet of gaseous helium beginning Oct.1.

The awardees and the amount awarded of the base contract, plus options, are:

-- Air Products and Chemicals Inc. of Allentown, Pa.: $18.7 million.

-- Linde LLC of Murray Hill, N.J.: $80,000.

-- Matheson Tri-Gas Inc., of Basking Ridge, N.J.: $3.8 million.

-- Praxair Distribution Inc. of Austin, Texas: $553,000.

Discovery to return to Earth Thursday

Cape Canaveral, Fla. -- NASA says space shuttle Discovery and its seven-member crew are to return to Earth Thursday after a 13-day mission to the International Space Station.

The space agency said two landing opportunities are available at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida -- at 7:05 p.m. and 8:42 p.m. EDT.

If bad weather prevents a Thursday landing, NASA said both Kennedy and the backup landing site at Edwards Air Force Base in California will be activated for a possible Friday landing.

After touchdown, the astronauts will undergo physical examinations and meet with their families, NASA said. They are expected to make brief remarks after touchdown, which will be broadcast live on NASA Television and the space agency's Web site.

NASA picks a crater for lunar impacts

Moffett Field, Calif. -- NASA scientists say they've selected the lunar crater that will be struck by a satellite and its spent rocket at 7:30 a.m. EDT Oct. 9.

U.S. space agency scientists said the selected crater is an optimal target for evaluating if water ice exists at the lunar south pole.

NASA reschedules Ares rocket motor test

Washington -- NASA and Alliant Techsystems Inc. say they have rescheduled a canceled test of the new first-stage solid rocket motor for the Ares I rocket.

Space agency officials said the static firing of the five-segment solid motor will take place 11 a.m. EDT Thursday at the company's test facility in Promontory, Utah. The first firing attempt, set for Aug. 27, was scrubbed because of an anomaly with the ground test controller.

NASA said the goal of the test is to obtain thrust, roll-control, acoustics and vibration data as engineers continue to design the Ares vehicles.

NASA censors 'without clothes' question

Stockholm, Sweden -- A Swedish student said U.S. space officials made him change a question posed to an astronaut on the International Space Station because it mentioned nudity.

Zhiwar Naeimiakbar, 14, one of the students at Stockholm's Satraskolan school chosen to interview Swedish astronaut Christer Fuglesang via phone, said the U.S. National Aeronautics and Space Administration told him he could not ask Fuglesang if a person can survive in space "without clothes," Swedish news agency TT reported Monday.

"At first I was hysterical. Oh my God, now I won't be a part of this. But then I understood why," Naeimiakbar said.

He said NASA allowed him to ask the question provided he changed "without clothes" to "without a spacesuit."

NASA: Space debris no hazard to the ISS

Houton -- The U.S. space agency says it will not be necessary to move space shuttle Discovery and the International Space Station to avoid reported space debris.

Astronauts aboard space shuttle Discovery, docked at the International Space Station, were awakened at 12:30 p.m. EDT Thursday with the song "There is a God."
Aside the song, performed by 33 Miles and played for astronaut Patrick Forrester, controllers at mission control in Houston told the crew the decision involving a possible debris avoidance maneuver.

NASA: Space debris no hazard to the ISS

Houton -- The U.S. space agency says it will not be necessary to move space shuttle Discovery and the International Space Station to avoid reported space debris.

Astronauts aboard space shuttle Discovery, docked at the International Space Station, were awakened at 12:30 p.m. EDT Thursday with the song "There is a God."
Aside the song, performed by 33 Miles and played for astronaut Patrick Forrester, controllers at mission control in Houston told the crew the decision involving a possible debris avoidance maneuver.

High resolution Mars images are released

Pasadena -- NASA says thousands of new images from more than 1,500 telescopic observations by its Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter have been released.

The images, taken in high resolution, show a wide range of gullies, dunes, craters, geological layering and other features on the Red Planet, NASA said.

The spacecraft's High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment camera recorded the images from April through early August, the space agency said. The camera team at the University of Arizona releases several featured images each week and periodically releases much larger sets of new images, such as the batch posted Thursday.

NASA watches space debris near the ISS

Houston -- NASA astronauts prepared Thursday for another spacewalk despite reports of space debris moving toward the International Space Station.

NASA said astronauts Danny Olivas and Christer Fuglesang spent their sleep period inside an ISS airlock in preparation for the second STS-128 spacewalk, scheduled to begin at 5:19 p.m. EDT Thursday.

John McCullough, NASA flight director, said it did not appear likely the docked space shuttle Discovery would have to fire its thrusters to move it and the space station in a debris avoidance maneuver. However, he said a final decision will be made during the last hour of Thursday's spacewalk and controllers were developing a plan, should it become necessary.


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