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Space shuttle update
NASA's William Readdy, Space Operations associate administrator and Bill Parsons, space shuttle program manager, provide a status report on returning the shuttles to flight in this teleconference with reporters held on the one-year anniversary since the CAIB report was issued. (37min 35sec file)
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Station update
To mark one year since the publication of the Columbia Accident Investigation Board final report, William Gerstenmaier, International Space Station program manager, updates the news media on the status of the project. (42min 41sec file)
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Titan 4 rollout
The Titan 4 rocket emerges from the Solid Motor Assembly and Readiness Facility at Cape Canaveral at about 5:45 a.m. August 25 for rollout to the Complex 40 pad. (3min 58sec file)
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On the launch pad
Riding on its mobile launching platform, the Titan 4 rocket arrives at the pad just before sunrise. (5min 22sec file)
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Sunrise over Titan 4
As dawn breaks over Cape Canaveral, these daylight scenes show the Titan 4 on Complex 40 in preparation for the final Florida launch of this heavy-lift rocket. (2min 11sec file)
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Shuttle engine tested
One of the three liquid-fueled main engines that will power Discovery into orbit during the space shuttle return-to-flight mission is test-fired at Stennis Space Center. (2min 57sec file)
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Delta 4-Heavy preview
Preview what a Boeing Delta 4 rocket launch will be like with this animation package of a "Heavy" configuration vehicle. (1min 41sec file)
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New water clues
Spirit's examination of rock outcropping at Gusev Crater has yielded new clues about the history of water there, as explained by Doug Ming, a rover science team member from Johnson Space Center. (5min 59sec file)
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Spirit on a hill
A stunning new picture from the Mars rover Spirit taken from the hillside shows the sweeping plains of Gusev and the crater's rim on the distant horizon. Expert narration is provided by Steve Squyres, the rover lead scientist. (1min 22sec file)
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Space station status update
Posted: August 28, 2004

"Success" is the key word this week aboard the International Space Station (ISS) as maintenance efforts by the Expedition 9 crew paid off on several major equipment items.

NASA ISS Science Officer Mike Fincke performed the most complex spacesuit repair job ever conducted in flight on a U.S. spacesuit. He replaced a water pump in the suit's cooling system. The four-and-a-half-hour replacement job on Monday was followed by several hours of tests on Tuesday. The tests showed the new pump worked perfectly, and engineers on the ground will now determine whether to declare the spacesuit usable in the future. If so, the Station would have a complement of two operational U.S. spacesuits. A third suit also is aboard but has a cooling problem. A second spare water pump also is aboard the Station in the event managers choose to attempt similar maintenance on the third suit.

Flight controllers lauded Fincke's work, relaying to him that such efforts provide not only a better understanding for future Station operations, but also important data for all future long-duration space travels.

Also on Monday, Fincke replaced major components in one of the Station's exercise machines, a resistive exercise device that uses tension to simulate weights during a workout. He installed new canisters in the device that are designed to be twice as durable as the previous canisters used for the machine. He then checked their operation with a workout, finding the device in excellent condition. Exercise is vital for the crew as one method of counteracting the harmful effects of weightlessness on the body. The spare spacesuit pumps and exercise canisters were delivered to the Station aboard the Russian Progress cargo spacecraft that arrived Aug. 14.

As this week progressed, Fincke and Expedition 9 Commander Gennady Padalka turned their attention toward their fourth and final spacewalk, scheduled for next week. During the Sept. 3 spacewalk, they'll use Russian spacesuits and exit the Russian Pirs airlock. Their work outside will include installing three antennas on the exterior of the Zvezda living quarters module that will aid the navigation of a new Station supply spacecraft, called the European Automated Transfer Vehicle, during its maiden flight scheduled for next year.

Other tasks include replacement of a pump panel on the Zarya module that is part of the Russian segment's cooling system, installation of guides for spacesuit tethers on Zarya handrails and the installation of handrail covers near the Pirs hatch.

This week, Fincke and Padalka reviewed timelines for the spacewalk, gathered gear and checked the tools they will use. Next Monday, they'll power up their Orlan spacesuits to check their operation as they continue their preparations. The spacewalk next Friday will begin at 12:50 p.m. EDT and last about six hours. The activities will be broadcast live on NASA Television, beginning at 11:30 a.m. EDT.

Other activities this week included a reboost of the Station Wednesday. Thrusters on the Progress spacecraft increased the altitude of the orbiting laboratory by an average of about two-and-a-half statute miles. The reboost moved the Station closer to the orbital altitude desired for the arrival of a Soyuz spacecraft and new crew in October. Another reboost is planned in September to complete the move. The Station's current orbit has a high point of about 230 miles and a low point of about 218 miles.

On Monday and Tuesday, Station cameras operated by flight controllers recorded video of Typhoon Chaba as it moved quickly across the Philippine Sea with winds of 165 mph. Friday, Fincke reported taking a still photo of Hurricane Frances in the Atlantic Ocean as the Station flew above that storm.