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Launch of SpaceShipOne
Watch the hair-raising flight of SpaceShipOne during the first of two launches needed to win the $10 million X Prize. The craft experienced a major rolling motion and early engine shutdown. (3min 40sec file)
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X-43A test
NASA's X-43A research craft and its Pegasus rocket booster complete a captive carry test flight aboard a B-52 launch aircraft. (1min 48sec file)
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See the KSC damage
See damage to the Vehicle Assembly Building, the Saturn 5 Center and other facilities at Kennedy Space Center caused by Hurricane Jeanne. (4min 31sec file)
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Cape damage report
Jim Kennedy, director of the Kennedy Space Center, and Col. Mark Owen, 45th Space Wing commander, hold a news conference on Monday, Sept. 27 to provide a preliminary report on damage from Hurricane Jeanne at KSC and Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. (49min 30sec file)
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Hurricane Jeanne
Cameras aboard the International Space Station captured these views of Hurricane Jeanne on Saturday, Sept. 25 as the storm approached Florida. (3min 59sec file)
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Station news briefing
International Space Station program manager Bill Gerstenmaier holds a news conference Sept. 24 to discuss problems with the oxygen generation system and Expedition 10 launch preparations. (44min 06sec file)
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Galaxy clusters collide
Scientists describe a cosmic hurricane in this news conference from Sept. 23, explaining how two merging galaxy clusters churn high-pressure shock waves that leave thousands of galaxies strewn in the wake. (53min 24sec file)
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Station chat with kids
Expedition 9 commander Gennedy Padalka and flight engineer Mike Fincke talk about life aboard the International Space Station during an in-flight educational event with students at the Carnegie Science Center in Pittsburgh. (19min 00sec file)
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ISS educational event
The International Space Station's Expedition 9 crew hold an educational talk with students and members of the National Guard Bureau in Charleston, West Virginia. (19min 53sec file)
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International Space Station status update
Posted: October 3, 2004

The International Space Station (ISS) crew made steady progress with maintenance work this past week. Expedition 9 Commander Gennady Padalka and NASA Station Science Officer Mike Fincke restored the primary oxygen generator to partial operation and replaced a cabin air monitoring system.

Padalka and Fincke also began packing for the trip home. The Russian Federal Space Agency announced Friday launch of the next Station crew, Expedition 10 Commander Leroy Chiao and Flight Engineer Salizhan Sharipov, is scheduled for 11:06 p.m. EDT Oct. 13. NASA and Russian Station managers also met Friday to review preparations for that mission in a Flight Readiness Review and found everything in order.

Heading to the Station aboard a Soyuz spacecraft with Chiao and Sharipov will be Russian Space Forces Test Cosmonaut Yuri Shargin. The trio will dock with the Station at 12:24 a.m. EDT Oct. 16. Padalka, Fincke and Shargin will return to Earth in another Soyuz that's already docked to the Station. They're scheduled to land in Kazakhstan at 8:32 p.m. EDT Oct. 23. Chiao and Sharipov will remain aboard the Station for six months.

Padalka and Fincke continued troubleshooting the Elektron oxygen generator this week. It has operated intermittently during the past few weeks. The system creates breathing oxygen from water, venting hydrogen overboard from the Station in the process. With plans provided by Russian ground controllers, the crew hooked the system's hydrogen venting line up to a different overboard valve in the Station's Zvezda module. The valve is normally used as part of an atmospheric contaminant control system.

Hooked up to the new vent valve, the Elektron has operated well during several daylong test runs. Meanwhile, the crew continued periodic cleaning of filters in the vent valve normally used by the Elektron, attempting to remove what are believed to be potassium hydroxide particles clogging the system.

In other work this week, U.S. flight controllers completed a checkout of a Thermal Radiator Rotary Joint. It's a joint on the Station's exterior that allows radiators to be swiveled to dissipate heat as efficiently as possible. The joints are not needed until more solar arrays are added to the Station after Space Shuttles resume flying.

Fincke also replaced a U.S. air monitoring system in the Destiny Laboratory this week, restoring that system to full operation. Called the Major Constituents Analyzer, the equipment had previously only been periodically operating. With the installation of a new Mass Spectrometer Unit, delivered to the Station aboard the last Progress cargo spacecraft, the system is continuously operating.

On Monday, beginning at 10:40 a.m. EDT, Padalka and Fincke will field questions from media representatives at NASA Headquarters, Johnson and Kennedy Space Centers during an in flight news conference.

For his "Saturday Science" last weekend, Fincke conducted a session with the In Space Soldering Investigation (ISSI). He performed several tests connecting metal alloy wires of various configurations together with solder. These test pieces are designed to evaluate the effectiveness of different geometries typical of the kinds of operations that might be required in the future.

Investigators on Earth monitored the experiment from the Telescience Center at NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center (MSFC) in Huntsville, Ala. By viewing video, they are able to observe the soldering operation, as the crew works on samples. The samples will be returned to Earth for testing. Tests will include a microscopic evaluation of the structures of the solder joints, and how they compare with those done in the laboratory on Earth.

Experiments like this one provide a systematic method for studying how to improve tools and repair procedures in space. This information can be used to design future tools and develop the best procedures for repairing equipment in the unique environment inside an orbiting spacecraft.