Archive for February 24, 2012

D.C. School To Receive NASA Space Shuttle Tile During Black History Month Event Monday

February 24, 2012 1 comment

Leland Melvin, NASA’s associate administrator for education and a former space shuttle astronaut, will present a space shuttle tile to Bruce Monroe Elementary School at Parkview and speak to students on Monday, Feb. 27.

Representatives of the media wanting to attend the event should contact Ann Marie Trotta at 202-358-1601 or by 9 a.m. Feb. 27. The school is located at 3650 Warder Street NW in Washington. The event begins at 1:30 p.m. and is expected to last 90 minutes.

Melvin will share with the students his experiences as a crew member aboard the space shuttle Atlantis on two missions, STS-122 in 2008 and STS-129 in 2009. He also will discuss NASA careers, including how to become an astronaut, and the opportunities available to students who pursue science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) studies.

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AAS Issues Statement on President Obama’s Proposed FY 2013 Budget

February 24, 2012 Leave a comment

The American Astronomical Society (AAS) today issued a statement thanking President Obama for his strong support of science as embodied in his proposed budget for fiscal year (FY) 2013 but asking him and the Congress to strive harder to maintain a balance of small, medium, and large space missions in astronomy and astrophysics, planetary science, and solar physics. Some provisions of the President’s FY 2013 budget, especially a 20 percent cut in NASA’s planetary science funding, threaten to undermine the recommendations of recent decadal surveys of these fields by the National Academy of Sciences.

“It is challenging to receive a budget from the President that supports part of our discipline and undercuts another,” says AAS Executive Officer Dr. Kevin B. Marvel. “We will work throughout 2012 to encourage Congress to fully support all of the decadal surveys’ priorities.”

“We are grateful that the funding for the James Webb Space Telescope puts it on track for a launch in 2018,” adds AAS President Debra M. Elmegreen (Vassar College), “and we hope we can achieve a balance of large, medium, and small projects in solar physics, planetary science, and astronomy and astrophysics so that U.S. leadership in these fields can be sustained.”

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Cassini Significant Events 02/15/2012 – 02/21/2012

February 24, 2012 Leave a comment

The most recent spacecraft tracking and telemetry data in this reporting period were acquired on Feb. 21 from the Canberra, Australia, Deep Space Network 70 meter Station 43. The Cassini spacecraft is in an excellent state of health. All subsystems are operating normally except for the issues being worked with the Cassini Plasma Spectrometer and the Ultrastable Oscillator. Information on the present position of the Cassini spacecraft may be found on the “Present Position” page at:

The highlight for this week was the flyby of Saturn’s largest moon, Titan, on Sunday. Flyby altitude was 3,803 kilometers.

The week included four PIEs — Pre-Integrated Events. In the first two, the Imaging Science Subsystem (ISS) conducted Enceladus plume observations. In second pair, the Visual and Infrared Mapping Spectrometer (VIMS) observed two Saturn stellar occultations, acquiring spectral data while Cassini’s motion caused the distant stars to go behind Saturn’s upper atmosphere.

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