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Sun, Dec 23, 2007

KSC Celebrates 2007 Achievements

NASA believes that the workers at Kennedy Space Center can reflect on 2007 as a year that celebrated the agency's rich history while adding new chapters to it. Just this past July, Kennedy marked the 45th year as NASA's launch operations center. Its workers and managers focused on the center's diverse missions, including launching the space shuttle and spacecraft atop expendable launch vehicles, gearing up for the Constellation Program and working toward completing the International Space Station.

Even though a hailstorm caused a late start, Kennedy launched three space shuttle missions this year. Atlantis' STS-117 mission brought the second and third starboard truss segments and another pair of solar power arrays to the station in June. In August, shuttle Endeavour's STS-118 mission installed a third starboard truss segment, the S5 truss, and shuttle Discovery's STS-120 mission delivered the Italian-built U.S. Harmony connecting module in October.

Kennedy's employees also can be proud of the four expendable launch vehicles that lifted off this year. This includes three Cape Canaveral launches: Dawn's voyage through the inner solar system that began in September, Phoenix's journey to examine soil on Mars that launched in August, and February's THEMIS mission to study Earth's auroras. Kennedy also supported the AIM mission in April, which launched from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California to learn about high cloud formations.

Work at Kennedy for the Constellation Program began moving from concept to construction. This included installing the new lightning protection system at Launch Pad 39B (shown below with Discovery, in 2005) to support future launches of the Ares rocket and Orion spacecraft. Also, a developmental heat shield for the Orion crew exploration vehicle arrived in November at the center and will undergo testing and evaluation.

Kennedy Space Center made advances on the "green power" front. NASA and BMW teamed up to test a fleet of liquid hydrogen-fueled cars that were used throughout the center during an eight-week period in the spring. And in December, NASA and Florida Power and Light signed a memorandum of understanding to study potential renewable energy projects that would be done at the center.

Another first for Kennedy was hosting the World Space Expo in November. The four-day event brought together thousands of people from all over the world to celebrate the past, present and future of space exploration.

With at least five space shuttle flights and 10 expendable launch vehicle missions, Kennedy's work force is preparing for an aggressive launch schedule in 2008 while continuing construction and other transition work for the new Constellation Program.

FMI: www.nasa.gov/kennedy

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