Sun, Dec 23, 2007
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
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.
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