GUCP Work Delayed by Rain to be Finished Today

At NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida, technicians plan to install reference dots on space shuttle Discovery's ground umbilical carrier plate, or GUCP, to monitor for movement during tanking. The work was expected to be completed yesterday, but was delayed by rain.

The shuttle's crew is practicing on-orbit tasks today in the motion base simulator at the astronauts' training base at NASA's Johnson Space Center in Houston.

Discovery's launch is currently targeted for no earlier than Dec. 17, after shuttle managers determined more tests and analysis are needed.

The Program Requirements Control Board reviewed on Nov. 23 repairs and engineering evaluations associated with cracks on two 21-foot-long, U-shaped aluminum brackets, called stringers, on the shuttle's external tank. Managers decided the analysis and tests required to launch Discovery safely are not complete. The work will continue through this week.

The next status review by the PRCB will be Thursday, Dec. 2. If managers clear Discovery for launch on Dec. 17, the preferred time is about 8:51 p.m. EST.

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NASA Awards Space Shuttle Reusable Solid Rocket Motor Contract Modification

NASA has signed a $42.1 million contract modification to space shuttle reusable solid rocket motor manufacturer ATK Launch Systems Inc. of Brigham City, Utah, to provide continued prelaunch through postlaunch support from Oct. 1, 2010, through Dec. 31, 2011.

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From Earth to Mars

This view of grains from a sand dune near Christmas Lake, Ore., was taken by a test version of the Mars Hand Lens Imager (MAHLI) camera on Curiosity, NASA's Mars Science Laboratory, which is slated to launch in fall 2011. The image includes three manufactured spheres; each is a 2-millimeter-diameter (0.08-inch-diameter) ball bearing, placed to provide an independent measure of the image scale. Reflected in each sphere is the glow from the camera's four white LEDs (light-emitting diodes). This image has a resolution of 15.4 microns per pixel, which is about twice as high as the camera resolution on Mars Rovers Spirit and Opportunity. The view covers an area about 1 inch, or 2.5 centimeters, across. Geologists can examine an image like this for information about the composition of the sand. In this case, the largest white grains are pumice fragments and the dark black and gray grains are fragments of basalt. Nearly transparent, slightly yellow crystals are feldspars. The crystals and pumice were erupted by Mount Mazama in its terminal explosion about 7,700 years ago; the volcano is known today as Crater Lake. Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Malin Space Science Systems

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Cheyenne Mountain AFS receives 9/11 artifact; and a reminder of all it works to protect

A steel beam recovered from the World Trade Center arrived at Cheyenne Mountain Air Force Station Nov. 19, where it will be built into a memorial to commemorate the people who died Sept. 11, 2001.

About 100 military members and civilians gathered Nov. 19 at Cheyenne Mountain AFS for the arrival of the beam, which was released by the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey to the National Homeland Defense Foundation and then presented to Cheyenne Mountain Air Force Station.

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Windows 7 was their idea

Air Force personal computer users dreamed up a computer operating system that was smooth, fast and enhanced the security to the Air Force information network. Windows 7 was their idea.

Peterson Air Force Base's 6,400 computer users will soon receive an upgrade from Windows Vista to Windows 7, the newest Microsoft operating system.

The migration on Peterson Air Force Base is expected to begin in December and take about three months. Each night about 50 computers will automatically be updated - which means computers will be wiped of the old Vista program and the new Windows 7 package will be installed. There will be a desktop shortcut called "Windows 7 Enterprise Resource Kit" to help users navigate the new operating system.
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Schriever Airmen treat gunshot victim

Schriever Security Forces member's knowledge of first aid and a willingness to help others became critical on Nov. 15 when they encountered a gun-shot victim.

Airmen Tyler Chason and Emmanuel Valenzuela were dropping a friend off at an apartment complex in Colorado Springs when they heard gun-shots. Airman Chason immediately called 911. While he was on the phone with the dispatcher he saw two men run past him, jump into a waiting car and drive off. Seconds later, the Airmen saw a man stumbling down the street.
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Global Positioning System satellite achieves 20 years on-orbit

The Global Positioning System (GPS) constellation is the most robust and capable system in the history of space. Space Vehicle Number (SVN) 23 is a testament to how the Air Force continues to meet and exceed its operational requirements with GPS.

GPS Block IIA-10 (SVN-23), built by Boeing (formerly Rockwell Corporation), was launched on 26 November 1990 and set healthy to navigation and timing users on 10 December 1990. The satellite was the first in the series of GPS IIA satellites to be launched with a design life of 7.5 years. To-date the satellite has operated longer than any other satellite and predicted to last another 12-18 months. "Boeing has a solid history of delivering satellites that live beyond their contractual lives," said Craig Cooning, vice president and general manager of Boeing Space and Intelligence Systems. "The same commitment that was evident with the first GPS IIA satellite in 1990 lives on in Boeing's newest GPS satellite, GPS IIF. The first of
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