NASA News: NASA Administrator Bolden Lauds Apollo 11 Crew And John Glenn

WASHINGTON -- NASA Administrator Charles Bolden made these remarks
today during a ceremony in the rotunda of the U.S. Capitol, where
leaders of Congress honored astronauts John Glenn, Neil Armstrong,
Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins with congressional gold medals:

"As we embark upon the next great chapter of human space exploration,
we stand on the shoulders of the extraordinary men we recognize
today. Those of us who have had the privilege to fly in space
followed the trail they forged.

America's leadership in space and the confidence that we can go
farther into the unknown and achieve great things as a people rests
on the achievements of these brave men.

When, 50 years ago this year, President Kennedy challenged the nation
to reach the moon, to 'take longer strides' toward a 'great new
American enterprise,' these men were the human face of those words.
From Mercury and Gemini, on through our landings on the Moon in the
Apollo Program, their actions unfolded the will of a nation for the
greater achievement of humankind.

Today, another young President has challenged us to reach for new
heights and plan an ambitious mission to Mars. Just as we called on
the four individuals we honor today to carry out our early
achievements in space, we now call on a new generation of explorers
to go where we have never gone before.

As we honor these heroes, I want to recognize the hundreds of
thousands of dedicated NASA employees and industry partners who
contributed to the incredible success of the Mercury, Gemini and
Apollo programs and all that has followed, and all that is yet to come.

I also want to thank our Congress. Our nation is a better place
because of more than a half century of strong, bipartisan support for
NASA's work in human exploration, science and aeronautics.

Five members of the most recent Astronaut Candidate Class are with us
today to pay tribute to the Congressional Gold Medal honorees, and
build on their accomplishments to make similar, lasting contributions
to our nation's space program.

This new group of astronauts will redefine space exploration in the
years to come and continue to honor the legacy of John Glenn, Neil
Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin, and Michael Collins.

It is a lasting legacy - a legacy that continues to unfold and
transform our modern world.

The inspiration these four have provided to generations isn't
something we can measure, but we can feel it in our hearts. As a
nation, we would not be the same without them and their bravery,
their sense of duty and dedication to public service and their great
skill at thinking on their feet.

They changed the course of history and helped our nation to achieve
the bigger things to which our greater nature aspires. We owe them
our humblest gratitude.

On behalf of NASA and all the astronauts past and present, I
congratulate and thank each of you - John, Neil, Buzz, and Mike, our
Congressional Gold Medal recipients."

For biographies of the astronauts, visit:



NASA Invites 150 Lucky Twitter Followers To Launch Of Mars Rover

WASHINGTON -- NASA has invited 150 followers of the agency's Twitter
account to a two-day launch Tweetup on Nov. 23 and 25 at the agency's
Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

The Tweetup is expected to culminate in the launch of the Mars Science
Laboratory's Curiosity rover aboard an Atlas V rocket from nearby
Cape Canaveral Air Force Station.

The launch window is scheduled to open at 10:25 a.m. EST on Nov. 25.
Curiosity's arrival at Mars is anticipated in August 2012 near Gale
Crater. During the nearly two-year prime mission, the rover will
investigate whether a selected area of Mars offered environmental
conditions favorable for microbial life and preserved that evidence,
if it existed.

Tweetup participants were selected from more than 1,050 people who
registered online. They will share their Tweetup experiences with
their followers through the social networking site Twitter.

Participants represent the United States, Australia, Belgium, Brazil,
Canada, France, Germany, Ireland, Spain and the United Kingdom.
Attendees from the U.S. come from the District of Columbia and 37
states: Alabama, Arizona, California, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia,
Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana,
Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi,
Missouri, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York,
North Carolina, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina,
Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Washington and Wisconsin.

Beginning at 11 a.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 23, NASA will broadcast a
portion of the Tweetup when attendees talk with Jim Green, Planetary
Science division director, and Doug McCuistion, Mars Exploration
program director, both at NASA Headquarters in Washington. Engineers
from NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif., where the
rover was designed and built will speak, as will mission scientists.
To watch the broadcast, visit:


Participants also will tour Kennedy and Cape Canaveral, including a
close-up visit to the launch pad. On launch day, they will speak with
NASA Administrator Charles Bolden; Leland Melvin, NASA's assistant
administrator for education; astronaut Doug Wheelock and Bill Nye the
Science Guy.

Reporters credentialed to cover the launch also may cover the NASA
Tweetup at Kennedy's press site. Reporters interested in interviewing
Tweetup attendees in advance should contact Stephanie Schierholz at
202-358-1100 or stephanie.schierholz@nasa.gov.

NASA has invited its Twitter followers to attend eight previous
launches: NASA's newest Earth-observing satellite, NPP; the twin
GRAIL spacecraft bound for the moon; the Juno spacecraft on its way
to Jupiter; and five space shuttle missions.

To follow participants on Twitter as they experience the prelaunch
events and Curiosity's liftoff, follow the #NASATweetup hashtag and
the list of attendees at:


JPL manages the mission. NASA's Launch Services Program at Kennedy is
managing the launch.

For more information about the Mars Curiosity rover, visit:


Interact with the mission via Twitter and Facebook accounts at:



To connect with NASA on Twitter and other social networking sites, visit:



NASA'S Diverse Collaborations Spread The Stem Education Message

WASHINGTON -- NASA's Office of Education is collaborating with a
variety of organizations this week to engage students in science,
technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education and increase
academic excellence.

Leland Melvin, the agency's associate administrator for education, is
the keynote speaker today at the inaugural STEM Summit in St. Louis.
The summit is sponsored in part by LEGO Education. NASA and the maker
of the iconic building bricks have partnered on a number of events in
recent years to encourage hands-on creativity as an avenue for
learning STEM principles.

On November 17, Melvin will give opening remarks and serve as a
presenter at the first annual S.E.T. (Science, Engineering and
Technology) Awards in Los Angeles. Established by the Entertainment
Industries Council, the awards honor excellence in the depiction of
science, engineering and technology in television, film and multimedia.

"Encouraging students to pursue STEM disciplines is so very important.
It offers students exciting job opportunities," Melvin said. "For
NASA and the nation, building the STEM pipeline will ensure that we
have a robust, high-tech workforce for the future."

Melvin will end the week in Washington by participating in the United
States Agency for International Development's "All Children Reading:
A Grand Challenge for Development" program on Nov. 18. He will join
representatives from other government agencies and host Alex Trebek
to challenge innovators from around the world to develop solutions to
overcome barriers to literacy and learning.

"There are so many diverse organizations out there committed to
encouraging students to pursue STEM studies, reading and other
avenues of education," Melvin said. "I am excited to collaborate with
them and leverage our individual strengths to spread the message that
learning is not only fun, it is the key to a bright future. I want
today's youth to know they can reach for the stars."

NASA uses the excitement from its missions and programs to inspire
students and serve as a catalyst for encouraging STEM studies. The
agency continues its tradition of investing in the nation's education
programs and supporting the country's educators who play a key role
in preparing and inspiring the young minds of today to become the
workforce of tomorrow.

To learn more about NASA's education programs, visit:



NASA Receives Clean Audit Opinion

WASHINGTON -- NASA has released its Fiscal Year (FY) 2011 Performance
and Accountability Report (PAR), which provides a summary of the
agency's annual performance and financial information. This year's
report marks an important financial milestone for the agency -- a
"clean" audit opinion.

This is NASA's first clean financial statement audit opinion in nine years.

"NASA's budget of $18.4 billion covers many complex programs to
improve national capabilities in space flight, science and
aeronautics," said NASA Chief Financial Officer Beth Robinson. "The
agency has worked hard over the past nine years to ensure that we
know where we stand with each program and have a firm footing as an
agency to pursue our future goals. This outside validation of our
efforts gives the taxpayers and the Congress confidence that we will
continue to keep America the leader in space exploration as we
responsibly manage their investment."

The auditor's opinion of an unqualified financial statement in Fiscal
Year (FY) 2011 asserts the agency's financial statements accurately
represent its financial position and operations. An unqualified
opinion is the highest rating that may be received from an external
auditor. The independent assessment of the agency's financial
stewardship of taxpayer resources demonstrates the agency's strong
financial foundation as it continues to launch cutting-edge science
and technology missions and prepares to embark on a new chapter of exploration.

The PAR, which is required by Congress, helps measure the agency's
progress and performance in meeting its strategic goals. FY 2011 was
a year of remarkable change for NASA programs and activities. As the
agency retired the Space Shuttle Program after 30 years of flight, it
took critical first steps on a new path that will include commercial
capability for reaching low Earth orbit and crewed missions to deep space.

Overall, NASA accomplished 88 percent of its performance measures, a
strong number given the risks and uncertainties associated with
spaceflight activities. While NASA lost the Glory spacecraft due to a
launch vehicle failure and experienced delays in some missions, the
agency also safely flew the final two flights of the space shuttle,
completed on-orbit construction of the U.S. elements of the
International Space Station, facilitated the first commercial cargo
demonstration mission, and launched the Aquarius, Juno and GRAIL
science missions. The year also saw a start up of a new space
technology program, which initiated many innovative technology
developments, and continued success in aeronautics research and
development toward the air transportation system of the future.

NASA recently unveiled a new strategic plan and vision with long-term
goals to guide the agency's activities and priorities over the next
decade while continuing its commitment to core values of safety,
integrity, teamwork, and excellence. The FY 2011 PAR highlights this
new strategic plan and provides important information on progress and results.

For more information and to view the PAR report, visit:



NASA Accepting Applications For Future Astronauts

HOUSTON -- Do you dream of flying in space? Now is your chance. NASA
is accepting applications for the agency's next class for the
Astronaut Candidate Program.

Starting today, qualified individuals can submit their applications
through the federal government's USAJobs.gov website. Those selected
will be among the first to pioneer a new generation of commercial
launch vehicles and travel aboard a new heavy-lift rocket to distant
destinations in deep space.

"For 50 years, American astronauts have led the exploration of our
solar system," NASA Administrator Charles Bolden said. "Today we are
getting a glimpse of why that will remain true for the next
half-century. Make no mistake about it, human space flight is alive
and well at NASA."

Qualifications include a bachelor's degree in engineering, science or
math and three years of relevant professional experience. Successful
applicants frequently have significant qualifications in engineering
or science; or extensive experience flying high-performance jet
aircraft. Educators teaching kindergarten through 12th grade with
these minimimum degree requirements also are encouraged to apply.

NASA will accept applications through January 27, 2012. After
applicant interviews and evaluations, the agency expects to announce
the final selections in 2013. Training will begin that summer.

For more information about astronaut application and selection and to
follow the latest news via NASA accounts on Twitter, Facebook and
YouTube, visit:



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