NASA News - NASA'S Sofia Featured In The Astrophysical Journal Special Edition

MOFFETT FIELD, Calif. -- The Astrophysical Journal, a leading
professional astronomy research publication, will issue a special
edition of its Letters volume on April 20 with papers about
observations made with NASA's Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared
Astronomy (SOFIA) airborne telescope.

SOFIA is a highly modified Boeing 747SP aircraft that carries a
telescope with a 100-inch (2.5-meter) diameter reflecting mirror that
conducts astronomy research not possible with ground-based
telescopes. By operating in the stratosphere at altitudes up to
45,000 feet, SOFIA can make observations above the water vapor in
Earth's lower atmosphere.

"This is really SOFIA's debut on the world scientific stage," said
Chris Davis, SOFIA program scientist at NASA Headquarters in
Washington. "World-class observatories such as the Hubble, Chandra
and Spitzer space telescopes had their Astrophysical Journal special
editions, and now SOFIA joins their prestigious ranks."

The eight SOFIA papers featured in the special edition cover diverse
research on topics including SOFIA's capabilities as a flying
observatory and its study of star formation in our galaxy and beyond.

"Studies of star and planet formation processes are one of SOFIA's
'sweet spots,'" said SOFIA Science Mission Director Erick Young.
"SOFIA's infrared instruments can see into the dense clouds where
stars and planets are forming and detect heat radiation from their
construction material. By getting above the Earth's atmospheric water
vapor layer that blocks most of the infrared band, SOFIA's telescope
can view the glow from forming stars at their strongest emission wavelengths."

The infrared images analyzed in these papers were obtained with the
FORCAST (Faint Object Infrared Camera for the SOFIA Telescope)
instrument during SOFIA's first science observations in December
2010. Papers based on observations with SOFIA and the GREAT
spectrometer (German Receiver for Astronomy at THz Frequencies) will
be published in a May 2012 special volume of the European journal
Astronomy and Astrophysics.

SOFIA is a joint project of NASA and the German Aerospace Center and
is based and managed at NASA's Dryden Aircraft Operations Facility in
Palmdale, Calif. NASA's Ames Research Center at Moffett Field,
Calif., manages the SOFIA science and mission operations in
cooperation with the Universities Space Research Association,
headquartered in Columbia, Md., and the German SOFIA Institute at the
University of Stuttgart.

For more information about SOFIA, visit:



To view The Astrophysical Journal Letters containing the SOFIA papers,



Coverage Set For Next Soyuz Space Station Crew Rotation

HOUSTON -- Over the next several weeks, NASA Television will provide
coverage of activities surrounding the upcoming International Space
Station crew rotation. Coverage will include departure of three crew
members now living aboard the space station. It also will include
pre-launch activities, launch and arrival of three new residents.

Beginning April 23, NASA TV video files will document Expedition 31
crew training activities with Flight Engineer Joseph Acaba of NASA
and Soyuz Commander Gennady Padalka and Flight Engineer Sergei Revin
of the Russian Federal Space Agency, Roscosmos, at the Gagarin
Cosmonaut Training Center in Star City, Russia. NASA TV also will
broadcast the crew's news conference and ceremonial visit to Red
Square in Moscow on April 25.

NASA TV will broadcast the change of command ceremony aboard the
station at 2 p.m. CDT on April 25. Expedition 30 Commander Dan
Burbank of NASA will hand over command to Expedition 31 Commander
Oleg Kononenko of Roscosmos.

On April 27, Burbank and Russian cosmonauts Anton Shkaplerov and
Anatoly Ivanishin will depart the station and Expedition 31 will
begin aboard the complex. The departing trio will return to Earth
aboard their Soyuz TMA-22 spacecraft, completing a
five-and-a-half-month mission.

Don Pettit of NASA, Andre Kuipers of the European Space Agency and
Kononenko, who have been on the station since late December 2011,
will remain aboard until July 1.

On May 14, Acaba, Padalka and Revin will launch in the Soyuz TMA-04M
spacecraft from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. They will
arrive at the station on May 16 to join Pettit, Kononenko and Kuipers
and return the crew size to six.

NASA TV's scheduled coverage includes (all times Central):

Monday, April 23
11 a.m. - Video file of the Soyuz TMA-04M crew qualification training
simulation runs in Star City, Russia.

Tuesday, April 24
11 a.m. - Video file of the Soyuz TMA-04M crew qualification training
simulation runs in Star City.

Wednesday, April 25
1 p.m - Video file of the Soyuz TMA-04M crew news conference in Star
City and visit to Red Square in Moscow.
2 p.m. - Live Expedition 30/31 change of command ceremony.

Thursday, April 26
11:45 p.m. - Live Soyuz TMA-22 crew farewell and hatch-closure
coverage (hatch closure scheduled at 12 a.m. on April 27).

Friday, April 27
3 a.m. - Live Soyuz TMA-22 undocking coverage (undocking scheduled at
3:18 a.m.)
5:30 a.m. - Live Soyuz TMA-22 deorbit burn and landing coverage
(deorbit burn scheduled at 5:49 a.m., landing scheduled at 6:45
8 a.m. - Video file of the Soyuz TMA-22 landing and post-landing
6 p.m. - Video file of the Soyuz TMA-22 landing and post-landing
activities, including an interview with Burbank and the return of
Shkaplerov and Ivanishin to Chkalovsky Airfield near Star City.

Wednesday, May 2
11 a.m. - Video file of the Soyuz TMA-04M crew departure activities
for Baikonur, Kazakhstan from Star City.

Thursday, May 10
11 a.m. - Video file of the Soyuz TMA-04M crew activities in Baikonur.

Friday, May 11
11 a.m. - Video file of the Soyuz TMA-04M crew activities in Baikonur.

Sunday, May 13
12 p.m. - Video file of the Soyuz TMA-04M rocket mating and rollout to
the launch pad in Baikonur.

Monday, May 14
11 a.m. - Video file of the Soyuz TMA-04M final pre-launch crew news
conference and Russian State Commission meeting in Baikonur.
9 p.m. - Live Soyuz TMA-04M launch coverage (launch scheduled at 10:01
p.m.), including pre-launch activities and launch replays.

Tuesday, May 15
12 a.m. - Video file of Soyuz TMA-04M pre-launch and launch video
b-roll and post-launch interviews.

Wednesday, May 16
11:00 p.m. - Live Soyuz TMA-04M docking coverage (docking scheduled at
11:38 p.m.), followed by the post-docking news conference from
Mission Control in Korolev, Russia.

Thursday, May 17
2:00 a.m. - Live Soyuz TMA-04M hatch opening and welcoming ceremony
(ceremony scheduled at 2:35 a.m.)
4 a.m. - Video file of Soyuz TMA-04M docking, hatch opening and
welcoming ceremony

For NASA TV downlink, schedule updates and streaming video
information, visit:


For more information about the International Space Station and its
crew, visit:



NASA Transfers Shuttle Discovery to National Air and Space Museum

WASHINGTON -- NASA transferred space shuttle Discovery to the
Smithsonian's National Air and Space Museum during a ceremony
Thursday, April 19, at the Stephen F. Udvar-Hazy Center in Chantilly, Va.

"Today, while we look back at Discovery's amazing legacy, I also want
to look forward to what she and the shuttle fleet helped to make
possible," said NASA Administrator Charles Bolden. "As NASA transfers
the shuttle orbiters to museums across the country, we are embarked
on an exciting new space exploration journey. Relying on American
ingenuity and know-how, NASA is partnering with private industry to
provide crew and cargo transportation to the International Space
Station, while developing the most powerful rocket ever built to take
the nation farther than ever before into the solar system."

National Air and Space Museum Director, General John "Jack" Dailey
said, "Discovery has distinguished itself as the champion of
America's shuttle fleet. In its new home, it will shine as an
American icon, educating and inspiring people of all ages for
generations to come. The Museum is committed to teaching and
inspiring youngsters, so that they will climb the ladder of academic
success and choose professions that will help America be competitive
and successful in the world of tomorrow."

In this new era of exploration, NASA will build the capabilities to
send humans deeper into space than ever before. NASA is using the
space station as a test bed and stepping stone for the journey ahead.
The agency is changing the way it does business and fostering a
commercial industry that will safely service low Earth orbit, so NASA
can focus its energy and resources on sending astronauts to an
asteroid by 2025 and eventually to Mars in the 2030s.

The space station is the centerpiece of NASA's human spaceflight
activities in low Earth orbit. It is fully staffed with an
international crew of six, and American astronauts will continue to
live and work there 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, as they have for
more than 11 years. Part of the U.S. portion of the station has been
designated as a national laboratory, and NASA is committed to using
this unique resource for scientific research.

The station is testing exploration technologies such as autonomous
refueling of spacecraft, advanced life support systems and
human/robotic interfaces. Commercial companies are well on their way
to providing cargo and crew flights to the station, allowing NASA to
focus its attention on the next steps into our solar system.

For more information about NASA, visit:



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