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Fw: NASA'S YEAR OF CHALLENGES, CHANGES AND ACCOMPLISHMENTS



Submitted by Arthur - N1ORC


Robert Mirelson
Headquarters, Washington         Dec. 23, 2002
(Phone: 202/358-1600)



NASA'S YEAR OF CHALLENGES, CHANGES AND ACCOMPLISHMENTS

     NASA completed a monumental and comprehensive 
shift in management philosophy and structure during a 
busy and exciting year. NASA is flourishing with the 
vision of exploration and discovery, as the agency 
continues to strive to understand and protect the 
Earth; explore the Universe and search for life; and 
inspire the next generation of explorers, as only NASA 
can.

Sean O'Keefe, the former Deputy Director of the Office 
of Management and Budget, became the agency's 10th 
Administrator, and former Space Shuttle Commander, 
Frederick Gregory, was appointed as NASA's first 
African American Deputy Administrator. 

The agency is realigning strategically and emphasizing 
the "One NASA" management philosophy. The philosophy is 
robust, flexible, and research driven. "One NASA" 
focuses all agency elements on collaborative and common 
missions.

"The NASA family has much to be proud of as we reflect 
on the agency's accomplishments in 2002," said 
Administrator O'Keefe. "We are facing the most exciting 
period of challenges, changes and expanding scientific 
accomplishment since the early days of space flight. 
The new Integrated Space Transportation Plan and 'One 
NASA' philosophy provides us with a systematic approach 
to address future space transportation needs. It will 
guide our role as the leader of space-based scientific 
research and exploration," he said.

PROTECTING AND UNDERSTANDING EARTH 
NASA is conducting research that may allow public 
health officials to better track and predict the spread 
of West Nile Virus or similar diseases. NASA's goal is 
to provide people on the front lines of public health 
with innovative technologies and data from the unique 
vantage point of space. NASA's products are tailored 
into useful tools and databases for streamlining 
efforts to combat disease. NASA observed the Antarctic 
Larsen Ice Shelf and the seasonal acceleration of the 
Greenland ice sheet.

The study indicated glaciers could dramatically affect 
global ocean currents, marine life, terrestrial 
productivity, and the ocean food chain. NASA airborne 
and spaceborne observations are helping to improve 
prediction of hurricane tracks and to increase warning 
time. NASA is using data to improve our knowledge of 
how clouds insulate the Earth and reflect heat in and 
out of our atmosphere. NASA continues to develop 
cutting-edge technologies that will increase our 
weather forecasting capability from the current three-
to-five-day accuracy level up to a seven-to-ten-day 
level within this decade. 

BETTER LIVING THROUGH SPACE AGE TECHNOLOGY
NASA scientists helped develop several potentially life 
saving devices. The Child Presence Sensor uses 
precision materials and electronics to alert parents 
when a child, seated in an automobile infant or booster 
seat, is left in the vehicle. Other technology was 
adapted to create a portable, non-invasive fetal heart 
monitor. NASA researchers demonstrated a prototype 
device to automatically and continuously monitor the 
air for the presence of bacterial spores. The device, 
about the size of a home smoke detector, may be used to 
detect biohazards, such as anthrax. A new high-strength 
aluminum-silicon alloy promises to lower engine 
emissions, which will improve air quality.

INTEGRATED SPACE TRANSPORTATION PLAN (ISTP)
NASA launched a new and historic ISTP dramatically 
changing the way the agency does business. Using 
existing funds, NASA revised the ISTP to match its new 
management philosophy. The new ISTP restructures and 
improves the existing Space Launch Initiative. It will 
benefit the International Space Station, Space Shuttle, 
Orbital Space Plane Program, NASA's science and 
research objectives. 

INTERNATIONAL SPACE STATION CELEBRATES ANNIVERSARY
The International Space Station, the largest and most 
sophisticated spacecraft ever built, celebrated a 
second year of continuous human habitation. During 
2002, the Space Shuttle fleet turned 21 and 
successfully flew five missions, four to support 
Station expansion and one unique mission to upgrade the 
Hubble Space Telescope (HST). Astronaut John B. 
Herrington, on the Shuttle Endeavour (STS-113), became 
the first Native American to walk in space.

CONTINUOUS PRESENCE...CONTINUOUS RESULTS
Astronaut Peggy Whitson, the first NASA Space Station 
Science Officer, reflected the agency's increased 
research tempo. Approximately 48 research and 
technology development experiments were conducted. 
Crewmembers conducted the first materials science 
research, which tested medical procedures for 
controlling the negative effects of space flight and 
increased our understanding of changes to bone and the 
central nervous system that occur in space. Astronauts 
conducted advanced cell culturing research, broke new 
ground in the study of dynamic systems, made up of tiny 
particles mixed in a liquid (colloids), and they 
installed three new Station experiment equipment racks. 

OUR QUEST TO GO FASTER AND FARTHER
A new program to develop the future of spacecraft 
propulsion and power, the Nuclear Systems Initiative, 
was announced in the FY 2003 budget request. The 
approximate $1 billion, five-year program supports 
research into nuclear reactor technology, nuclear 
electric propulsion and other advanced power systems 
for deep space exploration.

HUBBLE GETS UPGRADE... 250 MILES FROM HOME
The crew of the Shuttle Columbia (STS-109) installed 
new solar panels, a better central power unit, and a 
new camera that increased Hubble's "vision" tenfold. 
The new Advanced Camera for Surveys sent back 
spectacular images. The HST provided data to help 
measure of the age of the Universe by uncovering the 
oldest stars. The new measurements confirmed other 
methods of measuring the age of the Universe. 

INSPIRING THE NEXT GENERATION
Barbara Morgan was named NASA's first Educator 
Astronaut and assigned as a crewmember on Space Shuttle 
Columbia (STS-118), a November 2003 mission. Her 
assignment fulfills the commitment to send an educator 
into space to help inspire a new generation of 
explorers.  Educator Astronauts will be fully trained 
Shuttle crewmembers. They will perform mission tasks, 
such as coordinating resupply operations and 
spacewalks, as well as interacting with students from 
space to encourage interest in science, mathematics and 
the space program.   

NASA CONTINUES TO RECORD MAJOR DISCOVERIES
NASA's Mars Odyssey spacecraft measured enormous 
quantities of water ice buried deep under the poles of 
the mysterious red planet. It found enough water, if 
thawed, to fill Lake Michigan twice over. Are we alone 
in the universe? NASA planet-hunters found a planetary 
system, which has some important similarities to our 
own, with a Jupiter-sized planet at about the same 
distance from its parent star as our own Jupiter is 
from our Sun. This discovery enhances the possibility 
that Earth-like planets could exist in similar systems. 
For the first time, astronomers tracked the life cycle 
of X-ray jets from a deep space black hole. A series of 
images from NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory Center 
revealed the jets traveled at near light speed for 
several years before slowing down and fading. Chandra 
also produced stunning photographs of a high-energy 
panorama from the central regions of our Milky Way 
galaxy. The findings are an important step toward 
understanding the most active area of the Milky Way and 
other galaxies. 


Note : An online version of this news release 
is on the Internet at:


http://www.nasa.gov/releases/2002/02-260.html

-end-

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