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Cape damage report
Jim Kennedy, director of the Kennedy Space Center, and Col. Mark Owen, 45th Space Wing commander, hold a news conference on Monday, Sept. 27 to provide a preliminary report on damage from Hurricane Jeanne at KSC and Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. (49min 30sec file)
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Hurricane Jeanne
Cameras aboard the International Space Station captured these views of Hurricane Jeanne on Saturday, Sept. 25 as the storm approached Florida. (3min 59sec file)
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Station news briefing
International Space Station program manager Bill Gerstenmaier holds a news conference Sept. 24 to discuss problems with the oxygen generation system and Expedition 10 launch preparations. (44min 06sec file)
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Galaxy clusters collide
Scientists describe a cosmic hurricane in this news conference from Sept. 23, explaining how two merging galaxy clusters churn high-pressure shock waves that leave thousands of galaxies strewn in the wake. (53min 24sec file)
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Meet next station crew
The three men to launch aboard the next Soyuz spacecraft bound for the International Space Station -- Expedition 10 commander Leroy Chiao, flight engineer Salizhan Sharipov and Russian taxi cosmonaut Yuri Shargin -- hold a pre-flight news conference near Moscow on Sept. 23. (43min 05sec file)
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Large asteroid will zoom safely past Earth
NASA/JPL NEWS RELEASE
Posted: September 28, 2004

A mountain-sized asteroid will make its closest approach to Earth at 9:35 a.m. EDT Sept. 29.

Although asteroid 4179 Toutatis will come no closer than four times the distance between Earth and the Moon (approximately 1.5 million kilometers or 961,000 miles), this will be the closest approach of any known asteroid of comparable size this century.

"This is the closest Toutatis will come for another 500 years, and its orbit is very well known," said Dr. Don Yeomans of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), Pasadena, Calif., manager of NASA's Near Earth Objects Program Office. "What this fly-by provides is an opportunity to study one of our closest solar system neighbors," he said.

"While we have done radar observations on this particular asteroid before, this is the closest it has come since at least the twelfth century " said Dr. Steve Ostro, a scientist at JPL. "We will use the huge dish in Arecibo, Puerto Rico, to refine our knowledge of its physical characteristics and its trajectory," he said.

Named after an obscure Celtic and Gallic god, Toutatis, the yam-shaped space rock measures 1.92 kilometers (1.2 miles) by 2.29 kilometers (1.4 miles) by 4.6 kilometers (2.9 miles). Toutatis has one of the strangest rotation states observed in the solar system. Instead of spinning around a single axis, as do the planets and the vast majority of asteroids, it "tumbles" somewhat like a football after a botched pass. Its rotation is the result of two different types of motion with periods of 5.4 and 7.3 Earth days that combine in such a way that Toutatis's orientation, with respect to the solar system, never repeats.

When the asteroid flies past Earth, it will be traveling at approximately 39,600 kilometers per hour (24,550 mph). Toutatis has not passed this close to Earth since the twelfth century, and it will not be this close again until 2562. Toutatis was discovered in 1989.

Arecibo Observatory is operated by Cornell University, Ithaca, N.Y., under a cooperative agreement with the National Science Foundation, with support from NASA.

Ares 1-X Patch
The official embroidered patch for the Ares 1-X rocket test flight, is available for purchase.
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Apollo Collage
This beautiful one piece set features the Apollo program emblem surrounded by the individual mission logos.
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Expedition 21
The official embroidered patch for the International Space Station Expedition 21 crew is now available from our stores.
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Hubble Patch
The official embroidered patch for mission STS-125, the space shuttle's last planned service call to the Hubble Space Telescope, is available for purchase.
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