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Tank modifications
The space shuttle external fuel tank was redesigned following the Columbia accident. This video looks at some of the key changes. (2min 30sec file)
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Tank processing
What are the steps to preparing a space shuttle external fuel tank for launch? This video narrates the process using footage from Discovery's launch campaign. (5min 50sec file)
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Discovery's payloads
Scott Higginbotham, the STS-114 payload manager, narrates video of space shuttle Discovery's payloads being prepared for the return to flight mission. (11min 53sec file)
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Next mission to Mars
NASA's next voyage to the Red Planet is introduced by project managers and scientists in this news conference from 1 p.m. EDT on Thursday, July 21. The Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter will launch in August on a mission to provide the sharpest images ever taken of Earth's neighboring planet. (34min 10sec file)

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Atlantis preps
Space shuttle Atlantis is hoisted upright and moved into position for mating with the external fuel tank and solid rocket boosters for the second post-Columbia mission, now scheduled for September. (5min 48sec file)
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Soyuz moved
Expedition 11 commander Sergei Krikalev and science officer John Phillips undock their Soyuz capsule from the Pirs module at 6:38 a.m. EDT, back 82 feet away, fly sideways for 45 feet and then guide the craft to docking with the Zarya module at 7:08 a.m. (30min 57sec file)
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Shuttle collection
As excitement builds for the first space shuttle launch in over two years, this comprehensive video selection captures the major pre-flight events for Discovery and her seven astronauts.
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Exploratory studies for quieting sonic boom funded
Posted: July 24, 2005

NASA and several industry teams are studying how to design and build an aircraft that could demonstrate technology to lessen the noise and window-rattling effects of supersonic flight.

Preparations for NASA's planned Sonic Boom Mitigation Project include a study of concept feasibility and design requirements for a prototype technology demonstration airplane that could reduce the startling "sonic boom" when an aircraft exceeds the speed of sound.

"NASA plans to develop a request for proposals to design and build a low sonic boom demonstrator using the information provided by the teams," said Bob Meyer, Sonic Boom Mitigation Demonstration Project manager at NASA's Dryden Flight Research Center, Edwards Air Force Base, Calif.

NASA awarded a grant to American Technology Alliances (AmTech) to fund these studies being conducted by four industry teams. The teams include solo endeavors by Boeing Phantom Works, Long Beach, Calif.; and Raytheon Aircraft, Wichita, Kan. Northrop Grumman, El Segundo, Calif., is working with Gulfstream Aerospace, Savannah, Ga.; and Lockheed Martin, Palmdale, Calif., has teamed with Cessna Aircraft Company, Wichita, Kan.

The same grant is also funding Allison Advanced Development Company, Indianapolis; GE Transportation, Cincinnati; and Pratt and Whitney, Hartford, Conn., to support the teams with engine-related data.

Each team has been awarded approximately one million dollars for a five-month study. NASA will use the results to define technology and design requirements for a low sonic boom demonstration aircraft. The questions the research will answer include whether it's feasible to modify an existing aircraft to be the quiet boom demonstrator, or whether a whole new aircraft design will have to be created.

"The concept exploration studies are crucial," said Peter Coen, of the Langley Research Center at Hampton, Va., and a member of the Sonic Boom Mitigation Project planning team. "Those studies will determine whether a low sonic boom demonstrator aircraft can be built at an affordable cost in a reasonable amount of time."

The Sonic Boom Mitigation Project could begin work on the research aircraft as early as this fall.

"It is one element of a transformed Vehicle Systems Program in which breakthrough technologies are carried forward to flight," said Rich Wlezien, manager of the Vehicle Systems Program in NASA's Aeronautics Research Mission Directorate programs.