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Johnson Space Center

November 17, 1985 | ZAN THOMPSON
The dark, slender, good-looking young man stood at the foot of a flight of steps leading to a mock-up of a space orbiter in a high-ceilinged building the length of 1 1/2 football fields. He faced a television interviewer with a two-man crew. He had a relaxed smile as he stood straight-backed in a NASA blue jump suit with a shoulder patch of the flag of Mexico high on his left sleeve.
December 17, 2013 | By Amina Khan, This story has been corrected, as indicated below.
It's official: NASA astronauts will have to step out into space to fix a faulty cooling loop at the International Space Station. Rick Mastracchio and Michael Hopkins will take on the task, which will probably take two spacewalks and could stretch to three. The spacewalks, scheduled for Dec. 21, 23 and 25, come after engineers at NASA's Johnson Space Center in Houston tried fiddling with a broken valve in a pump in an ammonia cooling loop to figure out what exactly was wrong with it. The pump was shut down last week after it failed to regulate the ammonia levels and it got too cold, NASA officials said.
August 19, 2000 | From Times Staff and Wire Reports
Robert R. Gilruth, a key engineer and scientist in the American space program who headed the Johnson Space Center in Houston during the Apollo missions that put a man on the moon, has died. Gilruth died Thursday of Alzheimer's disease at a long-term care facility in Charlottesville, Va., the National Aeronautics and Space Administration announced in Washington. He was 86.
December 11, 2013 | By Amina Khan, This post has been updated, as indicated below.
A cooling system failure aboard the International Space Station may require a spacewalk, NASA officials said Wednesday. One of two ammonia cooling loops on the station's exterior shut down Wednesday morning, NASA spokeswoman Brandi Dean said. “You need the cooling in space because heat doesn't dissipate like it does on the ground,” she said. Authorities think that an excess of ammonia triggered a safeguard to shut the loop down. [Update, 9:05 p.m. Dec. 11: NASA's Johnson Space Center used Twitter to update followers on the situation.
September 22, 2005 | From Reuters
NASA ordered the evacuation of Johnson Space Center in Houston on Wednesday and turned over control of the International Space Station to its Russian partners as Hurricane Rita barreled across the Gulf of Mexico. Many of the space center's 15,000 government and contract workers had already left the facility by the time the evacuation order was given, heeding calls from Texas officials, NASA spokesman James Hartsfield said.
January 25, 1986 | United Press International
NASA has named Jesse Moore, the space agency's chief of shuttle operations, as the new director of the Johnson Space Center here. He replaces Gerald Griffin, a former Apollo moon program flight director, who left the National Aeronautics and Space Administration to become president of the Houston Chamber of Commerce.
April 22, 2001 | From Associated Press
NASA's Johnson Space Center in Houston failed to keep adequate watch on safety operations of a major contractor responsible for space shuttle operations, an internal NASA audit says. The audit, completed in March but not released until Friday, reported problems in the supervision of United Space Alliance's safety procedures. The space center is responsible for that oversight. United Space Alliance, a joint venture of Boeing Co. and Lockheed Martin Corp.
August 7, 1987
Workers accidentally broke a water line at the Johnson Space Center's mission control, dumping thousands of gallons of water on vital computers and causing an unknown amount of damage. It will be several days before officials can determine with certainty whether the damage will affect progress toward the next shuttle mission, now set for June, 1988, said Doug Ward, spokesman for the Houston center.
June 5, 1987 | United Press International
For the first time since the Challenger disaster, the space agency named new astronauts today, 13 men and two women, including the first black female and a Coast Guard officer. The astronaut candidates will report to the Johnson Space Center in Houston on Aug. 17 to begin a year of intensive training before assignment. Five of the new astronauts are civilians, 10 are military officers and two are women, including Mae C. Jemison, 30, a black medical doctor who lives in Los Angeles.
September 12, 2013 | By Deborah Netburn
Having trouble getting excited about NASA's planned mission to redirect an asteroid? Maybe William Gerstenmaier can help. "Turn off your logical side and turn on your touchy-feely side, the one you almost never use," Gerstenmaier, associate administrator for NASA's Human Exploration and Operations Directorate, told attendees of an aeronautics and astronautics conference Wednesday in San Diego. "Then jump up and down and do some break-dancing. We're going to grab a space rock and we're going to move it!"
July 2, 2013 | By Carolyn Kellogg
If astronaut Chris Hadfield can write as well as he can sing a David Bowie song, his upcoming book is going to be good. Hadfield has signed with Little, Brown to publish "An Astronaut's Guide to Life on Earth. " The book lands Oct. 29. During the five months Hadfield was commander of the International Space Station, he used social media to share his experiences, posting breathtaking photos and sharing videos. His personalized version of David Bowie's song "Space Oddity," which was posted online in May shortly before he returned to Earth, has been viewed more than 16 million times.
May 16, 2013 | By Deborah Netburn
Free live streaming by Ustream "Star Trek" fans, set your alarms. And fans of the astronauts who live and work on the International Space Station, set your alarms too. At 9 a.m. Pacific time Thursday, the filmmakers behind "Star Trek Into Darkness" and a handful of NASA astronauts will come together in a live Google Hangout to discuss how science fiction is becoming a reality. And you can watch it live, right here. (The video player above will stream the hangout starting at 9 a.m. Thursday.)
May 10, 2013 | By Geoffrey Mohan
Astronauts from the International Space Station will start their space walk Saturday about 5:45 a.m. Pacific time, in an effort to locate and fix an ammonia leak in a coolant system, NASA officials said Friday. The unscheduled emergency walk was "precedent setting" for the station, although similar impromptu tasks had been performed during the Space Shuttle program, said Norm Knight, NASA chief flight director. “The team is ready to go,” International Space Station program manager Michael Suffredini said.
December 18, 2012 | By Deborah Netburn
Oppa NASA style? Just when we thought we couldn't take any more "Gangnam Style" parodies, a group of intern scientists (PSY-entists?) at NASA put out "NASA Johnson Style" and if you're anything like me--you can't look away. " daily," sings a galloping scientist with some serious PSY-like moves. "'s amazing. " QUIZ: What set the Internet on fire in 2012? Over the course of the video our PSY look-a-like takes us to Mission Control Center, Rocket Park and the Teague Auditorium.
November 26, 2012 | By Amy Hubbard
NASA and Russia's space agency are pushing ahead with plans for a yearlong stay in space, choosing the two men who will undertake the mission. Scott Kelly, a NASA veteran with more than 180 days in space, and Russia's Mikhail Kornienko are scheduled to launch in spring 2015 to spend a year aboard the International Space Station, according to a NASA news release. A main goal of the expedition is to determine the effects of such a long stay on the human body. "The one-year increment will expand the bounds of how we live and work in space," William Gerstenmaier, associate administrator for human exploration and operations at NASA headquarters in Washington, said in the release.
August 12, 2008 | From Times Wire Reports
NASA has abandoned plans to get its replacement for the space shuttle into service by 2013 because of funding and technical problems, manager Jeff Hanley said from the Johnson Space Center in Houston. The U.S. space agency had hoped to fly astronauts to the International Space Station aboard a new spaceship called Orion as early as September 2013. Now, the agency is setting its sights a year later. The shuttle fleet is due to retire in 2010. Until its new vehicle is ready, NASA intends to rely on Russia to ferry crews and on private firms to deliver cargo.
August 2, 1998 | Associated Press
In a heartfelt memorial, the four remaining members of the Mercury 7 astronauts paid tribute Saturday to Alan B. Shepard Jr., who led them and all of America into space. "Alan Shepard was many things," said Sen. John Glenn (D-Ohio), who at age 77 is scheduled to fly into space again in October. "He was a patriot, he was a leader, he was a competitor, a fierce competitor. He was a hero. Most importantly to us, he was a close friend."
August 24, 2011 | By W.J. Hennigan, Los Angeles Times
A 330-pound humanoid robot has been electronically awakened aboard the International Space Station, beginning its life as an astronaut's assistant. The robot named Robonaut 2, or R2, will help with routine tasks such as holding tools and vacuuming air filters. The robot was sent up on the space shuttle Discovery in February, but it wasn't powered up until this week. Clad in a gold helmet with a shiny metallic visor, R2 has a torso, two arms and two five-fingered hands. For now, it sits on a fixed pedestal inside the space station.
July 10, 2011 | By George Alexander
I began covering the space shuttle project in 1972, soon after President Nixon authorized it. I had recently joined this newspaper as a science writer. And the country was enthusiastic about the idea of a reusable spacecraft, which was expected to be sturdy, economical and reliable. The shuttle turned out to be neither economical nor sturdy, and its reliability has been wobbly. But as I watched the shuttle Atlantis blast off into space on what will be the 135th and final space shuttle mission, I found myself feeling a bit nostalgic.
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