56th Inauguration Features NASA Astronauts, Lunar Rover, Panoramic Photos and Live Twitter
WASHINGTON -- NASA astronauts who recently returned from a trip to the International Space Station will join representatives from across the country and the nation's armed forces in the 56th Inaugural Parade.
The NASA contingent will include a next-generation lunar rover that astronauts will use for future exploration of the moon. The parade will travel down Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington on Jan. 20 following swearing-in ceremonies for President-elect Barack Obama and Vice President-elect Joseph Biden. Many of the participating astronauts -- Commander Chris Ferguson, Pilot Eric Boe, mission specialists Donald Pettit, Steve Bowen, Heidemarie Stefanyshyn-Piper, Shane Kimbrough and Greg Chamitoff -- flew on space shuttle Endeavour in November 2008 on the STS-126 mission.
Astronaut Mike Gernhardt will drive the rover. Astronaut Rex Walheim, wearing a spacesuit, will ride with him. The Lunar Electric Rover is a concept vehicle about the size of a pickup truck that NASA is evaluating for use when humans return to the moon. The rover can house two astronauts for as long as 14 days. The vehicle has many unique features, including the ability to move its six pairs of wheels in any combination of forward and sideways motions, enabling it to scramble over rough terrain.
NASA will record video during the parade from a camera mounted on the lunar rover. A member of the lunar rover team will provide live updates to the NASA News Twitter feed throughout the event.
NASA photographers and videographers will document the agency's participation in the inaugural activities. Images will be posted online at the agency's Web site when they become available.