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A Real Life-Saving NASA Spinoff

By Keith Cowing on September 22, 2017 11:54 PM.

NASA FINDER Technology Aids Search Following Mexico Earthquake, NASA JPL

"Disaster relief workers on the ground in Mexico City were responding to this week's 7.1-magnitude earthquake by using a suitcase-sized radar instrument capable of detecting human heartbeats under rubble. This technology was developed by NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California, and the Department of Homeland Security's Science and Technology Directorate in Washington. FINDER, which stands for Finding Individuals for Disaster and Emergency Response, was developed as a collaboration between the two agencies. Since 2015, two private companies have acquired licenses for the technology. They have since taken it to disaster zones, training relief workers to use it and manufacturing new units."

http://images.spaceref.com/news/2015/finder11.jpgUsing Space Radar To Hear Human Heartbeats in Nepal, SpaceRef (with detailed hardware and operations information)

"On 24 April 2015 a 7.9 magnitude earthquake struck Nepal - a nation woefully unprepared to respond to such an event. Nearly 300 aftershocks of magnitude 4.0 or greater have rattled the country for the past month. One especially large aftershock of magnitude 7.4 on 12 May caused the already-shattered infrastructure to collapse further. Nepal needed help - help that did not rely upon a non-functional infrastructure. Much of the help was traditional. But some of that help arrived in the form of assets in space and space-derived assets on the ground. One piece of NASA-developed hardware utilized in Nepal was able to detect human heartbeat amidst huge piles of rubble. And it saved lives. Other machines orbited overhead in space analyzing the earthquake itself and how Nepal changed as a result. Both technologies shared similar technology."

NASA and DHS sponsored a demonstration of FINDER technology at the Virginia Task Force One Training Facility in Lorton, Virginia, on 7 May [2015]. Personnel were able to find someone hiding in an unknown location in the rubble at the facility. Several dozen media were in attendance. As best as I can tell, I was the only one covering space technology who was there. Unfortunate.

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Space and Politics During Alabama Campaign Stop

By Keith Cowing on September 22, 2017 9:24 PM.

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Arecibo Post-Hurricane Status

By Keith Cowing on September 22, 2017 12:35 PM.

Keith's note: This memo from the SETI Institute captures the latest from Arecibo: "The Arecibo Observatory, like the rest of Puerto Rico, was subjected to Hurricane Maria earlier this week: A group of the observatory staff has been sheltering on-site since Tuesday. Internet and telephone connections from the observatory went down Tuesday night, and remain down. Two members of the observatory staff, Angel Vasquez and Joe Taylor, are ham radio operators and have managed to get messages from the observatory to the city of Arecibo and from there off of the island (Angel is safe at his home in Arecibo, where the power grid is down and most of the roads are impassable). Everyone at the observatory is safe; but the road out of the observatory is blocked with downed trees, fallen rocks, and washouts. There has been significant but not catastrophic damage to the telescope: https://twitter.com/nadiamdrake/status/910999390709354496. Other observatory staff members who were sheltering at their homes across the island have been checking in, although not everyone has been accounted for yet. It will be several days before the road to the observatory can be cleared. The group at the observatory has food for a week, their own water supply, and enough fuel to keep the on-site generators running for a few weeks. Additional information from the observatory should be available over the next couple of days."

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Support For Bridenstine Solidifies (Update)

By Keith Cowing on September 21, 2017 10:48 AM.

NASA nominee promoting 'consensus' agenda for space program

"Sean O'Keefe, NASA administrator during George W. Bush's first term, applauded Bridenstine's objectives. "I think he's picked a pretty good selection of priorities to pursue that will establish cohesion, bring aboard folks to support it, all the kinds of cautionary things that are appropriate in pursuing this," said O'Keefe, a professor of public administration at Syracuse University."

Bridenstine Wins Shelby's ENdorsement, Identifies Key NASA CHallenges, Space Policy Online

"Sen. Richard Shelby (R-AL) endorsed Rep. Jim Bridenstine (R-OK) to be the next Administrator of NASA today. Shelby chairs the Senate Appropriations subcommittee that funds NASA, making his support quite significant. Bridenstine also has submitted answers to questions posed by the Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee in preparation for his nomination hearing. They lay out what he sees as the key challenges facing the agency. ... Bridenstine also has been criticized for his views on climate change based largely on a statement he made on the floor of the House in 2013 asking that President Obama apologize to the people of Oklahoma for spending more money on climate change research than weather forecasting and warning. "Global temperatures stopped rising 10 years ago," he said, which is incorrect. While temperatures have fluctuated over the centuries, he argued, that is due to natural forces, not humans. ... More broadly, Bridenstine made his mark in space circles through introduction in the last Congress of the American Space Renaissance Act (ASRA), which he referred to as a repository of provisions that could be inserted into various pieces of legislation as appropriate. They dealt with a broad range of civil, commercial, and national security space issues."

Space Florida backs NASA nominee, but senators aren't so sure, Orlando Sentinel

"Space Florida, the agency leading Florida's efforts in reviving the space industry at Cape Canaveral, praised President Donald Trump's new nominee to lead NASA, but Florida's two U.S. senators aren't embracing last week's pick. Space Florida CEO Frank DiBello called Oklahoma Republican U.S. Rep. Jim Bridenstine "a dedicated student of the industry and a passionate champion in Congress for the maturation of the space economy." "He will no doubt apply the same knowledge, dedication, and passion to the leadership of NASA, for the benefit of all space stakeholders," DiBello said in a prepared statement. "New leadership at NASA, combined with the regeneration of the National Space Council and passage of the NASA Transition Authorization Act of 2017, will provide the guidance and stability necessary for NASA to continue to explore new frontiers, advance technology and sustain U.S. leadership in space."

Trump's pick for NASA lays out agenda and answers critics, Ars Technica

"Although Bridenstine is a politician, there are likely few people in Congress more qualified to lead the space agency. As a Naval aviator, he flew missions off of aircraft carriers and combat missions in Iraq and Afghanistan. As a member of Congress, Bridenstine immersed himself in space-related committees and policy decisions, seeking to reform US aerospace efforts in both civil and military space. The conservative has previously outlined broad goals to modernize the US spaceflight enterprise with his American Space Enterprise Act."

Keith's note: The confirmation schedule has been a little uncertain. For a while it looked as if there would be a confirmation hearing on 27 September. But nothing has appeared on the Senate Commerce Science and Transportation Committee hearing calendar nor is any mention made on the nomination status page. That said, hearing preparations are already underway at NASA HQ. The support for Bridenstine's nomination offered by Space Florida's Frank DiBello is likely going to soften the stance taken by Rubio and Nelson.

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Rough Weather Ahead For Arecibo

By Keith Cowing on September 20, 2017 10:56 AM.

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Larry Taylor

By Keith Cowing on September 19, 2017 8:11 PM.

"Renowned lunar scientist Dr. Lawrence (Larry) Taylor succumbed to a short bout with brain cancer at 8:53 AM EDT on Monday, September 18, 2017. This year Larry received the Michael J. Wargo Exploration Science Award for his significant contributions to the integration of exploration and planetary science throughout his career. He was a lively and colorful presence in the lunar science community for many decades, and we will never forget his kind humanity and devotion to his work."

Continue reading: Larry Taylor.

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NASA's SLS Roadshow Heads For Indiana. The First of 50 Or Just A Stunt?

By Keith Cowing on September 19, 2017 3:36 PM.

Keith's note: I do not recall the NASA SLS mafia heading out to a specific state to talk to see how local companies are helping out on SLS - at least not recently. Is this just a one-off thing to curry favor in the Vice President's home state - or are they going to start doing this for every state in the union? And are the going to do this for other NASA programs? If this is a national effort then that would be an interesting way to demonstrate just how wide an industrial base is required to build large space hardware. But if this is just a dog and pony stunt to kiss up to the VP then its value will be minimal. This also smells like the beginning of a slow motion effort to assure the SLS faction that NASA has got their back.

Checking this page at NASA.gov you get this list of companies that support SLS/Orion and GSDO *(Ground Systems Development and Operations) in Indiana. So there is certainly a there - there - as there is across the country.

So NASA, what is the next state that the SLS road show will be visiting?

http://images.spaceref.com/news/2017/indiana.jpg
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Bridenstine Lists His Qualifications To Become NASA Administrator

By Keith Cowing on September 18, 2017 9:17 PM.

Biographical Information Submitted by NASA Administrator Nominee James Bridenstine

"I believe NASA's top three challenges are:

- Maintaining consistency and constancy of purpose while establishing a consensus agenda that can bridge multiple administrations regardless of party. This is essential to avoid resource-wasting program cancellations and maintain high morale both within the Agency and its contractor workforce;
- Maintaining and building international partnerships while ending dependency on unfriendly nations to avoid exploitable vulnerabilities;
- Bringing together traditional space companies and new space entrepreneurs into a comprehensive NASA vision to maximize resources and create efficiencies."

"My committee assignments and subcommittee chairmanship placed me in a position of responsibility for oversight of America's civil, commercial, and national security space. NASA is an incredible leadership and soft power tool for the United States of America. With NASA's global leadership, we will pioneer the solar system, sending humans back to the Moon, to Mars, and beyond. This requires a consistent, sustainable strategy for deep space exploration. I am fully familiar with NASA's role as a purchasing agent for NOAA and how critical this partnership is to protect lives and property. As a United States Representative from Oklahoma, I have led efforts to improve severe weather prediction and I have come to appreciate how complex Earth is as a system. NASA must continue studying our home planet. Unfortunately, Earth science sometimes gets pitted against planetary science for resources. This is not in the best interest of NASA, the United States, or the world. Mars once had a magnetic field, rivers, lakes, and an ocean on its north pole. At some point, Mars changed dramatically and we should strive to understand why. Studying other planets can inform our understanding of Earth. NASA must continue to advance both Earth science and planetary science for the benefit of mankind."

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House Science Committee Climate Conspiracy Collides With Reality

By Keith Cowing on September 18, 2017 5:35 PM.

Facts Contradict House Science Committee Majority's Attack on NOAA's Climate Scientists

"On Sunday, the British tabloid The Mail on Sunday, was forced to publish an "adverse adjudication" against it by the Independent Press Standards Organization (IPSO), the independent regulator of the British newspaper and magazine industry, regarding a climate change story it published on February 5, 2017, by controversial reporter David Rose. The article, with the original online headline: Exposed: How world leaders were duped into investing billions over manipulated global warming data, was largely based on an interview with Dr. John Bates, a former National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) scientist about his criticism of a NOAA climate study. In its published findings, the IPSO concluded that the article was both inaccurate and misleading. ... Science Committee Republicans had seized on the misleading The Mail on Sunday article and published their own press release the same day the article appeared on February 5, 2017 with a headline that also twisted the comments by Dr. Bates, incorrectly asserting that Dr. Bates had said NOAA colleagues "manipulated climate records.""

Former NOAA Scientist Confirms Colleagues Manipulated Climate Records, House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology (Feb 2017)

"U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Science, Space, and Technology members today responded to reports about the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's (NOAA) 2015 climate change study ("the Karl study"). According to Dr. John Bates, the recently retired principal scientist at NOAA's National Climatic Data Center, the Karl study was used "to discredit the notion of a global warming hiatus and rush to time the publication of the paper to influence national and international deliberations on climate policy."

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Space Dinosaurs Continue To Eat One Another

By Keith Cowing on September 18, 2017 9:00 AM.

Northrop Grumman to Acquire Orbital ATK for $9.2 Billion, Northrop Grumman

"Northrop Grumman Corporation (NYSE: NOC), a leading global security company, and Orbital ATK, Inc. (NYSE: OA), a global leader in aerospace and defense technologies, today announced they have entered into a definitive agreement under which Northrop Grumman will acquire Orbital ATK for approximately $7.8 billion in cash, plus the assumption of $1.4 billion in net debt. Orbital ATK shareholders will receive all-cash consideration of $134.50 per share. ... Upon completion of the acquisition, Northrop Grumman plans to establish Orbital ATK as a new, fourth business sector to ensure a strong focus on operating performance and a smooth transition into Northrop Grumman."

Press conference presentation

Keith's note: Lockheed ate Martin Marietta. Boeing ate Rockwell and McDonnell Douglas. Aerojet ate Rockedyne. Lockheed Martin and Boeing created a sanctioned monoply (ULA). Northrop ate Grumman. ATK ate Orbital. Now Northrop Grumman is going to eat Orbital ATK. That's one less company to pay Coalition for Deep Space Exploration membership dues. How is this good for competition? Oh yea - that is what SpaceX, Blue Origin, and Virgin offer.

The Coalition for Deep Space Dancing Dinosaurs, earlier post

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Big Aerospace Contribution Recipient Complains About Imaginary SpaceX Monopoly

By Keith Cowing on September 17, 2017 8:15 PM.

For some reason, Ron Paul has taken to Fox News to skewer SpaceX, Ars Technica

"Three-time presidential candidate Ron Paul has written an opinion piece for Fox News that comes out swinging against SpaceX, accusing the company of benefiting from potentially having a monopoly on national security launches. The article also attacks US Sen. John McCain as a "lead sponsor" of provisions to give SpaceX a monopoly on launch services."

Ron Paul: Crony defense budget hands SpaceX a monopoly - why?, Ron Paul, Fox News

"Allowing SpaceX to obtain a monopoly over launch services harms taxpayers much more than forbidding the Pentagon from purchasing Russian products harms Vladimir Putin. If this provision becomes law, SpaceX will be able to charge the government more than they could in even a quasi-competitive market. This monopoly will also stifle innovation in rocket launching technology."

Keith's note: This is just too funny. Only a few years back SpaceX was shut out of national security launches for dubious reasons. So they kept launching rockets and doing the dance moves DoD asked them to do. When they had a chance to compete against a government created - and sanctioned duopoly (ULA) they won on cost and performance. And now former members of Congress who got big donations from ULA's parent companies Lockheed Martin and Boeing (also Coalition for Deep Space Exploration charter members) are complaining about an imaginary SpaceX monopoly?. Coincidence?

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Bridenstine's Climate Record Is Different Than You Thought

By Keith Cowing on September 15, 2017 5:18 PM.

House lawmakers back amendment requiring Pentagon climate change report, The Hill

"The House Armed Services Committee's annual defense policy bill will include a provision requiring a Defense Department report on the effects of climate change on military installations. The amendment - brought up by Rep. Jim Langevin (D-R.I.) in the readiness portion of Wednesday's markup - instructs each military service to come up with a list of the top 10 military installations likely to be affected by climate change over the next 20 years. The report would include a list of possible ways to combat such climate change threats as flooding, droughts and increased wildfires. ... Rep. Jim Bridenstine (R-Okla.) backed up Bishop's line of thinking. "It's just a report and there are strategic implications that we need to be aware of," he said."

House Poised To Approve National Defense Authorization Bill, NPR

"MCEVERS: So the House armed services committee has already approved this bill. Does that mean that Republicans are going along with this amendment?
WELNA: Not only did they go along with it in a clear voice vote. They even talked it up. Here's Jim Bridenstine, who's a Navy veteran from Oklahoma.
JIM BRIDENSTINE: There are real changes in the Arctic that do affect the Navy. The Arctic ice is disappearing. There are strategic changes that are being implicated here. And it's important for the Department of Defense to report to Congress on this. We're talking about a report here."

Keith's note: Bridenstine's support of this amendment - one that recognizes that climate change is something that needs to be paid attention to - was widely seen as being instrumental in its passage. So its probably not prudent to just dismissively categorize him as a climate denier. He may have said some things that certainly suggest this but he then went and voted in a way that clearly admits that there is something to climate change that warrants serious future study. I suspect we'll hear more about this at his upcoming confirmation hearing.

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Upcoming Calendar Events For TrumpSpace

By Keith Cowing on September 15, 2017 10:33 AM.

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Rocket Explosion Blooper Reels As A Marketing Tool

By Keith Cowing on September 15, 2017 1:03 AM.

Keith's note: Who'd have thought that the day would come when promoting videos of your product blowing up would be a way to promote your business? There's a subliminal paradigm shift at work here ...

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Will Bridenstine Reboot The Vision For Space Exploration?

By Keith Cowing on September 14, 2017 11:14 PM.

A Pioneering NASA Administrator, Air & Space

"These three "Pioneering Doctrines" embrace a bold statement of purpose for NASA: to extend our reach with machines and people beyond low Earth orbit, into deep space and to the objects of the Solar System. Under such a charter, the mission of the agency becomes nothing less than the opening up of the entire space frontier to exploration, use and development. This was one of the original purposes behind the Vision for Space Exploration in 2004, a goal that got lost in bureaucratic make-work minutiae of objectives and roadmaps. By maintaining and holding firm to a clear vision of space development beyond low Earth orbit, NASA can push the envelope while at the same time offering practical value for its cost."

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NASA Space Station On-Orbit Status 19 September 2017 - Astronomy Gear Setup

NASA Space Station On-Orbit Status 19 September 2017 - Astronomy Gear Setup Video in Story

The Expedition 53 crew worked on a variety of astronomy gear today that looks at meteors in Earth orbit and harmful radiation from deep space. The crew also explored how microgravity affects human bones and muscles.

More updates...

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