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Former NASA Administrator Griffin: Gateway Is A "Stupid Architecture"

By Keith Cowing on November 16, 2018 1:21 AM.

NASA's Moon Plan Panned by Space Council Advisers

"Stressing that these are his private views, [Under Secretary of Defense for Research and Engineering Mike Griffin] said 2028 "is so late to need as to not be worthy to be on the table." From a systems engineering standpoint, building the Gateway before humans are on the surface is a "stupid architecture" because it will be needed only as a depot for propellant once it is being manufactured on the surface."

Former NASA administrator says Lunar Gateway is "a stupid architecture", Ars Technica

"Prefacing his comments by saying that these were his personal beliefs, Griffin said, "I think 2028 is so late-to-need that it doesn't even need to be on the table. Such a date does not demonstrate that the United States is a leader in anything. This is 2018. It took us eight years to get to the Moon the first time, and you're going to tell me it takes 10 to 12 to 14 to do it again when we know how? I just want to drop a flag on the play."

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Space Council Users' Advisory Group Meets Without Any Users

By Keith Cowing on November 15, 2018 8:07 PM.

National Space Council Users' Advisory Group Meeting

"In accordance with the Federal Advisory Committee Act, as amended, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) announces a meeting of the National Space Council Users' Advisory Group (UAG). This will be the second meeting of the UAG. DATES: Thursday, November 15, 2018, from 9:00 a.m.-4:00 p.m., Eastern Time."

Keith's note: Have a look at the National Space Council User's Advisory Group meeting agenda. Not a single person who is speaking is actually a "user" of space - they are either big Aerospace Reps, politicians, government employees, or reps from other advisory bodies. There is no "user" input in evidence. This is not at all surprising when you look at the UAG subcommittee membership. Yet another pointless example of choir practice in a echo chamber by the usual suspects inside the Beltway.



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NASA Would Rather Talk About Going To Mars Than Go To Mars

By Keith Cowing on November 15, 2018 12:16 AM.

NASA says it can put humans on Mars within 25 years, Atlanta Journal-Constitution

"The cost of solving those means that under current budgets, or slightly expanded budgets, it's going to take about 25 years to solve those," former NASA astronaut Tom Jones told reporters. "We need to get started now on certain key technologies."

NPC Newsmaker: Becoming Martians: NASA's 25-year Plan for Humans to Inhabit the Red Planet

"Humans are on the precipice of becoming an interplanetary species. We earthlings are on our way to becoming Martians. In fact, the future Martians are here on Earth now, training for Mars missions using new technological developments following a strict timeline that will get us there within 25 years."

Keith's note: Blah blah blah. In 2010 NASA started to talk about sending humans to Mars in the early 2030s i.e. approximately 25 years away. 8 years later and its still 25 years away. When I was a boy growing up in the 60s we were going to be on Mars in 1981 when I'd have been 26. Based on this latest 25 year prediction I will be 88. There is something fundamentally wrong with these predictions on the part of NASA. Some astronauts and space pros like participants Tom Jones, James Garvin, and Richard Davis would be perfectly happy if we never went anywhere. They'd rather talk about going somewhere than actually go somewhere. Meetings = action at NASA.

I am a space biologist. When I started working at the NASA Life Science Division at NASA HQ in 1986 we were already working on sending humans to Mars. We never stopped. This has nothing to do with science per se. Yes the risks are real. But they can be dealt with. This has everything to do with using the funding and assets at NASA's disposal for a strategic research plan to methodically reduce risk and flight certify humans for trips to destinations such as Mars. NASA has never had such a strategy and has dabbled in meandering hobby shop science for decades. Now would be a good time to start thinking strategically. Otherwise NASA will never find a way to go to Mars.

Meanwhile SpaceX is building a Mars rocketship and can go to Mars without NASA funding or permission. How will they do it? They'll take the best science at hand, maybe do a little of their own, do informed consent, have their crew sign waivers, and then go to Mars. If NASA won't let their employees take the risk the private sector will. When I lived at Everest Base Camp for a month in 2009 I did so after signing a waiver. People do this risk/benefit calculation all the time. Virtually everyone at Everest signed a waiver. NASA has to WANT to go to Mars and then focus its scattered energies on that end point. In the end someone has to step up and sign off on the increased risk. It will never be zero. Otherwise NASA needs to stand back and let others do it. And they will. Will SpaceX make it? We'll see. Are they trying? Yes. Is NASA trying? No. They just do telecons and Powerpoint.

We're about to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Apollo 11. Yea. Let's have a big feel-good party to celebrate the fact that we dropped the ball on our Apollo achievements and no longer know how to do something that we once did with style and daring half a century ago.

SpaceX's next big BFR spaceship part finished in Port of LA tent facility, Teslarati

"The first 9-meter (29.5-foot) diameter composite propellant tank dome for SpaceX's full-scale BFR spaceship prototype has been spotted more or less complete at the company's temporary Port of Los Angeles facility, unambiguous evidence that SpaceX is continuing to rapidly fabricate major components of its next-generation rocket."

NASA Is Still Kicking The Can Down the Road to Mars, earlier Post

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Russia's New Starship Looks Very Familiar

By Keith Cowing on November 15, 2018 12:06 AM.

Keith's note: Didn't they do this sort of thing back in the 80s when they copied the U.S. Space Shuttle?

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Lunar Exploration Meetings This Week

By Keith Cowing on November 14, 2018 2:11 PM.

Keith's note: The Lunar Exploration Analysis Group (LEAG 2018) will be meeting from 14-15 November at USRA and can be followed via the following Adobe Connect website.
https://ac.arc.nasa.gov/leag2018/ Online attendees may enter as a guest. Twitter comments have the hashtag #LEAG2018.

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Macy's Has A Nice ISS-Themed Holiday TV Ad

By Keith Cowing on November 14, 2018 10:59 AM.

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A NASA Advisory Committee Without Members Is Scheduled To Meet

By Keith Cowing on November 13, 2018 9:28 PM.

NASA Advisory Council Regulatory and Policy Committee Meeting

"Date: Friday, November 16, 2018. In accordance with the Federal Advisory Committee Act, as amended, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) announces the first meeting of the Regulatory and Policy Committee of the NASA Advisory Council. This Committee reports to the NAC."

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Second Season of "Mars": Can't We All Just Get Along?

By Keith Cowing on November 12, 2018 11:06 PM.

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Democrats Plan To Subpoena White House On #SpaceForce

By Keith Cowing on November 12, 2018 4:14 PM.

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Humans Do Learn From Their Mistakes

By Keith Cowing on November 12, 2018 11:03 AM.

We need to change the way we talk about space exploration, National Geographic

"When discussing space exploration, people often invoke stories about the exploration of our own planet, like the European conquest and colonization of the Americas, or the march westward in the 1800s, when newly minted Americans believed it was their duty and destiny to expand across the continent. But increasingly, government agencies, journalists, and the space community at large are recognizing that these narratives are born from racist, sexist ideologies that historically led to the subjugation and erasure of women and indigenous cultures, creating barriers that are still pervasive today. To ensure that humanity's future off-world is less harmful and open to all, many of the people involved are revising the problematic ways in which space exploration is framed."

Keith's note: This article proceeds from a false premise: that human exploration will always result in subjugation and exploitation. Oops: that hasn't happened in Antarctica. Humans can learn from their mistakes.

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Here's Some #SpaceForce FOIA Goodness To Dig Through

By Keith Cowing on November 9, 2018 2:48 PM.

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Staff Departure at the National Space Council

By Keith Cowing on November 9, 2018 2:46 PM.

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NASA's Moon Plans Are Missing Something Important

By Keith Cowing on November 8, 2018 8:26 PM.

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Elections Can Have Consequences Billions Of Miles Away

By Keith Cowing on November 7, 2018 10:02 PM.

Culberson's ouster could spell big problems for NASA's Orion program, experts say, Houston Chronicle

"NASA programs -- especially Orion, which is focused on putting humans back on the moon -- could be in trouble after Republican U.S. Rep. John Culberson lost his House seat to Democrat Lizzie Pannill Fletcher. Culberson, a Republican from Texas, led the House Appropriations Committee that funds NASA for the last four years. And he's been a stanch advocate of science and human spaceflight over his nearly two decades in office, said Keith Cowing, editor of NASA Watch, a website devoted to space news. "Nothing is better than to have an advocate for space science and exploration sitting on the committee in the House where NASA funding starts," Cowing said Wednesday morning. ... "Culberson may be partisan, but he's a clear advocate for science," Cowing said. ... Still, it's a shame to lose Culberson, Cowing said, because "so few people are championing science and exploration missions and putting their partisan stances aside, but here's Culberson forcefully looking for life elsewhere."

"The question is how will that affect NASA's space science portfolio?""

Some takeaways for science from yesterday's U.S. elections, Science

"Representative John Culberson (R-TX), who chairs a spending panel that funds NASA and the National Science Foundation, lost to Democrat Lizzie Fletcher. Culberson has been a major advocate of NASA's Europa Clipper mission to a jovian moon; his defeat could mean the project will face obstacles."

What the 2018 midterms mean for NASA and planetary science, Planetary Society

"Europa Clipper, the mission currently in formulation that would fly by Europa dozens of times, is likely to continue without Culberson's support. NASA has formally endorsed the mission, and it is highly ranked by the planetary science decadal survey report. If pressed, I would say the odds of Europa Clipper launching on an SLS have now dropped considerably, and its launch date also now likely to be in the mid-2020s as opposed to 2022. I have a hard time seeing how the Europa lander project continues without Culberson, because NASA has not formally requested the mission, and it lacks consensus support from the scientific community. Culberson had been planning -- and still may be able to -- allocate hundreds of millions of dollars to this effort in fiscal year 2019, but no other member of Congress is likely to pick up that effort in 2020 or beyond."

Keith's note: Looks like Planetary Society wants you to think that its time to give up on the exploration of Europa.

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Rogozin Wants To Fix Roscosmos

By Keith Cowing on November 7, 2018 7:16 PM.

Russian space leader issues decree against trash, "sloppy" work attitudes, Ars Technica

"Dmitry Rogozin is not having the best year. Earlier, he was essentially demoted from his position as deputy prime minister over defense and space to a position managing Roscosmos, the Russian space corporation. And since then he has had to grapple with a number of embarrassing spaceflight problems, including an errant drill hole in a Soyuz spacecraft and an emergency landing of another one after a rocket exploded mid-flight. But Rogozin is nothing if not a fighter, and he now appears to be taking steps to address the deteriorating situation at Roscosmos - and the Russian aerospace companies that build rockets and spacecraft for the country."

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NASA Space Station On-Orbit Status 6 November 2018 - Life Support RackGround Initial Activation and Checkout

NASA Space Station On-Orbit Status 6 November 2018 - Life Support RackGround Initial Activation and Checkout

Japan's seventh resupply ship to the International Space Station is packed and readied for departure Wednesday morning. However, the Japanese cargo ship, H-II Transfer Vehicle-7 (HTV-7), has one more delivery mission before it burns up safely over the Pacific Ocean.

More updates...

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