December 1999 Archives


14 December 1999: Mulville Named Associate Deputy Administrator , NASA PAO

02 December 1999: NASA's Chief Engineer, Daniel R. Mulville, will be the new NASA Associate Deputy Administrator, NASA Watch

Mulville will replace Jack Daily who will become the new Director of the Natinal Air and Space Museum

Editor's note Gee, it certainly takes PAO a loooooong time to get the news out these days.

9 November 1999: NASA chief nears a milestone, MSNBC

"Even Cowing, whose Web site sometimes posts pictures of Goldin electronically altered to resemble a "Star Trek" villain called the Borg, said
he admires some of Goldin's work. In his more visionary moments, Goldin "clicks with what it's about to be a species about to jump off this planet and explore the universe," Cowing said. "When he talks about his grandchildren looking up to the stars, he's everybody's grandfather when he says that."

Editor's note: my calculations show that Dan surpasses Webb's term for continuous service as NASA Administrator sometime on Sunday, 21 November.

5 November 1999: Buyout and Early Out Retirement for Code F and AI, Centerwide email to all ARC civil servants.

29 October 1999: Why a Healthy Work Force is Important, a note from Dan Goldin to all NASA employees

"Healthy employees are the pillars of NASA's success and can get the job done better and more efficiently. An investment in healthy lifestyle improvement is an investment in NASA's future, and is one of the most significant competitive advantages available today"

28 October 1999:
Minutes of Senior Staff and Center Directors' Meeting, NASA HQ

3. Mr. Goldin

"Mr. Goldin clarified a statement he made at Friday's, October 22, Senior Management Council (SMC) meeting regarding Red Team activities. He said that intellectual discussions are healthy and a part of the fundamental modes of doing business. He also added that intellectual discussions are not meant to add to workplace stress. Mr. Goldin emphasized that the concepts on which he spoke (on Friday) are "technical and complex"concepts. He encouraged the Associate Administrators (AA's) and Center Directors to discuss these concepts and to ask questions. Mr. Goldin will be available, along with Dr. Mulville, Mr. Venneri, and Mr. Gregory, to answer any questions. Mr. Goldin reiterated that safety, quality, and reliability are primary starting points for conducting NASA business. Mr. Goldin stated that the leadership of NASA (AA's and Center Directors) must deal with the issue of stress in the workplace. Beginning next week, Mr. Goldin plans to introduce a new theme on occupational health at every telecon. If he is not in attendance at the telecon, Gen. Dailey will share Mr. Goldin's theme with attendees."

Editor's note: Isn't it curious how these official, public minutes make no mention whatsoever of the Code F video presentation - nor Dan's obvious disatisfaction with them? (see below)

Special editor's note for Dan: If you really want to reduce workplace stress then YOU need to set the example for others to follow. YOU need to start to behave more professionally and stop jumping down people's throats for silly things like worm logos. When you act this way, it only serves to condone the inappropriate behavior of others. Why should anyone bother to listen to you (except under threat of punishment or reassignment) when you seem to feel that such outbursts are an acceptable management tool? I am sure the ISO9000 auditors would frown on your approach if they were allowed to review your management procedures.

Small wonder people are under stress at NASA when you behave this way.

26 October 1999: Dan sees worm, kicks Code F out of meeting.

Editor's note: Code F presented a video at the Senior Management Committee Meeting last Friday describing current NASA educational programs. Included at one point is a brief, 2 second flash from some old footage that included the NASA worm logo. The instant that this appeared on the screen, Dan Goldin shouted to stop the tape, stating that he'd "seen enough" and ordered the presenters out of the room. Goldin then directed all Associate Adminstrators and Center Directors to remove worms wherever they appear. Word has it that the large granite worm on the outside NASA HQ is on the list for removal.

Goldin then apologized for having gone ballistic and said that he did not intend this to be a reflection on the work of Code F. None the less, several Associate Administrators present at this meeting have let it be known to others that they feel that Goldin's behavior was inappropriate and totally uncalled for.

To heighten the absurd atmosphere of the meeting, toward the end, Goldin noted that a lot of people at NASA Headquarters were stressed out and ordered senior management to do something to stop this.

Echoes of Captains Bligh, Queeg, and Ahab anyone?

24 October 1999: After 7.5 years, NASA ARC Public Affairs still doesn't know how to spell the administrator's last name.

Editor's note: Have a look at the newspaper graphic on the NASA ARC news page "Dan Golden Unveils vision for Future of Aeronautics in NASA"


Update: They pulled the offending image and replaced it with another. Look here to see what was originally online.

Meanwhile, I stumbled across another PAO hidden treasure as well - at GRC PAO - a picture of Dan Goldin when he worked at Lewis Research Center in the 1960's.

Note: Look here if NASA GRC PAO has yanked the offending image.

12 October 1999: Minutes of Senior Staff and Center Directors' Meeting

"A/Mr. Goldin

Mr. Goldin commented on the budget. The Appropriations Committees worked hard to get us where we are, above the President's request. Mr. Goldin recognizes that the level of earmarks is frustrating. He would like to spend some time at a future Senior Management Council meeting discussing this issue in preparation for next year's budget process.

Mr. Goldin was disappointed to learn from an ABC News story about bickering within JPL about the Mars Climate Orbiter failure. He stressed that people make mistakes and it is destructive to place blame. We need to fix the system."

Editor's note: I have seen and heard some rather wild things attributed to Dan Goldin while "watching" NASA, but hearing that Dan actually admonished others for "placing blame", when he himself is a deft practioner of the art, has got to be among the most hypocritical things he has ever said.

7 October 1999: Tense Nerves at NASA - The Toll of a Lost Space Probe, ABC News

"The lab has been rife with rumors that the navigation team determined 10 days before the accident that the spacecraft was on a course that would take it too close to Mars, ample time to make a course adjustment. According to lab lore, the navigators are being blamed to save the brass, which failed to heed the warning. "

14 October 1999: ARC seeks buyout authority from NASA HQ: center-wide email from the Chief of the ARC Human Resources Division regarding "Proposed Separation Incentive Pay (Buyout) for Research and Development Services Directorate and Aeronautical Information Technologies Division".

"Ames has submitted a proposal to NASA Headquarters requesting limited buyout authority in specific organizations. This request is being made to facilitate the changing complement allocations for targeted organizations resulting from the refocusing of Ames missions and goals."

30 September 1999: Agencies say 100,000 jobs could be contracted out, Government Executive

"A series of agencies have identified more than 100,000 jobs that could potentially be outsourced to private firms..... The lists of jobs that could be contracted out are required by the 1998 Federal Activities Inventory Reform (FAIR) Act. Under the FAIR Act, agencies reviewed every job in their workforces to determine whether they had to be performed by a government employee. If not, the job went on the FAIR Act list. ."

FAIR Act report , Government Executive

"This special ongoing section provides lists of jobs that could potentially be outsourced under the 1998 Federal Activities Inventory Reform Act. New lists will be added as agencies release them."

NASA Section - lists 7,957 jobs that NASA said are commercial in nature, but none of them are slated for outsourcing.

19 August 1999:  Thompson puts pressure on managers to improve

"Providing federal leaders with lists of their agencies' unresolved management
weaknesses, Sen. Fred Thompson, R-Tenn., urged every agency to address those weaknesses in the annual performance plans required under the 1993 Government Performance and Results Act (GPRA). Thompson developed the lists based on General Accounting Office and inspector general reviews of federal operations in recent years."

19 August 1999:   Letter from Sen. Thompson to Dan Goldin regarding Government Performance and Results Act (GPRA), Government Executive

22 July 1999: The Changing Face of NASA, MSNBC

"The drive toward diversity poses a particular challenge for the space agency in light of the agency's shrinking budgets and payrolls, says Keith Cowing, a former NASA worker who is now the editor of NASA Watch, an independent online publication. "You have declining budgets, you have the increased need for diversity, you have the increased need to cut people, and you have the
need to do the things that need to be done at the end of the day - and you have a collision ...."

28 June 1999: Will Colonel John R. Rogacki (USAF) be the director of the new Space Transportation Directorate at MSFC?

Editor's note: That's what the internal MSFC email seems to be showing.

29 June 1999: Memo from MSFC Center Director Art Stephenson regarding the appointment of Colonel John R. Rogacki

Update: MSFC Center Director Art Stephenson has brought a TRW manager, Robert (Bob) Sackheim, to be on his staff as a propulsion expert. He will come on board sometime after Labor

28 June 1999: Frank Rose named director of NASA Marshall Center's new Science Directorate, MSFC press release

22 June 1999: Ex-astronaut named Marshall executive, Huntsville Times

"Former astronaut and Huntsville native Jan Davis is coming home for an executive position at Marshall Space Flight Center.

Davis, who in 1992 was half of the first married U.S. couple to fly in space, has been named deputy director of the new Flight Projects Directorate at Marshall, according to Marshall spokesman Tim Tyson."

22 June 1999: GRC Deputy Center Director Marty Kress to Leave NASA

17 June 1999: Union Help Allowed for Agency Probes, AP, Yahoo

"Federal employees have the right to a union representative's help when they are questioned by an agency inspector general, the Supreme Court ruled today.

The decision upheld a federal appeals court ruling that the National Aeronautics and Space Administration and its inspector general committed an unfair labor practice by restricting a union
representative's efforts to aid an employee during a questioning session."

17 June 1999: IGs represent management, Supreme Court rules, Government Executive Magazine

"The investigators employed in NASA's [Office of the Inspector General] are unquestionably 'representatives' of NASA when acting within the scope of their employment," the court ruled."

16 June 1999: NASA Selects Key Space Flight managers, NASA Press release

William Readdy has been appointed Deputy Associate Administrator
for the Office of Space Flight
Michael Hawes has been named Deputy Associate Administrator for Space Development (Space Station)
Norm Starkey has been named Director for Space Shuttle

16 June 1999: Tom Leudke selected as associate adminstrator for Procurement, NASA press release

1 June 1999: Letter from Dan Goldin to Members of the NASA Senior Executive Service regarding "Agency Culture and Corporate Communication"

"Recently, I addressed a group of program management trainees at the Agency's training facility at Wallops Island. I was appalled at the lack of awareness of the Agency organization, principles, and initiatives demonstrated by the next generation of NASA leaders. These future leaders could not identify our four Enterprise Associate Administrators. They could not provide even the most rudimentary facts about the Agency Safety Initiative. Something is wrong."

Editor's note: Dan, you have personally approved every SES candidate at NASA for many, many years now. Moreover, you have been the one who has been running NASA since 1992. One would think that you'd take some personal responsibility for this situation instead of just expecting everyone else to accept the blame. Perhaps YOU could work towards improving your communcation skills too.

NASA Watch Readers's note:"It is more interesting that I, a member of the NASA SES, had to read this letter on NASA Watch. As of Friday, 4-Jun, I had neither seen this letter nor had even heard anyone at my Center discuss its existence. Interesting..."

10 May 1999: Larry Knauer to Head Pratt & Whitney Space Propulsion, PR Newswire, Yahoo

"During his 18-year career at Lockheed Martin, Knauer has held a series of key assignments. Most recently, he has been vice president and program manager for the X-33/RLV program, a
potential Space Shuttle replacement...."

10 May 1999: Management changes at Boeing/ISS

Doug Stone announced at the 7:30 all hands this morning that Brewster Shaw will be named Vice president for Space Station and that Steve Goo will be Jay Greene' s counterpart as Director of Development.

3 May 1999: Hughes names Randy Brinkley new senior VP of satellite programs, press release, Florida Today

9 April 1999: OPM issues revised RIF rules, Government Executive Magazine

8 April 1999: McClain to leave NASA; Hawes named acting Chief of Space Station, NASA Press release

8 April 1999: Top Space Station Officials Quit, AP, Yahoo

"NASA says the resignations of the two top administrators for the space station have nothing to do with lengthy delays in the project or problems with Russia."

Editor's note: To all of you out there harboring conspiratorial tendencies: There is no linkage whatsoever between the timing of these two departures - both of which were rumored for quite some time. Trust me.

5 April 1999: 
Holloway to replace Brinkley

JSC Center Director George Abbey announced this morning that Shuttle Program Manager Tommy Holloway will replace Randy Brinkley as Space Station Program Office Manager.

1 April 1999:  Happy Anniversary, Dan!

Editor's note: Dan Goldin took office on April Fool's day 1992. He is now the second longest serving NASA Administrator - he will exceed Jim Webb's record sometime in November. Meanwhile, NASA Watch just turned 3.

8 February 1999: Peterson named Dryden Director, NASA Press release

1 February 1999: Marshall to hire 60 in 2000, Huntsville Times

2 February 1999: Memo from LeRC Center Director Donald J. Campbell to all LeRC employees regarding LeRC's name change.

" The renaming of the Center will require many changes. We have initiated an
impact assessment on the name change and are developing a proposed
implementation timeline. This will be a great opportunity for you to become
involved in the many tasks necessary to effect this change. I know you will
join in as we prepare the Center for transition and the upcoming
celebration events."

Editor's note: it's rather curious how the name change was noted here at NASA Watch, within HQ budget documents, and elsewhere before LeRC management bothered to officially tell their employees.

Meanwhile, I wonder just how much this Lewis to Glenn name change will cost NASA. Given Dan's obsession with worm logo eradication, one would expect that no expense will be spared to hoist John Glenn's name around LeRC as fast as possible so as to capitalize on its fading PR value.

1 February 1999: Has NASA already renamed Lewis Research Center as the "Glenn Research Center"?

Editor's note: if you download and open the Summary of NASA budget request for FY 2000 (PDF format) and go to pages 7 and 10 you'll see reference to "Glenn Research Center". Alas, the LeRC - er GRC workyear distribution gets cut from 2,003 in FY 1999 to 1,983 in FY 2000. So much for the perceived political advantage of flying John Glenn in space and then naming a space center in his home state after him.

29 January 1999:
Briefing "MSFC: Restructuring for the Future"


17 December 1999: Protocol 2A.X Contingency Meeting (complete text with attachments)

"The parties met on Dec 13 through 17 to discuss the possibility of a contingency mission to ISS to repair the FGB and to extend its on orbit life in the event of a further delay of the SM launch date. RSC-E was represented by L. Gorshkov, NASA by K. Reiley, and KhSC by A. Mikhailov. The following items were discussed.

The parties agreed to begin the development of a contingency mission labeled 2A.2A to protect for the possibility of a further delay of SM launch. It was agreed that if the SM launch is delayed to May or later, then an additional mission (2A.2A) will be planned for March 16. The purpose of this mission will be to repair equipment on the FGB, take measures to extend its' service life to Dec. 2000, and to perform activities planned for the original 2A.2 mission in that general order of priority. After SM launches, a revised 2A.2 mission will be flown. This launch will be scheduled for no earlier than July 8 and will be designated 2A.2B. A preliminary listing of tasks for the 2A.2A is enclosed in attachment 1."

4 January 2000: Space Shuttle Launch Schedule for 2000 ISS Missions Under Review, SpaceRef

NASA issued a Space Shuttle Status Report today that lists the following target dates for the next 3 Space Shuttle Missions:

  • ° STS-99 - Shuttle Radar Topography Mission (SRTM): No earlier than 31 Jan 2000
  • ° STS-101 - 3rd ISS Flight (2A.2) - SPACEHAB DM: No earlier than 16 Mar 2000
  • ° STS-92 - 4th ISS Flight (3A) - Z-1 Truss, PMA-3: No earlier than 14 Jun 2000

NASA is currently considering the addition of a new logistics mission to the ISS - one that would re-use both the same Space Shuttle and the same crew.

Full story...

22 November 1999: New delay for shuttle launch, MSNBC

" If launch delays continue to mount, NASA would face factors that could push the servicing flight into the year 2000: the Christmas holiday plus the Year 2000 computer changeover."

22 November 1999: Hubble Repair Mission Delayed Again, AP, Yahoo

"NASA's repair mission to the Hubble Space Telescope has been
delayed again, this time by three days because of more damaged wiring found aboard space shuttle Discovery. Shuttle managers today set a new launch date of Dec. 9."

19 November 1999: Discovery damage not thought to be serious; pad fix possible, Florida Today

"NASA has found more damaged electrical wires on shuttle Discovery, officials said Thursday, prompting new inspections on the ship as work continues toward a Dec. 6 launch to the Hubble Space Telescope. "

18 November 1999: More Shuttle Wiring Problems Found, AP, Yahoo

"Because the inspections are ongoing, it's too soon to know whether any repairs would delay the Dec. 6 launch, said NASA spokesman Joel Wells"

16 November 1999: Hubble shuts its eyes, BBC

15 November 1999: Hubble Telescope Placed Into Safe Hold As Gyroscope Fails, NASA press release

"The safe mode does not require gyros, so even if another gyro should fail in the next few weeks, HST will remain safe, according to project managers. The aperture
door has been closed to protect the optics, and the spacecraft is aligned to the sun to ensure adequate power is received by Hubble's solar panels."

15 November 1999: Hubble failure shuts down the science Telescope in 'safe mode'; gyroscopes must be fixed, Reuters, MSNBC

10 November 1999:SPACE Shuttle Disocvery set to rollout to launch pad 39B Nov. 13 , NASA KSC press release

"Towering atop the mobile launcher platform and crawler transporter, Space Shuttle Discovery is scheduled to emerge from the Vehicle Assembly Building at about 2 a.m. this Saturday. Discovery is expected to arrive at Launch Pad 39B by 8 a.m. to undergo final preparations for the STS-103 launch, targeted for Dec. 6."

9 November 1999: Second Shuttle Wiring Problem Found, AP, Yahoo

"NASA said today it's still aiming for a Dec. 6 launch of space shuttle Discovery to the Hubble Space Telescope, despite another wiring problem found on the ship."

8 November 1999: Discovery's rollout to launch pad delayed, Florida Today

"During the routine shuttle interface test on Monday, engineers in the firing room noted that a so-called cross-strap cable was not working properly. The cable runs from one solid rocket booster forward attach fitting, through the external tank and to the booster on the opposite side. "

8 November 1999: USA Names McCulley Chief Operating Officer, PR Newswire, Yahoo

5 November 1999: New Shuttle manifest from the JPCRB

Based upon presentations at the JPCRB today this is the latest view of an adjusted Space Shuttle manifest:

  • STS-99 - SRTM - 13 Jan 2000

  • STS-101 - 2A.2 - 16 Mar 2000 [See Note 1]

  • STS-92 - 3A - 21 Jun 2000 [See Note 2]

  • STS-97 - 4A - 20 Jul 2000 [See Note 2]

  • STS-98 - 5A - 19 Aug 2000

  • STS-102 - 5A.1 - 19 Oct 2000

  • STS-100 - 6A - 30 Nov 2000
  • STS-107 - Research - 11 Jan 2001

  • STS-104 - 7A - 8 Feb 2001

  • STS-105 - 7A.1 - 8 Mar 2001

  • STS-106 - UF-1 - 19 Apr 2001

  • STS-108 - HST SM3B - 24 May 2001

  • STS-109 - 8A - 21 Jun 2001

  • STS-110 - UF-2 - 16 Aug 2001

Note 1. This morning's Tass announcement of Service Module launch slip to February should not affect this schedule as the possibility of a February launch was included in these calculations.

Note 2. 5 weeks are required between 3A and 4A to relocate the ICBC. This schedule only shows 4 weeks. As such, work is underway to to move 3A up to a target date of 14 June 2000. If this schedule can be made to work a formal CR should be submitted and reviwed by the JPCRB soon.

3 November 1999: New Delay For U.S. Shuttle Mission To Hubble, Reuters, Yahoo

4 November 1999: More Shuttle manifest changes ahead?

Editor's note:
Just as it seemed that a new Shuttle launch manifest was ready to be baselined, yet another schedule is already in the works (a "Plan B") - one wherein launch dates might slip even further. Word has it that baselining the proposed modifications to the Space Shuttle launch manifest is a bit further away than the next JPRCB. It seems that options will be presented at the JPCRB - but only as a pitch. Whatever the JPRCB accepts ( i.e. plan A, B, or something else) will drive the development of a formal CR (Change Request) that will be submitted - and considered - at a later date.

1 November 1999: Preview of revised Shuttle manifest

The following is supposed to go to the JPRCB on Friday. Once again, there is
speculation that the meeting may be postponed, again.

2 November 1999: Children come out to show their support for VentureStar at ISBA.

Editor's note: I had expected to hear Secretary of State Albright and NASA Administrator Goldin speak at ISBA tonight. They did not show up. Instead, someone who works well down the totem pole from Albright at the State Department (the "Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of State") presented a rather innocuous and dry speech.

The program was apparently altered to include some "entertainment" to fill the gap left in the program. It was filled with what can only be described as a children's chorus lauding the potential of Lockheed Martin's VentureStar.

29 October 1999: Four Photos of the damage done to Space Shuttle Atlantis

NASA Watch Note: These four photos (in low and higher resolution formats) document the damage done to Atlantis earlier this week at NASA KSC. The damage was done to Flipper door #4 and #12 on left outboard and right inboard over the actuators. The flipper doors have been temporarily closed with the push/pull rods disconnected and taped to the door. The rods caught on the structure during movement thus damaging the rods, rocker arms, and structure.

31 October 1999: More Adjustments to Shuttle Schedule, SpaceViews

"A shuttle mission to the International Space Station (ISS) once planned for early December has now been delayed to at least mid March, NASA shuttle managers reported late Friday, October 29."

30 October 1999: Damage to shuttle Atlantis not serious; Discovery preparations continue, Florida Today

"Technicians accidentally damaged wing flaps on shuttle Atlantis last week while preparing the ship for a March flight, NASA officials said Friday.

Repairing the damage will not delay the ship's targeted March 16 launch on a mission to carry supplies to the International Space Station, said Joel Wells, Kennedy Space Center spokesman. "

27 October 1999: "Space Transportation Architecture Studies: The Future of Earth-to-Orbit Spaceflight", hearing before the House Science Committee's Subcommittee on Space and Aeronautics

27 October 1999: Hearing Summary by Keith Cowing, Editor, NASA Watch

Editor's note: it would seem that after 5 years of studying this issue, NASA is still 5 years away from meeting the goal set for the end of 1999 i.e. " government and private sector decisions by the end of this decade on development of an operational, next-generation reusable launch system".

27 October 1999: [Opening Statement] Chairman Dana Rohrabacher, Subcommittee on Space and Aeronautics

"The more we can allow decisions to be made by businesspeople investing private dollars to address public and private needs, the more competitive and prosperous America's space transportation industry will be. And that way, when someone comes in to lobby us on their latest rocketship proposal, our response can be: "show me the money."


  • [Testimony] Dr. Daniel Mulville, Chief Engineer and Chairman Space Transportation

  • Council, National Aeronautics and Space Administration

  • [Testimony] Mr. Rick Stephens, Vice President and General Manager, Reusable Space

  • Systems, Boeing Space & Communications

  • [Testimony] Mr. Michael Coats, Vice President, Reusable Transportation Systems, Lockheed Martin Astronautics

  • [Testimony] Dr. Michael Griffin, Executive Vice President and Chief Technical Officer,

  • Orbital Sciences Corporation

  • [Testimony] Dr. Tom Rogers, Chairman, Sophron Foundation

Space Transportation Architecture Study (STAS), Chief Engineer's Office, NASA HQ

21 October 1999:
"Safety and Performance Upgrades to NASA's Space Shuttle", Hearing before the House Subcommittee on Space & Aeronautics

Hearing Charter

Time: 10:00 am - 12:00 noon

Place: Rayburn House Office Building, Room 2318


    [Testimony] Byron K. Wood, Vice President and General Manager, Boeing Rocketdyne Propulsion and Power
    Andy Allen, Director of Space Shuttle Development, United Space Alliance
    [Testimony] William F. Readdy, Deputy Associate Administrator for Space Flight, NASA
    Stephen A. Book, Member, Committee on Space Shuttle Upgrades, National Research Council

"Upgrading the Space Shuttle", Report by the Committee on Space Shuttle Upgrades, Aeronautics and Space Engineering Board, National Research Council

Editor's note: This 1999 report resulted from a request by NASA to examine the agency's plans for further upgrades to the space shuttle system. The NRC was asked to assess NASA's method for evaluating and selecting upgrades and to conduct a top-level technical assessment of proposed upgrades.

7 October 1999: NASA Pushes Back Hubble Shuttle Mission To December, Reuters, Excite

7 October 1999: Target launch dates set: KSC Space Shuttle Status Report

"With wiring inspections and repairs of Discovery and Endeavour nearing
completion and similar work beginning on Atlantis, Shuttle program managers
today set new planning target launch dates for the next three Space Shuttle
missions. Based on an assessment of the work remaining on Discovery and Endeavour and the inspections which have begun on Atlantis, managers set the following as
target launch dates for upcoming flights:

    Dec. 2, 1999: STS-103/Discovery, Hubble Space Telescope Servicing-3A

    January 13, 2000: STS-99/EndeavourShuttle, Radar Topography Mission

    (no earlier than) February 10, 2000: STS-101/Atlantis, ISS Logistics/Assembly Flight 2A.2

"Our number one priority for the Space Shuttle is to fly safely, and that is
why we delayed our launch preparations and have performed comprehensive
wiring inspections and repairs," Space Shuttle Program Manager Ron Dittemore
said. "As a result of our inspections, we've made significant changes in how
we protect electrical wiring. We believe those changes, along with changes
to the work platforms and procedures we use in the Shuttle's payload bay,
will prevent similar wire damage from recurring," Dittemore added."

24 September 1999: Culbertson and Parazynski lend expertise to space station crews, NASA Press release

"Frank L. Culbertson, who has been leading NASA's efforts in
the Shuttle-Mir program and the International Space Station, will
return to space to command the third crew to live and work aboard
the space station ... Culbertson replaces astronaut Ken Bowersox, a U.S. Navy
captain, who continues to train as commander of the back-up crew
for the first expedition mission in early 2000. Culbertson joins
Russian Space Agency cosmonauts Vladimir Dezhurov and Mikhail
Turin, who were previously named to the flight."

"In another mission assignment, Scott Parazynski will join the
crew of STS-100, the eighth American flight to continue
construction of the space station, currently scheduled for mid-
2000. He replaces astronaut Robert Curbeam, a U.S. Navy
lieutenant commander, who will fly aboard STS-98 in early 2000."

Editor's note: Ken Bowersox reportedly asked to be removed from his assignment to the Expedition 3 crew for personal reasons. Robert Curbeam was moved off of STS-100 to replace Mark Lee who was dumped from STS-98 by George Abbey. NASA PAO, of course, doesn't bother to inform you of either fact anywhere in this press release. Instead, they expect you to now believe that:

"The reassignment resulted from changes in the mission
requirements for the two crews. The initial mission requirements,
particularly with the U.S.-provided airlock module, have evolved
considerably since the initial flight assignments were made. "

Earlier stories on Mark Lee's plight can be found on our Shuttle News page.

24 September 1999: "Space Shuttle Safety", Hearings before the House Science Committee's Subcommittee on Space and Aeronautics, 23 September 1999.
Summary by Keith Cowing, Editor, NASA Watch

24 September 1999: NASA hasn't figured out cost of grounding shuttle fleet, lawmakers told, Florida Today

"United Space Alliance, the private aerospace consortium maintaining the reusable space planes, will not receive an estimated $2.5 million payment it would have otherwise earned for the on-time delivery of an orbiter for the next scheduled shuttle launch, said Michael McCulley, vice president and deputy program manager for the consortium."

    23 September 1999: "Space Shuttle Safety", Hearings before the House Science Committee's Subcommittee on Space and Aeronautics

    Hearing Charter

    Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, Chairman, Subcommittee on Space and Aeronautics. [prepared statement]

    Rep. Dave Weldon FL-15, [prepared statement]


    Mr. Michael J. McCulley, Vice President and Deputy Program Manager, United Space Alliance [prepared statement]
    Mr. Frederick D. Gregory, Associate Administrator for Safety and Mission [prepared statement]
    Assurance, National Aeronautics and Space Administration
    Mr. William F. Readdy, Deputy Associate Administrator for Space Flight,
    National Aeronautics and Space Administration [prepared statement]

21 September 1999: NASA team to review shuttle work procedures in wake of wiring problems, Florida Today

"NASA on Monday launched an investigation into the way maintenance work
is done on its space shuttle fleet, a move prompted by the discovery of damaged electrical wiring on all four vehicles. "

20 September 1999: NASA forms new panel to review shuttle safety, CNN

"Henry McDonald, director of NASA Ames Research Center in California, will chair the shuttle safety team. Other panelists will be named later this week."

20 September 1999: NASA forms independent industry-government team to review Shuttle maintenance and refurbishment practices, NASA press release

"Following the recent discovery of maintenance-related damage to electrical wiring in the Space Shuttle, NASA is forming a team of leading aerospace experts to review the overall safety of shuttle maintenance and refurbishment practices."

7 September 1999: Minutes of Senior Staff and Center Directors' Meeting, NASA HQ

M/Rothenberg: Mr. Rothenberg reported on the following items: 1) Dr. Henry McDonald will lead an Independent Technical Team to review the Space Shuttle systems and maintenance practices. The Team will be comprised of NASA, contractor, and DOD technical personnel and will look at NASA practices, Shuttle anomalies, and civilian and military experience. The Team will recommend additions, changes, and deletions to Shuttle practices and is expected to complete its review by the third week in October."

Editor's note: Why did PAO wait two weeks to announce this - and then do so only a few days before a Congressional hearing on (guess what) Space Shuttle safety? This link was posted on NASA Watch last week.

17 September 1999: Chief Operating Officer to Leave United Space Alliance, PR Newswire, Yahoo

"United Space Alliance Chief Operating Officer Jim Adamson announced
that, effective October 6, 1999, he will be leaving USA to join AlliedSignal Inc. as president of AlliedSignal Technical Services Corporation in Columbia, Maryland."

17 September 1999: NASA refuses to reinstate astronaut to spring flight, Houston Chronicle

"Astronaut Mark Lee's appeal to administrators for reinstatement to a shuttle crew assignment he was bumped from earlier this month has been denied, a NASA spokesman said Friday. "

9 September 1999: NASA Switches Two Shuttle Flights, AP, Yahoo

9 September 1999: KSC revised Shuttle Launch Dates

    STS-103: HST Repair - No earlier than 28 Oct 1999 (we've heard 1 Nov)
    STS-99: Shuttle Radar Topography Mission (SRTM) - No earlier than 19 Nov 1999
    STS-101: ISS 2A.2 - No earlier than 22 Jan 2000

15 September 1999: Space Shuttles Safe After Hurricane, Ap, Yahoo

14 September 1999: Storm Center, Yahoo

14 September 1999: NASA Unable To Handle Big Storms, AP, Yahoo

"NASA tried to protect its four space shuttles the best it could and then evacuated the Kennedy Space Center, unable to handle storms the size and fury of Hurricane Floyd. The shuttles were in danger from the storm, powerful enough to wipe out NASA's launch pads and hangars."

13 September 1999: Floyd Endangering Space Shuttles, AP, Yahoo

"NASA's four space shuttles were in danger as the agency braced Monday for Hurricane Floyd, a storm powerful enough to wipe out its launch pads and hangars.All of the shuttles are in hangars. But the buildings are designed to withstand wind of no more than 105 mph to 125 mph. Floyd was packing top sustained winds of 155 mph wind as of Monday afternoon."

10 September 1999: Astronaut reassignment update:

Editor's note: It now seems that the Ken Bowersox and Mark Lee reassignments are coincidental. Bowersox apparently asked to be taken off of his ISS Expedition mission for reasons having to do with training and operational aspects of the mission itself. Bowersox will remain as a member of the back-up team for Expedition 1 however.

Meanwhile, is seems that Mark Lee may have been bumped from his Space Shuttle mission as the result of an otherwise unrelated dispute with JSC Center Director George Abbey over the development of the "short suit". Lee has recently been removed as the representative from the Astronaut Office (CB) to the EVA Project Office (XA) at JSC. The short suit is an EVA spacesuit designed to accommodate smaller astronauts better than current designs.

JSC has yet to issue a press release on this topic but has been busy modifying astronaut biographies and other web pages to reflect recent changes.

10 September 1999: Astronaut to appeal removal, Houston Chronicle

"Astronaut Mark Lee said Friday he is appealing NASA's decision to pull him from a shuttle crew assigned to a space station construction mission next spring."

9 September 1999: Shuttle astronaut taken off crew for ISS mission, CNN

"After an apparent falling out with NASA brass in Houston, astronaut Mark Lee has been removed from a space shuttle mission to the International Space Station next spring. "

7 September 1999: Astronaut Mark Lee removed from space station assembly mission, Bill Harwood/CBS

"Johnson Space Center Director George Abbey personally ordered the change because of what one source called "conduct unbecoming of an astronaut."

7 September 1999: Minutes of Senior Staff and Center Directors' Meeting, NASA HQ

M/Rothenberg: Mr. Rothenberg reported on the following items: 1) Dr. Henry McDonald will lead an Independent Technical Team to review the Space Shuttle systems and maintenance practices. The Team will be comprised of NASA, contractor, and DOD technical personnel and will look at NASA practices, Shuttle anomalies, and civilian and military experience. The Team will recommend additions, changes, and deletions to Shuttle practices and is expected to complete its review by the third week in October."

4 September 1999: U.S. space shuttle fleet grounded -NASA, Reuters, Yahoo

4 September 1999: Space Shuttles Virtually Grounded, AP, Yahoo

3 September 1999: 64 cases of wiring problems found on shuttle fleet - Next launch no earlier than mid-October, CNN

"NASA technicians inspecting two orbiters in the space shuttle fleet have found more than two dozen wiring problems like one that caused a potentially life-threatening short circuit on a July shuttle flight. "

3 September 1999: NASA's Oldest Orbiter Ready for Refurb,

"The $70 million to $80 million upgrade also includes one cosmetic makeover. Columbia will lose its '70s-era NASA logo, with the letters all connected worm-like, in favor the re-adopted '60s logo, affectionately referred to as "the meatball." Eradicating NASA's worm writing has been a pet project of agency administrator Dan Goldin."

Check Worm Watch for the sad tale of the worm logo's demise.

6 September 1999: Space Shuttle Fleet Grounded -NASA, Reuters, Yahoo

4 September 1999: Space Shuttles Virtually Grounded, AP, Yahoo

3 September 1999: 64 cases of wiring problems found on shuttle fleet - Next launch no earlier than mid-October, CNN

"NASA technicians inspecting two orbiters in the space shuttle fleet have found more than two dozen wiring problems like one that caused a potentially life-threatening short circuit on a July shuttle flight. "

2 September 1999: Kennedy Space Center Space Shuttle Status Report, KSC, Florida Today

"Although numerous locations throughout the orbiters have been identified that require additional preventative measures, the number of places identified in each orbiter where wire has required repair includes:

  • Endeavour -- 38
  • Discovery -- 26
  • Atlantis -- full inspections will begin later this month.
  • Columbia -- other than initial inspections associated with the short experienced during STS-93, full wiring inspections will be performed when Columbia arrives at the Boeing North American shuttlefactory in Palmdale, Ca., late this month"

1 September 1999: Kennedy Space Center Space Shuttle Status Report, Florida Today

"Engineers are continuing to analyze a bent freon line associated with
payload bay support equipment for the SRTM payload. The bent line was
reported earlier this month by a technician working on wiring
inspections in that area of Endeavour's cargo bay. The freon line is
part of a cooling system for some of the SRTM electronics. Although
the bent line has not shown any evidence of a leak, engineers are
evaluating the possibility of either bracing or replacing the line to
prevent further damage that could result from vibrations experienced
at launch."

24 August 1999:  Space Shuttle Schedule in Disarray, AP, Yahoo

24 August 1999:  Shuttle Problems Continue--Mission to Space Station Delayed,

23 August 1999:  Damaged Wires Found in all Shuttles,

"Any lingering doubts about NASA's decision to ground the shuttle fleet for
wiring inspections has vanished, with shuttle Endeavour -- the orbiter that had its payload removed for inspections -- turning up 20 areas of potentially hazardous wiring, including spots that were down to bare wire."

16 August 1999:   Launch Makes Collins More Celebrated, AP, Yahoo

4 August 1999:

Editor's note: it seems that a number of people at NASA have taken to refering to STS-93 commander Eileen Collins as "Janeway" - as in Katherine Janeway, commander of the starship "Voyager". The nickname is meant in a most complimentary way for the cool manner with which Collins handled her technically challenging ascent into orbit on STS-93.

13 August 1999:  
Another bad wire found in Columbia - 5 new photos

Editors' note: These 5 photos show a newly-found bad wire on the No.1 engine that flew on Columbia on the STS-93 mission. It (apparently) did not short
out (but came close).

Editor's note: a correction from

"The 5 new pictures are
from the new wire damage found. They are all from the initial find.
photos with the legend FWD on them are of the segment that actually
shorted to the screw head. The photos with the legend AFT were
discovered at the same time (about 2-3 inches away from the short)
over a screw head on the aft side of the joint that did not short (no
arching noted
on the screw head). The new wire damage was in a different area of the
bay and was thought to be just top coat damage (outside paint). failure
of that wire reported that two layers were removed due to abrasion
Based on all the data and the Criticality of the Main Engines, I
strongly believe
NASA made the correct and only possible decision to inspect and protect
Power lines going to the Main Engine Controllers prior to flight."

13 August 1999:   Next shuttle mission delayed to inspect wiring, Florida Today

13 August 1999:   Next U.S. Shuttle Mission Delayed For Wire Checks, Reuters, Yahoo

12 August 1999:   NASA Grounds the Shuttle Fleet for Wire Inspections,

10 August 1999:   NASA Delays Shuttle Move for Wire Inspections,

"This screw in the Columbia cargo bay may have rubbed insulation off nearby wires, causing a short circuit and arcing that singed the screw. [photo] courtesy NASA Watch."

10 August 1999:  Exposed wire cited as cause of short circuit aboard Columbia, Florida Today

10 August 1999:  Space Station Illnesses Downplayed, AP, Yahoo

10 August 1999:  Screw caused Columbia's short circuit, Orlando Sentinel

9 August 1999:   Closeup photos of the short circuit inside Space Shuttle Columbia

Editor's note: Apparently these photos are a NASA Watch "exclusive". These 6 photos were taken in the OPF (Orbiter Processing Facility) at NASA KSC shortly after Columbia landed.

22 July 1999:   Crew/Cargo Transfer Vehicle
Preliminary Requirements
, Space Transportation Architecture Studies
Phase III, NASA Code AE, Office of the Chief Engineer

"The purpose of this document is to establish top-level requirements for the Crew/Cargo Transfer Vehicle (CCTV) for the conduct of associated tasks for Phase III of the NASA Space Transportation Architecture Studies."

15 February 1999: NASA Looks For Spare Parts - From Alabama Museum, Reuters, Yahoo

"The Marshall Space Flight Center and the United Space Alliance, NASA's shuttles operations contractor, last week contacted the U.S. Space & Rocket Center in Huntsville, Alabama, and asked it to return
the forward assemblies from the solid rocket boosters on the museum's full-size shuttle exhibit "for use in the space program,'' the Huntsville Times newspaper reported Sunday."

14 February 1999: NASA 'repos museum exhibits, Huntsville Times

15 February 1999:
Museum Asked to Return Space Parts, AP, Yahoo

Editor's note: too bad NASA hasn't asked for one of those Saturn V 's lying around at JSC, KSC, and MSFC ....

 13 January 1999: What lies ahead for aging space shuttle?, Orlando Sentinel

 12 January 1999: 
Upgrading the Shuttle, Committee on Shuttle Upgrades, Aeronautics and Space Engineering Board, National Research Council



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