December 2001 Archives

2001



10
December 2001:
Frederick Gregory Named Acting Associate Administrator for Space Flight, NASA HQ


"Gregory, 60, is Associate Administrator for the Office of Safety
and Mission Assurance (OSMA) at NASA Headquarters in Washington. He
will replace Joseph H. Rothenberg, who retires Dec. 15."



7
December 2001:
President Bush to Nominate Kathie Olsen to OSTP Position, White House


"The President intends to nominate Kathie L. Olsen to be Associate Director of the Office of Science and Technology Policy. She has been Chief Scientist at NASA since May, 1999, and Acting Associate Administrator for the Office of Biological and Physical Research since July, 2000."




25
November 2001:
Joe Rothenberg - A Great Boss, by Art Stephenson, NASA MSFC

"I can honestly say that I have never worked for a person whom I enjoyed
working for more. Joe was there to help and there to move the Agency forward."




13
November 2001:
Randy Stone named as Deputy JSC Center
Director

Editor's note: it was announced today that Randy Stone has been selected as Deputy Center Director for JSC. Stone had been in this position on an 'acting' basis prior to this permanent announcement.



13
November 2001:
Steve Oswald to Head Boeing Shuttle Effort in Houston

Editor's note: word has it that former Astronaut Steve Oswald (bio) is going to be running the Boeing Shuttle division in Houston under Mike Mott.


1 November 2001: Edward A. Frankel, NASA General Counsel, Announces Retirement, NASA HQ


"Edward A. Frankle, NASA's General Counsel for the past 13 years, announced plans to retire after a distinguished career, effective December 28. No successor has been selected."


1 November 2001: Astronauts End Space Flight Careers for Earth-bound Pursuits, NASA JSC

"Thomas D. Jones (Ph.D.), Peter J.K. "Jeff" Wisoff (Ph.D.), Tamara E. "Tammy" Jernigan (Ph.D.), Jean-Loup Chrétien (Brigadier-Gen., French Air Force), and Mark C. Lee (Col., USAF, Ret.) recently left the astronaut corps."



17 October 2001: NASA Administrator Dan Goldin to Step Down, Reuters, Yahoo

"Goldin acknowledged that he was not always popular with NASA staffers."

17 October 2001: NASA Chief Announces Resignation, AP, Yahoo

"Just the day before, the head of NASA's space flight office, Joseph Rothenberg, announced that he would be retiring on Dec. 15. Goldin insisted the two departures were unrelated and had nothing to do with NASA's $4.5 billion overrun in the space station program. "

17 October 2001: Statement by JSC Center Director Roy Estess on the Resignation of NASA Administrator Daniel S. Goldin

17 October 2001: NASA Administrator Daniel S. Goldin Will Join Council on Competitiveness as Senior Fellow

17 October 2001: Statements of Boehlert and Hall on Goldin Resignation, House Science Committee

17 October 2001: Planetary Society Reflects on Goldin Years at NASA



16 October 2001: Joe Rothenberg to Retire

Editor's note: NASA Office of Space Flight Associate Administrator Joe Rothenberg will announce today that he will retire from NASA effective 15 December 2001.

16 October 2001: Joseph H. Rothenberg, Associate Administrator for Space Flight, Announces Retirement, NASA HQ

"No successor has been selected."

Editor's note: Joe Rothenberg had many difficult tasks to confront while serving as Associate Administrator for the Office of Space Flight. The dilemma of the International Space Station being the most constant - and frustrating. However, the most difficult task Joe faced was not technical. It was a task he succeeded brilliantly at: retaining a steady reputation for honesty. This was especially noted on Capitol Hill. Given the aura of distrust that has often surrounded the ever-changing story NASA has peddled on the Hill for a decade under Dan Goldin's chaotic mangement, this was rather remarkable.

Joe's reasons for departing NASA are his own. I think it is a shame that excellent people like Joe feel the need to leave. NASA needs people like Joe right now. This departure is especially infuriating when people such as Dan Goldin who outlived their welcome long ago are allowed - indeed, are encouraged - to stay.

The White House needs to pay attention to NASA and they need to do so soon.


28 September 2001: Eric Sterner Leaving House Science Committee Staff

Editor's note: Eric, who served as Staff Director
for the House Science Committee's Subcommittee on Space & Aeronautics, will be leaving his current position on October 5 to work for Dr. J.D. Crouch, the Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Policy.


25 September 2001: Diaz Names Vanek and Denoon to New Management Positions at Goddard Spaceflight Center, NASA GSFC

"Goddard Space Flight Center Director Center A. V. Diaz has announced two key personnel actions, naming Charles Vanek to a newly created post as Assistant Director
for Safety and Security and Wentworth O. Denoon as the Director, Office of Systems Safety and Mission Assurance."




6 September 2001: George Martin Skurla has died, AP

"George Martin Skurla, who led the Grumman Corp. team that put together the Apollo lunar module that landed U.S. astronauts on the moon, died Sunday. He was 80. "




4 September 2001: Obituaries in the News, AP, Yahoo

"Julian Weisel Scheer, a former NASA official who arranged live television coverage of the first lunar landing, died Saturday of an apparent heart attack. He was 75. Scheer was the National Aeronautics and Space Administration's assistant administrator for public affairs from 1962 to 1971. He was awarded NASA's highest award, the Distinguished Service Medal."




20 August 2001: NASA Administrator Names Director of Security Management & Safeguards, NASA HQ

"Administrator Daniel S. Goldin today announced the appointment of David Saleeba as Director of the newly formed Office
of Security Management and Safeguards at NASA Headquarters, Washington, DC. "




20 August 2001: Glenn Mahone Named Acting Associate Administrator for Public Affairs, NASA HQ

"Administrator Daniel S. Goldin today named Glenn Mahone, NASA Press Secretary and Senior Advisor, as the new Acting Associate Administrator for Public Affairs."

Editor's note: Given that the position of NASA Associate Administrator for Public Affairs is a political appointment, this is most certainly an interim appointment by Goldin. You see, Glenn Mahone is a genuine F.O.B. - i.e. Friend of Bill (Clinton) and went to high school with him. Note his Arkansas background.



15 August 2001: DNC Welcomes Ted Nakata as New Intergovernmental Affairs Director , Democratic National Committee

"Democratic National Committee (DNC) Chairman Terry McAuliffe is pleased to announce the addition of Ted Nakata as
Director of Intergovernmental Affairs. Prior to joining the DNC, Nakata most recently served as the Deputy State Director for the Gore/Lieberman campaign in
Washington State. He was also the Senior Advisor for Intergovernmental Affairs at NASA headquarters where he worked with
state and local governments across the country."




13 August 2001: NASA Oceanographer Robert Stevenson has died

From Jim Oberg:

"With deep sadness and a sense of personal and cultural loss, I pass on the
tidings that Dr. Robert Stevenson, WW2 vet and oceanographer and very nearly
an astronaut aboard STS 41-G in 1984, died yesterday (August 12) at his home in Hawaii.


Bob was an instructor for astronaut crews on ocean observation from orbit,
and in 1983-4 was part of a program to actually fly an experienced observer
-- him -- on a shuttle flight. Because his own wife was battling a terminal
disease, he declined, and his alternate, Paul Scully-Power, made the flight.
Bob was scheduled for another flight in late 1986 but after Challenger the
mission -- and his seat on it -- faded away. I still have his mission patch
he designed and never flew.

Born in 1921, Bob would have been -- at that time in 1984 -- the oldest space
traveler, and of more statistical significance, the 'first-born of Earth' to
travel in space, since his DOB preceded both Glenn's and Beregovoy's. His
date of birth would have been that point, the earliest in human history, when
a future space traveler had been alive.

His insight, humor, passions, and far-ranging interests showed me he never
was mentally constrained by this planet, even as his body didn't quite manage
to slip the surly bonds of gravity. He was one of those many who paved the
way for those who did go, and got the publicity. When the real astronauts
gazed upon the oceans of Earth, the best of them did so with borrowed eyes
from him."




8 August 2001: NASA Marshall Center Associate Director Sid Saucier remembered for
service to nation's space program
, NASA MSFC

"Sidney P. Saucier III, associate director of NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala., died Monday, Aug. 6."



7 August 2001: Outsourcing controversy blasts NASA; PA chief is latest to resign, PR Week

"NASA head of public affairs Jerry Brown abruptly resigned his post on July 27, the latest casualty of what a number of former NASA employees are calling intense pressure from senior staff to award outsourced projects in an anticompetitive manner. According to sources speaking on condition of anonymity, Brown was one of many employees at the agency encouraged to feed new projects to companies with existing NASA contracts rather than let them be offered on the open market. Two other high-level employees who have recently resigned cited this "unethical" situation as the reason behind their departures."

Editor's note: NASA Watch has not been able to corroborate any of the accusations included in this story presented in (apparent) connection with Jerry Brown's sudden departure from NASA after only 100 days.

7 August 2001: Paula Cleggett is Acting AA for PAO (again)

Editor's note: Barely 100 days after getting the post, Bush appointee Jerry Brown's last day as NASA Associate Administrator for Public Affairs was Friday, 27 July. Paula Cleggett has been named Acting AA (again). Conflicting stories are circulating regarding Brown's departure - some say he quit, others suggest he was asked to leave. Sources at NASA HQ tell NASA Watch that Brown had come to realize that he had walked into a nuthouse (NASA HQ). This is all rather odd - given that the Bush Administration is struggling to fill political appointments in all agencies - to have one of their appointees (one who also served in the Bush-1 Administration) depart after such a short period of time.

10 April 2001: Brown Named Associate Administrator For Public Affairs, NASA PAO


13 June 2001: Astronaut Brian Duffy to Retire, NASA JSC

"Astronaut Brian Duffy (Col., USAF), a veteran of four Shuttle flights, has retired from the astronaut corps to accept a senior management position in the private sector space
industry. Duffy will retire from the U.S. Air Force at the end of June."


4 June 2001: Peggy Wilhide Named AAR Communications VP, press release

Former NASA Associate Administrator for Public Affairs Peggy Wilhide has been named Vice President of Communications for the Association of American Railroads.



7 June 2001: NASA Names Nelson Keeler Independent Verification and Validation Facility Director, NASA HQ

Nelson H. Keeler has been selected as the new director for NASA's Independent Verification and Validation (IV&V) Facility located in Fairmont, West Virginia. His
appointment is effective as of June 18, 2001.



22 May 2001: More Changes at MSFC's Transportation Directorate?

Editor's note: there are apparently more announcements forthcoming at NASA MSFC's Transportation Directorate (TD). All TD employees were notified of an all-hands meeting today from 11:00 to 11:30 AM CDT. TD managers will be meeting beforehand from 10:00 to 11:00 with the Center Director and Director of Space Transportation.


Update: Dr. Row Rogacki will be moving to NASA Headquarters to serve as Assistant Associate Administrator in Code R. Denny Kross, who has an extensive history of involvement with the Space Station Program, will serve as Marshall's new Director of TD. Chris Singer, TD's current Chief Engineer, will take on the role of Deputy Director of TD.



14 May 2001: Eugene Tattini selected as JPL deputy director, NASA JPL

"Lt. Gen. Eugene L. Tattini, 58, commander of the Space and Missile Systems Center at Los Angeles Air Force Base, will join JPL in early July, announced JPL Director Dr. Charles Elachi. Tattini will succeed Larry N. Dumas, who is retiring after serving as deputy director for the past nine years."



11 May 2001: Center Director's All Hands Meeting on Friday, May 11, MSFC

Notice sent to all MSFC employees: "There will be a Center Director's All Hands Meeting on Friday, May 11, at 10:30 a.m., in Morris Auditorium. All MSFC civil servant and contractor employees are encouraged to attend."

Editor's note: there is also a preliminary meeting of Transportation Directorate (TD) managers immediately before this meeting at 9:30 AM CDT. It is expected that a reorganization of the Transportation Directorate is underway. According to MSFC sources, a likely outcome is formation of a separate SLI program office that reports directly to the Center Director.

Update: Dennis Smith will serve as program manager for the Second Generation/SLI Program Office. Dan Dumbacher, who had been
leading the effort when it was in the Transportation Directorate, will serve as Deputy Program Manager. The Transportation Directorate will retain the remainder of the projects it had (engineering and research activities). One would expect that the new Transportation Directorate will place a heavy emphasis on propulsion research and development in support of Second and Third generation launch vehicles and in-space transportation systems.



7 May 2001: Major Departure at JSC Flight Director's Office

Editor's note: word has it that Jeff Bantle, Chief of the Flight Director's Office at JSC, is leaving NASA. The party is next Thursday at Gilruth.



25 April 2001: NASA Administrator Names Acting Associate Administrator or Legislative Affairs, NASA HQ

"NASA Administrator Daniel S. Goldin today appointed Jeff
M. Bingham as the Acting Associate Administrator for
Legislative Affairs, effective immediately."



19 April 2001: New Acting Director Appointed for NASA's Mars Exploration Program, NASA HQ

"NASA announced today that Mars Program Director, G. Scott Hubbard, has decided to leave that position following a successful
year leading the agency's robotic exploration program. Orlando Figueroa, currently the Deputy Chief Engineer for Systems
Engineering at NASA Headquarters, Washington, DC, was appointed to replace Hubbard as Acting Director, starting May 6. "




16 April 2001: Former MSFC Deputy Center Director Carolyn Griner Named as Head of New Spacehab Huntsville Office

Editor's note: this has been circulating at MSFC: "SPACEHAB, Inc., a leading provider of commercial space services, has opened
a corporate office in Huntsville, Alabama, at 600 Boulevard South. The
office is headed by SPACEHAB's Vice President and General Manager of
Huntsville Operations, Carolyn Griner. SPACEHAB has maintained a company
presence in Huntsville since 1997 and has contribued to the Huntsville
economy over the past 10 years through its contracts with McDonnell Douglas
(now Boeing Company) for the integration and operation of its fleet of
Space Shuttle carriers. The establishment of the Huntsville office signals
SPACEHAB's interest in expanding its activities with NASA's MSFC and other
aerospace companies and customers in the Huntsville area. Carolyn Griner
joined SPACEHAB in order to establish the Huntsville office."


10 April 2001: Brown Named Associate Administrator For Public Affairs, NASA HQ

"NASA Administrator Daniel S. Goldin today named Jerry Brown, a senior corporate communications executive, as the Associate Administrator for Public Affairs, effective immediately."

Bio at Walls Communications

"His responsibilities have included public policy analysis, crisis management, government relations and strategic consulting."


2 April 2001: Former NASA Associate Administrator Lori Garver Joins DFI International

"DFI International is pleased to announce that Lori Garver, former Associate Administrator of NASA, has agreed to become
affiliated with DFI International as Director of Space Program Development. In this adjunct capacity, Ms. Garver, the founder and
President of Capital Space, a Virginia-based consulting firm, and current President of the American Astronautical Association, will
assist DFI's senior management in strategic planning and business development activities related to the firm's corporate space
practice."




15 March 2001: Nicogossian still on the job onsite at NASA HQ?

Editor's note: Word has it that former OLMSA AA and Chief Health and Medical Officer Dr. Arnauld Nicogossian is still reporting to NASA HQ and is managing astronaut health programs despite being placed on an IPA to the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences which is located in Bethesda, Maryland.

2 January 2001: Dr. Nicogossian Leaves NASA HQ on an IPA, NASA HQ

"Following a long and distinguished career with NASA and after spending the last seven months setting the course for the newly established Office of the Chief Health and Medical Officer, Dr. Arnauld Nicogossian will begin an IPA assignment on January 2, 2001, that will share his world-class expertise in space medicine
with both the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences and the University of Maryland."



31 January 2001: Elachi Named New JPL Director, NASA JPL




22 January 2001: NASA HQ Announces Personnel Changes, NASA HQ

- Steve Varholy, Acting Chief Financial Officer

- Mary Dee Kerwin, Acting Associate Administrator for Legislative Affairs

- Paula Cleggett, Acting Associate Administrator for Public Affairs

- Beth McCormick, Acting Associate Administrator for Policy and Plans

Effective Monday, January 22, Courtney Stadd will serve as NASA's Chief of Staff and White House Liaison.


22 January 2001: No Takeoff at Space Agency, In the Loop, Washington Post

"NASA administrator-for-life Daniel Goldin has been asked by the Bush folks to stay "for an [unspecified] period of time, to maintain continuity," we're told by knowledgeable folks, while they search for a replacement. The issue will not be addressed formally until next week."


21 January 2001: More Changes to be Announced at NASA HQ

Editor's note: word has it that there will be a press release issued on Monday, 22 January, naming the people who have been appointed to serve as acting Associate Adminstrators to replace the political appointees who left NASA last week (Legislative Affairs, Policy and Plans, Public Affairs). Glenn Mahone will apparently stay on as Goldin's press secretary and Courtney Stadd, from the Bush Transition Team, is expected to be named as Goldin's Chief of Staff.

19 January 2001: New Goldin Staff

Editor's note: word has it that Sue Garman from NASA JSC will be coming up to NASA HQ next week to serve as Dan Goldin's Deputy Chief of Staff. Garman served as an executive assistant to Dan Goldin early in his tenure as NASA Administrator. Garman currently works directly under JSC Center Director George Abbey as JSC Associate Director (Management) wherein she is responsible for all institutional activities at JSC and the White Sands Test Facility, New Mexico. Garman has been involved in the preparation of NASA's "Transition Book" materials for use in working with the incoming Bush Administration.

19 January 2001: Dan Goldin to stay on - temporarily

Editor's note: word has it that an offer has been made to Dan Goldin (which he has accepted) to stay on for a short while, and that Bush Transition Team personnel will be moved to NASA to help steer the agency until a final selection for NASA Administrator is made. It is more or less understood that Goldin would not be considered for reappointment. No timetable has emerged to suggest when a new Administrator will be named.




16 January 2001: NASA's Chief Financial Officer is leaving

Editor's note: Arnold G. Holz has announced that he is leaving NASA.




12 January 2001: Letter from Dr. Kathie Olsen, Acting Associate Administrator, Office of Biological and Physical Research regarding Office of Biological and Physical Research (OBPR) Reorganization (letter contains detailed OBPR mission and responsibilities and old/new org charts)

"I am please to announce that our new organization has been approved. This memo serves to communicate conventions that the Office of Biological and Physical Research
should use. First, the office acronym is "OBPR." Secondly, five divisions are included in the organization. Titles and mail codes are as follows:



  • UG/Physical Sciences Division

  • UF/Fundamental Space Biology Division

  • UB/Bioastronautics Research Division

  • UM/Research Integration Division

  • UP/Policy and Program Integration Division

I have enclosed the OBPR mission statement. May thanks to all that supported our reorganization efforts. In addition, OBPR has a new web address:
http://spaceresearch.nasa.gov. I look forward to the great accomplishments OBPR will provide to our Nation's space program."

12 January 2001: NASA Vacancy Announcement: Associate Administrator Office of Biological & Physical Research

"As the Associate Administrator for the Office of Biological and Physical Research (OBPR), the incumbent is responsible for executive leadership, overall planning, direction and effective accomplishment of NASA programs concerned with biological, biomedical and physical sciences research and applications, including ground and space flight programs for advanced human support technology, fundamental biology, biomedical research, physical science research, and space-based commercial research."


9 January 2001: Four tapped for key positions at Marshall Center, NASA MSFC

2001



5 October 2001: Shuttle Commercialization All Hands at JSC

Editor's note: Word has it that Ron Dittemore, Space Shuttle Program Manager at JSC, will be holding an all-hands meeting today to discuss "shuttle commercialization". According to NASA sources, Dittemore will be discussing an NGO (Non-Governmental Organization) concept that has been developed that would operate the Space Shuttle program. This concept has been under development for the last 9 months. Dittemore will reportedly pitch this concept as being seamless as far as civil servants are concerned with equivalent benefits, significant sign-up bonuses, and guaranteed job security. Dittemore has reportedly expressed personal interest in heading this new organization.

Behind the scenes there is little interest among Dittemore's crowd in actually saving the government money. Rather, this is simply seen as a way to lower the number of federal employees involved in America's civil space program.

Update: Note from someone@jsc.nasa.gov:

"Mr. Dittemore spoke about a "concept" where a private company would run
the Space Shuttle Program. It was not commercialization, but
"privatization". It has nothing to do with saving money. It will probably
cost the government more money. He said it was in the interest of safety.
Since NASA cannot hire new people and grow them to be managers/engineers, there is no one to run the program safely in the future. That is true since most of the shuttle program folks came from MOD which is mostly all contractors now. This "concept" will work only if all the right people with the right job skills needed to run the program safely, accept the offer to
move over. Highly unlikely. We are talking about mission operations, flight
design, flight directors, astronauts, program/project managers, ground
operations, aircraft operations, launch operations, etc. Only the civil
servants in the Engineering Directorates appear to be spared from this
excercise in futility. He said it would happen in 2 years. That's
unbelievable, the way the government works!"


4 October 2001: Space Shuttle Processing Status 4 Oct 2001, NASA KSC

Editor's note: two missions have had their launch dates pushed back by three weeks in order to gain more processing time to prepare these orbiters for their missions. Other missions in 2002 are also likely to have their launch dates pushed back. STS-108 is still scheduled for a 29 Nov 2001 launch date.

  • STS-109 - was: 17 Jan 2002 - now: 14 Feb 2002
  • STS-110 - was: 28 Feb 2002 - now: 21 Mar 2002



28 September 2001: Concept of Privatization of the Space Shuttle Program, NASA JSC (Full report - Adobe Acrobat)

28 September 2001: Concept of Privatization of the Space Shuttle Program, NASA JSC (Executive Summary)

"It is the intent of Space Shuttle privatization to expand the business base of the private
company responsible for Space Shuttle operations to more than just Space Shuttle
operations. It is envisioned that the private company will be a strong competitor for
privatized ISS operations. Additionally, because the private company will have a strong
resident core competency in human space flight operations, it is envisioned that the private
company will be a strong competitor for future space operations contracts (next generation
reusable launch vehicles, and Moon, Mars, or other exploration), both human space flight
and nonhuman ventures."

"The envisioned privatization of the Space Shuttle is a merger of Government and contractor
capabilities. The private company will have a new leadership team, a strengthened skill and
experience base, and an associated new culture. Business arrangements and operations
management terms and conditions must be in concert with a long-term commitment for privatization to
create workforce stability; allow development, maintenance, and retention of critical skills; incentivize
CS to transition to the private company; and eliminate the short-term limited investment mentality
associated with today's contracting methods. The primary objective of the private company will be the
safe, efficient, long-term utilization of the Space Shuttle."


28 September 2001: Deformed Holes Found On Shuttle, AP, Yahoo

"NASA discovered misshapen holes in the two orbital-engine compartments intended for space shuttle Columbia, which is being readied for a flight to the Hubble Space Telescope early next year."



28 September 2001: NASA Modifies Lockheed Martin Space Operations Contract , NASA JSC

"NASA's Johnson Space Center in Houston has negotiated a contract modification with Lockheed Martin Space Operations Co. that includes the acquisition of operational software for approximately $60.3 million."

27 September 2001: Consolidated Space Operations Contract: Evaluating and Reporting Cost Savings, NASA Office of Inspector General (has link to full report)

"The NASA Office of Inspector General audit of CSOC cost savings found that NASA cannot substantiate the $62 million of cost savings reported to Congress for the first 2 years of the CSOC. As a result, Congress and NASA cannot evaluate current cost savings for the CSOC and cannot determine whether the contract will achieve the anticipated $1.4 billion cost savings through fiscal year 2008. Because NASA has reduced future operating budgets in anticipation of projected CSOC savings, it is imperative that the Agency determine whether current and anticipated cost savings are being achieved under the CSOC."


20 September 2001: NASA, USA sign $62 million space flight operations contract modification

"NASA and the United Space Alliance have signed a $62 million modification to the Space Flight Operations Contract to provide refurbishment of hydraulic actuators on
the space shuttle fleet during the next five years."




19 September 2001: Lockheed Martin's Consolidated Space Operations Contract Completes New Customer Support Room for NASA


19 September 2001: NASA continues Lockheed Martin Engineering Contract, NASA

"NASA's Johnson Space Center, Houston will exercise a $68 million level-of-effort option to continue its Science, Engineering, Analysis, and Test contract with Lockheed
Martin Space Operations Co. of Houston. The option period begins Oct. 1, 2001. Provisions include additional work through the end of 2003."

18 September 2001: Boeing to Lay Off As Many As 30,000, AP, Yahoo

"Boeing Co. is planning to lay off 20 percent to 30 percent of its commercial airline work force -- as many as 30,000 people -- as a result of last week's terrorist attacks, Alan Mulally, president and chief executive of the
company's commercial airplanes division said Tuesday"



10 September 2001: Shuttle Safety Concerns Aired Before Congress, SpaceRef

"At a time when NASA's Space Station cost overruns continue to grow, and the agency's attempts to develop the next generation of launch vehicles flounder, the Space Shuttle program is hitting its stride. Originally designed decades ago to fly a large number of missions in a short period of time, the Space Shuttle now finds itself more needed than ever - long after many thought it would (or should) be in a museum."

"One of the keys to making the Shuttle perform for an extended service life is to increase its reliability and enhance its siamese twin, safety. Yet just as the Shuttle fleet is being redefined for an extended lifetime, the very thing it is being kept around to service, the Iinternational Space Station, seeks to drain the financial resources required for its own survival. It is against this backdrop that hearings on Space Shuttle safety upgrades were held on Capitol Hill last week."



6 September 2001: NASA Plans to Scale Back Upgrades, AP, Yahoo

6 September 2001: Budget cuts threaten shuttle safety, UPI

"I fear that if we don't provide the space shuttle program with the
resources it needs for safety upgrades, our country will pay a price we
can't bear," said Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Fla. "The proposed budget abandons
some of the most critical safety upgrades for our aging fleet."

6 September 2001: Senate Science, Technology, and Space Subcommittee Hearing on Space Shuttle Safety

Witness Testimony



  • William Readdy, Deputy Associate Administrator, Office of Space Flight, NASA Headquarters

  • Michael J. McCulley, Chief Operating Officer, United Space Alliance

  • Richard D. Blomberg, Chair, Aerospace Safety Advisory Panel, President, Dunlop & Associates, Inc.

  • Allen Li, Director, Acquisition & Sourcing Management Team, Government Accounting Office

  • Bryan O'Connor, Futron Group



9 August 2001: NASA on Mission to Planet Pop, New Scientist

"Space expert James Oberg told a newspaper: "When governments try to harness popular culture, they just embarrass themselves."

9 August 2001: Rocket men turn to pop, The Times (London)

"NASA is updating its rather fusty image - and, to shift it into a new orbit, the space agency has commissioned Down to Earth, a pop song about how small the Earth looks from the Moon. The song is performed by Natural, America's hot new teen band. "NASA is hip and getting hipper," said Lou Pearlman, Naturals manager, who knows hip when he sees it. Mr Pearlman also launched 'N Sync and the Backstreet Boys."

24 April 2001: Space Media, Music Promoter Provide Entertainment at Shuttle Launch Briefing, Spacehab

"Space Media is launching its 2001-2002 STARS Academy space education program later this year
and is in discussions with Mr. Pearlman's Trans Continental Records in Orlando, Florida, to have Natural contribute a music element to the STARS Academy program. Mr. Pearlman is widely known for
discovering and developing the popular groups *N SYNC, Backstreet Boys and O-Town. "




10 July 2001: Threat Closes Shuttle Emergency Strip in Morocco, Reuters, Yahoo

"A security threat has closed an emergency landing strip in Morocco available to the U.S. space shuttle program, possibly endangering this week's launch, NASA said on Tuesday."

10 July 2001: Aviation Week & Space Technology Reports: Security Breach Forces
Tighter Space Shuttle Protection
, Business Wire, Yahoo

"A Jamaican, working under the cover of darkness, managed to land a sizable boat carrying 15 Chinese on the Atlantic shore near the launch pads. The concern is that the boat operations and aliens in the brush went undetected for hours in what is supposed to be a highly secure area."




18 June 2001: Rep. Nethercutt Offers Amendment to Preserve Funding for Dedicated Shuttle Science Mission, SpaceRef

Rep. Nethercutt's amendment seeks to fence off $15 M in space station research accounts out of the $40 M that Congress originally provided in FY00 for a life and microgravity research shuttle flight. This flight has been strongly supported by Congress as a way to keep scientific research in space underway during an otherwise "dry spell" wherein little or no science is being done while NASA focuses on the construction of the ISS.



10 April 2001: Letter from Ron Dittemore, Manager, Space Shuttle Program to R.D. Turner, President and CEO, United Space Alliance regarding "Privatization of Space Shuttle Program (SSP) Operations"

"I believe that we should begin a dialog between the SSP and United Space Alliance (USA) discussing the options available and merit of increased privatization of SSP operations functions. Our recent conversation concerning the option of incorporating the External Tank Project into the Space Flight Operations Contract can be used as a foundation for building a frame work to address important issues and developing a model for increased privatization."

16 March 2001: Letter from Ron Dittemore, Manager, Space Shuttle Program to OSF AA Joe Rothenberg regarding "Space Flight Operations Contract (SFOC) Phase II Consolidation and Space Shuttle Program (SSP) Operations "Privatization"

"Continued consolidation of the SFOC Phase II contracts (external tank, Space Shuttle main engine, reusable solid rocket motor) and "privatization" of SSP operations can be an achievable objective provided existing SFOC concerns are adequately addressed. These concerns include insufficient United Space Alliance (US) program/ project management experience, program viability and safety in a cost incentive/profit motivated environment, and SFOC Phase II consolidation cost impacts. These issues need to be addressed before further "privatization" of SSP operations can be safely realized."

15 March 1995: The Kraft Report On Space Shuttle Operations

"The proposed single-business management system will require a steadfast commitment from both NASA and the aerospace industry to ensure success. NASA must be willing to define clear shuttle operating requirements with limited oversight. The prime contractor must be willing to assume responsibility for safe and productive operations. This requires the assignment of competent and experienced people at all levels and the direct attention of top management. For its commitment, the contractor must be rewarded with appropriate incentive fees. The government in-turn must provide similar talent in program management and a guarantee that the contractor will not be encumbered with burdensome and unnecessary oversight."



7 June 2001: Space Shuttle Union Workers to Strike in Florida, Reuters, Yahoo

"We don't anticipate any delay in our ability to support launch milestones,'' said Kari Fluegel, spokeswoman for the United Space Alliance, the private consortium of NASA contractors hired for shuttle processing and operations. The union machinists are all USA employees."

5 June 2001: Shuttle contractor faces strike, Orlando Sentinel

"Company officials say if the walkout moves forward, it will have no effect on the shuttle's launch schedule. However, it would be the first-ever strike by workers who do hands-on processing of the shuttle fleet at Kennedy Space Center."

Editor's note: the USA strike at the Cape has been moved up 24 hours and will start at 12:01 a.m. Saturday instead of Sunday.



5 April 2001: Shuttle work to remain at Plant 42 - State representatives team up in teleconference with NASA, Antelope Valley Press

"Space shuttle work that brings millions of dollars per year into the Antelope Valley will continue to be performed at Air Force Plant 42 in Palmdale. That was the resounding verdict from a telephone conversation Wednesday between a top NASA official and a slew of representatives from the high desert and California to discuss rumors that maintenance and modification work on the orbiter fleet would be siphoned to Florida."


30 March 2001:

Thiokols Use of Professional and Consultant Services
Report Number IG-01-019
, NASA Office of Inspector General (Acrobat)

"NASA's controls over Thiokol's use of professional and consultant services can be improved. We found cases in which justifications for noncompetitive procurements of professional and consultant services were inadequate and untimely. Specifically, we found that Thiokol officials did not maintain
adequate support for decisions to noncompetitively award the service subcontracts and did not prepare written justifications for the noncompetitive awards prior to initiation of the work."



26 March 2001: Audit of United Space Alliance's Use of Professional & Consultant Services, NASA Office of Inspector General (contains link to full report)

"The NASA Office of Inspector General has completed an audit of United Space Alliance's (USA's) use of professional and consultant services. - Specifically, we found that USA officials did not maintain evidence on the nature and scope of the furnished services; maintain adequate support for decisions to noncompetitively award the service subcontracts; and prepare written justifications for the noncompetitive awards prior to initiation of the work."



19 January 2001: Space Shuttle Atlantis Rollback Delayed Due to Cab Crowding

Editor's note: word has it that the rollback of the Space Shuttle Atlantis, scheduled to start at 7:00 AM EST, was delayed for about 45 minutes this morning. It would seem that the crawler's driver couldn't get to his seat since the crawler's cab was apparently overcrowded with people wanting to hitch a ride. More seating was found and rollback eventually began.


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