June 2004 Archives

27 June 2004: An ill wind blows for bit of NASA history, Daily Press

"The military had a glut of tunnels too, so NASA and the Department of Defense formed the National Aeronautics Testing Alliance to figure out which tunnels weren't needed anymore. Alliance members looked at NASA's three major transonic tunnels - the 11-Foot Transonic Tunnel at Ames Research Center in California and at Langley the National Transonic Facility and the 16-Foot, said Vic Lebacqz, the head of NASA's aeronautics office."

23 June 2004: NASA: Lack of Disciplined Cost-Estimating Processes Hinders Effective Program Management GAO-04-642, GAO

"NASA has limited ability to collect the program cost and schedule data needed to meet basic cost-estimating criteria. For example, as GAO has previously reported, NASA does not have a system to capture reliable financial and performance data key to using effectively the cost-estimating tools that NASA officials state that programs employ. Further, without adequate financial and nonfinancial data, programs cannot easily track an acquisition's progress and assess whether the program can meet its cost and schedule goals before it incurs significant cost and schedule overruns."

Space and taxes

21 June 2004: Senator Bill Nelson requests expedited probe of NASA contractors for unpaid taxes

"Spurred in part by a new recommendation to the president that NASA allow more private sector involvement in space operations, U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson today called for an expedited investigation into NASA contractors who get work despite owing unpaid taxes. Nelson's request also comes in response to an earlier study by the General Accounting Office that revealed 27,000 contractors for the Defense Department owe the government over $3 billion in unpaid federal taxes. Forty-seven of those contractors received closer scrutiny; and, a top GAO official has confirmed for Nelson that several work for NASA."

Earlier 2004 entries



18 June 2004: NASA Ponders Shuttle Flight Without Two Key Changes, Reuters

"NASA is considering whether it can return its space shuttles to flight without making two safety improvements that have so far proved to be high hurdles for agency engineers, top officials said on Friday."

18 June 2004: NASA plans crew rescue if shuttle suffers damage, Houston Chronicle

"When NASA resumes space shuttle missions next spring, it won't be able to repair a hole as large as the breach that doomed Columbia, space agency officials said Friday. Instead, shuttle managers plan to rescue the astronauts if another shuttle suffers the same problem, said Michael Kostelnik, NASA's deputy associate administrator for space station and shuttle."




3 June 2004: Arthur Eugene Goldman Named Manager of NASA Space Shuttle Main Engine Project - Michael Kynard is Deputy Manager

"Arthur Eugene (Gene) Goldman has been named manager of the Space Shuttle Main Engine Project in NASA's Space Shuttle Propulsion Office at Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala. Michael Kynard was named deputy manager."




20 May 2004: NASA May Need to Consider Alternative Plans on Shuttle, NY Times

"The difficulty of developing an in-flight inspection and repair system may force NASA to consider alternative approaches if it wants to resume flying the space shuttle next spring, an oversight group said Wednesday."



17 May 2004: Stafford-Covey Return to Flight Task Group to Issue Second Interim Report to NASA

"The Stafford-Covey Return to Flight Task Group is issuing their second interim report Wednesday, May 19. The group is making an independent assessment of NASA's implementation of the Columbia Accident Investigation Board Space Shuttle Return to flight recommendations."



10 May 2004: David Lengyel replaced as Executive Secretary of Stafford/Covey Task Force

Editor's note: Multiple sources have reported that David Lengyel, who served as the Executive Secretary of the Return to Flight Task Group, was replaced suddenly and with short notice last week. No reason for this staff change has been given.

Editor's note: Update: sources tell NASA Watch that this was a matter of a difference in working style. Since the RTF Task Group is independent, it has the final call on who they work with. A search for a replacement executive secretary is underway.



6 May 2004: Correction to Congressional Hearing Remarks - Claim that USA Recommended Removal of Shuttle Payload Inaccurate, USA

"Unfortunately, despite the best efforts of Members of Congress and staff to address issues in a fair and open manner, some information cited in these proceedings was inaccurate. Specifically, Senator Brownback stated that United Space Alliance had "recommended that roughly a third of the Shuttle flights be off-loaded to other vehicles." In fact, USA made no such recommendation. We believe that the Senator's statement stems from a misinterpretation of an internal study performed for NASA/Marshall Space Flight Center."

Alternate Access To Station (AAS) Performance Requirements Document International Space Station, 15 Feb 2002, USA

Final Report on the 3-month Alternate Access to Station (AAS) Performance Requirements Study, 28 Feb 2002, USA




30 April 2004: All future shuttle missions geared to space station, SpaceflightNow

"NASA's latest return-to-flight implementation plan for the first time codifies an earlier decision by NASA Administrator Sean O'Keefe ruling out any non-space station flights, like one to save the Hubble Space Telescope, after shuttle flights resume next spring."




30 April 2004: NASA Releases Update to Implementation Plan for Space Shuttle Return to Flight and Beyond

"Some of our key accomplishments include the decision to certify External Tank (ET) to proper debris allowables. Refinement of our understanding of the appropriate debris allowables led us to make additional modifications to the ET. Similarly, the Orbiter Boom Sensor System used to inspect the Shuttle's Thermal Protection System will require additional time to perfect its design and operation. Finally, inspection of the Shuttle's Rudder Speed Brake (RSB) actuators revealed some corrosion and two instances of improper assembly that will need to be resolved before return to flight."



28 April 2004: Status of NASA office of Inspector General review of Space Shuttle Imaging Audit Assignment (PDF)




28 April 2004: Sex, the final frontier: Nasa acts to ensure that astronauts don't follow their urges, The Independent

"Dr Rachel Armstrong, speaking yesterday at a British Interplanetary Society symposium on the Human Future and Space, said the US space agency Nasa was considering how to deal with the natural urges of astronauts travelling on long journeys such as a three-year trip to Mars, where the six-strong crew would be likely to include two women. "Nasa is talking about the chemical sterilisation of astronauts on longer journeys," Dr Armstrong said, in a talk discussing the problems humanity may face in trying to reach the planets and, eventually, the stars."

Editor's note: This article takes the cake as far as goofy space stories in the British press goes. And why is it that these 'sex experiments in space' stories always appear first in British publications? As best I can determine things, Dr. Rachel Armstrong is a "space architect" and/or a medical doctor. Where she gets this goofy nonsense about astronaut sterilization is beyond me.

Indeed, NASA must be expecting something to (eventually) happen in space. After all they have flown pregancy test kits on Shuttle and ISS missions.



25 April 2004: Correction/Amplification Regarding Dover Casket Photos, The Memory Hole

"Among the 361 Dover casket photos are a minority of images showing coffins of the Columbia astronauts. I didn't realize this at the time that I posted them, mainly because when the Air Force asked for clarification during the process, I specifically told them that I wasn't requesting photos of the Columbia astronauts, only military personnel killed overseas."

"(Not that I have anything against astronauts. One of the tricks for writing successful Freedom of Information Act requests is to make your request as narrow as possible. I was afraid that including the astronauts in the request would give the Air Force another excuse not to release the photos. As in: "Well, since you want the astronaut photos, we're going to have to clear that with more federal agencies.....") I've since been told by a reporter that NASA released the astronaut casket photos at the time and has never objected to their use. Quite a marked difference from the battlefield dead, who are swept under the rug by the Pentagon."

23 April 2004: NASA: Columbia Crew Mistakenly Identified as Iraqi War Dead, NASA HQ

23 April 2004: DOD Misidentifies Photos of Columbia Crew Remains Ariving at Dover AFB as Being Iraq War Dead, SpaceRef

"If you look at the originating website for the controversial photos of war dead being returned from Iraq (loads very slow), you will see that most of the first page of photos are of Space Shuttle Columbia crew remains arriving at Dover Air Force Base on 5 February 2003. You see, that is Deputy NASA Administrator Fred Gregory in the light brown slacks and dark jacket standing to the left of the honor guard."

23 April 2004: Columbia Crew Coffins Mistaken for Caskets of U.S. Military Casualties, Space.com

"It is a story that will have journalism professors, conspiracy theorists and free speech advocates confused, amused and most likely up-in-arms until the next media scandal appears."

23 April 2004: Space-shuttle victims misidentified as Iraq dead in some photos, Delawareonline.com


24 April 2004: Columbia crew remains mistaken for war dead, Florida Today

"Keith Cowing, who runs NASA Watch, a private Web site that follows developments at the space agency, said he detected the mistake and called it to NASA's attention. NASA officials said CNN was one of "many" news outlets that misidentified photos of caskets containing remains of the Columbia astronauts."

23 April 2004: Photos included images of shuttle astronauts' coffins, Orlando Sentinel

"Among the Columbia crewmembers, only mission specialist Kalpana Chawla had not served in the military. Commander Rick Husband and payload commander Michael Anderson were in the Air Force; pilot Willie McCool and mission specialists David Brown and Laurel Clark were in the Navy; and Israeli astronaut Ilan Ramon was in his country's air force. But the astronauts were brought to Dover because of their association with NASA, as were the seven members of the Challenger crew, in 1986."

24 April 2004: Bush Criticizes the Release of Photos of Soldier Coffins, NY Times

"In their eagerness to take advantage of the first photographs of American war dead from Iraq returning to Dover, several news organizations broadcast or published images of coffins that actually contained the remains of astronauts killed in the breakup of the Columbia space shuttle, NASA said Friday. Among the news organizations that used the incorrect photographs were CNN, The Associated Press, Reuters and The Washington Post. "This was an obvious case of mistaken identity," said Bob Jacobs, a NASA spokesman."

23 April 2004: Washington Post prints Columbia photo in Iraq War dead coffin story

Editor's note: The Washington Post has printed a photo on page A10 of Deputy Administrator Fred Gregory on the tarmac at Dover AFB with the caption "About 350 photos of coffins at Dover Air Force Base were released under the Freedom of Information Act". No one in the photo is identified - nor is the date of the photo or the event noted. Update: the Post printed a correction on 24 April.

Editor's note: Reuters also distributed a photo (correction posted) of the Columbia crew remains without identifying it as such - instead captioning it as "Coffins of U.S. military personnel are offloaded by Air Force honor guards at Dover Air Force Base in Dover, Delaware in this undated photo." Reuters has since posted an article at 7:00 pm EDT which focuses on the error.

Editor's note: AP has a screen grab of the first page of photos - all of which are of Columbia crew remains. AP titles the image as "A page from the Memory Hole.org's homepage shows photographs of American war dead arriving at Dover Air Force, the nation's largest military mortuary, Thursday, April 22, 2004." Curiously AP has an article up which they posted at 4:50 pm EDT today and then revised at 8:30 pm which now mentions their own error.


Editor's note: As of 5:00 pm EDT yesterday CNN Headline news was flashing several pictures of NASA Deputy Administrator Fred Gregory standing on the tarmac receiving the bodies of the Columbia crew at Dover Air Force Base in February 2003 and claiming that the photos are of caskets containing war dead arriving home from Iraq in 2004. NASA and CNN are aware of this and I expect that the photos in question won't be running again. Apparently the original FOIA request was filed for all images of coffins at Dover between February 2003 and the present and apparently these Columbia images were included.




8 April 2004: NASA's Aerospace Safety Advisory Panel: Where's the Advice?, SpaceRef

"NASA's new Aerospace Safety Advisory Panel (ASAP) met for the second time today since its rebirth following a mass resignation last Fall. In a marked contrast to how the panel operated just a year ago, the ASAP exhibited a somewhat detached, imprecise view of how the agency was handling safety issues. In a turn of events which has at least one reporter confused, NASA's prime safety advisory body has not even bothered to discuss the cancellation of the Hubble serving mission - a very public decision made on the basis of safety."




8 April 2004: Casino Fortune Pledges to Fill NASA Budget Gap with Seat on Shuttle

"In the effort to support America's return to space and support the embattled agency, Casino Fortune submitted a letter of intent yesterday to NASA Administrator Sean O'Keefe requesting that arrangements be made for a Shuttle seat to be reserved in their name."

Editor's note: This is rather goofy: how can you reserve a seat that is not even for sale?



6 April 2004: NASA Award Notice: Design, Fabrication and Test of Carbon-Silicon Carbide Wrap for On-orbit Repair of Shuttle Wing Leading Edge

"Contract Award Date: Apr 01, 2004 Contract Award Number: NNL04AA44C Contract Award Amount: $20,149,328 Contract Line Item Number: Contractor: Materials Research & Design, Inc 300 E. Swedesford Road Wayne, PA 19087"




2 April 2004: NASA Says Shuttle Safety Fixes Could Cost $700 Mln, Reuters

"NASA spent $94 million on upgrades in fiscal 2003. Plans call for spending $265 million in fiscal 2004 and $235 million in 2005. "In total, we're looking at a projection that's going to be on the order of six to seven hundred million dollars, roughly, to implement all those findings and recommendations," O'Keefe told members of the Senate commerce, science and transportation subcommittee."


2 April 2004: Space Studies Board Annual Report 2003, National Research Council

"The tragic loss of the space shuttle Columbia and its crew on February 1, 2003, made the beginning of the year
anything but normal. NASA and the space community mourned the loss of seven extraordinary people, and they
were confronted with the loss of much of the scientific yield from the Space Transportation System (STS)-107
mission and all of the unique research equipment and facilities that were carried aboard Columbia. They also faced
an uncertain near-term future that included a shuttle fleet composed of only three orbiters, a shuttle flight standdown
of unknown duration, and equally uncertain impacts on the completion and use of the International Space
Station (ISS). Quickly organized examinations of the accident and its causes were expected to lead to policy
changes as well as technical solutions. And while the task of devising those changes would be consequential
enough by itself, the assessments were going forward in a broader, global context that was marked by apprehension
over multiple threats to international security and stability, weakened economies, and skittish markets."




1 April 2004: Return to Flight Update

Editor's note: According to Sean O'Keefe in Senate hearings today, the next Return to Flight update is due for release next monday.



1 April 2004: NASA OIG: Final Report on Internal Controls Over Columbia Accident Investigation Board (CAIB) Costs

"To accomplish our objectives we identified and assessed CAIB processes for controlling expenditures and ensuring goods and services were acquired in accordance with FAR. We also reviewed documentation supporting procurement actions and other expenditures totaling $9.1 million."

"We concluded that within 2 months of beginning operations, the CAIB Executive Secretary for Management established effective processes for controlling expenditures and ensuring contracts were in accordance with FAR. Although our review of procurement actions and other expenditures led us to question payments totaling $215,215 (2.4 percent of those reviewed), we conclude that they occurred for unique reasons and did not represent systemic weaknesses in controls. We are, however, recommending that NASA seek a voluntary refund of $30,563 for an overpayment to the CAIB's primary support contractor."



1 April 2004: NASA chief's remarks sting general who commented on funding, Denver Post

"In measured tones bordering on sarcasm, O'Keefe said: "I'd just be delighted to have Gen. Deal come join us and give us his advice directly. It would be wonderful to have him to be part of the team, because we're anxious to get about the business of achieving the president's strategy."




31 March 2004: Layoffs expected at eastern New Orleans NASA plant, AP

"Lockheed Martin, the contractor that employs most of the workers at the Michoud Assembly Facility, was contacting employees early Wednesday and spokesman Harry Wadsworth said an announcement was scheduled for later in the day. The company would not confirm that the announcement had to do with layoffs, Wadsworth said."

31 March 2004: 65 Workers Lose Jobs At NASA's Michoud Facility, WDSU

"The plant now makes six fuel tanks per year, but NASA has informed Lockheed that the number of tanks needed will be changed."



30 March 2004: Shuttle's feasibility questioned, Orlando Sentinel

"Sen. Sam Brownback said Monday that he wants to hold a hearing on recent problems within the space-shuttle program and whether NASA's remaining fleet could or should be retired sooner than the current target date of 2010."





24 March 2004: Hamilton Sundstrand replacing Space Shuttle brakes, AP

If one of the improperly installed gears had been in a high-stress position, it probably would have led to the destruction of the spacecraft at touchdown, he said. "Bottom line is, it was not good," Parsons said."




22 March 2004: NASA finds flaw could have doomed another shuttle, Reuters

"Gears were installed backward the speed brakes in Discovery's tail section and could have failed under the stress of an emergency landing, said William Parsons, the shuttle program manager."




18 March 2004: New Head of MOD to be announced

Editor's note: George Allen Flynt, currently Deputy Center Director at NASA ARC, will take over MOD in July. Flynt has been int he Shuttle GFE project and has been involved in EVA project hardware management. He also directed the Columbia debris recovery efforts.

18 March 2004: Internal Memo regarding George Allen Flynt as the new Director of NASA JSC MOD

"3. AS FAR AS I CAN REMEMBER (I MAY BE WRONG), HE WILL BE THE FIRST NON MOD/FCOD PERSON ASSUMING THE DIRECTORSHIP. I BELIEVE THAT THIS WILL BE GOOD FOR MOD AND ALLEN. IT IS TIME FOR SOME NEW PERSPECTIVES/IDEAS."



12 March 2004: Brake cracks may stall next shuttle flight, Huntsville Times

"For the March 2005 return-to-flight mission, that safety net is the orbiter Atlantis. "If there are problems with the speed brakes that we cannot repair on Atlantis, then we will have to slip nine months," Kostelnik said."



1 March 2004: Formal Shuttle Launch Date Change Process Underway


Editor's note: According to NASA sources, a change request (CR) is out for review and will go in front of the PRCB in several weeks. The CR sets new launch dates for the Shuttle fleet: (NET = No Earlier Than)

  • STS-114 (OV-103) NET 3/6/05
  • STS-300 (OV-104) NET 5/5/05
  • STS-121 (OV-104) NET 5/5/05
  • STS-115 (OV-104) NET 9/29/05
  • STS-116 Delete from FDRD.




24 February 2004: House Science Committee Chairman Delivers Speech to Space Shuttle Suppliers

"Spending estimates for any far-reaching plan are necessarily riddled with uncertainty. But for a full and open debate, the range of that uncertainty needs both to be narrowed as much as possible and to be made explicit. That has not happened in this case, and in fact, NASA has widened the sense of uncertainty in the way it has been answering, and in some cases not answering, reasonable questions."




21 February 2004: Repairs and Need for Rescue Craft Pushed Back Shuttle Timetable, NY Times

"NASA pushed back the time for resuming shuttle flights to next spring because more time was needed to prepare a potential rescue shuttle and to resolve persistent technical problems, like preventing the fuel tank from shedding foam insulation, agency officials said Friday."



19 February 2004: NASA Updates Space Shuttle Return to Flight Plans, NASA (includes links to SLEP presentations)

"Members of NASA's Space Flight Leadership Council, which is charged with the oversight of the agency's Return to Flight efforts, today moved the target window for the next flight of the Space Shuttle to March 2005."

17 February 2004: NASA Planning to Move Next Shuttle Mission to 2005, SpaceRef

"Last week NASA Administrator Sean O'Keefe told Congress that the chance of launching STS-114 in September 2004 was doubtful. According to NASA sources planned launch dates will almost certainly slip to March 2005 for STS-114 and May 2005 for STS-121." Meanwhile, STS-300 was baselined last week for a November 15, 2004 launch date - the same as the current planned STS-121 launch date. STS-300 is a pre-staged rescue mission to be in place to recover the STS-114 crew from the ISS in the event of non-repairable damage to the shuttle orbiter Atlantis used to fly STS-114.



18 February 2004: NASA says astronaut ejection system no longer option, Houston Chronicle

"The proposed crew escape improvements would rely on strengthening the two-story crew compartment in the nose of the shuttle. The enclosure separated, essentially intact, when Columbia broke apart during its high speed re-entry over Texas and when Challenger exploded during liftoff 18 years ago. The seven astronauts aboard each of the spacecrafts survived the crew compartment separations and perished from subsequent injuries."




9 February 2004: NASA Releases Implementation Plan for Space Shuttle Return to Flight and Beyond Volume 1 Revision 1.2



9 February 2004: NASA Releases "Renewed Commitment to Excellence" - the 'Diaz Report



9 February 2004: Jon Harpold has died.

Editor's note: Jon Harpold, the head of the Mission Operations Directorate at NASA JSC, passed away on sunday.

10 February 2004: Funeral arrangements, staff memos, etc.

10 February 2004: Obiturary: Jon C. Harpold, The Daily News




2 February 2004: NASA Invites Media to Shuttle Summit

"For more information about the SLEP Summit on the Internet, including an agenda, visit:
www.slepsummit.com"

Editor's note: If you go to "SLEP & related websites" on the main SLEP page you won't be able to see SLEP 2020 Reports or SSP Development. Instead you will get an ACCESS DENIED page.

Why send the media to a website, where the obvious material of interest to be discussed at the event they are being invited to, is inaccessible?



27 January 2004: Martian Landmarks Dedicated to Apollo 1 Crew

"NASA memorialized the Apollo 1 crew -- Gus Grissom, Ed White and Roger Chaffee -- by dedicating the hills surrounding the Mars Exploration Rover Spirit's landing site to the astronauts. The crew of Apollo 1 perished in flash fire during a launch pad test of their Apollo spacecraft at Kennedy Space Center, Fla., 37 years ago today."



20 January 2004: Stafford-Covey Return to Flight Task Group Interim Report (summary)

"While the tone of this interim report is justifiably positive, progress should not be mistaken for accomplishment. As time passes and the interval before the next scheduled flight diminishes, the enormity of the remaining task looms. Detailed plans for many of the recommendations have not been forthcoming. NASA has not been timely in some of their responses to Task Group requests for information. And while some of the most critical organizational issues raised by CAIB require only a "detailed plan" before return-to-flight, the RTF TG will be looking for thorough plans and processes that will stand the test of time-not just suffice for the first launch-just as the hardware redesigns are expected to serve the life of the shuttle."



20 January 2004: Spacehab Files Shuttle Claim Against NASA, Reuters

"The CAIB said in August that NASA officials missed eight chances to address fears that falling insulation foam may have damaged the shuttle, which broke apart over Texas last Feb. 1, killing all seven astronauts aboard."

20 January 2004: Spacehab Files Claim for Research Double Module Lost on STS-107 Space Shuttle Mission, Spacehab

"SPACEHAB, Incorporated, a leading provider of commercial space services, today announced that it has filed a formal claim against NASA in the amount of $87.7 million for the value of its Research Double Module (RDM) and related equipment that was destroyed during the STS-107 Space Shuttle Columbia accident."



20 January 2004: Stafford-Covey Group Issues Interim Status Report, NASA KSC

"The Stafford-Covey Return to Flight Task Group will issue an interim report Tuesday, Jan. 20. The group is making an independent assessment of NASA's implementation of the Columbia Accident Investigation Board Space Shuttle return to flight recommendations."

Editor's note: The report is online at http://returntoflight.org

Send them to nasawatch@reston.com



Your comments thus far:

Earlier entries



15 June 2004: NASA Comptroller email: Executive Council decision on Supercomputer, NASA HQ

"Executive Council approved the Ames supercomputer proposal today as follows (note: the proposal is dropped if we do not get appropriate OMB and Congressional concurrence by Tuesday, June 15): Purchase computer with $26m in Enterprise contributions in FY04 and pursue lease for remaining amount."



4 June 2004: DeLay: No risk, no reward in space, Washington Times

"In his 2004 State of the Union address, the president set out goals for the U.S. space program that included renewed space shuttle flights, completion of the International Space Station, a return to the moon and a manned mission to Mars."

Editor's note: Uh, no he did not - and a lot of people criticized him for omitting mention of the policy in that speech.

Editor's note: 11:45 am EDT: The Washington Times has now corrected their online version of this article to say "In a speech last January ..."

4 June 2004: Advancing the Frontiers of Science - Comments on America's leadership role in the exploration of outer space, House of Representatives, June 03, 2004

"Mr. CULBERSON. Madam Speaker, reclaiming my time, if we could have a little colloquy, it is important to point out to the American people and to the fellow Members of Congress that the President's vision which he laid out so eloquently and so clearly for the future of space exploration in this Nation is simply moving money largely within NASA's budget, preprogramming $11 billion within NASA's existing, projected budget to achieve this vision. The vision itself only calls for an additional $1 billion over the next 5 years in spending above the fiscal year 2004 budget."





3 June 2004: CRS Report for Congress: NASA FY 2005 Budget in Brief, and Key Issues for Congress, CRS

"In late February 2004, however, NASA released charts providing some detail on the budget assumptions behind the chart, including a cost estimate for landing a crew on the Moon in 2020: $64 billion in FY2003 dollars. The $64 billion consists of $24 billion to build and operate the Crew Exploration Vehicle from FY2004-2020; plus $40 billion for the years 2011-2020 to build the lunar lander portion of that vehicle, a new launch vehicle, and operations. The $64 billion does not include the cost of robotic missions. A cost estimate for sending astronauts to Mars was not provided."



25 May 2004: NASA Administrator Statement About Budget Conference Agreement

"I look forward to the Senate taking up the Agreement following the current Congressional work period. The Conference Agreement on the Budget Resolution represents the critical first step in establishing an overall budget plan to guide subsequent action by the Committees on Appropriations, and now permits the setting of 302(b) allocations for Appropriations Subcommittees within which FY 2005 appropriations bills will be constructed."

25 May 2004: Summer showdown for space plan, UPI

"A political showdown is looming this summer and fall over NASA's fiscal year 2005 budget request, which contains $866 million in new funding. Some $136 million of the proposed boost is earmarked to start President George W. Bush's new space exploration proposals. Neither house of Congress has acted on the plan yet, and though work has started on a bill to authorize both multi-year funding and a rationale for space exploration, most Hill staffers involved in the issue expect the authorization legislation to be left behind in the congressional rush to adjourn for the fall campaign."



21 April 2004: Statement of Sean O'Keefe before the House Appropriations Subcommittee on VA-HUD-Independent Agencies

"To successfully execute the Nation's Vision for Space Exploration, NASA will re-focus its organization, create new offices, align ongoing programs, experiment with new ways of doing business, and tap the great innovative and creative talents of our Nation."

21 April 2004: Lawmakers demand details before giving OK to NASA plan, Orlando Sentinel

"U.S. Rep. James Walsh, the chairman of the subcommittee, said that approving a $16.2 billion budget for 2005 - an increase of more than $900 million - would be difficult in tight budget times when other priorities offer fierce competition. And there are still many things that are unclear about NASA's plan to send astronauts back to the moon and, perhaps, on to Mars and beyond, he said. "I cannot commit this Congress, and future Congresses, to a program that is undefined," said Walsh, a New York Republican."

21 April 2004: Lawmakers warn NASA fund boost may be modest, Houston Chronicle

"U.S. Rep. Alan Mollohan of West Virginia, the ranking Democrat on the subcommittee, complained that NASA has provided "woefully inadequate" budget details. He and others told O'Keefe that NASA should not expect Congress to get behind the moon-Mars plan without rigorous debate."

21 April 2004: House Science Committee Chairman Boehlert Addresses American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics

"As part of the exploration initiative, the President has proposed increasing the NASA budget by 5.6 percent in the next fiscal year, to about $16.2 billion. I just can't imagine that that's going to happen, and I don't think it should. "Total federal non-security, domestic discretionary spending in fiscal 2005 is likely to increase by less than half a percent. Congress may even freeze spending, as the House voted to do in its Budget Resolution. In such a budget, should NASA receive almost a 6 percent increase? Is it the highest domestic spending priority? I don't think so, and I doubt my colleagues will either."



9 April 2004: NASA OIG: Integrated Financial Management Program Budget Formulation Module audit report

"Since the initial stages of our audit, which began in May 2003, full implementation dates for BFM have slipped twice. Originally scheduled for implementation in February 2004, the target date is now January 2005, meaning that NASA's planned use of the IFMP to implement cost-based budgeting - the final component necessary for full cost management - will be delayed until fiscal year 2006."




6 April 2004: NASA costs can't be verified, GAO report says, USA Today

"A NASA spokeswoman said the harsh GAO finding stems from an accounting dispute between the two agencies. "We believe we have given sufficient data to GAO that could be used to verify our compliance," said Sarah Keegan, a NASA budget specialist."

Editor's note: "accounting dispute"?, that's a nice PAO way to try and spin it Sarah. Alas, this situation is more like a "total disconnect", an "impasse", or a "breakdown in communications" - something which reflects the nature of what GAO concluded. GAO doesn't just issue reports to Congress without putting some serious thought into in them.

6 April 2004: GAO-04-648R - NASA Compliance With Cost Limits for ISS (House and Senate briefing charts)

"NASA did not report obligations to date against the space station and shuttle cost limits as part of its fiscal year 2005 budget request. Therefore, there was nothing for us to audit this year and we were unable to perform the audit called for by section 202 of the act. As a result, we have no basis for verifying NASA's charges against the limits. We have provided a copy of the slides to NASA officials and they agreed with our conclusion."

2 April 2004: Memo from NASA Program Executive Officer for IFM Patrick Ciganer regarding Budget Formulation decision

"This decision to delay the mandatory of use of our new Budget Formulation module for the '06 Center submit should not be seen as a retreat from the Agency's commitment to implementing the IFM Program in its totality. Instead, it reflects the acknowledgement of the unusual confluence of operational, institutional and policy issues affecting the current Budget process cycle . In the next few weeks, I will work with the Agency CFO and Comptroller to update our strategy for deploying an integrated, agency-wide budget planning tool capable of producing accurate, timely and transparent budgetary information."

11 March 2004: Audit of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration's Fiscal Year 2003 Financial Statements.

11 March 2004: Statement of Sean O'Keefe before the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on VA-HUD-Independent Agencies

"Although we received a disclaimed opinion on our recent audit statement, we are determined to pursue the right path in Financial Management bringing on a new financial system that will standardize accounting across the Agency and provide the tools necessary for improved program management. NASA remains committed to management excellence and believes it is essential to implementing the new exploration vision."

1 June 2003: Business Modernization: Improvements Needed in Management of NASA's Integrated Financial Management Program, GAO-03-507


1 April 2004: Uncertain Future for hypersonics at NASA?

Editor's note: in a briefing delivered at a LaRC Town Hall meeting on 26 March 2004, Code R AA Victor Lebacqz made a presentation. On page 19, on a chart labled "Six Programmatic Priorities" for NASA's Aeronautics Enerprise, the last bullet reads "Determine if there is a requirement to continue hypersonics research."




15 March 2004: NASA's Initial FY 2004 Operating Plan

"The purpose of this letter is to submit to the Committee NASA's initial FY 2004 Operating
Plan, in accordance with the agreements between NASA and the Committee, and to provide an update
to the FY 2003 Operating Plan."



12 March 2004: US Senate passes $2.36 trillion budget, Reuters

"The Senate rushed through a long list of amendments to vote 51-to-45 to clear its 2005 tax and spending blueprint. Democrats claim the plan does little to reduce the deficit and takes money away from social spending programs like education and health care to pay for tax cuts. With some of Bush's own party concerned about the budget deficit, the Senate decided on Wednesday that tax cuts must either be paid for with other funds in the budget or they must get more votes than are usually needed on the Senate floor."

12 March 2004: Amendment passed providing full funding for NASA's FY2005 space exploration initiatives to Senate Budget Resolution S.Con.Res. 95.

Editor's note: this action on 11 March 2004 added $600M to General Science, Space, and Technology for the purpose of providing full funding for NASA's FY2005 space exploration initiatives to the Senate Budget Resolution S.Con.Res. 95. The full Senate delegations from Texas, Alabama, and Florida served as co-sponsors and marks a reversal of a trend that seemed apparent last week wherein some (Sen. Lott and Sen. Santorum) in the Senate considered cutting back the President's request. Of course, the House has yet to fully weigh in.

13 March 2004: Senators rescue $600M for NASA, Huntsville Times

"The Senate Budget Committee had only approved a $200 million increase for NASA, leaving it $600 million short of Bush's request. Adding that money back would ensure NASA's ability to proceed with plans to return the space shuttle to flight and eventually build a lunar base and launch humans toward Mars, Sessions said."

12 March 2004: Sen. Bill Nelson's comments on the Senate floor regarding the NASA FY 2005 Budget

"I call on the White House. I call on the leadership of NASA. We cannot take for granted just because the President has announced a major new initiative that it is going to get funded. Indeed, we are swimming upstream. The immediate reaction of the American people to the President's initiative was they didn't support it. There is only one person who can lead the space program. That is the President or the Vice President. A Senator can't lead it. The administrator of NASA can't lead it, particularly on bold new initiatives. It has to be the White House that leads it."

3 March 2004: Chairman's Mark, 2005 Budget, Senate Budget Committee (PDF)

"For NASA, $15.6 billion, a 1.4-percent increase over 2004. While the Mark supports the President's vision for exploration and discovery, the current budget situation necessitates slower implementation. The resolution assumes fully funding the President's request for NASA in 2006 and beyond."


12 March 2004: Will NASA Annihilate Station Antimatter Experiment?, Science (subscription)

"NASA is reconsidering its support for an innovative experiment designed to capture direct evidence of elusive antimatter. At stake is an unusual 16-nation effort, led by a Nobel Prize winner, that until recently was cited by agency managers as proof that the space station can host high-quality science."



11 March 2004: Statement of Sean O'Keefe before the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on VA-HUD-Independent Agencies

"The Administration is also prepared to address issues associated with obtaining foreign transportation services to the Space Station, including provisions of the Iran Nonproliferation Act, but, until the ISS Partnership adopts a specific implementation strategy, it is premature to identify specific issues."



9 March 2004: House Science Committee Democrats Release Their Views and Estimates Report

"Recommendation #2: Until the Congress has better information on which to judge the long-term cost of the President's Moon/Mars initiative, we believe that NASA's FY 2005 funding request should be reallocated in a manner that strengthens NASA's existing programs, helps address the backlog of deferred maintenance at NASA's facilities, ensures that the Shuttle will continue to fly safely for as long as it is needed, ensures that the International Space Station will be a safe and productive facility, makes a start on a replacement means of getting U.S. astronauts into space, and enables the analyses that will be needed to develop a viable and sustainable exploration agenda."

9 March 2004: House Science Committee Hearing: Outside Experts to Give Their Views on the President's Space Exploration Plan

"The Committee will focus on the following overarching questions: Are the cost estimates and timetables of the initiative realistic? Is using the moon and the International Space Station as stepping-stones to a Mars mission the best approach? How difficult will it be to develop ways to minimize the impact on human health of long stays in space? Would NASA's budget have the proper balance among NASA's programs under the initiative?"

3 March 2004: Chairman's Mark, 2005 Budget, Senate Budget Committee (PDF)

"For NASA, $15.6 billion, a 1.4-percent increase over 2004. While the Mark supports the President's vision for exploration and discovery, the current budget situation necessitates slower implementation. The resolution assumes fully funding the President's request for NASA in 2006 and beyond."

11 March 2004: Senate Appropriations VA-HUD and Independent Agencies Subcommittee Hearing

6 March 2004: Congressional Preview

Editor's note: House and Senate Democrats are talking of putting the President's space Initiative on hold for at least a year. Some would like to wait for the election to be over. Other Democrats (and many Republicans) have problems with the lack of detail in the budget numbers and overall schedule milestones NASA has been presenting. Talk of holding NASA's budget in FY 2005 to FY 2004 levels with some $60-80 million in additional study money is being discussed among Democrats. Overall, Republicans are a bit more enthusiastic, but there are some deficit hawks who would like to pay off the deficit sooner than the President has suggested and proposed budget increases such as those sought for NASA are a tempting target.

8 March 2004: Bush's space plan stalls, Orlando Sentinel

"McCurdy thinks NASA had hoped a key legislator "would stand up and raise the flag and say 'Let's go! Follow me!' And that hasn't happened." In fact, one lawmaker who is well-positioned to lead such a charge, U.S. Rep. Sherwood Boehlert, chairman of the House Science Committee, says he needs more details about the initiative before he can decide whether to support it in its current form."



23 February 2004: Cuts may close world's only underwater lab, CTV

"NASA astronauts have trained at the lab for several years to help them prepare for the rigors of space travel, sometimes spending a week or longer at a time. "The beauty of Aquarius is not only is it isolated, but very isolated, and it's an extreme environment," said NASA project manager Bill Todd. "It also allows the crew to go on a real mission in a real environment and work with real scientists doing real work, just like they would in the space station." This summer NASA will send four astronauts to test new communication methods and exercise equipment for long-duration space travel."



17 February 2004: NASA Office of Biological and Physical Research (OBPR) Program Operating Plan (POP 04) Guidelines

"The Office of Biological and Physical Research (OBPR) is preparing a process and associated timeline to address NASA's exploration vision and implementation strategy. This timeline will extend forward some number of months, but to assist in the Program Operating Plan (POP 04) planning activities, and until further clarity of mission evolves, a series of guidance steps are provided below."

Editor's note: Many difficult choices lie ahead.




13 February 2004: Space Shuttle: Further Improvements Needed in NASA's Modernization Efforts. GAO-04-203 , January 15, 2004, GAO

"NASA cannot fully define shuttle upgrade requirements until it resolves questions over the shuttle's operational life and determines requirements for elements of its Integrated Space Transportation Plan such as the International Space Station. Prior efforts to upgrade the shuttle have been stymied because NASA could not develop a strategic investment plan or systematically define the spacecraft's requirements because of changes in its life expectancy and mission."




4 February 2004: Ad Astra Sans Pork: Earmarks as Roadblocks in Space, SpaceRef

"Mr. Wallace reminded the board that Senator McCain had asked Admiral Gehman to look into the effects on the program of non-shuttle related "pork" such as aquariums and petting zoos.

Dr. Logsdon indicated that the board has to differentiate between pork and politics. He said Senator McCain is talking about budget earmarks. He warned the board that the senator is considered by many on Capitol Hill to be a maverick on this issue and that an attack on pork in general risked alienating many important lawmakers. The board must show how allocating money for other programs has hurt the shuttle program.

Source: Columbia Accident Investigation Board (CAIB) Minutes of Meeting May 21, 2003 CMM008-0035 Page 10 of 18"



2 February 2004: NASA Offers Prize to Private Innovators, Fox

"The initiative in the new Office of Exploration budget is small--just two percent of its budget--and perhaps just the proverbial camel's nose under the tent, but that may be just as well. It could prove a useful pilot program to determine whether NASA is truly interested in true innovation, from previously-unknown talents, or instead in continuing to maintain the status quo."



2 February 2004: Overview of NASA's FY 2005 Budget, SpaceRef

"After weeks of hinting at what was in store, NASA finally released details of its FY 2005 budget. More importantly they provided insight into how the President's recently announced space policy will be implemented."

2 February 2004: NASA FY 2005 Budget, OMB (PDF)

2 February 2004: NASA budget Documents




22 December 2003: Business Modernization: Disciplined Processes Needed to Better Manage NASA's Integrated Financial Management Program. GAO-04-118, GAO

22 December 2003: Business Modernization: NASA's Challenges in Managing Its Integrated Financial Management Program. GAO-04-255, GAO

22 December 2003: Business Modernization: NASA's Integrated Financial Management Program Does Not Fully Address Agency's External Reporting Issues. GAO-04-151, GAO

22 December 2003: Information Technology: Architecture Needed to Guide NASA's Financial Management Modernization. GAO-04-43, GAO




5 December 2003: Congressional `pork' projects take funds away from NASA, Orlando Sentinel via SunHerald.com

"Alaska always does well in the bill - this year's version includes $600,000 for the Challenger School in Kenai, a fishing village of 7,000. The school has a center named for Stevens and his wife, Catherine."

2 December 2003: House Rpt.108-401 - NASA Excerpts

"The conferees agree that program delays often result in large cost increases that are increasingly difficult to justify and that NASA should have as a priority a desire to reduce these costs. Therefore, the conferees direct NASA to work to reduce the costs associated with program delays, and report to the Committees on Appropriations by January 15, 2004 on options for cost reductions."

Editor's note: What a hoot. Yes, NASA has a bad track record when it comes to cost. So what do the House and Senate do as they issue such admonitions out of one side of their mouths? They burden NASA with $375 million in pork (earmarks).

3 December 2003: Lott: Congress Won't Cut Spending On NASA Project, WDSU

"U.S. Sen. Trent Lott said Tuesday that Congressional negotiators have agreed to not cut funding for NASA's remote sensing program."



1 December 2003: NASA Space Station On-Orbit Status 1 Dec 2003

"Last week (11/28), Russia's State Duma approved the fourth and final reading of the draft federal budget for 2004, which would increase funding for all space programs (including ISS) by 6.3 billion rubles over FY 2003 spending (i.e., by ~$207 million to ~$470 million). [Approval by the Federation Council (Upper House of Parliament) is now needed before it can be signed by Pres. Putin.] U.S. and Russian Segment Status (as of 1:30pm EST)."




19 November 2003: CRS Report: U.S. Space Programs: Civilian, Military, and Commercial, Congressional Research Service

"DOD is requesting $20.4 billion for space programs (classified and unclassified) for FY2004, compared with its FY2003 appropriation of $18.4 billion. The House and Senate passed their respective versions of the FY2004 DOD authorization bill on May 22 (H.R. 1588/S. 1050). The FY2004 DOD appropriations act was signed into law September 30 (P.L. 108-87)."



18 November 2003: Senate Passes FY 2004 VA/HUD and Independent Agencies Appropriations Bill (NASA Excerpt)

"NASA - The bill includes a requirement that the National Academy of Public Administration do a top-to-bottom management analysis of NASA, particularly in response to the CAIB report which cited NASA management and culture as factors in the Columbia accident."

18 November 2003: H.R.2861 Status

11/18/2003: Passed Senate with an amendment by Voice Vote. Senate insists on its amendment, asks for a conference, appoints conferees Bond; Burns; Shelby; Craig; Domenici; DeWine; Hutchison; Stevens; Mikulski; Leahy; Harkin; Byrd; Johnson; Reid; Inouye.

18 November 2003: Floor Statement by Sen. Bill Nelson regarding "VA-HUD NASA flat-line budget"

"The shuttle needs to be able to fly safely as long as this country needs it. To even consider using upgrade and infrastructure funds for return to flight is unconscionable and certainly not in the long-term best interest of our Nation's space program."

18 November 2003: CRS: The National Aeronautics and Space Administration's FY2004 Budget Request: Description, Analysis, and Issues for Congress, Congressional Research Service (full report)

"Congress is debating the $15.469 billion FY2004 budget request of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). This report discusses the major issues, particularly the potential ramifications of the February 2003 space shuttle Columbia accident."






23 October 2003: Open Letter to Science Community Landsat Data Users

"As representatives of the US land science community, we are increasingly concerned that our nation's commitment to space-based monitoring our home planet's land surface is weakening or may even be coming to an end."



23 October 2003: SaveThe Hubble.org

"Hubble has done more to capture society's imagination for space exploration than anything since we landed a man on the moon. We don't understand why we can afford to spend 87 billion dollars to rebuild Iraq, and yet we can't find less than 1% of that to keep one of the greatest scientific achievements of this generation flying in the sky."




23 October 2003: Pluto Mission In Peril -- Again. No One Notices.

Editor's note: From a NASA Watch reader: "Take a look at H. J. Res 73, Section 4 (6) - it effectively kills the Pluto flyby mission. And this is a continuing resolution, too; keeping the government running after 31 October (when the current one expires) through 7 November. Surely the Senate will feel forced to pass the exact same resolution?"

SEC. 4. The provisions of the following bills of the 108th Congress are hereby enacted into law:

(6) VETERANS AFFAIRS AND HOUSING AND URBAN DEVELOPMENT, AND INDEPENDENT AGENCIES- H.R. 2861, as passed by the House of Representatives on July 25, 2003.




4 October 2003: Warner seeks $500 million for bases, Daily Press

"U.S. Sen. John Warner wants Congress to spend $500 million to repair and clean up military bases damaged by Hurricane Isabel."

4 October 2003: Sen. Warner tells NASA Langley that hell seek boost in budget, The Virginian-Pilot

"The meeting was closed to the public and the media was not allowed to attend or ask employees questions, per NASA Langley rules. However, Warner said afterward that he had announced plans to propose a 10 percent increase in funding for NASA programs, particularly the NASA Engineering and Safety Center that is slated to open at NASA Langley on Nov. 1."




12 September 2003: AIP FYI #118: Senate Appropriations Committee Language on NASA Space Flight, AIP

12 September 2003: AIP FYI #117: Senate Appropriators Pass FY 2004 Funding Bill for NASA, AIP

12 September 2003: S. 1584 [Report No. 108-143], FY 2004 NASA Excerpts, Senate Appropriations Committee

"The Committee remains very concerned over the inefficient use of funds by NASA. The Committee understands that most of the programs and activities funded by NASA are very difficult and technologically challenging and are what laypersons jokingly refer to as `rocket science.'"




12 September 2003: The Missing Item in NASA's New Flight Plan: Money, Science

"Given the work required, it is an ambitious schedule. "The way ahead is very daunting," admits NASA space flight chief William Readdy. But lawmakers suspect that the agency is more eager to launch than remake itself. "I'm concerned that NASA may already be rushing to meet unrealistic launch dates instead of examining this report closely and moving deliberately," said Boehlert. NASA will have to prove to a skeptical Congress that it can launch a safer shuttle--but not too quickly or too expensively."






4 September 2003: Senate Appropriations Committee Approves FY 2004 VA/HUD Bill, AIP

Scroll to bottom: "The bill has NASA funded at $15.3 billion. This is the same as the amount enacted in FY 2003."



7 September 2003: Acquisition of National Security Space Programs, DOD Under Secretary for Acquisition, Technology, & Logsitics

"1. Cost has replaced mission success as the primary driver in managing space development programs, from initial formulation through execution. Space is unforgiving; thousands of good decisions can be undone by a single engineering flaw or workmanship error, and these flaws and errors can result in catastrophe. Mission success in the space program has historically been based upon unrelenting emphasis on quality. The change of emphasis from mission success to cost has resulted in excessive technical and schedule risk as well as a failure to make responsible investments to enhance quality and ensure mission success. We clearly recognize the importance of cost, but we can achieve our cost performance goals only by managing quality and doing it right the first time."



6 September 2003: IFPTE Report on the Effectiveness of NASA's Workforce & Contractor Policies

"While the principle behind FBC was vague and open to interpretation for most of Goldin's tenure, FBC attempted to "shorten development times, reduce costs, and increase the scientific return by flying more missions in less time." Using FBC as a way to contract out services and move more of NASA's resources into the private sector, Goldin eliminated much of the civil service infrastructure that monitored and held technical knowledge of the service and products contractors provided and oversaw NASA's safe and successful operation."



27 August 2003: Impact LESA BULLETIN 2003-008, IFPTE

"Perhaps our Center-Director-to-Be, Dr. Earls, should start his quest to boost the impact of the John H. Glenn Research Center by a little re-education of Mr. Cowing, the esteemed (though possibly misinformed) editor of the independent NASAWatch.com web site. If this quote from Mr. Cowing is to be believed (which it isn't), we at Glenn just sit about irrelevantly for 364 days a year doing nothing for anybody and then cry at Mama Bear on that last day for more porridge."

Editor's note: Mr. Jones: perhaps if you'd stop obsessing about how much "porridge" GRC gets you'd be able to see what the powers that be have to say - and think - about GRC and why things are the way they are. The re-education you mention needs to start at GRC - at the individual level."

14 July 2003: More Thrust From NASA, Plain Dealer

"NASA Glenn's own survey data from 2001 show that customers - mostly businesses - struggled to assess what the lab does, perceived its technical edge to be slipping and found it tough to deal with and slow to respond. Fewer than one-third of respondents said NASA Glenn was very close to the ideal federal laboratory."



4 August 2003: NASA Portion of House Rpt.108-235; VA/HUD and Independent Agencies Appropriations Bill FY 2004

"The Committee has recommended a total program level of $15,540,300,000 in fiscal year 2004, which is an increase of $71,000,000 from the budget request and an increase of $201,393,000 when compared to the fiscal year 2003 enacted appropriation."

Editor's Note: Among the things members of Congress shamelessly shoved into this bill are the following items which, at first blush, seem to have nothing whatsoever to do with NASA.



  • 2. An increase of $1,000,000 for the Alabama Supercomputer Education Outreach program;
  • 10. An increase of $1,500,000 to the BizTech High Tech Business Incubator;

  • 14. An increase of $2,200,000 for the Education Advancement Alliance in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania for education grants and scholarships;
  • 15. An increase of $250,000 for Rutgers for continued construction of a research and teaching facility on its Busch Campus in Piscataway, New Jersey;
  • 16. An increase of $250,000 for Middle Tennessee State University for K-12 Science Education Enhancements;
  • 17. An increase of $500,000 for the Northwestern University's Institute for Proteomics and Nanotechnology;
  • 19. An increase of $300,000 to develop a high temperature nanotechnology research program;
  • 20. An increase of $300,000 for a national Communications, Navigation, and Surveillance test bed;

  • 26. An increase of $500,000 for the Ohio View Consortium;
  • 28. An increase of $1,000,000 for the Garrett Morgan Commercialization Initiative in Ohio;

  • 31. An increase of $2,000,000 for the Michigan Technology Commercialization Corporation to identify and develop new medical materials and technologies which have the ability to provide low cost alternatives to current therapies;
  • 32. An increase of $300,000 for the Center for Science and Mathematics at the University of Redlands, California;
  • 54. An increase of $2,000,000 for Cryogenic Power Electronics Development at the State University of New York at Albany;
  • 56. An increase of $2,500,000 for the Regional Application Center for the Northeast;
  • 57. An increase of $2,550,000 for the Fractional Ownership Test Program;
  • 58. An increase of $3,000,000 in the Computing, Information and Communications Technology Program (CICT) for High Information Density Approaches to Mobile Broadband Internet Communications;

  • 59. An increase of $4,000,000 for new Adaptive Surveillance Techniques for Airport Surface Safety;
  • 60. An increase of $4,500,000 for the National Center of Excellence in Infotonics in Rochester, New York;
  • 61. An increase of $4,500,000 for the National Center of Excellence in Bioinformatics in Buffalo, New York;
  • 62. An increase of $4,500,000 for a new Science Center at St. Bonaventure University in New York State;
  • 70. An increase of $8,000,000 for the Florida State University System Hydrogen Research Initiative;
  • 71. An increase of $1,000,000 to the Little River Canyon field school;
  • 72. An increase of $1,000,000 to the Tulane Institue for Macromolecular Engineering and Science for research on polymers;




31 July 2003: AIP FYI #104: House Appropriations Report Language on NASA, AIP

"Under the House bill, funding for NASA would increase to $15.5 billion, an increase of 1.3% over FY 2003 funding, and an increase of 0.5% over the Administration's request."



28 July 2003: DPS Mailing #03-12: New Horizons Threatened, AAS

"One of the major components for implementing the Decadal Survey recommendations is in peril by Congressional budget cutters. Late last week, the House VA-HUD- Independent Agency Appropriations Subcommittee released budget language to cut $55M from the New Frontiers program. Such a cut will seriously delay the launch and science return of the first New Frontiers Mission: New Horizons Mission to Pluto and the Kuiper Belt."



23 July 2003: House Appropriations Committee Report on FY 2004 Budget: NASA Details

"... NASA is directed to provide to the Committee within ninety days of enactment of this act a report on the costs and benefits of both reusable and expendable architectures for the OSP crewed system, including the implications of each architecture type on the development timeline for a system that meets NASA 's OSP Levell requirements."

  • A decrease of $20,000,000 to the James Webb Space Telescope.
  • A decrease of $13,000,000 to the Earth Science Applications program.
  • A decrease of $55,000,000 to the New Frontiers program
  • A decrease of $6,150,000 to the Space Interferometer Mission.



25 June 2003: Accenture Helps NASA Develop and Launch New Core Financial System

25 June 2003: New Financial Management Tools Unite NASA, NASA

"NASA's business operations took a giant leap forward this week as all 10 NASA field centers began using the same system to pay bills and manage financial accounts. The new system, part of NASA's Integrated Financial Management Program (IFMP), is one component of a major overhaul of the way the agency does business. The program is replacing duplicative legacy systems with new ones for common use across the agency."



16 June 2003: Mars probes rise above feel-good international space programs, OpEd by Jim Oberg, USA Today

"Sure, having the Russians aboard now is the only thing that's keeping the station going. But at what cost? Money needed for shuttle upgrades and safety enhancements was largely siphoned off to accommodate Russian delays and shortfalls in their contributions to the space station. The shuttle program, and especially its maintenance measures, suffered as a result, although a direct causal link with the Feb. 1 catastrophe remains nebulous, at least so far."

Editor's note: Word has it that Rep. Dana Rohrabacher is looking to siphon $300 Million from SLI i.e. Shuttle upgrades, OSP, and NGLV in the FY 2005 budget to pay for Alternate Access ("Alt Access") to ISS. This is foolish - and counterproductive. If alternative access options for ISS logistics and resupply are indeed viable (they most certainly are!) then funds for these activities should be found IN ADDITION to what NASA has requested to A. fix the Shuttle; B. replace it in the short term; and C. replace it in the long term. To do otherwise is to undermine American human spaceflight by reducing its ability to make the Shuttle safer in the immediate future.

Editor's note: Clarification: NASA Watch sources say that these efforts by Rohrabacher are focused on NASA's FY 2003 operations plan and the FY 2004 budget and are meant to reverse NASA's decision to zero out Alt Access. On the other hand, sources on Capitol Hill deny that anything like this is going on. Stay tuned.




14 June 2003: NASA OIG: Integrated Financial Management Program Core Financial Module Conversion to Full Cost Accounting

"In conducting this audit, we found that the Core Financial Module software, which has been implemented at six NASA Centers, has the capability to implement full cost accounting. Before implementation can take place, NASA must resolve several extraordinarily complex accounting and costing issues. These involve how to allocate service and general and administrative (G&A) costs, civil service costs, and unassigned costs."



6 June 2003: Update on the Wind Tunnel Closures, George H. Kidwell, Director (Acting), Research and Development Services, NASA ARC

"On May 16, 2003, the Wind Tunnel Operations Division (Code FO) initiated the closure of the National Full-Scale Aerodynamic Complex (NFAC) and 12-Foot. Pressure Wind Tunnel facilities. I would like to provide some background on this event and to put it into the context of yesterday, today, and tomorrow."




2 June 2003: Houston, we have a problem at NASA center in Cleveland, Cleveland Plain Dealer

"The widespread federal survey, based on more than 100,000 responses, had 50 more questions about job satisfaction, benefits and compensation, among other issues. Citing privacy concerns, the Office of Personnel Management, which oversees the federal work force and conducted the survey, said it's up to the agencies to release results. The center's management has not done so publicly."

Editor's note: Here is the survey (Federal Human Capital Survey 2002) online at OPM. It is not readily apparent (at least to me) how to extract NASA data from this.

Update: NASA's survey results are located at this OPM URL: http://fhcs.opm.gov/gwsReports/SA-SUB-HL...nal-Aeronautics-and-Space-Administration. Alas, neither the the public or NASA empoyees are allowed to see the results - you need a username and password to gain access. Fortunately, someone has printed the hidden survey results out and put them in this PDF file.




31 May 2003: NASA financial program in danger, Federal Computer Week

"A General Accounting Office report issued May 30 criticizes NASA's financial management plan, saying the space agency is in danger of producing its third consecutive failed financial management system."

1 June 2003: Business Modernization: Improvements Needed in Management of NASA's Integrated Financial Management Program, GAO-03-507, GAO

"NASA has established the right goal for IFMP, and its ongoing
implementation of several already-acquired system components,
particularly the core financial module, may provide some improvements to
NASA's accounting data. However, implementation of these components
will only partially address NASA's information needs related to its complex
space programs and contracts because NASA has deferred implementation
of the system capabilities needed to provide this information and has not
reengineered key business processes such as acquisition management.
NASA's long-standing weaknesses in this area have been central to our
designation of NASA contract management as high risk. Moreover, NASA's
approach to acquiring and implementing IFMP components has and will
continue to introduce risk and increase the chances that the agency will fall
short of meeting its IFMP goal."




17 May 2003: Wind tunnels closed, SJ Mercury News

"The world's largest and second-largest wind tunnels -- built and operated by NASA/Ames Research Center in Mountain View -- were closed Friday and could be mothballed forever, officials at the space agency told the Mercury News."

15 May 2003: NASA Langley Consolidates Wind Tunnel Operations, NASA LaRC

"The civil service personnel directly involved with the new organization had the opportunity to meet and present their concerns and ask questions at a special private session today with organization leadership."




9 April 2003: Congressional Babbling

The following semi-coherent questions were among those asked by Rep. Kaptur (D-OH) at yesterday's NASA budget hearings before the VA-HUD subcommittee of the House Appropriations Committee:

"The second question I have, and I'll just wait for answers on both, has to do with what measures we have as a world of perhaps ozone damage and any pollution resulting from our space probes that cut through the thin veil of light that surrounds the globe. And to what extent do we have information on that? I've been asked questions about it in my own region and I don't have any answers. And some of the space garbage that we're leaving up there. So in terms of the applications and possible future funding that could help to apply what you know about Earth-sun and fuel cell research to ongoing energy needs here on Earth. And then the issue of the basin and our environment and how we protect that very thin ozone layer around Earth."...

... "Mr. Chairman, could I just ask the director if he could arrange to have someone come up and see me privately on the Earth-sun effort

REP. WALSH: Absolutely.

-- so I can get a better understanding of what you're doing and then also he asked the question for the record relating to the impact of NASA's space shots through the atmosphere and how you're measuring the impact of that on the oxygen layer?"

Editor's note: "space garbage"? "the thin veil of light that surrounds the globe"? "the oxygen layer"? This meandering babble is what happens when staff don't adequately prepare their boss for a hearing. Note to Rep. Kaptur: if you are going to engage in a serious discussion on the things that NASA does, the least you could do is know something about the topics and not waste everyone's time demonstrating your lack of knowledge. Otherwise, the prudent response would be "I have no questions Mr. Chairman."

Editor's update: Rep. Kaptur's office called to take issue with what I have posted on NASA Watch. Specifically that she said "thin layer of "life" (not "light") even though my notes show "light". I added in Rep. Walsh's comment "absolutely" at Kaptur's staffer's request. Otherwise, my comments still stand: she sounded utterly ill-prepared for the hearing. Oh yes, Sean O'Keefe is the "Administrator" of NASA - not its "Director." You'd think that a 10 term member of Congress who represents regions near NASA Glenn Research Center would know this by now.



7 April 2003: Letter from Rep. Rohrabacher to NASA OET AA Creedon regarding Alternate Access to Station funding (14 March 2003)

"Sir, no one cheered louder than I when you came to D.C. last summer to replace Mr. Venneri, but I am concerned that NASA may repeat errors made under his watch. Please be confident that I stand ready to work with you to successfully implement a focused and expedited AAS program and a focused and expedited OSP initiative."

7 April 2003: Letter from Rep. Rohrabacher to NASA Administrator O'Keefe Regarding FY 2003 Budget Amendment Concerns (15 November 2002)

"Secondly, I also believe NASA should continue its efforts in the Space Launch Initiative that enables procurement of commercial services for Space Station cargo and logistics missions. Further, the OSP should be commercially owned and operated not unlike the EELV. This contracting method has proven to be a logical and prudent approach, and it could further the goals of the second generation of human launch."




5 March 2003: House Science Committee Views and Estimates Fiscal Year 2004 - Part 1

5 March 2003: House Science Committee Views and Estimates Fiscal Year 2004 - Part 2: Recommendations for Agencies

"The Administration has proposed $15.469 billion for NASA in FY04, an increase of less than 1 percent above NASA's FY03 appropriation of $15.335 billion. Unfortunately, as a result of the tragic loss of the Space Shuttle, it is impossible at this time to credibly assess the proposed funding levels contained in significant portions of NASA's FY04 budget request."

5 March 2003: House Science Committee Democrats Release Their Views and Estimates

"Representative Ralph M. Hall (D-TX), ranking Democrat on the Science Committee, today released the Democrats' Views and Estimates report. This report, required annually by the Budget Act, is designed to provide guidance to the Budget Committee for funding of science and technology programs in the annual budget process. The report, which is in part a response to the Committee Republican Views and Estimates Report and in part to the Bush Administration's budget request, makes four points."

5 March 2003: House Science Committee Democrats Select Subcommittee Ranking Members

"Congressman Ralph Hall (D-TX), ranking Democrat on the Science Committee, today released the Democratic Subcommittee leadership slate for the 108th Congress."




3 March 2003: NASA's pork feeds hometown projects, Orlando Sentinel

"In 1992, Rep. Jamie Whitten, the powerful chair of the House committee that oversees the federal budget, took $360 million from, among other places, the space-shuttle program. Whitten redirected the money to a booster-rocket facility in his rural Mississippi district that NASA no longer wanted."



27 February 2003: Science Committee Democrats Express Concerns about NASA's Budget and Programs

"Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-NY) commented on the recent release of e-mails between NASA and contractor personnel, "Once more in the wake of a national tragedy we are left to ask who knew what when, and what should they have done about it. The issue is not whether the memos were right, it's whether they were read."

27 February 2003: Opening Statement by Rep. Ralph Hall

"NASA has said that the Orbital Space Plane will supplementnot replacethe Space Shuttle. Doesn't that mean that we will be flying both the Shuttle and the Orbital Space Station to and from the Space Station? If so, aren't we and our International Partners locking ourselves into higher Space Station operating costs? This doesn't sound like a good idea to me. "

27 February 2003: Opening Statement by Rep. Boehlert at NASA Budget Hearing

"I should say, though, that having met with Admiral Gehman at length yesterday, I am more convinced than ever that the Columbia Accident Investigation Board has the independence and resources it needs to conduct a broad, thorough and useful investigation. The Board does still need some additional members, and I expect that more will be appointed within the next few weeks. I look forward to cooperating with Admiral Gehman as the Committee conducts its own bipartisan investigation."

26 February 2003: Hearing Charter: NASA's Fiscal Year 2004 Budget Request, House Science Committee

26 February 2003: Hearing to review implications of Columbia accident on NASA programs and budget, House Science Committee


16 February 2003: Dollars From Heaven: NASA spending hits wide area including Pa., W.Va. and Ohio, Post Gazette.com

"NASA pumps lots of money into the national economy, and virtually every state in the union reaps some benefit from space program spending or from spinoff companies that are based on space program research."

16 February 2003: NASA brought economic boost to West Virginia, Post Gazette.com

"When Reese got to Byrd's office, the senator had good news. He asked Reese what incentives Fairmont could offer to help Byrd land a small office of the national space agency with the unwieldy name of the Independent Verification and Validation Facility."



13 February 2003: 2003 bill fully funds Marshall's top efforts, Huntsville Times

"The bill includes $839 million for the Marshall-managed Space Launch Initiative and $36.5 million for Marshall's Nuclear Systems Initiative, a program aimed at developing nuclear-powered spacecraft. It also includes $3.2 billion for space shuttle operations, including $317 million for a program to improve NASA's fleet of space shuttles."




3 February 2003: NASA Fiscal Year 2004 Budget Documents

 From NASA

Budget Briefing Presentation (PDF)

Budget Summary (PDF)

Strategic Plan (PDF)

Detailed Budget Estimate (PDF 32 MB)

 From the White House

NASA Budget Fiscal Year 2004 (PDF)

NASA Budget Fiscal Year 2004 Apendix (PDF)






29 January 2003: NASA Set to Unveil 'Jupiter Tour' Mission, SpaceRef

"When NASA rolls out its FY 2004 budget on Monday a large new planetary exploration mission will be revealed.

The Bush Adminstration has signed off on a multi-billion-dollar-class mission dubbed "Jupiter Tour' - a mission which embodies a radical departure from the past four decades of planetary exploration."




27 January 2003: NASA Previews Fiscal Year 2004 Budget

"NASA Administrator Sean O'Keefe will preview the agency's fiscal year (FY) 2004 budget proposal in a press conference at 3 p.m. EST, Monday, Feb. 3."

28 January 2003: NASA FY 2004 Budget Sneak Preview


Editor's note: Well, there was no mention of space, nuclear rockets, or Mars in the President's State of the Union address. None the less, this does not mean that interesting news for NASA is not in the offing. Exciting stuff will be announced next Monday. Yes, per earlier rumors, it involves spacecraft using advanced nuclear power sources - and the overall development program for these systems is dubbed "Prometheus". It's just that multiple destinations - other than Mars - are involved.

The announcements made next Monday will show that NASA, at least under this Administration, is no longer incapable of big thinking when it comes to space. Moreover, NASA's other reseach priorities are no longer politically beholdent to the shadow cast by the ISS program. Finally, NASA is now seen as being worthy of big things beyond the ISS - and the ISS itself is finally going to be seen as a stepping stone for things to come.

Would any of this have been forseen a scant 14 months ago? Stay tuned.



24 January 2003: Special Report: Senate Omnibus Appropriations Package and California Implications , The California Institute For Federal Policy Research

"For NASA, the Senate bill would provide total funding of $15.1 billion, a $300 million boost over the FY 2002 level. Within NASA, the account for Human Space Flight would receive provide $6.1 billion..."



23 January 2003: Senate Approves $390 Billion Package, Washington Post

"The Senate last night approved a $390 billion-plus spending package that sticks closely to a White House-imposed ceiling, after Republicans defeated Democratic moves to add billions of dollars for health care providers and job-training programs."


21 January 2003: Senate resumes long debate to finish fiscal 2003 budget, Government Executive

"Senate appropriators are poised to finish work this week on the $390 billion fiscal 2003 omnibus appropriations package, but they will still have to overcome a series of Democratic amendments designed to boost funds in the proposal."


21 January 2003: Senate Adds $300M to Spending Bill, AP

"The overdue spending package is for the government budget year that started last Oct. 1. Majority Republicans had hoped to ship the bill to President Bush in time for him to cite its completion during his State of the Union address next Tuesday. Instead, Democrats have used the bill for amendments that, although mostly defeated, have let them attempt to draw political distinctions between themselves and the GOP. Last week, Republicans voted overwhelmingly against Democratic amendments to raise the measure's price tag with extra money for schools, domestic security programs and other areas."




17 January 2003: AIP FYI #6: NASA Plan Would Focus Resources on Station Research, Launch Technologies

"As Congress has not yet completed the FY 2003 appropriations bills, there is still time for the Administration's amendment to be incorporated."



16 January 2003: Work begins on omnibus spending bill with across-the-board cut, Government Executive

"To mitigate a growing list of politically charged amendments by Democrats, appropriators decided late Wednesday afternoon to include within the $385 billion package of 11 appropriations bills a 1.6 percent, across-the-board cut totaling about $6 billion. That money would be redirected so $3.1 billion would go to drought aid, $1.5 billion to election reform and another $1.6 billion to a Medicare fee fix."




9 January 2003: AIP FYI #4 Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist: A Friend of Science

"In the spring of 2000, FYI reported on a Senate subcommittee hearing chaired by Frist on NASA. While he described his support of NASA and the challenges it faces, he also told the NASA administrator that "for $14 billion a year, the American taxpayers deserve better." Frist also spoke of the difficulties in getting good cost projections from the agency."



22 December 2002: AIP FYI #139: Still No Clear End to Budget Stalemate

"There is still little solid information about how Congress and the Administration will enact eleven "must pass" appropriations bills for Fiscal Year 2003. Congress will not be coming back into town until January, and while there are various plans being floated about how to resolve this impasse, no one can predict how this will all turn out."



Earlier 2004 Entries



June 2004: Beyond the Widget: Columbia Accident Lessons Affirmed, Brig Gen Duane W. Deal, USAF, Air & Space Power

"The lessons gleaned from these and other prominent accidents and disasters, management and leadership primers, and raw experience are the same lessons that should have prevented the Columbia accident. The saddest part is that some in the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) had simply not absorbed, or had forgotten, these lessons; the result was the deaths of seven astronauts and two helicopter search team members, as well as the intense scrutiny of a formerly exalted agency."




11 May 2004: NASA to Name Supercomputer after Columbia Astronaut Kalpana Chawla

"NASA will dedicate a new supercomputer this week to honor the memory of astronaut Kalpana "KC" Chawla, one of the seven crew members aboard the Space Shuttle Columbia, lost Feb. 1, 2003. The dedication ceremony will be held May 12 at NASA Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, Calif."




25 April 2004: Correction/Amplification Regarding Dover Casket Photos, The Memory Hole

"Among the 361 Dover casket photos are a minority of images showing coffins of the Columbia astronauts. I didn't realize this at the time that I posted them, mainly because when the Air Force asked for clarification during the process, I specifically told them that I wasn't requesting photos of the Columbia astronauts, only military personnel killed overseas."

"(Not that I have anything against astronauts. One of the tricks for writing successful Freedom of Information Act requests is to make your request as narrow as possible. I was afraid that including the astronauts in the request would give the Air Force another excuse not to release the photos. As in: "Well, since you want the astronaut photos, we're going to have to clear that with more federal agencies.....") I've since been told by a reporter that NASA released the astronaut casket photos at the time and has never objected to their use. Quite a marked difference from the battlefield dead, who are swept under the rug by the Pentagon."

23 April 2004: NASA: Columbia Crew Mistakenly Identified as Iraqi War Dead, NASA HQ

23 April 2004: DOD Misidentifies Photos of Columbia Crew Remains Ariving at Dover AFB as Being Iraq War Dead, SpaceRef

"If you look at the originating website for the controversial photos of war dead being returned from Iraq (loads very slow), you will see that most of the first page of photos are of Space Shuttle Columbia crew remains arriving at Dover Air Force Base on 5 February 2003. You see, that is Deputy NASA Administrator Fred Gregory in the light brown slacks and dark jacket standing to the left of the honor guard."

23 April 2004: Columbia Crew Coffins Mistaken for Caskets of U.S. Military Casualties, Space.com

"It is a story that will have journalism professors, conspiracy theorists and free speech advocates confused, amused and most likely up-in-arms until the next media scandal appears."

23 April 2004: Space-shuttle victims misidentified as Iraq dead in some photos, Delawareonline.com


24 April 2004: Columbia crew remains mistaken for war dead, Florida Today

"Keith Cowing, who runs NASA Watch, a private Web site that follows developments at the space agency, said he detected the mistake and called it to NASA's attention. NASA officials said CNN was one of "many" news outlets that misidentified photos of caskets containing remains of the Columbia astronauts."

23 April 2004: Photos included images of shuttle astronauts' coffins, Orlando Sentinel

"Among the Columbia crewmembers, only mission specialist Kalpana Chawla had not served in the military. Commander Rick Husband and payload commander Michael Anderson were in the Air Force; pilot Willie McCool and mission specialists David Brown and Laurel Clark were in the Navy; and Israeli astronaut Ilan Ramon was in his country's air force. But the astronauts were brought to Dover because of their association with NASA, as were the seven members of the Challenger crew, in 1986."

24 April 2004: Bush Criticizes the Release of Photos of Soldier Coffins, NY Times

"In their eagerness to take advantage of the first photographs of American war dead from Iraq returning to Dover, several news organizations broadcast or published images of coffins that actually contained the remains of astronauts killed in the breakup of the Columbia space shuttle, NASA said Friday. Among the news organizations that used the incorrect photographs were CNN, The Associated Press, Reuters and The Washington Post. "This was an obvious case of mistaken identity," said Bob Jacobs, a NASA spokesman."

23 April 2004: Washington Post prints Columbia photo in Iraq War dead coffin story

Editor's note: The Washington Post has printed a photo on page A10 of Deputy Administrator Fred Gregory on the tarmac at Dover AFB with the caption "About 350 photos of coffins at Dover Air Force Base were released under the Freedom of Information Act". No one in the photo is identified - nor is the date of the photo or the event noted. Update: the Post printed a correction on 24 April.

Editor's note: Reuters also distributed a photo (correction posted) of the Columbia crew remains without identifying it as such - instead captioning it as "Coffins of U.S. military personnel are offloaded by Air Force honor guards at Dover Air Force Base in Dover, Delaware in this undated photo." Reuters has since posted an article at 7:00 pm EDT which focuses on the error.

Editor's note: AP has a screen grab of the first page of photos - all of which are of Columbia crew remains. AP titles the image as "A page from the Memory Hole.org's homepage shows photographs of American war dead arriving at Dover Air Force, the nation's largest military mortuary, Thursday, April 22, 2004." Curiously AP has an article up which they posted at 4:50 pm EDT today and then revised at 8:30 pm which now mentions their own error.


Editor's note: As of 5:00 pm EDT yesterday CNN Headline news was flashing several pictures of NASA Deputy Administrator Fred Gregory standing on the tarmac receiving the bodies of the Columbia crew at Dover Air Force Base in February 2003 and claiming that the photos are of caskets containing war dead arriving home from Iraq in 2004. NASA and CNN are aware of this and I expect that the photos in question won't be running again. Apparently the original FOIA request was filed for all images of coffins at Dover between February 2003 and the present and apparently these Columbia images were included.




15 March 2004: Families of Columbia astronauts arrive in Israel for emotional visit, Israel Insider

"The families of the six American NASA astronauts who died in the Columbia space shuttle tragedy last year arrived in Israel yesterday, and were greeted at the airport by Rona Ramon, widow of Israeli crew member, Ilan Ramon."




2 February 2004: Remarks by Sean O'Keefe, STS-107 Crew Memorial Ceremony, Arlington National Cemetery

"Generations from now, when the reach of human civilization is extended throughout the solar system, people will still come to this place to learn about and pay their respects to our heroic Columbia astronauts. They will look at the astronauts' memorial and then they will turn their gaze to the skies, their hearts filled with gratitude for these seven brave explorers who helped blaze our trail to the stars."

20 July 2003: Keith Cowing's Devon Island Journal: Arctic Memorials and Starship Yearnings

"Our task was a somewhat solemn one. We were here to erect a memorial to Columbia astronaut Michael Anderson. The memorials take the form of an inukshuk, a stone sculpture in rough human form used by the Inuit to mark territory. Given the sheer mass of the structure, and the slow manner with which things change here, this inukshuk may well be standing 500 years from now. That should be long enough. Maybe someone serving on a starship will think to visit it."

2 February 2004: Lampson Leads Floor Tribute to Columbia Crew

"The crew of STS-107 would not want us to dwell only on their deaths. Instead, I believe that they would want us to reflect on the cause for which they gave their lives: the exploration of space. And I have no doubt that they would want us to rededicate ourselves to the task of ensuring that this nation continues that exploration."

2 February 2004: H. RES. 507 Expressing sorrow of the House of Representatives on the anniversary of the accident of the Space Shuttle Columbia

"Resolved, That the House of Representatives does offer its gratitude to the seven Space Shuttle Columbia astronauts and its heartfelt sympathy to their families on the anniversary of their loss, with the reassurance that this sacrifice will not have been made in vain, but will strengthen this Nation's resolve to continue their journey of discovery."


2 February 2004: STS-107 Columbia Memorial Dedicated at Arlington National Cemetery

2 February 2004: NASA Dedicates Mars Landmarks to Columbia Crew

2 February 2004: Columbia Memorial Dedicated at Arlington National Cemetery

28 January 2004: NASA Dedicates Columbia Memorial


28 January 2004: Space Shuttle Challenger Crew Memorialized on Mars


27 January 2004: Martian Landmarks Dedicated to Apollo 1 Crew


6 January 2004: NASA Memorializes Space Shuttle Columbia Crew on Mars



1 February 2004: Columbia +365, SpaceRef

"One year ago today, Space Shuttle Columbia began to return home after a successful 16 day Mission.

It would never arrive.

Within minutes of entering the uppermost regions of Earth's atmosphere, Columbia began to disintegrate. As it sped through the edge of space pieces began to shower down across Texas and Louisiana. Thousands of eyes watched from backyards. Millions watched on TV as Columbia broke into pieces.

Just as Columbia ceased to exist, in the days and weeks following this tragedy, many soon began to fear that America's space program would suffer much the same fate."



31 January 2004: NASA Sources Sought Notice: International Space Station Organizational Behavior Analysis

"The International Space Station Program Office is seeking information from private firms and research institutions that could support a comprehensive assessment and documentation of organizational behavior within the program office located at the Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas."

Editor's note: They should be looking at behavior other centers as well. Much to my surprise I actually got the following email from someone@larc.nasa.gov today:

"I would be curious to see how other NASA employees felt about the NASA spectacle before the Super Bowl. Personally, I thought it was way over the top for cheeziness. A group of us watching the game were about ready to throw up. Wonder how much tax money went into that PR extravaganza. How many times is NASA going to evoke the memory of dead astronauts? I have long stopped thinking they are doing it out of any respect for the families. Too many other good people die every day and these people hardly qualify for sainthood."

Editor's note: I just got this response: "Mr. Cowing, Saw you posted my view from my office at LaRC. I don't mind that but your implication that somehow I need my attitiude adjusted was rather insulting. NASA technical people do a lot of great things but the NASA PR machine is a beast that drives way too much of the Agency's thinking. I do appreciate the anonymity you maintain as LaRC managers would likely want my head for my comments (if they are not reading e-mail that goes to your site). Trying to still enjoy your site but I am finding a serious slant toward man in space to make me concerned about its objectivity. Nothing personal."

To which I replied: "If I were you I'd read Dr. Clark's comments - and then take the buyout. NASA would be far better off without you."



31 January 2004: Strangers linked by Columbia tragedy, AP

"Virtually everyone inside and outside the space program acknowledges that the Columbia tragedy, along with the investigation board's condemnation of the lack of a national space vision, spurred President Bush into aiming for the moon. "I would really love that to happen," [Jon] Clark says. "But I can tell you that it can't happen without NASA fundamentally changing."




29 January 2004: NASA won't bury memory of Columbia failure, Houston Chronicle

"NASA, which has buried its debris in the past, plans to keep the 84,000 pieces for future research and, more importantly, to serve as a grim reminder of the high cost of the space agency's mistakes."





29 January 2004: At Memorial, NASA Chief Reflects on Fatal Errors, AP

"But Jon Clark, a NASA neurologist who lost his wife, Laurel Blair Salton Clark, aboard Columbia, is among those dissatisfied with the progress one year later. He says he sees and hears enough to know that resistance persists in NASA. "The people who don't . . . see themselves in the report and see ways they can improve things, they're the ones who need to go," Clark says. "In other words, they embrace change, but it's changing somebody else, not them."



29 January 2004: Super Sunday To Be Bittersweet For NASA Astronauts, WRAL

"As part of the Super Bowl show, musician Josh Grobin will sing a song in tribute to the astronauts. Military planes also will fly over Reliant Stadium in the "Missing Man" formation."



28 January 2004: Opportunity Site Dedication

Editor's note: Sean O'Keefe, speaking in a Senate hearing, said that the Opportunity landing site will be dedicated to the Challenger crew later today.




29 January 2004: A year after shuttle tragedy, NASA aims higher, CNN

"By the end of the summer, Cowing said, the plan was in full motion. The seeds of the plan -- the ideas that led to it -- started germinating in the decade before the Columbia disaster. "It wasn't a shortage of ideas. You could walk through NASA with double-sided sticky tape and wait 30 seconds and you've got 15 new ideas, or notions of where we should go," Cowing said."



28 January 2004: "Adjusting Our Thinking" - Letter from Wayne Hale to the Space Shuttle Team

"Last year we dropped the torch through our complacency, our arrogance, self-assurance, shear stupidity, and through continuing attempt to please everyone. Seven of our friends and colleagues paid the ultimate price for our failure."

"As you consider continuing in this program, or any other high risk program, weigh the cost. You, too, could be convicted in the court of your conscience if you are ever party to cutting corners, believing something life and death is not your responsibility, or simply not paying attention. The penalty is heavy, you can never completely repay it."


28 January 2004: Shuttle manager reflects on mistakes, Jim Oberg, MSNBC

"Marking the first anniversary of the loss of the shuttle Columbia and its seven astronauts, a newly promoted NASA shuttle official has called on all space workers to adjust their thinking in preparation for resuming shuttle missions and going beyond them to meet the new goals recently set by the White House. And in a break with past NASA practices, he explicitly listed the mistakes he personally made that contributed to last year's disaster."

28 January 2004: A year after Columbia, weaknesses remain at NASA, Op Ed, Alcestis "Cooky" Oberg , USA Today

"Today, the people whose responsibility it was to prevent the Columbia disaster have shown little desire to change. Just the opposite has occurred: Prior to the release of the CAIB report this summer, one arrogant headquarters leader told NASA workers to ignore the "outside" criticism because it came from "timid souls." The engineers who had warned about NASA's safety culture prior to Columbia's demise still are locked out of the process of revitalizing the space agency."

22 January 2004: Note to USA employees regarding performance fee decision, USA

"In the letter notifying USA of the fee decision, NASA also chose to highlight our accomplishments, stating, it is important to NASA to give due regard to United Space Alliance's successes during the period, notwithstanding the loss of Columbia. NASA has agreed that suitable acknowledgement of the company's accomplishments is an important tool for communicating to the United Space Alliance workforce that NASA values their contributions to date, and trusts and anticipates that they will perform well in the future."

Editor's note: Wow. What a spin. I wonder how many USA PAO hacks had a hand in writing this. You'd think NASA just gave them a bonus!!! Indeed, this really strikes me as collective denial on the part of USA senior management.

22 January 2004: NASA docks contractor $45.2 million for Columbia, USA Today

"NASA penalized the contractor that maintains and operates the space shuttle fleet $45.2 million for its role in the shuttle Columbia accident, according to a letter NASA released Thursday."



22 January 2004: NASA docks contractor $45.2 million for Columbia, USA Today

"But a letter from a NASA official said the contractor was "an integral member" of the "team that reached flawed conclusions about the relative safety of Columbia and crew before and during the flight." The letter from NASA deputy associate administrator Michael Kostelnik was sent Jan. 7 to United Space Alliance president Michael McCulley, a former astronaut."




5 January 2004: NASA Langley staff gets bonuses for Columbia work - FOIA request prompts agency to release details of August awards, Daily Press

"The bonuses were given in August, but NASA did not release details until recently in response to a Freedom of Information Act request from the Daily Press. One employee received a top bonus of $10,000, but NASA officials would not name the employee. Langley's Freedom of Information Act officer said NASA's legal department would challenge whether employee bonuses are public information."

2 June 2004: NASA's 'scramjet' funding in jeopardy, Daily Press

"Funding for hypersonics research has not been consistent over the past four decades. After President Bush announced in January his vision to send humans to the moon, Mars and beyond, NASA dropped plans to fund a larger hypersonic craft called the X-43c. Researchers often speak about past military and NASA programs that have run out of money just as they showed promise." Editor's note:This is all a bit crazy: NASA pushes the envelope where no one has gone before, and then the money to actually exploit this accomplishment is yanked out from under the agency.


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