Editor's note: NASA sources report that NASA HQ has directed NASA ARC to halt all animal and basic biology research, that all contractors working on this research are to be let go, and that NASA PAO has some sort of strategy to deal with this. The bulk of this research was to be carried out aboard the ISS in the U.S. lab module and the Centrifuge Facility. Stay tuned.
Reader comment: "There are also payload contractorsat Glenn Research Center (GRC)that started receiving layoff notices last week. I'm aware of several other non-AMES or GRC payloads, both pressurized and non-pressurized,that are also being impacted. This is not a good time to be wanting to perform research in space..."
Editor's update: NASA ARC responded to this post with the following memo:
Date: Mon, 8 Aug 2005 15:30:13 -0700
To: Recipient List Suppressed:;
From: Sid Sun
Subject: Status of Life Sciences at Ames
TO: Life Sciences Division staff
FROM: Sid Sun, Deputy Chief, Life Sciences Division
SUBJECT: Status of Life Sciences at Ames
Some of you may have seen in NASA Watch the following statement: "NASA HQ has directed NASA ARC to halt all animal and basic biology research, that all contractors working on this research are to be let go." In response to that statement, I wanted to clarify the official status of life sciences funding at Ames. Last week, Ames was given formal direction to stop work on the Advanced Animal Habitat and terminate the Plant Research Unit contracts. In addition, Ames was directed to proceed with implementation of the FY06 budget operating plans. While these directives will result in a substantial reduction in effort at the center, we will still have a viable space biology program. Based on next fiscal year's operating plan, we will still be able to conduct animal and basic biology research both in space and on the ground, relying on a civil servant and contractor workforce.
The division is going through the process of defining what tasks will be done by contractors in FY06, and at what funding level. We anticipate that there will be reductions in Lockheed Martin staffing. It's unfortunate that this will have to happen and we are working with Lockheed Martin to minimize the impacts.
Towards the end of August, NASA Headquarters will announce the results from the Exploration Systems Architecture Study (ESAS), a.k.a. "the 60 day study". A short time after that, the results from the Shuttle-Station Concepts and Options Team (S-SCOT) will be announced. These studies will likely have recommendations that will alter our FY06 budget. When those announcements are made, we will keep you informed on how they will affect the division's activities in FY06 and beyond.