September 2005 Archives

Griffin Steps In It Again

NASA chief: U.S. may end flights with Russians, AP

"NASA's top official said today that the future of U.S participation in Russian space flights is in doubt due to a congressional measure that aims to punish Moscow for its cooperation with Iran."

Editor's note: Who is advising Griffin on this issue? The last time I checked Congress was looking forward to revising the INA to help NASA. Going to Russia and trying to scare the Russians by pinning all of this on Congress has had one effect: to annoy Congress. This is not the best way to get people to do NASA a favor.

NASA Seeks Clearance to Buy Russian Technology, Washington Post

"Yesterday, Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Richard G. Lugar (R-Ind.) introduced a bill amending the law to allow both NASA and U.S. corporations to purchase Russian space equipment until 2012."

Report: NASA Wasted Millions on Own Planes, AP, Washington Post

"O'Keefe is not mentioned by name in the report; former and current senior NASA officials told the AP earlier this year he was being investigated personally for potential misuse of government planes and taking too many expensive getaways with his staff."

Editor's note: based upon information provided by individuals personally knowledgeable (in the extreme) about the GAO's investigation, this statement is simply not true. O'Keefe is not - nor has he been - "investigated" by GAO. Either AP's Marcia Dunn didn't research this story adequately - or the "former and current NASA officials" she cites have been lying to her - or do not know the facts.

JPL Layoffs

NASA Administrator Statement Regarding GAO Report on NASA Airplane Use

"We at NASA have accepted the Government Accountability Office's findings and have embraced new guidelines and procedures for the use of our airplanes that have been set by the Office of Management and Budget. Going forward, all airplane use will be within those guidelines."

GAO Report: NASA TRAVEL: Passenger Aircraft Services Annually Cost Taxpayers Millions More Than Commercial Airlines (PDF)

"Use of NASA passenger aircraft services can save time, provide more flexibility to meet senior executives' schedules, and provide other less tangible and quantifiable benefits. However, GAO's analysis of available reported data related to NASA passenger aircraft services during fiscal years 2003 and 2004 showed NASA reported costs were nearly $25 million compared with estimated commercial airline coach transportation costs of about $5 million.management of this program."

NASA proposes space station be scaled down, Japan facility intact, Kyodo News

"The U.S. space agency NASA has presented to Japan a review plan to reduce the scale of the International Space Station, now under construction, while maintaining Japan's experimental unit for the station, the Japanese science ministry announced Friday."

NASA News Conference With Mike Griffin: Exploration Systems Architecture Study (Transcript)

"Well, good question. I think I just said this was not about taking money from the science programs for human space flight and it's not. The science program has not--in our forward planning, we do not take one thin dime out of the science program in order to execute this architecture. It is about re-directing what we do in the human space flight program."

Congressional Record Excerpt: NASA Authorization Act of 2005 - Senate - September 28, 2005

"Sen. Hutchison: To accomplish this, the legislation designates the U.S. segment of the International Space Station as national laboratory facility. It further directs the NASA Administrator to develop a plan, within one year after enactment of the bill, to establish a ground-based national laboratory structure that will be responsible for maintaining and operating the research capabilities in the on-orbit laboratory facilities."

NASA Memo: Griffin Point Paper on USA Today Article, 9/28/05, NASA HQ

"Background: Administrator Griffin spoke with USA Today editorial board members and reporters on September 27. He discussed a wide range of issues, including how he believes the space shuttle and international space station should have been developed and run differently. USA Today said Griffin called the shuttle and station "mistakes."

DeWine pushes Glenn center job security into NASA bill, Cleveland Plain Dealer

"Ohio Republican Sen. Mike DeWine was able to tailor amendments to the NASA Authorization Act of 2005 with the goal of ensuring the center's longevity. The bill, passed on a voice vote, calls for NASA to utilize scientific expertise already in place at Glenn and in Cleveland's medical community."

Science comes second as NASA makes lunar plans, Nature (subscription)

"The current focus on hardware and site selection - engineering rather than science - worries some researchers. "My immediate reaction was: 'So what are they going to do on the Moon? Where's the beef?'" says Wesley Huntress, a former NASA science chief now with the Carnegie Institution of Washington."

Ames Thinks Outside the Box

NASA Takes Google on Journey Into Space

"NASA Ames Research Center, located in the heart of California's Silicon Valley, and Mountain View-based Google Inc. today announced plans to collaborate on a number of technology-focused research-and-development activities that will couple some of Earth's most powerful technology resources."

Editor's earlier note:Instead of waving their arms around trying to grab NASA money that is evaporating, other field centers could do well to study what ARC has accomplished.

Mars Exploration Program Analysis Group (MEPAG) Meeting

"Who should attend? Participation is open to all scientists/engineers involved in Mars exploration, including international colleagues. Since this is a 'working' meeting, it is not open to members of the press, however, if there is interest we can make people available for interviews afterwards."

Editor's earlier note: Once again NASA seeks to hide discussions about its Mars exploration program behind closed doors.

NASA administrator says space shuttle was a mistake, USA Today

"Asked Tuesday whether the shuttle had been a mistake, Griffin said, "My opinion is that it was. ... It was a design which was extremely aggressive and just barely possible." Asked whether the space station had been a mistake, he said, "Had the decision been mine, we would not have built the space station we're building in the orbit we're building it in."

Editor's note: After a day of phone calls and email, I have to say that everyone seems to be shaking their head at this statement. Mike Griffin speaks for the President. The reactions take one (or more) of three directions: Griffin is unable to articulate his ideas clearly; there is a serious disconnect between stated White House policy and its implementation; or the White House no longer (and perhaps never did) care about space.

Layoffs Continue at ARC

NASA/Ames ending contracts with 400 scientists, Silicon Valley News

"But even some space-related programs are now vulnerable, including divisions that test gravity's effects on living things and others that study how to minimize human error during space flight."

NASA News Conference With Mike Griffin: Exploration Systems Architecture Study (Transcript)

"Well, good question. I think I just said this was not about taking money from the science programs for human space flight and it's not. The science program has not--in our forward planning, we do not take one thin dime out of the science program in order to execute this architecture. It is about re-directing what we do in the human space flight program."

Senate Approves Sen. Hutchison's NASA Authorization Bill

"The legislation authorizes NASA for Fiscal Years 2006 through 2010, establishes a policy objective of uninterrupted U.S. spaceflight capability and requires completion of the International Space Station (ISS)."

Editor's note: This may be a little hard for Mike Griffin to comply with - he is proposing a 2 year gap between Shuttle shutdown (2010) and CEV operations (2012) - a gap which many expect to widen over time. Moreover, with his plan to limit shuttle ISS missions to between 16 - 18, he will need to gut the baseline (Rev. G) definition (28 flights) of what a "complete" ISS looks like.

Horowitz is the New ESMD AA

Scott Horowitz Named to Lead NASA's Exploration Systems Mission Directorate

"NASA Administrator Michael Griffin today named veteran space shuttle commander Scott J. Horowitz as associate administrator for the Exploration Systems Mission Directorate. Griffin also appointed longtime NASA engineer Doug Cooke as deputy associate administrator for the Exploration Systems Mission Directorate."

Google Moves in at ARC

Google expected to build campus at NASA Ames - 1 million-square-foot complex envisioned as heart of Valley, SF Chronicle

"At 1 million square feet, the new campus would be larger than filmmaker George Lucas' new Presidio complex and nearly as big as the 52-story office tower in the Bank of America Center in San Francisco's Financial District."

NASA, Google to Make Major Announcement (ARC Website)

"NASA Ames Research Center, located in Silicon Valley, and Mountain View-based Google Inc., will make a major announcement during a news conference scheduled at 4:30 p.m. PDT on Wednesday, Sept. 28, 2005. NASA Ames Research Center Director G. Scott Hubbard and Dr. Eric Schmidt, CEO of Google Inc., will make the announcement."

In-Sourcing Update

Editor's note: The following excerpts from internal LaRC Charts show the planning and implementation process for "in-sourcing" - i.e. bringing contractor work in-house to keep civil servants employed. Of course, this means that the contractors who used to do that work will now be laid off.

Does China have a VSE too?

China Space Mission Said Planned for Oct., AP

"China's second manned space mission - and its first to carry two astronauts - is due to launch on Oct. 13, weather permitting, and return five days later, a state media report said."

Calvert Fears China May Beat U.S. Astronauts Back To The Moon, Aerospace Daily

"Rep. Ken Calvert (R-Calif.), chairman of the House Science subcommittee on space and aeronautics, said he fears that China may beat U.S. astronauts back to the moon if NASA's current schedule target of 2018 isn't accelerated. "I've been talking to a number of people that are much more knowledgeable about that than I am, [about] some things that maybe are still classified, but they believe that the Chinese are probably on the mark to get there sooner," Calvert told The DAILY."

GSFC Management Changes

NASA Internal Memo: Goddard Director Announces Key Personnel

- Dr. Michael Ryschkewitsch has been named Deputy Director for Goddard
- Orlando Figueroa will assume the position of Director of AETD
- Marcus Angelo Watkins has been named the Director of OSSMA

Editor's Note: NASA/Contractor employee posts relating to JSC evacuation/relocation issues only, please. Off topic comments will not be approved for posting (there may also be a lag time between your posting and the appearance of your post). The information posted here will only be online during the duration of this emergency (as long as is necessary) and will eventually be removed.

Editor's update: If you check today's external webcam image you'll see that the greenhouse and HMP base camp was visited once again by what seems to be a mother polar bear and at least one cub. The last visit was on/around 15/16 September. The following images from yesterday and earlier this month show the original tracks - and the new ones - quite clearly.

NASA's Greatest Challenge - Harder Than Climbing Any Mountain, SpaceRef

"If NASA wants to reconnect with the public and enjoy enhanced public and political support, NASA needs to work to bring people along to a new appreciation of what space exploration is really about - but this has to be done with society's viewpoint as a starting point - not NASA's."

Editor's note: This story is in response to NASA's Griffin: 'Humans Will Colonize the Solar System' which appeared in Sunday's Washington Post.

Moons and Rings

NASA Cassini Image: Tethys, Dione, and Saturn's Rings

"This image was taken on September 22, 2005 and received on Earth September 23, 2005. The camera was pointing toward Tethys (and Dione) at approximately 1,495,564 kilometers away."

- NASA Cassini Image: Dione and Saturn's Rings (close-up)
- NASA Cassini Image: Dione and Saturn's Rings

Rita Update

NASA Update to Hurricane Rita Aftermath

- There were no injuries.
- Employees are on admin leave until Tuesday since they may experience problems getting back into the Houston area.

Bigger (Earthly) concerns, editorial, LA Times

"Given these more urgent concerns, cost overruns on a NASA project of dubious scientific value should not be tolerated. If that means delays, so be it. The moon is creeping away from Earth at a rate of only 3.8 centimeters per year; it'll still be around if we can't get there by 2020."

Worth the cost Our position: NASA has a good plan to sell but blundered badly in timing, editorial, Orlando Sentinel

"It might be tempting in the current budget environment for members to save money by rejecting NASA's plan. But America ultimately would be poorer for it."

ESAS Update

NASA outlines job shifts to prep for moon, Huntsville Times

"About 400 people work in the three offices now, and none of Marshall's 2,400 jobs will be lost, but some employees' work will change, King said. King told employees in a center-wide televised address that NASA and Marshall workers will have to be flexible to support the new space exploration program. "There is a need for folks to move around and maybe do things they haven't done before."

JPL RIF Update

Reader Note: "As of yesterday, September 22, some 300 onsite contractors at JPL have received notice. Today is the last day of employment for many of them. Others have been granted 30 day extensions (AKA notice) while displaced JPL employees can be screened for candidates to replace them (the contractors)."

John Mankins Departs

NASA Internal Memo: John Mankins Departs NASA

"I have decided that it is time for a change. Today, September 23, 2005, is my last day with the Agency."

RIF? What RIF?

Conversation With Mike Griffin, Aerospace America, AIAA (PDF)

"AIAA: "Do you see, in the next year or so as the budget situation gets tighter, any need for reductions in force in the NASA field centers?"

Mike Griffin: "Most certainly not. NASA has three main functions, three main mission areas: human spaceflight, science, and aeronautics. Now the Bush administration's Vision for Space Exploration is primarily about altering the direction in which we take human spaceflight; supplementing that, of course, with robotic exploration of the type we already do. So certainly we will not damage a robust space science program, nor will we further cut aeronautics research, in order to fund the human spaceflight program."

Editor's note: I am a little confused. If NASA's leader says that there aren't going to be any RIFs, then why are field centers preparing for one? This RIF-related memo from ARC was issued just the other day. So was this one from GRC. Go here. There's more.

Personnel Update

NASA GSFC Internal Memo: Message from the Deputy Director (Christopher J. Scolese)

"It will be announced today that I am returning to Headquarters to assume the role of NASA Chief Engineer."

Heads Up Houston

ARC RIF Update

NASA ARC Internal Memo: Overviews of the Reduction-in-Force (RIF) Process

"The Ames Human Resource Division has asked the Office of Personnel Management to provide RIF briefings for civil servant employees. An upcoming large session will be held on October 4, 2005, from 9 - 11 a.m., in the Main Auditorium, Building 201."

MSFC All Hands Friday

Center Director Dave King will hold a Marshall Update for employees Friday at 9 a.m. in Morris Auditorium.

GRC RIF Update

NASA GRC Internal Memo: HR Briefing: Reduction in Force (RIF) Employee Briefing

Reader note: "Excerpt from the GRC Director's Leadership Team (DLT) Meeting Notes for 9/20/2005

Center Associate Director (Mr. Robert Fails): - Mr. Fails thanked the DLT for supplying their summary of planned contractor losses for the remainder of this fiscal year. Based on inputs received thus far, GRC anticipates losing 340 contractors by the end of FY05. He also is in the process of reviewing the Center's unfunded mandate list."

Personnel Updates

NASA Announces Woodrow Whitlow As New Glenn Center Director

Astronaut, Washington native named CEO of Museum of Flight, News Tribune

"The Museum of Flight has named NASA astronaut Bonnie Dunbar as its new president and CEO."

Mars Flyby?

Editor's note: Looks like Stardust is about to do a Mars flyby (Thanks Roger!)

Strange Signals From Russia

Russia can independently operate ISS, RIA Novosti

"True, puny mortals also have their say. The United States has now decided to abandon the ISS program. From now on, Russia is the only country that can keep the ISS in orbit."

Its Going to Get Rough at JSC

Editor's note: Word has it that ride out team at JSC is now being evacuated.

The Dark Side of the Moon, Op Ed by Bob Park, NY Times

"Two mechanical geologists, Spirit and Opportunity, are doing this even now, by searching for evidence of water on opposite sides of Mars. They don't break for lunch or complain about the cold nights, and they live on sunshine. They've been at it for nearly two years, yet their mission costs less than sending a shuttle to the International Space Station. The brains of Spirit and Opportunity are the brains of geologists back on Earth." ... "Few scientists are calling for a human mission to the Moon or Mars. Human space exploration is essentially over."

Editor's note: Once again Bob Park crawls out of his intellectual crypt to dump on human spaceflight. As is always the case, Bob shoves out his ossified examples without fully researching them - and hurls them forth as if they were absolute statements of what entire segments of the space research community - and the public - feels. Were he to have bothered to ask the Mars Exploration Rover PI, Steve Squyres, what he thinks about having humans on Mars, a large hole would be blown in Park's argument. Surely such an opinion would carry some merit. But again, Bob is lazy when it comes to presenting the facts. Here is what Sqyures said exactly one year ago on this topic at the "Risk and Exploration Symposium" in Monterey:

"And when I hear people point to Spirit and Opportunity and say that these are examples of why we don't need to send humans to Mars, I get very upset. Because that's not even the right discussion to be having. We must send humans to Mars. We can't do it soon enough for me. You know, I'm a robot guy. I mean, I love Spirit and Opportunity - and I use a word like "love" very advisedly when talking about a hunk of metal.

But I love those machines. I miss them. I do. But they will never, ever have the capabilities that humans will have and I sure hope you send people soon."

Read Squyres' full commentary

Move Aside

Silicon Insider: Orphans Preferred - NASA Must Evolve for Next Generation Space Missions, ABC News

"This next great Era of Exploration will be directed by Baby Boomers, run by Gen X-ers, and its greatest heroes are probably right now sitting in second grade class in Boise, Bangalore and Beijing. The first generation defined itself by its contempt for big organizations, the second by its indifference, and the third thinks Mommy and her laptop go to work at Starbucks."

Editor's 19 Sep note: David Radzanowski at OMB (Office of Management and Budget) issued an action to NASA at the beginning of September asking the agency to provide him with an estimate of what shutdown costs would result from a termination of the Space Shuttle program in FY 2006. NASA provided a response to OMB on 9 September.

Editor's 21 Sep note: Reporters have been calling NASA PAO to get a comment on this NASA Watch posting. PAO's response is something along the lines of "we continue to hold regular meetings with OMB ..." i.e. no confirmation, no denial. Meanwhile, OMB PAO has been calling NASA and asking them what they should say in response to media inquiries and telling reporters to call NASA. Stay tuned.

Editor's 22 Sep note: The issue of whether or not to shut down the Shuttle program is still under discussion at the White House. The fact that the issue has not been dropped has a number of people involved rather concerned.

Shuttle Launch Not Likely Until May, NASA Boss Says, Washington Post

"Griffin acknowledged that "we're in a hole" but said it would not be cost-effective to abandon the shuttle because it would "decimate the workforce" needed to build the new spaceship and manage the spaceflight program, as well as "cause a lot of [other] collateral damage" that "wouldn't save much money."

INA Action in the Senate

Senate Passes S. 1713 Iran Nonproliferation Amendments Act of 2005 With Space Station Amendments

Editor's note: S.1713 "A bill to make amendments to the Iran Nonproliferation Act of 2000 related to International Space Station payments", introduced by Sen. Lugar, passed the Senate by unanimous consent yesterday (21 September). The House has yet to take up this legislation.

Earlier post: NASA to Get INA Relief

What Could Happen to JSC

NASA JSC Visual Impact of a Category 4 Storm on the Galveston Study Area

- The Design Storm: Hurricane Carla September 5-11, 1961
- A large, slow-moving storm that made landfall near Port Lavaca
- Sustained winds of 150 mph (Category 4)
- Peak wind gusts of 175 mph
- Storm surge of 22 feet (Matagorda Bay) 18.5 feet (Port Lavaca), 14.5 feet (Port OConnor), 14.8 feet (Houston Ship Channel)
- Rainfall of 16.49 inches (Galveston), 6.25 inches (Victoria), 5.15 inches (Corpus Christi)

Reader comment: "This is mostly amusing. I like how NASA is efficient in its reuse of official pronouncements. I got this e-mail today:"

Editor's note: Looking at the media coverage NASA has been getting in response to its recently launched Exploration Systems Architecture Study (ESAS), you'd think no one was in complete command in planning the rollout - other than the computer graphics folks.

The message that has now been interpreted - and circulated - by the media is "let's send a few people back to the moon because we can - and do something we did before - and spend 50% of what we need to spend on hurricane damage." The only "why" NASA has offered is "because the President told us to."

Personnel Updates

- NASA Names Christyl Johnson Assistant Associate Administrator
- NASA Names Lesa Roe New Langley Research Center Director
- NASA Selects Wayen Hale as New Space Shuttle Program Manager

Editor's note: Word has it that astronaut Bonnie Dunbar will be leaving JSC soon and that Christopher Scolese at GSFC has a job promotion in the works.

Mainstream Media on ESAS

Boehlert: NASA won't get "blank check" for new moon mission, WSTM.com

"[House Science Committee Chair] Boehlert says the space agency's current schedule for a return to the moon may have to be adjusted because of budget constraints."

A Medium Leap to the Moon, Time

"... A contemporary program with a 13-year deadline is precisely the kind of undertaking that can be frittered into nothing if future administrations lose the interest or the revenue to keep pursuing it." -- "... the new proposal is ostensibly part of the Bush administration's grand moon-Mars initiative announced in early 2004. But Mars is not mentioned anywhere in the plans. Nor is the science the crews would perform once they get to the moon."

NASA Email Policy Update

NASA bungles e-mail policy, Federal Computing Week

"NASA officials said the original e-mail's wording gave the wrong impression. "Unfortunately, we should have explicitly said that, by all means, people should continue to answer e-mails within their areas of expertise, but we did not," Dunbar said. "It was never anyone's intention to muzzle anybody or restrict information from going out to the public."

Editor's note: It has been nearly a month. Has NASA clarified this issue - by memo - to all of its employees? No.

NASA Management Seeks to Muzzle Its Employees, NASA Watch

2005 Summary and Explanation of Offsets - "Operation Offset", Republican Study Committee (PDF)

Page 8: "Cancel NASA's New Moon/Mars Initiative - In 2004, the President announced a new initiative to explore the Moon and Mars with the goal of returning humans to the Moon by 2020. NASA currently intends to use the savings from phasing out the space shuttle in 2012 to fund this program. Savings: $44 billion over ten years ($11.5 billion over five years)"

Lawmakers Prepare Plans to Finance Storm Relief, NY Times

"The list also proposed eliminating the Moon-Mars initiative that NASA announced on Monday ..."

Preliminary Observations on Review of NASA's Readiness to Implement Project Management Information Improvement, Phase I, NASA OIG (PDF)

NASA Internal Memo: Message from the Administrator: Project Management Information Improvement

GAO Report: Financial Management: Achieving FFMIA Compliance Continues to Challenge Agencies (NASA Exceprts)

"At the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), auditors reported numerous weaknesses in the core financial system, the integrated financial management system first implemented by NASA in fiscal year 2003. We have previously reported on problems NASA faced when implementing this system."

ESAS Transcript

NASA News Conference With Mike Griffin: Exploration Systems Architecture Study (Transcript)

"The President has said not later than 2020 for human lunar return. Our internal planning goal at this point is 2018. Again, that date will be driven by the availability of funds. But if you've heard a rumor that I've asked for extra money for this exploration architecture, that would not be correct."

Editor's note: However, NASA has requested billions in additional funds for Shuttle (RTF), ISS, and Hubble from OMB.

ESAS Reaction

- Space Foundation comments on NASA's Exploration Systems Architecture Study
- Rep. Boehlert Statement on NASA's Exploration Architecture Plan
- Rep. Calvert Welcomes New NASA Exploration Architecture
- NSS: NASA sets out an inspiring, affordable path for future exploration
- Sen. Hutchison's Statement on NASA Exploration Systems Architecture Study

A retro look to next US spacecraft, Christian Science Monitor

"Still, NASA seems to be taking a minimalist approach, says Keith Cowing of NASAWatch, a website that tracks the agency's developments. "This is pretty conservative. There are no plans for a big moon base. It's almost like we're trying to prove we can still do it."

NASA Announces Media Teleconference for Mars Discoveries

"NASA's Mars Global Survey orbiter has observed some interesting changes at Mars. Researchers will announce and discuss the discoveries at a listen-and-logon news briefing at 1 p.m. EDT Tuesday, Sept. 20"

Editor's update: A NASA Watch reader came across some odd information on the NASA TV webpage concerning this press event - information which suddenly disappeared.

NASA Revives Apollo - While Starving Space Life Science, SpaceRef

"At one point Griffin made a point of saying that science will not be cut in order to fund implementation of the VSE. "It is not about taking money from the science program - or the aeronautics program in order to fund manned space flight. It is about utilizing the money that we have to achieve different - and I think - far more exciting goals - in human spaceflight." He said. A few minutes later he repeated that statement adding that in his plans "we do not take one thin dime" out of science. These statements are in clear conflict with recent events. A hundred or more contractors working on life science activities at ARC have been laid off in past weeks.."

NASA ESAS Rollout

NASA - How We'll Get Back to the Moon


NASA today announced the results of its Exploration Systems Architecture Study. By the end of the next decade astronauts will be back on the moon. The new crew vehicle will be shaped like an Apollo capsule, but it will be three times larger.

MSFC View on ESAS

Moon plan likely boost for MSFC, Huntsville Times

"I'd say there will be no closing of a field center," Cowing said. "You may have work shifted around some, and work at one center could appear at another center, but no major moves will be made." That also means no major spending will be seen at centers to build facilities not tied to the moon program, Cowing said.(NASA Administrator) Mike Griffin knows what he wants," Cowing said. "There's not going to be a big call for redundancy in this program. If it doesn't directly support (NASA goals), then I don't think it will happen."

Deadly Plane Crash In Oklahoma City, KOTV

Reader note: "Marta Bohn-Meyer, Chief Engineer at the DFRC was killed in a crash in Oklahoma today. She was practicing for the Aeronautical Aerobatics trials upcoming. Husband, Bob Meyers, was also there. He is an Associate Director at DFRC."

Devon Island Update

Editor's update: If you check today's external webcam image you'll see that the greenhouse and HMP base camp was visited by what seems to be a mother polar bear and at least one cub.

Growing lettuce for Mars, Arctic style, CSA

"The Arthur Clarke Mars Greenhouse was donated by SpaceRef Interactive to the Haughton-Mars Project in 2002. The experiment aims to develop a robust, autonomous greenhouse for growing plants as potential food crops as though it were part of a base on Mars."

Editor's note: Our greenhouse, outfitted with CSA wizardry, continues to function autonomously and send back data and multiple webcam images via satellite on a daily basis. The best time to check for image updates is early evening EDT. [External looking north] [Internal looking south] [Internal looking north]

Roy Bridges is Leaving

Internal Memo from Roy Bridges to NASA LaRC Employees

"After thoughtful deliberation, I have asked the Administrator to allow me to retire in January 2006. I have agreed to stay on as Center Director until a successor is named."

Editor's note: The rumor that has been circulating at NASA HQ for the past several days is that both Roy Bridges and Beak Howell will be leaving the agency.

A&M Board Selects Julian Earls as 10th President, Alabama A&M University

"Following a one-hour executive session, Alabama A&M University's Board of Trustees today returned to a packed Clyde Foster Multipurpose Room to hand over the realm of the 130-year-old school to a top NASA center administrator."

Layoff Update

JPL enacts labwide hiring freeze, Pasadena Star News

"Based on the best information we now have, we expect to see a 2 percent to 5 percent reduction in our FY06 budget compared to FY05," JPL director Charles Elachi wrote in a letter to all lab employees. The lab's budget for fiscal year 2005 was $1.6 billion.

NASA's aeronautics cuts still looming, Daily Press

"The Senate approved a NASA spending bill Thursday that would cut aeronautics research funding by about 5.2 percent next year as Langley Research Center braces for possible layoffs."

A&M trustees face difficult hiring choice, Huntsville Times

"[Earls] pointed out that there are cuts across the whole NASA system, but is proud that after he made the case for his center's role in the revamped space program, "I sit here today and tell you that 700 number is now about 145."

Paul Morrell Gets a New Title

NASA Administrator Names Paul Morrell Chief of Staff

"Morrell most recently was serving as senior adviser to the administrator, assisting in the development and implementation of policies and activities to support NASA's goals for research and space exploration."

Editor's 16 Sep update: The public rollout will be monday at 11:00 am at NASA HQ.

NASA Office of Legislative Affairs Memo: Exploration Systems Architecture Study Briefing

"We appreciate your patience over the last few months and would like to offer the opportunity to provide you with a briefing on the ESAS. On Monday, September 19th at 9:00 a.m., NASA will provide a 1 hour briefing on the ESAS results."

Editor's 15 Sep update: Various organizations have had all hands meetings at NASA HQ today. The White House has approved NASA's ESAS and it will be unveiled publicly on Monday at NASA HQ. As to what it will look like: think Apollo - both for what it will feature - and what it will not feature - as well as how things will look- and how they will work. Mars is only a footnote - a distant one at that.

INA Update

NASA Seeks Clearance to Buy Russian Technology, Washington Post

"Unless Congress or the president acts, no U.S. astronaut will have access to space after the Soyuz flight scheduled to fly to the station on Sept. 30. The shuttle was grounded again after the flight of Discovery resulted in renewed foam-shedding problems."

S.1713, A bill to make amendments to the Iran Nonproliferation Act of 2000 related to International Space Station payments. Sponsor: Sen Lugar, Richard G. [IN] (introduced 9/15/2005)

NASA to Get INA Relief (Letter from Mike Griffin and Condoleezza RIce)

Budget Update

Editor's note: The Senate overwelmingly passed the Departments of Commerce and Justice, Science, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2006 (H.R. 2862) tonight.

NASA's portion of this bill amounts to $16.4 billion an increase of $200 million over the previous year's budget.

GSFC Cancels LRO Propulsion RFP

Modification to a Previous NASA GSFC Notice: Propulsion Subsystem for the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter Project

"Due to schedule constraints and cost savings, NASA/GSFC has determined to cancel our plans to issue Request for Proposal (RFP) NNG05121636R for the Propulsion Subsystem for the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) Project office under the Robotic Lunar Exploration Program."

Life Science Layoff Update

Letter to NASA Administrator Griffin from Ames Federal Employee Union IFPTE local 30, AFL-CIO

"Today, you are poised to implement a dangerously short-sighted decision. The Agency is on the verge of eliminating most of its Life Science program just as the President has asked NASA to send human explorers deeper into space and thus farther into harm's way." ... "When we contacted a senior HQ manager a few weeks ago about this decision, we were told that the decision was a response to recommendations by the Chief Medical Officer (CMO) and by a Non-Advocate Review (NAR) panel during a zero-base review performed last autumn. We were further told that human health and performance has never been the cause of a spaceflight accident, so this is not deemed a major risk factor."

ET Update

Editor's note: Results from today's PRCB (chaired by John Shannon) include the following decisions: External Tank Processing will be done at Michoud. ET-119 will be off-loaded from the barge and ET-120 will be loaded aboard the barge. The Michoud NDE (Non Destructive Evaluation) team will be ready by 3 Oct. ET-120 will arrive at Michoud on 5 Oct. and NDE will start. The barge will return to KSC and pickup ET-119 and be back at Michoud around 20 October.

Stunning

Magnificent Desolation: Walking on the Moon 3D to Open in Record Number of IMAX(R) Theatres on September 23rd

"Magnificent Desolation: Walking on the Moon 3D takes audiences to the lunar surface to walk alongside the 12 extraordinary astronauts who have been there to experience what they saw, heard, felt, thought and did."

Editor's note: I had the chance to catch an advanced media screening of this film today. Longer review to follow. In a word, it is stunning.

New ESMD AA?

Editor's note: Today's hot rumor at NASA HQ is that former astronaut Scott Horowitz will be the new ESMD AA. Stay tuned.

SpaceX launches Falcon 9, With A Customer, Defense Industry Daily

"If anyone can do it, says Mike Griffin, a former NASA exec and president of the venture-capital firm In-Q-Tel, "Elon can. He has an incredible track record."

Editor's note: I seem to recall hearing that Griffin has a new job ...

Hayabusa arrives at Itokawa, starts hovering operations, JAXA

"During its approach to rendezvous, the visible imager carried by Hayabusa succeeded in taking multi-band filter photographs of Itokawa, as the asteroid rotated. This press release contains the resulting synthesized pseudo-color image and a series of rotation pictures of Itokawa."

Elektron Still Offline

NASA Space Station On-Orbit Status 14 September 2005

"With the Elektron O2 generator still off (to be repaired tomorrow), Sergei Krikalev worked on the Russian BMP harmful impurities removal system, starting the "bake-out" cycle to vacuum on absorbent bed #2 of the regenerable dual-channel filtration system. Before sleep time today, the bake-out will be terminated. Channel 1 was regenerated last Monday."

Aeronautics: Hurry Up and Wait

NASA Advisory Council Aeronautics Research Advisory Committee Meetings Cancelled

"Tuesday, September 20, 2005, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Wednesday, September 21, 2005, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Monday, September 19, 2005, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Wednesday, September 14, 2005, 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Thursday, September 8, 2005, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. These meetings will be rescheduled."

Internal NASA Memo Regarding Upcoming Aeronautics Workshops

"I apologize for the quick timeline. It is my goal to present a solid plan to both OMB and Congress as quickly as possible, and I need your help in pulling a plan together that is technically sound. It is very challenging to define a long-term plan that is sufficiently dynamic that it allows for adaptation as we learn new things, and that at the same time defines concrete milestones that are technically meaningful and credible."

Prepared Statement of Michael Griffin before the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, and Science, 12 May 2005

"As we move forward, a broader national dialog on aeronautics R&D goals may be appropriate as we enter the second century of aviation. These discussions should include a range of stakeholders and customers, including the Congress. This process could lead to a national consensus for aeronautics R&D goals."

Short Summary of H.R. 3070 The National Aeronautics and Space Administration Authorization Act of 2005 [passed on 22 Jul 2005]

"The bill requires the President, through the Administrator to develop a national aeronautics policy to guide NASA's aeronautics programs. The report is due with the President's FY 2007 budget request."

Editor's note: Gee, Didn't Mike Griffin say that he wanted to come up with an aeronautics plan months ago? Didn't the agency get a heads up from H.R. 3070 that such a plan needed to be developed ASAP? Why is there now such a 'quick timeline' to work on this plan according to Lisa Porter? FY 2007 budget preparation work should now be underway. Wouldn't you want to have that plan in final form so as to guide that work - instead of having the plan being developed in parallel - as is now the case?

Reader comment: "Since this summer when my note concerning the possible cutting of the NASA Student Involvement Program was posted on NASA Watch, I was contacted by over 130 teachers who wanted to help. They all agreed to write letters to senators/reps/etc. We heard back from 3 senators who all said they would do what they could to support the program. Sadly, the NASA Student Involvement Program was cut completely."

Prometheus Continues to Shrink

Man-on-Mars goal clips Knolls project, Times Union

"KAPL employees were told late last week that the National Aeronautics and Space Administration was ending the $65 million program to develop a nuclear-electric propulsion system as it reorders its priorities."

Asteroid Encounter Underway

Hayabusa Hovers Near Asteroid Itokawa, JAXA

"Hayabusa arrived in the vicinity of asteroid Itokawa on 10:00 am, 12 Sep JST. Hayabusa now hovers around 20 kilometers away from Itokawa. The photo shows the contrast of rocky and hilly regions and a smooth area, which may suggest the origin of this asteroid."

HQ Downsizing Plans

NASA Internal Memo: NASA Headquarters Institutional Requirements Review

"The review will entail an evaluation of human resources (including contractors, detailees, Intergovernmental Personnel Act employees) and funds expenditures to determine whether activities that are performed here can be more effectively undertaken at NASA Field Centers, whether current work activities need to be realigned to conform to Headquarters' corporate roles and responsibilities, and what activities should be revised or eliminated."

Layoff Update

Job cuts may be lower at NASA Langley, Daily Press

"Job losses at NASA Langley Research Center are expected to be much lower than originally feared as Congress appears poised to approve additional money for the agency, according to a member of a group that lobbies for the Hampton center."

Stennis/Michoud Update

NASA Moving La. Workers To KSC, WESH

"Jim Kennedy, the director of KSC, confirmed for WESH 2 News Monday the agency's plans to temporarily relocate around 140 workers from that facility."

Parsons returning as head of Stennis, The Clarion-Ledger

"William "Bill" Parsons, who led NASA's recent Return to Flight mission as shuttle program manager, is returning as director of Stennis Space Center in Hancock County."

Editor's note: Have a look at this recent NASA database summary sent to us from someone@nasa.gov. Click on image to enlarge.

Editor's note: Have a look at this NASA job opening at jobsearch.usajobs.opm.gov. For starters, there is a typo in the job title: "Reseaarch" Yet when you read the position description itself, it seems that one job opening has collided with another. This is supposed to be an aeronautics position - yet the second paragraph in the job summary talks about an exploration position "The incumbent serves as Associate Administrator, Exploration Systems Mission Directorate, responsible for leading the Directorate and NASAs Exploration Vision, providing the executive leadership and programmatic direction for pioneering the identification, development, validation, and transfer of innovative, high-payoff space exploration and related technologies..."

Editor's update: Someone fixed it. This is what was online prior to the correction.

GRC Director Leaving?

Three finalists named in search for A&M president, Cleveland Plain Dealer

"The director of NASA's Glenn Research Center in Cleveland is a finalist to become president of Alabama A&M University. Dr. Julian Manly Earls is one of three candidates, the school said. With final interviews set for Thursday, A&M trustees are expected to name the new university president Friday."

White House Personnel Announcement

"The President intends to nominate Shana L. Dale, of Georgia, to be Deputy Administrator of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration."

Editor's earlier note: According to NASA and Congressional sources, Shana Dale will be nominated by President Bush to be the Deputy Administrator of NASA. This announcement is expected very soon. Shana Dale is Chief of Staff of OSTP and is also chair of the Homeland Security Council. Prior to working at OSTP she was staff director of the House Science Committee.

NASA Media Teleconference with Bill Parsons and Bill Gerstenmaier (Transcript)

Katrina batters shuttle program, Orlando Sentinel

"NASA is unable to find about 1,000 workers from the Michoud Assembly Facility east of New Orleans where the space shuttles' external fuel tanks are built. The damage to Michoud and another Gulf Coast NASA center will cost the agency about $1.1 billion as it tries to repair buildings and find homes for those who lost everything when Hurricane Katrina hit Aug. 29, Bill Gerstenmaier, a NASA associate administrator, said Thursday."

Statement of Administration Policy [NASA Excerpt] H.R. 2862, Depts of Commerce and Justice, Science, and Related Agencies Appropriations Bill, FY2006

"The Administration strongly objects to the elimination of funding for key priorities, including the Space Station Cargo/Crew Services and Centennial Challenges programs, and urges the Senate to shift funding from lower-priority programs in the bill to restore the Administration's request."

NASA GRC Internal Memo: Workforce Transformation Planning Update

"All civil servants are invited to attend one of the OPM RIF educational briefings in the DEB Auditorium on September 26, 27, or 28, 2005. More information about the sessions will appear soon on Today@Glenn."

Fred Gregory Resigns

NASA Internal memo: Hail and Farewell from Deputy Administrator Gregory

NASA Deputy Administrator Frederick Gregory Resigns

"NASA's Frederick D. Gregory, who spent 31 years at the agency as a research test pilot, astronaut and senior leader, announced his resignation as deputy administrator today. Gregory will stay in his role until a successor is confirmed by the Senate."

SpaceX Announces the Falcon 9 Fully Reusable Heavy Lift Launch Vehicle

"SpaceX today announced its new launch vehicle, the Falcon 9, an Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle (EELV) class vehicle. With up to a 17 ft (5.2 m) diameter fairing, Falcon 9 is capable of launching approximately 21,000 lbs (9,500 kg) to Low Earth Orbit (LEO) in its medium configuration and 55,000 lbs (25,000 kg) to LEO in its heavy configuration, a lift capacity greater than any other launch vehicle. In the medium configuration, Falcon 9 is priced at $27 million per flight with a 12 ft (3.6 m) fairing and $35 million with a 17 ft fairing. Prices include all launch range and third party insurance costs, making Falcon 9 the most cost efficient vehicle in its class worldwide."

RIF Update

Update on NASA TV With Administrator Michael Griffin (Transcript)

"Inevitably, I think you can look forward to having fewer people on staff at NASA a year from now than there are today, and I think we just need to face up to that." .... "We want to get corporate G&A in guide with OMB guidelines, reduce the total work force at headquarters back in the direction of a thousand people. It seemed to me and to many others here that it is unconscionable to be worried about having the money and the coverage, work coverage, for 2,000 civil servants out in our field centers while at the same time NASA headquarters has grown from a number something like a thousand to something like 1,600 in the last 3 years or so. That seems unacceptable to me."

"The Exploration Life and Medical Sciences (ELMS) Coalition has been formed to actively engage the scientific community in the public policy process. The current central focus is to assure the realization of the national vision to complete and utilize the International Space Station (ISS) for space life sciences research. The second objective is to maintain a robust NASA life sciences program. The third objective is to preserve the NASA Life Sciences community and extramural research."

Editor's update: The action being worked is titled "NASA Headquarters Institutional Requirements Review". The abstract of the action, dated 0/02/2005 and coming from Rex Geveden states: "Review is being performed to assess consistency of Headquarters staffing and budgeted resources with the Agency's revised strategic direction. The review will entail a an evaluation of human resources (including contractors, detailees, Intergovernmental Personnel Act employees) and funds expenditures to determine whether activities that are performed here can be more effectively performed at NASA Field Centers."

Editor's note: According to NASA HQ sources an action is now circulating, due next Monday, for all the AA's to prioritize their staff. Sources point to a planning target workforce reduction at HQ of 40% that Scott Pace and Mike Griffin have been working toward. This ranking would better help them understand who is important and who is not. Of course, a RIF is the next logical step. Think back to the old RIF Watch days in the 1990's when Dan Goldin wanted to slash the workforce. Remember what "RIF" stood for? Resistance Is Futile.

NASA Internal Memo: Presentation on Free Career Services for the Ames Work Force

"NOVA AND EDD COMMUNITY SERVICES CAREER TALK - NASA employees and contractors, if you want to find a new job after retirement or resignation, or are facing lay off, the NOVA (North Valley Job Training Consortium) and the EDD (Employment Development Department) organizations may be important community resources for you."

Editor's note: NASA HQ management has directed that the ESMD logo no longer be used for official purposes. The NASA meatball logo is to be used instead.

Editor's note: Details of the Exploration Systems Mission Directorate (ESMD) reorganization are now circulating at NASA Headquarters.

Security Inconsistencies

Mission Control, Government Executive

"Guests were instructed to bring identification to board their buses on launch day; I never saw any being checked. Reporters were warned that their vehicles would be inspected at the space center gate; the trunk of my rental car rarely got more than a cursory peek. Once I was asked, "You got any luggage or anything back there that I need to check?" and was waved on."

"Why Are Space Stations So Hard?, 2005 MAPLD International Conference

"A Discussion of the Technical, Programmatic, and Political Factors That Have Lead To Successes and Failures Over the Last Three Decades and Implications for Future Private Sector and Government Facilities"

No shuttle flights for a year?. MSNBC

"MSNBC.com has obtained an "extremely preliminary" planning document written by Wayne Hale, NASA's deputy shuttle program manager, in which he concludes: "Launch dates before the fall of 2006 may not be credible."

ESAS Overview Charts

NASA Exploration Systems Architecture Study Overview Charts

Editor's note: These charts were part of a series of internal presentations made at NASA during June 2005 on the progress of the Exploration Systems Architecture Study.

Kicking Costs Down The Road

Editor's 31 Aug note: The following internal NASA email is part of the process whereby NASA Headquarters gets its numbers straight before it goes to OMB in early September to ask for an additional $5.5 billion over the next few years (FY 2006-2010) to cover previously unquantified costs. Part of the process is trying to understand where (and how) these costs originated in the first place.

Editor's Note: NASA/Contractor employee posts relating to SSC/MAF evacuation/relocation issues only, please. Off topic comments will not be approved for posting (there may also be a lag time between your posting and the appearance of your post). The information posted here will only be online during the duration of this emergency (as long as is necessary) and will eventually be removed. Also, NASA has opened a dedicated toll-free number [877-470-5240] to take information and provide assistance to individuals seeking information about family members that may be sheltering at the Stennis Space Center, Miss., or the Michoud Assembly Facility, near New Orleans.

Moonbuggy fans relax; race returns for 2006, Huntsville Times

"A NASA spokesman said then that NASA canceled the event because the race "takes considerable resources," including 300 volunteers as well as "a substantial amount of money," about $179,000. After the announcement, Jensen said, NASA heard from teachers who had planned their curricula around the construction of the moonbuggies. "They're working on their buggies now," he said."

Save The Moonbuggy Race (24 August 2005)

"A notice on NASA's Great Moonbuggy Race website says it all: "...we must terminate the Great Moonbuggy Race, which we had conducted annually since 1994". Because of shifting priorities and "allocating our human and financial resources to efforts that best contribute to accomplishing our goals", the event that, ever year, inspired students around the country to be innovative in a practical way... is gone."

A Confederacy of Dunces

Right city, wrong state - FEMA accused of flying evacuees to wrong Charleston, CNN

"A South Carolina health official said his colleagues scrambled Tuesday when FEMA gave only a half-hour notice to prepare for the arrival of a plane carrying as many as 180 evacuees to Charleston. But the plane, instead, landed in Charleston, West Virginia, 400 miles away."

Editor's note: Is it just me or ... ?

NASA Exploration Systems Architecture Study: 28 Flight (Rev. G) ISS Assembly Sequence vs. 16 Flight Assembly Sequence

Editor's note: This chart was part of a series of internal presentations made at NASA during June 2005 on the progress of the Exploration Systems Architecture Study. Note the substantial decrease in ISS capability that would result if this was actually implemented.

NASA to reduce work on space station, Daily Yomiuri

"NASA likely will announce that most initial project plans, over which agreements have been made with the Japanese and other governments, will be stopped half-completed. Facilities that will need large supplies and other equipment used for low-priority experiments will be subject to the scaledown, according to the sources. Japan's planned facility also will be targeted for the cutback, the sources added."

ESAS Budget Projections

NASA Exploration Systems Architecture Study: Reference Architecture Budget Projection

Editor's note: This chart was part of a series of internal presentations made at NASA during June 2005 on the progress of the Exploration Systems Architecture Study.

Outsourcing vs Rightsizing

NASA GSFC Solicitation: Institute for Space Robotics

"This Cooperative Agreement is to create a center of excellence for dexterous robotics technology between GSFC and the recipient to perform: research in dexterous manipulators; dissemination of research results; and public outreach. Researchers in the ISR are all expected to work collaboratively with civil servants at GSFC. The ISR is also expected to become a vehicle to increase the involvement of the university community." ... "The Recipient of this cooperative agreement will establish university and industry partnerships as necessary to provide best-in-class key technologies that are needed to satisfy ISR objectives. The estimated value of this agreement is approximately $45M not to exceed 5 years."

Editor's note: At a time when NASA is looking to bring things back in-house - and re-invigorate internal (civil servant) NASA expertise, why is this rather large cooperative agreement being established - one which would use external resources? Think of all the jobs that could be covered by that $45 million.

Editor's note: According to an internal NASA memo: "Rex Geveden reported on an Institutional Requirements Review that is starting as a result of the decision at the Strategic Management Council not to approve an over-guide in the Corporate G&A budget. This review process will be outlined in a call letter to be issued on Friday. Rex underscored that it will be requirements driven. We have a target number of "right-sizing" HQ at 1000 people, but this is only a target and can/will be adjusted if the requirements call for more. The activity will focus on near-term decisions needed for FY06, and also consider the longer term process.

Reader comment: "I don't know if this had already been detected or how newsworthy it is, but as of August 16, all Lockheed Martin employees and subcontractors working on the Astrobiology and Space Research Services Programs and Projects contract with NASA Ames Research Center have been formally notified of the invoking of the WARN act. This came from direction from the NASA contracting officer, reflecting the lack of committed Fiscal Year 2006 funding.

NASA Hotlines Provide Information About Hurricane Damaged Facilities

NASA JSC Special Notice: Hurrican Katrina Assistance Notice

Memo to LockheedMartin Employees Regarding Hurricane Katrina from Bob Stevens, Chairman, President & CEO

Internal NASA Senior Management Email: Hurricane Update 30 August 2005

"MAF (Michoud Assembly Facility), the very place where we needed the most intensive work activity for Return To Flight Part 2, was almost directly in Katrina's path and was hit pretty hard. Lots of damage to facility. Rough estimate is that 60% of workers there lost their homes. Also estimate 4-6 weeks to restore power and water to facility. Since the ET is so key right now, KSC has been asked to ascertain what, if any, ET PAL ramp rework could possibly be done here."

NASA Emergency Operations Center (EOC) Hurricane Katrina Internal Update Teleconference Notes 11am EDT 3 Sep 2005

- Administrator Griffin and a few key others from HQ (and others) may come to Stennis and Michoud Wednesday via helicopter

- Stennis is closing down as a refugee center as of Tuesday and they'll need buses from JSC to help move people to Shreveport

- Stennis has heard from 35% of Stennis employees and 25% of them are homeless, but they think that percentage will go up

- KSC is going to release some of its hydrogen for the steel industry since the largest supply of stored hydrogen is located in the gulf coast and is not available now

Editor's note: It would seem that Mike Griffin continues to reward senior members of the SES corps at NASA HQ for services provided between 1 July 2004 through 30 June 2005 by downgrading their performance ratings. The performance plans, i.e., the contract with the SES member, had been agreed to, midterm debriefs conducted, final evalutation debriefs accomplished, and 'final' ratings assigned by the personnel review board. These actions were then endorsed by Deputy Administrator Fred Gregory. The downgrading apparently has no correlation with the individuals' previous year's performance plan or the individuals' actual performance (Griffin only "managed" them for 25% of that period). Recently, another senior HQ employee had his NASA Exceptional Service Medal yanked only hours before he was supposed to receive it. If this happens to these folks, it can certainly happen to others elsewhere in the agency. Keep your heads down folks.

Editor's note: Go to this image gallery at JSC. Pick an image category - and an image at random. Attached to the image caption will be a caveat that has been in place since the Clinton Adminstration kept a lid on NASA's human exploration yearnings. Often times the caveat is longer than the image caption itself!

"Note: NASA currently has no formal plans for a human expedition to Mars or the Moon. This image and others displayed may not reflect the hardware and overall concept of possible visits to either of those celestial bodies. However, the art work represented here serves as a comprehensive study of various concepts and ideas developed as possibilities over a period of years."

Now that NASA has the VSE, indeed, as Mike Griffin seeks to accelerate it, why is this silly verbiage still on line? It would seem to be sending exactly the opposite message than NASA is implementing.

Editor's note: Informed sources report FEMA has commandeered all NASA aircraft, disrupting agency efforts to reach employees at SSC.

INA Action on the Hill

Iran Act Changes Affecting NASA Could Pass House Soon, Aerospace Daily & Defense Report

"Changes to the Iran Nonproliferation Act to allow NASA to buy Russian space goods and services could see legislative action starting next week."

Splendid Mars Vistas

NASA's Durable Spirit Sends Intriguing New Images From Mars

"Working atop a range of Martian hills, NASA's Spirit rover is rewarding researchers with tempting scenes filled with evidence of past planet environments. "When the images came down and we could see horizon all the way around, that was every bit as exhilarating as getting to the top of any mountain I've climbed on Earth," said Chris Leger, a rover planner at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), Pasadena, Calif."

More CEV Work for CSC

NASA MSFC Solicitation: Additional Operations, Engineering, and Integration Work In Support of the Crew Launch Vehicle Project

"NASA/MSFC intends to contract with CSC for the proposed effort on a sole-source basis by awarding a modification to the current purchase order to add this work, which has an estimated period of performance by three months (October 01, 2005, through December 31, 2005)."


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