February 2008 Archives

Green Spinoffs

Space is the place, Sustainable Industries Magazine

"Beyond giving boosts to innovative technologies, NASA is driven by a need to stay grounded and relevant to people's everyday lives by doing things other than just making rockets," says Keith Cowing, a former NASA employee who's now one of its most prominent watchdogs. And, like many agencies, Cowing says NASA is often hindered by lack of staff and budget, pulled in different directions by changing administration priorities."

NASA JSC Solicitation: ISS Commercial Resupply Services

"NASA/JSC plans to issue an RFP for the following Commercial item/services: cargo upmass, disposal and return to and from the International Space Station, nonstandard services and special studies as defined in the Statement of Work."

NASA Solicitation: Constellation Program Ground Processing Services

"The purpose of this notice is to apprise interested parties of the current planning schedule for competition of the Constellation (Cx) ground processing, provide high level information on the potential requirements, acquisition approach, and solicit industry input."

Barack Obama: One-on-one with WKYC's Tom Beres, WKYC.com (half way through video)

Obama: "I've got a strong belief in NASA and the process of space exploration. I do think that our program has been stuck for a while - that the space shuttle mission did not inspire the imagination of the public - that much of the experimentation that was done could have been conducted not necessarily with manned flights. I think that broadening our horizons - and looking at a combination of both unmanned satellites of the sort that we saw with the Jupiter launch - but also looking at where we can start planning for potential manned flights. I think that is something that I'm excited about and could be part of a broader strategy for science and technology investment ... The only thing I want to say is that I want to do a thorough review because some of these programs may not be moving in the right direction and I want to make sure that NASA spending is a little more coherent than it has been over the last several years.

Editor's note: With all this fussin' and fightin' about the future of the VSE, HBO's "Mr. Show with Bob & David" came up with a new reason to go back to the moon. Makes sense to me.

Job Cuts Ahead

NASA Work Force Projections Previewed, Aerospace Daily

"Subcommittee Chairman Bill Nelson (D-Fla.) pressed Griffin on the issue of sustaining NASA's human spaceflight work force during the downtime between the shuttle's retirement and the introduction of the Orion and Ares I vehicles, projected for early 2015. "We don't want to go through what we went through after the shutdown of Apollo," Nelson said."

Senators clash with NASA chief on speed of space transition, Congress Daily

"Griffin also said the shutdown of the shuttle program is likely to lead to the loss of thousands of NASA jobs at Kennedy Space Center in Florida and the Michoud Assembly Facility in New Orleans."

Code L Asleep At The Wheel

Editor's note: If you go to the Office of Legislative and Intergovernmental Affairs page (or the "For Policy Makers" page on NASA.gov) and click on Congressional Testimony you will see a page that was last updated for some 11 October 2007 hearings.

Mike Griffin testified on Capitol Hill on Tuesday.

Editor's update: The page was (finally) updated today. What a coincidence.

Former President Clinton stumps for Hillary in Houston, Houston Chronicle

"Clinton pointed out that Hillary Clinton places more of an emphasis than Obama on human space travel. "This is the center of American space travel," he said of Houston and the Johnson Space Center. "Sixteen thousand (local) jobs -- and a lot of America's future -- rely on this."

Bill Clinton Says Hillary Will Change Lives If Elected President, Fox 26

"He also emphasized her commitment to manned spaceflight. About 100,000 people in the Houston area work for NASA's Johnson Space Center or related industries."

Bill: Hillary Hearts Outer Space, National Journal Hotline

em>"Hillary has always supported the manned space program just as I did when I was president," he told a crowd of over 250 who gathered in a picturesque neighborhood park in a Houston suburb today. "Her opponent says we should downgrade man space travel and upgrade robotic travel."

NASA's Exploration Systems Mission Directorate Responses to Questions from NASA Watch Feb. 27, 2008

"Q: Did NASA pay for any civil servants and/or contractors to attend the Stanford University meeting "Examining the Vision - Balancing Science and Exploration" meeting last week? If so which civil servants and/or contractors attended? What contracts and/or projects was this travel and work time charged to? Are these attendees required to prepare a trip report or summary of their activities in connection with this meeting? Will any such reports be made available to the media?

A: Three NASA employees are listed: Brian Muirhead of JPL and Chris MacKay and Russ Kerschmann of Ames Research Center. NASA's Constellation Program funded Muirhead's travel. MacKay and Kerschmann did not incur travel expenses."

Editor's note: NASA employees attending a meeting in an official capacity - one of great interest to the 9th floor - yet NO ONE filed a trip report, wrote a memo, or conveyed ANYTHING to management as to what they did - or what was said?

Can't remember the 11 planets? 4th-grader offers help, AP

"Those having trouble remembering the newly assigned 11 planets, including three dwarfs, are getting help from a fourth-grader. Maryn Smith, the winner of the National Geographic planetary mnemonic contest, has created a handy way to remember the planets and their order in distance from the sun."

3rd Space Exploration Conference Briefing Materials Online

"The American institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA), in collaboration with NASA, is pleased to announce that the Third Space Exploration Conference will be held February 26-28, 2008 at the Colorado Convention Center in Denver, Colorado. After each panel concludes, panelists' briefings will be made available here in PDF format."

Editor's note: I will be curious to see how much of what Steve Cook has placed on the chart "Some Ares I "Myths" Debunked" in his presentation he still stands by in six months given internal documents that show how his program is seeking to reduce and/or eliminate much of the Development Flight Instrumentation (DFI) on the Ares I-X flight test.

Editor's note: This is one instance where using professional announcers would have been preferable to sticking NASA engineers in front of a camera simply because of their management position. Or at least find some people at NASA who can speak without mumbling. Someone should also rewrite the script so as to scrub out the acronyms and the awkward NASAspeak such as "we expend the ascent stage". No one in the real world "expends" anything. However, they do "discard" or "throw things away".

Reader note: Also included in the lists of NASASpeak:"Foam 'liberates' from the ET." Come on now NASA, it "breaks off" !!

New Frontiers AO NET June

NASA Offers Pre-screening of Principal Investigator Revised Requirements for New Frontiers Opportunity

"The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Science Mission Directorate (SMD) plans to release an Announcement of Opportunity (AO) for the third New Frontiers (NF-3) mission no earlier than June 2008. Downselection would occur in 2009. This NF-3 AO will solicit only missions that do not require nuclear sources for power generation or propulsion."

The Mother of all ISS EVAs

Astronaut Scott Parazynski at the Explorers Club: Fixing A Solar Panel in Space

"Astronaut Scott Parazynski describes his solar panel repair EVA during the STS-120 mission at a presentation made at the Explorers Club in New York City on 21 February 2008."

Interplanetary Hitchikers

Life Forms Ejected on Asteroid Impact Could Survive to Reseed Earth According to a Study Published in Astrobiology

"In the event that an asteroid or comet would impact Earth and send rock fragments containing embedded microorganisms into space, at least some of those organisms might survive and reseed on Earth or another planetary surface able to support life, according to a study published in the Spring 2008 (Volume 8, Number 1) issue of Astrobiology, a peer-reviewed journal published by Mary Ann Liebert, Inc. The paper is available free online."

NASA City is Now Online

New Web Feature Shows How NASA Technologies Improve Our Lives

"NASA has added to its Web site an interactive program that allows users to discover some of the many NASA technologies that positively impact everyday life. NASA Deputy Administrator Shana Dale unveiled NASA at Home and NASA City Tuesday in Denver at the 3rd Space Exploration Conference."

NASA's In Your Frozen Chicken, Wired

"As an easy guide to some of these highlights, NASA has released a clever around-the-house and around-the-city Flash site (link takes you to their multimedia page, click on "NASA Home and City") that details a whole host of common materials that do in fact owe their existence to the space program."

Ares 1-X Update

Ares I-X Test To Study Vibrations, Aerospace Daily & Defense Report

"NASA engineers are adding instrumentation to the first full-scale flight version of the Ares I crew launch vehicle to gather real data about vibrations from its solid-fuel first stage that initially were predicted to be seriously out-of-spec. Those predictions, which could mean expensive modifications to the Ares I and the Orion crew exploration vehicle that will ride atop it, are based largely on ground-test data. Managers hope flight-test results from the Ares I-X flight will give them a much better idea of just how bad the problem is, and what it will take to solve it."

NASA: Cross-Waiver of Liability: Final rule

"SUMMARY: The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) is amending its regulations which provide the regulatory basis for cross- waiver provisions used in the following two categories of NASA agreements: agreements for International Space Station (ISS) activities pursuant to the ``Agreement Among the Government of Canada, Governments of Member States of the European Space Agency, the Government of Japan, the Government of the Russian Federation, and the Government of the United States of America concerning Cooperation on the Civil International Space Station'' (commonly referred to as the ISS Intergovernmental Agreement, or IGA); and launch agreements for science or space exploration activities unrelated to the ISS."

Not In My Back Yard

Hundreds tell NASA: Wildlife refuge is for birds, not rockets, Orlando Sentinel

"With the shuttle program winding down, NASA is considering offering some of its 140,000 acres at KSC for commercial ventures. Rockets launched from the private pad could be used to transport cargo, astronauts, satellites and even tourists into space. But dozens urged NASA to consider using abandoned launch pads at the nearby Cape Canaveral Air Force Station."

Blue Origin Buys Texas Ranch as Launch Site, SpaceRef

"According to sources, Jeff Bezos' company Blue Origin has reportedly bought a 32,000 acre ranch a few miles north of Sierra Blanca, Texas to use as a launch site."

Clinton, Obama Surrogates Debate Science Policy, CQ Politics

"It wasn't in primetime. In fact, it wasn't broadcast at all. The audience wasn't hand-picked to equally represent the candidates. But a weekend debate at the American Association for the Advancement of Science between science advisors to the Hillary Rodham Clinton and Barack Obama campaigns was strikingly similar to forums between the candidates."

Scientists urged to plan for the next US president, Nature (subscription)

"Alec Ross, a technology entrepreneur and adviser to Obama, focused on his candidate's plans to expand broadband and technology infrastructure to all Americans. He also hinted that within weeks Obama would unveil a new plan for NASA and space exploration."

Hillary Clinton campaigns in Houston, AP

"Clinton took the stage at about 9:40 p.m. and spoke for about 30 minutes. She touched on usual campaign themes, including affordable health care for all Americans and bringing home the troops from Iraq. She also hit on a local note, pledging to keep funding NASA. "I believe we need to keep funding our next generation of spacecraft," she said."

Clinton, Obama address Houston hot topics, Houston Chronicle

"Obama agreed that NASA, which employs thousands of Houston-area voters who work at or with the Johnson Space Center, should be a tool for inspiring the nation. But, he said, the next president needs to have "a practical sense of what investments deliver the most scientific and technological spinoffs -- and not just assume that human space exploration, actually sending bodies into space, is always the best investment."

NASA GRC Solicitation: Configuration Support for the United Kingdom Disaster Monitoring Constellation Satellites

"NASA/GRC intends to utilize the services of Surrey Satellite Technology, Ltd. (SSTL). The United Kingdom (UK) DMC is the only spacecraft with an Internet Protocol (IP) router onboard-the Cisco router in Low Earth Orbit (CLEO). SSTL is the sole provider of IP compliant satellites that NASA can utilize to perform delay/disruption tolerant networking (DTN) research. NASA has already obtained licenses to transmit and receive at the DMC satellite frequencies required for the satellite ground station support."

Editor's note: How sad (and utterly uncreative) that the only place i.e. "sole source" that Mike Griffin can find this on-orbit functionality - one using U.S. developed software/hardware - is from an offshore provider. Someone sure dropped the ball on this one.

Editor's note: John Shannon is being named the new Shuttle Program Manager. Wayne Hale will be joing Bill Gerstenmaier's Space Operations staff.

NASA Internal Memo From Wayne Hale to the Space Shuttle Team

"In the last few days the agency has asked me to take on an urgent and important job which will be very important for our long range intentions to succeed in these bigger goals of returning to the moon and then sending people on to explore Mars and the rest of the solar system."

NASA Selects New Deputy Associate Administrator of Strategic Partnerships and Space Shuttle Program Manager

"In his new position, he will work in Houston as a senior NASA official in the Space Operations Mission Directorate, providing strategic leadership to foster cooperative partnerships that help achieve NASA goals, build alliances across the public and private sectors and improve U.S. competitiveness and economic growth."

OASD Satellite Engagement Communications Plan 14 Feb 2008, Govermentattic

"Public Affairs Posture - Following the public announcement by DoD, OSD public affairs will encourage an active posture in discussing this specific engagement and the situation. Questions beyond the scope of this guidance will be referred to OASD/PA. DoD has the PA lead through engagement, reentry and tracking phases. The debris field from this reentry could extend over multiple areas, over multiple days. If debris from this satellite lands in the United States, lead for public affairs shifts to DHS. If debris from this satellite lands outside the United States, lead for public affairs remains with DoD, with DOS supporting through public diplomacy activities in any affected foreign countries."

Google Lunar X Prize Grows

The X PRIZE Foundation Announces Official Contenders in Private Moon Race

"The X PRIZE Foundation and Google, Inc. today announced the first ten teams to register for the Google Lunar X PRIZE, a robotic race to the Moon to win a remarkable $30 million in prizes. This international group of teams will compete to land a privately funded robotic craft on the Moon that is capable of roaming the lunar surface for at least 500 meters and sending video, images and data back to the Earth."

NASA Exploration Systems Mission Directorate Responses to Questions from NASA Watch Feb. 20, 2008

Q: Has NASA directed civil servants and/or contractor personnel to look at Orion CEV designs that would be limited flying a crew of 4 to the ISS?

A: No.

Q: Has NASA directed civil servants and/or contractor personnel to look at Orion CEV designs that would be limited flying a crew of less than 6 to the ISS?

A: No.

What is a Planet?

The Next Great Planet Debate, MSNBC

"Many astronomers say the definition that the IAU came up doesn't adequately reflect the diversity of worlds we see even in our own solar system - and arguably, might even exclude Jupiter as an official planet. Now a replay of the "Great Planet Debate" has been scheduled for August. Pluto may remain in the pint-size pigeonhole - but the other planets, in our solar system and beyond, would get their own pigeonholes as well."

ASAT Test Update

Navy Missile Hits Spy Satellite, AP

"A missile launched from a Navy cruiser soared 130 miles above the Pacific and smashed a dying and potentially deadly U.S. spy satellite Wednesday, the Pentagon said. Several defense officials said it apparently achieved the main aim of destroying an onboard tank of toxic fuel."

Department of Defense Background Briefing on the Satellite Intercept Attempt

"So we're now into the window, okay, the length of the window. There's some significant ambiguity at the back end of the window, based, as I said at the time, on how high the atmosphere is on any given day, because that then tells you when the satellite naturally would start to hit the atmosphere. So we want to catch it before it naturally hits the atmosphere, because when it hits the atmosphere, it tumbles and it's next to impossible to track. So we're pretty comfortable right now that we'll have windows available to us through about the 29th or 30th. And then after that it will really start to become, let's say, more ambiguous, because we're trying to predict the weather out that far. So that's kind of the period, starting today and running basically out to about the 29th."

Editor's note: "30th" - of February? I would think these military types would have a slightly better command of the calendar than this. Isn't that sort of thing sort of useful when calculating orbits? (good catch Kevin S.)

Remembering an Explorer

Fossett Remembered for Daredevil Spirit, AP

Steve Fossett: The Times obituary, Times Online

"Steve Fossett made a fortune as a commodities broker in Chicago before embarking on a second career as an adventurer and record setter. He vanished while piloting an aircraft over the Nevada desert. He took off from Yerington, Nevada, on September 3, 2007, on what should have been a three-hour flight. But despite a huge search neither he nor his aircraft was seen again."

Atlantis Returns To Earth

Space Shuttle Atlantis Lands at NASA Kennedy Space Center

"With Commander Steve Frick and Pilot Alan Poindexter at the controls, space shuttle Atlantis descended to a smooth landing at Kennedy Space Center, Fla. The STS-122 crew began its mission Feb. 7 and arrived at the station Feb. 9. Crew members added the European Space Agency's (ESA) Columbus laboratory to the station, increasing the orbital outpost's scientific capabilities. They also delivered a new crew member to the ISS and replaced an expended Nitrogen Tank Assembly on the station's P1 Truss."

Additional ISS/Shuttle information

Orion Update

NASA Internal Memo: Orion DAC2 Architecture Closure Plan Rev E, 2/19/08

"This memorandum describes the process for closing the Orion architecture in DAC-2. It lists the open architecture issues, threats and opportunities and requirements issues that need to be addressed as well as the overall schedule for this activity. The original plan for DAC-2 had the architecture-level decisions closed by the Architecture ERB that was held February 22d-28th and rolled up to the integrated system by the Mid-Term ERB on February 29th Since a number of significant system-level trades and studies are still open, the project requires an intensive effort over the coming weeks to close these issues in order to proceed with the preliminary design tasks required for PDR."

Orbital Wins COTS Funding

Editor's update: According to NASA's Doug Cooke the winning proposal of the COTS-1 re-competition is worth $170 million. 13 companies competed and submitted proposals in November 2007.

Results of the review were presented to Cooke last Thursday. The Space Act Agreement will be made with Orbital Sciences Corporation (OSC).

OSC is looking to develop an new medium class launch vehicle they call the Taurus II. The first stage will use LOX/Kerosine liquid fuel using Aerojet engines. ATK would develop the Castor-derived solid fueled second stage.

The COTS Visiting Vehicle would be the payload - and will have variants that can deliver pressurized cargo using a MPLM derivative developed by Alenia or unpressurized cargo using a derivative of the Express Logistics Carrier being designed and developed by NASA Goddard Space Flight Center for use on the ISS.

The OSC proposal mentions possible crewed missions but did not formally propose that option. OSC will be using DART and Orbital Express hardware and experience in the design of their proximity and operations concepts.

OSC plans to launch the Taurus II COTS flights from Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia.

Ares 1 Design Problem Update

NASA Insists It Can Fix Flaw in Rocket Design, NY Times

"There is a potential to reach resonance in the vehicle," said Garry Lyles, associate director for engineering at NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala., who is head of the team. The calculations were based on data from ground tests on the shuttle boosters and some gathered during shuttle flights, as well as best guesses based on the preliminary design of Orion. The vibrations would not be violent enough to shake the rocket to pieces, he said. Rather, the concerns were that the vibrations could injure equipment or passengers, exceeding the limits specified in design documents."

Satellite attack planned for Feb. 21 - right during the lunar eclipse?, The Cosmic Mirror

"A Notice to Airmen has been issued closing a zone near Maui for air traffic on the morning of Feb. 21 from 2:30 to 5:00 UTC - and the to-be-hit satellite USA 193 is crossing that very zone around 3:30 UTC. Furthermore it has been noted that this is during totality of the total lunar eclipse that night which may aid the optical tracking of faint fragments."

Sources: Navy to shoot down failed satellite Thursday, CNN

"NASA Administrator Michael Griffin said there's nothing the military can do to make the outcome worse. "If we miss, nothing changes. If we shoot and barely touch it, the satellite is just barely in orbit" and would still burn up somewhat in the atmosphere, Griffin said. "If we shoot and get a direct hit, that's a clean kill and we're in good shape," he added."

SMD Update

NASA SMD SARA Update 15 February 2008

"In round numbers, though, the Space Science divisions each increased R&A at least 10% and as much as 30%. The increases are strategic, so not every program element will be increased. In Planetary, for example, look for significant repair to the Astrobiology program, and the exciting start to the lunar research line, among other changes to come. Earth Science is busy advancing the decadal survey recommendations and the many missions they are starting each have R&A components to them, so while the R&A budget stays the same for Earth, it is really getting a boost in other ways."

NASA Sponsors Studies of Next Generation Astronomy Missions

"NASA has selected 19 science teams to conduct yearlong studies of new concepts for its next generation of major observatories. The studies will help NASA make decisions about how it explores the heavens in the future, following the Astronomy and Astrophysics Decadal Survey."

NASA Solicitation: Research Opportunities in Aeronautics 2008

"The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Headquarters is releasing a NASA Research Announcement (NRA) for foundational research in support of the Aeronautics Research Mission Directorate (ARMD). NNH08ZEA001N, entitled "Research Opportunities in Aeronautics" will be available on or about March 3, 2008."

Shuttle Update

Space Shuttle Atlantis Departs ISS

"Space Shuttle Atlantis undocked from the International Space Station at 4:24 a.m. EST today, ending its almost-nine-day stay at the orbital outpost."

NASA's Space Shuttle Atlantis Set to Land Wednesday

"The space shuttle Atlantis crew is expected to complete a 13-day mission to the International Space Station with a landing at NASA's Kennedy Space Center on Wednesday, Feb. 20."

Space Shuttle Endeavour Arrives at Launch Pad, Countdown Test Set

"After safely reaching its launch pad Monday at NASA's Kennedy Space Center, the space shuttle Endeavour now awaits its next major milestone for the upcoming STS-123 mission. A full launch dress rehearsal, known as the terminal countdown demonstration test, is scheduled to take place at Kennedy from Feb. 23 to 25."

Election 2008 Update

Clinton, Obama address Houston hot topics, Houston Chronicle

"I intend to pursue an ambitious agenda in both space exploration and earth sciences," Clinton said. "I want to support the next generation of spacecraft for a robust human spaceflight program." Obama agreed that NASA, which employs thousands of Houston-area voters who work at or with the Johnson Space Center, should be a tool for inspiring the nation. But, he said, the next president needs to have "a practical sense of what investments deliver the most scientific and technological spinoffs -- and not just assume that human space exploration, actually sending bodies into space, is always the best investment."

ASAT Test or Public Safety?

Shooting Down a Satellite: All in the Timing, Discovery

"This week, as the military unveiled its unprecedented plan to shoot down an ailing spy satellite, an ammonia tank once used aboard the International Space Station plummeted to Earth. So did the second stage of a Delta rocket that put an Italian radar imager into orbit in December. By week's end, part of a Russian Molniya rocket that left Russia's Plesetsk Cosmodrome in 1996 should dive into the atmosphere as well."

Satellite shoot-down shows missile muscle

"Asked if the modified SM-3 will be viewed by some foreign states as an ASAT weapon, Mr. Jeffries said that whatever other nations might think, "the truth" is that the missile strike is meant to prevent the hyrdazine tank from landing in a populated area."

Experts Scoff at Satellite Shoot-Down Rationale, Wired

"The Pentagon says it has to shoot down a malfunctioning spy satellite because of the threat of a toxic gas cloud. Space security experts are calling the rationale "comedic gold."

U.S. vows to pay for damage caused by satellite, Reuters

"U.S. officials said on Thursday that President George W. Bush had decided to have the Navy shoot the 5,000-pound (2,270 kg) satellite with a modified tactical missile after security advisers suggested its re-entry could lead to a loss of life."

HSPD-12 Update

NASA AFEU Memo on HSPD-12 Badging

"NASA is proceeding to implement Homeland Security Personnel Directive (HSPD-12) at all Centers, including Ames. Center management has determined that more than 20% of the employees at Ames are moderate or high sensitivity risk. AFEU contends that Ames management has over-classified a large number of employees, particularly given that GSFC and JPL have reported around 5% at moderate and high risk."

NASA's Ames Enables Commercial Weightless Aircraft Flights

"Commercial, weightless flights will be offered this weekend at Moffett Field, Calif., under the terms of an agreement with the Zero Gravity Corp, Las Vegas. Although corporation officials said the first flight scheduled Saturday, Feb. 16 is already sold out, additional flights will be scheduled later this year."

Surveying the Next Generation

Reader note: To the Next Generation of Space Leaders: A little over a year ago, we asked the youth of the world to tell us what they think should happen within the next 50 years in regards to space. You overwhelmingly responded, with over 150 responses giving us your ideas. As promised, we presented your ideas to the United Nations Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space as well as to prominent scientists, astronauts and engineers at Boston University.

Now we'd like to ask you to take it further with part two of this survey, which is located at http://www.spacegeneration.org/survey/survey.php?id=36EVFIAR. Tell us more about what should happen in the next 50 years and let your voice be heard yet again! This time we ask you to focus on how we can find solutions to the global challenges facing us. - Bijal Bee Thakore

Shooting Down NROL-21

Pentagon to shoot down broken spy satellite, AP

"The Pentagon is planning to shoot down a broken spy satellite expected to hit the Earth in early March, The Associated Press has learned. U.S. officials said Thursday that the option preferred by the Bush administration will be to fire a missile from a U.S. Navy cruiser, and shoot down the satellite before it enters Earth's atmosphere."

Heading off a toxic iceberg from space, MSNBC

"Griffin explained that the contents of the tank could turn to slush during the fall, but would very likely survive and leak toxic gas over the crash site. Another expert told msnbc.com privately that the solid ice would provide structural support against the 20 to 25 G's of deceleration experienced by the satellite during re-entry."

Newsflash: Armed Astros

Space Station Crew Can Access Gun, WESH

"Astronauts aboard the International Space Station apparently have access to a gun. Russian Cosmonauts carry a gun on their Soyuz space capsule, which is attached to the space station."

Editor's note: This is not exactly "news"...

Editor's note: Nothing of substance was discussed. Nothing of substance was decided. The VSE is safe - for now. Mike Griffin got all worked up about this meeting - for nothing.

Alas, Scott Horowitz was rather forceful in his defense of the VSE - often profane in doing so. Not exactly the best salesman NASA could put forth in such an environment - officially or unofficially.


Space Experts Say: Restore Funding and Enhance International Outreach to Put Humans on Mars While Sustaining NASA's Science Mission, Planetary Society

"This workshop achieved a consensus that NASA's resources have not been commensurate with its mandated missions of exploration and science," said G. Scott Hubbard, former director of NASA's Ames Research Laboratory in Mountain View, California, and a consulting professor of Aeronautics and Astronautics at Stanford."

Editor's update: Wow. How profound. NASA needs more money.


Today's Video: Reach

Editor's note: I am hanging out with a hundred Generation Y types at NASA ARC at the NGEC-2 - Next Generation Exploration Conference. As the attendees struggled with why they were here and what they should do I realized that is has been a while since I posted this amazing gem. For me, it says it all. One of the artists behind this video, Karen Lau, was in attendance. Have a look.

House Budget Hearing

House Committee on Science and Technology Examines FY09 NASA Budget

"Dr. Griffin and his team are dedicated and hardworking and represent some of the "best and brightest" in the nation. Yet I am afraid that this budget and the vision for NASA that it represents fails them in several important ways:

It fails to fully exploit and nurture the impressive capabilities NASA has, and it fails to position NASA for a sustained and productive future. Instead I'm afraid that the Administration's budget and vision for NASA simply set the agency up for increased problems down the road.

And most fundamentally, I have to ask whether it is credible to believe that we will be able to successfully carry out the human lunar program proposed by the Administration--while still maintaining a balanced NASA portfolio overall--if the NASA budgetary outlook doesn't improve. If it isn't credible, then we will need to determine whether there are any changes to be made that will still keep us moving forward in a balanced manner under the funding likely to be available to NASA."

Statement of Michael D. Griffin FY 2009 Budget Hearing 13 February 2008 (What Griffin actually read from)
Statement of NASA Administrator Michael Griffin 13 February 2008 (What Code L posted)
House Science and Technology Committee Evaluates FY09 NASA Budget Release
Opening Statement By Chairman Bart Gordon
Opening Statement By Chairman Mark Udall

Astronaut Mum on What Ailed Him, AP

"The German astronaut who was too sick to perform a spacewalk refused to say what ailed him, but insisted he's feeling great--albeit a little anxious--for Wednesday's outing."

John Glenn Endorses Clinton, AP

"In 1962, Glenn, a Marine pilot, was the first American to orbit the Earth, becoming an instant national hero. In 1998, shortly before retiring from Senate after 24 years, he became the world's oldest astronaut, returning to space aboard the Shuttle Discovery at age 77. Glenn briefly sought the Democratic presidential nomination in 1984. "I am deeply honored to have the support of Senator Glenn, a true American hero," Clinton said. "With his help, we'll bring our message of change across Ohio."


Next Generation Exploration Conference Convenes at NASA's Ames

"A group of emerging space leaders will gather at NASA's Ames Research Center from Feb. 12 to 15 to discuss innovative approaches to designing the future of space exploration. This year's Next Generation Exploration Conference will focus on entrepreneurial opportunities in lunar development. News media are invited to attend. The conference is designed to give young space technology leaders a forum to interact with NASA's senior management. Participants will collaborate in working groups and present their ideas to the NASA Exploration Systems Mission Directorate Commercial Development Policy group and the Innovative Partnerships Program Office."

VSE Upgrade Update

Media Briefing on Examining the Vision Workshop

"Journalists are invited to attend a Post Workshop Briefing about "Examining the Vision: Balancing Science and Exploration" on Thursday, February 14, 2008, in person in Menlo Park, California or via telecon. The Planetary Society and the Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics at Stanford University will host the two-day, invitation-only workshop, "Examining the Vision: Balancing Science and Exploration," February 12-13."

Experts to Discuss U.S. Space Plan, NY Times

"In an interview last week, Dr. Griffin said: "We spent three years reassessing the policy and codifying it. Changing it now? I think that's just stupid." He has suggested that some of the opposition is a sour-grapes effort by aerospace contractors who wanted a second shot at rich contracts. But, he said last week, "We don't change space policy in the United States very often -- if so, you can't get anything done." ... Dr. Friedman said he was dismayed by the sharpness of NASA's reaction, since members of the workshop are "people who have worked with NASA for years, instead of against it."

Examining the Vision - Balancing Science and Exploration, earlier post
Goodbye VSE - Hello USSEP, earlier post
Alt.VSE Update, earlier post
Revising the VSE: Keeping Our Eyes On The Prize, earlier post
ALT.VSE: Reinventing Bush's Vision for Space Exploration, earlier post

Former Boeing Engineer Charged with Economic Espionage in Theft of Space Shuttle Secrets for China, DOJ

"A former Boeing engineer was arrested this morning after being indicted last week on charges of economic espionage and acting as an unregistered foreign agent of the People's Republic of China (PRC), for whom the engineer stole Boeing trade secrets related to several aerospace programs, including the Space Shuttle."

Indictment, DOJ

Did China spy on NASA?, Orlando Sentinel

Robert Jastrow

Robert Jastrow, Who Made Space Understandable, Dies at 82, NY Times

"In an age when scientists tended to keep to their laboratories and lecture halls, Dr. Jastrow was a very public figure, a prolific author and commentator on a wide range of topics including the space program, astronomy, earth science and national security issues."

Note from NOVA: "On Tuesday, February 12, NOVA will present the premiere of "Astrospies," an inside look at the covert space programs that hid in the shadows of the 1960s space race. We think readers of NASAWatch will be interested in the show, and we hope you'll consider posting about it!"

Remembering Gordon McKay

Planetary Exploration Newsletter Volume 2, Number 10 (February 10, 2008)

DR. GORDON MCKAY (1945-2008)

Dear Colleagues, It is with deep sadness that we write on behalf of the Science Mission Directorate to mourn the untimely passing and celebrate the life and career of Dr. Gordon McKay. Beginning his career as a Ph.D. student on the first lunar samples returned to Earth by the Apollo astronauts and ending it in a role of exceptional leadership at a NASA review panel, Gordon devoted his life to public service and the advancement of scientific knowledge. Gordon was someone who epitomized being a civil servant.

Lead Planetary Scientist Carolyn Porco to Advise on New Star Trek Movie

"Carolyn Porco, the leader of the Imaging Science team on NASA'S Cassini mission at Saturn, has accepted an invitation from Star Trek director/producer, J.J. Abrams, to join the Star Trek production crew as a consultant on planetary science and imagery."

Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Space -- NOT, Free Space

"If Britney Spears wants some privacy, I have a suggestion for her: get NASA to fly her to the space station. The space agency so vehemently protects the privacy of astronauts that even if they have to postpone a spacewalk, which costs something like a bazillion dollars a minute, because someone is sick, they won't talk about it. Even if the spacewalker, who has been training for more than a year, is sidelined, and a backup has to take his place, they won't talk about it. And even if the mission then has to be extended to make up for the extra day, they won't talk about it."

Meet the Press (funny photo), Free Space

"Reporters prepare for Sunday's news briefing with NASA officials at the Johnson Space Center."

Strange Cravings On Orbit

Editor's note:This image was taken on 27 January 2008 - before Atlantis docked with the ISS.

If you look at the OVHD side of the hatch heading out of Destiny through Node 1 toward the FGB you will see a White Castle logo.

So ... who is the White Castle burger fan?

Peggy, Dan - or Yuri?

Space Shuttle Atlantis Docks with the International Space Station

Space Station and Space Shuttle Crews Work to Install Columbus Lab Module

Space Shuttle Atlantis and the STS-122 crew arrived at the International Space Station at 12:17 p.m., delivering the European Space Agency's Columbus laboratory and a new crew member to the orbital outpost.

Additional ISS and Space Shuttle News

New Bill Could Provides Tax Incentives for People Investing in Space Companies, Political Action For Space

"Yesterday, Representative Dana Rohrabacher of California (Co-Sponsored by Representative Weldon) introduced H.R. 5310: To amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to provide tax incentives for investing in companies involved in space-related activities."

Prepared Statement by Michael Griffin (Part 2), 8 May 2003, (Part 1), House Science and Technology Committee

"In the 1950s and 1960s, the term "man rating" was coined to describe the process of converting the military Redstone, Atlas, and Titan II vehicles to the requirements of manned spaceflight. This involved a number of factors such as pogo suppression, structural stiffening, and other details not particularly germane to today's expendable vehicles. The concept of "man rating" in this sense is, I believe, no longer very relevant."

"... Logically, therefore, launch system reliability is treated by all parties as a priority of the highest order, irrespective of the nature of the payload, manned or unmanned. While there is no EELV flight experience as yet, these modern versions of the Atlas and Delta should be as inherently reliable as their predecessors. Their specified design reliability is 98%, a value typical of that demonstrated by the best expendable vehicles. If this is achieved, and I believe that it will be, and given a separate escape system with an assumed reliability of even 90%, the fatal accident rate would be 1 in 500 launches, substantially better than for the Shuttle. Thus, I believe that launching OSP on an expendable vehicle would pose no greater risk - and quite likely somewhat less risk - for human spaceflight than is already accepted for the Shuttle."

Testimony of Dr. Michael Griffin before the House Committee on Science, 27 October 1999

"The Space Taxi could initially be launched on a heavy-lift Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle (EELV), currently under development by U.S. industry and the U.S. Air Force. Together with a small cargo carrier located behind the Space Taxi, this system would be used to meet future ISS servicing requirements. Later, a two-stage, commercially developed RLV, under study by Orbital, would replace the EELV in launching the Space Taxi system at a significantly lower cost."

NASA Administrator Mike Griffin's Remarks to the Space Transportation Association (with audio), 22 January 2008

"Once the rationale for this particular dual-launch EOR scenario is understood, the next question is, logically, "why don't we use the existing EELV fleet for the smaller launch?" I'm sure you will understand when I tell you that I get this question all the time. And frankly, it's a logical question. I started with that premise myself, some years back. To cut to the chase, it will work - as long as you are willing to define "Orion" as that vehicle which can fit on top of an EELV. Unfortunately, we can't do that."

CBS NEWS STS-122 STATUS REPORT: 48 (Scroll Down)

"Q: [HARWOOD] On a different topic, the Ares rocket and the Constellation program continue to generate questions among outside observers as to viability of the rocket system, due to vibration and other issues, and the overall architecture of the moon program. Why is that?

A: [GRIFFIN] Let me get down to the bottom of it. There were winners and losers in the contractor community as to who was going to get to do what on the next system post shuttle. And we didn't pick (Lockheed Martin's) Atlas 5, in consultation with the Air Force for that matter, because it wasn't the right vehicle for the lunar job. Obviously, we did pick others. So people who didn't get picked see an opportunity to throw the issue into controversy and maybe have it come out their way.

Griffin: Sore Losers Conspire to Undo NASA's Ares 1, Orlando Sentinel Write Stuff Blog

"This is not so much an argument that people are having with NASA, and it's not about the Constellation architecture. It's about winning contractors versus losing contractors, and losing contractors spotting an opportunity coincident with an election year to reopen what was a settled issue three years ago," Griffin said. A prolonged fight, he added, could be a disaster for America's civil space program."

Critics say NASA's new rocket Ares, which is to take astronauts to the moon, is flawed, Orlando Sentinel

"NASA argues that the Atlas V as it stands is not robust enough to lift its 25-ton Orion crew capsule into space. Nonetheless, the news that entrepreneurs intend to employ an off-the-shelf rocket -- one that NASA rejected as being too expensive and unsafe to modify for its purposes -- was immediately seized on by Ares I critics. James Muncy, a Virginia-based space-policy consultant, said Bigelow's move means that commercial operators are going to be putting people into orbit years before NASA finishes developing Ares I. "That's great news for Americans worried about a gap in human spaceflight, but it could undercut some of the rationale for NASA's rocket plans." ... "The developments are worrying John Logsdon, the director of the Space Policy Institute at George Washington University, who is concerned that the criticism of Ares I -- some legitimate, some driven by ego and profit -- could end up destroying Constellation and with it the first new vision of space exploration in 35 years. "It's not a bad plan," he said, "We just need to adjust it some."

Editor's note: Oh, so now Lockheed Martin is to blame for Ares/Constellation woes, eh Mike? Isn't it curious that Lockheed Martin seems to have had much more success (on its own) countering the technical issues that NASA felt that it could not surmount (with regard to the Atlas V and human rating) when Lockheed Martin used their own money to do so - with market potential as a key motivator? What is it that Lockheed Martin sees that Mike Griffin has missed?

Gordon McKay

Editor's note: Gordon McKay died today in Maryland. He was in town for a NASA HQ proposal review. Details to follow.

Election 2008 Update

I Told Hillary to "Send Astronauts to Mars", Political Action for Space

"Last night, Michael Laine and I went to see Hillary campaign along the Seattle waterfront in a cruise line terminal. I squeezed underneath some bleachers to get to the VIP area and wiggled my way right up next to the disabled people and seniors. Then, when she was in the middle of her speech, I shouted: "Send Astronauts to Mars!" using a Hillary sign as a megaphone. She faltered, and continued talking about technology and innovation."

HSPD-12 Update

JPL back to court in background check case, Valley Sun

"On Feb. 15 Jet Propulsion Laboratory employees will be back in district court concerning their lawsuit against NASA. Twenty-eight scientists and engineers at JPL filed the suit challenging NASA's requirement of background investigations that they contend are unconstitutional. The background checks were required in 2007 by NASA in accordance to a 2004 Bush administration directive. Background checks are required by all governmental offices due to this directive but each office can choose their own procedure, said Virginia Keeny, attorney for the JPL employees."

NASA ARC Internal Memo: New HSPD-12 Badges Are Starting to Arrive

"Ames has started receiving and issuing the new NASA HSPD-12 compliant badges for civil servants who have completed enrollment, and non-civil servants who have completed the required background investigation and the enrollment steps. These badges are being delivered to Ames in batches."

STS-122 On Its Way

Atlantis Launches Carrying the STS-122 Crew

"Cheers and shouts can be heard throughout the space center as Atlantis, carrying the STS-122 crew and Columbus Laboratory, roars off the launch pad into the mid-afternoon sky to begin the 24th mission to the International Space Station. NASA astronaut Steve Frick commands a crew of six, including Pilot Alan Poindexter and Mission Specialists Leland Melvin, Rex Walheim, Stanley Love and the European Space Agency's Hans Schlegel and Leopold Eyharts. This is the first spaceflight for Poindexter, Love and Melvin."

Bad weather threatens shuttle launch, AP

"Even NASA's normally emotion-free boss, Michael Griffin, was enthusiastic. He said he was sure Atlantis' fuel gauges would continue to work properly and predicted no further problems with the system."

More ISS/Shuttle news

NASA Langley could see funding reduced by $92M, Daily Press

"NASA Langley Research Center could see a $92million drop in its budget next year a cut of about 13 percent but the center director said Monday that work from other NASA centers should flow in over the year to make up the gap."

Coalition for Space Exploration Official Statement Regarding the White House's FY 2009 Budget Request for NASA

"The Administration's $17.6 billion budget proposal for fiscal year 2009 keeps NASA on course for completing the International Space Station and retiring the space shuttle on time in 2010. In addition, the proposal allows for full funding of the Constellation Program's Orion spacecraft and Ares I launch vehicle, with an eye toward the first test flights in 2008 and 2009, respectively."

Editor's note: In one sentence the Coalition says that the budget keeps everything funded and then moments later they suggest that more money would be nice. Well which is it? They also took 2 days to issue this "release" while every other organization under the sun had one out within hours. Meanwhile, their website still points to their other (previous) website at http://www.spaceadvocate.com/ which was taken away from them by some Turkish telemarketer. (7 Feb Update: they finally removed this link - but have never explained publicly what happened). The company (Griffin Marketing) that runs this activity gets something like $20,000 a month. The coalition itself gets about $1 million a year from aerospace companies. Given this obvious lackluster performance, I have to ask: just what value does the Coalition for Space Exploration actually provide?

Job Cuts at NASA HQ

NASA Internal Memo: Reduction of Headquarters Ceilings

"NASA Headquarters (HQ) was notified in November 2007 of significant Full Time Equivalent (FTE) reductions for Fiscal Years (FY) 2008 through 2013. The FTE provided to HQ is the basis for establishing and managing HQ personnel ceilings. Headquarters Policy Directive 3330.1, Human Capital: Workforce Planning and Ceiling Control Management, dated November 26, 2006, sets forth the policy for assigning and managing total organizational ceilings (TOC) for each organization and HQ as an institution. Last fiscal year HQ ceilings were adjusted and a continuous effort is underway for planned reductions through FY 2013. However, the latest FTE reductions will require HQ to achieve these adjustments sooner than originally anticipated."

NASA Names Interim Lunar Science Institute Director

"David Morrison has been appointed interim director of the NASA Lunar Science Institute, based at the Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, Calif., effective immediately. A nationwide search for a permanent director is under way."

NASA budget includes $80 million lunar satellite project for Ames center, San Jose Mercury News

"The federal space program's proposed budget solidifies NASA's Ames Research Center as the center for studying the moon. The budget, released today, includes $80 million for the development of a satellite to study what little atmosphere the moon has. The satellite will be developed and built at the center at Moffett Field and set to launch sometime in 2013 to 2014. "We are now basically the lead agency for lunar science," said S. Pete Worden, director of NASA/Ames, after the announcement."

2009 NASA Budget Request Strong on Earth, Weak on Mars, Planetary Society

"Whereas Earth monitoring and lunar and outer planets' exploration all stand to benefit substantially from the proposed budget, Mars exploration will suffer from NASA's new science priorities. No Mars lander is currently planned to follow the 2009 Mars Science Laboratory, and the orbiter previously slated for 2013 has now been postponed. A Mars sample return mission is planned for 2020, but no funds have been allocated for it as yet."

Letter to MEPAG Members From Robert D. Braun Regarding NASA FY 2009 Mars Exploration Budget

"Planetary exploration is a unique symbol of our country's scientific drive, technological leadership and pioneering spirit. Over the past decade, the Mars program has been the strongest and most successful element in NASA's exploration portfolio."

Editor's note: The last time I checked there were 9 10 (perhaps hundreds) - of "planets" in our solar system - and more than a hundred known moons - all of which need to be explored. Next to Earth, I wonder which individual planet or moon has more U.S. (or otherwise) spacecraft in orbit about it than all other worlds (except Earth) - combined? And how many are still yet to be flown? And yet what does the Mars community do in tough budget times? They whine, of course.

Kennedy Space Center could face job cuts in Bush's NASA budget proposal, Orlando Sentinel

"NASA expects to shed as many as 1,000 workers from its space-shuttle program in 2009 -- including an unspecified number at Kennedy Space Center -- as part of a $17.6 billion budget outlined Monday by the White House."

SMD Budget Update

A Budget Message from Alan Stern Associate Administrator for NASA's Science Mission Directorate

"A month ago today I wrote you an email via NSPIRES about the work being done in NASA's Science Mission Directorate (SMD) to invigorate the flight and research programs we're administering. Although there was good news to talk about then, I could not discuss the content of the President's FY09 budget request and what that budget portends for SMD."

Air Safety Report Update

Committee Asks GAO to Analyze NASA's Air Safety Survey Data

"Led today by Chairman Bart Gordon (D-TN) of the U.S. House Committee on Science and Technology, Committee leaders asked the Government Accountability Office (GAO) to analyze massive amounts of data on U.S. air safety that the National Aeronautics and Safety Administration (NASA) made public on New Year's Eve."

NASA May Buy Russian Transport Services, AP

"NASA hinted that it might rely on Russian rockets to deliver crew and cargo to the international space station when the shuttle fleet is retired in 2010 if private space companies fail to fill the gap."

The Greening of SMD

Editor's note: Due to several problems with today's NASA Science Mission Directorate telecon I was unable to ask SMD Associate Alan Stern a question. However, I did manage to get in touch with him after the telecon. I asked him "This budget calls for some new Earth science missions at a time when the Bush Administration is often cited as being uninterested in Earth and/or climate related science. Can you describe the impetus for this decision - did NASA suggest these missions on their own initiative or did the White House ask that NASA propose them?"

Stern said "neither". He explained by recalling that early in his time at NASA he told Mike Griffin that he wanted to try and ramp up Earth Science. According to Stern, Mike Griffin said "I am good with that". NASA then took this idea forward to John Marburger at OSTP only to discover that Marburger had already decided on his own that he wanted to see NASA do this. As such, the idea did not meet with resistance, but rather, it was met with open arms in both locations. "And Mike was green light all the way". Stern said.

Speaking to the overall SMD budget picture Stern expressed enthusiasm for the way things have changed for SMD in the past year, noting that R&A was up and that there multiple new starts which Stern characterized as being "like a Gatling gun as opposed to the occasional pistol fire."

More Budget Reaction

Administration's NASA Budget Woefully Inadequate, IFPTE

"With today's unveiling of President's Bush's final budget, the International Federation of Professional & Technical Engineers (IFPTE) expressed grave disappointed with the failure of the White House to match its rhetoric to the Office and Management and Budget's (OMB) fiscal plan. This no truer than at NASA when comparing the stated grand Vision for Space Exploration with the Administration's proposed meager NASA budget that barely keeps up with inflation."

In reacting to NASA's new budget, House Science and Technology Chairman Bart Gordon said:

"At first blush it unfortunately appears to be a "business-as-usual" budget that does little to address the significant challenges NASA is facing. In short, it continues the Administration's practice of underfunding the agency relative to the missions the agency has been asked to undertake. Thus, NASA's aeronautics program is kept on a downward spiral despite congressional actions to the contrary, the agency's technology programs remain in an anemic condition, and its science programs face an uncertain future as funds are shuffled from one science account to the next in order to free up funds for proposed new initiatives."

Deputy Administrator National Aeronautics and Space Administration Feb. 4, 2008

"This morning, the president announced the Fiscal Year 2009 budget for the entire federal government. Six-tenths of one percent of that budget is NASA. The president's request for NASA is $17.6 billion, a 1.8 percent increase over the FY2008 enacted budget, along with a steady, five-year runout that includes an increase each year of around 2.4 percent."

NASA Budget Page

NASA FY 2009 Budget Information, OMB

Detailed information (PDF), OMB

Acceptance Slow for Bush's Space Plan, Washington Post

"Four years after President Bush called for Americans to return to the moon and then voyage on to Mars, NASA is spending hundreds of millions of dollars to design, build and test the spacecraft that would make it possible. But the effort has yet to capture the public's imagination as the Apollo project did in the 1960s, something tacitly acknowledged recently when NASA hired a New York advertising firm to help "brand" the program, now dubbed Constellation."

PBS host kicks off space festivities, Huntsville Times

Video: Flags are flying at the new Davidson Center for Space Exploration, Huntsville Times

Tonight we celebrate 50 years in space, Huntsville Times

"Presence of von Braun, team will be great at Davidson event. When the city last saw him, he stood on the floor of the Von Braun Civic Center, the new $15 million arena that was named for him. Like most every event Wernher von Braun attended, he was the man who energized the crowd, the star attraction."

Goodbye VSE - Hello USSEP

From: advanced-capabilities-bounces@lists.hq.nasa.gov
Sent: Tuesday, January 29, 2008 10:49 AM
To: advanced-capabilities@hq.nasa.gov
Subject: [advanced-capabilities] New title for VSE

New Policy:

The Vision for Space Exploration (VSE) title has been changed to the

"U.S. Space Exploration Policy"

Please take note of the new title and refrain from using VSE in letters, presentations, etc.

Editor's note: Well, there were no space questions asked in the Republican debate. But you can still vote for questions to be asked of the Democratic candidates on Thursday evening here. As it happened, no space-related questions were offered for final vote to be asked of Sen. Clinton. However, two space-related questions were among the finalists offered for voting for Sen. Obama.

Editor's update: Well, there were no space questions asked in the Democratic debate either. Was it worth your collective effort? Two space questions did make it to the top of the heap such that people could vote on them tonight. That is certainly a first - and there was the preponderance of space questions that managed to hold onto top positions for weeks on Politico.com - also unprecedented.

But to me, the most important thing was a demonstration - by all of those people who submitted and voted for space-related questions - that space exploration advocates could exert this common surge of effort and help raise the issue of space exploration in a way that has not been seen in the past. Neither party has picked a nominee. And there is still a general election after they do. The opportunities to exert similar - and perhaps greater influence will continue.

You did it once, you can do it again.

What's The Point?, Political Action For Space

"I'm proud of what has happened, and I feel encouraged that sustaining our efforts throughout this election and beyond will bear greater fruits. I pledge to you all that I will continue my efforts running actionforspace.com to make it easier for you to have an impact on the future of the space exploration. I look forward to the continued help and participation for you all. Thanks for your incredible response for the debates in Los Angeles."

Comments? Send them to nasawatch@reston.com. Your comments so far:



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