July 2009 Archives

Keith's 26 July note: According to http://people.nasa.gov the NASA Enterprise Directory or "NED", Mike Griffin, Shana Dale, Chris Shank, Scott Horowitz, Alan Stern, Eric Sterner, Paul Pastorek, Bill Readdy, Sean O'Keefe (spelled as 'okeefe' in the database) Fred Gregory, Scott Hubbard, Eileen Collins, Glenn Mahone, Lee Forgsgren, John D. Rummel, Ken Bowersox, Eileen and Steve Hawley, Paul Shawcross, Steve Isakowitz, Jeff Hoffman, John Schumacher, Charles Horner, Robert "Moose" Cobb, - and, of course, Bill Oefelein and Lisa Nowak (among others) still work at NASA. Even Dan Goldin, George Abbey, and Dick Truly are listed! Some of these folks have been gone for a number of years. I also found deceased people listed with email addresses and phone numbers. Even 4 members of the Columbia STS-107 crew are listed. At least NED knows that Charlie Bolden and Lori Garver now work at NASA. Someone at the NASA Enterprise Applications Competency Center (NEACC) at MSFC really needs to touch up NED's database.

Keith's 27 July update: I guess someone reads NASA Watch - the names I listed (a partial list, by the way) have been removed from NED. Alas, several of my dead friends, plus crew members from Columbia are still listed. Since the NED folks seem to be relying upon my research to update their database, here's a few more living people you list who no longer work at NASA - but are listed as if they do: Wes Huntress, Charles Pellerin, Lennard Fisk, Leroy Chiao, Thomas Paine ... Buzz and Lois Aldrin (she worked at NASA?), and there's more. Curiously, Norm Augustine is even listed.

Keith's 31 July update: Buzz and Lois still work at NASA, it would seem. So does former NASA Administrator Truly, members of the crew of Space Shuttle Columbia, and my dead friends. It would seem that no one really cares if the information on this website is actually accurate. Either that or NASA really has no idea who actually works for the agency at any given moment.

Forty Years Later, Rekindling The Character Of A Generation, Calvin Turzillo, SpaceRef

"Everyone who works for the United States Space Program always feels a certain sense of pride about what we do. We definitely don't do what we do for the money, we are probably some of the lowest paid scientific professionals in the country. We don't do what we do for job security, congress cuts our budgets and we have to lay off hard working people every year. We don't do what we do for the cushy hours, we often work extreme overtime and late nights to make sure the job gets done. We don't do what we do because of the fame and notoriety, no one knows who we are with the exception of the astronauts, and even then I doubt anyone in the general public could name a recent one.

We do what we do because we believe in what we do, we dream of a bright future, and we live for exploring the unknown."

Endeavour Is Home

Space Shuttle Endeavour Returns to Earth

"Space shuttle Endeavour touched down at 10:48: a.m. EDT. at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida. Commander Mark Polansky is expected to make a brief statement on the runway after the post-landing walk-around of the shuttle. The post-landing news conference is set for approximately 1 p.m. and will air live on NASA Television. The crew's news conference is set to begin at about 3:15 p.m. The astronauts return to Houston's Ellington Field is tentatively set for about 5 p.m. Saturday. STS-127 was the 127th space shuttle mission, the 23rd flight for Endeavour and the 29th shuttle visit to the station."

Review of U.S. Human Space Flight Plans Committee Meeting: KSC

You can track Twitter posts on this meeting here

Panel Wants Deep Space, Not Landings as U.S. Goal, NY Times

"A panel examining the future of the United States' human spaceflight program will suggest that the Obama administration may want to skip the part about landing on other worlds. That could, panel members said Thursday, enable the National Aeronautics and Space Administration to send astronauts to more corners of the solar system more quickly while keeping within a limited budget. But it would also eliminate the possibility of astronauts leaving new iconic footprints on the Moon or Mars for a couple of decades."

NASA panel may propose 'deep space' crewed missions, New Scientist

"Crawley argued that this kind of activity would help pave the way for eventual human missions to the Martian surface. Preparing for such missions requires gaining more experience in operating on the surface of bodies beyond Earth, Crawley said. But it may actually be more critical to gain experience with long-duration space missions far from Earth, which human missions to Mars would require, he said."

Longer Life for the Space Station Is Advised, NY Times

"Members of the government panel reviewing NASA's human spaceflight program said Tuesday that the life of the International Space Station should be extended past its planned demise in 2016."

Congresswoman Kosmas' Statement to the Augustine Committee

"One common responsibility for each of the Working Groups of this Committee is that each is focusing on 'industrial skill base'. Nowhere is that issue more critical than here in Florida. To that end, I urge you to consider offering an option that would establish a program office at KSC to manage the supply chain and logistics for the next generation spacecraft. As the final destination of the vast majority of the components and systems purchased by the Federal Government before departure into space, KSC could lead the way to a more sophisticated procurement mentality - which would reduce operating costs - and a healthier industrial base for NASA, the Department of Defense, and commercial launch activities."

Russia says U.S. shuttle delays create a burden, Reuters

"A senior Russian space official said delays in U.S. shuttle launches to the International Space Station (ISS) meant extra work for Russian rocket crews without any financial compensation, RIA news agency reported. Russia and the United States are the main contributors to the 16-nation $100 billion ISS project, but Russia has borne the brunt of sending crews and cargo there since the U.S. Space Shuttle Columbia disintegrated in 2003, killing seven astronauts. "We are most concerned by the unpredictability of shuttle launches," RIA quoted Russian mission control flight coordinator Valdimir Solovyov as saying."

Keith's note: This is hilarious coming from Russia. Remember the fuss they caused for the U.S. when the Service Moduel was delayed again and again i.e. their "unpredictability"? Once again the U.S. is financing a large chunk of Russia's space program and they complain about when the checks arrive.

Space Shuttle Crew Set To Return To Earth Friday

"Space shuttle Endeavour and its seven-member crew are scheduled to return to Earth on Friday after a 16-day mission. There are two landing opportunities at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida at 10:48 a.m. and 12:23 p.m. EDT."

Endeavor returns from research mission, WPRI

"The main goal of the 13-member crew was to measure ocean currents. Endeavor, which spends an average of 240 days at sea each year, is owned by the U.S. National Science Foundation and is operated by URI's Graduate School of Oceanography. The ship was originally built in 1975 and went through a mid-life refit in 1993."

Review of U.S. Human Space Flight Plans Committee Meeting: MSFC

Keith's note: 8 a.m.-4 p.m. CDT. Watch it on USTREAM TV and the NASA TV Media Channel

You can track Twitter posts on this meeting - live - here

Former NASA Administrator Mike Griffin presents case for Ares rockets and NASA moon program to review panel, Huntsville Times

"Former NASA Administrator Mike Griffin made a private pitch this morning to continue with the Marshall Space Flight Center-managed Ares rocket programs and to fund NASA's ultimate plan for returning to the moon."

Statement by Michael Griffin to The Augustine Committee

"So I would say to the Commission: do not close off options. Do not allow the parochial voices of the small-minded, the self-interested, and the uninformed to prevail. Choose the future."

Buzzluck.com, the World's First Online Supercasino, Adds a Live DJ and a Trip to Mars

"Having conquered Europe with their innovative new online supercasino, the boys at Buzzluck.com set their eyes on a new heavenly body to make their mark on: Mars. Kindly, the boffins at NASA offered to take Buzzluck's registered trademark and "Never Bored" tagline on the Mars Science Laboratory rover heading to Mars in 2011. Back on Earth, Buzzluck.com is launching their "Mission to Entertain" with the debut of a live DJ spinning in the Live Lounge starting Friday. ... So join us: add your name to the NASA Mars Science Laboratory rover by visiting Buzzluck.com/Mars or http://mars.jpl.nasa.gov/msl/participate/index.html. And join "Mission to Entertain," the first online casino Live DJ, when it launches on Buzzluck.com this Friday night, 31 July, at 9pm till midnight BST. "

Keith's note: According to NASA PAO this is simply untrue. Oh well - so much for years of "NASA Gambles on Mars" comments ;-)

Keith's note: These webcams are now online at the Haughton Mars Project Research Station on Devon Island. They wiill be online until the first week of August. These webcams make use of new PlanetNet wireless technology, a Canadian Space Agency funded experiment, led by Simon Fraser University. These webcams are sponsored by NASAWatch's sister website, SpaceRef.com.

Webcam 1 inside the HMP office tent. Note that large coolers are used as seats.
Webcam 2 outside looking east toward "The Fortress" (rock outcropping) and the landing strip.

bnjacobs On this day in 1958 President Dwight Eisenhower signed the National Aeronautics and Space Act, creating NASA.

NASAHurricane The Atlantic, Gulf of Mexico and Caribbean get another "Clean bill of Health" with no tropical storm formation expected in the next 48 hours

AlanStern is about to spend 2 long, long days in one small room helping some dreamers bring human space flight into the 21st century.

alias_amanda Results of Twitter meetup: outsider perspectives say #NASA still just broadcasting info, no 2-way convo. Hear that, PAO? I'm guessing not.

HMP 24 Hour Mars-1 Humvee Rover Traverse with Suitport and Many other HMP Activities http://bit.ly/OwGX

ISS End of Life Disposal - US Propulsion Module, 7 April 1999

Keith's note: There was a lot of discussion today at the Augustine Committee's public hearing in Houston about NASA's current plan to de-orbit the International Space Station in 2016. No one on the committee seems to think that this is a good idea. That said, NASA has always been required to have a way to bring the ISS back to Earth once its mission is completed. This briefing first appeared online at NASAWatch.com in April 1999. The Propulsion Module mentioned in this proposal was never built. It was being considered when Russia's delays on delivering the Service Module to orbit began to mount.

Oh yes, Steve Cook was in charge of this too.

NASA and NOAA's GOES-14 Satellite Takes First Full Disk Image

"The latest Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite, GOES-14, provided its first visible full disk image of Earth on July 27, at 2:00 p.m. EDT. The prime instrument on GOES, called the Imager, is taking images of Earth with a 1 kilometer (km) or 0.62 mile resolution from an altitude of 36,000 km (22,240 miles) above Earths surface, equivalent to taking a picture of a dime from a distance of seven football fields."

Keith's note: This press release - a release that announces an image - contains five web addresses that readers are supposed to visit. At the time I am posting this, none of those 5 web addresses has the image that this press release is announcing. So .... why issue the release?

Keith's update: According to NASA PAO someone had a web problem. The image is now online here.

NASA JSC Solicitation: Open Innovation Support Services

"NASA/JSC is hereby soliciting information about potential sources for an Open Innovation Service Provider (OISP) with an extensive external network that can be used to introduce collaboration opportunities to the public. Specifically, NASA is looking for an entity that supports a network of experts that can facilitate solutions to a vast array of issues and challenges facing the future of human health and performance in spaceflight. Challenges are of varied type and difficulty and could include technological, biological, or human modeling needs. The OISP will provide NASA with the methodology and infrastructure to facilitate Open Innovation within the NASA JSC Space Life Sciences Directorate organization and for solutions to outsourced challenges or problems."

Keith's note: I am a little confused as to what the folks behind this solicitation at JSC are asking for. As best as I can determine, they want people to submit a bunch of ideas - about everything - and that these people submitting the ideas need to have a well-stocked Rolodex.

NASA_HSF Don't forget, you can join us live tomorrow on NASA TV http://www.nasa.gov/ntv #nasahsf

brianshiro FMARS is in great shape now. If only it had been this way when we got here! Oh well, the FMARS-13 crew should hit the ground running.

absolutspacegrl Um. Hello? RT @spacecommerce: NASA JSC Solicitation: Open Innovation Support Services http://bit.ly/12oA1X

astroengine Are these the droids we're looking for? RT @KeithCowing: Russian Space Cargo Droid Leaves Earth For the Space Station http://bit.ly/40Gcz

LCROSS_NASA Where am I now? Cruisin' at 1.09km/s(2432mph). 384,500km from Earth.715,500km from Moon. Odometer: 2,966,600km since launch. Mission Day 39.

RyInSpace I just received my NASA Astronaut Candidate Program "Dear John" letter from Duane Ross. It's nice to have official closure on this 1st try.

nasahqphoto See the entire "NASA Update" set of images at: http://tr.im/uiK1

Opportunities to Improve the Management of the Space Flight Awareness Honoree Launch Conference Event, NASA OIG

"Although H.R. 6063 prohibits NASA from funding SFA Conference events during FY 2009, we found that the Agency could improve the management of these events, should they be held in future years. Specifically, while the objective of providing awards to employees and contractors for their contributions to shuttle safety and mission success is sound in principle, the circumstances of this event bring into question what expense is reasonably necessary to accomplish that objective. In the case of the December 2007 conference event, 232 honorees received a 7-day, 6-night trip to Orlando in December at a cost to NASA of $542,307. In addition, 41 Kennedy honorees who participated in the 7-day Orlando event received a separate 3-day, 2-night trip to Johnson Space Center (Johnson) at a cost of $43,431. However, these amounts do not represent the full cost to NASA for the event because they do not include labor (salary and benefits) costs for NASA and contractor employees who participated. We estimate that salaries and benefits for the honorees represent an additional $424,265, bringing the total cost of the awards event to $1,010,003."


CDC Tops Agency Ratings; Federal Reserve Board Lowest - NASA ratings remain high, while Federal Reserve has lost ground, Gallup

"At a time when Americans are discouraged about the direction of the country and hesitant about the scope of President Barack Obama's federal budget plans, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, NASA, and the FBI earn credit for a job well done from a majority of Americans. The 61% who say the CDC is doing an excellent or good job can be contrasted with the 30% who say this of the Federal Reserve Board, making the latter the worst reviewed of nine agencies and departments rated in the July 10-12 Gallup Poll."

Opinion: NASA Needs To Be in Space, Oh My Gov

"Not all Americans are convinced of the benefit that space exploration brings, however. Despite the positive spin put on the situation by SpaceRef.com, 48% of people in 2008 opposed increasing NASA's funding, despite the fact that it constitutes less than 1% of the Federal Government's total budget. 52% of Americans wanting to increase space exploration funding hardly constitutes a consensus. To illustrate the lack of interest, NASA's 2008 budget of $17.3 billion is one-fifth the amount that Americans spend annually on beer. Even if you factor in the amount spent on private space exploration, we as a nation have shown that we're far more interested in light beer than light speed."

Europe's Mars rover slips to 2018, BBC

"The ExoMars vehicle is intended to search the Red Planet for signs of past or present life. The delay is the third for the mission originally planned to launch in 2011. While the switch will disappoint many people, officials say the change will open up a greatly expanded programme of exploration at the Red Planet. The European Space Agency (Esa) will now join forces at Mars with the US space agency (Nasa). The two organisations believe they can achieve far more by combining their expertise and budgets."

Keith's note: Indeed, think of the size of the rover cost overruns ESA can achieve now that they will be working together with NASA!

Playing The China Card

Is It Time to Invite China to the Space Party?, Free Space, Discovery

"China has something we could use -- spaceships. Their Shenzhou capsules, based on the Russian Soyuz design, have successfully flown three times. (Another option, of course, is to add public funds to the development of the Dragon capsule, a project of privately funded Space Exploration Technologies of California. Under the terms of SpaceX's contract, they'll be no cost to the public if the company can't pull it off. Seems like a no-brainer.) Adding China to the station program could expand the cultural melding blossoming in orbit, give Obama a Kennedy-esque platform from which to flex his space muscles and maybe inspire common ground for solving a whole bunch of other troubling issues that divide the U.S. and China, such as human rights, free speech, copyright infringement, etc., etc. "

Keith's note: It is not widely known, but former NASA Administrator Sean O'Keefe had discussions with Dr. Sun from the China National Space Agency (CNSA) at NASA headquarters in Washington, DC to discuss broader cooperation between CNSA and NASA. Internally, NASA was even discussing how to bring China into the ISS program. That initiative hit a brick wall when Mike Griffin took over as NASA administrator and installed Michael O'Brien as head of NASA External Relations. Any thoughts? Should NASA (or the ISS partnership) invite China to join the ISS? Post your comments below.

NASA Presidental Transition Action Item Log, Nov 2008

"2. Provide more information regarding international partnerships, particularly with the Asia-Pacific region countries. No new data, just pull existing information."

Obama Opens Policy Talks With China, NY Times

[Obama] "If we advance those interests through cooperation," he said, "our people will be better off -- because our ability to partner with each other is a prerequisite for progress on many of the most pressing global challenges."

Keith's note: this image was sent to me by someone at NASA and is circulating around the agency. I do not know its origin other than the fact that it was taken by someone in France. Stunning, oui?


NASA STS-127 Report #24 3 a.m. CDT Monday, July 27, 2009

"Inside the complex, Polansky and Mission Specialist Dave Wolf will support the spacewalkers, and Pilot Doug Hurley will continue cargo transfers, which are more than 80 percent complete.

Expedition 20 Flight Engineers Mike Barratt and Tim Kopra will work on several scientific experiments, and departing station crewmember Koichi Wakata will continue handovers with Kopra, the newest station crew member.

Flight engineer Bob Thirsk will install brackets that will allow the new C.O.L.B.E.R.T., or the Combined Operational Load Bearing External Resistance Treadmill, to be set up in the station's Harmony module when it is delivered on the STS-128 shuttle mission."

*JUHSTYS*: A Check Into My Reality, juhstys.blogspot.com

"His name is General Charles Bolden, or Charlie for short. If you get a laid back feeling after seeing that picture, go ahead and kick your feet up. This guy is one of the most down to Earth position in power fellow that I have ever met. Yea, I met this guy face front. The day before his speech with his partner Lori Garver, I was coming from a deli with my supervisor. Yea we have a deli in our building on the 8th floor. I'm walking to the elevator and I peep this short guy that looked like the guy I've been seeing and hearing about since I got to Nasa. Can't be him because he's too short. I step on the elevator and the guy gets on. As soon as he does, he lays his right hand on my shoulder and smiles and ask, "SO! What do you do?". Sure enough, it was him. I stumbled all over my words, and said that I'm a Nasa intern. But he wanted to know what do I "do-do" (no pun intended for you nasty jerks.....it'd be a good joke though). So as I begin to tell him I go to Morgan he panics and says "OOOO I made you miss your floor!". Sure enough he did, but I got off on the wrong floor STILL, we haven't reached the floor my office is on yet. But see is the head-honcho, I had to take it like a champ. But I was stoked for running into him like I did."

Back to the moon: What's the point?, LA Times

[Michael Potter] "The lesson of the last 40 years is that the government has proved it can run neither efficient nor sustainable space activities"

Keith's note: I'm sorry but this is simply not true. While NASA has certainly had its flops, white elephants, and failures - some of them colossal, it has also had some stunning, long-lived achievements. Apollo, while truncated at the end, did the improbable with a vast sustained government led team that operated for over a decade. NASA's two MER rovers are still functioning years after they were supposed to die, and there are Voyagers and Pioneers leaving our solar system for interstellar space that still send back data three decades (or more) after launch. The ISS, while delayed, has managed to stay alive as a program (a complex international one at that) for more than two decades and is now operational with decades more life ahead of it. ISS represents the largest, most complex structure ever built by humans in space. Oh yes, then there's Hubble.

Alas, Mr. Potter wants to wave his arms in absolutist fashion and simply ignore all that NASA has done so as to make a point - one that has yet to be substantiated in reality: he suggests that the private sector can do better. OK. That may well be possible to do. By all means go to the Moon or wherever you wish to go - but you need to do it with non-government money. Go for it. No one is stopping you - or anyone else - from doing so.

Does The President Need to Micromanage NASA?, National Space Society Blog

"It is time for NASA to grow up and take responsibility for its self and its accomplishments, and do so within a flat budget. Don't expect to see Apollo level funding again. Don't expect a President with 2 wars going on, a third one possibly on the horizon, the worst economic crisis in the last 80 years, and a health care crisis to worry about NASA. Barrak Obama put NASA in the able hands of Charlie Bolden and Lori Garver so he wouldn't have to care about NASA and could simply make speeches about the wonderful things NASA is accomplishing during his administration."

Keith's note: Ouch, this is rather gloomy, depressing, and cynical talk from the National Space Society's official blog given that two of its former Executive Directors are at NASA - one being Deputy Administrator and the other being Chief of Staff - both of whom hold opposite, clearly hopeful views of what lies ahead for NASA. It is also odd that the webmaster of this blog, Karen Shea, does not even bother to spell the President's name correctly.

Keith's update: The President's name is now spelled correctly (here is the original posting). That aside, I am not certain why I would join an organization claiming to be pro space that posts things like this on their official blog.

P.S. Off-topic Obama (or Bush)-bashing posts will simply not be published. So don't waste your time composing them.

Aggressive, Coordinated Effort Led to F-22's Demise, Washington Post

"The most remarkable thing happened in Washington this past Tuesday. Congress scrapped the F-22 stealth fighter jet, killing off a 30-year-old Pentagon hardware program that employs 25,000 people in 46 states. ... [Gates] bluntly warned Lockheed Martin that he would slice funding for the more modern F-35 jet if the contracting giant lobbied to build more F-22s."

Keith's note: MSL, Ares, JWST, NPOESS ...

Bolden Visits JSC

Keith's note: The following was sent in by a NASA Watch reader who was present during the visit by Charlie Bolden to JSC on Friday. Any thoughts? Post your comments below.

General Observations:

* Teague Auditorium was packed--quite literally SRO. When General Bolden and Center Director Mike Coats walked on stage, they received an extended standing ovation, to the point that the General was, I do believe, embarrassed.

* Neither Bolden nor Coats wore a tie. They both sat in comfortable chairs and were outfitted with lapel microphones--no podium grabbing.

* Bolden went out of his way to emphasize his long friendship with Mike Coats. Coats reciprocated. They are clearly very close.

More below

FINA bans record-setting bodysuits, SF Chronicle

"On Thursday, FINA classified swimsuits as a device that can aid performance; on Friday, the group set suit guidelines on coverage and material. The new rule also says suits shall only be made from "textiles," but that term has yet to be defined. "The most important thing is that it's textile only," Mark Schubert, head coach and general manager of the U.S. national team, told The Associated Press. "I think we sent a strong message as to our feeling of what the suit should be."

This could be the asterisk world championships, AP

"Speedo developed the LZR Racer with help from NASA and blew everyone else away. But shortly after the Olympics, other companies -- led by the obscure Italian firm Jaked -- came up with a polyurethane model that made the LZR look like a slowpoke."

Olympic Swimmers Shattering Records in NASA-Tested Suit, NASA

"Swimmers from around the world are setting world and Olympic records in Beijing this month and most are doing it wearing a swimsuit made of fabric tested at NASA. Among the Olympic gold medalists wearing Speedo's LZR Racer are Americans Michael Phelps -- who has now won more Olympic gold medals than any athlete in the modern era -- and Natalie Coughlin."

White House mulls making NASA a center for federal cloud computing, Nextgov

"One of those sites could be NASA. Officials at the space agency and the Office of Management and Budget have "broached the idea of NASA becoming an IT service provider," said Mike Hecker, NASA's associate chief information officer for architecture and infrastructure. But, "NASA as an IT service provider takes us into a new realm. We're still debating if that's a good idea or not." ... Federal CIO Vivek Kundra, Obama's top technology executive, is examining many alternatives for innovation in the cloud, including using Nebula as a centralized platform to service multiple agencies, OMB officials said. Chris Kemp, CIO at NASA's Ames Research Center, who is spearheading the program, is working with the federal government's cloud working group, officials added. NASA has not committed to developing Nebula into a government wide cloud platform, Hecker emphasized. The agency's mission is to explore space and science for the benefit of the public, with IT serving as a tool to fulfill that mission, officials stressed."

Keith's note: It is all well and good that NASA is "debating if that's a good idea or not" and questions whether IT is just a "tool" but it is the White House (OMB, OSTP, etc.) who will ultimately call the shots on this. If White House decides that NASA offers some unique capabilities that other agencies can use, is NASA going to say "no"? If it tried to say "no" that would be rather odd given all of the time that NASA spends promoting spinoffs and their value to the economy. Most of the spinoffs NASA likes to wave around are things that are not even remotely connected to "exploring space and science" (smoke alarms, truck design, pacemakers, olympic swimming suits, etc.).

If NASA is going to promote itself as being relevant to the taxpaying public then it needs to be willing to entertain any and all ways that it is relevant, not try to hand pick the ones it does and does not want.

NASA MSFC Internal Memo: Ares Personnel Announcement

"We are pleased to announce that effective immediately, Danny Davis will take over as manager of the Ares Vehicle Integration Office (VI), acting, pending approval by HQ. Danny brings a wealth of hardware experience, as well as experience working with in-house and contracted projects. With the work we have before us it's essential we have a permanent lead in integration. Daryl Woods has done an excellent job as the day-to-day VI manager over the last few months, and will continue as the VI deputy. In addition to this personnel change, we are moving the avionics/software efforts and Ares Instrument Unit contract and workforce into Vehicle Integration, essentially bringing avionics and software into one office. Doing so will simplify interfaces and clarify accountability."

Missing The Point

Missing The Mark, Editorial, Marcia Smith, SpacePolicyOnline.com

"Even the redoubtable Keith Cowing on NASAWatch is waxing philosophically about NASA as the new team takes the helm. A long time observer and often critic of the agency, his NASAs Second Chance post today is well worth reading whether or not you agree with his premise that Ares is the root of the problem. But these commentaries all seem to miss the mark. They are commentaries on NASA. What can NASA do? What should NASA do? Why cant NASA be better than it is? How will Charlie and Lori fix NASA? NASA is the wrong target."

Keith's note: I am flattered by Marcia's comments - but I am not certain where I said that Ares was the root of the problem. Rather, I feel that it is just the most recent example of things gone awry at NASA - the sort of thing you don't want to allow to linger when trying to get the agency back on course. I do heartily agree with Marcia, however, that, in the end, it is up to the President himself. Either his rhetoric is just that - or it is how he is setting the stage for what he plans for NASA. And if the President does want NASA to do certain things, he needs to provide the resources i.e. adequate funding so as to allow them to do so. But if NASA cannot facilitate that process whereby it gets its own house in order so as to be worthy of the President's attention, then the agency has no one to blame but itself.

Keith's note: Sources report that Steve King and his team are now focusing on a so-called Ares IV architecture - a smaller, less powerful version of the Ares V - one that would keep the current Ares-1 upperstage. Boeing seems to be in favor of this option rather than one that would use EELVs. The Ares IV would be used to launch crew or cargo missions. Of course, Cook is convinced that he will be put in charge of this new effort now that his Ares 1 project has all but failed to deliver. Stay tuned.

Steve Cook Wants to Be The Next Deputy Center Director at Marshall, earlier post

Ares PDR Was Not As Smooth As NASA Says It Was, earlier post

XCOR Aerospace Tests Lynx Aerodynamic Design in USAF Wind Tunnel

"XCOR Aerospace, Inc., announced today that it has finished a series of wind tunnel tests of the aerodynamic design of its Lynx suborbital launch vehicle. The tests took place at the U.S. Air Force test facility located at Wright-Patterson Air Base near Dayton, OH, using an all-metal 1/16th scale model of the Lynx. "Ever since the Wright Brothers pioneered wind tunnel testing here in Dayton, aerospace engineers have used it as a tool to improve aerodynamic design," said XCOR CEO Jeff Greason. "

Flometrics Flys Biofuel Rocket (Video)

"Flometrics, Inc. has successfully flown a liquid fueled rocket with a renewable version of JP-8. and liquid oxygen. The fuel was developed by the EERC under a DARPA contact. The fuel was supplied by Bob Allen of the Fuels and Energy branch of the Air Force Research Lab at Wright Patterson Air Force base. The 180 lb rocket was a 20 ft tall, 1 ft diameter and it was powered by a RocketDyne LR-101 rocket engine that was originally used as a steering engine on the early Atlas and Delta rockets. The biofuel ran cleaner than the standard rocket fuel that has been used before. Since the biofuel was originally designed for jets, it may be possible to tune it for better performance in rocket engines."

Keith's note: Recently, the gang at Ares 1-X decided to do something to occupy themselves while they wait around for Ares 1-X to launch. They recently decided to kick the can down the road and wait until the Augustine Committee revealed their view with regard to the fate of Ares 1-X and her future siblings. So, the Ares folks came up with yet another movie-inspired poster to herald the impending, albeit constantly slipping, launch on Halloween (see Ares Adopts "Thriller" Theme For Latest Launch Poster). Well ... another version of that poster has emerged. Instead of an autumn moon rising calmly in the background, a much more ominous figure can be seen looming in the sky, gazing down upon Ares 1-X - with bats swirling before his eyes. The Great Pumpkin, you ask? No. Something much more dreadful for Steve Cook to ponder ... larger image below.

Space Florida Hosts the Commercial Spaceflight Federation's Spaceport Executive Summit Leaders from Nine Spaceports Discuss Common Issues and Resolve Further Cooperation

"Space Florida hosted a group of spaceport leaders from around the globe to attend the Commercial Spaceflight Federation's Spaceport Executive Summit, the first such event of its kind. The Spaceports Executive Summit, held in conjunction with the 2009 International Space Development Conference, provided a venue for global spaceport leaders to come together in one setting to discuss best practices and challenges they face in further developing their spaceports. As part of the summit, Space Florida, a member of the Commercial Spaceflight Federation, sponsored a tour of major launch sites at Kennedy Space Center (KSC) and Cape Canaveral Air Force Station (CCAFS)."

Video: Ad Astra VASIMR Full-Power, Full-Field Firing

"This image shows our achievement of full-power full-field for the 1st stage of VASIMR. In addition, here are some recent video posts documenting this achievement with our new superconducting magnet. The maximum magnetic field within the core of VASIMR is around 2 Tesla, about the same as most MRI machines."

Nonreimbursable Space Act Agreement Between Ad Astra Rocket Company and NASA, signed 5 Dec 2008.

"This Agreement becomes effective upon the date of the last signature below and shall remain in effect for a period of four (4) years from the date of the last signature."

Earlier posts

Ad Astra VX-200 Plasma Engine Demonstrates Superconducting First Stage at Full Power
Superconducting Magnet Delivered for Ad Astra's VASIMR Engine
NASA and Ad Astra Rocket Company sign Agreement for flight test of the VASIMR rocket engine aboard the International Space Station.
Ad Astra Rocket Company and NASA sign second collaborative agreement relating to the VASIMR engine

NASA doesn't have monopoly on ingenuity, spunk in 21st century space race, Opinion, Waco Tribune

"Capitol Hill would do well to listen to retired aerospace engineer Homer Hickam, 66, author of the bestselling memoir Rocket Boys, who wants to see our nation return to the moon. And he's also of Alabama. "I'm not certain how NASA is going to evolve, but I can tell you how I wish it would evolve," the celebrated engineer said after visiting the lean SpaceX rocket-testing site near McGregor. "I would prefer to see NASA get out of the space operations business -- that is, operating spacecraft to go from Point A to Point B, as it did with Apollo and now the shuttle. "I want commercial companies like SpaceX to take care of that, either independently or under contract with the federal government," Hickam told me. "I want NASA to instead develop new propulsion capabilities such as nuclear rockets to truly open up space to all." Hickam noted the drive and dedication of the mostly young engineers he and I met while touring the small SpaceX site last spring, during his One Book One Waco visit to town. He was given several choices of places to tour during his visit to Waco. He immediately selected SpaceX. I wasn't surprised. And from what I could tell, he quickly bonded with the "rocket boys" among the 80 or so SpaceX personnel there. "I think the best engineers are naturally going to be attracted to eager, young, startup companies like SpaceX, L-3 Communications and others," he told me. "It's where the action is and where an engineer can have some fun. It's what I'd do if I was just starting out."

NASA JSC Internal memo: New I-X Launch Date, earlier post

"Today at CxCB, we presented an update to our schedule and a new launch date of 10/31/09 was approved. This is still a very aggressive schedule and requires a lot of tasks to complete on or before their planned dates. This schedule has a no-margin date of 10/17/09 along with 14 days of Mission Manager margin that I will hold. With the exception of FTRR and other "L-minus" milestones, no other tasks will move to the right just because our launch date did. That is: We will be managing to a 10/17 launch."

Keith's note: as has always been the case with the Ares-1 team, they like to hype the drama of the impending Ares 1-X launch with faux movie posters. In this case, with the most recent in a series of launch delays, the new launch date is on Halloween. The Ares folks have continued this movie poster tradition. Click on image for larger version. Trick or Treat, y'all!

NRC Executive Office Approved Names for Inner Planets, Mars, Primitive Bodies and Satellites panels of the Planetary Sciences Decadal Survey

"It is my pleasure to announce that the NRC's Executive Office has approved the nominations of the individuals listed below to serve on the Inner Planets, Mars, Primitive Bodies and Satellites panels of the Planetary Sciences Decadal Survey. Membership of the Giant Planets Panel will be announced later. The individuals concerned will receive appointment paperwork and logistical information concerning their respective panel meetings in August and September in the near future. A complete list of scheduled meeting dates is given below."

NASA LaRC Solicitation: The Economic Impact of NASA LaRC and Wallops Flight Facility During FY 2009

"NASA/LaRC has a requirement for development of an economical impact section for the 2009 Annual Report. The statement of work and 2008 Annual Report are linked above or may be accessed at Economic Impact FY 2008 Report"

Keith's note: Hmm ... isn't Wallops (located in Virginia) managed by GSFC? This report on "The Economic Impact of NASA LaRC and Wallops Flight Facility" must be aimed at lobbying Virginia lawmakers and local business interests.

GoreSat Is Back

Keith's note: According to the Senate Armed Services Committee report on the National Defense Authorization Act for FY 2010 Triana (aka "DSCOVR" or "GoreSat") is back: "The Air Force is very interested in the space weather information and is part of an interagency team looking at the possibility of refurbishing DSCOVR and launching it to an orbit referred to as L1, about one million miles from Earth on a line with the Sun. If the team determines that the satellite can be refurbished and launched, they will make a recommendation to the President. Notionally, NOAA and NASA would pay for refurbishing the satellite, the Air Force would pay for the launch, and all agencies would receive the data."

Full report excerpt below:

HLV Crew Abort Assessment, July 21 2009, NASA JSC

Team Charter

* Develop and analyze abort trajectories for a Crewed HLV. Define realistic environments, define the aerodynamics, and define the abort modes from Liftoff to MECO.

* Provide preliminary abort summary and potential abort modes. Define any mandatory changes to Orion or the LAS by July 21.

Issues Addressed
* On-pad abort thermal effects on ET
* Abort at Mach 1.25
* For this quick study the team assumed that this covers Max q and Max drag case
* Abort at Mach 2.0
* ET bow shock interaction with Orion

Keith's note: According to brianshiro: Webcast with the FMARS crew tomorrow [Thursday] morning 10:30 Eastern on http://dln.nasa.gov. Well, I went to http://dln.nasa.gov and the website simply does not work on a Mac. I tried 4 different browsers on two different computers and all I get is "Please fill out survey form first" and lots of blank white space when I try the Flash webcast. All of my plugins are up to date. Flip4mac doesn't work either. Oh well. The website says "last updated May 17, 2006."

"Video footage captured from the color analog gimbal camera onboard the Prioria Maveric UAV. The footage is of the Flashline Mars Arctic Research Station (FMARS) and it's immediate surroundings, obtained from a height of 275 feet. The footage was obtained during the third flight of the system on Devon Island, conducted on July 13, 2009."

Video below

brianshiro: Webcast with the FMARS crew tomorrow [Thursday] morning 10:30 Eastern on http://dln.nasa.gov

brianshiro The FMARS website is really shaping up: http://www.fmars2009.org/

NASA_Spinoff NASA Spinoff featured on CNN: http://edition.cnn.com/2009...

NASA_HSF The subgroups are meeting and reviewing the results of each group's analysis to date.

NewHorizons2015 The NH team is preparing for a major meeting Aug 3-4 to ID needed changes from a detailed audit of the Pluto encounter command sequence.

singularityu The first three weeks in pictures at the Singularity University http://is.gd/1IMEN #singularityu

PavilionLake Highlights of our field science and exploration season available here: http://bit.ly/uXJOq

OnOrbit Video: Solar Eclipse As Seen From Orbit http://bit.ly/31jAv

Keith's note: Lori Garver and Charlie Bolden made their first Field Center visit on Wednesday - to Langley. Does anyone from LaRC have feedback they'd like to share? Don't be shy.

Recovery Act - James Webb Space Telescope Observatory Contract Effort and Report

"NASA/GSFC has a requirement for the design, development and launch of the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST), and is utilizing American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) funds to provide for key elements of the observatory contract performance through approximately September 30, 2009. These performance elements are focused on the completion of critical tasks (e.g., design, development and fabrication) for the Optical Telescope Element, the Sunshield, and various system and subsystem areas, as well as completion of tasks for integration and testing of critical hardware. NASA/GSFC is purchasing the items from Northrop Grumman Corporation, Redondo Beach, CA under the existing contract that was competitively awarded to the company on 9/16/2002."

Keith's note: I thought that the Recovery Act was supposed to create or save jobs. Wasn't work on Webb already being paid for? Is this money going to create new jobs? If so, how many? Or was there a chance that people would be laid off without this money? If so, how many? If this revovery money is being used to pay existing Webb bills, will Ed Weiler deduct that sum from the amount already in the budget for Webb? Just curious.

Was 'one small step for man' worth it?, LA Times

[Bill Nye] "Nowadays, NASA does more robotic space science exploring stars and planets in a single afternoon than the moon-seeking astronauts did in 12 years."

Steve Squyres: Robot Guy Says Humans Should Go To Mars, space.com

[Steve Squyres] "What Spirit and Opportunity have done in 5 1/2 years on Mars, you and I could have done in a good week. Humans have a way to deal with surprises, to improvise, to change their plans on the spot. All you've got to do is look at the latest Hubble mission to see that."

Keith's note: Let's see: Steve Squyres has extensive hands-on experience with actual science missions on Mars (and elsewhere) while Bill Nye does science shows on TV for kids. As such, I'd really like to see Bill Nye provide some numbers to back up his claim.

Transformers in Space

Space probe to sport 'transforming' hardware, New Scientist

"The trouble with space probes is that once they have been launched their mission cannot be changed. But a test satellite planned for 2012 could change that: its flight computer will contain electronic hardware that can be completely reconfigured in space, allowing it to switch from, say, an atmospheric pollution sensor to a near-Earth asteroid detector. Dubbed the "flying laptop", the spacecraft is the brainchild of Toshinori Kuwahara of the Institute of Space Systems at the University of Stuttgart, Germany, whose idea will appear in a forthcoming edition of the spaceflight journal Acta Astronautica. The craft will carry a host of instruments and sensors, such as cameras, multispectral imagers, thermal infrared imagers, star trackers, GPS receivers and sea-surface-height sensing radar."

Mike Griffin Reveals His Commercialization Vision for NASA: Part 2, SpaceRef

"Mike Griffin: Well, with regard to feelings: I don't do feelings. Just think of me as Spock." [audio]

NASA's Charlie Bolden Gets Verklempt, Washington Post

"Over the course of 35 minutes of remarks -- which he admitted should have lasted for about five -- Bolden's voice broke and tears welled up at least five times. "I cry because my dad cried," he explained. "He taught me how to cry. He was my high school football coach. He expressed to me, and everyone else he coached, to have something you're passionate about." NASA became his passion, he said, even though he admitted, "I never dreamed of being an astronaut. I definitely didn't dream of being administrator."

Comment by Lori Garver during yesterday's employee briefing: "Feelings are back at NASA".

Newsletter #2 - Planetary Science Decadal Survey

"As most of you know, the Planetary Science Decadal Survey is organized by the National Research Council at the request of NASA and NSF. Its objective is to set clear priorities for solar system exploration for the coming decade.

The decadal survey will involve the entire U.S. planetary science community, and will be led by six groups. ... There are also five panels (Inner Planets, Mars, Outer Planets, Outer Planet Satellites, and Primitive Bodies). Candidates to serve as the chairs and members of these panels have been identified, and are under review by the NRC. Once approved, their names will be provided in a subsequent newsletter."

MOON PICTURES: 1960s Orbiter Images Restored, National Geographic

All these steps took their toll on the quality of the images: Much like making a photocopy of a photocopy, the images of the moon created 40 years ago were fairly fuzzy and lacking in detail. Now, after recovering the decades-old recordings and refurbishing outdated tape drives, a team of volunteers has begun digitizing the most famous images from the 1960s Lunar Orbiter missions with much-improved clarity and detail.

APOLLO 11: New Before-and-After Photos of Moon Bases, National Geographic

"Despite extensive restoration efforts, this photo is fuzzier and grainier than many of the restored 1960s orbiter images because of repeated viewings of the magnetic tape on which the photo was recorded."

LOIRP Mentioned at Apollo 11 Anniversary Celebration (Video), MoonViews

"At one point, Tyson talked about the recent LRO images taken of the Apollo landing sites - and the hardware left behind. Our Apollo 11 landing site image was used to set the context for the LRO picture. Mention was also made of the LOIRP - Lunar Orbiter Image Recovery Project."

NASA Workforce Transition Strategy, 3rd Edition Summary Points July 21, 2009

"This is the third edition of the NASA Workforce Transition Strategy. The first was released in March 2008, the second in October 2008. This edition provides updates to the fiscal year (FY) 2009 and FY 2010 Nationwide workforce estimates for human space flight. Estimates for the Center-level workforce figures for FY 2010 and for FY 2011 and out have not been updated since the October 2008 release. The next edition of the Strategy will include updates to the current and outyear workforce estimates, based on detailed analysis of the impacts of the FY 2010 budget request and the results of the Review of U.S. Human Space Flight Plans (the "Augustine Panel")."

Space Shuttle to Constellation Workforce Transition Report Issued

"NASA is issuing the third edition of the Workforce Transition Strategy, which details the agency's plan to minimize job losses while transitioning from the Space Shuttle Program to the Constellation Program."

NASA's Charlie Bolden Gets Verklempt, Washington Post

"[Bolden] also urged frustrated employees to consider moving on. "If you don't wake up wanting to come to work everyday and you don't feel proud about what you do... go in and talk to your boss," he said. "I can promise you we're going to help you with the transition. Even if you think we can't survive without you, we can."

NASA's new leader optimistic about space flight reviews, Spaceflightnow

[Bolden:] "And my guidance from the president has been very brief, in fact, very explicit: incite inspiration in young people and the country again. I mean, it was a very simple message. He didn't give me any specific direction about how to do that, but his challenge to me was make it the way it used to be when he was a kid. The term he used was riding on his grandfather's shoulder as he saw the Apollo 11 astronauts, when his grandfather would hoist him up on his shoulder and watch the Apollo astronauts come in to shore after being picked up out in Hawaii. That's my charge, to inspire kids to want to get into space and science and all that stuff again. But we can do that."

51% Oppose U.S. Manned Mission to Mars, Rasmussen Reports

"Buzz Aldrin, one of the three U.S. astronauts who first walked on the moon in 1969, says America's next goal should be sending a manned mission to Mars, but just 29% of Americans agree. Fifty-one percent (51%) of adults are opposed to sending someone to Mars as one of the current goals of the U.S. space program, according to a new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey. Twenty-one percent (21%) are not sure."

Keith's note: While addressing NASA employees yesterday Charlie Bolden asked the audience before him at NASA HQ "Is there anyone here who does not want to see humans go to Mars?" No hands were raised. It would seem that NASA employees are not in synch with the rest of the population - if you believe in polls. Apparently NASA does believe in polls because there was mention of NASA having recently done some polls in yesterday's employee address. So ... maybe Mr. Bolden should tone down the Mars talk. Or, if he is going to continue pushing Mars, perhaps he should start making a compelling case to that 51% who oppose it - and explain to them why it is important.

Keith's update: But wait, there are polls that show a slight majority in favor of sending humans to Mars. Given that the NASA audience was 100% in favor and these polls hover around 50% and the numbers tend to jump around from moment to moment there is still a substantial amount of distance between internal NASA thinking and what everyone else thinks. As such, Mr. Bolden still needs to get out and explain his interest/preference for Mars. Also, with regard to polls, It is one thing to poll people about "if" something should be done (that has not been undertaken yet). It is quite another to ask them about something that is actually under way.

Poll: Americans Say U.S. Should Go To Mars, CBS

"Fifty-one percent of those surveyed back the journey to Mars. Forty-three percent opposed it. In 2004, 48 percent said the U.S. should send astronauts to Mars, while in 1999 that figure was 58 percent."

Majority of Americans Say Space Program Costs Justified, Gallup

"Americans remain broadly supportive of space exploration and government funding of it. In fact, Americans are somewhat more likely to believe the benefits of the space program justify its costs at the 40th anniversary of the moon landing than they were at the 10th, 25th, and 30th anniversaries."

Column: Maybe it's time to rethink our spending on NASA and space exploration, opinion, Kalamazoo Gazette

"This year, NASA is costing each American household about $150. If that was put on a ballot, I wonder, would it pass? Maybe I'm missing something. Maybe the agency that helped invent Tang and Teflon really is more critical or more popular than I imagine. Or maybe it's time to regroup and rethink. Lots of people are wringing their hands these days about wasteful government spending. Should we be turning that attention to NASA?"

America needs the right stuff, The Leader

"President Barack Obama has vowed to continue the "inspirational mission" that the Apollo 11 crew started four decades ago. But that commitment is going to need more than just financing. The public needs to fall in love with space again. We need to play out the dramas of shuttle launches, waiting with bated breath to make sure our men and women come back safely. We need to carry on the torch that the rock-star astronauts of the past handed on to the lesser-known explorers of today. We need to care about the pursuit to change the question marks of the universe into definitive exclamation points. We need to believe that our living rooms are not the final frontier."

NASA's Second Chance

Keith's note: Charlie Bolden is no stranger to space exploration but he is a newbie in the Administrator's suite and the strange ecology of Washington, DC interactions that the job entails. His first three days on the job have been abnormal with all the Apollo hoopla swirling through everyone's heads. Most of the time it is going to be far less glamorous.

Without taking anything away from the refreshing enthusiasm that he brings to the job or his attempt to rekindle a spark in his employees today, one should consider the thinking that might be going on inside the heads of President Obama's staff, Congress and its staff, and other policy wonks here in Washington.

If NASA is already having all of the technical problems it is currently having just to recreate a steroidal version of a capability it once had decades ago, one might question whether it can reliably tackle larger tasks such as those involved in going to Mars. And it is Mars - not the Moon - that has been what Charlie Bolden has been talking about almost non-stop.

In addition to the technical challenges, given that the budget for NASA's current return to the Moon program has been underfunded in the extreme, one has to wonder what assurance Bolden will have that a much larger and more expansive program such as sending human to Mars is not going to be any more or less prone to underfunding? Yes the two are related - but NASA cannot blame all of its technical problems (i.e. Ares 1) on lack of funding.

Personally, I think NASA is up to the task - and that a solution set can be found - so long as the task is clearly specified, agreed to by Congress, and then funded by both the White House and Congress commensurate with agreeing to such a large scale program in the first place. At the same time, NASA must truly be held accountable for schedule and costs. The embarrassing, ever-mounting, bloated, cost estimates for Ares 1 as it continues to slip to the right are precisely the wrong thing to inspire confidence in those who have to make the big decisions and then keep their pledge to support them for the next 4 or 8 years.

The Augustine Committee will provide the Obama administration with a snapshot of where NASA is and where it could be going. It is then up to NASA to convince the White House that problems with the current approach can be fixed or that a new plan - perhaps a new architecture - or new goals are needed. The White House and Congress then need to be sold on the new course and commit to provide the resources and oversight required for NASA to make it happen.

There is a bit of gossip going around Washington that President Obama once mused that he'd give NASA money - a lot more money - if only they'd do something inspiring and relevant once again. The President talks repeatedly about sending humans to the Moon in the 1960's as an example of what America can do when it puts its collective mind to something. He supposedly sought out Leonard Nimoy in a hotel once so he could give him the Vulcan salute. He talks about sitting on his grandfather's shoulders watching Apollo crews welcomed home. There is no need to instill any notions about the inspirational value of space exploration in this man's head. He's got plenty of it already.

It is up to NASA and its people - with Charlie Bolden and Lori Garver at its helm - to take these blatant cues from the President and, in a post-Augustine Report world, to make the pieces fit and move forth once again.

NASA stumbled on its first leap out of the gate. NASA is now getting a second chance. NASA won't get a third. NASA really needs to get it right this time. If NASA does not, then it has no one but itself to blame.

Everyone seems primed and ready to help Charlie Bolden reorient things and to take advantage of this second chance. All too soon, however, that effort will collide with the lingering status quo. NASA may be called upon to cancel some things and dramatically alter others. It will be up to Bolden to push through that resistance and the formidable political forces that power that resistance. While his personality and enthusiasm are inspiring to many, it will take much more than that to prevail over the forces that will seek to hold him back.

Apollo 11 is now past us. Now the real work begins. Stay tuned.

Frank's note: Keith's observations here are timely and should be read by everyone new at the civil space agency. To me, there are two major issues before NASA: management and the direction of the VSE (vehicles and goals, too) and explaining their existance to the world. I'm not an engineer, but have spent nearly three decades trying to understand and explain NASA. To survive, NASA must reform its communication strategies and processes-nothing short of a fundamental restructuring of Public Affairs and Strategic Communications is needed-and needed now. Clarity and transparency are the keys to widening the outreach and interactions and interest levels of the public with the agency. More of the same won't do. It will require courage to make these contentious changes. Are these new leaders ready? For the future of civil space in my lifetime, I dearly hope so!

"1969 - felt so fine ... we floated free ... stayed up past our bed time .... gathered round the black and white TV watching cloudy images of human men just like me sailing across the Sea of Tranquility ... The astronauts in insect suits climbed out of their cocoons and floated down to the ground like cartoons - we bounced with them like balloons ... as we danced with those images ... in the Sea of Tranquillity..."

Official Luke Powers MySpace Page

"It's the 40th anniversary of the first moon landing--when it was still tranquil. Before the moon-buggy, golfing and other right stuff galluphumpery.

Now the astronauts are all hot on Mars. The red planet. Which makes sense. Let the moon be restored to its tranquillity. Let the sea of tranquillity slowly forget our intrusion in the long shift of millenia.

And us sublunary types can look up at her, and her dark quiet seas, and in moments pass again into our purer minds."

Video below. CAUTION: It's infectious.

"Retired Columbia native and Marine Corp Major General and former astronaut Charles F. Bolden, Jr was inspired and shaped by great teachers in South Carolina's public schools, including several family members. You, too, can chose to make this extraordinary difference in the lives of young people, teaching them to reach for the stars. Produced for the Palmetto Horizon Foundation by Ferillo & Associates, Inc. and edited by Take Ten Productions."

Video below

A Real Astronaut Reflects on America's Moon Landings, Past and Future, Leroy Chiao, Gizmodo

"Should we look back at the last forty years and be disappointed? I believe that would be a mistake. Skylab was a resounding success. Despite the challenges, the Space Shuttle and ISS are marvelous flying machines. We started down the road of international cooperation with the Apollo-Soyuz Test Project, and led the formation and maturation of the current, highly successful international partnership. We have not had the big home run since Apollo, but we have made steady progress."

lunr on Flickr

lunr, Flickr

"The MyMoon site is created by you (the Net Generation) and the Lunar and Planetary Institute (LPI). We're collaborating with lunar scientists, educators, engineers, artists, storytellers, and more to provide interactive information about the Moon and opportunities for you to be involved.

Thru the lunr group on flickr, we invite you to share your thoughts, your creations, and your experiences. Submit your art and photos for a variety of competitions, and vote on your favorites.

Yes, this Moon is your moon, this Moon is my Moon, this Moon is Earth's Moon... but not THAT moon! If you see something that's disgusting, totally rude, or just wrong, please contact us at mymoon@lpi.usra.edu.

We're grateful (thrilled, in fact) to report that this project is funded by NASA's Science Mission Directorate (the part of NASA that deals with stuff like robots on Mars and the Hubble Space Telescope, not the folks that play with rockets or send astronauts to the space station.)"

"On the 40th anniversary of the first lunar landing, Slate V imagines how TV news would cover that historic event if it happened today."

Video below

New NASA boss: Astronauts on Mars in his lifetime, AP

"NASA's new boss says he will be "incredibly disappointed" if people aren't on Mars -- or even beyond it -- in his lifetime. NASA Administrator Charles Bolden Jr., who's 62, told The Associated Press that his ultimate goal isn't just Mars -- it's anywhere far from Earth. "I did grow up watching Buck Rogers and Buck Rogers didn't stop at Mars," Bolden said in one of his first interviews since taking office last Friday. "In my lifetime, I will be incredibly disappointed if we have not at least reached Mars." That appears to be a shift from the space policy set in motion by President George W. Bush, who proposed first returning to the moon by 2020 and then eventually going to Mars a decade or two later. Bolden didn't rule out using the moon as a stepping stone to Mars and beyond, but he talked more about Mars than the moon."

Bolden: NASA 'cannot continue to survive on the path that we are on right now', Orlando Sentinel

"And so what all of us need to understand is that we all agree that we want to go there. What we don't agree on is how we get there. And so there are some of you sitting in this audience that think we are wasting time talking about the moon. I know there are. And there are some of you who may even say, 'Yeah, we may need to go to Mars but we can go there the next thousand years, I really don't care as long as we go back to the moon.' And there are some of you who say, 'Hey, I really like the International Space Station. So let's make sure that's really beefed up and then we can go to the moon and Mars when we can do it in good time.' "Those are all ways, they are all paths to get to where we collectively want to go. And so the challenge for us in the next few months is to figure out the single most efficient, most cost-effective path is to get there. We can't get there the way we are doing it right now."

New NASA administrator optimistic about reviews, CNet

"The space policy review is "totally different from everything else you hear about," Bolden told agency workers Tuesday. "The nation needs to have a coherent idea about what it's going to use space for. And that's military space, that's commercial space, that's NASA space, that's everything, satellites, people, all that stuff. And there needs to be a coherent policy."

Keith's note: There is a meeting underway at MSFC in room 1201 in building 4203 - started at 7 am CDT. Steve Cook's plan is to discredit the 45th Space Wing abort study.

Of course Steve will mount a witch hunt to see how the report got out. So much for openness at NASA. One small problem, Steve: this not a NASA report (i.e. it did not originate within NASA) and it is marked "unclassified".

USAF: Orion Crew Will Not Survive Early Mission Abort, earlier post

Keith's update: Charlie Bolden was supposed to have been given an update on this project yesterday. The MSFC approach seeks to question the methods used and results obtained by the USAF and that NASA has a "timing" issue that makes them confident that their abort scenarios can get the crew out of harm's way. But more work needs to be done. In other words they use the smoke and mirrors approach to get out of this pickle. Meanwhile a classic MSFC witch hunt is under way to find out how a USAF briefing got distributed to some - but not others - at NASA - and then to NASA Watch.

Keith's note: Charlie Bolden just announced that George Whitesides (@gtwhitesides on Twitter) is his Chief of Staff - a position that he has actually held de facto for some time.

Buzz Aldrin punches conspiracy theorist, Sun Sentinel

"How many times today do I have to hear that 6 percent of Americans believe the 1969 moon landing was fake? Does that really mean anything? Keep in mind a 2005 Gallup poll found that 37 percent of Americans believe in haunted houses. That means six times more people believe in Casper than the government faking the moon landing. Here's how Buzz Aldrin reacted to one conspiracy theorist."

NASA Update with the Administrator and Deputy Administrator, July 21, 2009

"NASA employees are invited to join Administrator Charles Bolden and Deputy Administrator Lori Garver for their first NASA Update with employees on Tuesday, July 21, at 9 a.m. PDT [12 pm, EDT]. The program will be broadcast live from the James E. Webb auditorium at NASA Headquarters in Washington."

One small step for cruising: Neil Armstrong to join Lindblad voyage to Antarctica, USA Today

"Neil Armstrong may have walked on the moon, but he hasn't steppedfoot on that most remote of continents on Earth, Antarctica. So perhaps it should come as nosurprise the legendary astronaut has signed on to accompany a Lindblad Expeditionsvoyage to the icyregion. In an announcement timed to coincide with today's 40th anniversary of the first moon landing, Lindblad saysArmstrong will be on board the line's National Geographic Explorer in November as it sets off on an epic, 26-night journey to the far-flung continent."

"Apollo Was A Good Thing To Do."

Commercial Space Flight: NASA May Get Onboard, Business Week

"One option under serious consideration is whether NASA should tap the private sector more actively. Since its founding, the agency has done the heavy lifting in space exploration largely by itselfconceiving of missions, designing rockets, and executing flights. Companies such as Boeing (BA), Alliant Techsystems (ATK), and Lockheed Martin simply built spacecraft to NASA's specs. Some experts argue that NASA should lean on private companies more heavily, perhaps to design rockets or execute such mundane missions as shuttling supplies up to the International Space Station. "The commercial sector could have a much bigger role," says Keith Cowing, editor of a Web site called NASA Watch, which monitors agency projects. "But NASA has to be willing to give up its monopoly on manned space flight. And that's the big question."

Google's New Moon

NASA and Google Launch Virtual Exploration of the Moon

"Forty years ago on July 20, 1969, the world watched as the crew of Apollo 11 took the first steps on the surface of the moon. To celebrate this historic occasion, NASA and Google announced the launch of the Moon in Google Earth, an interactive, 3D atlas of the moon, viewable with Google Earth 5.0. The announcement was made during a press conference at the Newseum in Washington, featuring remarks by Apollo 11 astronaut Buzz Aldrin; Alan Eustace, a Google senior vice president; Andrew Chaikin, author and space historian; and Anousheh Ansari, the first female space tourist."

Let's Not Bother With Space, Gawker

"On this, the 40th Anniversary of the day Mankind conquered the moon, it is time to issue another clarion call for this generation: fuck Mars, let's focus our attention here, for now. What the hell do we have to show for manned space exploration besides neat pictures and a brief feeling of patriotic goodwill in the middle of Vietnam? Buzz Aldrin and Neil Armstrong are demanding that Obama send men to Mars, ASAP, because... why? Because they had a blast on the moon and wouldn't want future generations to miss out on space-golf?"

Keith's note: Despair.com has a new take on motivational posters - with an Apollo theme.

Whoopi Goldberg Entertains Moon Landing Conspiracy Theories, Real Clear Politics

"Whoopi Goldberg questioned the original moon landing on today's edition of "The View." Goldberg, a co-host, wondered who shot the footage and why the flag was "rippling" if there was no wind."

Keith's note: Watch the video. Is she kidding or just clueless?

Testimony of Miles O'Brien: Hearing on Enhancing the Relevance of Space to Address National Needs

"Which brings me to my final point - the agency, dispersed geographically as well bycenters of expertise and excellence - does not speak with one voice as it should. Public Affairs herein Washington needs more authority to direct the far flung PR operations - and frankly they need a budget - which currently is 0. You do get what you pay for. There is no doubt the mission is the message - and NASA needs to be taking us places where we have not been before to capture the fancy of a jaded public. But the message is also part of the mission - it should never be an afterthought. "

Opening Statement By Rep. Gabrielle Giffords

"Yet as the National Academies review, the Space Foundation's annual report, and the NASA Authorization Act of 2008 all make clear, we can and should do more to enhance the relevance of the civil space program so that it can continue to be an important contributor to the nation's strength and well-being in the years and decades to come. By that I don't mean that NASA and our space program should just be about "spinoffs", as important as past ones have been to our economy and our society. Instead what I'm saying is that our space program is important to American scientifically, technologically, economically, and geopolitically, and we should recognize and nurture that reality so that we can maximize the benefits we accrue from America's space program in the future."

Testimony of Deborah Adler Myers
Testimony of Patti Grace Smith
Testimony of General Lester L. Lyles

POTUS Events: Celebrating NASA, Washington Post

"At 2:00 p.m., Obama meets with the crew of Apollo 11 and NASA Administrator Charles Bolden to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the crew's moon landing."

Pushing Buzz's Buttons

Buzz Aldrin: Engineer, Rapper, Heart-breaking Realist, Boing Boing

"... the guy cannot escape the daunting estimate that 6% of all Americans still believe the Moonlanding to be a hoax. Considering he risked his life for science and his country, and having talked to him about this, I find that stat more sad and depressing than ever before. On the surface, it can certainly be amusing to watch what happens when his buttons get pushed. Like when Ali G famously asked Aldrin, "What was it like not being the first man on the Moon? Was you ever jealous of Louis Armstrong?"

Keith's note: There is a Google press event at The Newseum in Washington, DC today. I have not seen a media advisory so I do not know what it is about other than the rumors of "Google Moon 3D."

"A multi-touch and multi-user version of the classical Risk game. As a platform Nasa World Wind (WWJ) and the Java implementation of Risk "Domination" by yura.net were used. A authentication method (that was also integrated in the game) can be found in the last video. Thanks to Klaus Drerup & Wadim Hamm."

Video below

Keith's note: Buzz Aldrin showed this slide during his presentation at the National Air and Space Museum Sunday evening. It is supposed to be online at buzzaldrin.com (I cannot find it there). Thanks to David Legangneux in France for sending me this screen grab (from an event I could not get tickets for 23 miles from my home!)

Image below.

RichardGarriott So... the ISS toilet is having issues... Well, hey, I am fully trained in taking it apart and rebuilding it... I'll volunteer to go fix it!

astroengine Now for a proper tune [Agnelli & Nelson - Holding Onto Nothing] http://blip.fm/~a9dg8

Regolith_Chal Moonfest exceeded all expectations! @NLSI Stopped the traffic (literally). Booth was mobbed all day. Amazing demand for Lunar Exploration.

Bob_Richards 10,000 people descended on NASA Ames today for public "MoonFest", people definitely want to be part of space exploration.

worden Great MoonFest today at NASA Ames - 10K people - many kids. They are our future - their faces tell me - we WILL settle the solar system!

NASA_HSF Please comment on the document "Exploration Beyond Low Earth Orbit" http://tinyurl.com/beyondLEO

HMP HMP Research Station Status Report http://bit.ly/62Nf4

spaceed Testimony of Miles O'Brien: Hearing on Enhancing the Relevance of Space to Address National Needs http://bit.ly/G04qk

jeff_foust Unimpressed with most of the NewSpace 2009 biz plan presentations. Poor research, unrealistic financials in many cases.

KeithCowing #JohnGlennLecture Mike Collins is afraid that going to the Moon will leave us in a "technological briar patch" and not going on to Mars.

KeithCowing @therealBuzz "Yes we can. YES WE CAN" speaking at #JohnGlennLecture at the National Air and Space Museum

brianshiro I'm back from a long 3-hour EVA in the rain, but we accomplished a lot.

Keith's note: The other night I started to Twitter that I thought it would be a good idea that the crater LCROSS will form should be named in honor of veteran space journalist Walter Cronkite who died the other day. Others joined in and repeated that idea.

So what is the LCROSS_NASA team's response? They dodge the issue: "Our team heard your requests. When it comes to naming craters, it is up to the IAU. NASA can explore possibility of petition to IAU to name."

As you will recall during Apollo missions, crew members named craters and other features. And the Mars rover people name craters, rocks, pebbles, and all manner of things all the time. Do they ask the IAU for permission to do that? NO. Indeed, the names given to rocks at the Viking lander sites in 1976 by mission personel are still in use.

So c'mon guys. Use a little imagination - use crowd sourcing and involve the public - the same public who paid for your mission and who were well served by Mr. Cronkite for decades. LCROSS can certainly recommend a name and use their own name in the mean time. There is no legally binding reason to prohibit NASA from doing this - nothing IAU does has the force of law. Indeed, the IAU does not have any interest whatsoever in the view of the public anyway.

To virtually all who watched him, Walter Cronkite was always a face on a screen - one painted upon our eyes by photons. Imagine how many thousands - maybe millions - would now stop for a moment to watch as this crater was created in his name? How often can you stand in your backyard and see that? In so doing, Walter Cronkite can have one last stupendous effect on the world - from the Moon - through a blast of photons travelling one last time to our eyes.

martian1113 It's a beautiful day at FMARS - let's hope the weather holds! And, I finally slept ok last night, without meds, for the first time in weeks.

KenMonroe RT @KeithCowing Let's Name the LCROSS Impact Crater After Walter Cronkite http://bit.ly/3lDNYv

Virgin_Galactic We are still collecting songs so please give us the one song you would like to listen to in space!

brianshiro I finally finished creating all of the survey design, procedures, and cheat sheets for my FMARS electromagnetic groundwater survey.

comtnclimr I'm was in same room as men who walked on moon! Kennedy Center show was awesome. Hope they play it for everyone on NASA TV.

HMP HMP Research Station Status Report http://bit.ly/D7GD7

Let's Reach for The Stars Again, Mike Griffin, Washington Post

"The words are great, but the actions aren't. In early 2005, about $110 billion was allocated to the task of returning American and international partner astronauts to the moon by 2020. Less than five years later, that figure has been slashed to about $70 billion, not enough to do the job. We're willing to spend hundreds of billions of dollars bailing out failed enterprises, but we're not willing to spend more than a half-penny of the federal budget dollar to support one of the greatest enterprises in history."

One Giant Leap to Nowhere, Tom Wolfe, NY Times

"July 20, 1969, was the moment NASA needed, more than anything else in this world, the Word. But that was something NASAs engineers had no specifications for. At this moment, that remains the only solution to recovering NASAs true destiny, which is, of course, to build that bridge to the stars."

'A monument to the triumph of the human spirit', Orlando Sentinel via Daily Press

Two months ago, former NASA astronaut Scott Parazynski ascended Mount Everest, carrying a lunar rock brought back by the Apollo 11 mission that landed on the moon 40 years ago tomorrow.

Along the way, he endured hardships like those experienced by Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin: bulky equipment, rocky terrain and a lack of oxygen. The effort made Parazynski the first astronaut to summit the world's highest peak. It also gave him a deeper understanding of why his boyhood heroes Armstrong and Edmund Hillary sought the unknown.

"Any time you explore ... you learn things you never expected," Parazynski said. "Any country that doesn't explore is going to ultimately recede."

NASA ARC Solicitation: Rapid Response Space Works - Formerly Known as Chile Works

"NASA Ames Research Center (ARC) is partnering with the Operationally Responsive Space Office (ORS) located at Kirtland Air Force Base in Albuquerque, New Mexico to establish the Rapid Response Space Works (formerly known as "Chile Works"). NASA ARC will serve as lead executing agent with overall contracting, programmatic and systems engineering responsibilities. ... The Rapid Response Space Works (RRSW) and Space Vehicle procurement has two primary objectives. The first objective is to standup initial operations of the RRSW. This objective creates the ability for the ORS Office to meet its "Deploy" mission capability of rapidly deploying capabilities to the warfighter within days to weeks. The second objective is to procure, outside of the RRSW, modular multi-mission space vehicles and/or buses and payloads for the RRSW."

Report: No escape system could save astronauts if Ares I rocket exploded during first minute, Orlando Sentinel

"Critics countered the new report is the latest reason why Ares needs to be re-examined, or scrapped. "This is one technical issue among many," said Mike Gold, the Washington director of Bigelow Aerospace, a commercial space company. "What we find disturbing is that any time there is an external organization looking at NASA's plans, they seem to come across an issue, and this is just one example." The Air Force report, first published by nasawatch.com, is the second safety challenge by the 45th Space Wing to the solid-fuel first stage of Ares I. Air Force officials previously warned NASA they fear that violent shaking on liftoff of the Ares I-X, a rocket that will test the Ares I first stage, would disable the steering and self-destruct mechanisms, meaning it could not be destroyed if it veered off course."

Keith's update: Sources report that Steve Cook and his team were preoccupied on Friday with the ramifications of this report going public. Several meetings were held on Friday and another was planned for Saturday morning. Lots of finger pointing and asking questions along the lines of "who knew what and when did they know it?" and "how do we respond?" was reported to have happened on Friday. A briefing is being prepared for NASA Administrator Bolden for presentation as early as Monday. Stay tuned.

USAF: Orion Crew Will Not Survive Early Mission Abort, earlier post

CBS Apollo 11 Landing Coverage with Walter Cronkite As It Happened

Video below

Walter Cronkite, Iconic Anchorman, Dies, NY Times

"For his exhaustive and enthusiastic coverage of NASA, Mr. Cronkite was sometimes called "the eighth astronaut." During the first moon landing in 1969, Mr. Cronkite "was on the air for 27 of the 30 hours that Apollo 11 took to complete its mission," The Museum of Broadcast Communications notes."

NASA Mourns The Death of Walter Cronkite

"The following is a statement from NASA Administrator Charles Bolden on the death of veteran journalist Walter Cronkite. "It is with great sadness that the NASA family learned of Walter Cronkite's passing. He led the transition from print and radio reporting to the juggernaut that became television journalism. His insight and integrity were unparalleled, and his compassion helped America make it through some of the most tragic and trying times of the 20th century. ..."

Neil Armstrong Statement on the Death of Walter Cronkite

"Walter Cronkite seemed to enjoy the highest of ratings. He had a passion for human space exploration, an enthusiasm that was contagious, and the trust of his audience. He will be missed."

Keith's update: Everyone has Walter Cronkite memories and stories. Like everyone who was alive 40 years ago, to me his words seemed to be the official narrative of America's space program. On a personal note, although I never met him, I did have the unique honor of being introduced by him on air as "the sign language interpreter" as I stood interpreting for speakers on the podium of the Democratic National Convention in 1980 in New York at Madison Square Garden. Of course, I was a space geek back then so this intro by Cronkite made an already cool experience doubly cool.

That he died amidst the 40th anniversay of the Moon landing is indeed sad yet its almost as if he held on - just for this special moment. And (I guess) "that's the way it is".

Your thoughts?

Ares I-X launch delayed; Ares I thrust oscillation problems continue, Orlando Sentinel

"Last month, Sentinel Space Editor Robert Block reported on the likelihood that the first test flight of the Ares I-X -- a mockup of the Ares I intended ot test performance of the solid-fuel first stage -- would be delayed past its scheduled date of Aug. 30. Officially, he reported, NASA was holding to the August date for liftoff at Kennedy Space Center but that September was "more likely."
Now comes the officially revised date, courtesy of a memo from Johnson Space Center's Robert Ess, the Ares I-X mission manager: Oct. 31."

NASA JSC Internal memo: New I-X Launch Date

"Today at CxCB, we presented an update to our schedule and a new launch date of 10/31/09 was approved. This is still a very aggressive schedule and requires a lot of tasks to complete on or before their planned dates."

Original photo by Bill Ingalls/NASA on Flickr

Image below

Real Spinoffs

40 years after moon landing, public unaware of NASA's tech contributions, nextgov.com

"Keith Cowing, a former NASA scientist who now compiles the space policy blog NASA Watch, noted that the National Institutes of Health "has a lot of breast cancer imaging that comes from systems that were developed at NASA."

Technology Transfer Hubble Fights Breast Cancer, Volume 4, Number 1, March/April 1996

"A unique marriage between Hubble Space Telescope astronomers and cancer researchers has produced an image-processing technique that shows promise in detecting early breast cancer. Employing techniques used to correct the blurry images sent by Hubble prior to the 1993 servicing mission, this method is designed to detect microcalcifications, an early sign of breast cancer. A group of astronomical and medical researchers from the Space Telescope Science Institute (STScI) in Baltimore, Johns Hopkins University, and the Lombardi Cancer Research Center at the Georgetown University Medical Center in Washington, D.C., is testing this technique to detect microcalcifications in digitized mammograms."

Huntsville Rep. Parker Griffith asks new NASA administrator to select a Marshall Space Flight Center director, Huntsville Times

"U.S. Rep. Parker Griffith, D-Huntsville, has already put in his first request to new NASA Administrator Charles Bolden: Make Robert Lightfoot the official director of Marshall Space Flight Center."

Keith's update: Amazingly, given that Steve Cook was either unaware (very bad) or was aware and suppressed (even worse) this report about possible crew hazards during an Ares-1 abort, Cook and his posse are still trying to position him as the next Center Director of MSFC! He is "the next von braun" after all. Meanwhile, the wagons are circled in Huntsville with the prime topic of conversation being "what do we do about this report?" Hmmm ... Mike Griffin is nearby, why not give him a call?

Steve Cook Wants to Be The Next Deputy Center Director at Marshall, earlier post

USAF 45th Space Wing Study: Capsule~100%-Fratricide Environments (Implications for NASA's Ares-1 and Crew)

"Estimate of Secondary Effects of the Solid Rocket Booster (SRB) Destruct Debris Environment on the Constellation Capsule

(Illustrated with the TitanIV-A20 Destruct of Comparable SRBs, Propellant Mass, and comparable MET of ~40 sec)


* The 45th-Space Wing has reasonable assessments for solid propellant debris fragment masses, velocities, etc.

* The Ares-1 capsule, with an LAS, will 25 not survive an abort between MET's of ~30-60 seconds.

(High-Q is a risk from ~20-75 sec)"

Apollo LEMS on The Moon

Damaged Tape and Murky Moon Views, LOIRP

"We recently released two Apollo landing site images - Apollo 12 and Apollo 14 and had embarked upon getting an nice crisp image of the Apollo 11 landing site in time for the anniversary. Alas, unlike the unprecedented resolution we obtained for these two sites, Apollo 11 was a let down. The image is murky and far less clear than previous images. This is not due to the Lunar Orbiter spacecraft or our restored hardware. Rather, we expect, it had to do with someone playing this tape years ago and getting it jammed for an instant. Alas, the interesting part of this tape is Framelet 411 which shows the Apollo 11 landing site. So, if there was a natural place on this tape to be paused, rewound, and played again and again and again, it is this location. Little surprise that damage to this portion of the tape occurred."

LRO Sees Apollo Landing Sites

"NASA's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter, or LRO, has returned its first imagery of the Apollo moon landing sites. The pictures show the Apollo missions' lunar module descent stages sitting on the moon's surface, as long shadows from a low sun angle make the modules' locations evident."

Why OCO's Launch Failed

NASA Releases Orbiting Carbon Observatory Accident Summary

"A NASA panel that investigated the unsuccessful Feb. 24 launch of the Orbiting Carbon Observatory, or OCO, has completed its report. NASA's OCO satellite to study atmospheric carbon dioxide launched aboard a Taurus XL rocket from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California on Feb. 24 at 4:55 a.m. EST, but it failed to reach orbit. The Mishap Investigation Board led by Rick Obenschain, deputy director at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md., verified that the Taurus launch vehicle fairing failed to separate upon command. The fairing is a clamshell structure that encapsulates the satellite as it travels through the atmosphere. The failure to shed the fairing mass prevented the satellite from reaching its planned orbit and resulted in its destruction."

NASA Briefs Media on New Images of Apollo Lunar Landing Sites

"NASA's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter, or LRO, has sent back its first images of Apollo lunar landing sites. The agency will release the images Friday, July 17, at noon and hold a teleconference at 2 p.m. EDT to discuss the photos and future plans for the LRO mission."

Keith's note: Fox News is reporting that NASA is "grounding" the Shuttle fleet until it finds out what caused the foam shedding on the launch of STS-127.

Shuttle Flights On Hold Due to New Foam Loss Problem, FreeSpace, Discovery

"About the last thing NASA needs right now is a new problem to solve, but thats exactly what landed on its plate following Wednesdays launch of Endeavour on a space station construction mission. Its a new twist on an old nemesis -- the insulating foam on the shuttle fuel tank. NASA redesigned the tanks after losing shuttle Columbia and its seven-member crew in 2003 due to a heat shield breach triggered by a piece of foam debris that fell off the fuel tank and hit the ships wing during launch."

Keith's update: I posted a note about Fox's incorrect story such that everyone could see it and then I posted a story that is correct i.e that flights are "on hold". Yet so many of you go into attack mode i.e. suggesting that I somehow agree with Fox's story. Read a little more carefully folks.

Deleting History

Moon landing tapes got erased, NASA admits, Reuters

"The original recordings of the first humans landing on the moon 40 years ago were erased and re-used, but newly restored copies of the original broadcast look even better, NASA officials said on Thursday."

NASA lost moon footage, but Hollywood restores it, AP

"How did NASA end up looking like a bumbling husband taping over his wedding video with the Super Bowl? Nafzger, who was in charge of the live TV recordings back in the Apollo years, said they were mostly thought of as data tapes. It wasn't his job to preserve history, he said, just to make sure the footage worked. In retrospect, he said he wished NASA hadn't reused the tapes. Outside historians were aghast."

NASA Releases Restored Apollo 11 Moonwalk Video, NASA

"NASA released Thursday newly restored video from the July 20, 1969, live television broadcast of the Apollo 11 moonwalk. The release commemorates the 40th anniversary of the first mission to land astronauts on the moon."

Marc's update: I've included the 2 minute HD moonwalk montage in the press release for your viewing pleasure.

Keith's note: MSNBC's Alan Boyle has posted some images and videos with "NASA/GSFC" credit here claiming that they have been 'released" by NASA. Indeed, he writes: "Samples of the restored video - including Apollo 11 commander Neil Armstrong's climb down the lunar module's ladder, his "one small step" onto the lunar surface and the raising of the American flag - were released today at the Newseum in Washington to commemorate the 1969 moon mission."

"Were released today"? How? The press conference is scheduled for 11 am EDT - that's 2 1/2 hours from now. This event has not even happened yet. Did MSNBC get these images and video under embargo from GSFC PAO? I cannot find any mention at NASA.gov. If GSFC has played favorites, why haven't the rest of the media been given access to these images and video?

Keith's update: According to @NASAGoddard RE: @NASAWatch "Is GSFC PAO Playing Favorites?" No, the embargo lifted on the videos at 7am, several reporters were given access to videos.

Huh? When/where were the media told that the embargo was lifted and that the images and video would be on NASA TV? Where's your media advisory? How did you decide which media to release this information to? You are most certainly playing favorites. Either that or GSFC is just incompetent. Take your pick. According to NASA HQ PAO nothing NASA does is supposed to be released under embargo - so do you just set your own procedures?

OK, so where are the video and images on NASA.gov?

Keith's update: Amateur hour continues at GSFC PAO. GSFC PAO has yet to bother issuing a media advisory or press release. Nor do they respond to media inquires by email or phone. But their Twitter did (finally) post the link where you can view the video. What a botched way of releasing something to the public - and the media. The GSFC PAO folks really need some remedial training in Press Ops 101.

RT @NASA See NASA's restored Apollo 11 video in HD http://tr.im/sCqi. It will air on NASA TV at noon ET/4 pm GMT at http://www.nasa.gov/ntv

Where Next?

Time to Boldly Go Once More, Buzz Aldrin, Washington Post

"I propose a new Unified Space Vision, a plan to ensure American space leadership for the 21st century. It wouldn't require building new rockets from scratch, as current plans do, and it would make maximum use of the capabilities we have without breaking the bank. It is a reasonable and affordable plan -- if we again think in visionary terms."

Foam Again

Space shuttle Endeavour lifts off from Kennedy Space Center, Orlando Sentinel

"NASA's biggest concern involved eight or nine pieces of foam insulation seen breaking off from the external fuel tank during the first few minutes after launch. Most of the foam peeled off late enough that NASA officials surmised that it could not do any damage. At least a couple early pieces, at a critical time of 107 seconds after launch, were seen striking the shuttle's lower side. But they might not have done more than scuff the outer layer, Moses said. NASA will investigate data from scores of cameras, laser scans and radar reports. "We saw some stuff. Some of it doesn't concern us. Some of it we just can't speculate about right now. ..... But we have the tools," Moses said."

Moon Orbiter to Photograph Apollo 11 Landing Site, Space.com

"Taking the something old, something new approach is the Lunar Orbiter Image Recovery Project, located at the Ames Research Center in the heart of California's Silicon Valley. This team effort is led by Dennis Wingo of SkyCorp, Inc. in Huntsville, Alabama and Keith Cowing of SpaceRef Interactive, Inc. of Reston, Virginia.

The recovery project involves culling through some 1,700 images taken by NASA Lunar Orbiter missions from the 1960's, convert that data into digital form and then reconstruct the images to yield 21st century pictures far superior than the originals.

Ideally, upgrading an old Lunar Orbiter image taken of the Apollo 11 landing zone before Armstrong and Aldrin set foot there, contrasted to a new LRO overhead shot, would present a unique before/after look-see of the historic Tranquility Base site, said Greg Schmidt, deputy director of the NASA Ames-based Lunar Science Institute.

The Apollo sites themselves are extremely well characterized thanks to human explorers dispatched to those individual locales, Schmidt noted. LRO images of these areas will let us see the landers -- and likely other artifacts such as the lunar buggies used in the Apollo 15, 16, and 17 missions - all of which will no doubt be very powerful in ways beyond mere science, he said."

Keith's note: Sources report that the Senate just confirmed Charles Bolden and Lori Garver by unanimous consent. The request was made on the Senate floor by Sen. Nelson.

@SenBillNelson "Charlie Bolden just confirmed by Senate as nations new space czar. Hes perfect to keep America leading in space, science and technology ... Ive known Charlie Bolden the better part of a quarter century, since he was my pilot on the space shuttle in 1986 ... Naval academy grad, Marine test pilot, astronaut, general Charlie will bring back the magic from a time when we rode rockets to the moon"

Senate confirms Bolden as NASA chief, Orlando Sentinel

"The U.S. Senate unanimously agreed Wednesday that ex-astronaut Charlie Bolden should become the next chief of NASA, clearing the way for Bolden to take control during what could be one of the toughest tenures in the agencys half-century history."

Sen. Hutchison Statement on Senate Confirmation of NASA Nominees

"Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-Texas), Ranking Member on the Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee, today said she was pleased the Senate approved Charles Bolden to be the next NASA Administrator."

Challenger Center congratulates Charles Bolden as NASA Administrator, Lori Garver as Deputy Administrator - an Ideally Qualified Team

"Bolden and Garver are exceptional role models, and extremely talented and accomplished space professionals. They are ideally qualified, both individually and as a team, to lead NASA at this critical time in the agency's history," said William Readdy, Chair of the Board, Challenger Center."

Commercial Spaceflight Federation Congratulates Incoming NASA Leaders Charles Bolden and Lori Garver

Bolden and Garver Confirmed by U.S. Senate, NASA

National Space Society Applauds the U.S. Senate Confirmation of Charles Bolden and Lori Garver to lead NASA

Coalition for Space Exploration Supports Confirmation of Bolden, Garver to Lead NASA

Statement from Apollo 11 Astronaut Michael Collins

"Q. So, if I wanted to sum you up, I should say "grumpy?"

A. No, no, lucky! Usually, you find yourself either too young or too old to do what you really want, but consider: Neil Armstrong was born in 1930, Buzz Aldrin 1930, and Mike Collins 1930. We came along at exactly the right time. We survived hazardous careers and we were successful in them. But in my own case at least, it was 10 percent shrewd planning and 90 percent blind luck. Put LUCKY on my tombstone."

NASA's Shuttle Endeavour Launches to Complete Japanese Module

"Space shuttle Endeavour and its seven-member crew launched at 6:03 p.m. EDT Wednesday from NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida. The mission will deliver the final segment to the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency's Kibo laboratory and a new crew member to the International Space Station. Endeavour's 16-day mission includes five spacewalks and the installation of two platforms outside the Japanese module. One platform is permanent and will allow experiments to be directly exposed to space. The other is an experiment storage pallet that will be detached and returned with the shuttle. During the mission, Kibo's robotic arm will transfer three experiments from the pallet to the exposed platform. Future experiments also can be moved to the platform from the inside of the station using the laboratory's airlock."

Keith's note: In June I visited data.gov and was astonished to see no mention of NASA. I went back to data.gov today and searched for the following items from NASA in the Raw Data Catalog in XML, CSV/Text, KML/KMZ, Shapefile, and other formats, "Moon, Mars, Earth, Space, sun, universe" and got "No matching records found. Please try your search again or suggest a dataset." I then did a search in the Tool Catalog and only got two hits - for "earth". Under Geodata Catalog I got a lot of stuff in response to a search for "sun" - MODIS, UARS, and AIRS/AQUA datasets. But nothing in response to my other search terms.

Since my first post NASA has now been included in the options for search and some data is in there. But for an agency that prides itself on its scientific prowess - one that now results in terabytes of data streaming back to Earth from dozens of active spacecraft, adding to the massive amount that has been collected in the past 50 years, the comparative near absence of NASA data in this new government service is a little baffling. But they are working at it. Stay tuned.

NASA is Missing From Data.gov, earlier post

Bolden vote could come Wednesday, Orlando Sentinel

"The vote is scheduled in a room off the Senate floor, sometime around the afternoon's first vote. No senator has raised objections to Bolden, a former astronaut, or his would-be deputy, former NASA official Lori Garver, and their nominations should head to the full Senate for a vote after Wednesday's brief meeting."

A Month of Moon Events at the Smithsonian, Washington Post

NASA, moon at Hands on Children's Museum, The Olympian

Apollo 11 One Small Step, NASA

Voices: Recalling July 20, 1969, NY Times

Keith's note: What do you remember about Apollo 11? I was 14 years old and was standing right here at Boy Scout camp (the Deer Lake Scout Reservation in Connecticut) when the mission was launched. All of the car horns, bugles, and fire sirens seemed to go off at the same time in celebration. I could not wait to get home to see the actual landing. I was so absorbed in what was unfolding that I sewed the wrong soles on the Boy Scout moccasins I was making. My parents actually made mention of "Buck Rogers".

I had grown up in the 60's being told that we'd land on the moon "by the end of the decade". And we did. I had one data point - and it was in the affirmative. We were also told that we'd be on Mars by 1981. I believed that too - for a while. Well, 40 years later and we haven't seen humans on the Moon for more than a generation much less anyone walking on Mars. Many think the Apollo lunar missions were all just a hoax and logic won't sway them.

Now we are trying to go back, but today it seems to be hard to do what we once did so swiftly. Curiously, as our enthusiasm for such things seems to be on the decline, other nations such as India and China are utilizing their scarce resources to go there. What have they discovered that we once knew - and have now lost?


Farewell Ares 1?

Is Ares program dead? NASA told to explore new ways to reach the moon, Orlando Sentinel

"Members of the presidentially appointed panel reviewing the future of America's manned-space plans have asked NASA to design a new way to send astronauts back to the moon. The request could result in NASA ditching the controversial Ares I rocket design that the agency has spent the past four years and more than $3 billion creating and defending. ... Former NASA Administrator Mike Griffin recently wrote Augustine, the review panel's chairman, saying that the idea was feasible but that he did not support it. "The dual-Ares 5 launch does offer considerably more capability to the Moon than the baseline Ares 1/Ares 5 scheme," he wrote to Augustine in an e-mail last week that was copied to the Orlando Sentinel. "However, it also comes at much greater marginal cost, and therefore I do not, and we at NASA in general did not, recommend it for the baseline approach."

Is Ares I a dead rocket after $3 billion spent?, Huntsville Times

"NASA spokeswoman Ashley Edwards confirmed that the agency is studying alternative designs to Ares but said that's normal with a new rocket design. But Dennis Wingo, a Huntsville space expert who has worked on various rocket concepts that the Augustine Commission is studying, said reviews and alternative options may well spell the end of the Ares I program. "It really looks like the deck chairs are being rearranged," Wingo said. "They are looking at other options because this option is not going forward."

Numerous benefits of space exploration, Ralph Hall, The Hill

"I strongly believe that we must close the gap in U.S. access to space and it is my hope that the Augustine panel comes to a similar conclusion. NASA has made great progress in developing the Orion vehicle and the Ares launch systems. Constellation is already in the development phase, so to abandon this plan now would be a massive waste of time, money and resources."

Does NASA's James Hansen Still Matter in Climate Debate?, NY Times

"Last week, House Democrats who supported the bill appeared less than enthusiastic about Hansen's recent advocacy. Asked whether Hansen wields influence, House Science and Technology Committee Chairman Bart Gordon (D-Tenn.) said, "I think he has an opinion." Rep Rick Boucher (D-Va.), who was a key player in the passage of the House bill, called Hansen's appearance on the Hill "irrelevant," adding, "the debate about the science is over." Markey said Hansen held "moral influence." But, said the co-author of the House cap-and-trade bill, a carbon tax simply cannot win enough votes to make it through both chambers of Congress."

@milesobrien Weather 40% "no-go" for Shuttle launch. Seems like a sure thing at this point! Our webcast begins 2:30pET/1830UTC http://spaceflightnow.com

@alain_csa New battery bank installed on Devon Island greenhouse by the greenhouse team! http://www.twitpic.com/afo00, http://www.twitpic.com/afo7p

@milesobrien I am testifying before Congress tomorrow. Subject is "enhancing the relevance of space..." http://bit.ly/ZPbVJ Would love your thoughts.

@bnjacobs Send your name to Mars! Looks like most of the names submitted so far are from California. C'mon! http://tr.im/sr2U. #NASA

@KSC_MOCOP Probability of KSC weather prohibiting launch still 40%. Main concern is showers and thunderstorms within 20NM of SLF.

@alain_csa @HMP, the greenhouse team conducted a greenhouse survey, analysed the spring growth system and organized cargo. http://twitpic.com/9odot

@SPOTScott Working hard @ the gym to regain some of the 25lbs lost on Everest; should I write "The Everest Diet"? Definitely Oprah Book Club material!

NASA Hints It's Found Missing Moon-Landing Videotapes, Fox

"The story, as summarized by Britain's Sunday Express newspaper in late June, was that the tapes had been found in a storage facility in the basement of a building on a university campus in Perth, Australia. Monday's statement appeared to confirm that report, stating that the footage comes from what is "believed to be the best available broadcast-format copies of the lunar excursion, some of which had been locked away for nearly 40 years."

Vocal Minority Insists It Was All Smoke and Mirrors, NY Times

"Mr. Sibrel, who sells his films online, has hounded Apollo astronauts with a Bible, insisting that they swear on camera they had walked on the Moon. He so annoyed Buzz Aldrin in 2002 -- ambushing him with his Bible and calling him "a coward, and a liar, and a thief" -- that Mr. Aldrin punched Mr. Sibrel in the face. Law enforcement officials refused to file charges against Mr. Aldrin, the second man on the Moon. In an interview, Mr. Sibrel said that his efforts to prove that men never walked on the Moon has cost him dearly. "I have suffered only persecution and financial loss," he said. "I've lost visitation with my son. I've been expelled from churches. All because I believe the Moon landings are fraudulent."

Apollo 11 Moon landing: conspiracy theories debunked, The Telegraph

"2) No stars are visible in the pictures taken by the Apollo astronauts from the surface of the Moon. The Apollo landing takes place during lunar mornings, with the Sun shining brightly. Exposure time on the cameras is set very rapid so as not to let in too much light and obscure detail. The stars, whilst being visible to the naked eye on the Moon, are not bright enough to be captured in the photographs."

Voices From the Moon

Book Review: Voices From the Moon

"As we descend upon the 40th anniversary of the first humans to stand on the moon, the books, and movies, and DVDs, and websites all seem hell bent on a collision - each one trying to best encapsulate the Apollo experience. While Apollo 11 was the first mission to put people on the moon - other missions followed. And while the experience of walking on the Moon was shared by a precious few, the opinions of the moonwalkers are remarkably diverse so as to allow everyone to identify with what it must have been like to be there.

Once again, in his book "Voices From the Moon: Apollo Astronauts Describe Their Lunar Experiences", author Andy Chaiken has managed to distill and then capture the essence of Apollo. Indeed, if there is anyone who has lived and breathed Apollo for the past 40 years, it has been Andy. He kept the flame alive when most of us looked at Apollo as old hat. Now, suddenly, it is new again."

NASA to cut 400 jobs, contractor says, CNN

"Four hundred space shuttle employees will be laid off beginning in October, a spokesman for a National Aeronautics and Space Administration contractor told CNN on Tuesday Jeff Carr, spokesman for United Space Alliance, NASA's primary contractor for the space shuttle, said he thinks all of the layoffs will come from volunteers taking early retirement, and 60 percent are to come from Florida crews. He said notice of the layoffs has been sent to the entire corps of Space Shuttle employees."

First wave of shuttle layoffs due at KSC in October, Orlando Sentinel

"The company that services NASA's space shuttles announced plans Tuesday to shed nearly 250 jobs in Florida later this year -- its first major layoff in a looming disaster for an economy tied to Kennedy Space Center. United Space Alliance, the prime contractor for U.S. space-shuttle operations, will also cut its work force in the Houston area by about 150 people."

@Bob_Richards: Odyssey Moon Chief Scientist Paul Spudis will soon have 2 instruments searching for ice on the Moon http://bit.ly/JPpMO

@brianshiro: FMARS Hab tour - my third YouTube video http://tinyurl.com/mzqwcr

@NASA Shuttle Endeavour's crew is reviewing their mission. Tomorrow's weather forecast is 60 percent go for a 6:03pm ET launch.

@SpaceTweeps: New STS blog post Why cant we allow our heroes be heroes? http://bit.ly/OUkON #spacetweeps

@marckboucher I watched the movie Knowing last night not knowing what it was about. If you've seen it you know why @SpaceWeather is so important

@NAASE09 "Chemistry & Physics in a Dusty Disk" a discussion of planetary formation & astrobiology by @davidott_1986 #NAAS.. http://tinyurl.com/kmk..

Keith's 13 Jul note: SpaceX achieved its second successful Falcon 1 launch in a row tonight when it placed the Razasat spacecraft into orbit. More to follow.

Launch video below

STS-127 Scrubbed Again

Keith's note: STS-127 has been scrubbed once again. Next attempt on Wednesday at 6:03 pm EDT. Live webcast coverage by Miles O'Brien and David Waters at Spaceflight Now.

Video below.

Keith's note: Tired of opening up the door to your dorm room? Use hydraulics! And control it with your iPhone! This guy clearly wants to work for NASA (note the prominent NASA logo placement). Maybe he can invent those whooshing sliding doors they will use on Star Trek.

Administrative change to New Frontiers 2009 AO (NNH09ZDA007O)

"An administrative change is being made to the Announcement of Opportunity (AO) for New Frontiers 2009 (NNH09ZDA007O). 90 copies of the proposal are required to be submitted. The proposal due date and all other requirements remain unchanged. Requirement 86 on page 46 now reads: "Requirement 86. The original signed proposal and 90 paper copies, each of which contains an attached, clearly labeled CD-ROM that contains electronic proposal files (see Appendix B), shall be delivered to the following address by the proposal submittal deadline specified in Section 3."

Keith's note: This would be hilarious if it was not so stupid. NASA asks for an electronic copy of a proposal and then tells the submitters to leave a large carbon footprint and ship 90 paper copies of the proposal as well. Why not just use the CD and print them out at HQ? Oh wait, printing uses up trees. Why not just send copies of the CD to reviewers? If no one is going to use the electronic version then why ask for the CD in the first place? Hmm - is this the same process that SMD Earth Science proposals will follow? Al Gore certainly won't be happy ...

Griffin says fear of risk hurting space program, Huntsville Times

"When Dr. Michael Griffin decided to move here after leaving the job of NASA administrator early this year, many believed Huntsville had landed, in the current phrase, a game changer. That's what state and local leaders and national observers said about Griffin's decision to spurn nine other job offers to become an eminent scholar at the University of Alabama in Huntsville beginning this fall."

Keith's note: Some enterprising reporter might ask Dr. Griffin about the ~ $800K/year offer Georgia Tech made him last Fall and why he turned it (and perhaps others) down. According to sources it would seem that he was clinging to the hope that he'd keep his job. Curiously, Mike Griffin now seems to think that his tenure at NASA should somehow be exempt from the same scrutiny as has been applied (often by him) to that of his predecessors.

Oh well. Mike and Becky now need to accept the fact that they are now just average-sized fish in a very, very little pond. And when they do set up these self-serving "interviews" with the media they need to be ready for the public responses that will follow.

NASA Holds Briefing to Release Restored Apollo 11 Moonwalk Video

"NASA will hold a media briefing at 11 a.m. EDT on Thursday, July 16, at the Newseum in Washington to release greatly improved video imagery from the July 1969 live broadcast of the Apollo 11 moonwalk. The release will feature 15 key moments from Neil Armstrong's and Buzz Aldrin's historic moonwalk using what is believed to be the best available broadcast-format copies of the lunar excursion, some of which had been locked away for nearly 40 years. The initial video released Thursday is part of a comprehensive Apollo 11 moonwalk restoration project expected to be completed by the fall. The Newseum is located at 555 Pennsylvania Ave. N.W. The news conference will be broadcast live on NASA Television and streamed on the agency's Internet homepage."

Clueless at NASA

Space Station Is Near Completion, Maybe the End, Washington Post

"After more than a decade of construction, it is nearing completion and finally has a full crew of six astronauts. The last components should be installed by the end of next year. And then? "In the first quarter of 2016, we'll prep and de-orbit the spacecraft," says NASA's space station program manager, Michael T. Suffredini. That's a polite way of saying that NASA will make the space station fall back into the atmosphere, where it will turn into a fireball and then crash into the Pacific Ocean. It'll be a controlled reentry, to ensure that it doesn't take out a major city. But it'll be destroyed as surely as a Lego palace obliterated by the sweeping arm of a suddenly bored kid."

Keith's note: After several decades of telling Congress that the ISS is vitally important to America and that it should be funded to its completion, NASA is now going to throw it away after only using it in its completed capacity for 6 years? Why would Congress ever be expected to fall for that same argument again - now recycled as Project Constellation? You do not create an amazing resource like this and then just throw it away because you are bored with it or no longer have the will to fight to keep it alive. I certainly hope Suffredini's political advisors were listening to the Bolden/Garver hearings last week. NASA as an institution has corporate ADD and it is well past time to put the agency into treatment for this affliction.

How can you expect to inspire people when you walk away from your most amazing accomplishments?

NASA to Take Photos of Lunar Landing Sites, End Conspiracy Theories, Gizmodo

"Grey Hautaluoma (NASA Headquarters, Office of Public Affairs): Yes, it will. We don't have a timeline yet for viewing the Apollo sites, but it will be in the near future."

Keith's note: "near future" = ????

@KSC_MOCOP 0845 Mission Management Meeting to discuss ET tanking, weather, and the plan if weather today ends up not cooperating.

@worden At Ny Alesund research station in Svalbard. What a spectacular setting. Hopefully first science flight on CASIE wednesday.

@PavilionLake New blog post: Thank you, Pavilion Lake Community! http://bit.ly/194nt9

@brianshiro Good morning from analog Mars!

@MarkKirkman #shuttle fueling officially started at 9:33 am EDT this morning for a 6:51 launch of #endeavour tonight to the space station.

@AlanStern is organizing a very special class of new astronauts, but not the ones NASA selected this month.

@Astro_127 Just woke up. While we all hope that today's the day, we have a saying that you never know for sure until the solid rockets light off.

@therealBuzz To NYC from MSP 4 "Magnificent Desolation" book sign w/LouisVuitton + Bell Ring @ SEC / Jim Lovell BUZZ

@worden Just landed in Longyearbyen, Svalbard. Spectacular actic views. On to Ny Alesund soon

Beam me up Wayne

Wayne Hale's NASA Blog: Real Life is Not Like Star Trek (with a larger image of Wayne on the bridge)

"For my birthday, my son and fellow Star Trek aficionado gave me some DVDs with the old TV series. Needless to say, I have made a lengthy review of the subject lasting far into the evenings over the last week or so. As a fictional future, Star Trek set a high standard: there was always in interesting planet to explore, every week there was a challenging interpersonal (interspecies?!) relationship to develop, the good guys always won, camaraderie reigned supreme. Even logic and reason, while important, were shown to be inferior to human intuition and compassion. Every episode left you with the feeling that things just would just get better and better. What an exciting, upbeat, pleasantly challenging universe we would encounter in the future! Pop culture was profoundly affected: "Beam me up Scotty!"

NASA Briefing Charts: Mars Exploration Program Status Planetary Sciences Subcommittee of NAC

"Expect a requirement for additional resources to restore reserves to adequate levels ($15-115M), predicted by several different cost models - Amount to be determined this calendar year after more progress has made on technical issues" ... "Impacts must be contained in Planetary Division - The Mars Program will repay non-Mars "loans".

"Impacts increase to cover mid- to upper-range budget needs, in order: Further reduce US portion of Mars-16/18/20 missions; Delay LADEE and ILN missions; Delay New Frontiers 3 phase B selection"

Planetary Science Decadal Survey Steering Committee Summary, SpacePolicyOnline

"OMB's Amy Kaminski and OSTP's Damon Wells strongly advised the committee to keep its recommended program within the bounds of the FY2010 budget now under consideration by Congress and its "outyear" projections. They stressed they were not trying to forecast the future, but in light of country's economic situation, they view budget increases for NASA as unlikely. Their message was in contrast to what the committee heard from NASA's Jim Green the previous day. Dr. Green urged the committee to wait for the FY2011 budget that will be released next February, which he believes will better reflect Obama Administration priorities."

Mars rover devours budgets, Nature

"The rover's latest price tag is US$2.286 billion - 40% more than the official $1.63-billion estimate made in 2006. But even that will not be enough. In a 'breach report' due to be handed to the US Congress by the end of July, NASA will report that the troublesome mission, now also called Curiosity, needs $15115 million more on top of the $2.286-billion estimate. NASA has so far avoided delays and cancellations to other missions by raiding technology-development funds within the Mars programme. But officials are now considering delays to two planned Moon missions. "The time for some tough decisions is here," said NASA science chief Ed Weiler. He broke the news to planetary scientists at an advisory-committee meeting on 9 July at NASA headquarters in Washington DC, along with Jim Green, director of the planetary science division, and Mars programme chief Doug McCuistion."

Keith's note: It is quite obvious that JPL is in complete control of how Ed sets SMD priorities and that he is powerless to stop JPL from getting what it wants - no matter what collateral damage is done to the rest of NASA's space and planetary science portfolio.

According to sources who heard Weiler speak. during his presentation at a meeting to discuss the NRC's Decade Survey for Planetary Sciences, Ed Weiler said that the 2020 Outer Planets Flagship mission to Europa cannot be paid for within the currently anticipated SMD Planetary Sciences Division run out. Weiler also went out of his way to dump on much of NASA's current lunar science mission planning making a point of noting that its missions were not selected via peer review. He also urged the NRC committee to take the money that was being considered for future lunar missions and to give it to SMD. As for cost increases within MSL sources report that the $115 million figure cited in Nature is just the beginning of a new cost overrun and that this number will grow substantially in the weeks to come. As Clive Neal from the University of Notre Dame is quoted in the Nature article observed "Where's it going to end?"

Of course, any time that anyone in the space science community dares to report what Weiler has said or plans to do, Ed mounts a witch hunt to find out who they are with dire repercussions threatened. Just watch as Ed mounts yet another witch hunt over this topic.

SMD PAO promised to send me copies of Weiler's charts yesterday. I have yet to get them.

Stay tuned.

Keith's update: Just got the carts from SMD PAO; NASA Briefing Charts: Mars Exploration Program Status Planetary Sciences Subcommittee of NAC

STS-127 Launch Update

NASA STS-127 Launch Blog

@NASAKennedy: SCRUB - no liftoff for space shuttle Endeavour. Unfortunately, weather didn't cooperate. Next try is Monday 6:51 p.m. EDT.

@InsideKSC The ground launch sequencer initialization has been completed. Launch remains set for 7:13 p.m. EDT this evening from Pad 39-A at KSC.

@Astro_Jose Mis companeros de generacion Chris Cassidy y Tom Marsburn estan bordando Endeavour.Se ven bien an NASA TV!

@brianshiro Brian just returned from his first EVA!: just returned from his first EVA! http://tinyurl.com/nu7wlw

@SpaceFrontier Attending NewSpace 2009 Confernece @ NASA Ames, CA July 18-20? Bring extra $ for a NewSpace Silent Auction & Raffle! -> http://biturl.cc/lX

@milesobrien Crew members are undergoing final suit checks and climbing aboard the shutle. Watch our Spaceflightnow.com webcast! http://tr.im/s0Ya

@PavilionLake New blog post: Sometimes you get some answers, sometimes you're left with more questions http://bit.ly/CByhm

ARC Employee Survey

NASA ARC Internal Memo: Message from the Center Director Ames Employee Survey

"NASA Ames Research Center will take part in an Employee Survey to assess employee satisfaction, as well as leadership and management practices contributing to organizational performance. The survey will be conducted by the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) between July 6, 2009 and July 24, 2009. I encourage you to participate in this survey, which should take about 20 minutes. All civil servant employees will be receiving an email from OPM that provides a login/password combination and link to the survey. Your confidentiality is guaranteed. Survey results will be ready for distribution within the year with the goal of making Ames an even more effective and better place to work."

Keith's note: The NASA ARC employee survey is now online. Download.

@NASA The shuttle's weather brief scheduled for 9:30a has been delayed to 10a. No issues are expected. Fueling commentary now ~10:30a.

@bnjacobs The storm that produced lightning at the shuttle launch pad. Photo courtesy of Bill Ingalls! http://yfrog.com/9zjbtj

@brianshiro Brian is enjoying the expedition but missing Henry and Holli http://tinyurl.com/m9pcb2

@milesobrien Beautiful morning in Cocoa Beach. Wish they could launch now. But 7:39pmET/2339UTC is when ISS will be overhead. Only a 5 min window.
about 1 hour ago from TwitterBerry

@HMP Beautiful sunny warm day today. Time to bring our analogue mission-class exploration support systems to full power!

@jeff_foust "Earth to U.S. Sen. Richard Shelby: The conquest of space wont be won by odious pork-barrel politics." http://is.gd/1uDeF

@ESAHerschel As the images and spectra released yesterday were "trials" with uncalibrated instruments we will expect far better and deeper images later.

@NASA_Ames[News] Author Andrew Chaikin speaks at NASA Ames: Award-winning science journalist and space historian And.. http://tinyurl.com/lbee5g

Save Ares Update

Key contractors meet with Sen. Richard Shelby about Marshall Space Flight Center's Ares rocket, Huntsville Times

"Graffeo said it appeared that the aerospace contractors did not have a public support strategy. "It's clear now that they do not. Regardless, Sen. Shelby will continue to work to see that the time and money we have invested to close the gap in manned space flight is not wasted," he said. Many within NASA, along with aerospace leaders and space experts, are divided on Ares. Chief among the concerns are that the rocket will not be ready in time to continue carrying crews to the space station by 2015. To Keith Cowing, who runs the independent Web site NASAWatch.com, no matter who makes the request meetings the end result is a type of lobbying."

@PeterDiamandis: The Students of ISU & SU (@singularityu) have secured a Zero-G flight for Saturday. 4 seats remaining! Anyone else want to go?

@bnjacobs: You know you've always wanted to download your very own X-15 poster http://tr.im/rJyy

@PavilionLake New blog post: Not your average field cuisine - high nutrition in the field http://bit.ly/30PPZ

@LCROSS_NASA Where am I now? Day 22. Speedometer reads 0.74km/s (1665mph) (starting to speed up as I have passed apogee). Odometer reads 1,657,200 km.

@worden At my third #scifoo09 meeting at Google - 200 really cool people. Great fun!

@brianshiro Space Music Videos: Living in the isolated environment of FMARS with a small group of people http://tinyurl.com/ktanla

"A team of eight astronauts, (four men and four women), from five different countries, set out on a mysterious six-year mission that covers 13 billion kilometers. Their entire journey is monitored, every emotion captured on camera, and they soon realize there may be more to the mission than what they were told." Or, as the voice over on the trailer puts it: "8 astronauts. Their lives, loves, and passions ... could blow the universe ... wide open."

Meanwhile ....

Couple in NASA love triangle now set to marry

"Oefelein popped the question on June 20 while on a 110-mile canoe trip on Beaver Creek in Alaska. "That night, Billy O. retrieved a ring he had hidden in the fishing box and proposed to his live on bended knee," the announcement said."

Preview below:

Hugo Delgado

Reader note: "Hugo Delgado passed away on Thursday, after a valiant battle with cancer. Hugo was a great human, a loving father and husband, and will be so greatly missed by the entire NASA Family."

Details of Hugo Delgado's funeral services are as follows:

NASA Solicitation: Biography of Dr. Thomas Paine

"This notice is being issued as a Request for Proposal(RFP) NNH09291335R for the NASA History Division. The NASA History Division has a requirement for the commercial service of writing a complete scholarly book-length biography of Dr. Thomas Paine, NASA's third Administrator. This biography shall focus on Dr. Paine's time at NASA (as Deputy Administrator, Acting Administrator, and finally Administrator) and the time afterward when he served as chairman of the National Commission on Space (1985-1986) and as a member of the Augustine Commission on the Future of the U.S. Civil Space Program (1990). Period of Performance and Contract Type: The period of performance for this contract is thirty six (36) months from the date of award. NASA intends to award a firm fixed price contract."

Official Bio

"During his leadership the first seven Apollo manned missions were flown, in which 20 astronauts orbited the earth, 14 traveled to the Moon and four walked upon its surface."

Pioneering the Space Frontier, "Paine Commission", 1986

"For cargo transport, we propose that a new vehicle be put into operation by the year 2000 with a goal of achieving operation costs of $200 per pound delivered into orbit. ... For destinations beyond Earth orbit, a new transfer vehicle will be required. In the coming era of fully reusable Earth-to-orbit vehicles, the needs of Government and industry for the reliable emplacement of expensive satellites beyond low Earth orbit will require new space-based "workhorse" vehicles designed for flexibility through modular systems. Basic components should be capable of being ganged, or provided with extra tankage, for higher energy missions."

Keith's note: Sources report that Northrop Grumman Space Technology (NGST), the prime contractor on James Webb Space Telescope told its subcontractor, Ball Aerospace, that NGST was out of money for Webb. This of course points back to money issues at NASA. In response Ball reportedly stopped work the program. Sources report that NGST subsequently told Ball that they now have money. As a result Ball should start up again on Monday. I am awaiting word from NASA SMD PAO on this matter.

Keith's update: According to NASA PAO "NASA has checked with Northrop Grumman and Ball and confirmed that no stop work actions have been taken at Ball.Work on JWST continues as planned."

NASA's Ares partners say they're open to moon-rocket ideas, Orlando Sentinel

"Early last month, top executives from the major Constellation contractors -- Boeing, Lockheed Martin, solid rocket builder ATK and rocket-engine manufacturer Pratt Whitney -- were in Washington, vowing to oppose any alternatives. According to industry officials present, former astronaut and Boeing Vice President Brewster Shaw, Lockheed Vice President John Karas and other executives met with the staff of powerful U.S. Sen. Richard Shelby to discuss creating a media campaign to counter Ares I critics and alternative ideas. Shelby, R-Ala., is a fierce protector of NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center, which is designing the Ares rockets."

Google Earth event hints at moon mapping, CNet

"At least the residents of the moon are unlikely to be annoyed by the Google Street View car. Google announced plans Thursday to hold a press conference on July 20 in Washington, D.C., to discuss "a very special announcement about the newest addition to Google Earth," according to an invitation sent to reporters. Further details were not included, but it's not too hard to guess what Google might be up to here."

Getting NASA's Groove Back, Business Week

"Among other things, the reports suggests the creation of an independent organization within NASA to develop cutting-edge technologies--much like the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) does for the Defense Dept. "Many people no longer believe that NASA is pushing the frontier in space," says Ray Colladay, vice-chairman of the panel, in an interview."

Give NASA the chance to be next Google, Houston Chronicle

"NASA is in an absolutely unique position to prototype a 21st-century organization. Given current political and budget constraints, many may consider the mission near impossible, but NASA has a mandate for change. It is expected to be creative, innovative and future-oriented. The public expects most of government and the private sector to be safe and conservative, but people understand that NASA must take risks to achieve great things with limited resources."

ESA and NASA establish a joint Mars exploration initiative, ESA

"On 29 and 30 June the ESA Director of Science and Robotic Exploration, David Southwood, met NASA's Associate Administrator for Science, Ed Weiler, in Plymouth, UK, to establish a way for a progressive programme for exploration of the Red Planet. The outcome of the bilateral meeting was an agreement to create a Mars Exploration Joint Initiative (MEJI) that will provide a framework for the two agencies to define and implement their scientific, programmatic and technological goals at Mars."

Keith's note: Why is it that NASA has not issued a press release on this topic?

Statement of Charles Bolden Before the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation

"Today we have to choose. Either we can invest in building upon our hard earned world technological leadership or we can abandon this commitment, ceding it to others who are working vigilantly to push the frontiers of space."

Bolden recalls golden days of NASA, Houston Chronicle

"In his words to the panel, Bolden recalled the purposeful days of the early manned space program when "a young president and a bold Congress inspired the American people to have the courage to take action in areas previously unthinkable." Bolden added: "Can we do any less today? I think not."

Charlie Bolden's vision for NASA, Nature

"Several themes emerged in the responses from Bolden and Lori Garver, appointed to be Bolden's deputy after handling Obama's campaign space policies. First, they would emphasize the Earth-exploring aspects of NASA -- a shift towards Earth science that's already being seen in NASA budgets. "We have to look at Earth, our planet, and NASA has to lead in providing remote sensors, space-borne sensors, to understand not just what's out there, but what's in here," said Bolden."

Former astronaut vows to restore NASA's glory, McClathcy

"Bolden, 62, politely but pointedly rebuffed former President George W. Bush's ambitious plan to land an American on Mars by 2020. "It's a long way to Mars," Bolden said. "I want to go to Mars. I think everybody wants to go to Mars. (But) Mars is a 20-year venture. . . . I cannot go out and tell a kid, 'I want you to come to work for NASA because we're going to Mars.'"

Ad Astra VX-200 Plasma Engine Demonstrates Superconducting First Stage at Full Power

"Ad Astra Rocket Company has successfully demonstrated operation of its VX-200 plasma engine first stage at full power and under superconducting conditions in tests conducted today at the company's Houston laboratory. This achievement is a key milestone in the engine's development and the first time a superconducting plasma rocket has been operated at that power level."

Keith's note: During his confirmation hearing today, Charlie Bolden noted that: "Franklin Chang Diaz is my idol - he has a VASIMIR rocket that will take us to Mars in 39 days."

Keith's note: Confirmation hearings for Charlie Bolden and Lori Garver start at 2:10 pm EDT today. Watch the hearings on NASA TV

Keith's 2:55 pm EDT note: The Committee has recessed. No word when they will be back. Meanwhile, sit back and enjoy some ancient Apollo-era NASA movie footage on NASA TV.

Keith's 3:10 pm EDT note: The hearings are now underway.

U.S. Space Program Should Align With Broader National Goals

"The U.S. civil space program should be aligned with widely acknowledged national challenges, says a new report from the National Research Council. Aligning the program with pressing issues - environmental, economic, and strategic - is a national imperative, and will continue to grow in importance. Coordination across federal agencies, combined with a competent technical work force, effective infrastructure, and investment in technology and innovation, would lay the foundation for a purposeful, strategic U.S. space program that would serve national interests.

In aligning civil space activities with national objectives, several priorities are clear, the report says. Earth stewardship should be an important focus of future space activities, with NASA and NOAA leading the formation of an international satellite-observing system to monitor global climate change. In addition, NASA should cooperate with other agencies and international partners to continue scientific exploration in space, seeking knowledge of the universe and searching for life beyond Earth. The report also recommends revitalizing NASA's advanced technology development program by establishing a DARPA-like organization within NASA to support priority civil and commercial space programs, and development of "dual-use" space technologies, with both civil and defense applications."

Keith's note: Kathy Nado, currently director of business development for NASA and NOAA programs at L3 EITS will begin working back at NASA ESMD on commercialization efforts starting 20 July.

NASA has successfully demonstrated an alternate system for future astronauts to escape their launch vehicle. A simulated launch of the Max Launch Abort System, or MLAS, took place Wednesday morning at 6:26 a.m. at NASA's Wallops Flight Facility, Wallops Island, Va.

Video below

NASA tests Alternate Launch Abort System for Astronaut Escape

"NASA has successfully demonstrated an alternate system for future astronauts to escape their launch vehicle. A simulated launch of the Max Launch Abort System, or MLAS, took place Wednesday morning at 6:26 a.m. at NASA's Wallops Flight Facility, Wallops Island, Va. The unpiloted launch tested an alternate concept for safely propelling a future spacecraft and its crew away from a problem on the launch pad or during ascent. The MLAS consists of four solid rocket abort motors inside a bullet-shaped composite fairing attached to a full-scale mockup of the crew module."

Keith's earlier 8:25 am note: MLAS (Max Launch Abort System) was launched this morning from Wallops. But who knew? Other than several Twitter posts by Wallops PAO (if you don't see them as they flash by you miss them) there was no media advisory, press release, or any other outreach to media. ESMD did nothing as well. I have requested (multiple times) to get these things from them. Now there is nothing to be found online at Wallops.

Curiously this page at Wallops says updated yesterday says "Posted by RCC on 2009-07-07 at 13:30:39 EDT The next rocket launch web cast from Wallops Island is scheduled for early August." August? No mention of any webcast for the next day's event. Why webcast the launch eh? The launch was 2 hours ago and there are no photos or video - or any mention whatsoever about the launch. Yet the Virginia Pilot (apparently Wallops PAO plays local favorites) has managed to get a story and a photo online.

People at Wallops often complain that they are overlooked, or seen by many as some remote NASA outpost where they launch small rockets and host those useless training sessions that civil servants have to go to. When their own PAO falls down on the job like this it is small wonder why Wallops has such a lackluster and inaccurate public image outside its local zip code.

"This was my first Deepworker flight since last year, and I was pleased that flying the submersibles came back similar to skiing or riding a bicycle. We have been planning the science and operational metrics for this expedition for many months now, and it was both fun and exciting to get back into the water and execute the plan for real. I was constantly marveling at how cool it was to be seeing things that human eyes have never seen before, like exploring Mars or time warping back to pre-Cambrian oceans with today's technology."

Video below

Review Panel Hears Rival Plans for New Spaceflights, NY Times

"In an interview, Steve Cook, manager of the Ares Project at the Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala., said that the cost estimate for developing the Ares I and seeing it through its first manned flight was $35 billion. Contrary to the claims of critics, he said, costs have not spiraled out of control. "We've got a stable plan to get us to 2015," Mr. Cook said."

NASA Constellation Blog: Where Things Stand with Constellation (Jeff Hanley)

"Posted on Apr 08, 2009 04:41:33 PM: While there has been moderate growth relative to early cost estimates, these increases are contained within the projected budget profile to which the agency has worked to for the last three years. The development cost for achieving the first crewed flight today is roughly $30 billion, far short of estimates which have been recently bandied about."

Keith's 6 July note: In April 2009 Jeff Hanley pegged the cost as "roughly $30 billion". Two months later Steve Cook said that the cost was "$35 billion". Gee, that's more than a 10% difference in barely 2 months - from two guys who should know the numbers. Did ESMD's "rough costs" go up by 10% in the space of two months? Or do Steve and Jeff have different numbers? What will it be 2 months from now? Then again Jeff Hanley and Steve Cook have disagreed on things before. The Augustine Commission has been provided with some rather detailed internal cost data - not all of which synchs with the current publicly avowed numbers. Stay tuned.

What are the real costs of NASA's Constellation program?, Orlando Sentinel

"In a letter to the editor on April 7, 2009 in response to the Sentinel article, Doug Cooke, associate administrator for NASA's Exploration System s Management Directorate, wrote: "The cost of this initial operating capability of hardware and systems is still at $36 billion." That figure in part is based on a study by NASA budget analysts in August 2008. A slide of that study is used as an illustrationat here and can be seen in greater detail via a link at the bottom of this post."

Keith's 7 July update: I am starting to get a headache. On 7 April 2009 Doug Cooke says the cost will be "$36 billion". The next Day Jeff Hanley wrote that it was "roughly $30 billion". Then on 18 June 2009 Steve Cook says that it is "$35 billion". The cost goes up, then it goes down, then it goes up again - with each of three of ESMD's senior management coming up with a different number.

NASA Ares Projects Plan - CxP 70057 Revision B - August 12, 2008

"3.8.7 Termination Review Criteria - The Ares will be subject to a Termination Review if its schedule projections show that it cannot meet the approved Ares I IOC date or if its cost is projected to exceed the approved run-out (including reserves) by more than 25 percent. The PMC shall make a recommendation to the GPMC as to whether a Termination Review should be conducted. The Headquarters GPMC would make this recommendation to the NASA Administrator."

An Analysis of NASA's Plans for Continuing Human Spaceflight After Retiring the Space Shuttle, 3 Nov 2008, CBO

"The potential problems that those risks represent could require additional time and money to resolve. NASA's current plans include an allowance of almost $7 billion to ensure that the Ares 1 and Orion achieve initial operating capability according to the current schedule. (Unless otherwise noted, dollar amounts are expressed as 2009 dollars of budget authority.) NASA staff indicate that those reserves imply a 65 percent level of confidence that the IOC milestone will be met as planned. However, CBO's 2004 analysis of the growth of costs in previous NASA programs indicates that the costs that the agency currently foresees for the Ares 1 and Orion programs could rise by 50 percent. Accommodating that cost growth would require as much as $7 billion more than NASA has budgeted, CBO estimates. Moreover, if NASA's total budget grew by no more than 2 percent annually, such cost increases, in CBO's estimation, would imply a delay of as much as 18 months beyond March 2015 for the vehicles to achieve the IOC milestone."

GAO: Area I and Orion Project Risk and Key Indicators to Measure Progress, 3 April 2008

"All these unknowns, as well as others, leave NASA in the position of being unable to provide firm cost estimates for the projects at this point. Meanwhile, tight deadlines are putting additional pressure on both the Ares I and Orion projects. Future requirements changes raise risks that both projects could experience cost and schedule problems."

GAO Report: NASA: Assessments of Selected Large-Scale Projects, 2 March 2009

"Ares I Crew Launch Vehicle (CLV) - NASA has not released official cost and schedule estimates to complete the Ares I program. NASA officials stated that these estimates will be made available when the project moves into implementation, or at the conclusion of the Constellation Programs non-advocate review. However, the value of various development contracts for the Ares I have increased by $304 million since initial award, and the first manned launch has slipped from 2014 to 2015."

NASA Astronaut Jose Hernandez Starts Agency's First Bilingual Twitter

"NASA astronaut Jose Hernandez, set to fly aboard space shuttle Discovery in August, is providing insights about his training on Twitter in both English and Spanish. It will be the agency's first bilingual Twitter."

Keith's 6 July note: Its one thing to talk about use of Twitter and other social media. Its quite another to embrace and adopt these tools as part of doing business. I just got a copy of this 2 July press release from JSC today - 7 July (it was sent by their listserv yesterday and took a day to get to me). Curiously, the release is about using Twitter - yet JSC still has not mentioned it on their own Twitter yet the news media has already responded to this news on 2 July (AP) via the press release issued by NASA HQ last week. In contrast to JSC's Twitter, NASA's main Twitter got the news out about @Astro_Jose within minutes of the press release going out.

JSC's Social Media Working Group has a Twitter feed @JSC_SMWG . Alas, they only let a small few inside NASA follow it. I sent a request to follow @JSC_SMWG several days ago - no response - or access - yet.

Keith's 7 July note: Well, JSC has yet to update its Twitter feed regarding @Astro_Jose. Why use an instantaneous mode of updating people in an instantaneous fashion, eh? And my request to follow @JSC_SMWG has been ignored by JSC so I filed a FOIA request asking for all of its contents (Tweets).



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