Using the ISS Without Going Through CASIS (Update)

Teledyne to Develop Space-Based Digital Imaging Capability

"Teledyne Technologies Incorporated announced today that its subsidiary, Teledyne Brown Engineering, Inc., in Huntsville, Ala., was awarded a Cooperative Agreement by NASA to foster the commercial utilization of the International Space Station. Under the agreement, Teledyne Brown will develop the Multi-User System for Earth Sensing (MUSES), an Earth imaging platform, as part of the company's new commercial space-based digital imaging business. Teledyne expects to provide the first commercial imaging system on board the facility."

Keith's 14 Jun note: There is no mention of CASIS or the ISS National Lab in this press release. No mention is made on the CASIS website. No mention is made at the NASA ISS National Lab website either. I thought this was the sort of thing NASA wanted CASIS to be doing? Guess not. It would seem that one does not have to deal with CASIS in order to use the ISS.

Keith's 15 Jun update: According to Twitter posts provided last night by CASIS employee Justin Kugler (@phalanx) the TBE agreement was done independent of CASIS: "MUSES was created as a National Lab Enabling project. It is not new. TBE registered with CASIS as an implementation partner" and "TBE is an implementation partner and MUSES preceded the transition. And we have been helping them with potential users.". Kugler added that "NASA is retaining the projects they are funding because of legal requirements."

This contradicts efforts underway whereby NASA has been seeking to transfer existing ISS utilization agreements (Space Act Agreements, MOUs etc.) from NASA to CASIS. Not everyone wants to transfer their agreement to CASIS, however. Some companies and organizations that have been contacted by NASA have declined to make the switch. In addition, people are currently going to existing ISS utilization offices at NASA field centers to try and negotiate deals for ISS utilization in areas that CASIS is supposed to be covering because they do not want to work through CASIS.

This begs the question: why does CASIS exist if NASA can ignore it when it wants to? Of course the answer is simple: Congress forced NASA to do this - and this is the way NASA set this whole thing up. NASA retains the right to do some things on ISS while CASIS gets the rest - maybe. There are substantial overlaps between their respective purviews as well as some murky areas and neither entity seems to want to cooperate with the other so as to put forth a cohesive ISS Utilization process for the public to see - and (ideally) make the most of.

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This page contains a single entry by Keith Cowing published on June 15, 2012 9:54 AM.

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