Is Planetary Society Giving OSIRIS-REx Naming Rights To Donors? Update

Keith's note: According to this press release from Deals Secure Group Holding Company GP, Elite Capital & Co. Limited, and Dr. Faisal Khazaal, LLD. Law Group, LP: "Dr. Khazaal was one of those who participated in the funding of the spacecraft LightSail. Being recognized for his participation he was granted ownership of a square centimeter of this spacecraft as a symbolic property for his belief in the importance of space science."

According to the Planetary Society "We also collected 440,000 names from well-wishers that wanted to symbolically join the seven-year mission. One copy of those names is stored aboard the spacecraft's sample return capsule, and will plunge back to Earth in 2023. Another copy, aboard OSIRIS-REx itself, will slip into a permanent heliocentric orbit."

Putting people's names on a small data storage device in a spacecraft is a long-standing NASA tradition. But, since when does the Planetary Society get to give someone "ownership" of a piece of an active NASA spacecraft - symbolic or otherwise? And why is this being done in exchange for someone funding a non-NASA project like LightSail? The OSIRIS-REx spacecraft belongs to the taxpayers who paid for it - not donors to a non-profit organization. Usually when a press release about a NASA mission is issued, NASA has to approve it. That is apparently not what happened here. I have asked NASA PAO for clarification.

Keith's update: According to one of my reader's posted comment - just posted - "One of the LightSail Kickstarter perks is a certificate with a 1cm square of the extra light sail material." As such this may be an example of lack of a skilled editor who is on the alert for bad writing i.e. what does "this spacecraft" mean? The press release is about OSIRIS-REx - bad grammar certainly serves conflate/equate the issuer's LightSail donation and OSIRIS-REx. That said NASA PAO says that it did not see this press release prior to its issuance and are checking the facts behind its statements. That is not how NASA EPO partners are supposed to work these things. Having a skilled set of eyes at PAO can avoid misleading press releases like this. Planetary Society and University of Arizona need to get their act together in this regard. Its a long mission, so there is time to tweak the EPO.

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This page contains a single entry by Keith Cowing published on September 13, 2016 8:19 PM.

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