September 2017 Archives

Vice President Pence to Visit NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center

"Vice President Mike Pence will visit NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama, on Monday, Sept. 25. The Vice President will tour Marshall to get an update on the progress of the Space Launch System rocket and International Space Station science operations as the agency prepares for missions to deep space, around the Moon and ultimately to Mars."

Lisa Mazzuca (NASA GSFC), Finalist, 2017 Promising Innovations Medal, Service to America Medals

"In August 2010, a single-engine airplane crashed in the Alaskan wilderness killing five passengers, including former Sen. Ted Stevens. His friend, former NASA Administrator Sean O'Keefe, survived the crash and was stranded on the side of a mountain with three others for more than 18 hours while awaiting rescue and medical assistance. One reason the search and rescue team took so long to reach the crash site was the failure of a small distress beacon in the aircraft, called an emergency transmitter, which is supposed to signal authorities and provide the approximate location of those in need of help. This accident, coupled with the disappearance of a Malaysian airliner in 2014 and other instances where emergency beacon systems failed, prompted NASA's Lisa Mazzuca to examine the growing problem. Through two years of research and testing, Mazzuca's team developed a sturdier, more reliable, second-generation transmitter and an upgraded global satellite system to help responders locate crash sites more precisely. "This is a huge development. It's going to help people out in the most distressing circumstances and will have an enormous impact on scores of people who may not otherwise have had a chance to see another day," O'Keefe said."

A Real Life-Saving NASA Spinoff

NASA FINDER Technology Aids Search Following Mexico Earthquake, NASA JPL

"Disaster relief workers on the ground in Mexico City were responding to this week's 7.1-magnitude earthquake by using a suitcase-sized radar instrument capable of detecting human heartbeats under rubble. This technology was developed by NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California, and the Department of Homeland Security's Science and Technology Directorate in Washington. FINDER, which stands for Finding Individuals for Disaster and Emergency Response, was developed as a collaboration between the two agencies. Since 2015, two private companies have acquired licenses for the technology. They have since taken it to disaster zones, training relief workers to use it and manufacturing new units."

http://images.spaceref.com/news/2015/finder11.jpgUsing Space Radar To Hear Human Heartbeats in Nepal, SpaceRef (with detailed hardware and operations information)

"On 24 April 2015 a 7.9 magnitude earthquake struck Nepal - a nation woefully unprepared to respond to such an event. Nearly 300 aftershocks of magnitude 4.0 or greater have rattled the country for the past month. One especially large aftershock of magnitude 7.4 on 12 May caused the already-shattered infrastructure to collapse further. Nepal needed help - help that did not rely upon a non-functional infrastructure. Much of the help was traditional. But some of that help arrived in the form of assets in space and space-derived assets on the ground. One piece of NASA-developed hardware utilized in Nepal was able to detect human heartbeat amidst huge piles of rubble. And it saved lives. Other machines orbited overhead in space analyzing the earthquake itself and how Nepal changed as a result. Both technologies shared similar technology."

NASA and DHS sponsored a demonstration of FINDER technology at the Virginia Task Force One Training Facility in Lorton, Virginia, on 7 May [2015]. Personnel were able to find someone hiding in an unknown location in the rubble at the facility. Several dozen media were in attendance. As best as I can tell, I was the only one covering space technology who was there. Unfortunate.

Arecibo Post-Hurricane Status

Keith's note: This memo from the SETI Institute captures the latest from Arecibo: "The Arecibo Observatory, like the rest of Puerto Rico, was subjected to Hurricane Maria earlier this week: A group of the observatory staff has been sheltering on-site since Tuesday. Internet and telephone connections from the observatory went down Tuesday night, and remain down. Two members of the observatory staff, Angel Vasquez and Joe Taylor, are ham radio operators and have managed to get messages from the observatory to the city of Arecibo and from there off of the island (Angel is safe at his home in Arecibo, where the power grid is down and most of the roads are impassable). Everyone at the observatory is safe; but the road out of the observatory is blocked with downed trees, fallen rocks, and washouts. There has been significant but not catastrophic damage to the telescope: https://twitter.com/nadiamdrake/status/910999390709354496. Other observatory staff members who were sheltering at their homes across the island have been checking in, although not everyone has been accounted for yet. It will be several days before the road to the observatory can be cleared. The group at the observatory has food for a week, their own water supply, and enough fuel to keep the on-site generators running for a few weeks. Additional information from the observatory should be available over the next couple of days."

NASA nominee promoting 'consensus' agenda for space program

"Sean O'Keefe, NASA administrator during George W. Bush's first term, applauded Bridenstine's objectives. "I think he's picked a pretty good selection of priorities to pursue that will establish cohesion, bring aboard folks to support it, all the kinds of cautionary things that are appropriate in pursuing this," said O'Keefe, a professor of public administration at Syracuse University."

Bridenstine Wins Shelby's ENdorsement, Identifies Key NASA CHallenges, Space Policy Online

"Sen. Richard Shelby (R-AL) endorsed Rep. Jim Bridenstine (R-OK) to be the next Administrator of NASA today. Shelby chairs the Senate Appropriations subcommittee that funds NASA, making his support quite significant. Bridenstine also has submitted answers to questions posed by the Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee in preparation for his nomination hearing. They lay out what he sees as the key challenges facing the agency. ... Bridenstine also has been criticized for his views on climate change based largely on a statement he made on the floor of the House in 2013 asking that President Obama apologize to the people of Oklahoma for spending more money on climate change research than weather forecasting and warning. "Global temperatures stopped rising 10 years ago," he said, which is incorrect. While temperatures have fluctuated over the centuries, he argued, that is due to natural forces, not humans. ... More broadly, Bridenstine made his mark in space circles through introduction in the last Congress of the American Space Renaissance Act (ASRA), which he referred to as a repository of provisions that could be inserted into various pieces of legislation as appropriate. They dealt with a broad range of civil, commercial, and national security space issues."

Space Florida backs NASA nominee, but senators aren't so sure, Orlando Sentinel

"Space Florida, the agency leading Florida's efforts in reviving the space industry at Cape Canaveral, praised President Donald Trump's new nominee to lead NASA, but Florida's two U.S. senators aren't embracing last week's pick. Space Florida CEO Frank DiBello called Oklahoma Republican U.S. Rep. Jim Bridenstine "a dedicated student of the industry and a passionate champion in Congress for the maturation of the space economy." "He will no doubt apply the same knowledge, dedication, and passion to the leadership of NASA, for the benefit of all space stakeholders," DiBello said in a prepared statement. "New leadership at NASA, combined with the regeneration of the National Space Council and passage of the NASA Transition Authorization Act of 2017, will provide the guidance and stability necessary for NASA to continue to explore new frontiers, advance technology and sustain U.S. leadership in space."

Trump's pick for NASA lays out agenda and answers critics, Ars Technica

"Although Bridenstine is a politician, there are likely few people in Congress more qualified to lead the space agency. As a Naval aviator, he flew missions off of aircraft carriers and combat missions in Iraq and Afghanistan. As a member of Congress, Bridenstine immersed himself in space-related committees and policy decisions, seeking to reform US aerospace efforts in both civil and military space. The conservative has previously outlined broad goals to modernize the US spaceflight enterprise with his American Space Enterprise Act."

Keith's note: The confirmation schedule has been a little uncertain. For a while it looked as if there would be a confirmation hearing on 27 September. But nothing has appeared on the Senate Commerce Science and Transportation Committee hearing calendar nor is any mention made on the nomination status page. That said, hearing preparations are already underway at NASA HQ. The support for Bridenstine's nomination offered by Space Florida's Frank DiBello is likely going to soften the stance taken by Rubio and Nelson.

Rough Weather Ahead For Arecibo

Larry Taylor

"Renowned lunar scientist Dr. Lawrence (Larry) Taylor succumbed to a short bout with brain cancer at 8:53 AM EDT on Monday, September 18, 2017. This year Larry received the Michael J. Wargo Exploration Science Award for his significant contributions to the integration of exploration and planetary science throughout his career. He was a lively and colorful presence in the lunar science community for many decades, and we will never forget his kind humanity and devotion to his work."

Keith's note: I do not recall the NASA SLS mafia heading out to a specific state to talk to see how local companies are helping out on SLS - at least not recently. Is this just a one-off thing to curry favor in the Vice President's home state - or are they going to start doing this for every state in the union? And are the going to do this for other NASA programs? If this is a national effort then that would be an interesting way to demonstrate just how wide an industrial base is required to build large space hardware. But if this is just a dog and pony stunt to kiss up to the VP then its value will be minimal. This also smells like the beginning of a slow motion effort to assure the SLS faction that NASA has got their back.

Checking this page at NASA.gov you get this list of companies that support SLS/Orion and GSDO *(Ground Systems Development and Operations) in Indiana. So there is certainly a there - there - as there is across the country.

So NASA, what is the next state that the SLS road show will be visiting?

http://images.spaceref.com/news/2017/indiana.jpg

Biographical Information Submitted by NASA Administrator Nominee James Bridenstine

"I believe NASA's top three challenges are:

- Maintaining consistency and constancy of purpose while establishing a consensus agenda that can bridge multiple administrations regardless of party. This is essential to avoid resource-wasting program cancellations and maintain high morale both within the Agency and its contractor workforce;
- Maintaining and building international partnerships while ending dependency on unfriendly nations to avoid exploitable vulnerabilities;
- Bringing together traditional space companies and new space entrepreneurs into a comprehensive NASA vision to maximize resources and create efficiencies."

"My committee assignments and subcommittee chairmanship placed me in a position of responsibility for oversight of America's civil, commercial, and national security space. NASA is an incredible leadership and soft power tool for the United States of America. With NASA's global leadership, we will pioneer the solar system, sending humans back to the Moon, to Mars, and beyond. This requires a consistent, sustainable strategy for deep space exploration. I am fully familiar with NASA's role as a purchasing agent for NOAA and how critical this partnership is to protect lives and property. As a United States Representative from Oklahoma, I have led efforts to improve severe weather prediction and I have come to appreciate how complex Earth is as a system. NASA must continue studying our home planet. Unfortunately, Earth science sometimes gets pitted against planetary science for resources. This is not in the best interest of NASA, the United States, or the world. Mars once had a magnetic field, rivers, lakes, and an ocean on its north pole. At some point, Mars changed dramatically and we should strive to understand why. Studying other planets can inform our understanding of Earth. NASA must continue to advance both Earth science and planetary science for the benefit of mankind."

Facts Contradict House Science Committee Majority's Attack on NOAA's Climate Scientists

"On Sunday, the British tabloid The Mail on Sunday, was forced to publish an "adverse adjudication" against it by the Independent Press Standards Organization (IPSO), the independent regulator of the British newspaper and magazine industry, regarding a climate change story it published on February 5, 2017, by controversial reporter David Rose. The article, with the original online headline: Exposed: How world leaders were duped into investing billions over manipulated global warming data, was largely based on an interview with Dr. John Bates, a former National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) scientist about his criticism of a NOAA climate study. In its published findings, the IPSO concluded that the article was both inaccurate and misleading. ... Science Committee Republicans had seized on the misleading The Mail on Sunday article and published their own press release the same day the article appeared on February 5, 2017 with a headline that also twisted the comments by Dr. Bates, incorrectly asserting that Dr. Bates had said NOAA colleagues "manipulated climate records.""

Former NOAA Scientist Confirms Colleagues Manipulated Climate Records, House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology (Feb 2017)

"U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Science, Space, and Technology members today responded to reports about the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's (NOAA) 2015 climate change study ("the Karl study"). According to Dr. John Bates, the recently retired principal scientist at NOAA's National Climatic Data Center, the Karl study was used "to discredit the notion of a global warming hiatus and rush to time the publication of the paper to influence national and international deliberations on climate policy."

Northrop Grumman to Acquire Orbital ATK for $9.2 Billion, Northrop Grumman

"Northrop Grumman Corporation (NYSE: NOC), a leading global security company, and Orbital ATK, Inc. (NYSE: OA), a global leader in aerospace and defense technologies, today announced they have entered into a definitive agreement under which Northrop Grumman will acquire Orbital ATK for approximately $7.8 billion in cash, plus the assumption of $1.4 billion in net debt. Orbital ATK shareholders will receive all-cash consideration of $134.50 per share. ... Upon completion of the acquisition, Northrop Grumman plans to establish Orbital ATK as a new, fourth business sector to ensure a strong focus on operating performance and a smooth transition into Northrop Grumman."

Press conference presentation

Keith's note: Lockheed ate Martin Marietta. Boeing ate Rockwell and McDonnell Douglas. Aerojet ate Rockedyne. Lockheed Martin and Boeing created a sanctioned monoply (ULA). Northrop ate Grumman. ATK ate Orbital. Now Northrop Grumman is going to eat Orbital ATK. That's one less company to pay Coalition for Deep Space Exploration membership dues. How is this good for competition? Oh yea - that is what SpaceX, Blue Origin, and Virgin offer.

The Coalition for Deep Space Dancing Dinosaurs, earlier post

For some reason, Ron Paul has taken to Fox News to skewer SpaceX, Ars Technica

"Three-time presidential candidate Ron Paul has written an opinion piece for Fox News that comes out swinging against SpaceX, accusing the company of benefiting from potentially having a monopoly on national security launches. The article also attacks US Sen. John McCain as a "lead sponsor" of provisions to give SpaceX a monopoly on launch services."

Ron Paul: Crony defense budget hands SpaceX a monopoly - why?, Ron Paul, Fox News

"Allowing SpaceX to obtain a monopoly over launch services harms taxpayers much more than forbidding the Pentagon from purchasing Russian products harms Vladimir Putin. If this provision becomes law, SpaceX will be able to charge the government more than they could in even a quasi-competitive market. This monopoly will also stifle innovation in rocket launching technology."

Keith's note: This is just too funny. Only a few years back SpaceX was shut out of national security launches for dubious reasons. So they kept launching rockets and doing the dance moves DoD asked them to do. When they had a chance to compete against a government created - and sanctioned duopoly (ULA) they won on cost and performance. And now former members of Congress who got big donations from ULA's parent companies Lockheed Martin and Boeing (also Coalition for Deep Space Exploration charter members) are complaining about an imaginary SpaceX monopoly?. Coincidence?

House lawmakers back amendment requiring Pentagon climate change report, The Hill

"The House Armed Services Committee's annual defense policy bill will include a provision requiring a Defense Department report on the effects of climate change on military installations. The amendment - brought up by Rep. Jim Langevin (D-R.I.) in the readiness portion of Wednesday's markup - instructs each military service to come up with a list of the top 10 military installations likely to be affected by climate change over the next 20 years. The report would include a list of possible ways to combat such climate change threats as flooding, droughts and increased wildfires. ... Rep. Jim Bridenstine (R-Okla.) backed up Bishop's line of thinking. "It's just a report and there are strategic implications that we need to be aware of," he said."

House Poised To Approve National Defense Authorization Bill, NPR

"MCEVERS: So the House armed services committee has already approved this bill. Does that mean that Republicans are going along with this amendment?
WELNA: Not only did they go along with it in a clear voice vote. They even talked it up. Here's Jim Bridenstine, who's a Navy veteran from Oklahoma.
JIM BRIDENSTINE: There are real changes in the Arctic that do affect the Navy. The Arctic ice is disappearing. There are strategic changes that are being implicated here. And it's important for the Department of Defense to report to Congress on this. We're talking about a report here."

Keith's note: Bridenstine's support of this amendment - one that recognizes that climate change is something that needs to be paid attention to - was widely seen as being instrumental in its passage. So its probably not prudent to just dismissively categorize him as a climate denier. He may have said some things that certainly suggest this but he then went and voted in a way that clearly admits that there is something to climate change that warrants serious future study. I suspect we'll hear more about this at his upcoming confirmation hearing.

Keith's note: Who'd have thought that the day would come when promoting videos of your product blowing up would be a way to promote your business? There's a subliminal paradigm shift at work here ...

A Pioneering NASA Administrator, Air & Space

"These three "Pioneering Doctrines" embrace a bold statement of purpose for NASA: to extend our reach with machines and people beyond low Earth orbit, into deep space and to the objects of the Solar System. Under such a charter, the mission of the agency becomes nothing less than the opening up of the entire space frontier to exploration, use and development. This was one of the original purposes behind the Vision for Space Exploration in 2004, a goal that got lost in bureaucratic make-work minutiae of objectives and roadmaps. By maintaining and holding firm to a clear vision of space development beyond low Earth orbit, NASA can push the envelope while at the same time offering practical value for its cost."

Keith's note: This notice "A Year of Education on Station" appeared with no fanfare on the NASA education audience page: "September 2017 - September 2018: Although on different crews, astronauts Joe Acaba and Ricky Arnold - both former teachers - will work aboard the International Space Station. K-16 students and educators can do NASA STEM activities related to the station and its role in NASA's journey to Mars."

Cool stuff. Another year long thing on the ISS. Too bad NASA is going out of its way not to tell anyone about this. There is no mention on the NASA.gov homepage, nothing on the main ISS page, no mention on the NASA Education page, and zero mention on the CASIS website (not a surprise since they try to ignore any mention of "NASA" these days). Nothing has appeared on @NASA, @Space_Station, @NASAedu, @astroacaba, @ISS_CASIS or @ISS_Research either.

Apparently NASA just assumes that people will find this page within NASA's website. This is called the "if you build it they will come" approach. Or maybe people will notice that Joe Acaba has started to give out homework assignments.

Gay rights advocates target Trump's NASA nominee, Politico

"Rep. Jim Bridenstine, a Republican congressman from Oklahoma and former Navy pilot, has drawn praise across the space community for his thoughtfulness on space policy and support for both traditional government programs and new private-sector ventures. But lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender advocates are now trying to thwart his nomination based on Bridenstine's controversial social stances, as they did with one of Trump's nominees for Army secretary."

Keith's note: Yesterday Politico posted this article that took a harsh view of NASA Administrator nominee Bridenstine's stance on a variety of social issues and how they seem to be linked to how he'd run NASA. When you write articles like this context is important when you extract snippets for quoting. You can make an excerpted sentence mean anything you want - when it is out of context. Its also useful to see what the person who is being quoted actually thinks and feels when you string these quotes together. There is often more than meets the eye. I am not defending any of Bridenstine's stances and do not agree with a lot of them. That said:

"He railed against the 2013 Supreme Court decision declaring same-sex marriage constitutional. "The court's decision was a disappointment not only because it is contrary to millennia of human experience," he said, "but also because it is clearly contrary to the choice of the people as expressed in a constitutionally valid process."

As for DOMA, I am told that Bridenstine disagreed with the Supreme Court decision but when it became the law of the land he honored the law. People who know him well say that they have never seen even the slightest indication that he takes issue with anyone's sexual preference and that it has zero bearing on how he conducts himself.

"And he has criticized the Boy Scouts for allowing LGBT members. The left's agenda is not about tolerance, and it's not about diversity of thought," Bridenstine said in 2013. "It's about presenting a worldview of relativism, where there is no right and wrong, then using the full force of the government to silence opposition and reshape organizations like the Boy Scouts into instruments for social change."

As I understand it Bridenstine was an Eagle Scout and is very devoted to the organization. His comments are apparently reflective of his anger over the religious groups that have now initiated legal action about this issue and how this affects the ability of scout troops to function since many local scout organizations rely upon religious organizations and their facilities.

Support builds for Bridenstine to lead NASA despite past skepticism on climate change, Washington Post

"The Coalition for Deep Space Exploration, representing many of the big legacy contractors, said it also welcomed the nomination, saying Bridenstine "has been an active and vocal advocate for space on Capitol Hill." But in a subsequent statement to The Washignton Post, the coalition's president, Mary Lynne Dittmar, backed away from a full endorsement, saying, "We look forward to learning more from Rep. Bridenstine during the Senate confirmation hearings."

Keith's note: This is the dilenma that Mary Lynne Dittmar and her organization face. They want to have it both ways. On one hand they envision a world where there is no SpaceX or Blue Origin - just the usual aerospace suspects building the giant Senate-designed SLS mega-rocket where everyone gets a piece of the contracting pie. On the other hand they resent the success of upstarts like SpaceX and Blue Origin and want to be seen as being just as sexy and cutting edge and able to "compete" in a commercial marketplace. Alas that is just impossible. Its like expecting a big dinosaur to eat an entire forest every day and yet still be able to tap dance when they are done eating.

Bridenstine has signaled an interest in seeing SLS and other big NASA projects through. Yet he also talks about lots of paradigm shifting ideas that are antithetical to the status quo. This drives Dittmar et al nuts. Stay tuned.

BoldlyGo Institute and NASA Sign Space Act Agreement for Joint Cooperation on Project Blue Mission

"The Space Act Agreement is non-reimbursable, with no exchange of funds between NASA and BoldlyGo. It allows NASA employees - scientists and engineers - to interact with the Project Blue team through its mission development phases to help review mission design plans and to share scientific results on Alpha Centauri and exoplanets along with the latest technology tests being undertaken at NASA facilities. NASA's engagement in its consulting role will be triggered through a set of milestones as technical work is accomplished and the private consortium leading Project Blue raises the funds necessary to continue mission development. The agreement also calls for the raw and processed data from Project Blue to be made available to NASA within one year of its acquisition on orbit via a publicly accessible online data archive. The Project Blue team has been planning such an archive for broadly sharing the data with the global astronomical community and for enabling citizen scientist participation."

Project Blue Mission For Earthlike Planets in Alpha Centauri Rallies Community Support

"On Wednesday, September 6, 2017, BoldlyGo Institute launched a crowdfunding campaign to help support the initial design phase of mission development."

Space Telescope Designed to Directly Image the Habitable Zone of Alpha Centauri

Keith's 6 Sept note: As of 8:05 pm EDT, after only 12 hours, $45,065 or 26% of the $175,000 goal has already been raised.
Keith's 12 Sept update: As of 8:50 am today, after less than a week, $66,129 or 38% has been raised

Support builds for Bridenstine to lead NASA despite past skepticism on climate change, Washington Post

"In addition to backing work with younger, entrepreneurial firms, Bridenstine has also voiced his support for the traditional industrial base, made up of behemoths such as Lockheed Martin and Boeing. They want to ensure that programs such as the Space Launch System, the massive rocket being developed by NASA, and the Orion crew capsule continue, even though they've been criticized for being well over budget and behind schedule. "It's not 'or.' It's 'and,' " said Eric Stallmer, president of the Commercial Spaceflight Federation. "It's the notion that you can have the traditional approach and you can have this newer commercial approach, and both could yield great benefits to the agency. Bridenstine understands as well as anyone the capabilities that are offered by both of these sectors."

Jim Bridenstine, Trump's pick to lead NASA, is eager to see humans on the moon and Mars, LA Times

"It's a different kind of pick, obviously," said John Logsdon, a professor emeritus and founder of George Washington University's Space Policy Institute. "He comes without experience in maintaining a large organization and without direct space program experience. He doesn't come out of the aerospace industry. On the other hand, he's spent a lot of time thinking about NASA, thinking about the space program. I think he comes better prepared intellectually to take on the job than most people that have held the position."

Trump's Pick For NASA's New Administrator Used to Own a Rocket Racing Team, Motherboard

"Trump tapped Rep. Jim Bridenstine of Oklahoma to fill the role of NASA administrator. Unlike NASA administrators of the past, Bridenstine--a climate change denier, former fighter pilot, and moon lover--doesn't have any science education or background. But boy, does he love planes. He owned a team in the short-lived Rocket League Racing, the brainchild of a bunch of rich guys who just wanted to see some stuff go real fast. ... As part of a required financial disclosure from the House of Representatives, This Land notes that in order to buy in on RRL, he made an investment that was, in his words, "not that big." They report that it was somewhere between $50,000 and $100,000--he sold four houses and a five-acre ranchette to do it. In light of Trump's pick for head of NASA, let's take a look at Bridenstine's ill-fated hobby."

Keith's note: Bridenstine may not be everything that everyone traditionally wants a NASA Administrator to be. But he also has some qualities that his predecessors may have lacked. I do not get the impression that he scares easily and he's apparently willing to take risks and make leaps of faith. NASA has not done much of that in a long time. A dose of this might just be what the agency needs. Just sayin'

Parts of Trump NASA pick's online presence scrubbed, CNN

"The removal of accounts and posts comes at a time when Congress will examine Bridenstine's record in the lead-up to his confirmation hearing. Facebook, YouTube and Twitter accounts belonging to Bridenstine's campaign have been deleted entirely. Several posts on the Facebook page of Bridenstine's congressional office have also been deleted. The congressman's Soundcloud account now only hosts two radio interviews with the congressman, but a search of the Internet Archive's Wayback Machine and the Google Cache show there used to be several radio interviews available on the account. Some of the missing interviews appear to be with conservative talk radio hosts like Mark Levin and Laura Ingraham. Matthew Rydin, a spokesperson for Bridenstine, said the campaign Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube were deleted because his office was getting questions about whether Bridenstine was standing by his pledge to only serve three terms, which he is. "He is not campaigning for any office, so no reason to maintain the campaign accounts," Rydin said."

Keith's note: On one hand this is a rather amateurish thing for Bridenstine's staff to do since nothing ever disappears from the Internet. Deleting things like this simply tells the media and political opponents what he'd rather not be questioned about during confirmation hearings - assuring that these things will now be brought up with more emphasis than might have otherwise been the case. On the other hand, this selective editing may represent an attempt by Bridenstine to pivot away from more controversial stances in the past toward positions that are more in synch with where NASA is poised.

Bridenstine's past certainly affects who he is today. In the end Congress is going to vote on Bridenstine as a nominee for who he is at that moment and what they think he can do in the future. Right now there is little doubt that the votes are there to confirm him. As such I would urge Bridenstine and his staff to just leave the past alone and focus instead on the road ahead i.e. how he would serve as NASA's Administrator.

To be honest, I think this is probably a case of what I call "Right Stuff - Wrong Staff". Stay tuned.

NASA Nominee Jim Bridenstine Has Bold Vision for Space, Unclear Intentions for Science, American Institute of Physics

"Concerning NASA, [Bridenstine's] bill states that the agency has lacked a "clear purpose or mission," owing to a "lack of consistency in leadership along with budget uncertainty in out-years." It declares,

"NASA should undergo reorganization, altering its mission with a clearer focus, ridding itself of extraneous responsibilities handled elsewhere within the Federal Government or private industry, and standardizing activities across the whole of NASA."

In the bill, Bridenstine proposes that NASA amend its institutional objectives, which would include eliminating current objectives for the "expansion of human knowledge of the Earth and of phenomena in the atmosphere and space" and the conduct of studies on "the utilization of aeronautical and space activities for peaceful and scientific purposes." It would also set three new objectives that would form the core of a new "pioneering doctrine":

"(1) The expansion of the human sphere of influence throughout the Solar System. (2) To be among those who first arrive at a destination in space and to open it for subsequent use and development by others. (3) To create and prepare infrastructure precursors in support of the future use and development of space by others."

Legal Basis For NASA Earth Science and Space Commercialization Activities, earlier Post

http://images.spaceref.com/news/2016/nasa.charter.small.jpg

Irma Cancellations

Hearing on Private Sector Lunar Exploration

"September 7, at 10:00 a.m. EDT, the Committee on Science, Space, and Technology will hold a Subcommittee on Space hearing titled, Private Sector Lunar Exploration. The purpose of the hearing is to discuss private sector exploration of the moon. In addition to the National Aeronautics and Space Administration's (NASA) support for the private sector, companies are also investing their own capital in exploration in the hopes of serving a future market for transportation, cargo delivery, and surface operations (including in situ resource utilization). The hearing will review these efforts, and NASA's role, in order to better understand the challenges and opportunities that they present."

- Live webcast
- Statement of Space Subcommittee Chairman Brian Babin (R-Texas) Private Sector Lunar Exploration
- Ranking Member Johnson's Opening Statement for Private Sector Lunar Exploration Hearing
- Ranking Member Bera's Opening Statement for Private Sector Lunar Exploration Hearing

Prepared Statements: Jason Crusan, NASA; Bob Richards, Moon Express; John Thornton, Astrobotic Technology; Bretton Alexander, Blue Origin; and George Sowers, Colorado School of Mines

Pluto Features Given First Official Names, IAU

"Tenzing Montes and Hillary Montes are mountain ranges honouring Tenzing Norgay (1914-1986) and Sir Edmund Hillary (1919-2008), the Indian/Nepali Sherpa and New Zealand mountaineer who were the first to reach the summit of Mount Everest and return safely."

The Real Origin Of Some Notable Pluto Nomenclature, earlier post

"On 10 January 2008 Sir Edmund Hillary, one of two humans to first stand atop Mt. Everest died. I sent Alan Stern, then AA for NASA's Science Mission Directorate an email: "I hope you name a new, large feature on Mercury after Edmund Hillary - and Tenzing Norgay..." Stern promptly sent an email to MESSENGER PI Sean Solomon saying "Sean-As you may have seen in the past few hours, Sir Edmund Hillary died today. Let's name prominent features for him and Tenzing Norgay on Mercury. It's ALL about exploration." Solomon concurred. Eventually it became clear that the IAU only wanted to name things on Mercury after painters for some unexplained reason."

- Confusion Over Naming of Features on Pluto, earlier post
- Silly Pluto Food Fights Continue, earlier post

KSC Prepares For Irma

Hurricane Irma's approach hasn't deterred SpaceX, Orlando Sentinel

"Hurricane Irma's approach toward Florida hasn't deterred SpaceX's plan to launch a rocket Thursday. The Elon Musk-led space company announced Wednesday that a 5-hour, 5-minute window will open at 9:50 a.m. Thursday. U.S. Air Force officials have said that the chances of a launch sit about 50 percent. SpaceX will try to land the rocket on a landing zone, a move expected to result in a sonic boom that will be heard across Central Florida. If the Falcon 9 rocket does not go up, a second window will open at an undetermined time Friday."

Still repairing from Matthew, Kennedy Space Center preps for Hurricane Irma, Click Orlando

"On Wednesday, Kennedy Space Center enacted a HURCON IV declaration by the Emergency Operation Center, meaning center managers are preparing facilities and their employees for 58 mph winds within 72 hours. ... Under a HURCON declaration all normal operations stop to prepare for the storm, according to NASA."

- Video Of Space Station Orbital Pass Over Hurricane Irma
- Hurricane Irma Seen From Orbit By Eumetsat
- Suomi NPP Observes Barbuda As Hurricane Irma Attacked

Lucasfilm Creates Mission Patch Representing International Space Station U.S. National Laboratory Research, CASIS

"The Center for the Advancement of Science in Space (CASIS) today announced the unveiling of its latest mission patch, designed by Lucasfilm, featuring characters and space ships from the Star Wars franchise. The mission patch represents all payloads intended for the International Space Station (ISS) U.S. National Laboratory in calendar year 2017. CASIS is the organization that oversees research on the ISS U.S. National Laboratory benefitting life on Earth."

Keith's note: Nowhere in this press release does CASIS mention "NASA". Yet NASA pays 99.97% of CASIS' budget - year after year. Its almost as if CASIS wants you to think that they built and now operate the space station - not NASA. As to their latest logo, I totally understand the interest in wanting to reach a broader audience. But CASIS seems to be obsessed with things like this - almost as much as they avoid mentioning NASA.

First there was their strange fascination with co-branding golf research on the ISS - research that never actually happened with the exception of some golf clubs that claimed to be " inspired" by space research. Then there was getting actor Seth Green to design a logo. Then they made "Groot" from "Guardians of the Galaxy" a mascot in another logo. Now there's a "Star Wars" logo. CASIS never answers my questions on things like this. So I file FOIA requests. I have a lot of stuff received via FOIA that I have been analyzing and hope to publish soon.

In a nutshell CASIS just makes this stuff up as they go. They have no strategic plan and have virtually no means of collecting and analyzing metrics from things such as these Sci Fi mission patches. If CASIS cannot determine if these things have a real value (one that can be expressed in numbers) then why does CASIS continue to do these things? How many Twitter impressions and social media mentions have these logos created? How many people first learned of the ISS as a result of these logos? How many business partners came to CASIS as a result of these logos? How much employee time has CASIS put into the development and use of these logos?

Again, its great when CASIS, who only has money because NASA pays 99.97% of their budget, tries to reach out to new audiences. But when they have no way to determine if an approach even works, you have to wonder if they truly understand how any of their NASA-funded efforts have actually, tangible,concrete results that represent a worthy return on investment for taxpayer dollars.

Below is just a small sample of all of the missteps that CASIS has made. More soon.

A Closer Look At The CASIS "Space Is In It" Endorsement, earlier post

"Oddly, if you look at SPACE IS IN IT, CASIS APPROVED - Trademark Details you'll see that the trademark is classified as being "International Class 028 - Games and playthings; gymnastic and sporting articles not included in other classes; decorations for Christmas trees. - Games and playthings; gymnastic and sporting articles not included in other classes; decorations for Christmas trees." Sounds like a perfect category for golf-related stuff."

CASIS Announces Significant ISS News But Forgets To Mention NASA, earlier post

"Very cool news which demonstrates the true potential for the ISS to host cutting edge research with the potential for real benefits back on Earth. Oddly, "NASA" is mentioned nowhere in this press release - you know, the agency that built and operates the ISS - and provides 99.99% of CASIS' income. You have to wonder if the PR people at CASIS even bother to think about how to best inform the public of what they are doing."

CASIS and NASA Ignore Each Other at #ComicCon2016 Over A Raccoon and Groot, earlier post

"CASIS issues a press release that mentions that Marvel comic book/movie characters at ComicCon are now ISS mascots or something. Alas NASA is there too - as @NASASocial - at the Marvel booth - and neither @NASASocial or @ISS_CASIS mention one another's presence. Apparently CASIS thinks that Groot, a giant tree man thing, and a foul-mouthed raccoon are better poised to explain ISS science than ISS scientists. So - the movie director whose characters are being featured refers to "CASIS" as "OASIS" and doesn't seem to know that this is all about the International Space Station - referring instead to "the mission to Mars". Meanwhile NASA makes no mention of this news and NASA is never mentioned in the CASIS press release. Yet news stories say that NASA is behind all of this. NASA only gets the credit from third parties - and when they get mention it is factually mangled. Nice job CASIS."

CASIS Recycles NASA Hype In Its Quarterly Reports To NASA, earlier post

"Oh yes: the CASIS website visitor target for FY 2017 is 129,000. That's pathetically small. NASA.gov blasts that out every second. Indeed, the website you are reading does that traffic in a matter of days. CASIS also seeks to have 114,000 Twitter followers by the end of FY 2017 [Update as of 6 Sep 2017 @iss_casis account has 114,000 followers].
. By comparison @NASAWatch and @spaceRef have more than 110,000 followers. Other space websites have many more followers. Indeed @NASA has nearly 25,000,000 followers. At yesterday's ISS R&D Conference (sponsored by CASIS) everyone was moaning about how the public does not know what the ISS is doing. With such a tiny web presence CASIS is certainly not doing much to alleviate this situation."

More CASIS postings

EPA now requires political aide's sign-off for agency awards, grant applications, Washington Post

"The Environmental Protection Agency has taken the unusual step of putting a political operative in charge of vetting the hundreds of millions of dollars in grants the EPA distributes annually, assigning final funding decisions to a former Trump campaign aide with little environmental policy experience. In this role, John Konkus reviews every award the agency gives out, along with every grant solicitation before it is issued. According to both career and political employees, Konkus has told staff that he is on the lookout for "the double C-word" -- climate change -- and repeatedly has instructed grant officers to eliminate references to the subject in solicitations."

"BRIDENSTINE: Mr. Speaker, global temperatures stopped rising 10 years ago. Global temperature changes, when they exist, correlate with Sun output and ocean cycles. During the Medieval Warm Period from 800 to 1300 A.D. --long before cars, power plants, or the Industrial Revolution--temperatures were warmer than today. During the Little Ice Age from 1300 to 1900 A.D., temperatures were cooler. Neither of these periods were caused by any human activity. Even climate change alarmists admit that the number of hurricanes hitting the U.S. and the number of tornado touchdowns have been on a slow decline for over 100 years. But here's what we absolutely know. We know that Oklahoma will have tornadoes when the cold jet stream meets the warm gulf air. And we also know that this President spends 30 times as much money on global warming research as he does on weather forecasting and warning. For this gross misallocation, the people of Oklahoma are ready to accept the President's apology, and I intend to submit legislation to fix this."

How Jonathan Dimock Auditioned To Be NASA White House Liaison, earlier post

"All of that to say, in science, we know nothing. We can only do the best we can with what we know and if we are so hard pressed on believing that the earth is warming because of my Buick, then we can find evidence to prove that theory correct. But we can also find evidence that the earth has gone through cycles on hot and cold and gee.....that means that our carbon dating and light speeds change too. This is the same with all types of science. We can prove that oil fracking can rejuvenate the crust and make the surface flourish if we look for that evidence instead of pointing fingers at the oil companies. But of course this all comes down to what makes sensational news or if you are taking a position of defending your business model or political policies."

- Trump Eliminates National Climate Assessment Panel, earlier post
- Will Saying "Climate Change" Be Banned At All Government Agencies Or Just Some Of Them?, earlier post

Jim Bridenstine to Be Nominated by Trump to Lead NASA, NY Times

"The head of NASA ought to be a space professional, not a politician," Mr. Nelson, a Democrat, said in a statement on Friday."

Keith's update: I think it is the height of hypocrisy for Sen. Nelson to say that a politician cannot be an effective NASA Administrator especially when Nelson, a professional politician, overtly used his position - as a politician - to force NASA to give him a ride into outer space.

Dave Christensen

David Lee Christensen, 85, of Lumberton, Texas, died Friday, September 1, 2017, at Christus Hospital - St. Elizabeth, in Beaumont, Texas. He was born on April 7, 1932, in Birmingham, Alabama, to Susan Matilda Harvey and Arne Skov Christensen. David served in the United States Army during the Korean War. He later retired as an Aerospace Engineer. Survivors include his wife, Barbara Christensen; sons, David Lee Christensen and his wife, Sheila, and Erik Christensen, all of Huntsville, Alabama; daughter, Lisa Garver and her husband, Todd, of Lumberton, Texas; eight grandchildren; and five great-grandchildren. David is preceded in death by his parents; sons, Clay Christensen and Keith Christensen; and his first wife, Margaret Baker Christensen. A private family committal was held at Broussard's Crematorium, Beaumont, Texas, under the direction of Broussard's. A memorial service will be held at a later date. Complete and updated information may be found at: broussards1889.com.

Rubio, Nelson blast Trump's NASA pick, Politco

"Florida's senators are voicing opposition to President Trump's pick for NASA administrator, Oklahoma Congressman Jim Bridenstine, saying a "politician" shouldn't lead the nation's space program. Republican Marco Rubio and Democrat Bill Nelson wouldn't say if they'd buck the president and vote against Bridenstine, who was nominated Friday. But they suggested the GOP congressman's political past would needlessly spark a partisan fight in the Senate that could ultimately damage NASA."

Bridenstine Nominated To Be NASA Administrator, SpacePolicyOnline.com

"Bridenstine's nomination must first be approved by the Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee and its Space, Science, and Competitiveness Subcommittee. The full committee is chaired by Sen. John Thune (R-South Dakota) and the subcommittee by Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas). The top Democrat on the full committee is Sen. Bill Nelson (D-Florida) and on the subcommittee, Sen. Ed Markey (D-Massachusetts). Assuming it clears the committee, a vote of the full Senate then will be required. A single Senator can delay a vote on a nomination. CSF's tweet suggests that Nelson and Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Florida) may not yet be convinced that Bridenstine is the right person for the job."

NASA Internal Memo: President's Nomination for NASA Administrator

"As you may have heard, President Trump has announced his intent to nominate U.S. Rep. Jim Bridenstine as the 13th NASA administrator. I am pleased to see the positive movement toward naming our next administrator, and look forward to sharing with him the incredible work you have been doing. The nomination must go through a Senate confirmation process first, as will the deputy administrator nomination when that person is named by the president. We will keep you in the loop as things progress and the nominations move forward. In the meantime, let's stay focused on the job at hand. I am proud of everyone across the agency and thank you for moving our missions forward. It remains a thrilling and humbling experience to lead this team and watch what you all can accomplish."

NASA Statement on Nomination for Agency Administrator

"I look forward to working with a new leadership team, and the administration, on NASA's ongoing mission of exploration and discovery. Our history is amazing, and our future is even brighter, as we continue to build on this nation's incredible global leadership in human exploration, science, aeronautics and technology."

Keith's update: In case you were on vacation in August we posted this story about the names of the next Administrator and Deputy Administrator of NASA on 15 August. A number of prominent publications noticed. Apparently the writers at Space News were on vacation and missed this story - until now.

As I noted 2 weeks ago the plan to announce the announcement of the nomination of Bridenstine and Schumacher was being planned for after Labor Day. Sources report that Bridenstine's official nomination will be announced as soon as next Tuesday and that Schumacher's will be announced a respectful distance afterward.

Keith's 15 August note: The exact date and venue for the formal announcement of these NASA leadership nominations has not been set. NASA HQ has liked to do events with a lot of pomp and flair so we'll see what they do for this announcement. Sources have told me that a post-Labor Day announcement was being planned but it may be moved up now. Or maybe it won't.

Looking at where NASA is - and where the Trump folks seem to want it to go - a pairing of Jim Bridenstine with John Schumacher make a lot of sense. Bridenstine's views seem to resonate well with a lot of what seems to be buzzing around inside the heads of TrumpSpace people. Schumacher has a long resume in senior positions at both NASA - so he'll give Bridenstine a lot of managerial support. Bridenstine has a lot of interest in emerging space commerce opportunities while Schumacher has a solid aerospace background - another way that their skillsets complement one another.

Commercial space is not going away. Neither is SLS. As such NASA will need to support both - hopefully in synergistic and complementary fashion. So the prudent thing to do was to select a team that can represent both camps and build a long term alliance between them. That is what this decision clearly seems to represent.

Sources: Trump administration has picked its NASA leader, Ars Technica

"NASA may finally be close to getting some clarity about its leadership during the Trump administration. On Tuesday, NASA Watch reported that the President will nominate US Representative Jim Bridenstine (R-Okla.), as administrator and Aerojet Rocketdyne Vice President John Schumacher as deputy administrator. Both men have been rumored to be nominated for these posts in recent weeks, but there have been no official confirmations as yet."

White House Likely to Name Rep. Jim Bridenstine NASA Chief by Next Month, Wall Street Journal

"Barring a last-minute holdup, these people said, announcements could come as soon as next week and not later than the first week of September. It isn't clear why the decisions, which Mr. Bridenstine and his supporters expected several months ago, took longer than had been anticipated. The likely timing of the nomination was first reported by NASA Watch, an independent website that tracks the agency and space issues."


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