Arm Waving And Shouting Shutdown Misinformation Is Not Helpful

Keith's note: There was a protest rally in Washington today. NASA folks participated. One of the speakers was Barry Epstein, the new head of the union at NASA HQ. A tweet from a Washington Post reporter appeared quoting him: 'Barry, a NASA engineer, says the #GovernmentShutdown could impact astronauts on the International Space Station. He and others tasked with "ensuring their health and wellbeing" in space are furloughed.'

Two things. First, NASA civil servant and contractor employees are being punished for something that has nothing to do with them. Civil servants will eventually get paid but contractors could well get stuck with no pay. Either way this totally sucks and everyone involved should be angry as hell and protesting.

Second: Barry works at NASA HQ and sits behind a desk. He is not one of the engineers tasked with keeping the crew on ISS safe. If something breaks he does not get a phone call. The people tasked with this responsibility are considered "essential" and are sitting behind consoles in Houston. Moreover, the suggestion that NASA is running the ISS in a fashion that puts the crew at risk is simply incorrect. To stand in front of a microphone in public and try and suggest the contrary is irresponsible. Arm waving and shouting misinformation helps no one right now, Barry. Stick to the facts.

Keith's update: Someone who was at the rally says that there is a misquote and that Barry Epstein didn't make that claim - instead he was highlighting how NASA ISS support teams are working without pay, and without them the ISS crew would be in danger.

It is my understanding based on actual employment at NASA that if the ISS was not being maintained per NASA safety and mission requirements that the crew would be brought home. I have not heard of any indication that this is even being considered right now. As such, if we are to believe NASA's rules and regulations, that means that the crew is safe and not in danger of becoming unsafe.

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This page contains a single entry by Keith Cowing published on January 10, 2019 10:37 PM.

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