December 2019 Archives

Keith's note: Yesterday at the STA luncheon Jim Bridenstine said that "the NASA brand is the most valuable brand America has" - Inside - and outside our borders. In October I cited an example of how NASA's logo - its brand - has a ubiquitous, global reach - and that it is associated with exciting, hopeful, advanced things with no known downside.

"This is a perfect example of so-called "soft power". This costs NASA virtually - literally - nothing. Having worked with folks in Nepal on things related to this, the mere visibility of the NASA logo and recognition by NASA is enticement enough to generate in-country resources and support. Done properly you can have a global awareness of what NASA is and does and spark interest in other nation's space efforts. And the cases where a country has no space activities, spur their development. One would hope that this becomes part of what NASA includes in its Artemis outreach activities - since the ultimate goal is to go there with other nations."

NASA has done a good job - an increasingly good one - at allowing the logo's use - and not discouraging its use when the its is used in a positive and inspiring context. This is a consumate, textbook example of soft power. One would hope that NASA can continue along this path and that legislation that currently hinders NASA's ability to project its message via advertising and other venues - can be lifted by Congress.

- NASA's Global Branding Reach Is Often Under Appreciated, earlier post
- Understanding NASA's Global Reach, earlier post
- NASA is Still A Potent (If Underutilized) Brand, earlier post
- Using NASA's Logo: Expensive T-Shirts Or Global Soft Power?, earlier post
- NASA's Pervasive Brand Recognition, earlier post
- One Major Road Block To Bridenstine's Advertising Ideas, earlier post

Findings from the 2019 Annual Meeting of the Lunar Exploration Analysis Group Preliminary Draft, 4 December 2019

"At the 6th meeting of the National Space Council, the following recommendation was adopted: "Within 60 days, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Administrator will designate an office and submit a plan to the Chairman of the National Space Council for sustainable lunar surface exploration and development, including necessary technologies and capabilities, to enable initial human missions to Mars."

Keith's note: The 6th meeting of the National Space Council took place on 22 August 2019. The 60 day due date would therefore have been 21 October. It has been 45 days since the due date passed. Has anyone seen this report? Was it ever delivered? If not,

- Dear Colleague Letter From The Lunar Exploration Analysis Group On The Proposed NASA Budget Amendment, earlier post
- The Planetary Science Community Is Split On Artemis/Moon2024, earlier post

https://s3.amazonaws.com/images.spaceref.com/news/2019/firstcontacthd1572.jpg

Keith's note: Jim Bridenstine spoke at a Space Transportation Association luncheon today in Washington DC. At one point he talked about seeing a "million people living on the Moon in 50 years". So I tweeted that. Soon Twitter lit up with people doing weird math as to how many SLS flights would be required and at what cost. Seriously space fans? SpaceX Starship anyone? Anyway I got a call from Bridenstine a bit later and then tweeted this out:

"OK I just spoke with @JimBridenstine about what he thought he said - and meant to say - but had a slip of the tongue. He meant to say "a million people on the National Mall" celebrating our progress on the Moon 50 years from now. First he referred to huge crowds on the National Mall in DC this past July for Apollo 50 events. He referred to seeing 500,000 people on the Mall here in DC before (we all have) noting "They are usually not happy". The Apollo crowds were happy. Then he started to talk about how we are going to the Moon to stay, and started to imagine what things would be like 50 years hence such that we could "have a million people on the National Mall" celebrating our exploration and utilization of the Moon."

Hmm ... maybe Bridenstine was subconsciously channeling "Star Trek First Contact" (even if he claims to be a SpaceBalls/Star Wars fan):

"Zefram Cochrane: You don't have a moon in the 24th century?

William Riker: Sure we do. Just looks a lot different. There are 50 million people living on the moon in my time. You can see Tycho City, New Berlin... even Lake Armstrong on a day like this."

One other thing Bridenstine said was "the thing about Apollo is that it ended. We want Artemis to continue". Imagine If Apollo never ended 50 years ago and that lunar exploration and development continued and expanded. How many people might be living on the Moon now? Its time to catch up.

https://s3.amazonaws.com/images.spaceref.com/news/2019/moonraker.gif

The Space Force's moment of truth, op ed, Peter Garretson, Politico

"Within the Bay Area itself are Made-in-Space, NASA's Ames Research Center, and a conglomerate of Silicon Valley affiliated companies. How will they fare without the Space Force? A recent report State of the Space Industrial Base: Threats, Challenges and Actions outlined the threat these companies face by China's predatory pricing, investment in front companies, control of supply chains, and theft of intellectual property. Just this month, the US-China Economic and Security Commission, created by Congress, endorsed a Space Force to ensure" freedom of navigation and keeping lines of communication open, safe, and secure in the space domain, as the U.S. Navy does for U.S. interests in the maritime commons."

Keith's note: Huh? How is Space Force going to help Made-in-Space? There is no Space Force now and they're doing just fine. Is Space Force going to place armed guards around the ISS to keep the Chinese away? Is Space Force going to prevent China from utilizing space for commercial purposes so that only the U.S. can? Is Space Force going to engage in IP and patent protection in space and on Earth? The national defense aspect of Space Force has some logic to it. But the way the Space Force fans are whipping this whole thing up its as if there will be Space Force Cops patrolling in outer space writing parking tickets, chasing bad guys, and directing space traffic.

Oh and then there's this little gem "Second, it will have a devastating and compounding effect on jobs in key congressional districts." Aren't all congressional districts "key"? Or is this a scare tactic for big aerospace and the members of Congress they have ensnared in their lobbying efforts?

With a little less of this hyperventillation and crass political favoritism - and perhaps a little more basic wartime defense/prevention discussion - maybe a few more people might support this Space Force thing. Otherwise this sort of breathless op ed arm waving invites nothing more than mockery on a slow news day.

Keith's note: From a retired NASA employee and long-time NASAWatch reader:

"Keith, the attached photo was just too instructive to pass up. Let me explain. This is at the Gilruth Center at JSC.

I believe that it visually shows the risk averse nature of NASA and says something about space politics. I.e., one stop sign wasn't enough. A second one is safer. And then a sign explaining what a stop sign means. Man are we safely redundant.

I am a retired NASA engineer and could not pass up the hilarious sight.

Enjoy."

Larger image

NASA to Present First Findings of Solar Mission in Media Teleconference

"NASA will announce the first results from the Parker Solar Probe mission, the agency's revolutionary mission to "touch" the Sun, during a media teleconference at 1:30 p.m. EST Wednesday, Dec. 4. During the teleconference, mission experts will discuss research results from four instruments on the probe, which are changing our understanding of the Sun and other stars. Their findings also will be published at 1 p.m. Wednesday on the website of the journal Nature. Teleconference audio will stream live at: https://www.nasa.gov/live"

Parker Solar Probe: We're Missing Something Fundamental About the Sun, University of Michigan

"Our closest-ever look inside the Sun's corona has unveiled an unexpectedly chaotic world that includes rogue plasma waves, flipping magnetic fields and distant solar winds under the thrall of the Sun's rotation, according to University of Michigan researchers who play key roles in NASA's Parker Solar Probe mission."

A big salary, luxury cars, and a new dacha--Russia's space leader lives large, Ars Technica

"A leading critic of Russian President Vladimir Putin, Alexei Navalny, recently turned his attention toward the country's space program. In an entertaining 13-minute video not unlike those produced by "Last Week Tonight with John Oliver" on HBO, Navalny tackles corruption surrounding the construction of the Vostochny Spaceport in far-eastern Russia, as well as the apparently lavish lifestyle of Roscosmos leader Dmitry Rogozin. (The video is in Russian; it was translated for Ars by Robinson Mitchell. The English-language captions are mostly accurate.) ... Evidently Rogozin's job has other perks. According to the documents, Rogozin has also purchased new vehicles: for himself, a Mercedes-Benz S560, and his wife, a Range Rover. Combined, these vehicles are valued at about $300,000. And then the Roscosmos chief also acquired an 8,600 sq. foot dacha north of Moscow worth about $3 million. And the documents appear to obscure even more gains, Navalny argues."

- Vostochny Spaceport Corruption Has Not Gone Away, earlier post
- Russia Wants To Lead In Space By Spending Less Money On It, earlier post
- Vostochny Spaceport Has A Few Criminal Issues, earlier post
- Putin Wants To Jail Spaceport Employees, earlier post
- Earlier Russia postings

Full video

"NASA held an Agency-wide Town Hall with Administrator Bridenstine and Douglas Loverro, NASA's new Associate Administrator for the Human Exploration and Operations Mission Directorate, on Tuesday, Dec. 3, at noon EST. During the Town Hall, the Administrator introduced Douglas Loverro, and they answered questions from the agency's workforce."

Keith's note: On Tuesday at 12:00 pm EST NASA will air an agency-wide Town Hall meeting on NASA TV to introduce the new Human Exploration and Operations Mission Directorate Associate Administrator Douglas Loverro. Watch live here.

New Associate Administrator for the Human Exploration and Operations Mission Directorate: Douglas Loverro, earlier post

"From 2013 to 2017, he served as the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Space Policy. In this role, he was responsible for establishing policy for the United States allies to the benefits of space capabilities and to help guide the Department's strategy for addressing space-related issues. He led Departmental activities in international space cooperation, assessment of the national security impacts of commercial space activities, and oversaw the establishment of a strategy for addressing growing challenges in space security."

Do you want to fly into space? Do you know someone who does? If so then this book is worth reading. "See You In Orbit? Our Dream of Spaceflight" by Alan Ladwig presents a comprehensive look by a space insider into the history of what space travel means to people. It details how individuals, space agencies, and companies have sought to give more people a chance to visit space.

In essence personal space travel has always been a factor in what we've done in space even if it was impractical. Efforts to expand the cadre of people going into space started before we even sent people into space and have continued ever since. Eventually some of these efforts caught on. To be certain there was always internal resistance as there was resistance from the outside as to who should go into space - and why. Now, nearly 3/4 of a century after we first threw things into space the dream of personally seeing space is as vibrant as ever. But now the ability to realize that dream is within the grasp of people who'd never have been offered a ride before.

Alas, this involves large sums of money and limits who gets to go. The eternal hope is that somehow this first generation of space tourists or spaceflight participants or commercial astronaut-passengers or whatever you want to call them will spur the development of more capabilities. In turn this surge of customer demand will somehow lead to a drop in the price of a ticket to space such that everyday citizens can anticipate a trip into space - for whatever reason propels them to do so. As to when that breakthrough happens, it seems to be getting closer than it has ever been but it is still illusively just out of reach.

Commentary: Beyond the decadal surveys: Establishing policy for US space science, Physics Today

"A surprisingly small number of individuals at the OMB are involved in space science: the director of the OMB and the associate director for natural resource programs, both of whom are political appointees; the deputy associate director for the energy, science, and water division; and the fewer than 10 individuals who make up the division's science and space branch. Space science is, for the most part, handled by just a few career civil servants. I've not come across anyone in Congress or the executive branch who simply did not want to fund space-science missions. I have, however, encountered government officials who are vividly frustrated with cost overruns, and I have found that bureaucrats tend to value flexibility. The folks I met at the OMB and on Capitol Hill were sensitive to unforeseen occurrences or prescriptive options that placed undue limits on future actions, particularly if they interfered with agreed-on courses of action or involved a time frame beyond which policies--or politicians--might experience turnover."


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