NASA STMD's IT Presence Online: Stove Pipes And Rabbit Holes

Keith's note: There are lots of NASA technology events and news on the @NASAiTech account which are retweeted and commented upon by @Kirablackwell - Kira Blackwell - who is the NASA Space Technology Mission Directorate Program Executive for @NASAiTech. Yet when you go to the NASA Space Technology Mission Directorate main page none of these @NASAiTech events are listed nor are they mentioned on the NASA.gov calendar. There is also no mention of the @NASAiTech Twitter account either, But STMD does have a feed on its home page from the ‎@NASA_Technology account. Alas @NASA_Technology makes no mention of anything from @NASAiTech or @Kirablackwell - and @NASAiTech or @Kirablackwell make no mention of anything that @NASA_Technology tweets.

There is no mention of any NASA IT Technology on the STMD programs page. But @NASAiTech points to this page which, in turn points to this NASA iTech page nasaitech.org page. At nasaitech.org there is no NASA logo on this page when you arrive or as you scroll down and down and down - except at the very bottom where it has a "NASA Partner" logo. Huh? Isn't nasaitech.org part of NASA? No, It is done via National Institute of Aerospace - and you only discover that if you scroll all the way to the bottom. Otherwise the webpage lets you think this is a NASA page even if they have their own logo. And of course this NASA iTech page only mentions NASA STMD in a small link - again at the utmost bottom of the page.

FWIW accepted practice on government webpages is to tell people when they are leaving a government webpage for an external website. In this case not doing so compounds the confusion as to what is - and is not - NASA. It is somewhat ironic that a page touting NASA's IT expertise involves so many stove pipes, rabbit holes, and outright deceptive web content design.

Keith's update: If you go to the NASAiTech website it says that NASAITech "NASA iTech searches for and identifies advancements in technologies, NOT already funded by NASA, that are solving problems on Earth and have the potential to address existing challenges to enable NASA missions." and "NASA iTech provides a platform for NASA's Center Chief Technologists to vet the start-up companies' technologies for their space application, and volunteer investors and external Subject Matter Experts to vet the technologies for their commercial market viability. The first 50 finalist companies that have participated in the NASA iTech Forums have been able to raise 410+ million in private investment dollars in 2.5 years."

That certainly sounds impressive. Everyone wants NASA technology to find wider value among the public and private sectors. And the $410 million raised in private investments in 2.5 years sounds impressive too. But where do these numbers come from? How do these companies or NASAiTech staff show that NASAiTech was responsible for investors writing checks to these companies - and if so what private research these investments were made in and their connection to NASA technology?

I am told that the National Institue of Aerospace runs this for NASA. But this project either overtly represents itself as being a NASA activity on one hand but the ignores all of NASA's Technology plans on the other hand. Which is it?

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This page contains a single entry by Keith Cowing published on January 31, 2020 1:19 PM.

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