August 2020 Archives

"What if we built a bridge, between and above all nations, to jointly discover the galaxy's great unknowns?" Join us this fall as we prepare to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the International Space Station. As a global endeavor, 240 people from 19 countries have visited the unique microgravity laboratory, which has hosted more than 2,800 research investigations from scientists in over 100 nations."

Why the International Space Station Deserves Consideration for a Nobel Peace Prize, ISS National Laboratory

'Space Force officers must think like Navy officers if they are to succeed', Politico

"With Congress' blessing, Space Force admirals will create a service that promotes whole-of-nation space development and considers space commerce protection as a mission co-equal to warfighting. The Senate and House jointly passing the Starfleet Amendment into law would declare boldly that Americans want the Space Force to be both strong and wise enough to win the great power competition in space through strategic -- yet peaceful -- development that will both secure America and enrich the world. Make it so!."

Why giving the Space Force naval ranks might widen the schism with the Air Force, Politico

"Finally, and most importantly, symbols matter. The Space Force knows that with an embrace of naval rank comes expectations of naval roles. But does the Space Force want its officers to embrace navalist thinking? Although virtually all major space power theorists have consistently used maritime analogies, space power theory wasn't part of military education until quite recently, and has yet to make it into official doctrine."

Keith's note: Really guys? Space Force still hasn't created anything yet - they slap their logos on other organization's satellites. They have not chased any bad guys in space yet. More importantly, they have not figured out what Space Force wants to be when it grows up. Yet there are already food fights about what rank system to use, what the uniforms should look like, and what logos will be used on official Space Force swag. Someone should do a TV show about this. Oh wait ....

- Space Force Really Wants To Be Star Fleet, earlier post
- Now Space Force Wants Its Own Starfleet Admirals, earlier post
- Space Force Really Wants To Take Over All Of NASA's Stuff, earlier post
- TV's Space Force Looks Like More Fun Than The Real One (Or Artemis), earlier post
- More Space Force postings

Space Force releases 1st doctrine, defines "spacepower" as distinct form of military power

"The Space Capstone Publication explains why spacepower is a vital element of U.S. prosperity and security - now and in the future - and guides its employment in multidomain operations. As the USSF continues to grow and mature, we will continue to evolve our doctrine to stay on the cutting edge of defending our interests in space."

Space Capstone Publication, Spacepower (SCP)

"Military space forces must be responsible stewards of the space domain. When designing missions, training, and performing end of life operations, military space forces should make every effort to promote responsible norms of behavior that perpetuate space as a safe and open environment in accordance with the Laws of Armed Conflict, the Outer Space Treaty, and international law, as well as U.S. Government and DoD policy. Just like all forms of warfare, the prosecution of space warfare and the potential generation of collateral damage is judged against the principles of military necessity, distinction, and proportionality. Through this approach, military space forces balance our responsibilities for operational readiness with the safety and sustainability of the space environment for use by future generations."

"Space professionals recognize the independent impact spacepower has on National prosperity. Our global persistence postures the Joint Force to continuously assure Allies, deter aggression, coerce competitors, and defeat adversaries. We provide the enduring vigilance that protects the United States and our Allies from strategic surprise. Due to this global persistence and enduring vigilance, space professionals are perfectly postured to provide the Joint Force global, and not just regional, perspective and capabilities. As we look to the future, our orbital presence must secure the ever expanding frontier of U.S. space interests. At their most fundamental level, space professionals seek to protect our Nation's prosperity and security."

Keith's note: It is quite obvious from this document that the current Administration's space focus is the undisputed leadership and control of all aspects of space via military means. All other uses - scientific, exploration, humanitarian, commercial, societal - are of secondary importance to the mastery of space that the Space Force seeks to impose. Indeed the authors overtly talk about the need to "coerce competitors". Competition - whether it be commercial or governmental - when peaceful - is supposed to be good, right? These Space Force guys simply want to bend others to their will.

FYI "NASA" appears only once in this document - at the end - in the credits on page 61 where it says "Cover Image courtesy of NASA". The face that America's civilian space agency is literally a footnote to this other American space policy speaks volumes in terms of where the main focus is.

To be certain we have had space-based defense assets for more than a half century that need to be secured. But It seems to have escaped the notice of all of the would-be space warriors that imposing an enhanced military mindset upon all American space activities is the best way to push other nations to do the same. Curiously, we have had a continuous human presence on ISS for 20 years with Russia - one of our prime terrestrial politcal adversaries. If you include the Shuttle-Mir project then this continuos cooperation goes back to 1993 between the US and the USSR. We seem to get along vastly better in space than we do on Earth. Certainly there are lessons to be learned from this experience. Reading this document, you get the exact opposite impression: the ISS is not even mentioned.

Just as we are pushing for an overt increase in the militarization of space many in NASA are endorsing a push to get the International Space Station awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. The policy disconnect between pursuing the peaceful and military uses of space could not be more profound.

- The Space Force Squad Wants To Create Problems - Not Avoid Them, earlier post
- Now Space Force Wants Its Own Starfleet Admirals, earlier post- Space Force Official Flag Presented To The President On Friday Because Of Course It Was, earlier post
- Space Force Has The Air Force Academy. Why Doesn't NASA Have A Space Academy?, earlier post
- More Space Force postings

Keith's note: The new Netflix series "Away"" premiers on 4 September 2020. "Commander Emma Green leaves behind her husband and daughter to lead an international crew of astronauts on a perilous three-year mission to Mars."

Alan Phillips

Alan Harwood Phillips

"Alan Harwood Phillips, 60, of Albemarle passed away on Monday, August 3, 2020 at home surrounded by his family following a four month battle with brain cancer. ... Alan was the founding director of the NASA Safety Center and served as director until his retirement in July of last year. Prior to his selection as director of the NSC, he led Langley Research Center's Office of Safety and Mission Assurance in Hampton, VA for four years. In this position, he led and managed the Center's Institutional Safety and Mission Assurance Program and was accepted as a member of the Senior Executive Service (SES). One of Mr. Phillips' greatest accomplishments was when he received the Presidential Rank Award, which recognizes select members of the SES for their sustained excellent service. Throughout his career and travels, Alan formed deep friendships with numerous colleagues."

Ad Astra.

Keith's note: Seriously? No educational degree is required to lead an outreach effort for the world's preeminent space agency - one that needs to reach 328 million people domestically and billions internationally? And this uneducated person can earn from $102,663 to $157,709 when the median income in the U.S. is just over $30,000 at a time when unemployment is exploding? Baffling.

The job I had at NASA required that I have a college degree and experience. I would have had great difficulty doing my job without a graduate degree. Was NASA incorrect in asking that I have that degree? To be certain life experience and enthusiasm is vitally important, but I am trying to wrap my head around the notion that NASA is no longer going to require college degrees for jobs that require scientific and engineering knowledge. Our society is already on a road toward collective dumbing down - you can especially see it in how people react to the science behind pandemics. This Administration seems to see actual education as a liability and they put that bias into practice every day.

- Eric Trump's Brother-In-Law Is The New Deputy NASA Chief Of Staff. Seriously., earlier post
- How Jonathan Dimock Auditioned To Be NASA White House Liaison, earlier post

Here's the job description

"Summary
The News and Multimedia Division within the NASA Office of Communications in Washington, DC is seeking a skilled individual to serve as a public affairs specialist in the Digital Communications Branch. The public affairs specialist is responsible for developing digital media strategies, tactics, products and messaging in support of NASA's charter in the 1958 National Aeronautics and Space Act to reach the widest practicable audience.

Responsibilities
- Oversees the development, implementation, execution, and measurement of social media channel strategies, with a focus on content production, community management, social listening and targeted audience growth.
- Establishes and implements a modern community management strategy that positions the agency as responsive and engaged with online audiences.
- Leads the creation of digital media plans and editorial calendars. This includes managing projects requiring agency-wide collaboration with communicators who specialize in audio, eBooks, mobile apps, social media, television, video, AR/VR and web.
- Coordinates with communication staffers, agency subject matter experts other relevant stakeholders to ensure consistent messaging and a timely, coordinated release of digital products.
- Maintains agency-owned accounts according to best practices. This includes creating or updating account profile information and artwork, creating or consolidating accounts, managing follower lists, etc.
- Stays up to date with the latest digital trends, sharing learning with stakeholders and making recommendations for new tactics and tools.
- Supports agency events and programs, including live coverage on digital platforms that may occur outside of standard business hours.
- Duties described above are at the full-performance level. Duties assigned at a lower grade level will be of more limited scope, performed with less independence and limited complexity; duties will be commensurate with the grade of selected employee"

Worm Watch

NASA's 'worm' logo lay dormant for 28 years. So why are people so obsessed with it?, Fast Company

"Fast-forward to 1992. As Danne tells it, the logo was retired by executive decision. The new NASA administrator at the time, Dan Goldin, allegedly didn't like the worm and wanted to bring back the meatball as the primary logo. According to Danne, it was quickly phased out. NASA confirmed it was an executive decision but didn't have any more details about Goldin's motivations."

LOST IN SPACE; Meatballs Devour Worms!!, New York Times Magazine (1999).

"For the past six years NASA has been trying to wipe out the tubular red logo (''the worm'') that has symbolized space exploration since 1975. The chief exterminator is Dan Goldin, NASA's administrator, who says that the original 1958 emblem (''the meatball'') better commemorates the program's mission. But wasting the worm, which has adorned everything from welcome mats to wind tunnels, is taking longer than Goldin would like. Keith Cowing, an ex-NASA payload manager who documents worm sightings on the NASA Watch Web site, raps Goldin's subordinates for obsessively hiding the worm from the boss. A NASA spokesman protests, saying the agency is worming itself -- harmlessly -- over time (old letterhead will be used up, etc.): ''If someone decides they better go and eradicate this, that or the other thing, it's not because of Goldin."

https://s3.amazonaws.com/images.spaceref.com/news/2020/trump.NASA.jpg

Keith's note: Here is the actual tweet. I am posting a picture of it since Trump tends to block a lot of people.

Mike Freilich

NASA Administrator Statement on the Passing of Mike Freilich

"Mike Freilich, passionate explorer and former director of NASA's Earth Science Division: "Our planet has lost a true champion with the passing of Mike Freilich. NASA sends our condolences to his loved ones, and the entire NASA Family shares their loss. "As the head of NASA Earth Science, Mike was known for his diligence and an unwavering commitment to accuracy and making sure the science was strong. His oversize passion for all things related to expanding knowledge about the complex systems of our planet saw an incredible diversity of missions launch on his watch. Mike never avoided the tough decisions, but his deep expertise and innate love of science helped our agency to innovate and expand the ways it observes our home planet."

Perseverance: Being There

Perseverance: The Mission and the Team, Thomas Zurbuchen

"As we went through the countdown, just minutes before the launch of NASA's Perseverance rover, we got a message that seemed fitting: "there is an Earthquake in Pasadena." MiMi Aung, the project director of Ingenuity, the pioneering Mars helicopter was just on air from the Jet Propulsion Laboratory when her world started shaking. "She seemed a little more nervous than normal." somebody remarked and wondered why. Minutes later, the same person wondered: "how did she keep it together during all this?" This is the question many have asked many times, and the Perseverance team answered it over and over, not by words, but by actions. Here are some Perseverance moments during the past few years."

Keith's update: I just had a chat with GSFC management. In a nutshell this pandemic and telework has gone on longer than anyone expected and it will go on for quite some time - well into 2021. As such, people and policies need to constantly adapt to an uncertain and ever changing future. You can expect some clarification from GSFC management soon including a request from the GSFC workforce for employee input on how to better adjust existing rules, clarification of those rules and safety concerns, and the reality of trying to telework during a global pandemic.

Please try to help your management help you - and reciprocate when they seek your assistance.

My Statement on the Successful Splashdown of NASA-SpaceX Dragon Endeavour, Joe Biden

"Congratulations to NASA, SpaceX, astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley, and all the hardworking women and men who made possible a successful conclusion to this historic mission. The first American splashdown in 45 years was executed with precision and professionalism, just like the entirety of this awe-inspiring trip to the International Space Station. This is a victory for American innovation and persistence, and I am proud of the role President Obama and I had in fighting to ensure that commercial crew flights from American soil would become a reality. As president, I look forward to leading a bold space program that will continue to send astronaut heroes to expand our exploration and scientific frontiers through investments in research and technology to help millions of people here on Earth."

Chairwomen Johnson and Horn Celebrate Successful Splashdown of SpaceX Demo-2

"After a momentous launch to space from American soil for the first time in nearly a decade, NASA astronauts have successfully returned home after a productive mission on the International Space Station," said Chairwoman Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-TX). "The safe return of these two NASA astronauts is a significant milestone for America's space program. I want to welcome Astronauts Hurley and Behnken home and congratulate all those who made their mission possible."


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