April 2022 Archives

Decision on space station's service limit depends on situation regarding Russia - Rogozin, TASS

"Russia will make a decision on the future of the International Space Station (ISS) based on the developments regarding the country, Head of Russia's State Space Corporation Roscosmos Dmitry Rogozin said in an interview with TASS on Friday. "We should not hustle now declaring our stance and will carry on with our work within the timeframe set by the government, which is until 2024," Rogozin said. "A decision regarding the ISS future will depend to a great extent on the developing situation both in Russia and around it." He also said that if Russia decided to withdraw from the ISS project, it would notify its foreign partners about this decision a year in advance. Rogozin reiterated that a package of proposals on Russia's cooperation with foreign partners on the ISS project after the year of 2024 was sent to Russian President Vladimir Putin and the country's government."

Russia Will Quit International Space Station Over Sanctions, Bloomberg

"The head of Russia's space program said Moscow will pull out of the International Space Station, state media reported, a move it has blamed on sanctions imposed over the invasion of Ukraine. "The decision has been taken already, we're not obliged to talk about it publicly," Tass and RIA Novosti reported Roscosmos General Director Dmitry Rogozin as saying in an interview with state TV on Saturday."

Keith's note: Bill Nelson is pushing the whole 'pay no attention to the man behind the curtain' thing when it comes to the relentlessly brutal attack on Ukraine by Russia. While the slaughter only grows in Ukraine, in outer space it supposed to be calm (I guess). To be certain, one would hope that some form of international cooperation will survive this real-time genocide. Meanwhile (see below) A large part of the world is working very hard toward totally screwing over Russia with the intent of having a long-term effect. So "normality" is not a thing that many people expect to be seeing for a while.

Russia's space budget is cut year after year and the U.S. no longer really needs them. They have either shunned other nations' space efforts or other nations have shunned Russia's. Or both. The Russian space program is now isolated from the rest of the world. Since Russia is broke and China has sparkly new space hardware - and money - they do not really need Russia either.

So ... where is the impetus to cooperate with the same powers that seek to undermine Russia going to come from? To be certain, the space station has weathered a lot of terrestrial politics in the past 20 years - but nothing on this scale where warnings about "World War III" appear on the lips of senior diplomats. If the ISS program stays intact when this is all (hopefully) over, then, as I have said before, the program most certainly deserves a Nobel Peace Prize.

Russian Cosmonauts Are Being 'Brainwashed': Ex-NASA Astronaut Scott Kelly, Newsweek

"I'm a patriotic American, as a former military officer and an astronaut, and I would expect the Russians to be patriotic," he told Newsweek. "What kind of surprises me is that, at least from an appearance perspective, most of them are really far down the rabbit hole, you know, believing that this was a necessary action to prevent Nazis and NATO from destroying Russia. And I know this because some of them have told me this. "So that part surprised me. How easily some of them were misled and brainwashed, I guess you could say, and don't believe what is really happening. I mean, I've had discussions with them about the atrocities that are committed, and they believe it's all fake, that it's Ukrainians committing them and blaming them on the Russians, or it's just made up."

Austin says US wants to see Russia's military capabilities weakened

"Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin insisted Monday that Russia was failing in its Ukraine incursion, with Austin explicitly saying that the US wants to see Russia's military capabilities weakened. "We want to see Russia weakened to the degree that it can't do the kinds of things that it has done in invading Ukraine," Austin said at the news conference."

Russian official admits sanctions are crippling the economy as the country grapples with a selloff and mass shortages, Fortune

"In revealing testimony before the Duma parliament, the head of the Central Bank of Russia (CBR) told the country's lawmakers she had to throw everything but the kitchen sink just to prevent a full-blown run on the banking system. "The sanctions imposed against Russia affected the situation in the financial sector, spurred the demand for foreign currencies, and caused fire sales of financial assets, a cash outflow from banks, and surging demand for goods," said Elvira Nabiullina in prepared remarks first published in English on Friday."

Keith's note: This 5 minute conversation was recorded on 6 April 2022. The White house called Vande Hei's cellphone. It then took The White House and NASA took 19 days to post it. FWIW the whole thing sounds mostly scripted.

From the White House: "On April 6th 2022, Vice President Kamala Harris called NASA Astronaut Mark Vande Hei, who returned to Earth on Wednesday, March 30, 2022, after 355 days living and working onboard the International Space Station (ISS), to congratulate Mark for setting the new American record for longest spaceflight.

The Vice President made the call from her office in the West Wing of the White House.

While clocking the single longest spaceflight by a NASA astronaut, Vande Hei contributed to dozens of studies, including six science investigations supported by NASA's Human Research Program on the effects of long-duration spaceflight on the human body. After landing back on Earth, Vande Hei will continue to provide NASA scientists and doctors more information to better understand whether long-term human spaceflight makes astronauts more susceptible to injuries on returning to Earth. Results will also help NASA design protective measures in future spacecraft."

Keith's note: From Someone@jpl.nasa.gov: "I received this today at JPL. I have no idea who else did. "Management" is not aware of what is going on here."

"From: Office Of The Director (Office.Of.The.Director@jpl.nasa.gov)
Sent: Thursday, April 21, 2022 4:37 PM
Subject: Market Pay Adjustment

1x | Office of the Director
Jet Propulsion Laboratory
April 21, 2022
To: Select JPL employees
From: Interim Director Larry James
Subject: Market Pay Adjustment

Many of us join JPL because we feel a calling to this work, and passionately believe in the greater purpose of our missions. We also belong to an economic environment affected by fluctuations in workforce needs and changing market conditions. As a part of the larger Caltech institution, we monitor forces impacting our talent, and strive to consistently take actions to remain an employer of choice.

Market conditions are changing and warrant us looking at our competitive position mid-year. As a result, you will be receiving a base salary market adjustment of 3%, effective April 25, 2022. This increase will be reflected on your May 13, 2022 paycheck and is in addition to any future pay changes resulting from other HR actions, like Annual Salary Review (ASR) discussions.

The accomplishments we have achieved during the past few years, under the most challenging circumstances, have been remarkable. We want to acknowledge and respond to the rapid commercial growth in our sector, and how that has impacted the pool of available talent, as well as the demands on that talent.

Everyone at JPL is contributing to making great discoveries and leaving a legacy, and we are grateful to have incredible people like you. Together, we will continue doing innovative, one-of-a-kind, amazing work.

If you have any questions about this market adjustment, please contact your Human Resources Business Partner (HRBP)."

Report Identifies Priority Planetary Science Missions, Planetary Defense Efforts, and Strategic Investments for the Next Decade

"A new decadal survey [Origins, Worlds, and Life: A Decadal Strategy for Planetary Science and Astrobiology 2023-2032] from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine identifies scientific priorities and opportunities and makes funding recommendations to maximize the advancement of planetary science, astrobiology, and planetary defense in the next 10 years. The recommendations by the steering committee for the decadal survey draw on input from the scientific community through the advice of six panels, hundreds of white papers, invited speakers, outreach to advisory groups and professional society conferences, and work with mission-design teams".

Vice President Harris Advances National Security Norms in Space

"Today at Vandenberg Space Force Base in California, Vice President Kamala Harris announced that the United States commits not to conduct destructive, direct-ascent anti-satellite (ASAT) missile testing, and that the United States seeks to establish this as a new international norm for responsible behavior in space. The Vice President also called on other nations to make similar commitments and to work together in establishing this as a norm, making the case that such efforts benefit all nations. At the Biden-Harris Administration's first National Space Council meeting in December, Vice President Harris tasked the National Security Council staff to work with the Department of Defense, the Department of State, and other national security agencies to develop proposals for national security space norms that advance U.S. interests and preserve the security and sustainability of space. The commitment announced today is the first initiative under this effort. The United States is the first nation to make such a declaration."

- CSF Applauds VP Harris' Commitment Not to Conduct Destructe, Direct-Ascent ASAT Missile Testing, Commercial Spaceflight Federation
- SWF Applauds US Policy to Commit not to Conduct Destructive ASAT tests, Urges Other States to Join, Secure World Foundation

Remarks by Vice President Harris on the Ongoing Work to Establish Norms in Space, White House

NASA to Discuss Status of Artemis I Moon Mission

"Due to upgrades required at an off-site supplier of gaseous nitrogen used for the test, NASA will take advantage of the opportunity to roll SLS and Orion back to the Vehicle Assembly Building to replace a faulty upper stage check valve and a small leak on the tail service mast umbilical. During that time, the agency also will review schedules and options to demonstrate propellant loading operations ahead of launch."

NASA Releases Equity Action Plan to Make Space More Accessible to All, NASA

"At NASA, all of our missions depend on our steadfast commitment to equal opportunity," said NASA Administrator Bill Nelson. "The Equity Action plan deepens our commitment to further identify and remove the barriers that limit opportunity in underserved and underrepresented communities. This framework anchors fairness as a core component in every NASA mission to make the work we do in space and beyond more accessible to all."

Executive Order 13583--Establishing a Coordinated Government-Wide Initiative To Promote Diversity and Inclusion in the Federal Workforce
August 18, 2011
, White House

NASA Goddard Does Not Want You To Use Your Pronouns, earlier post

Resources available for DAF members, families affected by local laws, Air Force News Service

"Various laws and legislation are being proposed and passed in states across America that may affect LGBTQ Airmen, Guardians, and/or their LGBTQ dependents in different ways. The Department of the Air Force has assignment, medical, legal and other resources available to support Airmen, Guardians and their families. "The health, care and resilience of our DAF personnel and their families is not just our top priority - it's essential to our ability to accomplish the mission," said Under Secretary of the Air Force Gina Ortiz Jones. "We are closely tracking state laws and legislation to ensure we prepare for and mitigate effects to our Airmen, Guardians and their families. Medical, legal resources, and various assistance are available for those who need them." If service members or their families need help with screening, treatment, or mental health support for medical concerns, they should start with DAF medical treatment facilities, according to DAF officials. The MTFs can also assist with navigating challenging life circumstances."

Keith's note: Kudos to USAF. With laws being enacted in "space states" such as Florida, Alabama, and Texas - and elsewhere - that have a direct impact on LGBTQ+ members of the NASA workforce and their families, is NASA going to follow the lead of USAF and offer these services and protections? This all stems from White House policies, eys? So one would think that this is something NASA should also be considering. I'd ask NASA PAO but they either ignore requests, say that they will "get back to you' (and don't), or in cases like this, simply point to earlier statements on the general topic - without actually answering the question that was asked.

Artemis I WDR Update: Third Test Attempt Concluded, NASA

"Teams concluded today's wet dress rehearsal test at approximately 5:10 p.m. EDT after observing a liquid hydrogen (LH2) leak on the tail service mast umbilical, which is located at the base of the mobile launcher and connects to the rocket's core stage. The leak was discovered during liquid hydrogen loading operations and prevented the team from completing the test. Before ending the test, teams also met test objectives for the interim cryogenic propulsion stage by chilling down the lines used to load propellant into the upper stage. They did not flow any propellant to the stage because of an issue with a helium check valve identified several days ago."

NASA to Discuss Initial Findings from Artemis Moon Mission Modified Test, NASA

"NASA will hold a media teleconference at 3 p.m. EDT on Friday, April 15, to discuss the wet dress rehearsal test of the agency's Space Launch System (SLS) rocket and Orion spacecraft at Launch Complex 39B at the agency's Kennedy Space Center in Florida ahead of the uncrewed Artemis I lunar mission."

- Summary Of Today's SLS Media Briefing, earlier post
- Inspector General Flunks NASA Management On Artemis/SLS/Orion, earlier post
- NASA Is Moving The Goal Posts (Yet Again) On SLS, earlier post
- NASA Stops SLS Test Before It Happens (Again), earlier post
- Earlier SLS posts

Президент РАН заявил, что Китай "поставил на паузу" сотрудничество с академией, TACC

[Google translation] "Partners of the Russian Academy of Sciences (RAS) from China "paused" cooperation with the academy, freezing the development of previously discussed projects. This was announced on Thursday by the President of the Russian Academy of Sciences Alexander Sergeev during the International Scientific and Practical Conference "Digital International Relations - 2022", which is being held at MGIMO.

"If we are talking about the southern or eastern directions, unfortunately, I can directly say that our Chinese scientific colleagues also paused, and over the past month we have not been able to enter into such serious discussions, despite the fact that we had a wonderfully built cooperation with regular communication," Sergeev said."

NASA Releases Equity Action Plan to Make Space More Accessible to All

"In support of the Biden-Harris Administration's efforts to advance racial equity in the federal government, NASA has released its first-ever Equity Action Plan. The plan establishes key focus areas that will allow the agency to track progress toward improved diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility both internally and externally to NASA. "At NASA, all of our missions depend on our steadfast commitment to equal opportunity," said NASA Administrator Bill Nelson. "The Equity Action plan deepens our commitment to further identify and remove the barriers that limit opportunity in underserved and underrepresented communities. This framework anchors fairness as a core component in every NASA mission to make the work we do in space and beyond more accessible to all."

Space Workforce 2030

"As we chart a course into this promising future, the foundation we establish now will have a profound effect on the generations that follow. We feel strongly that as humanity continues to extend our reach further into space, that presence must encompass the full range of people on earth and reflect the values to which we aspire. We, as members of the space community, are committed to modeling this future state even as we endeavor to create it."

Redirecting ESA programmes in response to geopolitical crisis

"ESA will discontinue cooperative activities with Russia on Luna-25, -26 and -27. As with ExoMars, the Russian aggression against Ukraine and the resulting sanctions put in place represent a fundamental change of circumstances and make it impossible for ESA to implement the planned lunar cooperation. However, ESA's science and technology for these missions remains of vital importance. A second flight opportunity has already been secured on board a NASA-led Commercial Lunar Payload Services (CLPS) mission for the PROSPECT lunar drill and volatile analysis package (planned for Luna-27). An alternative flight opportunity to test the ESA navigation camera known as PILOT-D (planned for Luna-25) is already being procured from a commercial service provider.

Meanwhile, a way forward for the PILOT precision landing and hazard avoidance technology (planned for Luna-27) is already being defined. This capability is needed for European Lunar exploration activities such as the European Large Logistic Lander (EL3), proposed for decision at CM22. Further, the ESA Director General and the President of the Japanese agency JAXA last week signed an agreement to fly ESA's EMS-L, the Exospheric Mass Spectrometer instrument, on board the JAXA/ISRO LUPEX lunar rover mission. This adds to the growing list of European experiments flying to the Moon in the next few years.

Although all the elements of the ExoMars Rover mission (the launcher, carrier module, descent module and Rosalind Franklin rover) have now passed their flight readiness reviews, because cooperation with Roscosmos on ExoMars has been suspended, the mission will not be launched in September this year. Instead, a fast-track study is now under way led by Thales Alenia Space of Italy to assess options for the way forward."

My STS-1 Story

Keith's note: I had an interesting job at STS-1 - I was Jerry Brown's advance man. I took a few days off from my job at Rockwell Downey where I stood inside of Discovery and Atlantis as they were being built to work for my old boss (I worked on his 1980 presidential campaign). The trip to the launch was insane. The area was still somewhat boarded up after the post-Apollo economic downturn and things were opening up for the shuttle era. So everyone was happy on the Space Coast.

At one point I: drove a large Chevy back and forth between the Mouse Trap and the old Holiday Inn (more than once) with Mercury and Gemini astronauts inside: tried to get Jerry to say hi to Christopher Reeve (he did, what a really nice guy he was); tried to keep Jerry away from Pat Boone (failed); set up a dinner with our group and (then) Rep. Bill Nelson - who then stood us up; and spent a lot of time talking to author James Michener about the new space book he was writing. The son of the President of Mexico, Nichelle Nichols, astronaut Rusty Schweickart, and Whole Earth Catalog founder Stewart Brand were in our traveling entourage.

Before the launch I also spent a lot of time walking around with George Lucas and Stephen Spielberg (who joined our merry bunch) looking at IMAX cameras and bothering Tom Brokaw while a very patient Judy Resnik answered questions. We then walked down A1A to Al Neuharth's Punkin Center. "Raiders of the Lost Ark" premiered 15 June 1981. Let's just say I got a slight preview of coming attractions. I left them saying "keep doing what you are doing". They did.

After the launch at Al Neuharth's house I let Alan Shephard and Buzz Aldrin use my motel key to scratch their signatures on the viewfinder of the Hasselblad camera that our photographer Jamie Stoughton used - his father was JFK's photographer (he also took the B&W photos of me and Jerry at the launch). An hour or so after the launch a helicopter flew over the house and dropped bundles of Florida Today newspapers showing pictures of the launch we just saw. The entire event was surreal.

Oh and then there was the landing. At the landing I offered Nastassja Kinski a donut on the bus up to Edwards and she acted insulted that I'd offer her junk food. At the VIP area John Denver and I were trying to figure out how to properly use the Canon A-1 cameras we had both just bought. And then the shuttle dropped like a brick onto the runway. I was 25. My feet never touched through ground through out this mission.

That is my STS-1 story.

A Post-Russia ISS?

Russia could end its role in the International Space Station by 2024, say experts, Live Science

"As a result, Cowing thinks NASA and its other partners will be able to keep the ISS in orbit for almost another decade even if Russia pulls out of the project. And since the start of flights by the Cygnus and Dragon spacecraft NASA and the other partners on the ISS project -- the European, Japanese and Canadian space agencies -- are no longer reliant on Russia's Soyuz to carry crew and cargo to the space station, he said. He warned that even if Russia chooses to continue its involvement, it could face international pressure on its activities in space because of its actions in Ukraine. "The problem here is that they've gone beyond the pale, and I am not sure anybody will really want to work with them ever again," Cowing said."

Artemis I Wet Dress Rehearsal Update

"NASA is planning to proceed with a modified wet dress rehearsal, primarily focused on tanking the core stage, and minimal propellant operations on the interim cryogenic propulsion stage (ICPS) with the ground systems at Kennedy. Due to the changes in loading procedures required for the modified test, wet dress rehearsal testing is slated to resume with call to stations on Tuesday, April 12 and tanking on Thursday, April 14. Wet dress rehearsal is an opportunity to refine the countdown procedures and validate critical models and software interfaces. The modified test will enable engineers to achieve the test objectives critical to launch success. Following the modified test, the Space Launch System rocket and Orion spacecraft will return to the Vehicle Assembly Building (VAB) where engineers will evaluate the valve and replace if needed. Teams are confident in the ability to replace the valve once back in the VAB."  

Inspector General Flunks NASA Management On Artemis/SLS/Orion, earlier post

"Rather than resolving the major shortcomings with the Agencys cost estimating and reporting practices, the recent policy amendments formalized known deficiencies as acceptable management practices. NASA had previously stated that it intended to establish new policies and procedures that would provide additional transparency for major programs with multiple deliverables and unspecified end points."

Keith's note: So ... a full-up test of loading the entire SLS with fuel was the official baselined program plan for what needed to be done on the pad in order to proceed toward the first launch. Then something did not work. Then something else did not work. Now a valve in the upper stage is not working. So NASA will skip that part when they try again. Then if everything else works they will roll SLS back to the VAB and maybe replace the ICPS valve. Or maybe not. But are they then going to roll SLS back out to the pad and do the full-up test - with all of the ICPS tests - that the program originally baselined - or skip some tests instead and check off some boxes with a waiver and a memo? If NASA is going to skip test steps then why have them as part of the test to begin with? Its a good thing that all NASA buys all of their goal posts with wheels.

NASA to Discuss Plans Today for Artemis Moon Mission Modified Test

"NASA will hold a media teleconference at 4 p.m. EDT today, Monday, April 11, to provide an update on the final major test of the agency's mega Moon rocket and spacecraft on the launch pad at the agency's Kennedy Space Center in Florida ahead of the uncrewed Artemis I lunar mission."

NASA's Cost Estimating and Reporting Practices for Multi-Mission Programs

"Congress is not receiving the federally mandated cost and schedule information it needs to make fully informed funding decisions for NASAs multi-mission programs. Specifically, for the programs supporting Artemis, the Agencys return-to- the-Moon and ultimately to Mars effort, NASA is circumventing required cost and schedule controls by categorizing certain production costs as operations costs when, in our opinion, they should be categorized as development costs. When the Constellation Program was cancelled in 2010, Congress directed NASA to continue development of several major components, including the rocket, crew capsule, and ground launch infrastructure. Without clearly defined missions for these major items, NASA only made cost and schedule commitments to Congress to demonstrate the initial capability of each system. The three separately-managed programs the Space Launch System (SLS), the Orion Multi- Purpose Crew Vehicle (Orion), and Exploration Ground Systems (EGS) will provide the primary components for Artemis missions, the first of which is scheduled to launch no earlier than May 2022. Even though NASA has multiple Artemis missions planned, it has not adjusted the three programs life-cycle cost estimates or commitments to account for future missions. The result is incomplete cost estimates and commitments for these programs and missions.

We raised questions with the Agencys recent update to NASA Procedural Requirements (NPR) 7120.5F, NASA Space Flight Program and Project Management Requirements, which establishes the requirements, life-cycle processes, and procedures by which NASA formulates and implements space flight programs and projects. Rather than resolving the major shortcomings with the Agencys cost estimating and reporting practices, the recent policy amendments formalized known deficiencies as acceptable management practices. NASA had previously stated that it intended to establish new policies and procedures that would provide additional transparency for major programs with multiple deliverables and unspecified end points. Instead, it codified its poor cost estimating and reporting practices in a new policy that fails to comply with Title 51 of the United States Code, which requires the Agency to annually provide an estimate of the life- cycle cost for major programs, with a detailed breakout of the development cost and program reserves as well as an estimate of the annual costs until development is completed. The policy also weakens NASAs ability to account for some risks in programs consisting of multiple projects, a situation that may affect cost and schedule if risks are unidentified in the estimates. Furthermore, the revised policy will not adequately address several open NASA Office of Inspector General (OIG) and Government Accountability Office (GAO) recommendations regarding incomplete and missing cost estimates and the corresponding baseline commitments for programs supporting Artemis missions.

Congress, NASA OIG, and GAO have identified longstanding problems with the completeness and credibility of NASA's life-cycle cost estimates for major acquisitions. Ultimately, NASA is not providing full visibility into its investments as it begins a multi-decade initiative to transport humans to Mars at a cost that could easily reach into the hundreds of billions of dollars. Because the programs that support these exploration missions are still in their early development stages, it is critical that NASA establish credible and complete cost and schedule estimates."

SpaceX Gets Unwelcome News From Army Corps Of Engineers, Space Policy Online

"The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has withdrawn SpaceX's application to expand its Boca Chica, TX test site because the company failed to provide required information requested last year. The environmental evaluation by the Corps is in addition to a separate ongoing environmental review by the Federal Aviation Administration."

In-Space Servicing, Assembly, and Manufacturing National Strategy, Product of the In-Space Servicing, Assembly, and Manufacturing Interagency Working Group of the National Science and Technology Council

"This National Strategy outlines how the United States will support and stimulate the United States Government (USG), academic, and commercial ISAM capability development. It provides strategic goals to advance ISAM capability development discussed in the United States Space Priorities Framework. The next step following the strategy is to develop USG implementation action plans to fulfill the goals. Six strategic goals build on existing investments and emerging capabilities, and chart a course for using a national approach to realize the opportunities enabled by ISAM. The six goals are: (1) advancing ISAM research and development; (2) prioritizing the expansion of scalable infrastructure; (3) accelerating the emerging ISAM commercial industry; (4) promoting international collaboration and cooperation to achieve ISAM goals; (5) prioritizing environmental sustainability as we move forward with ISAM capabilities; and (6) inspiring a diverse future workforce as a potential outcome of ISAM innovation. These six goals aim to guide the United States as it continues to develop ISAM capabilities."

NASA to Discuss Final Test Status Today Before Artemis Moon Mission

"NASA will hold a media teleconference at 4 p.m. EDT today on Tuesday, April 5, to provide another update on the final major test with the agency's mega Moon rocket and Orion spacecraft at the launch pad ahead of the uncrewed Artemis I lunar mission. Audio of the teleconference will stream live on the agency's website."

Artemis I Wet Dress Rehearsal Called off for April 4

"The Artemis I team has ended today's attempt at the wet dress rehearsal test at 5 p.m. The countdown ended after partially loading liquid oxygen into the Space Launch System core stage tank. This provided the teams a valuable opportunity for training and to make sure modeled loading procedures were accurate. This was the first time using new systems at NASA's Kennedy Space Center Launch Complex 39B. The team was able to monitor the Artemis I core stage as it was exposed to cryogenic liquids and gather data that will inform updates to propellant loading procedures."

NASA to Provide Update Today on Last Major Artemis Test Before Launch

"The approximately two-day test, known as the wet dress rehearsal, began Friday, April 1, and was halted Sunday prior to tanking due to loss of ability to pressurize the mobile launcher using two fans. The fans are needed to provide positive pressure to the enclosed areas within the mobile launcher and keep out hazardous gases. Without this capability, technicians are unable to safely proceed with remotely loading the propellants into the rocket's core stage and interim cryogenic propulsion stage."


Keith's note: Roscosmos Chief @Rogozin has been tweeting up a storm. A nasty storm. In a nutshell he is unilaterally ending Russian cooperation on ISS unless all sanctions are lifted. He does not specify what he means by "ending cooperation". He has also has posted all the letters from the iSS partners that in essense say "thanks for your note, we have nothing to add. Have a nice day". No one seems to be jumping in front of Rogozin's latest threats.

This time Rogozin is more intense and detailed in his tweeting. He is also desperate which is in synch with Putin. Rogozin is lock step in support of Putin's genocidal slaughter of Ukraine and has gone off the deep end to demonstrate that support by repeating every imaginable piece of propoganda lies.

Rogozin is a lost cause. No one is going to start disconnecting ISS modules. The U.S. has a new re-boost system on Cygnus that will be tested and SpaceX has signaled that this is something they could offer in a rather straight forward fashion. We have independent crew and cargo capabilities. Alas, in Russia, with foreign sources of hard cash all but dried up for Roscosmos - thus their cash influx to prop up their various human and science space programs, and the crippling impact of global sanctions, it is hard to imagine that Russia could continue to do things with ISS the way that they have been doing. And it is not very clear how they could help China if Russia is essentially broke.

The ISS has managed to survive two decades of political turmoil on Earth with comparatively minor impact on its operations and missions. We are now entering a new phase where that global cooperation is going to be tested. As I have often said I hope that the common sense of purpose and true cooperation that have been the hallmark of international cooperation for more than 20 years should be teaching us something about how to get along back on Earth. Who knows - despite all the complaints that ISS is just an expensive thing in search of a purpose, the ability for the iSS to maintain a higher order of human interaction - literally - above the petty human fray of politics - is its biggest possible contribution.

First Contact Day is on Tuesday, April 5 - as in April 5th 2061. The Star Trek movie "First Contact" is about humanity's climbing back to space after a global nuclear war. The other Star Trek film I mention is "The Undiscovered Country" - a Shakespearean phrase affixed to a film about the aftermath of a cold war in space - one where one side clearly beat the other but old hatreds and distrusts still color a larger search for peace. Both films have a new relevance to what we see in the news during the day and see in our dreams/nightmares at night.

Have you ever noticed the similarity between the ISS symbol, the UN symbol, and the Star Trek United Federation of Planets symbol? Since there aren't any Vulcan's waiting to come save our asses its up to us to do that. Maybe ISS is a good place to start. Just sayin'.

"... The head of NASA, Senator Nelson, the head of the European Space Agency, Josef Aschbacher, and the head of the Canadian Space Agency, Lisa Campbell, responded to my appeal to them demanding the lifting of sanctions against a number of enterprises in the Russian rocket and space industry...."

"... financial, economic and production activities of our high-tech enterprises. The purpose of the sanctions is to kill the Russian economy, plunge our people into despair and hunger, and bring our country to its knees. It is clear that they will not be able to do this, but the intentions are clear. That's why believe that the restoration of normal relations between partners in the International Space Station and other joint projects is possible only with the complete and unconditional lifting of illegal sanctions. Specific proposals of Roskosmos on the timing of the completion of cooperation within the ...""

NASA JPL To Implement Novel Post-COVID Remote Work Program

"NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory is preparing to enhance its flex-work processes by allowing technical staff to work directly at their objects of study through an In-Situ Implementation to Realize Accelerated Expansion of Learning (ISITREAL) program."

NASAWatch Is 26

How It Started | How It's Going

Keith's note: NASAWatch turns 26 on 1 Apr 2022. It started as "NASA RIFWatch" on 1 Apr 1996 with this post "RIF at NASA In Summer 1997?". The website was first hosted on a Mac Classic II on a 128 kbps ISDN line in my old little condo in Reston, Virginia (see 20 Years Ago Today: The Seeds of NASAWatch). Here are a few things from those early days that are still online:

- Rogue Webmasters, Government Executive, 1 Oct 1996
- NASA's Most Important Asset, Gerry Griffin, 31 December 1996
- Dan Goldin Comments to the Space Science Advisory Committee (SSAC) Meeting, 6/17/96
- Changes in Thinking At NASA November 29, 1996, PBS News Hour



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