Aeronautics: August 2009 Archives

Keith's note: On 27 August there will be an invitation-only media briefing with Jaiwon Shin, NASA's Associate Administrator for Aeronautics who will give a progress report on activities undertaken in the past year and discuss what's ahead for the Aeronautics Research Mission Directorate in fiscal 2010. Alas, you can only attend this event if you are invited and are physically present in Washington, DC. I have been invited but I will be on a train when this briefing occurs. Alas, there is no provision for a phone bridge (even though all the other directorates regularly use them). But they do have money to spend on refreshments.

Given that the actual aeronautics research being discussed is not done at NASA HQ but at various NASA field centers and in the private sector spread out across the U.S., one would think that such an update would be of considerable interest to media who are not physically present in Washington, DC. Given the looming changes that will come from the Augustine Committee and shuttle retirement, people are especially anxious as to understanding what the agency will be doing.

Again, as I have observed before, people in the aeronautics world regularly complain that there is not enough news coming out about aeronautics. This is why.

Another Stealth Launch From Wallops, earlier post

NASA Launches New Technology: An Inflatable Heat Shield

"A successful NASA flight test Monday demonstrated how a spacecraft returning to Earth can use an inflatable heat shield to slow and protect itself as it enters the atmosphere at hypersonic speeds."

Keith's note: What a cool project. And the launch - it was one that was likely visible up and down the east coast of the U.S. Too bad NASA only started to tell people about it a few hours before the launch. The only NASA Aeronautics or WFF PAO release was after the fact. No media advisory was sent out in advance, no advance press release, no contact of metro area media - nothing. At a time when everyone seems to be in a quandry as to what value NASA provides to the public, you'd think that a little more PR would be in order - especially given the number of peopel vacationing on the shore who could have been tipped off to what was happening.

Although something is posted here dated 10 August, you'd have to be a regular visitor to the Aeronautics page to have seen it. To their credit the Wallops folks did Twitter about the launch but unless you just happend to check Twitter at 4:09 pm on 13 August before new Tweets rolled in, you would have never known there was going to be a launch until early today. If you were checking Twitter around 6 am EDT today you would have seen that a countdown was underway. Also, the Wallops PAO office is not exactly large 1-2 people on a good day. That said, Aeronautics PAO at NASA HQ could have been much more proactive in this regard. How much work does it take to issue a simple who/what/when/where media advisory for something like this? Too much, it would seem.

People in the aeronautics world are always complaining about a lack of visibility for what they do. Given this stealth launch today, I can understand why they feel this way. The same goes for Wallops - what do they do over there? Well, one look at their press release page would suggest that they have not done anything that is newsworthy since 6 May 2008.

NASA OIG on NextGen

NASA Could Improve Analyses and Coordination in Support of the Joint Planning and Development Office to Develop the Next Generation Air Transportation System

"Overall, we determined that NASA had taken some actions to work effectively with JPDO to accomplish NextGen development. NASA implemented an organizational structure to support JPDO R&D activities, assigning responsibility to accomplish NextGen R&D activities to ARMD. ARMD reformulated programs and projects to execute its NextGen responsibilities, developed program and project plans that support JPDO's plans, assigned responsibility and defined supervisory positions to support the accomplishment of those plans, and established project plan milestones and schedules to ensure progress toward NextGen objectives. However, concurrent with those actions in support of NextGen, when faced with impending budget reductions, ARMD eliminated or reduced three aeronautics research capabilities that JPDO and NRC had identified as critical for achieving NextGen goals."


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This page is an archive of entries in the Aeronautics category from August 2009.

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