Commercialization: July 2007 Archives

NASA KSC ITAR Run Amok

Editor's update: Note from the originator of this USENET thread: "Just got off the phone with the Export Control compliance guy from GD/NASA-KSC. There is *not* an ITAR issue with the stuff I've listed on my website He also pointed out that GD is *not* trying to censor Saturn V stuff. Whoever did that previously, it is NOT General Dynamics."

Editor's update: Slashdot readers are having fun with this topic.

Saturn V pictures are now ITAR Controlled, Sci.Space.History

"But then I got this message from a contact who worked at KSC: "However, just before we left KSC, a guy from the NASA Export Control Office (which is run by some contractor, maybe Analex?) came by our office on an "inspection" and told us we had to take down all the Saturn V drawings we had around ... now, these were just old NAA public relation drawings, plus a few commercially-purchased posters showing the Saturn V internals in very rough detail. He said they were all covered by ITAR and therefore had to be locked up! We kept telling him some were purchased at the Visitor Center Gift Shop, but he did not care. He ended up coming around with an armed security cop until we took them down and shredded them."

Editor's note: Check out all of this ITAR-violating goodness at MSFC. And this report online at Astronautix.com probably means a life sentence in prison for someone if the KSC ITAR Cops have their way. Meanwhile, I guess they will have to throw big bags over the restored (and publicly accessible) Saturn V's on display at JSC, MSFC, and KSC.

The following International Traffic In Arms Regulations regulations lay out what is not covered under ITAR controlled information. Be thinking about 40 year old Apollo program infomration - and how widely it has been distributed - as you read this:

Scaled Composites Family Support Fund, NSS

"As many of you have heard, there was a serious accident last week at Scaled Composites, Burt Rutan's pioneering company. Three lives were lost, including Charles 'Glen' May, an NSS member who was a leader within NSS's Huntsville HAL5 Chapter. In addition, three employees suffered serious injuries. Scaled has announced information on a fund for those wishing to support the families of the deceased as well as the injured and their families. The National Space Society urges all of its members to give generously to support these heroes."

Statement by the Members of the Personal Spaceflight Federation Regarding the Recent Incident in Mojave

"After the work and sacrifice of many, the space frontier is now being opened by private enterprise. As leaders of companies and organizations who are engaged in this undertaking, we are committed to striving for the highest level of safety for the public, our customers and our employees. We can do no less."

Tragedy in the New Space Race, MSNBC

"In comments to The Associated Press, X Prize founder Peter Diamandis took a similar tack. "This was an industrial accident. This has nothing to do with spaceflight," he was quoted as saying. On a technical level, Diamandis is totally correct: The accident is outside the jurisdiction of the Federal Aviation Administration, and is being handled as an occupational safety matter by Scaled, the Mojave Airport and Spaceport, and the state of California. Butwhen you set aside the technicalities, the cause that brought Glenn May, Eric Blackwell and Todd Ivens to Mojave has everything to do with spaceflight."

3 killed, 3 injured in explosion at rocket test site in Mojave, LA Times

"Authorities said the blast occurred about 2:30 p.m. at a remote site on the northeastern fringe of Mojave airport, a small, county-run commercial facility about 95 miles north of downtown Los Angeles. Rutan, looking tired and disheveled, appeared at a 20-minute evening news conference at the desert airport. He told reporters that the blast occurred as the company was testing the propellent flow system for SpaceShip Two, the intended successor to the pioneering SpaceShip One and a project whose details had been closely guarded by Scaled Composites."

COTS Falling Behind?

COTS Support Of ISS Doubted. Aviation Now

"Tommy Holloway, chair of the International Space Station (ISS) Safety Task Force and former ISS manager for NASA, told House lawmakers July 24 that he doubts the Commercial Orbital Transportation Services (COTS) program can make up for a "substantial part" of the projected ISS logistics shortfall in the crucial first few years after the space shuttle's 2010 retirement. "I think depending entirely on COTS would be a significant risk to the long-term viability of the station," Holloway said during a hearing of the House Science Space and Aeronautics Subcommittee."

Northrop Grumman to Buy Builder of SpaceShipOne, First Manned Commercial Space Rocket, AP

"Northrop Grumman Corp. has agreed to buy the company that built the first private manned rocket to reach space, it was announced Friday. Northrop earlier this month agreed to increase its stake in Mojave, Calif.-based Scaled Composites LLC from 40 percent to 100 percent, said company spokesman Dan McClain."

Here Comes NOMAD

NASA ARC internal memo: NOMAD (NASA Operational Messaging and Directory) Project Town Hall

"The NASA Administrator has advocated the development and implementation of a single agency messaging system. NOMAD encompasses integrated e-mail, calendaring, instant messaging, and common file sharing. Ames is scheduled to migrate to NOMAD by November 2007. In addition, vendor support for the Eudora e-mail client will expire November 2007."

Editor's note: Of course it would not occur to NASA to go buy a commercial, secure, off-the-shelf solution - just like the private sector uses. Nah. Let's recreate what is already available for sale - no doubt at 10 times the cost - something that will be out of date the moment it goes online.

Reader note: NOMAD is far worse than what you could imagine. 200MB Inbox quotas, to start with (or, for an additional fee, 1GB). Servers centralized at JSC and MSFC. Other centers have reported repeated downtimes, bouncing messages. All e-mail must be POP'd to the local desktop. Etc. Software-wise, it's MS Exchange servers. Why the field Centers can't have their own Exchange servers (perhaps with more relaxed quotas and other policies?) is beyond me, but much of what comes from HQ is beyond me. Back to 1970's systems architectures for NASA. NOMAD is a sweetheart ODIN contract deal (ODIN - the IT services run by LockMart) that is a nightmare for us users. Gotta love naming an e-mail system after a homicidal robot [from Star Trek] . Where's Roykirk?

Spinoffs That Are Hip

HangTimer Product Website: "Whether you huck off a cliff, bomb down a bike trail, or just toss it (and yourself) in the air, the HangTimer's built in tri-axis accelerometer measures your actual hangtime. The carabiner style design fits comfortably in the palm of the hand and can be easily read when clipped to a belt loop. ... The HangTimer uses a Tri-Axis Accelerometer to detect accelerations that a person experiences when airborne. This is the same technology used by NASA in their spacecraft - so we're not kidding about the Rocket Science."

Editor's note: Gee if NASA's Strategic Communications folks were a little more hip, they'd be tracking the spinoffs that young people might actually use - instead of going on and on (year after year) about how NASA somehow invented pacemakers, modern computers, and smoke detectors.

Genesis II Successfully Launched

Genesis II Calls Home, Says It's Doing Fine

"Initial data suggests sufficient voltage powering up Genesis II's batteries as well as expected air pressure. While the actual confirmation of solar panel deployment and spacecraft expansion are expected later, the data suggests that deployment and expansion have been successful. Before contact, successful communication was considered a long shot on Genesis II's first pass over the ground station in Fairfax, Va. Elevation for the pass was considered low for a successful contact. "We don't even talk to Genesis I that low," Program Manager Eric Haakonstad said. To the surprise of those gathered in Mission Control and shouts of "We got it" echoing through the room, contact was established and Genesis II immediately began sending data back to Earth on its condition."

The Amateur Future of Space Travel, NY Times

"One of the reasons Congress was telling us they weren't giving us any more money," Ken Davidian, the NASA administrator of the challenges, told me, "was because we had not awarded any money." Davidian is a small compact man with a bit of a Dudley Do-Right chin and a swift, busy manner. At any of the contests, he can be found setting up his traveling triptych (actually five panels, a pentatych) of promotional material. "I wasn't disappointed we weren't giving money away," he said, "because we had good company, and it shows that the prizes were hard to win."


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This page is an archive of entries in the Commercialization category from July 2007.

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