Commercialization: October 2020 Archives

NASA OIG: NASA's Management Of Its Acquisition Workforce

"In addition, 95 percent of NASA's certified acquisition workforce met continuous learning requirements needed to maintain their certification in the reporting periods we evaluated. However, the Agency's migration to the Federal Acquisition Institute Training Application System (FAITAS), the official system of record for acquisition programs, is incomplete. As such, NASA relies on multiple systems and stakeholders to manage these certification programs, reducing the Agency's ability to fully validate the accuracy and completeness of workforce certification and training data."

The Future Is Here, Y'all

Wicker Introduces Space Preservation and Conjunction Emergency Act

"U.S. Sen. Roger Wicker, R-Miss., chairman of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, today introduced the Space Preservation and Conjunction Emergency (SPACE) Act. The legislation would authorize the Department of Commerce (DOC) to provide space situational awareness (SSA) services to civil, commercial, and international space operators."

Keith's note: My question to the 1:00 pm Asteroid mission media telecon: "There is a lot of talk these days from NASA about the collection and utilization of resources in the solar system - indeed, the recently signed #Artemis Accords specifically deal with this issue with regard to the Moon, Mars, Asteroids, and comets. Is the OSIRIS-Rex sample collection system open source - can other space agencies or companies use this technology? Is it being considered for use on other missions? Same question about the Lucy, Psyche and DART systems."

With regard to OSIRIS-Rex Lori Glaz said that NASA needs to check. Regarding the Psyche mission Lindy Elkins-Tanton said that it is being done via a partnership with Maxnar who was selected because they have a lot of experience over a hundred spacecraft. The hope is that the design of the mission will be available to future missions. Regarding Lucy, Hal Levison said that a lot of the hardware is proprietary to Lockheed Martin and is based on flown hardware to reduce costs. No mention was made regarding DART technology.

Keith's update: At the 3:00 pm briefing I re-asked the question of SMD AA Thomas Zurbuchen adding: "NASA is going to do something that it has never done before with applicability to many future missions and activities in space - things that have been called out in the Artemis Accords. Many of the missions you are sending out are technology demonstrators. If you are sending a thing to a world with the specific task of demonstrating a way to do something new on that world, then the results - and the way you got them - are of equal importance - and the Artemis Accords would seem to want you to make a lot of that information accessible. Is NASA going to make OSIRIS-Rex technology available in an open source fashion for other agencies - and perhaps companies - to use? I know there is a difference between scientific results and engineering performance and that there are always ITAR issues. How is the dissemination of this new technology going to evolve?"

He replied: "We have been a leader internationally in making things public. We are also making our models public. We believe in the dissemination of science since that speeds up discovery and also broadens it. We think that doing so inspires people to figure out things to do with our science in ways that we would have never thought to do. There were multiple solutions to the technology needed for this mission. In this case the arm was developed by a Lockheed Martin employee - so according to U.S. law the company owns that invention. I talked to Lockheed Martin and asked what they'd do if someone was interested in the design and they said to come on in since they are interested in spreading this technology. There are many different avenues to take regarding intellectual property (IP). IP is an important ingredient of pharmaceutical discovery. If we want to encourage the speed of discovery then we need a IP model that adapts to way that this actually works. Success for us at NASA is not just that the mission is successful. We want any company that can use the technology that we have developed to enhance business base to create more jobs around the country. In that regard I think we are consistent with the Artemis Accords."

NASA Detects Lattice Confinement Fusion, NASA GRC

"A team of NASA researchers seeking a new energy source for deep-space exploration missions, recently revealed a method for triggering nuclear fusion in the space between the atoms of a metal solid. Their research was published in two peer-reviewed papers in the top journal in the field, Physical Review C, Volume 101 (April, 2020): "Nuclear fusion reactions in deuterated metals" and "Novel nuclear reactions observed in bremsstrahlung-irradiated deuterated metals. ... With more study and development, future applications could include power systems for long-duration space exploration missions or in-space propulsion. It also could be used on Earth for electrical power or creating medical isotopes for nuclear medicine."

Keith's note: As you know I have been posting Cold Fusion sightings on NASAWatch for years. NASA Glenn and Langley have had some folks working on this for years. They usually use center director's discretionary funds or other funding sources that require little scrutiny from the normal research funding process. And they make big claims for their research but they rarely have proof to back up their claims. Now it seems that these folks have published in peer reviewed journals in April 2020. The implications, as mention on this official NASA web page could be profound. So, assuming that everything mentioned in this NASA GRC post and the associated papers is true, then why has NASA been silent about this? Seriously, this would be one heck of a spinoff for NASA to crow about. Does NASA HQ not know about this? Do they know but do not care? Or is there still something missing that makes this whole thing a real solution to space travel?

- Earlier Cold Fusion Postings

U.S. Transportation Secretary Elaine L. Chao Announces Historic Commercial Space Transportation Reforms, FAA

"U.S. Secretary of Transportation Elaine L. Chao today announced the publication of the Federal Aviation Administration's (FAA) Streamlined Launch and Reentry Licensing Requirements Final Rule for commercial space transportation launches and reentries. "This historic, comprehensive update to commercial space launch and reentry licensing requirements facilitates greater growth in this industry and helps America to maintain our #1 position in the world," said U.S. Transportation Secretary Elaine L. Chao. This rule modernizes the way FAA regulates and licenses commercial space operations and allows the burgeoning aerospace industry to continue to innovate and grow, while maintaining public safety."

HeroX Helps NASA Advance Lunar Exploration with a Miniaturized Payload Prototype Challenge, HeroX

"HeroX, the world's leading platform for crowdsourced solutions, today launched the crowdsourcing competition "Honey I Built the NASA Payload, The Sequel" on behalf of the NASA Tournament Lab (NTL) and NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory. The challenge seeks to develop miniature payload prototypes that can be sent to the Moon to help fill gaps in lunar knowledge. Lunar resources are potentially abounding, and these prototypes can also help discover some of these key resources scientists think might be on the Moon."

Keith's note: This stuff is cool. NASA should do more of it. But, coolness, aside, NASA is not interested in making any mention if it as far as I can tell. If you go to the NASA Tournament Lab website no mention of this new challenge is made. Indeed the page was last updated on 9 July 2020. This NASA Tournament Lab is apparently run by the Center of Excellence for Collaborative Innovation (CoECI) at JSC in collaboration with Harvard University - they do not mention this challenge either. Nor does SMD, HEOMD, STMD, or the Artemis web page. And the official Twitter account @nasa_ntl and the main NASA Twitter account for these sort of things at @NASASolve have not made any mention either.

Why hold these cool events if you don't bother to tell people about them, NASA?

- NASA Space Apps Challenge: An Underutilized Tool For Global Reach, earlier post
- How NASA Uses DIME/Soft Power To Extend A Global Reach (Update), earlier post
- Understanding NASA's Global Reach, earlier post
- NASA's Global Branding Reach Is Often Under Appreciated, earlier post

Space Force considers merging Cape Canaveral with Kennedy Space Center, Ars Technica

"Would NASA be willing to listen as well? The space agency administrator, Jim Bridenstine, said yes. "I'm glad to see big ideas being proposed such as a potential merger," he told Ars. "This, and other ambitious concepts for the future should all be given due consideration. However, such a proposed merger would require a great deal of work and effort. For the time being, NASA will continue to focus on enhancing the efficiencies and capabilities at our existing launch facility. Our team at KSC has already done a great job creating a thriving spaceport to serve both NASA and commercial needs."

Keith's note: Every time you turn around it seems that Space Force is trying to grab a piece of NASA's turf. First it was floating the idea of putting military soldiers in orbit and on the Moon, now they want to start grabbing NASA launch facilities. I get the whole efficiency thing but it sure sounds like Space Force is in the driver's seat on these ideas and NASA is playing catch-up in responding to them. The idea originated with Space Force because of their needs - not NASA's. NASA did not seek out this activity. Funny how everything works just fine for 60 years - then Space Force appears and starts to try and change everything to suit their needs. Just sayin'.

- Space Force Says That It Plans To Send Troops To The Moon, earlier post
- NASA And Space Force Are Collaborating, earlier post
- Space Force Fans Want To Implement The "Green Agenda", earlier post
- Space Force Is Obsessed With Being Space Force, earlier post
- Military Space Guys Argue Over The Whole Space Force Rank Thing, earlier post
- 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


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