Culture: April 2007 Archives

Ad Astra, Dave

NASA engineer remembered for his passion, Houston Chronicle

"Though underpinned by tragedy, Wednesday's tribute was upbeat and could have been scripted by the man who was honored. It began with the throaty roar of more than 50 motorcycles driven by members of the JSC Space Riders, a club Beverly helped to organize. They rolled through two main streets of the space center, the lead bike bearing the U.S. flag as well as the banner of the U.S. Air Force, in which Beverly served."

Administrator Eloquence

Message From the Administrator - April 24, 2007: David Beverly and Fran Crenshaw

"On Saturday, JSC Director Mike Coats and I met with Houston Police officials, who informed us of the results of their investigation. They made a point of telling us that both David and Fran had acted "heroically", that they had done all they could, each trying to protect the other, and that they had simply never seen a calmer and more self-possessed individual than Fran in any similar situation, concerning which they had all too much experience, including another case elsewhere that same afternoon. Houston Police Chief Hurtt stated that "not all of NASA's heroes fly in space."

Remembering David Beverly

NASA Johnson Space Center to Hold Memorial for David Beverly

"NASA's Johnson Space Center will hold a memorial at 10 a.m. CDT Wednesday, April 25, to honor senior avionics systems engineer David Beverly, who was killed in a shooting incident at the center on Friday, April 20."

Family Remembers Broken Arrow Graduate Killed in NASA Shooting, KOTV

"There is a Tulsa connection to the latest shocking case of violence in the workplace. Memorial services are set for an engineer shot and killed while working at NASA in Houston. Sixty-two- year-old David Beverly is a Broken Arrow graduate, who has family and friends in the Tulsa area. He's being remembered for his strength and for being an encouragement to others."

Editor's note: Hmmm ... Broken Arrow High School, Oklahoma, David Beverly's high school. Broken Bow, Oklahoma, small town featured in the opening scene of the first episode of Star Trek Enterprise - wherein misunderstandings lead to a shooting. Reality vs fiction. I know there is no connection, but I cannot shake the irony. Hopefully, David Beverly's name will find its way to a place of honor somewhere in our solar system - a place humans will one day visit and recall who he was and what he did. Those Mars Rovers certainly seem to be regularly discovering things which have been given names ...

NASA Feedback: David Beverly and Fran Crenshaw, Earlier post

NASA throttles up for change as end of shuttle era nears, Orlando Sentinel

"The initial target was to shrink Constellation's budget for operations and sustaining engineering to 60 percent of what it cost the shuttle program in 2007. NASA and its shuttle contractors already have crunched the resulting work-force numbers, but the final totals haven't been decided on. Some estimates have projected that a third of KSC's current workers could be affected."

Editor's note: Space journalist Jim Oberg appeared on MSNBC today and made some very cogent points about the factors that may have led up to the shooting at JSC - things that don't seem to get mentioned at NASA press conferences. Right now many at NASA are being asked "to do more with less". At some point this means people at NASA contractors loose their jobs. At present, layoffs (when they happen at NASA) are small and focused. Imagine what will happen as the Shuttle program is turned off. Thousands of contractor employees at JSC, KSC, MSFC and elsewhere will be laid off. NASA will dispute this, but they can never provide the data needed to back up their claim.

As Oberg notes NASA has an exceptionally motivated work force. People just love their jobs. Many, as David Beverly's wife put it, feel that their job is "their calling". When these layoffs start to happen there are going to be a lot of people who are not happy about leaving. Given that NASA is terrified of even discussing the topic and won't dare put a number on eventual layoffs, a lot of people are going to feel like they got the shaft when the inevitable happens.

I sincerly hope someone at NASA is looking at this sad event at JSC and taking instruction from it to prepare for future layoffs at the agency. People under stress can do unthinkable things. The prospect of losing a job you dearly love can cause a lot of a lot of stress - stress that needs - and will eventually find - an outlet.

Oberg will also be appearing on "Weekend Today" at 8 am EDT Sunday on NBC.

Interview with Jim Oberg 21 April 2007, MSNBC (rough transcript)

Wayne Hale on "Life"

NASA Internal Memo From Shuttle Program Manager Wayne Hale: Life

"Please don't let your co-workers suffer alone. Metal detectors and car searches will not prevent this type of tragedy. Workplace violence, murder/suicide happen almost daily in this country. The only was to prevent a tragedy is to build a support network for those in need. Today, tell your friends how much you appreciate them. Give your family an extra hug. Tomorrow make sure that the words you use are caring, not laced with sarcasm or bitterness. Take care of yourself, it can be a hard life. Know what the person at the desk next to you is going through. Don't let them be alone. We'll only make it if we take care of each other."

NASA shooting suspect feared being fired, police say, AP

"[Houston Police Chief Harold] Hurtt praised Beverly for his bravery while trying to protect a co-worker, and Crenshaw for her composure while trying to keep Phillips calm. "Heroes just don't fly in space," Hurtt said. "Sometimes heroes work in the next cubicle next to you." Beverly's wife, Linda, said her husband of 41 years was an electrical parts specialist who felt working at NASA was his calling."

Editor's note: Friday was certainly a horrible day for NASA. Y'all must be thinking/feeling something with regard to David Beverly's murder and Fran Crenshaw's awful ordeal. Care to express yourself? Send your comments to

Your comments thus far with regard to the victims:

NASA Strategic Management Council Meeting Minutes and Actions 21 February 2007: "Griffin made the following opening comment: - On speaking for the Agency: Griffin urged members (and through members all of NASA) to be clear when expressing a personal opinion versus an Agency position. He offered a recent example where an astronaut publicly advocated for technology development that directly conflicts with Agency plans."

Bereft of BlackBerrys, the Untethered Make Do, NY Times

"On Tuesday night at 8 p.m. Eastern time, technical problems cut off more than five million BlackBerry users in the United States from their cherished wireless e-mail. Service was restored 10 long, data-starved hours later."

Editor's note: I am amazed that NASA HQ continued to operate while most of its employees were totally isolated from the known universe during this crackberry blackout.

Party in a NASA Hangar Gives a Glimpse of Space Culture, Wired

"What's more, Yuri's Night gave a glimpse of an emerging culture of space enthusiasts, of people who are as interested in science and technology as they are in partying and having fun. When the music was interrupted by PowerPoint presentations, the crowd, far from dispersing, gathered closer in to the stage and listened attentively. ... Mission accomplished. If Yuri's Night is any indication, people are wildly enthusiastic about space travel. Not to mention LCD projectors and wearable LED art."

Yuri's Night at Ames

A Tale of Two Possible NASA Futures: Yuri's Night and The National Space Symposium, SpaceRef

"I had a somewhat profound experience several days ago in California - at NASA Ames Research Center to be exact. The true impact of this event is still growing on me. You see, I saw things I never thought I would see on a NASA base - things that give me hope that what NASA does can be truly relevant to people outside NASA's traditional constituency. Moreover, I saw indications that NASA can adapt to rapidly changing trends. The experience? Yuri's Night."

Photos of Yuri's Night Bay Area 2007, A Giant Party at NASA, (photos) Laughing Squid

"Last night's Yuri's Night Bay Area 2007 party was amazing. The night was in honor of Yuri Gagarin, who in 1961 was the first person to travel to space and orbit the earth. ... Yuri's Night Bay Area 2007 felt like a really nice mix of space travel expo, Burning Man and Maker Faire. I really hope there do it there again next year."

Yuri's Night, (photos) Redundantly Redundant

Yuri's Night 2007 (Photos), qdot

Yuri's Night at Ames

Yuri's Night '07 Bay Area, NASA ARC

"I give it five fingers up" - Robert
"It's a mashup of cultures"
"Amazing to see this happen here"
"Do you think this will happen again next year?"

Yuri's Night: Burning Man meets NASA, CNet

"As I wandered, I couldn't go more than eight feet without bumping into someone I knew: friends from my social circles, people who work with NASA, people from the virtual-worlds companies I write about, and others. This particular Yuri's Night event was the perfect confluence of the communities I run in and write about."

Editor's note: I will have much more posted later. Suffice it to say, Yuri's Night at Ames was a resounding successs - I saw things at NASA I never thought I'd see - all carried out with professionalism, precision - and sheer joy. Oh yes, that 18-24 demographic NASA wants to get to? ARC had thousands of them as guests last night - and they were cheering the people (including Pete Worden) who spoke about space.

Photos of Yuris Night Bay Area 2007, A Giant Party at NASA, (photos) Laughing Squid

"Last night's Yuris Night Bay Area 2007 party was amazing. The night was in honor of Yuri Gagarin, who in 1961 was the first person to travel to space and orbit the earth. ... Yuris Night Bay Area 2007 felt like a really nice mix of space travel expo, Burning Man and Maker Faire. I really hope there do it there again next year."

Yuri's Night, (photos) Redundantly Redundant

Yuri's Night 2007 (Photos), qdot

NASA Watch Photos below:

Editor's update: I have gotten some email from people - much of which makes wild, and vindictive personal accusations against Mr. Cobb - the sort of things that spurred this investigation in the first place. However, this one note, which takes NASA Watch and its editor to task (rightly so) while not painting a pleasant picture of the IG''s office, does touch on some important points. These problems transcend Mr. Cobb's tenure and have have plagued NASA since Dan Goldin's reign - and even earlier. This is all made worse when Congress seeks to go after someone for alleged bad behavior they do not like - and exhibit similar unprofessional behavior on their own part in so doing.

Reader note: "I have some comments about your coverage of the NASA IG investigation shown on your web page 4/2/07. The significant issues about the IG are lost if we try to make it appear that the problems being pursued by Congress are based in the use of profanity or if various involvedindividuals played golf together or not. These are not the issues related to this casethat significantly impact our nation's space program. The issues are that when NASA scientists and engineers disagree or challenge bad decisions made by NASA managers, these managers employ prohibited practices to counter and suppress the concerns expressed by NASA's technical workforce."



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