Exploration: February 2006 Archives

Lunar Sooner

NASA Internal Charts: ESAS Update: Accelerating Lunar Missions aka "Lunar Sooner"

"NASA's original ESAS focus was to enable both the ISS and lunar missions while enabling extensibility to Mars.

After further analysis, NASA has elected to alter the architectural baseline. The new approach places more emphasis on lunar missions sooner at lower overall risk and cost."

A Tale of True Exploration

Next on NOVA: "Arctic Passage"

http://www.pbs.org/nova/arctic: Broadcast: February 28, 2006 at 8 p.m. ET/PT - The greatest geographical prize of its day was the search for the fabled Northwest Passage through the island maze of Arctic Canada. In 1845, Great Britain mounted an all-out assault with a lavishly equipped expedition that was never heard from again. Then in the early 1900s, a little-known Norwegian adventurer set forth in a secondhand fishing boat and succeeded beyond all expectation. This two-hour special answers the riddle of why Sir John Franklin's mission failed and Roald Amundsen's made it.

VSE Progress: Then Vs Now

Leader of NASA's space probe study to speak at Bona, The Times Herald

"Dr. [Douglas] Stanley said a large-scale plan for NASA's future was overdue when he came onboard as director of the ESAS in May 2005. More than a year after President George W. Bush released his long-term "Vision for Space Exploration" in January 2004, NASA still had not pushed forward with concrete plans and was in danger of losing federal funds for the project expected to cost around $100 billion. "Up until that point, Bush had made his announcement but nobody had said how we were going to get to the moon or how we were going to get to Mars," Dr. Stanley said. "Thirteen or 14 months had passed ... and they had eight different contractors doing designs and nobody had made a decision."

Editor's note: Hmm, Doug, I don't exactly share your then vs now comparison as being overflowing with progress. Let's see: the "90 day" study took longer than 90 days and the release of ESAS report was delayed from October 2005 until January 2006. The date for CEV contractor selection has been put off several times and is certain to slip yet again by several months while the CEV is being redesigned because the first design (yours) wasn't going to work the way it was supposed to. CEV availability continues to move (back) to the right toward 2014, and the LOX/Methane option has been tossed out. Meanwhile the ESAS report itself is being re-studied and NASA under (Mike Griffin) is actually getting less money now than was originally planned (or asked for). Yes, NASA is moving forward a little faster Doug, with the CEV sucking up every financial resource in sight and draining science in the process, but the difference between pre-Griffin situation and now is more like comparing a slow moving glacier with a faster moving glacier i.e. never fast enough.

NASA: Cleveland center can't handle major role in moon mission, Akron Beacon Journal

Glenn could get work on shuttle replacement - But management needs improvement, reports say, Cleveland Plain Dealer

"Neither Johnson Space Center in Houston nor Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala.-- which have extensive space flight programs under way -- has as strong a capacity in-house, the analysis said. However, the assessments of Glenn's capabilities found fault with its senior staff, calling program management weak. The problems include too few highly regarded project managers. The center also lacks a sense of urgency among high-level managers to pursue a role in space exploration. Their efforts were described as unfocused and uncoordinated."

Pawning NASA's Crown Jewels, Scientific Ameircan

"The most egregious budget lines are the two surviving programs that are being maintained on billions of dollars of life support--the space shuttle and the International Space Station (ISS). A question: In NASA's budgetary calculus, is it necessary or logical to maim the successful, scientifically productive and visionary part of the space program to feed the cost overruns of the Shuttle/ISS programs, which are scheduled to be canceled in 2010 anyway?"

NASA Budget Diverts Funds From Science to Spaceships, National Geographic News

"NASA simply cannot afford to do everything that our many constituents would like us to do," NASA administrator Michael Griffin said Monday at a press briefing in Washington, D.C. Griffin said the agency had to take a "couple billion out of science and a billion and a half out of the exploration line" to fund the spaceflight programs. "I wish we hadn't had to do it. I didn't want to, but that's what we needed to do," he added."

NASA's "Bizarre" Cuts, Technology Review

"[Lou Friedman]: We fully support the goal of human space flight. But this "anti-science" budget will basically bring a negative reaction from the science community and reopen that "human versus robot" contentiousness -- which had largely been done away with.

TR: Okay, so what balance should NASA try to strike between space science and manned exploration?

LF: They need to be seen working together. The president's moon-Mars vision seemed to have that. It was going to be a mix of things being done on Mars robotically, with successive steps to set up a human lunar presence that would in turn lead to a Mars mission. It was all seen as leading to sending humans to Mars. Now they seem to be getting lost in the details."

Canceling NASA's Terrestrial Planet Finder: The White House's Increasingly Nearsighted "Vision" For Space Exploration, SpaceRef

Editor's note: According to NASA's FY 2007 budget documentation "The Terrestrial Planet Finding project (TPF) has been deferred indefinitely." In other words, it is dead. NASA is just afraid to say so.

In a document titled "A Renewed Spirit of Discovery" released on the same day that President Bush announced his Vision for Space Exploration in January 2004, the White House directed NASA, as part of the new "Vison for Space Exploration" to "Conduct advanced telescope searches for Earth-like planets and habitable environments around other stars".


7 hills in Negev, Mitzpe Ramon, named after fallen Columbia astronauts, Israel Insider

"At the ceremony at the residence of Israeli President Moshe Katsav, seven hills in the Negev desert were named for the astronauts who died Feb. 1, 2003, when the Columbia broke apart during re-entry to Earth's atmosphere, killing all aboard."

Apollo, Challenger, Columbia: Thinking Back - Looking Ahead

"At the end of the event, Rona Ramon, Ilan's widow, spoke last. Steeling her emotions with grace and clarity, she spoke elegantly and briefly. She thanked all for coming. And then she talked of her husband, and the flight of the lost shuttle. "Our mission in space is not over, "she told the hushed audience. "He was the first Israeli in space that means there will be more."

- NASA Memorializes Space Shuttle Columbia Crew on Mars
- Remarks by Sean O'Keefe - Columbia Point Naming Ceremony
- Keith Cowing's Devon Island Journal 20 July 2003: Arctic Memorials and Starship Yearnings
- NASA Haughton-Mars Project Space Shuttle Columbia Inukshuk Memorials

Columbia: Three Years Later, Orlando Sentinel

"I was surprised this morning at the dearth of news coverage on todays third anniversary of the Columbia accident."



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This page is an archive of entries in the Exploration category from February 2006.

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