Exploration: September 2008 Archives

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Speech by NASA Administrator Michael Griffin: Seeking the Right Stuff

"I believe it is necessary for us - all of us - to take the time to discuss openly the founding principles that led us our nation to embrace space exploration fifty years ago, when it mattered to the whole nation that we overcome our slow start and become the world's preeminent spacefaring nation. We need to reverse the alarming trends in our nation's science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) workforce. While the vast majority of our nation's workforce is neither scientists nor engineers, the four percent who are create most of the goods and services, solve real-world problems, and produce new discoveries and insights about our planet and our universe."

Beyond The Pole

"The first carbon neutral, organic - and vegetarian expedition ever to attempt the North Pole ...."


Dodd Calls for Fairness in New NASA Space Suit Competition

"Senator Chris Dodd (D-CT) recently sent a letter to National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Administrator Michael Griffin expressing concern about how the recent competition for the new Constellation Space Suit System was executed. The competition resulted in NASA awarding the new contract to Oceaneering International, a firm that specializes in deep sea diving suits, instead of Connecticut-based Hamilton Sundstrand, the company that has manufactured America's space suits for more than 40 years. This decision has since been withdrawn by NASA due to concerns voiced by the NASA Inspector General and a protest filed by Hamilton Sundstrand with the Government Accountability Office (GAO)."

NASA To Hold Briefing About Lunar Exploration Concepts And Plans

Editor's note: I followed the weblink in this press release and registered for this event to make certain that I would get a seat. To my surprise I got the following confirmation email (below). I never asked for access to theLunar Design Analysis Cycle data! I just registered for a meeting - or so I thought. Nor does the press release or the website make any mention of citizenship or export issues - yet apparently that is an issue - otherwise why would they be checking to see if I am a U.S. citizen? And when I try to go to the web link they sent me for export control issues, I discover that it is behind a firewall and I cannot get in.

Editor's note: Alas, the gathering consensus amongst the cyberpundits (with absolutely no data whatsoever to base this on, mind you) is that Mike Griffin either leaked this memo - or (much more likely) looked the other way as it "found" its way to a much broader, more receptive distribution. The thought being that he knows that his days at NASA may well be numbered and that he has nothing to lose except his own credibility and that he needs to look out for the agency's future.

There is a bit of logic to this gossip. Look at the initial distribution list of this memo. Everyone on that list is a solid professional and they are pretty tight with Mike Griffin. As such, I really doubt that something so easily traceable back to such a very small group would get out - unless Griffin wanted it to.

If this is indeed what is going on (again, I have zero proof) then it is a bit of a departure for Griffin since he tends to try and keep things like this inside the family. Given that Griffin self-described himself as "Spock" early in his tenure, I started wondering about his motives now. What will Spock do? Hmmm ... what would Jim Kirk do? Have a look at this iconic video [below] from "Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan".

Is Mike Griffin trying to change the rules?

Orion PDR Slips To Mid-2009

Editor's note: NASA sources report that the Orion PDR (Preliminary Design Review), which was originally planned for September 2008 and then slipped to November, will be delayed much further - perhaps as far as mid-Summer 2009.

Orion PDR Slip, Earlier post
Constellation Update, Earlier post
NASA Internal Memo: Orion DAC2 Architecture Closure Plan Rev E, 2/19/08, Earlier post

Chart from NASA Internal Presentation: CxMPR, Orion Project Office, 2 July 2008

2008 Lowell Thomas Awards Dinner: Exploring Earth from Above

"The 2008 Lowell Thomas Awards Dinner: "Exploring Earth from Above" will be held on Thursday, October 16, 2008 at Cipriani Wall Street in New York City. Sponsored by the Explorers Club, the Lowell Thomas Award is presented by Rolex and the President of the Explorers Club to groups of explorers who have distinguished themselves in various fields of exploration. The 2008 honorees are: William A. Anders, Leroy Chiao, Martha King, Scott E. Parazynski, Dick H. Smith, and Brig. Gen Charles E. Yeager."



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This page is an archive of entries in the Exploration category from September 2008.

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