ISS News: December 2009 Archives

GAO Report On Using the ISS

GAO Report: International Space Station: Significant Challenges May Limit Onboard Research

"The ISS has been continuously staffed since 2000 and now has a six-member crew. The primary objective for the ISS through 2010 is construction, so research utilization has not been the priority. Some research has been and is being conducted as time and resources permit while the crew on board performs assembly tasks, but research will is expected to begin in earnest in 2010. NASA projects that it will utilize approximately 50 percent of the U.S. ISS research facilities for its own research, including the Human Research Program, opening the remaining facilities to U.S. ISS National Laboratory researchers."


GAO Warns NASA May Never Fully Utilize ISS, Aviation Week

"High transportation costs to space and inadequate funding on the ground may prevent NASA from using its expensive orbiting microgravity laboratory -- the International Space Station -- to the full extent, according to the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO)."

How Quickly We Forget

Stage now set for grand human space flight plan, Opinion, Lou Friedman, Houston Chronicle

"We don't know yet what the Obama administration has in mind for NASA or how it is going to handle the issue of human space flight. We are sure it will not be canceled, but how will it be advanced? We see two distinct possibilities: a great one that would have us engage the world and several generations to take the next great leap, or a mundane one that would have us locked in Earth orbit with little purpose and a level of risk that exceeds its gain. The 1970s shuttle decision produced a great vehicle and a magnificent technological accomplishment, but ultimately a poor program with no destination and little purpose. We hope this type of decision will not be repeated, and believe that the stage has been set for something much grander."

Keith's 14 Dec note: Lou, in your haste to wrap your arms around the as-yet unreleased Obama space plan, you apparently haven't bothered to read up on the decades of human physiology expertise gained from these Space Shuttle (and shuttle-supported ISS) missions of "little purpose" or the immense experience gained in the assembly and operation of large complex spacecraft (the ISS was mostly carried into orbit by the Space Shuttle). Both of these things are needed in order for humans to go to Mars. So, do not be so quick to dismiss the value of the Space Shuttle program. Indeed, it may not be going away entirely (sidemount HLV).

"Flexible Path" means that we try many things Lou - not just the one particular destination that you are interested in (Mars).

Keith's 15 Dec update: I got a short email today from Lou Friedman: "Did you have a typo in this sentence "the decades of human physiology expertise gained from these Space Shuttle" Did you mean "the decades of human physiology expertise gained from these Soyuz and Mir?"

It would seem that Lou is utterly ignorant of the long list of research projects done aboard the Space Shuttle including multiple Spacelab flights, some of which were totally dedicated to human physiology and space life science. As for the quality of Soyuz and Mir research (before the U.S. got involved during shuttle flights, that is), Lou, go talk to a few space life science experts about that and then get back to me. You will find that the quality of that Soviet/Russian research to be somewhat "lacking" to put it kindly.

Also, I find it rather bizarre that Lou would characterize the value of the Space Shuttle as he has given that NASA's current Administrator put his life on the line 4 times to fly on it. I (guess) that Lou thinks that the risk that Bolden and his crewmates took was really done for "little purpose" as well.

Again, how quickly we forget. Indeed, as is the case in this instance, some people forget on purpose.

Space battle for the White House under way, Orlando Sentinel

"Ares I supporters have opposed the panel's findings, saying that Constellation and Ares I are better and safer than any commercial rocket. Until now, however, companies like Boeing have done most of their lobbying behind closed doors despite being urged by some lawmakers to take their cause public. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, D- Arizona, the head of the House subcommittee with NASA oversight and the wife of NASA astronaut Mark Kelly, says she urged aerospace leaders to get their employees to write the President over the summer, but said only six letters were written. Boeing has the contract to build the upper stage of the Ares I rocket which it is developing with NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama."

"SAPPORO Space Barley" Beer Is Launched Onto The Market For The First Time In The World In Limited Quantities For Charity

"The "space barley" used to make this beer is the fourth generation descendant of the Haruna Nijo malting barley that was developed by Sapporo Breweries and kept in space for five months during 2006 as part of our collaborative research with the Russian Academy of Sciences and Okayama University with the purpose of achieving self-sufficiency in food in the space environment. Since Sapporo Breweries was founded, we have continued to create excellent varieties for raw materials, and we are the only company in the world that operates breeding/research organizations for both barley and hops. This, the world's first sale of this "space beer," is the result of our extended nurturing/development of the required technologies."

SpaceX Hosts Preliminary Training for NASA ISS Astronauts in Preparation for Dragon Spacecraft Rendezvous and Station Berthing

"Space Exploration Technologies (SpaceX) recently conducted its first Dragon spacecraft operations training for a group of NASA astronauts and personnel at its corporate headquarters in Hawthorne, CA. The October training focused on how the crew will interface with the Dragon spacecraft while it is approaching and berthed to the International Space Station (ISS). Three of the participating astronauts--Tracy Caldwell Dyson, Shannon Walker and Douglas Wheelock--will be on board the ISS when Dragon makes its first visit under the Commercial Orbital Transportation Services (COTS) program."

SpaceX trains its first batch of NASA astronauts, Orlando Sentinel

"Interesting to note that one of the other astronauts in attendance, Marsha Ivins, helped designed NASA's Ares I rocket and was a key architect of the agency's Constellation Program to return astronauts to the moon in 2020. She is well-known opponent to the idea of scrapping Ares I and relying on companies like SpaceX to take crew back and forth to the space station."


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This page is an archive of entries in the ISS News category from December 2009.

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