ISS News: June 2011 Archives

UrtheCast Announces New Space Venture

"UrtheCast is building, launching, and operating the world's first and only high definition streaming video cameras being installed on the International Space Station (ISS). UrtheCast will supply video data and imagery of Earth collected by two HD cameras on the Russian module of the Space Station. This data and imagery will be down-linked to ground stations around the planet and then displayed in real time on the Internet and distributed directly to UrtheCast's exclusive partners and customers."

European space chief: International Space Station in 'chaos', The Telegraph

Speaking at the Paris Air Show on Monday, Mr Dordain said: "We are not in a very comfortable situation, and that's just a euphemism. The biggest lesson from the international space station programme is entirely the lack of a joint transportation policy."

"The International Space Station is a splendid co-operation between five partners, but they did make a mistake ... we didn't discuss things sufficiently."

Remarks by Mark L. Uhran Assistant Associate Administrator, International Space Station at STA Luncheon

"So this brings us reasonably up to date. I can't discuss many more details because we're still in the competitive phase of acquiring this cooperative agreement, but I can say that NASA has received multiple proposals from a strong and highly competitive field. The selection decision is imminent, and you can expect an award announcement later this summer upon successful completion of final negotiations."

Keith's note: Once again, NASA is incapable of meeting its own timeline. "Later this summer" is not 31 May 2011 - as NASA had promised. Rather, it is months away. (see "ISS National Lab: Two Weeks Late - Still No Word") NASA does not know what it wants to do with the ISS - and does not know that it does not know. Moreover, it was forced at legislative gunpoint to pursue the NGO path. As such, it follows that selecting someone to implement such a non-existent utilization strategy is taking time to accomplish.

As you read through Mark Uhran's comments to the STA yesterday, you will see two decades of stale, old-fashioned thinking recycled yet one more time - with the few examples of attempted ISS utilization sprinkled in as supposed examples of things to come. Uhran is welded to the old notion that only NASA can somehow stimulate private sector investment and empirical research on the ISS while retaining total control of the equation. This approach has not worked yet and it won't work in the future. I agree that the ISS has vast untapped potential - the true scope of which NASA has yet to understand. Alas, civil servant Uhran and his NASA organization are the least equipped to help realize that potential - yet they are in charge. This is a recipe for disaster and the squandering of a totally unique resource.

New Expedition 28 Crew Members Arrive at International Space Station

"The Expedition 28 crew has expanded to six members with the arrival of Flight Engineers Mike Fossum, Sergei Volkov and Satoshi Furukawa. The new trio docked to the International Space Station in the Soyuz TMA-02M spacecraft Thursday at 5:18 p.m. EDT. The new crew members entered the station's Rassvet module to begin their stay when the hatches were opened at 8:34 p.m."

Soyuz TMA-02M/27S was launched on time at 4:12:45 pm EDT from the Baikonur Cosmodrome and is on its way to orbit. NASA astronaut Mike Fossum, Russian cosmonaut Sergei Volkov and Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency astronaut Satoshi Furukawa are on board. The spacecraft will dock with the ISS on 9 June at approximately 5:22pm EDT to the Rassvet module on the Earth-facing side of the station Thursday. After hatch opening, the trio will be welcomed aboard by their Expedition 28 crewmates, Commander Andrey Borisenko and Flight Engineers Alexander Samokutyaev and Ron Garan, who have been living and working on the station since April 6.

NASA Finally Releases Photos of Endeavour Docked at ISS

"This image of the International Space Station and the docked Space Shuttle Endeavour, flying at an altitude of approximately 220 miles, was taken by Expedition 27 crew member Paolo Nespoli from the Soyuz TMA-20 following its undocking on May 23, 2011 (USA time). It is the first-ever image of a space shuttle docked to the International Space Station. "

Keith's 7 June update:Huh? "the first-ever image of a space shuttle docked to the International Space Station"? Look at the photos below. People have been photographing shuttles docked to ISS for years.

While we were all waiting for someone in Russia to find that SD card in the Soyuz with the pics on it, others were looking at another masterpiece by Thierry Legault - ground-based images and video as Endeavour and ISS fly overhead - in 3D!

So ... Where Are those Cool Soyuz Fly Around Pix? (Update), earlier post

Keith's 26 May note: NASA sources report that Paolo left the memory card in the Soyuz when he climbed out. The Soyuz is being shipped now, so it will be next week before the images can be retrieved. Its quite understandable that you can forget to do some things when you arrive on a planet from outer space.

Keith's 2 June note: It has been a week. So ... where are the photos?

Keith's 2 June update: According to Ken Kremer "I asked Bill Gerstenmaier that question at the post landing press briefing (video) Look at about 31:00 for his answer - maybe aroundJune 8."

Keith's 7 June update: While we're all waiting for someone in Russia to find that SD card in the Soyuz with the pics on it have a look at another masteriece by Thierry Legault - ground-based images and video as Endeavour and ISS fly overhead - in 3D!

NASA Announcement of Partnership Opportunity for Notification Tool for International Space Station Sightings, NASA SOMD

"Currently, NASA has several ways the public can learn about ISS sighting opportunities, including NASA SkyWatch. However, NASA's websites do not disseminate this information to the public- the public must seek it out proactively instead. NASA seeks to increase public awareness of the ISS, its visibility, and mission by making ISS sighting information, including personalized notifications, readily available to the general public in an easily accessible and understandable way. To that end, NASA seeks to collaborate with a domestic entity, on an unfunded basis, to support an ISS sighting notification tool."

Keith's note: This is really a great idea. I certainly agree that this information could be more user friendly since "the public must seek [ISS sighting opportunites] out proactively instead." So, keeping that admission on NASA's part in mind, how does SOMD try to reach the public to ask for help? A NASA Procurement Notice. FAIL. How many people other than procurement wonks (and me) ever read these notices?

Why limit this to "a domestic entity" i.e. a single source? Why not engage with lots of them? Why not seek input from individual citizens as well as "domestic entities"? One would hope that someone within the agency sees that this great idea and that press releases and other means are used such that a wide variety of possible contributors to this project can be involved. And even if NASA does not select them all, it is certain that a group of people who never thought they'd have a chance to do this will now be thinking about NASA. One look at this weekend's NASA-sponsored Random Hacks of Kindness will show you what a group of motivated people out in the real world can do in a matter of hours.

If I can teach a Sherpa how to spot satellites in remote Nepalese villages such that he could then teach others, then NASA can certainly spur development of an app that also does that.

Keith's 5 June note : According to U2's official YouTube site: U2 delivered a surprise to the crowds at Quest Field, Seattle last night with a video message from Commander Mark E. Kelly. Bono dedicated 'Beautiful Day' to Gabby Giffords, before asking, "Imagine a man looking down on us from 200 miles up. Looking down at our beautiful crowded planet... What would he say to us...? What is on your mind Commander Kelly?" Commander Kelly, on a 16-day mission with the Endeavour crew, recorded the message aboard the International Space Station, "Hello Seattle... from the International Space Station." Before finishing on a line from David Bowie's 'Space Oddity' : "I'm looking forward to coming home. Tell my wife I love her very much... she knows."

Keith's 6 June 9:20 am update : More videos: Audience video with Bono's intro.; Nice view from close to the stage; another view from the lower level; and another view from close up. This version includes Mark Kelly reciting some of the lyrics of the song.

What possesed these people who were in the audience to post this particular segment of the song to YouTube? There is a NASA astronaut in the video - so why hasn't NASA done so yet? Oh well, I am told they will do so later. Given the agency's habit of blocking YouTube some NASA employees won't be able to see this until they get home.

Reader note: "Actually, JSC is not blocking access to YouTube videos (as long as they are not of an "adult" nature, I suppose). What happens is that a warning window with a yellow header shows up, warning the user that NASA has not "evaluated the content of this page" (or something like that). That's what you see in the NASA Watch page every time you post a YouTube video, or a link to it. However, if you click on the "Proceed" button, it'll let you go ahead to the site. Some people get intimidated by this warning window, though."

Keith's 9:30 update NASA has now posted something on Facebook and Twitter. I have to wonder why JSC did not bother to inform NASA Headquarters about something of this magnitude. Someone at JSC had to approve the video shooting in the first place. Typical NASA - no one talks to anyone else - everyone is in charge - and no one is in charge. Oh well: it is a cool video - you must play it loud.

Keith's note: This document presented by Maria Collura on 22 April 2011 at Masters Forum 20 on Commercial Crew Program Overview contains additional information on the various NASA contractors NASA is supporting. This presentation used to be online but NASA then pulled it offline. You can still download it here.

Photos: Inside and Outside The Space Station's Cupola

"The International Space Station's Tranquility node and Cupola are featured in one image photographed by a spacewalker during the STS-134 mission's third session of extravehicular activity (EVA). Inside,in another image, NASA astronaut Andrew Feustel, STS-134 mission specialist, uses a still camera to photograph the topography of a point on Earth from a window in the Cupola."



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This page is an archive of entries in the ISS News category from June 2011.

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