ISS News: February 2012 Archives

Jeanne Becker, Director, Center for the Advancement of Science in Space, Space News

"CASIS will ultimately act as a networking service between space scientists, payload integration specialists and, in some cases, investors. It will also be a financial analyst of sorts, evaluating candidate science projects for those with the potential to generate profitable spinoff products. The first CASIS solicitation for ISS-bound research is due toward the end of the fledgling group's first full year of operation, said Jeanne Becker, who in September became CASIS director."

- CASIS RFI Webinar Presentation and Q&A Session - Tuesday, February 28, 2012 2:00 PM - 3:00 PM EST

- CASIS Still Doesn't Do Anything - Not That Anyone Notices (Update), earlier post

- The Long Confusing Path Toward Space Station Utilization, earlier post

International Space Station National Laboratory Education Project (ISS NLEP)

"The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Office of Education, NASA Higher Education Office in cooperation with the Human Exploration Operations Mission Directorate (HEOMD) and the Johnson Space Center (JSC) Office of Education, invites proposals to seven (7) areas within the ISS National Lab Education Project's (ISS NLEP) portfolio."

Keith's 9 Feb note: As has been the case for months, there is no mention of CASIS in this announcement, and CASIS makes no mention of this announcement on its website. Also, there is no mention at the NASA Education website, nothing at the ISS National Lab website, or at the NASA ISS website. No one at NASA Human Spaceflight seems to care about coordinating with each other or informing the public anymore.

Keith's 25 Feb note: The ISS National Lab website now has a link to ISS NLEP, but there is still no mention of ISS NLEP at CASIS - despite the fact that this is exactly what CASIS was created to do in the first place. Nor is there any mention at the NASA Education website. Meanwhile, CASIS has this notice on its website "CASIS RFI Webinar Presentation and Q&A Session" for an event to be held in 3 days. Oddly, neither NASA or CASIS has issued a press release, media advisory, Federal Register notice, etc. How are people supposed to know about events like this if there is zero advanced notice - unless you happen to stumble upon the CASIS website? And of course, there is no mention of this event anywhere at the NASA websites listed above - places where you'd expect such activities would be prominently mentioned. CASIS also claims that it will be part of this event in California yet the NASA press release makes no mention whatsoever of CASIS.

What has happened to Nasa's missing Moon rocks?, BBC

"There were 370 pieces gathered for this purpose from the two missions. Two hundred and seventy were given to nations of the world and 100 to the 50 US states. But 184 of these are lost, stolen or unaccounted for - 160 around the world and 24 in the US."

Keith's note: JSC Moon rock people: I need to confess: I never actualy formally returned the Apollo 11 Moon rock (#10085,134) that I took to Nepal (the one that was taken to the summit of Mt. Everest by Scott Parazynski). Sorry about that. My bad. I gave it to some astronauts and it ended up on the ISS. So ... do I need to go get it and return it - or can you guys just do the paper work and check the box that says "returned"? Thanks.

- Moon and Everest Rocks At Home in Space, earlier post

Orbital Blames Spaceport for Another COTS Delay, SpaceNews

"As was the case with the previous schedule slip, Dulles, Va.-based Orbital placed the blame for the delays squarely on the Virginia Commercial Space Flight Authority, which is responsible for preparing the launch pad for Orbital's Antares rocket -- formerly named Taurus 2 -- and its Cygnus space station cargo module."

Launch pad rework pushes Antares launch to summer, SpaceflightNow

"Unfortunately, the first flight of our new Antares medium-capacity launch vehicle, the rocket we formerly referred to as Taurus 2, was delayed again in the quarter," Thompson said in a quarterly conference call with investment analysts. "This was caused by problems of completing construction work on the launch pad's propellant handling and pressurization systems."

Celebrating America's First Manned Orbital Flight - Friendship 7 50th Anniversary

"February 20th marks the 50th anniversary of the day in 1962 when U.S. Senator John Glenn piloted his Friendship 7 spacecraft on the first U.S. orbital mission. This video recounts that event in history."

- @SPOTScott (Scott Parazynski): "No way to properly thank my boyhood hero and eventual crewmate, John Glenn- My fav photo: bloodletting w/Dracula fangs!" (Image)

- Video: John Glenn's Flight

Robonaut-2 Speaks

Space Droids Using Sign Language?, earlier post on 15 November 2011

"Background: I worked for more than a decade as a professional certified (educational) sign language interpreter. This idea occurred to me when I was looking at this picture and instantly wondered what Robonaut-2 "wanted" or why it was seemingly in the process of saying "here" or maybe "give". Imagine how fast a video of Robonaut-2 saying something in American Sign Language from space would go viral. NASA could have a competition wherein people submit questions for it to answer. NASA already has a signing astronaut and SMD and NLSI already put out books in Braille. Just a thought."

Keith's note: @AstroRobonaut just tweeted: "Did you catch that? I don't have a voice, but I sent you a message -- Hello world ... in sign language!"

ISS: Users Wanted

Keith's note: Interesting commentary by HEOMD AA Bill Gerstenmaier at the FAA Space Transportation Conference this morning. Refreshingly, he openly admitted that NASA built the ISS - at great cost - but did not put much real thought into how to use it. Now, there is a 900,000 pound research facility in orbit and it is the size of a 5 bedroom house. Yet according to Gerstenmaier, NASA cannot use all of this capability and the agency is looking for new ways to use it. Ideas are welcome. NASA is offering free rides up, free downlinks, and other services to potential users. Gerstenmaier challenged the attendees to think about new ways to use the ISS.

Bioreactors Drive Advances in Tissue Engineering, NASA Spinoffs 2011

"Johnson Space Center innovators created a rotating wall bioreactor that mimics microgravity conditions, allowing for healthier, more natural-forming cell cultures. Licensed to Synthecon Inc. of Houston, the technology now enables drug development and medical research into treatment for conditions such as diabetes and cancer."

New method makes culture of complex tissue possible in any lab, University of California - San Diego

"Scientists at the University of California, San Diego have developed a new method for making scaffolds for culturing tissue in three-dimensional arrangements that mimic those in the body. This advance, published online in the journal Advanced Materials, allows the production of tissue culture scaffolds containing multiple structurally and chemically distinct layers using common laboratory reagents and materials. According to the UC San Diego researchers, this process is more affordable and widely feasible than previous methods that required expensive equipment and expertise."

- While NASA Flies In Circles Technology Advances Back on Earth, earlier post
- Another Alternative to ISS-Based Research (Update), earlier post
- Using the ISS: Once Again NASA Has Been Left in the Dust, earlier post

Reader note 31 Jan: "The following relates to previous discussions on NASAwatch about what text, pictures, items, etc belong to NASA and which belong to the astronauts themselves. I really have been enjoying reading Don Pettit's blog at Air & Space about his life on the ISS. It appears that NASA or someone has censored his blog. His blog entry "Remove before Flight" posted yesterday 1/3/0/2011 is no longer available. Try: this original link and it comes back with nothing. If you enter this into Google, you will see Google's cache of the post: cache: . I'm also attaching an image of Google's cached page in case the Google cached page disappears."

Keith's 1 Feb update: I am still waiting for a NASA PAO response. I have also requested the original image of the "CAUTION" tag so that we can see what it says.

Keith's 6 Feb update: Well, it has been a week and JSC PAO has said nothing. This is what I have learned behind the scenes. Fact is, JSC PAO did not have a role in this - at first - since they were out of the loop until the blog post was deleted and inquiries started. The Astronaut Office ordered the removal of this post. Don Pettit's blogs were being sent directly to Air & Space magazine without prior approval by the Astronaut Office or JSC PAO - just as Ron Garan's postings to "Fragile Oasis" had been handled throughout his entire mission. The Astronaut Office saw this post by Pettit, thought that it was unacceptable, and told Air & Space that they had to take it offline. The post remains offline with no reason given as to why it was unacceptable or what could be done to make it acceptable. (you can still read it here) Now, JSC PAO hopes that I will get tired of beating this issue and then move on. JSC PAO is also afraid that if the whole story got out that the Astronaut Office would be made to look bad. So, if JSC responds formally to my request you can rest assured that they are not telling the whole story.

Its too bad that control freaks have gotten the middle of this. Pettit (and Garan before him) are unusually good at relating their experiences to wide audiences at home. Now these long-term ISS residents will have official worriers from the Astronaut Office sitting in a cubicle trying to make sure that the fresh and unfiltered nature of these blog postings never sees the light of day.

Spanning the HEOMD-SMD Gap

NASA science chief advocates ties with human spaceflight, SpaceflightNow

"Grunsfeld told Spaceflight Now he met with Bill Gerstenmaier, head of NASA's human exploration division, in his first week in office. "One of the reasons I'm in this job now is because NASA Administrator Charlie Bolden believed that teaming with human spaceflight on those things that make sense, on our exploration program, for science to take advantage of the resources of human spaceflight, for human spaceflight to be informed by the science we can do at planetary destinations, for instance, can make the whole program stronger," Grunsfeld said."

Russia orders Soyuz delays in wake of test mishap, Spaceflight Now

"Outside experts have questioned Russian quality control, but Suffredini said the problems appeared to be unrelated and he expressed confidence his counterparts will get to the bottom of the latest incident, implement corrective actions and move on."

NASA confident in Russia despite space accidents, Reuters

"The latest accident involved a Soyuz capsule being prepared to fly a new crew to the $100 billion orbiting research laboratory on March 29. The spacecraft was inadvertently over-pressurized during testing, rendering it unsuitable for flight."

Space researchers develop ultrasound technology that detects, treats kidney stones, NSBRI

"Just the mention of kidney stones can cause a person to cringe. They are often painful and sometimes difficult to remove, and 10 percent of the population will suffer from them. In space, the risk of developing kidney stones is exacerbated due to environmental conditions. The health risk is compounded by the fact that resource limitations and distance from Earth could restrict treatment options. Scientists with the National Space Biomedical Research Institute (NSBRI) are developing an ultrasound technology that could overcome some medical care challenges associated with kidney stone treatment."

Keith's note: Wow, a real spinoff with potential applications to a vast number of people on Earth. But is there any mention at the OCT website? ISS National Lab? CASIS? Why is NASA so woefully incapable of promoting the actual benefits from its research that it crows about in Congressional testimony and PAO puff pieces?

Keith's update: What is really pathetic - and troubling - is the response posted by ISS contractor employee Justin Kugler in the comments section. Kugler and the people entrusted with the utilization of this expensive national asset seem to be oblivious to the responsibility that they have to explain to all "stakeholders" (including taxpayers) what these tens of billions of dollars have been spent on. When these people can't even get off their collective asses to make note of true and exciting spinoffs of great potential to people (such as this one) you really have to question whether NASA has the right people working on this project - and that starts at the top (Mark Uhran).



Monthly Archives

About this Archive

This page is an archive of entries in the ISS News category from February 2012.

ISS News: January 2012 is the previous archive.

ISS News: March 2012 is the next archive.

Find recent content on the main index or look in the archives to find all content.