ISS News: June 2012 Archives

CASIS Signs Deal with COBRA PUMA GOLF for Research on ISS

"The Center for the Advancement of Science in Space (CASIS) today announced that it has signed a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) with COBRA PUMA GOLFTM to carry out materials research projects on the International Space Station (ISS) U.S. National Laboratory for use in its sporting goods products line."

CASIS & PGA Hosting STEM Camp This Week

"Combining instruction in the principles of both science and golf, 20 Title I students from St. Lucie County Schools will take part in the first-ever PGA STEM Enrichment Camp at the PGA Center for Golf Learning and Performance this week, June 18-22."

Keith's note: While CASIS is promoting its golf-in-space efforts, it has totally ignored its partner Nanoracks as it makes an announcement - and does so at a conference that CASIS itself co-sponsored. Oh yes, with the exception of two tweets @ISSCASIS was totally mute at the ISS conference in Denver. Indeed, only half a dozen or so people were using Twitter (#ISSRDC) to talk about what was happening at the conference. I have only found 2 articles - from the Huntsville Times - that refer to news from the conference. And nothing was webcast. How CASIS is going to expand visibility of ISS capabilities when it drops the ball like this escapes me. It takes more than a few golf agreements, CASIS.

Golf or Science: What is NASA's Plan for the Space Station?, Earlier post

Space: The New Frontier For Medical Breakthroughs, US News & World Report

"Deadly bacteria that have spent time in space are already on Earth--but instead of killing humans, they might just save lives. Scientists are using bacteria cultivated on the International Space Station to help develop vaccines that experts say could revolutionize the medical field."

Keith's note: Wow. Actual benefits to people back on Earth from research done in space on the ISS. Deputy Administrator Garver tweeted a link as did the White House Office of Science & Technology Policy. Neither @ISSCASIS or @ISS_NatLab could be bothered to do so. Alas, neither CASIS or the ISS National Laboratory are mentioned in this article. CASIS and the ISS National Laboratory ignore lots of things like this - including this regular NASA summary (not posted online) of space biology and medicine research done on the ISS. The CASIS and ISS National Lab folks are having their big meeting in Denver right now. I wonder if they are talking about how to make the ISS more relevant to the people who pay for it?

Keith's update: Oh yes: CASIS just released "CASIS Announces First Solicitation for Proposals: Advancing Protein Crystallization in Microgravity". No mention by @ISS_NatLab or at the ISS National Laboratory website. No one bothers to work with anyone, it would seem. [Update: a link was added later in the day - well after the release went out.]

Orion High-altitude Abort Test Faces Budget-driven Delay, SpaceNews

"A high-altitude test of the Orion deep-space capsule's launch abort system could be delayed two years [FY 2018] to accommodate the tighter program budgets anticipated by NASA and Orion prime contractor Lockheed Martin."

Sen. Hutchison Stresses Importance of Continued Progress on both Commercial and Government Space Launch Vehicles

"I just hope that there will no longer be budget proposals from the President, whoever that will be next year, that will appear to cut back on the future and fund the present because we have an authorization bill that assures both, we support both," Sen. Hutchison said at the hearing."

Prepared statement by Bill Gerstenmaier

"Based on the availability of funding and industry performance, this strategy allows for adjustments in program scope, and enables a domestic capability to transport crewmembers to the ISS likely by 2017, based on the readiness of U.S. commercial providers to achieve NASA certification."

Keith's note: If the Orion abort test doesn't happen until FY 2018, then what does this mean for using Orion to take crews to the ISS? NASA plans for using the ISS now end in CY 2020. If Orion delays continue, commercial crew service providers could reach the ISS well before Orion can. How can Orion provide the "capability to be a backup system for International Space Station cargo and crew delivery" if commercial crew carriers fly well before Orion flies? As such, why is Orion/SLS being designed with the capability of going to the ISS in the first place?

CASIS Unveils New Logo Part of Aggressive Plan to Expand Research Partners

"CASIS is determined to facilitate the development of ground-breaking products and technologies on the ISS for the benefit of people on Earth," said CASIS Interim Executive Director Jim Royston. "Our new logo captures our spirit and mission, and serves as a message to the marketplace that CASIS is a strong partner helping business and researchers harness the power of microgravity and the ISS U.S. National Lab."

Keith's note: This is bordering on the absurd. CASIS continues to drop the ball on all of the tasks it is supposed to be doing so as to further the utilization of the International Space Station and now they think that a new logo will "serve as a message to the marketplace"? Newsflash: actions speak louder than logos, CASIS.

Personally, I think the logo looks like something you'd see on an Adobe software package (same font). If this logo is supposed to show the industry that CASIS is serious about space, they certainly picked the wrong logo to do so. What this logo has to do with evoking an image of utilizing the ISS escapes me.

Maybe they were thinking of this movie space ship and its domes when they came up with this logo. The movie title certainly describes how CASIS has conducted itself since last year.

Keith's note: During today's NASA/FAA teleconference, Charlie Bolden said that the new commercial crew Space Act Agreements are targeted for July. However, Phil McAlister said that these downselects will not be "downselects" at all but will be open to any bidder. However Rep. Frank Wolf recently issued a press release that said "Additionally, NASA has stated that it will reduce the number of awards anticipated to be made this summer from the 4 awards made under commercial crew development round 2 to not more than 2.5 (two full and one partial) CCiCAP awards. This downselect will reduce taxpayer exposure by concentrating funds on those participants who are most likely to be chosen to eventually provide service to ISS."

Hmm. "reduce the number of awards" and "this downselect will reduce ..." It certainly sounds like Rep. Wolf thinks that he has agreed to a NASA "downselect". Phil might want to check with Rep. Wolf on this.

Teledyne to Develop Space-Based Digital Imaging Capability

"Teledyne Technologies Incorporated announced today that its subsidiary, Teledyne Brown Engineering, Inc., in Huntsville, Ala., was awarded a Cooperative Agreement by NASA to foster the commercial utilization of the International Space Station. Under the agreement, Teledyne Brown will develop the Multi-User System for Earth Sensing (MUSES), an Earth imaging platform, as part of the company's new commercial space-based digital imaging business. Teledyne expects to provide the first commercial imaging system on board the facility."

Keith's 14 Jun note: There is no mention of CASIS or the ISS National Lab in this press release. No mention is made on the CASIS website. No mention is made at the NASA ISS National Lab website either. I thought this was the sort of thing NASA wanted CASIS to be doing? Guess not. It would seem that one does not have to deal with CASIS in order to use the ISS.

Keith's 15 Jun update: According to Twitter posts provided last night by CASIS employee Justin Kugler (@phalanx) the TBE agreement was done independent of CASIS: "MUSES was created as a National Lab Enabling project. It is not new. TBE registered with CASIS as an implementation partner" and "TBE is an implementation partner and MUSES preceded the transition. And we have been helping them with potential users.". Kugler added that "NASA is retaining the projects they are funding because of legal requirements."

CASIS Must Succeed: And It Can if We Make it So, CASIS

"CASIS is now the manager of the ISS U.S. National Laboratory. Owing to a slow and unfocused start, tumultuous changes in management after barely six months, and pressure from those who lost the ISS National Lab management contract competition, some have called for CASIS to be removed from the job barely nine months after it was selected. Any move to retire CASIS -- still in its infancy -- and replace it with a still greener successor would be ill advised, I believe. ... I rather doubt that the detractors and would-be successors to CASIS have thought these implications through. But they should. And if they are ISS supporters, they should not only cease their calls to end CASIS and instead support it as it reboots with new leadership and a newfound effectiveness."

Keith's note: (sigh) It's never the fault of CASIS when things go wrong. Oh no. CASIS is the only answer - period. We're stuck with them - no matter what. So get used to it. And if you don't fall in step with whatever CASIS says and does (no matter how much they screw things up) you are a detractor and not a true believer. Yawn.

It is quite clear that CASIS thinks that the choice is to stick with them and their substandard ISS utilization - and not to even think of trying another approach so as to achieve far better utilization of the International Space Station. I vote for "better".

Keith's update: There are some interesting and lengthy comments (below) from someone inside the ISS utilization world that shed some light on issues confronting CASIS.

Next Up: Cygnus

Veteran Space Company Orbital Sciences Ready for ISS, Wired

"With a few decades of space launch experience already under its belt, the Orbital Sciences Corporation is next up to demonstrate cargo delivery capabilities to the International Space Station. With so much attention focused on SpaceX's successful demonstration flight last month, it might be easy to forget Elon Musk's company is just one of two receiving investments from NASA as part of its Commercial Orbital Transportation Services (COTS) program to deliver cargo to the ISS. And unlike upstart SpaceX, the other company in the COTS program is a veteran of the commercial space industry."



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

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