ISS News: August 2012 Archives

NASA's Space Station Manager Did Not Like The Idea of Legos in Space

"Suff inquired about the relevance of performing the Lego experiment onboard from an ISS research priorities perspective. Ms. Robinson explained that Lego is Leland Melvin's top priority - for education given that Legos are something that children are very familiar with and that can reach tens of thousands of students. Suff asked if the folks at HQ had considered the negative aspects of showcasing Legos in that it may seem we are not utilizing 1SS resources to their fullest capacity. Ms. Robinson explained that she was not aware that people had considered that perspective and would pass this on."

Keith's note: The United States has spent somewhere between $60 to 100 billion on the International Space Station - and the agency's program manager doesn't think that a simple education project - one that uses something simple (Legos) that millions of "future explorers" use every day - is relevant? I do not hear Mike Suffredini objecting to all of the other stuff (baseball caps, college t-shirts, cartoon characters) that make their way onto the ISS. So why pick on something simple that (potentially) allows children to have a personal connection with this incredible on-orbit research facility? This is simply baffling.

HD TV From ISS Soon

NASA Selects Visionary Solutions' AVN443 Encoders to Deliver HD Video from International Space Station

"NASA is upgrading its internal cameras onboard the International Space Station to commercial standard 720p/1080i formats, thus requiring new encoders capable of transmitting a high-definition signal. Through a combination of Visionary Solutions' sophisticated H.264 hardware compression and optimized transmission technology, the AVN443 encoders provide an HD, full-frame rate, IP video stream from within the ISS, as well as an external view of the ISS and a view of Earth."

NASA JSC Solicitation: Visionary Solutions Encoder

Atlas of ISS Science

NASA Contract Award to Resources for the Future: Measuring Research Performance in Space Station Research (redacted copy)

"Our objective is to design an Atlas of ISS Science, a systematic, rigorous and peer-reviewed framework and analysis that is then visually displayed to compellingly characterize and demonstrate the new knowledge created from the nation's "lab aloft". In essence, the Atlas, and the data and analysis on which it is built, will be the visual representation of the metaphor of maximization of "delta K over K - an expression used by the Chief Scientist of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) to appeal to the science community to define, as a task of scientific leadership, how the agency's research changes our knowledge relative to what we know."

Keith's note: NASA JSC PAO worked to provide NASAWatch with this document in response to an inquiry submitted in assocation with an earlier post: Cryptic Space Station Procurement From JSC

"2 Applications research is a critical component of the ISS as a national laboratory; however, the goal of this proposal is to design a science of science framework for the basic science research on ISS. The protocol we develop has applicability to applications research, however. The Center for the Advancement of Science in Space (CASIS) is developing a database to attempt to evaluate economic benefits/performance through its portfolio, and we may be able to leverage this to some extent if CASIS has advanced its model of their early research portfolio around year 3 of our proposed effort. We have included the opportunity for CASIS to send a representative to our proposed external steering group to allow regular exchange of information."

Keith's note: I am surprised (actually no I am not) that CASIS has made zero mention of this Atlas of ISS Science effort thus far. Also, it seems a bit odd that the Resources for the Future team doesn't plan to talk to CASIS until year 3 of their task i.e. 2015. It certainly sounds like NASA is engaged in yet another well-intentioned, but parallel and somewhat stovepiped activity when it should be combining efforts for maxiumum synergistic efficiency - and making this information available much sooner than seems to be their plan.

NASA Administrator Announces New Commercial Crew And Cargo Milestones

"NASA Administrator Charles Bolden announced Thursday new milestones in the nation's commercial space initiatives from the agency's Kennedy Space Center in Florida. The latest advances made by NASA's commercial space partners pave the way for the first contracted flight of cargo to the International Space Station (ISS) this fall and mark progress toward a launch of astronauts from U.S. soil in the next 5 years."

Keith's note: There has been no mention of this overtly commercial event by the Commercial Spaceflight Federation. No mention of XCOR's big announcement either. CSF certainly isn't paying much attention to commercial space these days.

CASIS Announces Upcoming Requests for Proposals in Materials Science and Earth Observational Science

"The ISS National Lab supports a variety of platforms to exploit the space environment in the development and testing of new materials for both commercial and academic investigators. Through these solicitations, CASIS continues in its mission to promote the full utilization of the ISS. ... This RFP will utilize the NanoRacks External Platform."

NanoRacks Announcement of Opportunity-1: Building a NanoLab Community for Space Station Users

"NanoRacks, the leading company in low-earth orbit research and educational utilization, seeks to further stimulate the market for International Space Station usage by offering to designate and promote up to five (5) companies that can offer for retail sale NanoLabs for use in NanoRacks hardware now on the space station and on suborbital platforms."

Keith's note: CASIS makes a big deal out of its agreement with Nanoracks - but they don't seem to be interested in making any mention of this Nanoracks Announcement of Opportunity utilizing the ISS. Baffling - especially given the bundle of money CASIS gave Nanoracks.

Keith's note: Yesterday @ISS_NatLab (an official NASA Twitter account) announced that "This official NASA ISS National Laboratory Office Twitter account will be shut down by October 1, 2012." and "Visitors are urged to follow National Lab activities at, maintained by Center for the Advancement of Science in Space".

That's fine but a little weird. Why not put "@ISSCASIS" in the tweet thus making it a lot easier for people to follow them using their Twitter account? @ISS_NatLab has 16,000+ followers. @ISSCASIS only has 1,211. Better yet - why not just give the @ISS_NatLab account to CASIS? That's their job, right? That way you keep the followers. Take the NASA logo off and add the CASIS logo. Meanwhile, a parallel NASA account, @ISS_Research, with 21,000+ followers remains online and never makes any mention of CASIS or @ISSCASIS. So you can bet that this dysfunctionality between JSC ISS and CASIS will continue regardless of how many Twitter accounts they have and what they call them.

Enabling Support Equipment and Services for International Space Station as a National Lab

Keith's 16 Aug 4:30 pm update: NASA JSC re-released the Award notice. It now says "Classification Code: 16 -- Aircraft components and accessories; NAICS Code: 541712 - Research and Development in the Physical, Engineering, and Life Sciences (except Biotechnology)" but it still lists the award recipient as being "Research for the Future Inc., 1616 P ST NW, Washington, DC 20036-1400" even though the awardee is actually "Resources for the Future" located at that street address. I guess the name of the company isn't important in NASA awards.

Earlier posts below.



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

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