IT/Web: August 2009 Archives

The Future of NASA IT

NASA could outsource flights and insource IT,

"Any outsourcing of NASA's human spaceflight program would not necessarily disrupt cloud computing advancements at the Silicon Valley-based Ames Research Center, said officials at NASA headquarters earlier this week. NASA Administrator Charles Bolden said at an Aug. 19 space and missile defense conference in Huntsville, Ala., that the department will look to the commercial space sector that is capable of providing launch services and building satellites to help expand the frontier of space exploration. NASA reportedly is contemplating moving away from traditional parts of the space program, such as transporting people and materials into orbit, because of growing costs. But Ames' cloud computing initiative Nebula, aimed at remotely hosting Web services, data storage and IT equipment for other NASA agencies, could help contain those costs, said Ames Chief Information Officer Chris Kemp, who is leading the program and involved in the federal government's cloud computing working group."

NASA NOMAD Internal Memo: Large File Transfer Pilot

"What Is Happening: The Office of the Chief Information Officer is launching a NOMAD pilot of Large File Transfer (LFT) capabilities. The service uses the Accellion appliance to allow NOMAD customers to safely share large files up to 10GB with other NOMAD users as well as those external to NASA. Use of this service is voluntary. Normally these files would be too large to send by email. Detailed outreach deployment of the new LFT capability will begin in August at Dryden Flight Research Center and the NASA Shared Services Center with other Centers to follow in a staggered approach.Center migration to NASA Consolidated Active Directory (NCAD) is a prerequisite to using this service. Further details including an outreach deployment schedule for LFT is available on the NOMAD LFT Information Web Page at Please refer to it for future Center updates."

Twittering From Space

NASA Astronaut Sends First Tweets From Space Station

"NASA astronaut and U.S. Army Col. Tim Kopra has become the first International Space Station crew member to use the social media tool Twitter to discuss living and working in orbit. Kopra (@Astro_Tim) recently joined the Expedition 20 crew after arriving at the orbiting laboratory July 17 aboard space shuttle Endeavour. He is set to return to Earth on the STS-128 mission, which is targeted to launch Aug. 25. To follow Kopra on Twitter, visit: Kopra will provide followers with a unique perspective as an Expedition 20 flight engineer and member of the Army. He is an Army aviator and West Point graduate."

NASA Hacker Update

NASA Hacker Close To End Of Extradition Appeals, Digital Trends

"Friday saw so-called NASA hacker Gary McKinnon lose another in his bid to avoid extradition to the US to stand trial. McKinnon, from North London, was first indicted by the US Department of Justice in November 2002, charged with damaging a federal computer system, and breaking into a total of 97 computers belonging to the US Army, US Navy, US Air Force, US Department of Defense and NASA. It's alleged he did $700,000 worth of damage to computer systems."

Keith's 21 July note: The NASA JSC Social Media Working Group has a Twitter online at .However, this Twitter is closed off such that only approved people can read what is posted there. I made multiple requests to follow it but JSC did not respond. So, I sent a series of FOIA requests to NASA JSC asking to see what NASA civil servants had posted there.

I got this response back today containing the contents of that Twitter. Not much. But now that its contents have been revealed, is the account open to the public? No. They say that it will take until possibly 31 July to do that i.e. 10 days. I guess they need to form a commitee to work this issue. Yet anyone not working at NASA can make that change in mere seconds.

In summary: I can read what is in this Twitter account via FOIA request (researched and answered at some expense to the government) but I, as a taxpayer, cannot just read it like I do other NASA Twitters for free - at least not for another week and a half. The fact that this Twitter account is meant to be used by the social media experts at JSC - and that it contains only one stale post - speaks volumes.

Keith's 2 August note: Well, we're past the 31 July date JSC PAO set but the Twitter is still closed to reading by non-members (taxpayers). Apparently the NASA JSC PAO committee that will decide how to make this Twitter account's contents public hasn't met yet or come up with an official NASA process whereby the settings are changed. Alas, a child in jr. high school could do it in seconds. Once again, the fact that this Twitter account is meant to be used by the social media experts at JSC - and that it contains only one stale post - and that none of the JSC social media experts seems to have the incentive or knowledge to adjust it so as to be transparent - speaks volumes.



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