News: January 2005 Archives

Expanded Role for Mahone

Glenn Mahone Named Acting Chief of NASA Strategic Communications

"NASA Administrator Sean O'Keefe named Glenn Mahone as the agency's Acting Chief of Strategic Communications, effective immediately. Mahone also will continue to serve as Assistant Administrator for Public Affairs and Senior Advisor to the Office of Administrator."

Vacancy Announcement Number: GS05B0100, Goddard Space Flight Center
Position: Utility Systems Repairer Operator, WG-4742-11
Salary: $ 4,497,500 - $ 5,253,000

Editor's note: Now I know why NASA is offering all of these buyouts - so they can pay this person's multi-million dollar salary!

Editor's note: reliable sources report that NASA spacecraft such as Deep Impact, Spitzer Space Telescope, Wilkinson Microwave Anisotropy Probe - and others - may all have suffered attitude control and other problems - all apparently due to the massive solar proton storm which arrived in near-Earth space late Wednesday. Details to follow.

Editor's note: According to NASA sources "The WMAP star trackers were "blinded" by the solar storm on Thursday morning at 07:35 UTC. The trackers tried to switch back and forth, but since both CCD's were saturated with high-energy particles, they timed-out and dropped WMAP into Sun Acquisition mode. The operations team, thanks to the JPL DSN Operations Chief and the Station 43 crew, was able to extend the 12:40 pass and the spacecraft was returned to observing mode by 13:40 UTC."

Joint USAF/NOAA Report of Solar and Geophysical Activity 20 Jan 2005

"Today's CME (associated with the X7 flare) is not expected to produce anything more than a glancing blow due to its direction away from the Sun-Earth line. The greater than 10 MeV flux is expected to remain above event threshold for at least another 24 hours."

NOAA SEC Space Weather Advisory Bulletin #05-3

"This radiation storm is particularly interesting because of the influx of high energy protons (>100 MeV). In fact, this radiation storm, based on the >100 MeV protons, is the strongest since October 1989."

As Winter Grips Most of the Nation, There's Plenty of Space Weather Too, NOAA

"This activity is occurring almost five years past the solar maximum (April 2000). This activity is significant. However, it is considerably less intense than the activity observed during the "Halloween Storms" of 2003."

Buzz and Bush

"Inauguration events: A Celebration of Freedom": Tuesday 4:00 p.m. Buzz Aldrin & Others Astronauts"

eNaugural.com Ball: Honorary Host: Buzz Aldrin Astronaut-literally walked on moon, tech visionary

The Reliable Source, Washington Post: "[Rep. Tom] Feeney lauded Aldrin as the second man to walk on the moon, following "Neil Young." Huh? Certainly he meant Neil Armstrong?"

Editor's note: Among the donors listed at the official Inaugural website:

- Lockheed Martin Corporation $100,000
- The Boeing Company $100,000
- United Technologies $250,000
- Northrop Grumman $100,000

Each year, NASA selects 50 Explorer Schools which are eligible to recieve up to $17,500 over a 3 year period to purchase technology tools that support science and mathematics instruction. Now, I do know that all of these aerospace companies do make substantial donations to educational activities. But just to put this DC party subsidy into perspective, the collective $550,000 these companies have spent (to say nothing of what they lavished on schmoozefests at the Democratic and Republican conventions last summer) could fund 31 new Explorer schools for three years.

Asleep in Code L

NASA Office of Legislative Affairs Weekly Update 14 January 2005

Editor's note: If you look at this weekly summary which was sent out to Congressional staff on Friday at 5:04 PM EST you'll see that there is only one item listed for 14 January 2005: the 25th anniversary of the NASA Summer High School Apprenticeship Research Program. No mention whatsoever is made of the ESA Huygens landing on Titan earlier today - an event people marked on their calendars years ago. This landing is part of the NASA Cassini mission with many U.S. collaborators - an astounding achievement which has NASA and ESA websites jammed with people trying to download images.

Oh by the way - they also seem to have forgotten another important 14 January event - i.e. the announcement of the President's space vision on 14 January 2004. They recall one anniversary of comparatively minor importance but ignore the anniversary of an event that has changed the entire agency's course and was the subject of incredible legislative activity last year.

Are they asleep in Code L? Or do they not have one of those Franklin Planners to remind them of things?

19 January 2005: Stewart Wants Spectacular Send off, ContactMusic.com

"Englishman Stewart says, "I'd use my influence with Star Trek's numerous advisers at NASA to ensure that my ashes were launched from the Kennedy Space Center on a shuttle from Cape Canaveral. And then, once in orbit, I'd be dumped. I think it's just the drama of being able to leave the Earth like that."

3 February 2004: Star Trek skipper not so bold, Ananova

"Patrick Stewart, who plays Captain Jean-Luc Picard in the TV series Star Trek, says he thinks interplanetary travel for humans is a bad idea. "I'm a bit of a wet blanket when it comes to the whole business of space travel," Stewart told the BBC."

Editor's note:So it's 'make it so' for you - but not for everyone else, eh Patrick?

Titan Top 4

Rock'n'roll heading for Titan, ESA

"After its long journey Huygens is due to reach to surface on 14 January 2005. ESA wanted to have music on board to arouse the interest of the world's public, particularly the young, and to leave a trace of humanity in the unknown."

- Quicktime Introduction
- Music Download page (get a free track)

From OSTP to TSPACE

Editor's note: Brett Alexander is leaving OSTP and will be a senior officer at tSpace.

Changes at Hampton Roads

Other Voices: Support NASA's exploration, Daily Press

"The missing link in Hampton Roads has been support of NASA's vision for space exploration. Local politicians, community leaders and news organizations continue to call for increased aeronautics funding - a laudable goal - but they are neglecting, and in some cases opposing, the agency's space exploration initiative."

Director tries to help workers at Langley navigate change, Virginian-Pilot

"He said change is "scary" and employees are worried about job security. But the changes are necessary, Bridges said. "There is some risk when youre transforming, but there is far more risk in the status quo," he said."

12 January 2005: NASA ARC Memo: Message from the Director - Enhancing Communication

"At the January 7 all-hands and other venues, people have suggested ideas for enhancing the flow of communications at the Center. Clearly, there is much happening very rapidly at NASA these days, and everyone needs to follow the details closely. Therefore, I am planning to implement the following: ..."

Editor's note: Are the center directors at LaRC, GRC, and MSFC also being this responsive to their employee's concerns? Let me know if they are - or if they are not.

Workforce Challenges at Ames Research Center - and Elsewhere at NASA, SpaceRef

"By 20 December 2004, according to NASA sources, it had become clear that ARC was far off from its hoped for goal of 80 people willing to take a buyout. In staff meetings with ARC managers on 20 December 2004 senior ARC management began to see that the ARC workforce did not seem to be taking the buyout program seriously. Many employees apparently believed that they could just hunker down and this crisis, like so many others in previous years, would eventually pass."

Wetherbee Retires

Veteran NASA Space Shuttle Commander James Wetherbee Retires

"After a career featuring six space missions, five as commander, and multiple senior agency management positions, astronaut James D. Wetherbee (Capt., USN, Ret.) retired from NASA to pursue other interests."

Editor's note: Curiously, if you go to an internal web page at JSC which shows personnel losses for FY 2005, some 29 people are listed - all of whom (with two exceptions) are listed as having taken "retirement". Wetherbee is listed as having taken "separation". This is likely the result of simply not having enough years in as a civil servant (he served in the navy for a number of years).

The Process Continues

Editor's note: President Bush has selected federal appeals court judge Michael Chertoff to be the new secretary of the Department of Homeland Security. During the past few weeks, the White House has had a number of senior positions to fill: Homeland Security, EPA, and NASA. Filling the top slots at Homeland Security and EPA have been a little higher on the priority list than NASA. With Homeland Security taken care of they can now devote more time to finding a new Administrator for EPA - and one for NASA.

Prioritizing Teacher Training, Integrating Math, Science & Engineering Education Initiatives & Exploring Options for Creating a Virtual Space Academy

"NASA is also seeking ideas on establishing an institute for the study of space exploration policy. This institute would collect a number of interdisciplinary skills from science, engineering, public management and public policy, among others. This new entity would be a resource that could synergistically apply its various expertise to significant space policy matters."

Report Assesses Health Implications of Perchlorate Exposure

"The study was sponsored by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the U.S. Department of Defense, the U.S. Department of Energy, and NASA."

Another Passing

Glen P. Wilson Dies; Senate Aide, NASA Official, Washington Post

"Glen P. Wilson, 82, who worked on a Senate space and astronautics committee and for NASA and was executive director emeritus of the National Space Society, a space advocacy group, died Jan. 8 at a hospice in Fort Worth. He had diabetes."

National Space Society remembers Glen Wilson

6 January 2005: NASA Names Steve Isakowitz as New Exploration Systems Directorate Deputy

"Before joining OMB, he worked at Lockheed Martin as a project manager and systems engineer for several launch vehicle programs. Prior to that, he worked at the management-consulting firm Booz, Allen & Hamilton (BAH). At BAH he conducted planning and analysis for private and public clients on potential commercial space projects."

U.S. Space Transportation Policy Fact Sheet 6 January 2005, Office of Science and Technology Policy

"The President authorized a new national policy on December 21, 2004, that establishes national policy, guidelines, and implementation actions for United States space transportation programs and activities to ensure the Nation's ability to maintain access to and use space for U.S. national and homeland security, and civil, scientific, and commercial purposes. This policy supercedes Presidential Decision Directive/National Science and Technology Council-4, National Space Transportation Policy, dated August 5, 1994, in whole, and the following portions of Presidential Decision Directive/National Science and Technology Council-8/National Security Council-49, National Space Policy, dated September 14, 1996, that pertain to space transportation programs and activities: Civil Space Guideline 3b, Defense Space Sector Guideline c, Commercial Space Guideline 5, and Intersector Guideline 2."

NASA OIG Semiannual Report, April 1-September 30 2004

"Although our work may not always result in a published report, we do not hesitate to present our independent views to the Agency on a broad range of topics. The use of alternative communication strategies, such as formal and informal briefings, allows the OIG to inform the Agency of critical matters in real time so management can take action before issues become problematic."

NASA Comptroller Steve Isakowitz is going to become the new Deputy AA for the Exploration Systems Directorate. Doug Comstock will be the Acting NASA Comptroller until a permanent replacement for Isakowitz is announced. Isakowitz will be working at Exploration part time in January and then full time in February.

2 January 2005: NASA Nurtures Inventors to Produce Space Wonders of the Future, Washington Post

"The [NASA Institute for Advanced Concepts] started in 1997 as a NASA effort to seek out far-sighted concepts that might not pay off for decades, but which could be priceless when they do. "NASA recognized it suffered from 'not invented here' syndrome," [Ron] Turner said in a telephone interview. "If it wasn't invented by NASA, then NASA didn't want to hear about it."


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This page is an archive of entries in the News category from January 2005.

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