News: April 2005 Archives

NASA Senior Management ViTS Minutes 25 April 2005

"- Dr. Griffin also talked about the New York Times story that referenced internal documents forwarded to Times reporters. The documents indicated NASA had changed at least some of the statistical methods used to understand the risks of ice, foam insulation, or other launch debris impacts. The fact that the documents were leaked did not matter to Dr. Griffin, as it cannot be stopped anyway. However he said that when we talk about changing the NASA culture, he would like to change the "need" to leak information."

The Full Story

Editor's note: The following appears in Space News: "According to sources closely tracking the effort, Shank and senior NASA officials met behind closed doors April 22 to discuss what to do about the current CEV solicitation. Notably absent from the meeting was Craig Steidle, NASA's associate administrator for exploration systems, who was taking a personal day while options were being discussed about the single biggest acquisition managed by his organization."

According to knowledgeable NASA sources, Steidle's staff actually readjusted his schedule several times - because Mike Griffin's office changed this meeting date several times. In the end, Steidle was not able to adjust his schedule to make the final meeting date due to a previous appointment.

Editor's note: In addition, NASA sources note that Steidle met with Mike Griffin for more than 2 hours on 21 April. This is all in sharp contrast to what is hinted at by Space News. Curiously, NASA PAO did not try (or care enough) to fix this published misinterpretation of Steidle's participation in these important discussions - even though internal meeting minutes (below) provide an explanation:

NASA Senior Management ViTS Minutes 25 April 2005

"- [Dr. Griffin] apologized to Craig Steidle for scheduling a meeting with him, which caused Adm. Steidle to cancel an event on his calendar. Dr. Griffin later had to cancel the meeting."

Roadmapping Update

Editor's note: As part of the termination of NASA's current Roadmapping activity, NASA personnel have been briefing Liam Sarsfield, a Rand Corp consultant to Mike Griffin, as to what their various committees accomplished. A new, much smaller and streamlined roadmapping team is being assembled to go over the earlier work done in the previous, more expansive Roadmapping effort. Their task is to come up with an end product that is much more streamlined and timely than the ponderous output the original Roadmap activity seemed to be heading toward. Among the expected participants in the new effort: John Young, Jay Greene, and Bob Sieck. Despite the termination of the current Roadmapping effort, a half dozen or so Roadmapping committee meetings have yet to be cancelled. In addition, word apparently did not get to Al Diaz as he prepared to testify before Congress. If you read his prepared statement for his appearance at House Science Committee hearings on Thursday, there is still a 6 paragraph description of the old Roadmapping effort.

Earth Science and Applications from Space: Urgent Needs and Opportunities to Serve the Nation', NAS

Panel Criticizes NASA For Delaying Missions - Moon-Mars Initiative Blamed for Agency's Woes, Washington Post

"A leading panel of experts sharply rebuked NASA yesterday for canceling or delaying Earth-observing space missions, blaming President Bush's moon-Mars initiative for siphoning money from an environment-monitoring satellite system that is "at risk of collapse."

Rotary space gala draws premier crowd to event, The Citizen

"House Majority Leader Tom DeLay was on hand to deliver the keynote address and NASA's new administrator, Dr. Michael Griffin, flew in from the nation's capital to introduce the congressman."

Howard Benedict Has Died

Space Historian, Journalist & Long Time Director of Astronaut Scholarship Foundation, Howard Benedict, Passes On

Pioneer space journalist dies, AP

"Howard Benedict, who chronicled the triumphs and tragedies of America's journey into space in three decades as the award-winning aerospace writer for The Associated Press, has died. He was 77."

Editor's note: Why is HQ moving a part of itself 3.3 miles away? Cheaper rent? Wasn't the whole idea of going through the hassle of building a new headquarters building in the 90's to allow NASA HQ staff to be consolidated in one location?

From NASA HQ Heads Up: "Contact: Margie Team 358-0343 Effective April 25, five divisions within the Office of Infrastructure and Administration relocated to 1800 M Street, N.W. - Aircraft Management; Environmental Management; Facilities Engineering and Real Property; Logistics Management; and Management Systems."

NASA Sources Sought Notice: Oil Free Turbochargers for U.S. Army Ground Vehicles

"This notice is issued by the NASA/GRC to post a Request for Information (RFI) and solicit responses from interested parties relative to the development of a future requirement for oil-free turbochargers. At this time, the Government requires Oil-Free turbochargers sized as direct replacements for the oil-lubricated version (Borg Warner S300) being used on Caterpillar's I6, 7-Litre, C7 diesel engine that powers the U.S. Army Stryker and FMTV's (Family of Medium Tactical Vehicles)."

Editor's note: Will someone please tell me what this procurement could possibly have to do with space exploration?

Editor's update: Prompt, informative relies from several NASA Watch have once again reaffirmed my ignorance as to some of the various things NASA does - and why.

Philip Morrison

Editor's note: Noted physicist Philip Morrison died on 22 April 2005. Details to follow.

Philip Morrison, 89, Builder of First Atom Bomb, Dies

New NASA spots, current defense posts hang in the balance, Cleveland Plain Dealer

"Within days, the federal government will decide whether Northeast Ohio gets a new NASA office center in Brook Park and keeps a Defense Department agency in Cleveland that handles payroll for thousands of service men and women and their families. The two facilities would have a combined payroll of more than $85 million a year."

O'Keefe Speaks Up

Step by step, NASA is doing what it takes to 'fix the culture', OpEd, Sean O'Keefe, USA Today

"Of course, there are those within the agency and in the space-exploration community who still aren't convinced. USA TODAY recently reported the views of those who think NASA's culture has not been fixed. Debates have emerged, as reported Friday in The New York Times, on the methods for measuring the actions taken to meet the recommendations of the Columbia Accident Investigation Board. Such opinions show the dialogue is continuing."

"The Hammer" and Space

DeLay's Grab for NASA, The Nation

"Then in February, the Republican leadership reorganized the House Appropriations Committee. Authority for NASA was yanked from the subcommittee on veterans and housing and handed to the subcommittee in charge of the State and Justice departments. This was a promotion for NASA. It was also seen on Capitol Hill as an act of revenge. The reorganization plan, said David Obey, the senior Democrat on the House Appropriations Committee, was "simply payback."

Editor's note: The following summary of Sen. Allen's visit to LaRC on Friday was submitted by a NASA Watch reader:

"Here is a fairly brief synopsis of what happened today at NASA Langley Research Center. First it should be noted that there was never any official notification by NASA management to LaRC employees that Senator Allen was going to visit LaRC, meet with senior management, and then have a press conference outside of the main LaRC gate. The only indication was a sign inside of LaRC, which read "Welcome Senator Allen" or something very close to that. Fortunately, NASA WATCH, apparently based on tips from NASA employees (not sure how they knew unless they are some of the few in the know for these kinds of things), posted the news that Senator Allen was coming to LaRC for a press conference.

Editor's note: NASA JSC PAO is holding a telecon between the news media and John Muratore and Wayne Hale today to address issue raised in this morning's edition of the NY Times. The telecon was to start at 5:00 pm EDT. As has been the habit the past few years, an email alert - or, if it is really last minute, a phone call is made to alert the media to such events and how to participate and ask questions. Up until today PAO has been very, very good at keeping me on the list for such events. Not any more. I've heard that some feathers really got ruffled on the 9th floor this morning when they read NASA Watch.

Editor's note: I called down to JSC to see if I could participate (since the event had not yet started) and they told me "No".

NASA Internal Memo: Enterprise Council (EC) ViTS 19 April 2005 (Agency's Weekly Meeting with NASA Senior Managers)


"- Dr. Griffin is reorganizing the reporting structure so that the Center Directors report directly to Code A, a model similar to the aerospace matrix model that he is used to."

"- He is establishing an "Associate Administrator" position that will be responsible for day-to-day activities of the Agency. He and Fred Gregory (who will remain the Deputy Administrator) will focus their efforts on the external needs of the Agency, and the new position will focus on the internal needs. The position will be competed, and he does not have anyone in mind for this role. Courtney Stadd will act in that role until a permanent incumbent is named."

"- Previously NASA had one NASA Advisory Committee, and Mr. O'Keefe split the committee in two. Dr. Griffin is recombining the committee back into one committee, and he will select people that he respects as members. Also the Aerospace Safety Advisory Panel, which is mandated, will be staffed by people he admires and respects. He will be elevating their role and status."

"- ARC asked the new administrator what his thoughts were with regard to the Aldredge Commission Report. Dr. Griffin said the most controversial aspect of the report was converting Centers to Federally Funded Research and Development Centers (FFRDCs). NASA talked about converting Centers to FFRDCs when he was last at NASA, and he does not support the concept. There is a place for Government research facilities."

NASA Internal Memo: Enterprise Council (EC) ViTS 19 April 2005 (Agency's Weekly Meeting with NASA Senior Managers)

"- During his confirmation hearing, Dr. Griffin heard that NASA often meets itself in the marketplace. He explained that sometimes NASA people go to Congress with different stories. He stressed the need to communicate one story to avoid confusion. In the future, when someone goes to the Hill on a request from Congress, make sure that Code A, the Office of Legislative Affairs, and the Office of Public Affairs know so there is coordination of one NASA message."

"- Dr. Griffin will move the Office of Education under the new Office of Strategic Communications." and "- Joe Davis is the new AA for Strategic Communications."

Editor's note: Davis once worked as a spokesman for DOE. No word yet on who the permanent heads of PAO or Legislative Affairs will be. It would be really nice to see Grififn fix the dysfunctional relationship between these various facets of NASA's public face once and for all.

Editor's update: 22 April: NASA Internal Memo: Enterprise Council (EC) ViTS 19 April 2005 (Agency's Weekly Meeting with NASA Senior Managers)

"- He is establishing an "Associate Administrator" position that will be responsible for day-to-day activities of the Agency. He and Fred Gregory (who will remain the Deputy Administrator) will focus their efforts on the external needs of the Agency, and the new position will focus on the internal needs. The position will be competed, and he does not have anyone in mind for this role. Courtney Stadd will act in that role until a permanent incumbent is named."

Editor's update: 21 April: Courtney Stadd now has a mail code/room location (9F44 - the Administrator's suite) and a phone number (202 358-1808). It would certainly seem like Stadd is working within NASA Headquarters - which is exactly what many people have been reporting. Curiously, no one has made any announcement to that effect.

Earlier post about Stadd moving (back) to NASA.

Editor's note: 17 April: Former House Science Committee staffer Chris Shank will start at NASA HQ on Monday working directly for Mike Griffin on the 9th floor. Word has it that Scott Pace, Liam Sarsfield, Jim Frelk (all ex-RAND alums) are moving up to the 9th floor - and that Courtney Stadd (who also consults for Bigelow Aerospace) may also come on board as a consultant to NASA - also on the 9th floor. His role would similar to the one he held under Dan Goldin: if not chief of staff, then at least something like that as the most senior advisor to Mike Griffin. The probability that Stadd will play some role seems rather high given that he has already been assigned a email address [omitted here to save him from spam] - one listed as "Organization: A, Employer: NASA uniqueIdentifier: HQ009859". Meanwhile, John Schumacher and Mary Kicza are moving off of the 9th floor. The reason given was rather straightforward: that more office space was needed for Mike Griffin's incoming staff

Lost in Space: NASA Is Missing $35M in Equipment, WTOP

"According to documents obtained by WTOP through the Freedom of Information Act, NASA cannot account for thousands of items in its inventory. Those items include everything from lawn mowers to rocket launchers."

NASA MSFC Memo: Let the Grass Grow Tall

"Please accept the fact that the Center grounds are not going to be kept in a manner that we are accustomed to and do not blame the Grounds and Landscaping Contractors."

Roadmaps Cut Short

Balancing the Right Stuff, Science (subscription)

"NASA managers insist that the president's vision is fundamentally friendly to science. "Science activities are built into the foundation of the exploration vision," James Garvin, NASA's chief scientist, told the American Astronautical Society at a 29 March meeting in Greenbelt, Maryland. He argues that exploration "is a scientific journey," citing the ambitious plans for lunar and Mars exploration. And Diaz notes that a series of "road maps" being assembled will lay out the long-term direction of science and be completed in time to influence the 2007 budget submission this fall."

Transcript of Press Conference with NASA Administrator Michael Griffin 18 April 2005

"I don't think the roadmap activities are on a pace that is consistent with the decision-making that we have to do. I will probably be establishing focused, small teams representing the breadth of experience throughout NASA, throughout the centers and targeted other institutions as necessary, in order to be helping with some of these larger scale architectural issues."

Chickens in Space

Attwater's Prarie Chickens Move to NASA JSC, NASA JSC

"It will be part of JSC's educational outreach program, which seeks to foster the next generation of explorers by encouraging young people to study technical subjects. The facility will give area students an opportunity to see first-hand the importance of habitat conservation and protection."

Editor's note: This is the lamest attempt I have ever seen by NASA PAO to take some local community relations effort - one done at a NASA field center for overt, local political reasons - and contrive a link to the agency's chartered purpose - as if that is why the project is being done in the first place. Oh wait - don't they have longhorns at JSC too - hosted for the same purpose? Hmmm, can you eat these chickens? Then you could add life support and in situ resource utilization to the justification list too ...

Marshall's launch role is secure, chief says - New NASA administrator eased concerns, King says, Huntsville Times

"Marshall Space Flight Center will not have to compete with other NASA centers or aerospace companies for launch vehicle work, Marshall Director Dave King told a group of community leaders Wednesday."

Editor's note: Hmmm. This is interesting. Griffin now seems to be reversing the approach that had been taken prior to his arrival - i.e. that field centers would now have to compete for things. Either that - or he is giving MSFC some sort of special treatment. Also, it would seem that in some important ways, MSFC is now immune from the need to outsource. Here is what Griffin actually said publicly on Monday:

NASA Presolicitation Notice: MSFC Scenario Based Planning Services

"Arcata Associates, Inc. intends to negotiate on an emergency, sole source basis with Incucomm/Lone Star Aerospace LP, for Consulting Services to assist with development and execution of strategic Scenario Based Planning exercises to support NASA activities at Marshall Space Flight Center (MSFC). Subject topics may include but are not limited to, agency transformation, space exploration initiatives and return to flight. The service provider must have demonstrated competence in analysis of both propulsion and communications systems, expertise in scenario based planning, and at least one immediately available senior level executive cleared to Top Secret - EBI level to act as a facilitator."

Editor's update: Why does someone need "Top Secret" clearance to provide MSFC with advice on "agency transformation, space exploration initiatives and return to flight" ?

Reader comment: "Answer: nuclear propulsion systems. Some people were all excited to work on Prometheus and JIMO until they got the clearance forms and read the "Adverse Information Act" that they would be required to sign and adhere to. There was an uproar."

Editor's note: Many of you may have noticed NASA PAO Chief Glenn Mahone's rather sudden departure from NASA. No, it is not, as this picture might suggest, because Glenn wanted to join a revival of Earth, Wind, and Fire. NASA Watch has discovered the true reason behind his departure: Glenn was beamed aboard a cloaked Romulan war bird in Low Earth orbit where he is now fulfilling a long time ambition: to captain a starship -- with live weaponry and all media editorial office locations loaded into the phaser targeting computers. [See enlarged picture]

Seriously, on a personal note: public affairs is a thankless job. For that matter, so is legislative affairs. I think the paltry, public farewell given Lee Forsgren and Glenn Mahone sucks -- big time. Sean O'Keefe did not do it this way. Neither did Dan Goldin (at least publicly). Regardless of what you think of their accomplishments, these two guys busted their butts on behalf of the agency. Indeed, I know: I have seen it with my own eyes. A short press release, without even the common courtesy of a one sentence commentary by the NASA Administrator, is not the best message to be sending to the NASA workforce as whole - especially when a RIF is already underway at LaRC - and the rest of the agency is jittery about ill-defined changes that lie ahead.

Mike: All NASA employees, regardless of rank, deserve a proper thank you for services rendered. Recall how Goldin treated you back in the Space Station Freedom days after you gave your job all that you could offer - with integrity. On your first day on the job as NASA Administrator you pledged to make all decisions regarding personnel matters in the open in a "humane" fashion. It would seem that you have already faltered on at least two accounts.

Editor's update: Well ... the folks on the 9th floor were not at all pleased with this particular post on NASA Watch. Indeed, they were rather upset. For this new executive staff to be this thin-skinned with regard to criticism, this early on - especially when thousands of NASA and contractor employees face imminent and possibly involuntary departure from the agency - is not a good sign.

Griffin Faces the Press

Transcript of Press Conference with NASA Administrator Michael Griffin 18 April 2005, NASA HQ

NASA Administrator Mike Griffin Hits the Ground Running, SpaceRef

"NASA Administrator Mike Griffin met with the press at NASA Headquarters for the first time on Monday - after only 3 days on the job. The rocket scientist/engineer in Griffin clearly stood out. When he knew something abut a topic - he was straightforward and to the point in his responses. When he did not know enough about a topic to comment, he admitted so, and said that he needed to study up before responding. Engineers like facts. Griffin clearly does not like to speculate at least in public."

Editor's note: On personnel changes at HQ: Griffin said there would be some but would only provide specifics on one: that Scott Pace, "a non career SES", would lead a new Program Analysis and Evaluation Office.

On CEV acceleration: "we are going to rethink our entire program in that area because, as is well known, publicly released, we're talking about flying the CEV with crew in 2014. Members of Congress have indicated to me that they consider that unacceptable. People in the Executive branch have indicated that they think that it is not advisable. And it doesn't work for me either. So, we're going to be reviewing those plans. If that requires that we delay the responses to the RFP that is out on the street, then so be it. Better to take a little time up front and get what we really want."

On Roadmapping: "I don't think that the roadmap activities are on a pace that is consistent with the decision making that we have to do. I will probably be establishing focused, small teams, representing a breadth of experience throughout NASA - throughout the centers - and targeted other institutions as necessary in order to be helping with some of these larger scale architectural issues."

Decoded at last: the 'classical holy grail' that may rewrite the history of the world, The Independent

"The original papyrus documents, discovered in an ancient rubbish dump in central Egypt, are often meaningless to the naked eye - decayed, worm-eaten and blackened by the passage of time. But scientists using the new photographic technique, developed from satellite imaging, are bringing the original writing back into view. Academics have hailed it as a development which could lead to a 20 per cent increase in the number of great Greek and Roman works in existence. Some are even predicting a "second Renaissance".

Editor's note: Assistant Administrator for Public Affairs and Chief of Strategic Communications (acting) Glenn Mahone will be leaving NASA very shortly. Details to follow.

Two Senior Leaders Leave NASA to Pursue Other Opportunities, NASA HQ

"Assistant Administrator for Public Affairs and Acting Chief of Strategic Communications Glenn Mahone and Assistant Administrator for Legislative Affairs D. Lee Forsgren announced today they are leaving NASA to pursue other opportunities, effective immediately."

NASA Internal Memo: A Message from Administrator Michael Griffin

Michael Griffin Takes the Helm as NASA Administrator, NASA HQ

New NASA Administrator Addresses Employees Today

Editor's note: Mike Griffin said that he'd be visiting all of NASA's Centers very soon. What questions do you have for him regarding your center? For those of you who watched Griffin's presentation, what did you think of what he said? Send your comments to

Your comments thus far:

Congressional Record Excerpts of NASA Administrator Michael Griffin's Confirmation Process 13 April 2005

"Mr. SESSIONS. Mr. President, as in executive session, I ask unanimous consent that the Commerce Committee be discharged from further consideration of Michael Griffin to be the Administrator of NASA, and that the Senate proceed to executive session for its consideration. I finally ask unanimous consent that the nomination be confirmed, the motion to reconsider be laid upon the table, that any statements be printed in the RECORD, the President then be immediately notified of the Senate's action, and the Senate then resume legislative session.

The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered."

Klyde Morris has a few things to say about yesterday's confirmation hearing....

Editor's update: 8:00 PM EDT - Mike Griffin was confirmed by the U.S. Senate this evening. He may be sworn in as early as tomorrow (Thursday) morning - with an all hands to follow later in the day - or perhaps Friday.

Dr. Michael D. Griffin to Become NASA Administrator, NASA HQ

"The U.S. Senate tonight confirmed the nomination of Dr. Michael D. Griffin as NASA's 11th Administrator. He is expected to be sworn in later this week."

Sen. Hutchison Applauds Confirmation of New NASA Administrator Griffin

Commerce Committee Chairman Stevens' Statement on the Nomination and Confirmation of Dr. Michael Griffin to be NASA Administrator

"Dr. Griffin succeeds a close friend and former leader of my staff, Sean O'Keefe. Sean did an admirable job getting the agency's finances under control and, more importantly, holding NASA together after the Columbia tragedy. We were lucky NASA had such a leader during that trying time. At the Commerce Committee's hearing on Dr. Griffin's nomination I spoke of my recent travels with Sean, during which I was approached repeatedly by people who raved about Dr. Griffin. They all said he was the man for the job if he could be convinced to accept it. I am pleased the President appointed Dr. Griffin and I look forward to working closely with him and his team of talented professionals."

Editor's note: Earlier today, the online version of the New York Times posted an article on yesterday's NASA Administrator confirmation hearing in the U.S. Senate. They included this picture of the "new Adminstrator" - Sean O'Keefe! The picture carried the caption "Sean O'Keefe, the new administrator of NASA, has outlined his goals for the space agency." The Times has since corrected its error. Oh yes, as several readers have pointed out - the photo was not taken on Capitol Hill, but rather in 2002 during a STS-110 briefing.

Senate Seeks to Expedite Vote to Confirm Griffin as NASA Administrator, SpaceRef

"Dr. Michael Griffin appeared before the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation this morning as President Bush's nominee to be the next Administrator of NASA. The questioning was generally friendly and to the point. Griffin did well and, it would seem, the committee will act to get a vote on his nomination expedited such that he might well be on the job next Monday morning."

-Sen. Hutchison Calls for NASA Administrator Nominee to be Confirmed by Week's End
- Prepared Statement of Sen. Barbara Mikulski
- Prepared Statement of Sen. Paul Sarbanes
- Prepared Statement of NASA Administrator Nominee Michael Griffin

- Transcript of NASA Administrator Nominee Michael Griffin's Confirmation Hearing 12 April 2005

NASA's future lies on moon, Mars, USA Today

"The White House sees NASA's goals as set, says Keith Cowing, co-author of New Moon Rising: The Making of America's New Space Vision and the Remaking of NASA. "But Congress just sees this as the start of the conversation."

Yuri's Night is here

49 parties, 18 countries, 6 continents, one planet.

The event known as "Yuri's Night: The World Space Party" celebrates 45 years of human space exploration with parties all over the world.

Find a party near you!

"Contact: Mary Fenton 358-4817

NASA Internal News and Communications (NASA INC) has launched HQ Now, an online, monthly newsletter that replaces the previous Employee Times (ET) as a means of sharing information among all Headquarters personnel."

Forsgren Leaving NASA

Editor's earlier note: Assistant Administrator for Legislative Affairs Lee Forsgren will be announcing this afternoon that he is leaving NASA.

Internal NASA Memo from Departing AA for Legislative Affairs Lee Forsgren

"... However, my responsibility to my family requires that I return to the private sector. I am leaving NASA to rejoin my former partner former Congressman Jimmy Hayes at the firm of "Washington Matters."

Editor's note: Code L Deputy AA Angela Diaz is going to take over Code L for the time being.

NASA OIG: Review of Organizational Structure and Management of Information Technology and Information Technology Security Services at NASA

"We found that the NASA Office of the Chief Information Officer (CIO) has not fully determined the most efficient and effective Agency-wide organizational structure and authorities for managing and executing IT operations, including ITS. The CIO has recommended an organizational approach and responsibilities for the Center CIO positions but left achieving that intent to the discretion of each center. According to the NASA Deputy CIO for ITS, only recently was an effort made to standardize responsibilities and authorities for each of the Center IT organizations."

U.S. Agrees To Postpone Titan Missile Test Launch Over Hibernia Oil Field, Halifax Live

"The operators of the Hibernia and Terra Nova platforms, after learning that debris was expected to fall within 27 kilometers of the platforms began evacuation procedures which included removing all personnel and towing the oil rigs to a safe distance."

Fear of U.S. Rocket Test to Shut Offshore Rig, Reuters

"The test is scheduled for early Monday at Cape Canaveral, Florida. The regulator said it was in talks with U.S. officials to delay the launch or change the planned trajectory."

Missile test delayed after sparking scare at oil platforms, CBC

"Defence Minister Bill Graham said the United States has agreed to an indefinite delay in a missile test that sent officials in St. John's and Ottawa into a diplomatic scramble Thursday."

Space debris concerns ground a rocket, Globe and Mail

"Early yesterday, the U.S. National Aeronautical and Space Administration informed Transport Canada of the launch. The trajectory notification indicated that debris would fall off the coast of Florida and that the "booster would fall into the ocean south of Newfoundland," Mr. Graham said."

Editor's note: Isn't short notice just wonderful? I wonder if DoD thought about the economic consequences of shutting down a major portion of Canada's offshore oil generation capability - so say nothing of the added risk of short notice evacuation of hundreds of people.

Kansas Cosmosphere and Space Center Official Statement Regarding Charges Against Former Cosmosphere President Max Ary

"In the fall of 2003, the Cosmosphere's internal inventory uncovered irregularities - and further investigation showed items were removed from the collection and sold improperly."

Former Kansas Cosmosphere Director Indicted on Charges of Stealing Space Artifacts, U.S. Department of Justice

"Max Ary, the former director of the Kansas Cosmosphere and Space Center has been indicted on charges of stealing artifacts from the space flight museum in Hutchinson, Kan., and selling them." ... "We are prosecuting this case on behalf of NASA and others who have intrusted valuable historical artifacts to the Cosmosphere's keeping," Melgren said. "It is significant to all Americans that the history of this nation's heroic exploration of space be preserved and retold to each new generation, and it is important to the citizens of Kansas that the integrity of one of the state's most valuable educational resources be protected."

Other Voices: NASA Langley's real problem?, Daily Press

"Now let's discuss what America's top scientists think of this "mission." The American Physical Society (APS) appointed a large committee of eminent scientists to do an intensive study of the "mission" last year. Their main conclusion was: "The scope of the Moon-Mars mission has not been well-defined, its long-term cost has not been adequately addressed, and no budgetary mechanisms have been established to avoid causing major irreparable damage to the agency's scientific program." (Emphasis mine)."... "The complete foolishness of sending men to Mars is shown by the outstanding success of two recent automated interplanetary missions."

Editor's note: Citing this truly awful and totally biased APS report is certainly not the best thing to use to validate your position. Moreoevr, dumping on the VSE is rather foolish as well inasmuch as LaRC is out trying to compete for some of that NEW MONEY - money that can be used to keep people at LaRC employed.

Here come the naysayers, NASA Watch

"A quick look at the panel who wrote this [APS] report - and those who reviewed it - doesn't seem to include anyone with human space flight background."

"Keith: I would appreciate your publishing the following statement below: With the exception of the factoid regarding my proud association with Bigelow Aerospace, your 4-5-05 rumint concerning my pursuing the #2 position at NASA is completely without merit. Honestly, if you had called me before publishing it, I would have told you that I am simply NOT a candidate. Instead, I would have confirmed speculation that I have been shamelessly promoting myself to head the valet service for Donald Trump. I can use the tips! Seriously, I have come to the conclusion that, to use a variation on a Robin Williams' joke, idle gossip is God's way of saying that certain people have far too much time on their hands. Thank you in advance for allowing me the courtesy of clearing this up. - Courtney"

Editor's note: I stand by my earlier post - and what a number of people have told me - BUT Courtney certainly knows best what his intentions are!

Rep. Ken Calvert Calls for New Rules and Tools for the Second Space Age

"It may be time for something like a Zero Based Review for NASA that would look at the entire organization down to the individual employee level. The goal would be to create a new, requirements based organization capable of fulfilling the exploration vision and NASA's other core missions.. It would involve quantifying the skills needed to man the organization and then putting people in positions that required their particular skill set.."

Editor's note: Charles Elachi has returned to JPL, and is no longer managing NASA's Roadmapping activities. Mary Kicza, Associate Deputy Administrator for System Integration, is Acting Director of Advanced Planning at NASA HQ and manages all Roadmapping. No reason for Elachi's return to JPL has been given.

Editor's Update: According to NASA PAO, when Elachi agreed to take this position at HQ last year, he told Sean O'Keefe that he'd stay on until such time as the Roadmapping activity was fully underway. Now that it is, Elachi felt that he needed to devote all of his energies to being a center director. While serving at HQ Elachi continued to head JPL, making a once a week trip between Washington and Pasadena. Mary Kicza has been appointed acting director until the new Adminsttrator shows up for work and decides who they want to run that activity on a permanent basis.

Date/Time: Tuesday, April 5 and Wednesday, April 6, 1 p.m. NASA Heads up: "NASA TV will air two special broadcasts live from the 21st National Space Symposium in Colorado Springs, Colo.: "Return to Flight - All Systems Go," April 5 at 1 p.m. and "The Vision for Space Exploration - Getting There from Here," April 6 at 1 p.m. View these sessions on NASA HQ Channel 3 or online at"

NASA Transformation White Paper

OneNASA - NASA Transformation March 2005 - Internal Presentation

"NASA is managing transformation changes in an integrated and systematic way in order to ensure that its efforts will produce the results needed to prepare NASA to execute the Vision for Space Exploration. To ensure that all systems, processes, and behaviors that impact mission success are in alignment to drive and sustain real, enduring change, NASA is establishing new organizational constructs, policies, and procedures that reinforce desired ways of operating."

Some at NASA Say Its Culture Is Changing, but Others Say Problems Still Run Deep, NY Times

Mr. Wetherbee said that even after the Columbia disaster, NASA's management did not see safety clearly, and he noted that the previous administrator, Sean O'Keefe, had spoken about how much risk was "acceptable." "That's the wrong question to be asking," Mr. Wetherbee said. "The question we need to be asking is what risk is necessary, and how do we eliminate the unnecessary risk?"

Editor's note: Wetherbee is just being argumentative and playing with semantics for the sake of this interview. When you ask what risk is "necessary", and then eliminate "unnecessary" risk, you are left with some level of risk, which you obviously have to deem as being "acceptable" as you move forward and fly. That is what O'Keefe - and others - were talking about. If Wetherbee is suggesting that there is no risk in space flight that should be "acceptable", then Americans will never fly in space again - at least not on government vehicles. Is that what you are saying, Jim?

Water On (Top) Of Mars

Water on Mars, Astronomy Picture of the Day

"Can you help discover water on Mars? Finding water on different regions on Mars has implications for understanding its complex geologic history, the possible existence of past life and the sustenance of potential future astronauts."

MSFC Activity Notice
Letter from David King, MSFC Center Director

"As many of you are aware, due to funding limitations, the Landscaping and Grounds Maintenance contracts have been de-scoped. This was a difficult but necessary decision in order to ensure vital center services continue to function normally in this time of scarce fiscal resources. As a further cost cutting measure and in keeping with our vision of growth here at Marshall, I am asking all Marshall employees, both NASA and contractors, to join me in a new cost-saving initiative. Starting today, I am asking that for the next 9 months, we all join together and not cut our hair.

Powerboats on Mars

"Despite suggestions in various news tabloids, project scientists were quick to dispell any suggestion that the branched structure seen northeast of the dam-like structure is a marina."


Hydroelectric Dams on Mars

February 6, 1998

This picture of a canyon on the Martian surface was obtained a few minutes after 9 PM EST, January 12, 1998 by the Mars Orbiter Camera (MOC), during the 85th orbit around Mars of the Mars Global Observer spacecraft. It shows the canyon of Dolls Vallis, one of the Martian valley systems cutting through cratered plains in the Yogi Berra region of Mars. The picture covers an area 9.8 km by 18.5 km (6.1 mi by 11.5 mi), and features as small as 12 m (39 ft) can be seen. The canyon is about 2.5 km (1.6 mi) wide. Rocky outcrops are found along the upper canyon walls; weathered debris is found on the lower canyon slopes and along the canyon floor.

While the exact origin of this canyon is still unknown, some features hint at the possibility that there was abundant water present on the surface during recent Martian history (at least as recent as last month when this photo was taken). Some scientists have suggested that the smooth, highly reflective surface seen within the upper reaches of the canyon could be indicative of a large body of standing water. This is supported by the fact that a large number of erosional features on the walls and surrounding plains have been interpreted as being the product of water-based erosional processes. Mission scientists are cautious, however, in assuming that this is an image of a Martian lake, noting that all of these images are preliminary data and could be due to a myriad of other natural phenomena. Indeed, according to the Project's Chief Scientist, similar large flat areas on the Moon were named after seas and oceans by early astronomers only to be found by later researchers to be dry dusty plains.

Another possible hint at water on Mars is the large semicircular structure which is situated within the canyon itself, one which resembles a dam. A number of scientists have suggested that this structure was formed as debris washed down the canyon during a series of catastrophic floods during periods when Mars climate was far more temperate. Although the structure does exhibit a rather geometric, constructed shape, scientists are reluctant to suggest that this structure is in any way artificial. Large structures such as dams would require a large work force and a substantial budget to complete. So far there is no evidence of any governmental organization or construction industry on Mars. Citing noted astronomer Percival Lowell's drawings of Mars, project scientists have noted that this is not the first time that human observers have looked at the surface of Mars and thought that they saw evidence of water management systems.

Despite suggestions in various news tabloids, project scientists were quick to dispell any suggestion that the branched structure seen northeast of the dam-like structure is a marina. In making this statement, project scientists point out that there is very little air on Mars and that sailboats would be impractical nor is there enough Oxygen to support the internal or external combustion engines used in powerboats.

NASA scientists will continue to analyze this image but urge caution in the interpretation of these preliminary pictures. Only when NASA's sample return missions have landed and returned their cargo to Earth for analysis will NASA be able to make a formal announcement regarding the nature of these features.

NASA Engineers Support Saving Jobs via Branding

"While investigating ways of taking proactive steps to generate funding to forestall planned reductions in research jobs, some entrepreneurs at the NASA Glenn Research Center in Cleveland have taken to heart the new initiative on NASA branding which recently came down from headquarters: 'In order to sustain the positive brand equity, knowledge about NASA must be built in semantic memory.' "

Catamarans on Mars

NASA: Space Catamaran for Mars by 2020: Enter International Lottery and win trip to Mars

"NASA has just announced it's teaming up with French boat manufacturer, Lagoon, to build the world's first 'space' catamaran which will be deployed for recreational and exploratory use on Mars by the year 2020."

Editor's note: Space Daily posted an April Fool's day Hoax (Bush Cancels Space Shuttle Program) and EADS Space fell for it, Click on image to enlarge



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