News: May 2005 Archives

Editor's note: Rep. John Culberson (R-TX) is scheduled to visit JSC on Thursday, 2 June.

Editor's note: According to NASA sources, Mike Griffin will speak, and then receive an award from La Confrrie des Chevaliers du Tastevin, Burgundy, France on 11 June 2005. According to an internal NASA memo "the Confrrie des Chevaliers du Tastevin celebrates the food and wine of Burgundy, France, in a spirit of hospitality, generosity, and human warmth. They appreciate merit as well as talent and like to honor courage, personal endeavor, scientific intelligence, and fulfillment of human values."

Gee, the last NASA Administrator to get a French cultural honor like this was Dan Goldin.

Chinese Visit GSFC

Editor's note: Representatives of the Embassy of China will tour GSFC and receive a briefing on Friday, 3 June.

Griffin Does Stennis

Editor's note: Mike Griffin will visit Stennis on Thursday.

Griffin Does MSFC

NASA Administrator Michael Griffin to Visit Marshall Space Flight Center June 3

"NASA Administrator Michael Griffin will visit NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala., June 3. News media are invited to meet the Administrator and participate in a media opportunity."

NASA Administrator Mike Griffin and Congressman Tom DeLay Available Tuesday at JSC

"NASA Administrator Michael Griffin and House Majority Leader Tom DeLay will be available to media at 4:15 p.m. CDT May 31 as Griffin makes his first official visit to the Houston space center since being named Administrator."

Mahone Headed for LSU?

NASA employee on list for high-paying LSU gig, The Advocate

"The man who handled public relations at NASA for the newly appointed LSU Chancellor Sean O'Keefe has applied for a similar post at the university of his former boss. A search committee has selected Glenn Mahone and three other candidates out of 115 applicants for vice chancellor of communications and university relations, a recently revived position at LSU."

Giving the OK, Florida Today

"In case you missed it, NASA's former chief Sean O'Keefe killed the mission in 2004, citing post-Columbia safety concerns. More likely, that was just a cover story to start redirecting money for the agency's moon-Mars plans."

Editor's note: Dear Florida Today: Do you actually have proof that O'Keefe's Hubble decision "was just a cover story to start redirecting money for the agency's moon-Mars plans"? If so, please print it. Source documents would be nice. Otherwise, do your readers a favor - be honest and tell them that you just made this up - sans any actual proof.

Paper spacecraft, The Economist

"Frank Sietzen, a journalist and co-author of New Moon Rising, a chronicle of the development of the new NASA vision, has spent the better part of the past six months leafing through these contracts in order to divine the agency's plans. He says that because the CEV must be compatible with other components of the vision, the contracts give details of how NASA is planning to explore the moon and Mars."

Objective, moon, The Economist

"Perhaps, though, whether the vision can be realised or not is beside the point. The actual point is to give a drifting agency some focus, Mr Bush's initial goal. This re-focusing will have profound consequences for the agency's scientific missionwhich some people feel is what it should be concentrating on, and isn't. Admiral Steidle told the meeting that the vision was "first and foremost" about advancing science. That, though, looks like disingenuous spin."

Looking Ahead

Space Watch: Signs of a renaissance, UPI

"There may be many problems apparent at NASA and among the U.S. aerospace giants these days, but there also are signs that space exploration is about to undergo a renaissance, with an explosion of creativity unseen in decades."

Griffin@Le Bourget

Roskosmos and NASA to Hold Talks in Le Bourget on June 14, RIA Novosti

"The acquaintance and talks between Roskosmos head Anatoly Perminov and new NASA administrator Michael Griffin on the resumption of shuttle flights and prospects for the International Space Station (ISS) will take place in Le Bourget on June 14."


New NASA head sees bright future, Daily News

" Griffin said the job cuts at Dryden and other centers will be done humanely and with intelligence. Griffin said that in his own career, he has been forced out of a job on two occasions. "I know from personal experience what it is like to have your career plans interrupted with the realities of life," Griffin said. "I want to minimize that as much as possible for the folks at NASA."

NASA's Exploration Mission: And the Children Shall Reach Out - and Lead, SpaceRef

"Every now and again even the most cynical of us stumble across something so simple - and yet profound - as to take one's breath away - and remind us of why we are so captivated with space exploration's broader ramifications. I was sitting in a session at the International Space Development Conference when Adm. Craig Steidle, Associate Administrator of NASA's Exploration Systems Mission Directorate played his organzation's "Reach"public service announcement (PSA)."

NASA TV Goes Digital

- NASA TV Migrating To Digital Format: Additional Receiver Required
- NASA Space Station On-Orbit Status 25 May 2005

"At 9:20am, John and Sergei configured the TV hardware for an interactive 20-minute TV interview event, starting at 9:40am, with ABC News (Lisa Stark). [This was the first in-flight event utilizing the new NASA Television Digital Satellite System. Due to the signal encoding and decoding required, the new digital satellite system has a 5-second audio delay between ISS and ground reception, and vice versa.]"


NASA's new chief visits JPL, San Gabriel Valley Tribune

"In the last year or so, we, NASA, had frankly taken some money from earth science and from solar physics and space science and other areas and used it to beef up the Mars program," Griffin said. Now NASA is going to re-shift that portfolio, Griffin said. "We will not be building up the Mars budget at quite the rate that had previously been planned."

Editor's note: There is an interesting graphic which accompanies this article - one which one JPLer called "Griffin's "Holy Aura" @ JPL".

So Close

Shuttle accident ends dream, Orlando Sentinel

"NASA was close to naming CNN correspondent Miles O'Brien as the first American journalist in space when the Columbia accident occurred in 2003."

Editor's note: Burt Rutan has seats for sale ...

Senator calls for NASA probe, Daily Press

"[Sen. Bill] Nelson told Griffin he didn't know whether the allegations at Langley were true: "But they are disturbing, and I ask that you look into them and take any appropriate action, including considering any necessary changes in the operations of the NASA Office of the Inspector General." A spokesman for Griffin, Doc Mirelson, said Nelson's letter was referred to the inspector general's office for processing. "Griffin does not have investigative oversight over the inspector general," Mirelson said."

NASA HQ IFM Newsletter 24 May 2005

"We are working very closely with our functional owners Rex Geveden, Tom Luedtke, Jeff Sutton, and Gwen Sykes in a series of project reviews with Liam Sarsfield, a consultant reporting directly to the Administrator charged with (amongst other things) taking a hard look at the IFM Program."

Survey on NASA's Full Cost Implementation: "The Office of the Chief Financial Officer (OCFO) has developed a survey to ascertain how well Full Cost practices have been implemented throughout the agency and how to improve them. OCFO is seeking viewpoints on this issue agency-wide."

Griffin Does ARC

The Future Of Space Exploration - NASA's Adminstrator Talks Safety, KGO-TV

NASA's new director backs science missions - Shuttle comes first -- some unmanned efforts to be deferred, SF Chronicle

"But [Griffin] conceded that despite NASA's proposed $16.5 billion budget for fiscal 2006, the agency "has a very full plate" of planned missions, and "some of the things will have to be deferred -- not eliminated, but deferred."

Reader comment: "Hey Keith, Did you hear about Mike's comments during his talk at Ames yesterday? A person in the crowd said I'm going to shock you, I have something positive to say. After the comment, Mike responded what a pleasure it was to have someone pointing out good things, that NASA Watch was pointing out the 4 things he was doing wrong everyday."

Editor's note: Oh well. I guess Mike Griffin did not see this posting on NASA Watch ...

A Call to (Considered) Action, Russell L. Schweickart, Chairman, B612 Foundation

"The purpose of this paper is to call upon the Congress of the United States to initiate, via the National Research Council or other appropriate body, a formal analysis of the circumstances presented by the close encounter between the Earth and asteroid 2004MN4 in April 2029, and the potential for a subsequent collision with Earth in 2036."

Griffin Does JPL

Editor's note: Word has it that Mike Griffin will visit JPL on Wednesday, 25 May.

Internal JPL Notice: "Join NASA Administrator Mike Griffin on Wednesday, May 25, as he visits JPL for the first time since being confirmed for the job. Griffin will speak at an all-hands meeting in von Karman Auditorium beginning at 1:20 p.m. During his visit Griffin will attend overviews of a number of JPL projects and programs, including technology, Prometheus, Earth Science, interferometry, Cassini, Mars, outer planets and the Deep Space Network."

Reader comment: "Mike Griffin was at GRC on Monday for a town hall meeting. I think NASA finally has a leader. Mike was very open, up front, and did not try and sugar-coat anything. If NASA has any chance of returning to the moon, his plan for executing this is appropriate. Also he explained the aeronautic cuts quite well. Unfortunately, much of GRC's work is in areas that are being cut due to current National Policy, subsidizing air transportation."

NASA's Board

Government must redirect its efforts in space, Rutan says, AP

"In an appearance at the National Press Club, Rutan praised new NASA Administrator Michael Griffin as the right person to transform the agency, while questioning whether Griffin will be allowed to do so. NASA has 435 people on its board of directors, all with their own agendas, Rutan said of Congress."

Editor's note: Uh, that's 535 Burt. The Senate has an opinion too ...

Air Force Seeks Bush's Approval for Space Arms, NY Times

"The Air Force, saying it must secure space to protect the nation from attack, is seeking President Bush's approval of a national-security directive that could move the United States closer to fielding offensive and defensive space weapons, according to White House and Air Force officials. The proposed change would be a substantial shift in American policy. It would almost certainly be opposed by many American allies and potential enemies, who have said it may create an arms race in space."

NASA cuts could be trimmed, Crain's Cleveland

"The job cuts at NASA Glenn Research Center might not be as severe as projected because the agency will limit the amount of work awarded to the private sector and will reduce competition for work among the agency's research centers, new NASA administrator Michael Griffin said today."

Editor's note: Wow. That is certainly a reversal of White House policy on competititve sourcing from what it has been for the past 5 years.

To Infinity and Beyond, Washington Post

"The Vision emerged from the wreckage of Columbia. After seven astronauts died aboard the burning, disintegrating shuttle in February 2003, the accident investigation board said NASA not only had institutional flaws, but lacked any real vision. Meanwhile, a handful of White House staffers tried to figure out what the space program should do with itself. After nearly a year of effort (the definitive account of which can be found in New Moon Rising, by Frank Sietzen Jr. and Keith Cowing), they produced the Vision."

Griffin Does CS&T

"Wednesday, May 18, 10:30 a.m., Rm. 252, Russell Senate Office Building The Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee's Science and Space Subcommittee will hold a hearing on NASA's plans for transition of the Space Shuttle program and preserving the industrial base. NASA Administrator Mike Griffin will testify. The hearing will be broadcast live on NASA HQ Channel 3 and on"

Reader comment: "Recently you ran a story about Marshall's budget being so bad that we could not afford to cut the grass. Actually we have enough money. We have so much money that we are in the design phase of a $500,000 conference room remodeling job. That's right one half million dollar remodeling job of a conference room!"

Ignoring Aldridge

NASA boss has hope for Langley, Daily Press

"Griffin said he's received no directive from Bush to carry out the recommendation of last year's Aldridge Commission, which suggested turning NASA research centers into privately run institutions like the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in California."I'm not wasting five seconds on that thought," Griffin said. "I think we're getting at the point of being a little silly about this."

Editor's note: Who cares what that Presidential commission recommended, eh Mike?

162 Charges Dropped Against Ex-NASA Worker, AP

"No one in the chain of command testified how a NASA QAS (quality-assurance specialist) is supposed to do his job," Presnell said on the trial's fourth day. Closing arguments were set for Friday."

Weekly Tagup Minutes

NASA Senior Management ViTS Minutes 1 May 2005

"GRC reported on a return to flight activity. Several segments of a grease bead, which is used as a moister barrier on the Shuttle Rocket Booster, had fallen off on the Launch Pad. The Shuttle Debris Transport Team is assessing the risk of impact grease on both surface penetration and corrosion."

Editor's update: NASA HQ is trying to restrict the distribution of these meeting minutes. Apparently they have something to hide.

Griffin says Huntsville key to moon, Mars goals, Huntsville Times

"The evaluation was made on a strictly numbers basis," Griffin said, "and the numbers were not close. All I can say is, 'May the best man win and better luck next time.' "

NASA plans no layoffs with move, Huntsville Times

"NASA financial employees at Marshall Space Flight Center may not have to leave Huntsville, even though the space agency's new accounting center will be in Mississippi."

Hackers (again)

Internet Attack Called Broad and Long Lasting by Investigators, NY Times

"Monte Marlin, a spokeswoman for the White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico, whose computers Stakkato also claimed to have breached, confirmed Monday that there had been "unauthorized access" but said, "The only information obtained was weather forecast information." The messages also claimed an intrusion into seven computers serving NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif. A computer security expert investigating the case confirmed that computers at several NASA sites, including the propulsion laboratory, had been breached. A spokesman said the laboratory did not comment on computer breaches."

NSSC Update

NASA yet to decide on center, Huntsville Times

"Two of the four proposals NASA is considering, one from IBM and another from the federal government, would place the center in Huntsville. Another bidder proposed Stennis and another a site near Glenn, said Mike Ward, governmental affairs liaison with the Huntsville/Madison County Chamber of Commerce."

Internal Letter from NASA Administrator Griffin: Exploration Systems Architecture Study Support

"This team will be led by Dr. Douglas Stanley and will operate fom NASA Headquarters. Dr. Stanley, or other members of my staff, will select and contact a small number of core team members to be co-located at Headquarters in the next few days. The team will need to draw on resources located at Headquarters and the Centers to efectively accomplish its mission."

NASA Legislative Affairs Memo Regarding the Exploration Systems Architecture Study (ESAS), NASA HQ

Editor's note: This information was sent to the Hill today by NASA Legislative Affairs:

"NASA has initiated the Exploration Systems Architecture Study (ESAS) in an effort to minimize the gap between the final Space Shuttle mission and the maiden flight of an operational Crew Exploration Vehicle (CEV). Attached is the NASA Memorandum signed on April 29, 2005 by Administrator Griffin which initiated the ESAS."

Sen. Hutchison Statement on NASA Gap Study

"I am pleased to see Administrator Griffin is taking aggressive action to address the concerns many of us have about a future gap in U.S. human launch capability," Sen. Hutchison said. "I will work to eliminate any gap between Space Shuttle retirement and a replacement vehicle. I look forward to seeing the initial results of this study in July."

NASA Internal Advisory: NASA-Issued Return to Flight Wristbands Contaminated with Silicone

"Recently we have been made aware of a silicone problem associated with the "Return to Flight" wristbands. These wristbands are contaminated with silicone." ... "Please do not wear these in our facilities and keep your eyes open for others that do not get this message."

Editor's note: Word has it that one of the things being pursued by NASA MSFC's DART Mishap Investigation Board in its investigation of what went wrong with DART is a software change that NASA MSFC managers forced on the mission's contractors just 2 weeks before launch. The change supposedly had to do with the software that recalculates cold gas depletion based on usage during the mission. It would seem that when DART's computer thought there was not enough gas left it actually still 30%. Stay Tuned.

Radar readied to search for Martian water, MSNBC

"Worries over undesired thrashing or fouling of the booms had put off ESA's original plans to unfold them in April 2004, shortly after the probe reached its final orbit around Mars. Officials at ESA were so concerned about this month's planned deployment that they indicated no information would be released about its status until all three booms were out and verified as functional. In the wake of the BBC report, public affairs officials at ESA did not respond to e-mail requests for updates."

Editor's note: It seems that the ESA PAO crowd is still not ready for prime time - and that they did not learn any lessons from the public reaction to their reluctance to release images from Huygens' landing on Titan until, of course, it was 'safe' to do so.

NASA Award Notice: SFA Promotional Items

"Classification Code: 73 -- Food preparation and serving equipment
Naics Code: 326199 -- All Other Plastics Product Manufacturing
Contract Award Amount: 3831818"

Editor's note: $3,831,818 for SFA (Space Flight Awareness) "Food preparation and serving equipment" !?

Editor's update: According to a reply from the procurement official listed on this notice: "The Post Award Synopsis is being revised today to correct the amount of the award, $38,318.18. The award was for miscellaneous Space Flight Awareness promotional items, Classification code 9999. I apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused.". In addition to this correction for the SFA item, there were four notices with incorrect dollar amounts posted which had to be corrected by JSC Procurement today [1, 2, 3, 4]. You'd think that a little more care would lavished on such things in the first place - not after the fact.


"I think we may have rounded a corner in a more positive way but the jury's still out." Those words from Representative Bud Cramer Monday morning. The jury still out on Marshall Space Flight Center's future more than a year after NASA announced its future plans. For Representative Cramer and local contractors the uncertainty has been cause for concern."

City to learn soon if it will land 700 new NASA jobs, Huntsville Times

"NASA should decide this week whether to bring a financial management center - along with up to 700 jobs - to Huntsville or the Stennis Space Center in Mississippi, U.S. Rep. Bud Cramer said Monday."

Editor's note: Hmm ... are other proposals out of contention? Did someone at NASA leak advance information on the NSSC selection process to Cramer such that he could speak publicly about a possible down select?

Breakfast with Mike

Breakfast with NASA Administrator Mike Griffin, SpaceRef

"NASA Administrator Mike Griffin made his first public appearance outside of NASA on Monday. The forum he chose was a breakfast hosted on Capitol Hill by Women in Aerospace (WIA). While founded 20 years ago with the impetus of helping women network within the aerospace community, WIA has a long tradition of being a facilitator of networking for both genders within the Washington D.C. aerospace community."

Lampson expects 'ugly' race, Daily News

"Former Congressman Nick Lampson, whose district for eight years included almost all of Galveston County and portions of the NASA community of South Houston, will officially enter the race against House Majority Leader Tom DeLay today."

Volunteer worries about NASA's future, Daily Press

"Anna McNider runs a lobbying business and works for a telemarketing company, but her volunteer job with the NASA Aeronautics Support Team (NAST) has landed her in the news a lot of late."

Survey: NASA can't afford to fall behind in aeronautics, Virginia Pilot

"I think it's a study that's been needed for a long time," said Roy Harris, former director of aeronautics at Langley and a consultant on the study.The study will be circulated on Capitol Hill during the next several weeks, as members of Congress work on their budget proposals."

U.S. Rocket Over Canada Sets Off Politician, OhMyNews, (South Korea)

"[ Newfoundland Premier Danny Williams] finally got his certainty when NASA officials told him they could make the rocket self-destruct by pressing a button on the first sign of trouble. How the thought of a whole Titan rocket, rather than just a piece of its second stage booster, showering in fiery bits over the Grand Banks made Premier Williams feel safer than he had before is a mystery known only to him. What counts is that the promise of a panic button calmed him right down."



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

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