News: September 2005 Archives

Report: NASA Wasted Millions on Own Planes, AP, Washington Post

"O'Keefe is not mentioned by name in the report; former and current senior NASA officials told the AP earlier this year he was being investigated personally for potential misuse of government planes and taking too many expensive getaways with his staff."

Editor's note: based upon information provided by individuals personally knowledgeable (in the extreme) about the GAO's investigation, this statement is simply not true. O'Keefe is not - nor has he been - "investigated" by GAO. Either AP's Marcia Dunn didn't research this story adequately - or the "former and current NASA officials" she cites have been lying to her - or do not know the facts.

NASA Administrator Statement Regarding GAO Report on NASA Airplane Use

"We at NASA have accepted the Government Accountability Office's findings and have embraced new guidelines and procedures for the use of our airplanes that have been set by the Office of Management and Budget. Going forward, all airplane use will be within those guidelines."

GAO Report: NASA TRAVEL: Passenger Aircraft Services Annually Cost Taxpayers Millions More Than Commercial Airlines (PDF)

"Use of NASA passenger aircraft services can save time, provide more flexibility to meet senior executives' schedules, and provide other less tangible and quantifiable benefits. However, GAO's analysis of available reported data related to NASA passenger aircraft services during fiscal years 2003 and 2004 showed NASA reported costs were nearly $25 million compared with estimated commercial airline coach transportation costs of about $5 of this program."

NASA administrator says space shuttle was a mistake, USA Today

"Asked Tuesday whether the shuttle had been a mistake, Griffin said, "My opinion is that it was. ... It was a design which was extremely aggressive and just barely possible." Asked whether the space station had been a mistake, he said, "Had the decision been mine, we would not have built the space station we're building in the orbit we're building it in."

Editor's note: After a day of phone calls and email, I have to say that everyone seems to be shaking their head at this statement. Mike Griffin speaks for the President. The reactions take one (or more) of three directions: Griffin is unable to articulate his ideas clearly; there is a serious disconnect between stated White House policy and its implementation; or the White House no longer (and perhaps never did) care about space.

Rita Update

NASA Update to Hurricane Rita Aftermath

- There were no injuries.
- Employees are on admin leave until Tuesday since they may experience problems getting back into the Houston area.

Heads Up Houston

Its Going to Get Rough at JSC

Editor's note: Word has it that ride out team at JSC is now being evacuated.

What Could Happen to JSC

NASA JSC Visual Impact of a Category 4 Storm on the Galveston Study Area

- The Design Storm: Hurricane Carla September 5-11, 1961
- A large, slow-moving storm that made landfall near Port Lavaca
- Sustained winds of 150 mph (Category 4)
- Peak wind gusts of 175 mph
- Storm surge of 22 feet (Matagorda Bay) 18.5 feet (Port Lavaca), 14.5 feet (Port OConnor), 14.8 feet (Houston Ship Channel)
- Rainfall of 16.49 inches (Galveston), 6.25 inches (Victoria), 5.15 inches (Corpus Christi)


NASA - How We'll Get Back to the Moon

NASA today announced the results of its Exploration Systems Architecture Study. By the end of the next decade astronauts will be back on the moon. The new crew vehicle will be shaped like an Apollo capsule, but it will be three times larger.

Devon Island Update

Editor's update: If you check today's external webcam image you'll see that the greenhouse and HMP base camp was visited by what seems to be a mother polar bear and at least one cub.

Growing lettuce for Mars, Arctic style, CSA

"The Arthur Clarke Mars Greenhouse was donated by SpaceRef Interactive to the Haughton-Mars Project in 2002. The experiment aims to develop a robust, autonomous greenhouse for growing plants as potential food crops as though it were part of a base on Mars."

Editor's note: Our greenhouse, outfitted with CSA wizardry, continues to function autonomously and send back data and multiple webcam images via satellite on a daily basis. The best time to check for image updates is early evening EDT. [External looking north] [Internal looking south] [Internal looking north]


Magnificent Desolation: Walking on the Moon 3D to Open in Record Number of IMAX(R) Theatres on September 23rd

"Magnificent Desolation: Walking on the Moon 3D takes audiences to the lunar surface to walk alongside the 12 extraordinary astronauts who have been there to experience what they saw, heard, felt, thought and did."

Editor's note: I had the chance to catch an advanced media screening of this film today. Longer review to follow. In a word, it is stunning.

SpaceX launches Falcon 9, With A Customer, Defense Industry Daily

"If anyone can do it, says Mike Griffin, a former NASA exec and president of the venture-capital firm In-Q-Tel, "Elon can. He has an incredible track record."

Editor's note: I seem to recall hearing that Griffin has a new job ...

White House Personnel Announcement

"The President intends to nominate Shana L. Dale, of Georgia, to be Deputy Administrator of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration."

Editor's earlier note: According to NASA and Congressional sources, Shana Dale will be nominated by President Bush to be the Deputy Administrator of NASA. This announcement is expected very soon. Shana Dale is Chief of Staff of OSTP and is also chair of the Homeland Security Council. Prior to working at OSTP she was staff director of the House Science Committee.

Security Inconsistencies

Mission Control, Government Executive

"Guests were instructed to bring identification to board their buses on launch day; I never saw any being checked. Reporters were warned that their vehicles would be inspected at the space center gate; the trunk of my rental car rarely got more than a cursory peek. Once I was asked, "You got any luggage or anything back there that I need to check?" and was waved on."

A Confederacy of Dunces

Right city, wrong state - FEMA accused of flying evacuees to wrong Charleston, CNN

"A South Carolina health official said his colleagues scrambled Tuesday when FEMA gave only a half-hour notice to prepare for the arrival of a plane carrying as many as 180 evacuees to Charleston. But the plane, instead, landed in Charleston, West Virginia, 400 miles away."

Editor's note: Is it just me or ... ?

NASA Hotlines Provide Information About Hurricane Damaged Facilities

NASA JSC Special Notice: Hurrican Katrina Assistance Notice

Memo to LockheedMartin Employees Regarding Hurricane Katrina from Bob Stevens, Chairman, President & CEO

Internal NASA Senior Management Email: Hurricane Update 30 August 2005

"MAF (Michoud Assembly Facility), the very place where we needed the most intensive work activity for Return To Flight Part 2, was almost directly in Katrina's path and was hit pretty hard. Lots of damage to facility. Rough estimate is that 60% of workers there lost their homes. Also estimate 4-6 weeks to restore power and water to facility. Since the ET is so key right now, KSC has been asked to ascertain what, if any, ET PAL ramp rework could possibly be done here."

NASA Emergency Operations Center (EOC) Hurricane Katrina Internal Update Teleconference Notes 11am EDT 3 Sep 2005

- Administrator Griffin and a few key others from HQ (and others) may come to Stennis and Michoud Wednesday via helicopter

- Stennis is closing down as a refugee center as of Tuesday and they'll need buses from JSC to help move people to Shreveport

- Stennis has heard from 35% of Stennis employees and 25% of them are homeless, but they think that percentage will go up

- KSC is going to release some of its hydrogen for the steel industry since the largest supply of stored hydrogen is located in the gulf coast and is not available now

Editor's note: Informed sources report FEMA has commandeered all NASA aircraft, disrupting agency efforts to reach employees at SSC.



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

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