News: November 2005 Archives

The New NASA Advisory Council Meets - At Last. But Something Is Missing

The newly reconfigured NASA Advisory Council met today at the Rayburn House Office Building in Washington, DC. This was the first time that the NAC had met in a year - and was also the first time it met with Mike Griffin as NASA Administrator. But there is one glaring - and unforgivable omission in the panel's composition. Of the 24 members of the NASA Advisory Council, only one is female.

Marc Garneau - MP?

Liberals expected to field Garneau, Globe and Mail

"Former astronaut Marc Garneau is expected to run for the Liberal Party in the coming election, party sources said."

NAC Loses Another Member

McDaniel set to leave NASA post, Huntsville Times

"Huntsville lawyer Mark McDaniel is leaving his post with the NASA Advisory Council to become a science policy adviser with the ranking Democrat on the U.S. House Science Committee."

Editor's note: According to NASA PAO, NASA will not be announcing the new NAC membership until just before the NAC's 29/30 November meeting since new members are still undergoing background screening and associated paperwork.

Who is Actually on the NASA Advisory Council?, 13 Nov 2005

NASA's E-GOV Score Drops

President's Management Agenda Scorecard, White House

Poor Showing by EPA, NASA In Latest E-Gov Scorecard, Information Week

E-gov grades drop for six agencies,

"Agencies that dropped include the Environmental Protection Agency, the State Department and NASA, which all dropped from green to yellow."

Boeing Employee Info Stolen

Boeing says laptop with employee info stolen, Reuters

"A laptop computer containing names, social security numbers and other sensitive information of 161,000 current and former employees of Boeing Co. was stolen recently, the U.S. aerospace manufacturer said on Friday."

Editor's note: The obvious question that comes to mind is why on Earth such sensitive information was sitting on a stand-alone - and portable - computer system.

Oh, Those Silly Brits

Space Cadets hoax out of this world, Evening Standard

"Unbeknown to them, their shuttle will be a Hollywood creation, made originally for the film Space Cowboys. A giant custom-built screen positioned just outside the shuttle will, it is hoped, provide the illusion of a view of Earth from space including a hurricane over Mexico and a glimpse of the UK on one day when cloud cover parts."

Editor's note: Gee, I wonder how they'll explain the fact that there is still gravity in their shuttle? Oh wait - they'll just put wires and special harnesses on the contestants, bring in a crew to work the pulleys, and make the contestants think they are floating in weightlessness - just like they did in all those space puppet shows like "Thunderbirds". That way they won't have a clue that a trick is being played on them. Of course, as soon as they start playing with their food ...

Editor's update: Wait - there's more: another UK paper has elaborated on the physics so as to explain the presence of gravity. What is "near space" and how do you "orbit" in it? I guess Dr. Who is the TV series' technical consultant.

'Reality' show stars will be taken for one galactic ride, TimesOnline

"They will not experience weightlessness because they are only orbiting "near space".

Alas, the venerable (but gullible) BBC has fallen for this tabloid pseudoscience as well - and apparently has no one with any scientific background on its staff to proof read its online article, Spoof show to trick 'astronauts'

"But producers will not have to recreate weightlessness because the contestants are to be told their orbit will take them to Near Space, not Deep Space, where they could experience the sensation."

NPOESS Team Faces The Music

NPOESS is as much as $3 Billion over budget, as many as 3 years away, witnesses say.

- Rep. Sherwood Boehlert
- David Powner, GAO
- Under Secretary of the Air Force Ronald M. Sega
- Vice Admiral Conrad Lautenbacher, NOAA Administrator
- Alexis C. Livanos, Northrop Grumman Corporation
- Opening Statement by Rep. Bart Gordon

Science Dems: NPOESS Program Deep in the Red; Congress, American People Owed Answers

"The difference between more money next year and no new money until FY2008 is, according to the Independent Team, a billion dollars. The taxpayer is ill served by limiting options to those that are convenient for this Administration," added Rep. Gordon at today's hearing."

GOES Glitch

NOAA SATOPS Morning Report: Tuesday, November 15, 2005

"GOES: J317 - At approximately 1918Z, telemetry reception and command ability were lost at all sites for all GOES satellites. COMM controller reboots were performed to recover operations. Event logs indicate that the COMM controllers lost communication with all other ground system components. The outage lasted approximately 1.5 hours. The software staff is continuing the investigation. GOES-12 lost 6 images and 3 soundings; GOES-10 lost 7 images and 3 soundings; GOES-9 lost 2 images and 1 sounding. All other GOES operations were nominal over the past 96 hours."

Craig Covault Honored

Aviation Week Group's Craig Covault Receives Lifetime Achievement Award From The National Space Club Florida Committee

"Aviation Week & Space Technology senior editor Craig Covault has received the 2005 Harry Kolcum Memorial News and Communications Award for lifetime achievement from the National Space Club Florida Committee. The award recognizes journalists and public relations professionals for excellence in their ability to "communicate the space story" to the nation and the world. In addition, the NASA space shuttle return-to-flight Kennedy news center team was also honored with the group's public affairs award."

DART Mission: Partial Success/Partial Failure

NASA Announces DART Mishap Investigation Board Members

"NASA selected the mishap investigation board to determine why the Demonstration of Autonomous Rendezvous Technology (DART) spacecraft did not complete its mission on April 15."

Editor's note: It has been more than 6 months. Why hasn't there been any word as to when the DART Mishap Investigation Board will issue its findings? Word has it that the results of the investigation have actually been known for some time.

NASA Advisory Council Meeting, 29-30 November

Editor's note: The last meeting, scheduled for April was cancelled. As such, the last NAC meeting in nearly a year ago - 7 December 2004. This newly scheduled meeting is two weeks away, yet NASA has not even announced who is actually on the NAC. If you look at this NAC membership page, dated November 2005, you see a list of NAC members - except it is wrong. At least two members, Homer Hickam and Ken Baldwin, have been disinvited from serving, and Fred Gregory resigned from NASA several months ago. (It should be noted that Hickam never actually "served" on the NAC. He was invited to serve on the NAC by Sean O'Keefe but O'Keefe resigned shortly afterwards and Hickam never attended any meetings.)

Griffin Removes NASA Advisory Council Members, NASA Watch

NASA Internal Memo: Enterprise Council (EC) ViTS 19 April 2005

"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."

Government Enters Fray Over BlackBerry Patents, Washington Post

"The Justice Department has filed a legal brief in a patent dispute, asking a federal court to delay any immediate shutdown of the popular wireless e-mail system to ensure that state and federal workers can continue to use their devices."

Editor's note: NASA certainly counts itself as having a large number of crackberry addicts. While these little things are very useful - its not as if they are the only handheld devices on the market which can be used to send/receive email. Its great to see normally innovation averse government employees using state of the art consumer products - but it is troubling when they become collectively addicted to one particular product - one which may disappear.

Gravity Tractor

Gravitational tractor for towing asteroids, Edward T. Lu andStanley G. Love, Nature (subscription required)

"A spacecraft could deflect an Earth-bound asteroid without having to dock to its surface first. We present a design concept for a spacecraft that can controllably alter the trajectory of an Earth-threatening asteroid by using gravity as a towline. The spacecraft hovers near the asteroid, with its thrusters angled outwards so that the exhaust does not impinge on the surface. This proposed deflection method is insensitive to the structure, surface properties and rotation state of the asteroid."

On The Lighter Side ....

Court Rejects Russian Astrologer's Lawsuit Against NASA, Mosnews

"[Russian astrologer Marina] Bai stressed that NASA had altered her horoscope by crashing the spacecraft into the comet. "It is obvious that elements of the comet's orbit, and correspondingly the ephemeris, will change after the explosion, which interferes with my astrology work and distorts my horoscope," she said earlier."

Customers 'bought into' moon property idea, Independent Online

"The Beijing Lunar Village Aeronautics Science and Technology Company managed to sell large swathes of "pristine" lunar property before being shut down, the Xinhua news agency said."

Editor's Note: Damn. Just as I was about to finish buying up all the lots at the lunar south pole so I could charge Mike Griffin rent...

Returning to 'a new normal', Federal Times

"At the space center, NASA is working on a similar deal with FEMA and city officials from Bay St. Louis, Miss., to build a trailer park to house displaced space center employees. The two agencies are hammering out an interagency agreement in which FEMA would pay for the trailers and NASA would lease a 10-acre parcel from the city."

Space Foundation Gets New VP

Editor's Note: After spending 6 years with Rep. Dave Weldon (R-FL) Brendan Curry will start work at the Space Foundation's Washington DC office as Vice President for Government Affairs. Curry begins his new job on 1 December.

Editor's Note: A number of current and former NASA employees in the Washington metro area received a letter dated 1 November 2005 from the NASA Federal Credit Union which announced "your credit application has been approved. Your new cards will arrive in the next 10 days". Well someone goofed - big time. The NASA FCU sent this letter out by mistake to anyone with a NASA FCU VISA card that was being automatically upgraded - giving the false impression to a lot of people that someone had applied for a credit card under their name.

Griffin Applauds Confirmation of Dale as NASA Deputy Administrator

"I appreciate the swift action of the United States Senate, especially Senators Ted Stevens, Daniel Inouye, Kay Bailey Hutchison, and Bill Nelson in confirming Shana Dale as NASA's 14th deputy administrator," Griffin said. "With Shana coming on board, I'm confident we now have the right leadership team to guide the agency as we move forward in the next great era of space exploration."

Max Ary Found Guilty

Ary guilty on 12 counts, Wichita Eagle

"Max Ary, who built a tiny Hutchinson planetarium into one of the most respected space museums in the country, was convicted on Tuesday of stealing artifacts from what he has called "my baby" and selling them for his own benefit."

Statement by Shana Dale before the Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation United States Senate November 1, 2005, NASA

"Mr. Chairman, Co-Chairman Inouye, and Members of the Committee, I am honored to appear before you today as President Bush's nominee to be the Deputy Administrator of NASA. I would like to thank Mike Griffin for recommending me to be his Deputy and I would like to thank President Bush for nominating me for this position."



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

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