News: December 2005 Archives

Editor's note: Just go to this auction on eBay and get your own personalized genuine fake Astronaut Diploma - complete with NASA seal and logo. Hmm. This seems to be on the verge of assisting in the impersonation of a federal employee.

Happy Holidays

Editor's note: I am not going to even touch NASA Watch until next week - maybe Tuesday - unless an asteroid hits - so please don't visit after today. By all means, eat too much food, play in the snow, and sleep late. Far too many of you visited over Thanksgiving. Take a break - I am.

Posted on NASA Watch at the request of the NASA Federal Credit Union: "Today, NASA Federal Credit Union discovered an e-mail fraud attempt, known as "Phishing," that appeared to be from NASA Federal Credit Union. This e-mail was sent to the general public and to some credit union members. It instructed the recipient to click on a link to verify credit union information."

Nanotech News at ARC

Task force aims to make state nanotech's home, SJ Mercury News

"At a news conference today at NASA/Ames Research Center in Mountain View, U.S. Rep. Mike Honda, D-Campbell, and other civic leaders will unveil a number of proposals aimed at nurturing nanotechnology in California."

NASA's New Spaceship Builder Has Sights on the Moon, Mars, Washington Post

"ATK won the contract this month for the basic launcher, but Horowitz dismisses suggestions that his appointment carries a conflict of interest: "I've been promoting this philosophy for years," he said. "I designed the rocket while I was still at NASA."

House Passes NASA Authorization Bill, House Science Committee

NASA Authorization Act Conference Report Approved by the House, Rep. Calvert

"Today, the House approved the Conference Report for S. 1281, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Authorization Act by a unanimous voice vote."

Editor's update: The House began discussion at 5:41 pm EST. They then adopted the Conference Report at 6:25 pm EST.

Editor's revised note: Sen. Jim Talent (R-MO) put a hold on the NASA Authorization Conference bill Friday afternoon because he feels that NASA is not spending funds on X-43C as it had previously agreed to do in FY 2005. This was an issue raised by Sen. Talent during the FY 2006 NASA appropriations conference effort earlier this year - and he is using his hold on this authorization bill as an opportunity to reiterate that concern. In reality, the hold Talent has dropped on this authorization bill actually has nothing at all to do with the intent or function of this bill. Rather, Talent is using this approach to try and force NASA to fund the X-43C with $17 million of the $25 million provided in the Appropriations bill.

This authorization bill does not call out spending on the X-43C. Rather, it does address funding for "hypersonic research". Since X-43C is not specifically called out, and the Appropriations bill spelled out its direction as to how funds should be allocated, NASA's interpretation has been that it now has direction as to how it should spend its hypersonic research funds - and it has proceeded to do so.

Talent's effort may cause a delay in obtaining unanimous consent in the Senate and, according to Senate sources there are other means to deal with this bill. If need be, the Senate will take up the matter after the holidays- and pass it, as written - and agreed to by the House.

Space Urban Myths

Editor's update: The following was stated by Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-TX) on the floor of House a few minutes ago: "... Teflon was developed through our space program..." There is one small problem. It is not true: "Teflon is the brand name of a polymer compound discovered by Roy J. Plunkett (19101994) of DuPont in 1938 and introduced as a commercial product in 1946." (Wikipedia)


Space cadets taken in by TV hoax, BBC

"The contestants believed they were Britain's first 'space tourists' Three contestants have spoken of their disbelief after being fooled into thinking they went into space for the UK reality show Space Cadets." ..."Aw man, we're not astronauts. We're just asses."

Be certain to check in with the intrepid (and easily fooled) contestants at the Offical Space Cadets Website

NAC Presentations MIA?

Editor's note: It has been more than 2 weeks since the NASA Advisory Council met - and the presentations from that meeting are still not online. This is a notable departure from the previous norm in recent years where the NAC was very good about posting things online within days - sometimes hours - of a meeting.

NPOESS Costs Continue to Soar

Cost of Northrop weather satellite seen up 25 pct, Reuters

"The cost of a Northrop Grumman Corp. weather satellite program is expected to grow by 25 percent, triggering a congressionally mandated review of alternatives, a defense analyst and a source familiar with the program said on Tuesday. The Pentagon will formally notify Congress soon about the expected cost overrun in the National Polar-Orbiting Operational Environmental Satellite System (NPOESS), said defense analyst Loren Thompson of the Lexington Institute and the source, who asked not to be named."

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

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

DART Mishap Report MIA?

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 8 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.

Editor's update: Word has it that as of last week, the DART mishap report (which does apparently exist) was undergoing a classification review by DoD - and DoD has not provided a date for the report's release. As such, the current delay seems to be of DoD's making - not NASA's.


Europe's space goals laid bare, BBC

"Ministers from 17 European countries are meeting in Berlin to discuss the future of Europe's space programme. They will decide whether to give the go-ahead to a series of space missions proposed for the next decade."

Astronaut's ashes sky-bound. Wichita Eagle

"[Space Services Inc] says that early next year some of Cooper's remains, along with those of 173 other people from eight countries, will be launched on a SpaceX Falcon 1 rocket from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California. Some of the remains of the late James Doohan, who played Mr. Scott on "Star Trek," will also be on the flight."



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

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