News: June 2006 Archives

NASA Internal Memo: New Office of Communications Planning

"Deputy Administrator Shana Dale today announced the formation of the new Office of Communications Planning (OCP). The OCP will focus on new and innovative ways to engage and inform a broader cross-section of the American public about NASA activities through the development of new technology and tools, enhanced outreach mechanisms and key partnerships, and will develop long-term communication strategies and plans for increasing public awareness and understanding of NASA and its missions. ... Dale has named Senior Advisor Robert Hopkins as assistant administrator of the new office."

Ex-Langley official reassigned after shuttle doubts, Daily Press

"James Hartsfield, writing for Johnson Space Center on the Web log NASA Watch, wrote that Camarda "was not fired as a civil servant. ... His comment likely reflects his opinion that he was 'fired' from his influential position as director of engineering at JSC."

Editor's 28 June note: I have no idea where the Daily Press' Jim Hodges got this odd idea. James Hartsfield has never written for NASA Watch. I spoke with Hodges and he said he wasn't sure where he got the quote but that he'd have the text of this article changed.

Editor's 29 June note: No one has bothered to alter this article to correct this error. It would seem that the Daily Press doesn't have a problem with publishing demonstrably false quotes.

Note from Aviation Week: "Mike Dornheim, senior engineering editor and Los Angeles bureau chief for Aviation Week & Space Technology who died in a June 3 car accident in the Santa Monica Mountains near Malibu Calif. will be buried in a graveside service attended by only close family and friends June 24 near Washington D.C."

Flooding in Houston

Heavy rains prompt flood watch, road closures, AP

"Flooding also was forecast along Armand Bayou, between Ellington Field and the Johnson Space Center."

Editor's update: I sent several 'customer complaint' emails to David Saleeba, AA for Security and Program Protection at NASA HQ last week. I haven't heard back from him. Not that I am horribly upset by my most recent encounter with his with his security staff, mind you - based on past experience I wasn't at all surprised at how they screwed things up. But having gotten no response back from Saleeba does lead me to conclude that such poor performance is acceptable at NASA.

Editor's 15 June note: I picked up my new press badge today. While NASA PAO went out of their way to help me, NASA Security went out of their way to make things difficult.

NASA Watch on CBC

Editor's note: I will be doing 5 minutes interviews on CBC radio up in Canada this afternoon on the following stations (all times EDT):

3:10 Ottawa, 3:20 St. John's, 3:50 Halifax, 4:10 Windsor, 4:40 St. John, 4:50 Whitehorse, 5:20 Toronto, 5:40 Thunder Bay

Missing Aviation Week writer found dead, magazine official says, AP

"This afternoon we learned the tragic news about the loss of our friend and colleague Michael Dornheim," Aviation Week President Tom Henricks said in a statement. "For almost 25 years Mike served Aviation Week as an outstanding journalist whose award-winning reports were respected and greatly admired by the global aerospace industry."

NASA Admits Wrongdoing In Not Allowing Top Scientist To Discuss Climate Change Research

"Senators Susan Collins (R-ME) and Joe Lieberman (D-CT) have received written confirmation from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) that a media request to interview a top official on his climate change views was wrongly denied. Collins and Lieberman raised concerns with NASA's alleged censorship of scientific views in a letter dated February 15, 2006, following media reports that Goddard Space Flight Center Chief Dr. James Hansen was prevented from fully conveying his findings."

Reader note: "Jim Hansen is at the Goddard Institute for Space Studies in New York, not the Goddard Space Flight Center."

Grammar Police

Go and synergize no more, Language Log

"... comes from a blog called NASA Watch by Keith Cowling"

Editor's note: I just love it when the language police try and make a grammatical point - and misspell the name of the person they cite for having committed the grammatical offense ...

Space Medicine Men Mislead Congress, Bob Zubrin

Editor's note: "Fakers"? "Bunk"? Gee, I just love it when an engineer like Mike Griffin's good friend Bob Zubrin (Griffin is a former Mars Society Steering Committee member) tries to argue physiology with a physiologist - a topic Zubrin clearly doesn't understand - a topic he none the less tries to dismiss with semantical sleight of hand. It is obvious that Zubrin didn't actually listen to the hearings. Had he done so he would have heard Pawelczyk talk about centrifugation and countermeasure research needed in that area. But why get all the facts eh?

It should be interesting to see what sort of arm waving Zubrin does when Mike Griffin, Brian Chase, Scott Horowitz (who is still listed as a member of the Mars Society Steering Committee) and other senior NASA personnel share the stage with Bob at the Mars Society Convention this summer. Some advice Bob: sit down and shut up before you look even more foolish than you already have.

"In testimony June 7 to the Senate Subcommittee on Science and Space, fakers associated with the NASA space medicine program presented grossly misleading statements to congress to attempt to justify continued funding of their wasteful and unethical program of human guinea pig research. Exemplary of the bunk presented to the committee was the testimony of James A. Pawelczyk, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Physiology, Kinesiology and Medicine, Pennsylvania State University."

NPOESS/Nunn-McCurdy Findings Leave Unanswered Questions on the State of U.S. Weather Forecasting Satellites
Statement by Rep. David Wu
Statement by Rep. Bart Gordon

"What do I know based on what has been shared? I know that the best case interpretation of this plan is that for more than $4 billion above the original cost estimate, we are on a path to purchase four satellites instead of six, with fewer instruments and reduced capability."

Air Force, NOAA, NASA Officials Currently Testifying on Revised NPOESS Satellite Program, House Science Committee

"I don't know how we're supposed to do our jobs on behalf of the public if we can't see how decisions were made. We need to be able to judge the validity of the $11.5 billion price tag for this program and understand what it would cost to do more or less than has been proposed. For an agency whose previous cost estimates have been off by more than 66 percent to tell us "trust us" is preposterous, and we will not stand for it. We will make sure we get what we need to oversee this program. In the meantime, work on NPOESS instruments and the preliminary satellite, NPP, is continuing, and apparently has been going relatively smoothly."

Statement by Rep. Sherwood Boehlert
Statement by Rep. Vernon Ehlers
Statement by Conrad Lautenbacher
Statement by Ronald Sega
Statement by Michael Griffin

House Science Committee Hearing Charter: The Future of NPOESS: Results of the Nunn-McCurdy Review of NOAA's Weather Satellite Program

Revised NPOESS Weather Satellite Program to be Examined at House Science Committee Hearing With Agency Heads

"The June 8 hearing will focus on the results of the statutorily required review, known as a Nunn-McCurdy review. Under the law, any DOD-funded program that is more than 25 percent over budget must be reviewed to see if it should be continued and if so, in what manner."

- Previous NPOESS items, SpaceRef
- More NPOESS Woes, earlier post
- NPOESS Team Faces The Music, earlier post
- NPOESS Costs Continue to Soar, earlier post

More NPOESS Woes

Pentagon could replace Northrop on NPOESS-letter, Reuters

"Top Pentagon arms buyer Ken Krieg plans aggressive oversight of a troubled Northrop Grumman Corp. weather satellite program and warned he could still replace Northrop as prime contractor, according to a letter obtained by Reuters on Tuesday."

A Fleece in the Forecast?, NBC Nightly News

"They're supposed to be the next generation of state-of-the-art weather satellites -- improving forecasting and even saving lives. So why are they way behind schedule, and billions over budget? Is it true your tax dollars are falling off the radar? Watch our "Fleecing of America" report tonight."

House Science Committee Hearing: The Future of NPOESS: Results of the Nunn-McCurdy Review of NOAA's Weather Satellite Program (8 June - Mike Griffin is among the witnesses)

- NPOESS Team Faces The Music, earlier post
- NPOESS Costs Continue to Soar, earlier post

Editor's update: I got a call from Dean Acosta who took responsibility for the events I complained about and is looking to rectify the situation such that things like this do not happen again. He also noted that it is not PAO who determines who attends these employee events - other than the presence of news media. In the meantime, I still have not heard back from Mike Braukus at NASA PAO about my initial question to Scott Horowitz submitted on 26 May. But then again, Horowitz more or less answered it today - so the point is moot, I suppose.

Editor's note: If you look at the HQ organization page you will see "Strategic Communications Chief: Eric Sterner (Acting)"

Perplexed NASA Watch reader note: "OK, it's a good idea to see how JPL can cut energy consumption in case there's a power crunch. But the exercise says to "turn off unnecessary office and task lighting" for two hours. Then, I presume, we are to turn this unnecessary lighting back on? Why not just leave it off if it's unnecessary? And, if it can be identified as unnecessary, why was it on in the first place?"

Memo follows:

Editor's note: Look at this video. I love my cats. I love my macs. But ....

Editor's update: Some folks at NASA cannot view this short video (a kitten attacking a Mac Powerbook screen saver) and get this message:

"Restricted Categories: Dating/Social Access to this site has been blocked by the GRC third-party web filtering service which has categorized it as being non-work-related because it contains *Dating/Social* material."


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This page is an archive of entries in the News category from June 2006.

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