News: June 2007 Archives

I Have an iPhone

Editor's note: I have an iPhone. What an astonishing device! I bought it at the Tyson's Corner Apple store. Total time to purchase: 5 minutes from the moment when I entered the store.

NASA Strategic Communications Framework Implementation Plan 26 June 2007

"The purpose of this Implementation Plan is to put forward specific messages and initiatives based on the Strategic Communications Framework and recent round of market research and analysis. It reflects the input received throughout the development and briefing process."

Key Findings: Audiences

  • NASA "base" support, 45-64 year olds, "The Apollo Generation"
  • Men support exploration more than women
  • 18-24 year olds -Little or no frame of reference
  • 25-44 -Frame of reference is tragedy
  • 65+ -Interest drops off

Save Skylab

She's Just Rotting Away, Skylab Restoration Project

"The USSRC Skylab Restoration Effort is still on hold. Nothing has been done in 7 months to save her. This bit of US space history just keeps rotting away. The USSRC wants $2,000,000 dollars for a new building before work to save Skylab can start again. In not much time little will be worth saving."

NASA Deputy Administrator's Blog Jun 25, 2007

"I was in Colorado and Arizona on June 17-20. I will write more about my meetings there in my next entry. I have been traveling quite a bit in the past few months and there is no sense that it will slow down any time soon. I think these trips are necessary, talking to people outside the beltway to see what their thoughts are about NASA and exploration. But the main purpose has been to focus on fiscal year (FY) 2008 appropriations for NASA."

NASA Deputy Administrator's Blog Jun 15, 2007 - Shana Dale

"I am looking for a more direct way to communicate with people inside the agency. There is so much that goes on at headquarters and I want to be able to pull the curtain back on at least some of it and also explain what is going on with new initiatives. I anticipate updating the blog every week - I know, not as routine as many but it's hard even to find time to eat lunch."

Today's Ask the Administrator Answer, previous post

[Mike Griffin] "Finally, no, I do not read NASAWatch, or any other blog."

Editor's note: Gee Mike, you won't even read your own Deputy's blog?

Reader's note: "Keith, I thought you might get a laugh out of this pic. It appears the irony of the situation was lost on the striking workers at KSC. At least the dummy (left - by the road) was smart enough to stay in the shade.

- a KSC worker"

Photo below

NEO Threat Hearing?

Rep. Rohrabacher Requests Hearing To Assess Near Earth Objects Threat

"Rep. Rohrabacher sent a letter to Rep. Mark Udall, Chairman of the Subcommittee on Space and Aeronautics, requesting a hearing to examine the United States' ability to track Near Earth Objects (NEOs) that potentially pose a significant threat to the planet. A March 2007 report released by NASA restated the goals of the current detection program, known as Spaceguard, and described the possible destruction caused if an NEO were to collide with the earth. "At this time," writes Rohrabacher, "our ability to discover and track such objects is woefully inadequate."

IG Update

Inspecting the Inspectors, Washington Post

"Despite calls for Cobb's resignation, Miller said that Clay Johnson III, a deputy director at the Office of Management and Budget and chairman of an interagency inspector general council, had left disciplinary action up to the new head of NASA, Michael D. Griffin. This renewed questions about whether Cobb could act independently in the interests of taxpayers. Johnson called Miller's assertions "totally wrong," saying that the administration had not dumbed down inspectors general and that the quality of their work was as high as ever."

Preaching to the Choir

Comments by NASA Deputy Administrator Shana Dale before the Colorado Space Coalition Biannual Congressional and Industry Roundtable

"Regardless of who flies to the Moon and beyond, space exploration would not move forward without Colorado. Colorado has the Nation's third-largest space economy in terms of employment. More than 164,000 Coloradans have space-industry related jobs. This past fiscal year, NASA awarded nearly three-quarters of a billion dollars in contracts and grants to Colorado. Small entrepreneurs call this state home, and so do major space contractors. Colorado's university programs produce scientists, engineers, and astronauts."

NASA exec preaches to Colo. choir, Denver Post

NASA deputy promotes space goals in Denver, The Denver Business Journal

Editor's note: It is certainly nice to see NASA officials speaking to people in states who benefit the most from its spending - its good to let folks see that NASA can provide value to the populace and the economy. But it is becoming rather obvious at the same time that NASA is shying away from speeches aimed at sectors of the population, the country, and the economy where NASA's role is less appreciated and/or understood.

But I have to wonder why NASA wastes time on choir practice among those who need no convincing of NASA's value. Why not seek out speaking venues in places where NASA's greatest challenge to establish its relevancy still exists? If NASA really does inspire students, for example, then why not pick a state where spending on education is low or test grades are below the national average - you know, the sort of place that could really use NASA's much-hyped power to inspire? Maybe NASA could do a poll and see where the "we didn't land on the Moon" urban legend is the most pervasive and focus on those hot spots of doubt.

And if NASA is really as good for our nation's economy as it claims, then why not pick out some economically depressed areas and take NASA's message there?

Or is it that NASA really doesn't have anything to say to the people who might benefit most from what it claims to offer - or is NASA afraid to hear things that don't mesh with its internally developed "one size fits all" talking points and "messages"?

NASA OGC Issue Festers

House investigators seek Justice probe of NASA general counsel, Government Executive

Destroyed data adds to fracas over NASA IG, GCN

"When he destroyed the records, Wholley knew that Cobb's work and Griffin's response to the resulting problems were under scrutiny by the House Science Committee, according to the congressmen's letter. The congressional staff reconstruction of the incident stated that Griffin had used the videotaped teleconference to defend Cobbs' actions, the lawmakers wrote."

Letter from Reps. Sensenbrenner and Miller to Attorney General Gonzales Regarding NASA General Counsel Wholley

"By this letter, we are referring Michael Wholley, the general counsel of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), to the Department of Justice for investigation into and possible prosecution for obstruction of justice and destruction of government records under 18 U.S.C. 1505, 18 U.S.C. 1512(c) and 18 U.S.C. 2071."

US lawmakers ask for probe of NASA's general counsel over destroyed recordings, AP

"In an interview with The Associated Press last week, Griffin said he fully supported Wholley. Griffin said he didn't believe Wholley did anything illegal, but he might have made a mistake in how the destruction of the CDs would be perceived politically. "What Mike did is break up a few CDs," Griffin said. "We use these CDs like popcorn. I'm sure he is happy to replace the CDs he broke with other CDs."

Editor's note: Hey, great idea Mike! NASA's chief lawyer can just replace those pesky smashed CDs with new ones, and everything will be OK, right? Gee, I hate to break it to you Mike, while there certainly is some politics in all of this, this is also very much a legal issue now. Read the letter Sensenbrenner and Miller sent to Gonzales - there's sure a lot of lawyer talk in it.

Fire at GRC

Firefighters Battle Blaze At NASA Glenn,

"Cleveland and Brook Park firefighters are battling a blaze at NASA Glenn Research Center in Cleveland. There are reports of a fire in Building 11 at the space agency. Officials said that the building was under construction."

Editor's note: NASA's Associate Administrator for Legislative Affairs, Brian Chase, will be leaving the agency soon to go run the Dallas office of Rep. Jeb Hensarling (R-TX). Brian often had one thankless task after another thrown at him and is to be commended for putting his heart and soul into his job.

In addition, longtime NASA Headquarters Deputy Chief of Staff and White House Liaison J. T. Jezierski will be leaving NASA soon to go work for Mitt Romney's presidential campaign. Much of what J.T. did was not glamorous but it was highly critical to how the agency functioned - even if few people ever even knew what he did.

I sincerely wish both Brian and J.T. well after their tours of duty at NASA.

Hearing: Oversight Review of the Investigation of the NASA Inspector General

Editor's note: A live webcast link should appear here on this Senate Subcommittee on Space, Aeronautics and Related Sciences page close to the start of the hearing. If you go to the House Science & Technology website there is a live hearing link in the upper right hand corner of this page. You can also go here and click on the audio feed for SR-253. Unlike all other hearings where NASA personnel testify, NASA TV will apparently not be carrying this hearing live. I wonder why - since they now have 4 TV channels to chose from.

NASA IG Prepared Hearing Statement and Additional Exhibits Now Online, earlier post

Editor's note: Even though the NASA IG's prepared statement and back up materials have been online at NASA for nearly 48 hours, neither the House Science and Technology Committee or the Senate Subcommittee on Space, Aeronautics and Related Sciences have even bothered to link to it on their respective websites.

NASA's Headaches

The new space race, opinion, USA Today

"Poor NASA, it can't catch a break. The space shuttle Atlantis was due to launch three months ago when a sudden hail storm damaged its external fuel tank. Now, NASA is hoping that the repaired spacecraft will launch Friday without more dark clouds appearing to further tarnish the agency's image. NASA has been a favorite punching bag of politicians, pundits and special interest groups. Some decry a lack of devotion to fighting global warming a controversy assisted recently by NASA chief Michael Griffin's comment that he was not sure it was "a problem we must wrestle with." Others see in NASA's commitment to manned space exploration a misplaced romanticism, while still others deplore a lack of emphasis on basic science."

Prepared Statement by NASA Inspector General Robert Cobb 7 June 2007, NASA OIG

"That the [Presidents Council on Integrity and Efficiency] PCIE Chair determined the matter did not warrant referral to the White House and that NASA, in contemplating whether any action should be taken, would challenge conclusions of the IC is not surprising because the ICs negative conclusions do not withstand reasonable examination. This is fundamentally because the ICs [Integrity Committee] criticisms are not based on facts or law and are wrong. They are wrong as the result of an investigation flawed in design and execution and without respect for even the most basic notions of due process and fairnessor compliance with law and procedural requirements. [See Exhibit B for detail]"

Exhibits 7.3 Mb PDF (NASA OIG website)

[Exhibit H, pg. 3] "... this issue was raised by a Senator in a letter to the Administrator asking for an investigation of the IG; in the guise of a Senate oversight and presumably without the knowledge of the Senator, a NASA Langley employee detailed to the Senator's office began calling NASA OIG employees in the fall of 2005 to ask "do you have anything negative to say about the NASA IG"...."

Editor's note: Word has it that the "NASA Langley employee" mentioned here was Michael Dodson who, as a NASA LaRC employee, was detailed to work in Sen. Nelson's office. Dodson now works at KSC. Perhaps Dodson can shed a little light as to how this investigation by Sen. Nelson's office was conducted ...

History On-Orbit

A Piece of the Past Hitches a Ride on Next Space Shuttle Mission

"A nearly 400-year-old metal cargo tag bearing the words "Yames Towne" and some commemorative mementoes are packed in Atlantis' middeck floor cargo space for the roundtrip flight to the International Space Station. Their hitchhike through the galaxy honors this year's 400th anniversary of Jamestown, Va., the first permanent English settlement in North America."

IG Saga Update

NASA inspector general to face lawmakers, Daily Press

"The long-planned hearing will mark the first opportunity Congress has been given to question Inspector General Robert W. Cobb since an executive branch oversight panel found he had created an "abusive work environment" and "an appearance of a lack of independence" from the agency he is supposed to monitor."



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