News: October 2007 Archives

NASA to Announce Work Assignments to Enable Lunar Exploration, NASA HQ

"On Tuesday, Oct. 30, NASA will take another important step toward returning astronauts to the moon by assigning key future Constellation Program work to its field centers. The agency's Exploration Systems Mission Directorate will host a media roundtable at 1 p.m. EDT at NASA Headquarters, 300 E St., S.W., Washington."

Bruner Named Head of Legislative and Intergovernmental Affairs

"NASA Deputy Administrator Shana Dale on Thursday announced the appointment of Bill Bruner as assistant administrator for legislative and intergovernmental affairs. Bruner has served as acting assistant administrator for the office since June."

Islamic scholars produce guide to praying at 17,000mph, The Guardian

"Although Muslim Malaysians believe that Islamic rites should be rigorously observed at all times, the doctor and part-time model, chosen from 10,000 applicants, has been given a certain latitude during the flight. The Islamic scholars' rulings so fascinated Malaysians - bursting with pride over the mission in the country's fiftieth year of independence - that newspapers published supplements detailing their edicts."

Sulu To Speak at ARC

George Takei, aka Star Trek's "Lieutenant Sulu," to Speak at Ames on October 11, 2007

"The NASA Ames Research Center Office of Diversity and Equal Opportunity, the Lesbian, Gay, Bi-Sexual, and Transgender (LGBT) Advisory group, and the Asian American-Pacific Islander Advisory group invite you to attend our first observance of National Coming Out Day. The keynote speaker for the event will be George Takei, the charismatic actor who portrayed "Hikaru Sulu" in the original "Star Trek" television series and a number of the "Star Trek" feature films."

Group Renames Asteroid for George Takei, AP

"The celestial rock, discovered by two Japanese astronomers in 1994, joins the 4659 Roddenberry (named for the show's creator, Gene Roddenberry) and the 68410 Nichols (for co-star Nichelle Nichols, who played Lt. Uhura). Other main-belt asteroids are already named for science fiction luminaries Robert Heinlein and Isaac Asimov."

7307 Takei (1994 GT9), NASA JPL Honors Sputnik

Editor's note: has a cool flash animation - online today only.

Sputnik at 50

With Fear and Wonder in Its Wake, Sputnik Lifted Us Into the Future, NY Times

"Fifty years ago, before most people living today were born, the beep-beep-beep of Sputnik was heard round the world. It was the sound of wonder and foreboding. Nothing would ever be quite the same again in geopolitics, in science and technology, in everyday life and the capacity of the human species."

The Space Age, NY Times Special Section

First Contact: Sputnik, NASA

"To say the least, it was incredible. The news relayed by the voice on the other end of the phone line hit the president of the San Gabriel Valley Radio Club like a blow to the head. Too incredible, Henry Richter hoped, to be true."

Chairman Gordon Introduces House Resolution Honoring Landmark Space Anniversary

"The Chairman of the House Committee on Science and Technology Bart Gordon (D-TN) introduced a House resolution today aimed at honoring the 50th anniversary of the dawn of the Space Age."

Thoughts on Sputnik at 50

Maintain U.S. supremacy in space, Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison, The Hill

"Today, we are on the verge of another Sputnik moment. In November, China will launch its first lunar orbiter - a major milestone in its rapidly-developing space program. In fact, China's progress has been so substantial they're planning on landing a man on the moon by 2020. A decade or so from now, the Red Flag may be flying on the lunar surface."

NASA's role revisited at 50-year mark, Government Executive

"The focus of space exploration today is in the economic arena," Griffin remarked. "We see the transformative effects of the space economy all around us through numerous technologies and life-saving capabilities," like global positioning systems and satellite-based hurricane forecasts. Space fans say that is true -- but NASA isn't taking the message to heart. "NASA's often its own worst enemy," said Keith Cowing, editor of and a former NASA scientist. He is of the mindset that NASA has value, but no one seems to understand that value. If NASA disappeared today, the space economy would continue, Cowing said. "There's enough of an impetus in the private sector," plus the satellites are built and launched by private companies."

Why they call me the Rocket Boy, Homer Hickam, LA Times

"So rather than being an impediment, NASA can and should be the driver of commerce, the provider of the technology necessary to make some big money in space. The truth is that private enterprise already has a huge presence up there. It's not NASA but commercial companies that send all those communications satellites rocketing aloft to the tune of billions of dollars of profits every year. Boeing, LockMart and hundreds of other companies, large and small, work in the space business, and they also create new techniques and technology; but they'd be nowhere if NASA and the Department of Defense hadn't shown the way by funding the first big rockets and satellites."

Moon Huggers

Space Frontier Foundation Comment on the Draft Constellation Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement (PEIS), Space Frontier Foundation

"Although environmental impacts on the Moon are currently left outside the scope of the PEIS, the lunar activities discussed within the PEIS do raise significant environmental impact issues and concerns. As just one illustration, NASA is currently in the process of making technical decisions between using toxic and non-toxic propellants in the lunar lander propulsion system. Since this architecture element will repeatedly transport humans and cargo to and from the lunar surface, the use of toxic propellants could have a significant negative impact."

And the Winner of the NASA Slogan Contest Is...., Wired

"After sifting through over 4,000 entries by hand, I am pleased to share with you the Top 25 NASA tagline submissions and the Top 5 humorous submissions (after the jump). I hope you will enjoy them as much as I did and I hope that we will find ways to put all this crowd sourcing effort to good use! Over the past month, this crowd sourcing article was viewed by over 50,000 people. I just want to thank everyone who read it, passed it on, blogged about it and especially those that submitted."

Two Views Of NASA

Why is NASA the only game in space?, Opinion, LA Times

Homer Hickam: "... did you know the Department of Labor (that this department exists at all deserves another ! from me) gets four times more money than NASA? Health and Human Services 26 times more? Housing and Urban Development (!!!) gets twice as much? You want to talk about waste? Just peruse a list of their programs! It will make you weep. And what do those outfits and most federal bureaucracies give back to the economy? Nada. NASA, on the other hand, is an organization that gives our economy a positive jolt with all its inventiveness. It's worth every penny. No, I take that back. It's worth more pennies than we give it and if we keep underfunding it, we're idiots."

Rand Simberg: "You contend that NASA's human spaceflight program is underfunded. I would argue that, given its paltry ambitions, it's vastly over-endowed because the results won't be worth the money. If NASA were to put forth a plan by which it enabled hundreds or thousands of people to go into space, I think that would be worth going back and asking the Congress and Office of Management and Budget to fund. Sadly, NASA isn't capable of that, by its nature as a federal agency, because it would mean too much relinquishing of control to what it perceives to be a frighteningly uncertain and unpredictable private sector, with too few opportunities for pork in specific districts."

Editor's note: Homer is honest about the fact that NASA sends him a retirement check on a regular basis as he gives NASA a nice dose of tough love. Yet what always amuses me about NASA haters such as Rand is that while he publicly rips into NASA, he is content to quietly feed off of this very same inefficiency he loathes as a consultant to NASA Exploration projects. If this work NASA does is so odious and counterproductive to human exploration, shouldn't he avoid taking any of it as a matter of principle? Just say no, Rand.

Asia could win next 'Space Race', US scientists fear, AFP

"When we celebrate 100 years of Sputnik, we might celebrate the 20th anniversary of man landing on Mars," Frank Griffin, NASA's chief administrator said recently.



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