News: May 2008 Archives

ISDC on CSPAN Today

"What will happen to the International Space Station while NASA transitions from the Space Shuttle, retiring in 2010, to the Orion spacecraft, launching in 2014? The National Space Society considers this question and others during its 27th annual conference today in Washington, D.C."

WATCH

Editor's note: Live C-SPAN coverage resumes at 2:00 pm EDT today with a discussion on space and the 2008 Election.

Excerpt of Sen. Obama's representative's (Steve Robinson) comments on space policy:

Sen. Obama views space policy within a larger framework of science in general. Sen. Obama is a friend of science and engineering. We need more input from scientists and engineers in decisions that affect research in these areas. General principles:

1. We need to build/support a strong pool of talented people to ensure the future of space research and to ensure a supply engineers of tomorrow. Inspiration takes many forms. My boss has not talked about space - and when he does he will talk about it in an inspirational way.

2. We need to create a supportive environment for research and development in both the public and private sector - including support for a a new generation of entrepreneurs.

3. Need to apply science, technology, and engineering to solve the world's greatest challenges.

4. Need to be linking human and robotic exploration of space more clearly to challenges that face our planet such as climate change and to provide unadulterated scientific advice to the government.

Steve Robinson suggested that there are other things that are done by robots in space that can be inspiring and that humans do not necessarily need to be there (although e personally find that inspiring). Moderator Miles O'Brien suggested that there are "no high schools named after robots". Robinson replied "some of those high schools are building robots". He elaborated that it might be more inspiring for his students (he's a teacher) to create ways to interact with rovers on Mars. "We should not limit our inspiration to what inspires us. I am not inspired by Second Life but others are."

Phone home: Purported UFO video to be shown Friday, Rocky Mountain News

"A video that purportedly shows a living, breathing space alien will be shown to the news media Friday in Denver. Jeff Peckman, who is pushing a ballot initiative to create an Extraterrestrial Affairs Commission in Denver to prepare the city for close encounters of the alien kind, said the video is authentic and convinced him that aliens exist. ... "It shows an extraterrestrial's head popping up outside of a window at night, looking in the window, that's visible through an infrared camera," he said. The alien is about 4 feet tall and can be seen blinking, Peckman said earlier this month."

Continental pilot startled by encounter with 'rocket'

"A Continental Airlines pilot reported being startled by what he described as a rocket that shot past his cockpit window Monday when the plane was about eight miles north of George Bush Intercontinental Airport."

NASA moves to save computers from swarming ants, ComputerWorld

"A flood of voracious ants is heading straight for Houston, taking out computers, radios and even vehicles in their path. Even the Johnson Space Center has called in extermination experts to keep the pests out of their sensitive and critical systems. The ants have been causing all kinds of trouble in five Texas counties in the Gulf Coast area.

Because of their sheer numbers, the ants are short-circuiting computers in homes and offices, and knocking systems offline in major businesses. When IT personnel pry the affected computers open, they find the machines loaded with thousands of ant bodies."

The Sky Is Falling, The Atlantic

"After the presentation, NASA's administrator, Michael Griffin, came into the room. I asked him why there had been no discussion of space rocks. He said, "We don't make up our goals. Congress has not instructed us to provide Earth defense. I administer the policy set by Congress and the White House, and that policy calls for a focus on return to the moon. Congress and the White House do not ask me what I think."

I asked what NASA's priorities would be if he did set the goals. "The same. Our priorities are correct now," he answered. "We are on the right path. We need to go back to the moon. We don't need a near-Earth-objects program." In a public address about a month later, Griffin said that the moon-base plan was "the finest policy framework for United States civil space activities that I have seen in 40 years."

Actually, Congress has asked NASA to pay more attention to space rocks."

- Blinding Asteroid Scientists From Seeing Threats To Earth, earlier post
- Planetary Defense - Just Send Money, earlier post
- NASA Strategic Management Council Meeting: 2006 Near-Earth Object Survey and Deflection Study, earlier post
- NASA NEO Report Update, earlier post

Advice from NASA's Wayne Hale: Leading Your Leaders

"When I was a new NASA employee, my branch chief put together a training class that has been on my mind recently. Among the other things he taught us new employees was that we had to lead our leaders. That has always been good advice. I'd like to share some of those thoughts and expand on them."

House Panel Second Guessing NASA's Zero-G Contract Award, Space.com

"Rep. Brad Miller (D-N.C.), chairman of the investigations and oversight subcommittee, sent two letters to NASA Administrator Mike Griffin April 15 requesting materials related to the Zero-G deal. Miller's first letter, according to sources familiar with the document, included multiple allegations disputed by Zero-G, among them that the company conducted a weightless flight for the makers of the "Girls Gone Wild" video series."

Editor's note: Miller's staff quickly sent a second letter without the false allegations in it. This "Girls Gone Wild" urban myth is really old news and was openly disavowed years ago. Indeed a simple phone call to ZeroG would have been all that that Miller's staff needed to do. The fact that Rep. Miller would allow such a sloppily unresearched letter to be sent as an offical request to NASA calls the credibilty of his own staff into question. I wonder of the staff bothered to get a copy of the actual weightless bimbo video and look at the credits .... What's next - requesting photos of the alien bodies stored in freezers at JSC?

Here's the internal memo ARC circulated to employees several weeks ago asking for information:TO: Resident Staff

FROM: Thomas W. Berndt, Chief Counsel/ Deborah Feng, Director (Acting), Strategic Communications

SUBJECT: Urgent Request for Zero-G related Documents

NASA Headquarters has requested that Ames personnel provide the following documents in response to an official House Science & Technology Committee inquiry:

(1) All records relating to research collaborations between NASA and Zero-G to be implemented at Ames Research Center;

(2) All records related to the use of Ames and Moffett Field by Zero-G for the company's non-governmental activities.

Because of the urgent nature of this request by Congress, we ask that all Ames employees with documents, as described above, to please forward hard paper copies no later than COB Monday, April 21 to Terence Pagaduan, Mail Stop 943-4.

Please contact Mr. Pagaduan at ext. 4-1181 if you have any questions.

Thank you for your assistance on this important matter.

NRC Report: United States Civil Space Policy: Summary of a Workshop

"What are the principal purposes, goals, and priorities of the U.S. civil space program? This question was the focus of the workshop on civil space policy held November 29-30, 2007, by the Space Studies Board (SSB) and the Aeronautics and Space Engineering Board (ASEB) of the National Research Council (NRC). In addressing this question, invited speakers and panelists and the general discussion from this public workshop explored a series of topics."

Review shows NASA employees bought seemingly personal items, AP

"Among the transactions questioned by NASA investigators last year were 393 charges to a graphics support vendor totaling more than $235,000 - so much money that not bidding the purchases competitively may have been illegal, documents show. "That should send up a red flag," said Scott Amey, general counsel of the Project on Government Oversight, a government watchdog organization. "You have to ask: Is somebody trying to get around competitive requirements?"

NASA employees big spenders on government credit, Houston Chronicle

"NASA employees have made numerous charges for seemingly personal items, including custom-engraved iPods and a Christmas tree. About $270 worth of T-shirts and hats purchased from a NASA gift shop were justified by one cardholder as "safety attire," and one former civil servant pleaded guilty to embezzlement charges last year after spending more than $157,000 on things including jewelry, electronics and an air conditioner for her home."

Report on NASA ignites call for credit card crackdown, Houston Chronicle

"Congressional supporters of a bill meant to curb government credit card abuse called Monday for stricter sanctions -- including termination and jail time -- against employees who misuse the cards at NASA, as well as other agencies."

Top Dems tout Lampson as voice of NASA, Houston Chronicle

"The Democrats' designation of Lampson as the prospective chairman of the space and technology subcommittee of the Science Committee in a House that's widely expected to remain in Democratic hands next year could help broaden his support and campaign contributors, some analysts said. An estimated 20,000 families in the 22nd Congressional District draw their livelihoods from jobs at the Johnson Space Center or NASA contractors. "Signaling his chairmanship early puts down a marker to NASA, contractors and their families that, 'If you want to keep your business flowing, you better take care of me,' " said Bob Stein, a Rice University political scientist. "Ironically, that's a page right out of Tom DeLay's playbook."

Astronaut calls landing 'one big hit and a roll', CNN

"From inside the capsule I had no perspective that we actually had bounced, it was just one big hit and a roll," Whitson said Friday in a telephone interview from the Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas.

Soyuz astronaut recalls terrifying descent, Houston Chronicle

"I have no doubt we will get the best investigation possible," said Mike Suffredini, NASA's space station program manager."I think the best minds in Russia are working on this."

Michael Griffin By Marsha Ivins, The Time 100

"Mike Griffin, 58, had wanted to be administrator of NASA since the inception of the agency. To him, the appeal of the job was never about position or title but about the fact that space fired his imagination. It still does, and now, thanks to him, manned exploration of the moon and Mars is becoming a real possibility."

Editor's note: Of all the people they could have chosen, Time just happened to pick Number One Griffin pal and self-professed communications expert Marsha Ivins. What a coincidence. Did she bother to tell Time's millions of readers that she and Griffin are close friends? Nah, why tell people about possible biases, eh?

Cardinals' Barton is a space case,Yahoo Sports

"One day, he wants to go into space. Brian Barton turned 26 earlier this week, and though the astronaut dream tends to die about the time hormones bloom and adolescence rages, Barton never could abandon it. "The sky's the limit," he likes to say, and in this instance, he does so standing in front of his locker in the St. Louis Cardinals' clubhouse. He takes the cliche literally and figuratively, the former in his desire to float in the atmosphere and the latter in the career he has carved out in the meantime."

"Dear Nasawatch: The Robert F. Kennedy Memorial is proud to be auctioning off a tour of the National Air and Space Museum with Senator John Glenn for four people. Senator Glenn will be your personal escort to the amazingly small Friendship 7, which he rode to glory as the first American to have orbited the earth. Check out https://auction01.charitybuzz.com/secure/viewItemDetail.do?auction_item_id=13511

He will guide you around the incredible Air and Space Museum on the National Mall in Washington DC. You'll be right next to many of the other legends of flight, too, the mechanical ones; from Lindbergh's Spirit of St. Louis, to the X-1, which finally broke the speed of sound, and on to spacecraft that have gone to the moon and back.

You can talk shop about his experiences, the current space program, his views on today's NASA and more.

We're also offering a walk on role with Johnny Depp in the thriller about J. Edgar Hoover's hunt for John Dillenger, PUBLIC ENEMIES ($32,000), the tennis lesson with Andre Agassi ($57,500), meeting Owen Wilson at the premiere of MARLEY AND ME ($1,800), tea with former Federal Reserve Chair Alan Greenspan ($11,000), and all the lunches, set visits, and more with the likes of Chris Matthews ($2,550), Tim Russert ($1,550), Joe Scarborough ($3,050), Larry King ($1,300), Tom Brokaw ($4,500), Tom Friedman ($1,252), and other DC political news heavyweights.

Virgin Galactic seeks space agents, Arabian Business

"Travel agents will have the opportunity to apply to sell space travel in partnership with the Virgin Galactic Accredited Space Office in Dubai, with selected applicants joining a shortlist from which the chosen sales agents will be announced."

Mission Virgin Galactic

"Virgin Galactic has teamed up with the Royal Aeronautical Society and the Royal AIr Force to create Mission Virgin Galactic, the educational experience of a lifetime."

Deborah Jeane Palfrey To Be Remembered On Moon, Wonkette

Editor's note: When NASA sets these well-intentioned things up you just know someone is eventually going to pull a stunt (in rather bad taste) like this sooner or later.

Send Your Name to the Moon With New Lunar Mission, NASA

Thank you to NASA Watch for inviting guest bloggers like myself to post on this nicely remodeled site.

My focus is on "space solutions of benefit to humanity," which I discuss on my blog, http://www.missiontohumanity.com. I suspect that if we, in the U.S., attempted to generate measurable returns on the public space investment as a matter of space policy, we might well see more national support for an increase in our public sector space budget. In an era of many crushing demands on the U.S. taxpayer, tangible returns from every public investment are critical.

National and global challenges, including global warming, health advances, natural disaster mitigation, aging populations, societal parity for women and children, universal education, poverty, clean economic development, and international space economic development partnerships are all areas in which space can provide constructive solutions.

I welcome your views on this topic, as well as suggestions about how to grow a robust space portfolio focused on returns for the U.S. taxpayer and for all humankind.

So with this brief introduction to a complex topic, I want to ask the NASA Watch community a question: Over the next decade, should the United States commit to both space exploration and intentional space solutions to American and global challenges? Thanks in advance for your views.

NASA: Hubble mission delayed until fall for fuel tank work, AP

"NASA's final visit to the Hubble Space Telescope has been delayed at least a month, until the fall, because of extra time needed to build the shuttle fuel tanks needed for the flight and a potential rescue mission. Atlantis and a crew of seven were supposed to fly to Hubble at the end of August, but now won't make the journey until the end of September or early October. Shuttle program manager John Shannon said it's taken more time to incorporate all the post-Columbia design changes to the external fuel tanks than had been expected."


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This page is an archive of entries in the News category from May 2008.

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