News: June 2008 Archives

KSC Job Loss Projections Drop, AviationWeek

"NASA Administrator Mike Griffin believes that contractor job cuts at the Kennedy Space Center (KSC) following the planned end of the space shuttle program in 2010 will total 3,000-4,000, only about half of the worst-case scenario of cuts in the 6,000-7,000 range."

"The total Kennedy work force of both government and civil service personnel is currently about 14,000."

Minute Defect Delays SpaceX's Falcon 1 Launch Again,

"A tiny weld defect discovered in one of the Falcon 1's engine nozzles as the rocket was being readied for a late June launch contributed to Space Exploration Technologies' (SpaceX) decision to postpone its third attempt to put the rocket into orbit by at least a month."

"Elon Musk, founder and chief executive officer of the Hawthorne, Calif.-based rocket-start up, said June 27 that the defect was so tiny - about a tenth of millimeter - that it passed inspection before shipment and was unlikely to cause a problem during launch."

NASA Administrator Statement on the Death of Robert Seamans, NASA

The following is a statement from NASA Administrator Michael Griffin regarding the death Dr. Robert C. Seamans, Jr., NASA deputy administrator from 1965 to 1968:

"Robert Seamans was one of the early leaders in launching NASA's efforts to explore the new frontier of space. As NASA's associate administrator and then deputy administrator, Bob, as a top manager and consummate engineer, was instrumental in the decision making, planning and program execution that enabled the United States to meet President Kennedy's goal of landing men on the moon. He will be remembered as one of the great pioneers and leaders of America's space program."

If you listen with an open mind, you can learn a lot from people who disagree with you. Even questioning the fundamentals from time to time is a good exercise to make sure we are on the right track and not on the proverbial bus trip to Abilene.

I really resonated with the comment by Joe Fitzgerald of Boston, reading his children the Laura Ingalls Wilder books. When my children were small, we read the whole series at bedtime, one chapter a night. I particularly liked "Farmer Boy" but all of the books are good because they are true and very well told. After reading those books, I always wondered if I was tough enough to be a pioneer; probably not.

India takes on old rival China in new Asian space race, Times Online

"The world's two most populous countries -- and biggest emerging economies -- have fought one war on land and are rapidly modernising their air, naval and nuclear forces in case of another. Now India and China are taking their rivalry into orbit, with Delhi determined to catch up with Beijing in what is starting to look like an Asian version of the Cold War "space sace". General Deepak Kapoor, India's Chief of Army Staff, has spoken publicly for the first time of his fears about China's military space programme and the need for India to accelerate its own."

Ecuador boy sets zero-G flight record, AP

"A 7-year-old Ecuador boy has become the youngest passenger ever aboard a zero-gravity flight. Jules Nader says he wasn't scared during the four minutes of weightlessness he experienced aboard an air force plane."

Previous record:

Eight-Year-Old Boy Enjoys Adventure of A Lifetime as Youngest Person in History to Experience Zero Gravity Flight, ZeroG

Starting a conversation is hard. Getting off on the wrong foot can happen so quickly and then any chance of a meaningful encounter is lost. I am really interested in starting a conversation. Not a conversation on any subject, but a conversation about space exploration and why that effort is meaningful.

Perhaps you agree, perhaps you disagree, but you certainly know some things I don't. And I am really interested in finding out what I don't know (which is a lot!)

Review: The Universe in a Mirror, Space Review

"Zimmerman does appear to go too far when he tries to link the December 2004 resignation of Griffins predecessor, Sean OKeefe, with a report critical of his decisions to cancel the shuttle mission and study a robotic repair option, released five days before OKeefes announcement."

Editor's note: There is no linkage.

Wreck, death prompts review of gate security, Huntsville Times

"Radio systems may have slowed the warning to guards. Redstone Arsenal military officers will investigate how a vehicle breached Gate 1 Friday during a high-speed chase with the Huntsville Police Department, and, although unrelated to the fatal chase, several gates will receive security improvements over the next month, the post's senior commander said Monday."

NASA's own watchdog: Agency misled on global warming, AP

"NASA public affairs officials criticized by the report called it wrong, saying they were always open and truthful. Not so, according to the report. The report did not directly accuse them of lying, but used more nuanced terms such as "mendacity" and "dissembling." The space agency complained those terms were unjust."

Investigative Summary Regarding Allegations that NASA Suppressed Climate Change Science and Denied Media Access to Dr. James E. Hansen, A NASA Scientist

Editor's note: This report really goes to extreme - and I think slightly absurd - lengths not to use the word "lie". Yet multiple instances where someone at NASA was not telling the truth - or telling slanted/partial truths - was meticulously documented. Unless I am mistaken some of the words used instead mean exactly - or darn close to the word "lie". All you need is to type these words into Google to see what they really mean.

Page 47: "We uncovered no direct evidence to substantiate their beliefs, but the circumstantial evidence (to include the apparent mendacity of one or more senior Public Affairs officials)"


"1. The condition of being mendacious; untruthfulness.
2. A lie; a falsehood."

Then there's this instance:

Two Crashes Shut Down Part Of S.R. 528,

"A massive crash on the Beachline left one person dead Monday morning and snarled commuter traffic. As of 9:10 a.m., both the westbound and eastbound lanes of the Beachline are closed. Eastbound is closed at mile marker 29, one mile before State Road 520. Traffic is being diverted at State Road 417. If drivers are traveling eastbound on S.R. 528, they will not be allowed to travel past S.R. 417."



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