News: August 2008 Archives

No Rest for the Myth-Makers, Free Space

"Parts of the show are pretty goofy, but I enjoyed watching a chop-chop version of the scientific process in action. I hope Im not ruining the ending for anyone who missed it last night and wants to catch a re-run, but Mythbusters says the only hoax going on is the one put forth by people who say the moon landings are a hoax. Unfortunately, this probably wont make a whit of difference to anyone who doesnt ascribe to rationality and logic -- the foundations of science, even science-lite like Mythbusters -- and its concerning that these attributes have waned faster than the bull market."

From: Forsythe, Jack L. (HQ-LG000)
Sent: Thu 8/21/2008 12:38 PM
To: [Senior NASA Management]
Subject: Badge Holder Safety

Recently there has been a safety concern with the new badge holder from Identity Stronghold that is being issued to ensure compliance with Homeland Security Presidential Directive 12 (HSPD-12). A badge holder safety notice was released at Kennedy Space Center on August 15, 2008 (see attachment). The current issue with the badge holder is the possibility of the badge holder becoming a Foreign Object Damage (FOD) hazard to flight hardware, or a projectile hazard under certain circumstances.

As a precautionary measure, I am directing a temporary hold on issuing the badge holder from Identity Stronghold until such time additional evaluations are conducted and all issues surrounding the FOD and hazard issues with the badge holder have been resolved. Centers may revert back, on a temporary basis, to using the original clear plastic badge holder to allow for continued issuance of Center access badges.

The Office of Security and Program and Protection is working with key personnel in addressing security compliance requirements, operational needs, training, deficiencies, and safety issues in order to mitigate all concerns. Thank you in advance for your cooperation in this matter.

Jack L. Forsythe
Interim AA Office of Security and Program Protection
NASA/HQ
300 E Street SW
Washington, DC 20546

Editor's note: Attachment below

KSC Open On Friday

NASA Kennedy to Reopen for Normal Operations Friday

"Managers at NASA's Kennedy Space Center, Fla., plan to reopen the center for normal operations Friday morning for workers' first shift. A slow-moving Tropical Storm Fay has kept Kennedy closed since Tuesday. The Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex also will reopen Friday. The center was set to open Thursday morning for limited operations, but Fay stalled off the coast from Kennedy overnight and continued to bring heavy rain and tropical storm force wind to the area through mid-day."

Iran plans to launch humans into space, New Scientist

"Iran plans to send a crewed rocket into space in the next 10 years, state television said on Thursday, just days after the Islamic Republic announced it had put a dummy satellite into orbit. "One of the aims of Iran's 10-year space programme is to send a manned rocket into space," state television quoted Reza Taghipour, the head of Iran's aerospace organisation, as saying. "Within the next six months to one year, the exact date of this mission will be determined."

Heads Up KSC

NASA's Kennedy Space Center Closes for Tropical Storm Fay

"NASA's Kennedy Space Center will be closed Tuesday, Aug. 19, because of the potential threat from Tropical Storm Fay. Current plans call for the center to be closed for 24 hours, starting with workers' first-shift Tuesday morning. Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex also is closed Tuesday. Kennedy managers are scheduled to meet again at 5 p.m. EDT to reevaluate the storm's status and its impact on the center."

Tropical Storm Fay making landfall at Cape Romano, Orlando Sentinel

"All hurricane warnings have been discontinued as Tropical Storm Fay makes landfall on the Florida peninsula. Fay's tracking path again moved a bit more to the east. It's on a track that will now take it east of Orlando late Tuesday night or early Wednesday morning. But at that point, forecasters think Fay's winds will be down to between 35-45 mph. At 5 a.m., the center of Tropical Storm Fay was located on the Florida coastline at Cape Romano."

Tropical Storm Fay, NOAA
5 Day Track Forecast Cone, NOAA

MilSpace Shake Up Ahead?

Panel Wants Massive Milspace Reshuffling, Aviation Week

"A blue-ribbon panel of national security space experts is calling for a number of "bold steps" - including the abolishment of the National Reconnaissance Office (NRO) and the U.S. Air Force Space and Missile Systems Center (SMC) as they exist today - to shake up today's ineffective national security space procurement and operations structures and provide cohesive governance of this increasingly vulnerable area for the Pentagon."

Iran ready to put Muslim countries' satellite in orbit, Reuters

"Iran said on Monday it was ready to help fellow Muslim states launch satellites into orbit after it successfully put a dummy satellite into orbit -- a move that may increase Western suspicions over its atomic ambitions."

Pentagon doubts Iranian rocket test succeeded, CNN

"The Pentagon does not believe an Iranian rocket test over the weekend was successful, despite reports in the official Iranian media saying the Islamic Republic had launched its first vehicle capable of placing a satellite in orbit. Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, left, looks at an Iranian rocket before the recently reported launch. "The Iranians did not successfully launch the rocket," a senior U.S. defense official told CNN Monday."

Mike's Woes

Editor's note: Klyde Morris has perfectly described Mike Griffin's woes these days ... reprinted with permission. Copyright 1999-2008 Wes Oleszewski

Abandoned NASA Trailer Found Roadside, Full of Retro NASA Awesomeness, Gizmodo

"Since it came about in the 1930s as NASA's rocket research lab, the Jet Propulsion Laboratory has been a part of just about every major unmanned U.S. space mission to date. JPL also has a somewhat surprising history of running major missions out of modular trailers scattered around their Pasadena HQ, which are packed with all of the stuff you need to, oh, I don't know, monitor a spacecraft on its way to Mars. Photographer Richard Harrington stumbled upon one of these trailers, abandoned on a dusty lot somewhere between L.A. and Las Vegas, which as you would expect is retro space-tech dream inside."

Editor's note: If the hardware shown in these pictures is powered (i.e. operational) then this is certainly not "abandoned" as the blog posting suggests. According to the photographer's website this trailer is apparently on the "edge of town" In Bishop, CA. I hope the folks at NASA who own this hardware know that people can apparently wander inside whenever they want and fiddle with things. Padlocks anyone?

Four kids on NASA trip go missing, Hindustan Times

"Four students from a school in Parowal village who went on a trip to the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) have gone missing in the US. One of the teachers accompanying them has also not returned as she reportedly got married."

On trip to NASA, six students from Doaba go 'missing', The Indian Express

"Six students from Doaba region have over the past fortnight gone missing in the US, where they had gone as part of academic trips to the NASA centre."

Trafficking trick: School kids vanish on NASA trip, Times of India

"It doesn't take rocket science for Indians to disappear in the US. Or does it? In fact, such is the craze for settling abroad that they keep devising new ways to do so ... The latest in the long list of their tricks is taking the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) route."

Editor's note: When this story first appeared there were 4 missing students. Now there are 6 students missing ...

U.S. Satellite Shootdown: The Inside Story, IEEE Spectrum

"Assessing technological risk is a thorny enough problem here on Earth, even with our experience and our intuition about familiar uncertainties, factors, and processes. But transport the problem into the unearthly venue of outer space, where human experience is limited, and sound assessment becomes astronomically more challenging. A notable and illuminating case in point was the U.S. decision earlier this year to use a missile to knock out a derelict spy satellite, to head off the possibility of its splashing a half ton of toxic hydrazine fuel somewhere on Earth. That official explanation of the shootdown--and, it turns out, an entirely plausible and credible explanation--nonetheless met with a chorus of public criticism and skepticism. Coming as it did barely a year after China shot down one of its satellites with a missile, in what struck many observers as an obvious antisatellite weapon demonstration, the U.S. shootdown was widely, but I believe incorrectly, seen as a response to that event."

JSC Closing for Edouard

Editor's 12:34 pm EDT note: Word has it from JSC employees that the center is closing at noon and that it will be closed tomorrow as well due to the impending arrival of tropical storm Edouard. However, the JSC Center Status website has not been updated to reflect that - yet.

Editor's 1:32 pm EDT update: NASA JSC Center Closing Announcement

"JSC will close at noon today (except for those employees completing critical closure activities in advance of Tropical Storm Edouard). The center will remain closed tomorrow, Aug. 5, and will resume normal operations on Wednesday, Aug. 6. Employees should be off site by 5 p.m. today."

Falcon 1 Launch Anomaly

SpaceX Sets August 2 for Falcon 1 launch

"Space Exploration Technologies Corp. (SpaceX) has scheduled the launch of the Falcon 1 Flight 3 mission for Saturday, August 2nd. The launch window will open at 4:00 p.m. (PDT) / 7:00 p.m. (EDT) and remain open for five hours. If launch is delayed for any reason, SpaceX has range availability to resume countdown through August 5. Lift-off of the vehicle will occur from SpaceX's Falcon 1 launch site at the Kwajalein Atoll, about 2500 miles southwest of Hawaii."

Editor's note: Check here for SpaceX updates. You can also follow the PreSat and NanoSailD (payload) Twitter feeds for more information.

LIVE WEBCAST

Editor's update: SpaceX update: "Launch control says that there has been an anomaly on the vehicle". (see this link for more info)


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