News: September 2008 Archives

NASA GSFC Solicitation: Development of a Pilot for a Public Television Show Highlighting the Goddard Space Flight Center

"NASA/GSFC has a requirement for the production and development of a pilot episode for a publicly aired television show highlighting the Goddard Space Flight Center. NASA/GSFC intends to purchase the items/service from Maryland Public Television (MPT), pursuant to FAR 13.106, for the acquisition of supplies or services determined to be reasonably available from only one source. MPT has previous experience with producing segments cooperatively with government agencies, including NASA."

Editor's 25 Sep note: Its amazing how Maryland Public Television is the only source - anywhere - that can do something like this. I wonder what the theme of this GSFC reality show will be? How will they pick the contestants? Will Barbara Mikulski make a guest appearance as a celebrity judge? How about self-promoting NASA Administrator candidate Ed Weiler? Maybe Marsha Ivins could be a creative consultant.

Editor's 30 Sep update: Modification: "This is a modification to the synopsis entitled "Development of a Pilot for a Public Television Show Highlighting the Goddard Space Flight Center" which was posted on 9/25/2008. You are notified that the following changes are made: This solicitation has been cancelled."

NASA Internal email: Proposal by NASA Astronaut Marsha Ivins for a TV Special on Project Constellation and Exploration, earlier post

NASA @50

Has NASA Lost the Right Stuff?, AP

"The signs of a midlife crisis are there: A 50th birthday approaching; a longing for the glory days of youth; a hankering to dump the aging partner of 27 years; and a costly flirtation with a new young thing. This isn't some balding businessman in a sports car. It's NASA. The shuttle has kept NASA going to the same place over and over, circling the Earth 18,449 times since 1981. For much of that time, NASA's mission has been to build the international space station, a place to do research and to learn how to live in space.

Wayne Hale does WaPo

NASA at 50 - Wayne Hale Deputy Associate Administrator, NASA, Thursday, September 25, 2008; 11:00 AM

"Wayne Hale, deputy associate administrator for NASA, and Washington Post staff writer Marc Kaufman will be online to discuss the future of NASA, as the U.S. space agency celebrates its 50th anniversary. Submit a question or comment now or during the discussion."

Editor's note: Interesting how NASA keeps saying that this is not a NASA event, yet the webcast was announced as "NASA's 50th Anniversary gala". Then NASM Director Jack Dailey mentioned the fact that "your" event was being held at the location because of the relationship between "NASA and the Smithsonian". No one from the AIAA has spoken yet. Instead, David Mould, NASA AA for Public Affairs is the master of ceremonies. Leon Harris then took the stage and thanked "the men and women of NASA". Still no mention of AIAA. Now a message from the ISS. All about NASA. No thank you to the AIAA.

Ah, now the AIAA finally speaks 10 minutes into the program.

John Glenn: "NASA - Happy Birthday - no one has said that yet tonight." Many of us pre-date NASA from the NACA days. Speaking of the way that NACA became NASA and how investments in basic R&D helped make America a leader in technology.

Editor's note: Oh no, often-wrong Patti Phillips, the resident NASA apologist at the right wing Washington Examiner is all upset with me again.

Editor's note: If the companies and those they invited really cared about NASA's future - enough to make a personal statement, they'd think twice about who they invite to something extra special like this. Instead, its another excuse for the 50-year-old inside the beltway crowd to have a party in an exclusive location. C'mon - you guys/gals get to do this all the time. Instead of yet another see and be seen event on the social calendar why not think outside the box?

The audience at this event should have been filled with those who made history, those who are making history, and those who will make future history. The number of 60-70 year old attendees should have been balanced with the same number of 5-15 year olds.

And NASA wonders why people cannot connect to it - and vice versa?

Editor's note: And in case you are wondering who the guests of the corporate sponsors of the NASA 50th Anniversary event are, the following is from a database that was used to print out badges for the event. Looks like quite an interesting crowd. But I wonder why NASA would have this information. Oh well, now you do too!

Editor's note: Have a look at the program for this event (below). For an event where NASA supposedly has no sponsorship or endorsement, this thing is bursting at the seams with overt NASA participation - speakers, downlink from space, etc. Look at the folks on NASA's invitation list (also below) who have confirmed that they will attend. All nice people to be certain - but not a single Griffin critic among them. I guess it is "thank you time" for Mike. Oh well. The museum (remember: the code word is "Chantilly") is a truly a spectacular place and everyone will have fun. Too bad NASA PAO cannot webcast the event such that the remaining 99.99% of the taxpaying public can hear and see what is going on.

Editor's update: I stand corrected. This event will be webcast - the media advisory just came out at 11:30 am EDT. This could have been issued some time ago (instead of 24 hrs in advance) - but that would have identified the undisclosed location ("Chantilly") with the risk that taxpayers might have shown up expecting to attend. That said, this is still a NASA-sponsored event no matter what the dislaimers say and attendance via NASA invitation is largely at Mike Griffin's personal discretion.

NASA 50th Anniversary Program Format
National Air and Space Museum
Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center
14390 Air & Space Museum Parkway
Chantilly, VA 20151

Updated: September 19, 2008

5:30:00 p.m. Musical Rehearsal

7:00:00 p.m. Reception Begins

Scientists to use satellites to count kangaroo rats, AP

"Scientists plan to use satellite photos to count Giant Kangaroo Rats, the first-ever monitoring of an endangered species from outer space. Scientists will examine images taken from the same satellite used by Israeli defense forces to find the circular patches of earth denuded by the rats as they gather food around their burrows."

Disruptive Civil Technologies Six Technologies with Potential Impacts on US out to 2025, National Intelligence Council

"To support the development of the National Intelligence Council's Global Trends 2025, SRI Consulting Business Intelligence (SRIC-BI) was asked to identify six potentially disruptive civil or dual use technologies that could emerge in the coming fifteen years (2025). A disruptive technology is defined as a technology with the potential to causes a noticeable-even if temporary- degradation or enhancement in one of the elements of US national power (geopolitical, military, economic, or social cohesion)."

Ike Attacks Houston

NASA's Hurricane pageAdvisory, NOAA
Track, NOAA
JSC Center Status
Twitter feeds to follow: hurricaneike, TrackingIke, chronsciguy, and chronhurricane
Tide Info, NOAA [Tide Levels at Clear Lake]
Map of surge projections - flooded areas, WS Journal
Houston storm damage map, Houston Chronicle
Watch Channel 13 TV live on the web
Damage: Hangars gone for NASA's SuperGuppy (formerly at Ellington) and T-38's (training jets for astronauts), Houston Chronicle
Downed limbs, leaky roofs at NASA, Houston Chronicle

11 September 2001: Bad news from Earth, SpaceRef

"The news from Earth that morning wasn't good. Frank Culbertson would soon find that some of the day's pre-planned routine would be altered.

As soon as he was told of the attacks, Culbertson checked to see when they would be passing over the east coast of the U.S. Discovering that this was only some minutes away, Culbertson grabbed a camera. The window in Mikhail Tyurin's cabin turned out to be the one with the best view."

Larger image of Ground Zero from the ISS

Space-Based Solar Power Breakthrough to Be Announced

"Space solar power could be a clean, renewable solution to America's long-term energy needs. John C. Mankins, former manager of NASA's Exploration Systems Research and Technology Program, and one of the foremost experts on space solar power, will announce on Friday a milestone demonstration of the critical technology enabling SSP: long-distance, solar-powered wireless power transmission. The project demonstrated wireless power transmission between two Hawaiian islands 148 kilometers apart, more than the distance from the surface of Earth to the boundary of space."

Editor's note: According to the NASA TV schedule: "September 12, Friday: 11 a.m. - NASA Update with NASA Administrator Mike Griffin - HQ (Public Channel)"

Editor's update: "NASA Update with the Administrator - Friday, Sept. 12

Administrator Michael Griffin will host a NASA Update on Friday, Sept. 12, at 11 a.m. EDT. The program will be broadcast live from the NASA Headquarters auditorium. NASA employees are invited to view the broadcast on NASA TV or the Web.

During the program, employees will be able to ask questions from NASA Headquarters and participating NASA centers. If you cannot ask your question during the program, you may send it by e-mail to

Please join the administrator for this important NASA Update on Sept. 12 at 11 a.m. EDT."

Use Google Earth To Track All Satellites, On Orbit

According to a post on Slashdot: USSTRATCOM tracks and publishes a list of over 13,000 objects that they currently monitor, including active/retired satellites and debris.

This data is meaningless to most people, but thanks to Analytical Graphics, it has now been made accessible free of charge to anyone with a copy of Google Earth.

NASA OIG: Glenn Research Center Needs to Better Define Roles and Responsibilities for Emergency Response

"The lack of clearly defined roles, responsibilities, and lines of authority for Glenn responders, along with the absence of memorandums of understanding (MOU) with off- site responding organizations, has negatively affected the Center's ability to implement ICS and respond effectively to emergencies. When ICS is not properly implemented during an emergency, the chain of command and lines of communication can become confused, increasing the risk of injury for responders and other personnel, as well as increasing the risk of damage to NASA assets. For at least two of the emergencies that we reviewed, that confusion could have resulted in serious injury to the responders and further damage to Glenn assets."



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