News: June 2009 Archives

Keith's 23 June note: From what I have been able to piece together, there is interest in Congress to get to to confirmation hearings for Charlie Bolden and Lori Garver right after the 4th of July (7 and 8 July are dates in play) with the intent that there will be a confirmation vote before the Apollo 11 anniversary. Stay tuned.

Keith's 30 June note: The Senate confirmation hearing will be held on 8 July.

What Would Wernher Do?

NASA Solicitation: Request for Information Regarding The Weekly Notes of Dr. Wernher Von Braun

"The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) has a full collection of Dr. Wernher von Braun's "Weekly Notes," written during the 1960s and 1970s. Dr. Von Braun was the first director of the Marshall Space Flight Center (MSFC), and is considered a key figure in the development of the Saturn V rocket and NASA's Apollo program. These notes were used to track programmatic and institutional issues at MSFC, and are considered by many historians to be a valuable source of historical data."

Keith's note: Have a look at this example: imagine if there was a NASA Watch back then .... not much seems to have changed in the HQ/field center relationship.

Sample document below

Frank's note: I'd suggest readers who are still outraged over Von Braun's Nazi past point their fingers instead at Uncle Sam. The federal government surely knew all about WVB's political activities and did their best to cover it all up while he was of use to the U.S. Army-and then NASA's-rocket development programs. It is true he was a flawed giant-so was Kennedy-but his engineering and management talents made a lunar landing in the 1960s possible. If we accept the good that people do we must also acept their human frailties and ethical lapses, for the two are inseparable. He and only he alone is answerable for the slave labor atrocities and other crimes to which he looked the other way. Celebrating his genius does not ignore his other failings, for all of us in one degree or another are human.

President faces a Kennedy decision on space, MSNBC

"President Bush gathered the best minds and experts of the day and told them to get started. "It'll be cheaper to modify an unmanned rocket like the Atlas 5 or Delta 4," said one. "Right," agreed another, but they soon found the Atlas 5 and the Delta 4 didn't have the power. They would have to be beefed up. It was back to the drawing board, and the drawing board kept pointing them back to Apollo, to the kind of system the Russians had been flying successfully for five decades."

Keith's note: Um, when exactly did this meeting happen, Jay? Where? When? Where do I start. You are some confused on some things, dead wrong on others, and you recall things that never actually happened. Get a fact checker next time.

Space Talk Program Set to launch on Air and Online June 20

"Space Talk," a new one-hour radio program dedicated to the topic of America's space program, will begin broadcasting June 20 from the studios of WMMBAM on Florida's Space Coast. The live, weekly program will be hosted by veteran aerospace writer and commentator Jim Banke, owner and president of MILA Solutions, LLC. .. Interactivity will be a key feature of the program, which will be streamed live on the Internet and recorded for download as a Podcast - both available at Audience members from around the nation will be invited to call in to the program at 321-768-1240, send e-mail to, or interact via Twitter at"

Augustine Round 1

NASA heads to moon as panel weighs its future, Reuters

"At the meeting, United Launch Alliance, a Boeing and Lockheed Martin joint venture that markets the unmanned Atlas and Delta rockets, pitched an upgraded version of its rockets to replace NASA's planned Ares booster, an option a NASA-backed study found to be less expensive. But the consultancy that prepared the study cautioned that would only be cheaper if NASA dropped plans for a second Ares rocket, a heavy-lifter that could carry cargo to the moon."

Review Panel Hears Rival Plans for New Spaceflights

"In dueling PowerPoint presentations before the 10-member panel, appointed by the Obama administration in April, NASA officials defended their progress in developing the next generation of rockets, while challengers said that they could do the job more quickly and less expensively."

NASA budget 'too small for return to Moon', AFP

"NASA simply can't do the job it's been given - the President's goal of being on the moon by 2020,'' Mr Nelson told the first public meeting of the Review of US Human Space Flight Plans Committee in Washington."

Review panel hears competing proposals to replace space shuttle, Orlando Sentinel

"Elon Musk, who runs the rocket company SpaceX, suggested NASA turn over more work to private business. SpaceX is under contract to build a rocket that can haul cargo - and could take humans - to the space station. "If commercial companies handle low-Earth orbit then NASA [can] handle the stuff beyond low-Earth orbit" such as the moon and Mars, Musk said."

Agenda Released for U.S. Human Space Flight Plans Meeting

"The first public meeting of the Review of U.S. Human Space Flight Plans Committee will be held from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. EDT on Wednesday, June 17, at the Carnegie Institute, located at 1530 P Street NW in Washington. The meeting will take place in the auditorium and is open to the public. No pre-registration is required."

Agenda packed for NASA meeting, Huntsville Times

"The committee is headed by aerospace veteran Norman Augustine. It's a lot to cover in one day, said Keith Cowing, who runs the independent Web site "You look at most of these commissions when they are put together, and it is 90 days of this and that in meetings and reviews, and then another two months of formulation," Cowing said Tuesday. "This is indeed a front-loaded review." The report has an August deadline."

@NASA_HSF: "We will be live-tweeting tomorrow's public meeting. Looking forward to interacting with everyone."

Make the most of NASA Glenn visitors center, wherever it may land, opinion, Cleveland Plain Dealer

"Moving the visitors center would help meet NASA's requirement that Glenn cut $500,000 a year from its public affairs programs and would put information about what's going on at Glenn where people could see it more easily, in a public setting where security isn't the first priority."

Keith's note: Sources report that Sen. Sherrod Brown is the moving force behind closing the visitor's center at GRC and moving its contents to the Great Lakes Science Center - a project he has been working to build up.

Bolden Makes The Rounds

Bolden, Hutchison meet to discuss NASA, AP

"It appears as though the confirmation process for General Charles Bolden as the head of NASA is headed in the right direction. The former astronaut and ABC 13 space consultant was in Washington today to meet with prominent U.S. Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison."

Sen. DeMint meets with NASA nominee, Columbia native, WIS

"Wednesday U.S. Senator Jim DeMint met with Columbia native Major General Charles F. Bolden, Jr. to discuss his recent nomination by President Obama to become NASA Administrator."

Sen. Richard Shelby: Obama pick for top NASA job is capable, Huntsville Times

"I look forward to meeting with him and working with him. The confirmation process will have to take place, and I'm not making any predictions or judgments, but (Bolden) certainly is a capable man and has the qualifications. We'll have to see what the Senate thinks and move from there," Shelby, R-Tuscaloosa, said shortly after a building dedication at Marshall Space Flight Center.

Nominees for the Space Agency, editorial, NY Times

"Unfortunately, General Bolden lacks deep expertise in space science and engineering and his past ties with the aerospace industry will raise conflict of interest problems."

Blog response to May 28 New York Times Editorial by Coalition Advisory Board Member Fred Gregory, Coalition for Space Exploration

"I was disappointed to see a recent New York Times editorial (May 28, "Nominees for the Space Agency") that questioned President Obama's selection of Charles Bolden, Jr. and Lori Garver as NASA's top leaders. Both Bolden, a former astronaut and retired Marine general, and Garver, a NASA policy specialist, have proven their abilities to lead. The real question is whether they will have the necessary resources to address the tough work of transitioning from the space shuttle to Constellation, the next generation of spaceflight vehicles to the moon and beyond."

Keith's note: Check out NASA's Space Your Face feature.

Specifically, this video wherein Chris Scolese busts some moves on the lunar surface. It only took me a few seconds to make this.

Who knew he was such a dancing machine?

NASA Solicitation: Purchase of Billboard Advertising Space

"NASA/GRC has a requirement for the purchase of advertising space on billboard #222 located at Rt. 237 n/o Snow Road, Cleveland, OH. The advertising is scheduled to start the week of May 18, 2009 and will remain on display for one (1) year. NASA/GRC intends to purchase this item from Clear Channel Outdoor, Inc. 12222 Plaza Dr, Cleveland, OH. This company owns the billboard and any advertising space must be purchased from them."

Group favors moving museum from NASA center to downtown, Cleveland Plain Dealer

"The Greater Cleveland Partnership's support of the move is important because it has been an ardent backer of NASA Glenn programs. Not enough folks know what goes on at NASA Glenn and its Plum Brook testing facility near Sandusky, Roman said. Bringing the NASA brand and attractions downtown would be a boon to the space agency and the science center, he said."

Keith's note: Hey wait a minute: what ever happened to all of those scary warnings that NASA is not allowed to advertise? Releasing a formal government solicitation notice seeking to purchase advertising on a large billboard would seem to fly in the face of that (supposed) advertising prohibition.

Marc's note: In our poll last week on the new name of the Mars Science Laboratory rover we asked "Do you approve of the new name, Curiosity, for the Mars Science Laboratory rover?" 372 NASA Watch readers voted and the majority, 55%, were not in favor of the new name. I think of all the comments we received the one that resonates the most with me if that whatever the name of the rover, let's just hope it lands safely and can do its mission.

NASA: Thoughts on New Beginnings, Beth Beck

"With former Astronaut Charlie Bolden poised to take the helm at NASA, and Lori Garver as Deputy, I dusted off a letter of mine published in SpaceNews, January 21, 2002. Much of it still applies. I offer a partial reprint:

NASA exists as a paradox, a quandary, a political dilemma.

Unparalleled in the federal government, NASA's mission is bounded only by the expanses of the heavens and limited only by the human imagination. Our inability to consistently communicate the wonder and magic of space to decision-makers who hold our purse strings stifles our progress. NASA personifies the innate, never-say-die human spirit that conquers barriers and pushes beyond limitations. NASA ignites the spark that flames the human desire to improve, to learn, to grow. NASA embodies the pursuit of knowledge in unexplored regions of the universe, as well as the universe of the mind."

Yes, I'm Back

Keith's note: I got back from Nepal a few days ago. After 6 weeks in the Himalayas, I am deeply tanned from the neck up (and wrists out) and I am 21 pounds lighter. I am still adjusting to the thick atmosphere you folks enjoy at sea level (my lungs are a little clogged right now). I am also readjusting to the concept of walking on flat ground in something other than high end mountaineering boots. Of course, there is also all of the non-Nepali, non-Everest Base Camp cuisine to which I am getting reacquainted ...

As for what the whole experience was like: suffice it to say: it was extraordinary - and life altering. Curiously, as my friend Scott was making his summit bid - his moon walk, if you will - only a few miles away from me, I felt like Mike Collins must have felt during Apollo 11: so very close - yet (still) so far. But I certainly had the best seat in the solar system!

NASA Notice (09-045) Review of U.S. Human Space Flight Plans Committee; Meeting, NASA

"DATES: Wednesday, June 17, 2009, 9 a.m. - 5 p.m.."

Editor's note: We don't have the official list of panel members but we do have the first meeting date set and the meeting will be open to the public.

NASA's Management of Ares I Human-Rating Requirements (Report No. IG-09-016; Assignment No. A-09-003-00)

"The Office of Inspector General conducted a review to evaluate the management of the human-rating requirements for the Ares I Project. Specifically, our objectives were to determine whether NASA had adequately developed the human-rating requirements and incorporated them into the program and project plans."

NASA's Processes for Providing Personal Identity Verification Cards Were Not Completely Effective in Meeting Federal Requirements

"As of January 9, 2009, NASA had issued more than 70,000 PIV cards to staff and contractors, more than 98 percent of the PIV cards NASA planned to issue, from a PIV card issuer that had not been accredited because NASA did not fully comply with Federal guidance."

Addendum to Final Memorandum on Audit of the Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy (SOFIA) Program Management Effectiveness (Report No. IG-09-013, March 27, 2009)

"We requested additional comments from the Associate Administrator for the Science Mission Directorate on two recommendations in the subject final memorandum because management comments were not fully responsive. One recommendation involved fully implementing an Earned Value Management System and the other recommendation was to ensure that contractor cost control performance is explicitly communicated in future evaluations."



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