News: November 2009 Archives

Kiwis In Space

Rocket Lab Primed to Launch New Zealand's First Rocket Into Space

"Private aerospace company Rocket Lab is preparing for a historic first launch into space from New Zealand. One of the company's key aims it to make space more accessible to a broader market. As part of the first launch Rocket Lab is auctioning a small amount of payload space on Trade Me for New Zealanders and on eBay for the international market, with the successful bidders securing VIP positions at the launch."

Keith's note: Updates from @rocketlabnz: "A successful launch! Lift off at 2.28pm and an exemplary 22 second burn. The team are ecstatic! NZ, thank you for all your support!"

Launch video

In Search of a Real Spaceship, Buzz Aldrin, The Huffington Post

"Imagine this scenario: you are a tourist coming home from a special vacation jaunt. Or maybe you're a researcher headed home from an assignment at a national laboratory. But instead of a nice gentle landing at an airport, you plunge into the cold waters of the Atlantic Ocean, bobbing about like a cork on a fishing line. Instead of a leisurely stroll to the airport concourse, you have to wait to be fished out of the drink by the U.S. navy."

sts129_landing.jpgSpace Shutte Atlantis Lands in Florida, NASA (With Video)

"Space shuttle Atlantis and its crew of seven astronauts ended an 11-day journey of nearly 4.5 million miles with a 9:44 a.m. EST landing Friday at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

The mission, designated STS-129, included three spacewalks and the installation of two platforms to the International Space Station's truss, or backbone. The platforms hold large spare parts to sustain station operations after the shuttles are retired. The shuttle crew delivered about 30,000 pounds of replacement parts for systems that provide power to the station, keep it from overheating, and maintain a proper orientation in space."

NASA Managers Congratulate the STS-129 Mission Crew, NASA

"During a post-landing press conference held at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida, Bill Gerstenmaier, associate administrator for Space Operations said, "This has just been an amazing mission. On-time launch, on-time landing ... just a phenomenal team effort across the board."

STS-129 Post-landing Crew Conference, NASA

"Hobaugh proudly introduced his crew and the tasks each member was responsible for. He mentioned Mission Specialist Randy Bresnik was not present at the briefing because he flew home to be with his wife and new baby girl, born while he was still on orbit."

Marc's note: Freelance science journalist and author Dana Mackenzie attended the recent Annual Meeting of the Lunar Exploration Analysis Group (LEAG). He wrote on his personal blog a two part report on the meeting. I think it's worth a read.

LEAG Conference, part 1, Dana Mackenzie
LEAG Conference, part 2, Dana Mackenzie

"The big theme of the meeting was sustainability: How do we go back to the moon in such a way that we can keep on going there indefinitely? Many, though not all, of the participants interpreted that question to mean: How can we make the moon economically viable? Of course, the LCROSS mission has a great deal to say about that."

Lunch with NASA Administrator Charles Bolden, Jr.

"Dec 9, 2009 11:30 am - 1:30 pm"

Keith's note: Looks like you have to pay $70 to hear Charlie Bolden speak. Word has it that he is going to use this venue to make some major announcements regarding NASA. Given that most people cannot afford a $70 lunch or work at a NASA center hundreds or thousands of miles away, I wonder: will NASA PAO record and broadcast his comments for the rest of us to hear? All it takes is a laptop and a webcam. Stay tuned.

NASA LaRC Internal Email: The 'Langley Story'

"Today I am announcing a major external communications initiative we've titled "Telling the Langley Story." This center-wide activity will help us develop a new, more compelling method to talk about our work, the role we play in NASA and our contributions to the public good. We've found that people outside our gates from the general public to policy makers to the next-generation workforce don't really understand who we are or what we do. Why? One, we don't always tell them in terms they understand and, two, we often don't tell them how what we do benefits them directly. We want to change that."

Keith's note: Interesting idea - but wouldn't it be nice if this was coordinated with HQ and that a similar survey used across all field centers so that you ask the right questions, get the right answers, and be able to understand the agency's issues as a whole? One should not squash the initiative to do this - but based on my conversations with folks at LaRC and elsewhere at NASA this is part of a knee jerk reaction to criticism about how TEDxNASA was operated - good and bad.

NASA STS-129 Tweetup Success

NASA STS-129 tweetup Group Photo
NASA Hosts STS-129 Launch Tweetup, SpaceRef Canada

"With a golden flash, space shuttle Atlantis punched through the first cloud hanging between the pad and her destination in Earth orbit.

"Climb that hill, baby!" shouted Gene Mikula (@genejm29), a technical writer from New Jersey, as he watched the plume of steam spread underneath Atlantis' engines."

Please post comments on Spaceref Canada. Your NASA Watch account will work throughout the SpaceRef Network for commenting.

PETA Calls On Space Agency to Ground Cruel and Wasteful Tests and Use 21st Century Research Methods Instead, PeTA

"Wearing monkey masks while locked inside small cages and holding signs that read, "No Tax $ for Animal Abuse," and "Stop Radiation Tests on Monkeys," six PETA members will lead a protest outside the headquarters of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)"

When: Thursday, November 19, 11 a.m.
Where: Outside NASA headquarters, 300 E St. S.W. (at the intersection of E Street S.W. and Third Street S.W.), Washington"

Keith's 17 Nov update: I just got the press release via NASA LaRC's official email distribution list - it was sent out at 9:26 am EST. I am a little baffled as to why a press release first issued only via PR Newswire 4 days ago on 13 November only gets delivered to NASA LaRC's official distribution list 4 days later - and only 3 days before the event itself - announcing that tickets are available "starting Saturday, Nov. 14" i.e. 3 days ago. Oh yes, tickets will not be available after 5 pm today - no mention of that either. And no mention whatsoever is made in the release of the fact that the event will be webcast live. One could easily get the impression that LaRC PAO is not especially interested in this event.

Keith's 17 Nov update: Someone just sent me the final TEDxNASA program and I have posted it here.

NASA on a crusade to debunk 2012 apocalypse myths, AFP

"The world is not coming to an end on December 21, 2012, the US space agency insisted Monday in a rare campaign to dispel widespread rumors fuelled by the Internet and a new Hollywood movie. ... Some websites accuse NASA of concealing the truth on the wayward planet's existence, but the US space agency denounced such stories as an "Internet hoax."

The world won't end in 2012, NASA argues, DVICE

"NASA is interested in particular with Nibiru -- also known as Planet X, a fabled celestial object that "2012" addresses -- which some believe may collide with or pass nearby the Earth, ending life as we know it."

Review: Roland Emmerich's '2012' as massively entertaining as it is stupid, St. Petersburg Times

"Director Roland Emmerich slaps an exclamation point on disaster movies with 2012, a movie as massively entertaining as it is stupid. It's the first time I ever felt like I was witnessing the end of not only the world but also a genre."

TEDxNASA: Details Revealed

Keith's note: Over the weekend I sent several additional requests to the organizers of TEDxNASA and LaRC PAO Up until now no one from the conference or LaRC has provided any information whatsoever on this NASA-sponsored event. Last night, Steve Craft, Deputy Director for Strategic Planning in the NASA LaRC Strategic Relationships Office provided a detailed response to my questions/concerns. Meanwhile, I have yet to hear a single thing from LaRC PAO on this event. Also, for the record, Steve provided me with a ticket to the event. I think I will be able to attend. If their LiveStream (or other webstreaming) intent materializes, I will feature it on NASA Watch.

His response to me follows:


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