News: December 2009 Archives

Holiday Schedule

Marc's note: NASA Watch will be updating only on a limited basis until next Monday at which time we will resume our normal schedule until New Year's Eve.

From New Year's Eve until Monday, January 5th we will once again only be publishing on a limited basis.

We wish everyone the best during this holiday season and please do be careful during your travels!

Happy Holiday's

Predictions and Wishes, Wayne Hale's Blog

"Sir Arthur C. Clarke Law"

"When a distinguished but elderly scientist states that something is possible, he is almost certainly right. When he states that something is impossible, he is very probably wrong."

Stan Lebar has Passed Away

Passing of Stan Lebar, NASA Goddard

"Stan Lebar, who led the Westinghouse Electric Corporation team that developed the lunar camera that brought the televised news images of Neil Armstrong stepping onto the moon to more than 500 million people on earth, died on Tuesday, Dec. 22, 2009."

"During his long and distinguished career, other camera programs he managed for NASA included the Apollo Color TV Cameras, the Skylab series of TV cameras, and the TV cameras for the Apollo-Soyuz Test Program (ASTP)."

Snowstorm Hits the U.S. East Coast, NASA Earth Observatory

"A powerful nor'easter ensured that the Mid-Atlantic and Northeastern United States were cloaked in white on the first day of Northern Hemisphere winter in 2009. This image from the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA's Terra satellite shows the Chesapeake Bay area on December 21."

Marc's note: A great image from the Terra satellite. Normally Keith would be somewhere in that picture but alas he too has fallen victim to this storm as he tried to return from Denver to his home in Virginia yesterday. And none too please he was with United Airlines. Last word was that he had made it to Fayetteville, Arkansas and they might be sending him onward to Chicago then perhaps back to Dulles today. But you never know...

Marc's update: Keith made it to Chicago and should be headed to DCA sometime today.

Marc's update: Keith made it back.

Communicating Climate Change, NASA Blog, Patrick Lynch - NASA's Earth Science News Team

"Rigor. Not rigor mortis.

Those are two basic tenets of talking to the public about global warming, offered by Mark Serreze, director of the National Snow and Ice Data Center. He spoke at a Thursday morning session on "communicating climate" at the American Geophysical Union's fall meeting in San Francisco."

Soyuz TMA-17 Launches

Crew Lifts Off From Kazakhstan to Begin Science and Construction Work Aboard the International Space Station, NASA (with video)

"NASA astronaut T.J. Creamer, Russian cosmonaut Oleg Kotov and Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency astronaut Soichi Noguchi safely launched aboard a Soyuz spacecraft to the International Space Station on Sunday. Liftoff occurred at 3:52 p.m. CST from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan."

Keith's note: This Week in Space With Miles O'Brien is now online. Leroy Chiao, Ken Bowersox, and Mike Griffin are guests.

Obama Backs New Launcher and Bigger NASA Budget, Science Insider

"President Barack Obama will ask Congress next year to fund a new heavy-lift launcher to take humans to the Moon, asteroids, and the moons of Mars, ScienceInsider has learned. The president chose the new direction for the U.S. human space flight program Wednesday at a White House meeting with NASA Administrator Charles Bolden, according to officials familiar with the discussion. NASA would receive an additional $1 billion in 2011 both to get the new launcher on track and to bolster the agency's fleet of robotic Earth-monitoring spacecraft."

Obama meeting with NASA chief yields few details so far, Orlando Sentinel

"Among the things Bolden told lawmakers and Congressional staff was that the White House was now favoring a $1 billion top line increase to NASA's budget in 2011. This would be far better than the 5 percent cut that all agencies, including NASA, were asked by the White House to prepare, but difficult to secure given the deficit-cutting mindset in Congress now."

South Korean Space Center Selects XCOR's Lynx for Suborbital Operations, XCOR

"The Yecheon Astro Space Center announced today that it has selected XCOR Aerospace as its preferred supplier of suborbital space launch services. Operating under a wet lease model, XCOR intends to supply services to the Center using the Lynx Mark II suborbital vehicle, pending United States government approvals to station the vehicle in the Republic of Korea."

Keith's 15 Dec note: All of NASA's field center directors met today in a closed door session in one of the Administrator's Conference Rooms on the 9th floor of NASA HQ. In addition to all of the center directors who were seated around the table, a dozen or so staffers stood around the periphery of the room. Their collective task was to work out and then agree upon a new governance structure for the agency - one that would best implement the new (revised) direction that the White House is providing to NASA. There are apparently 5 or so specific areas that the agency will be re-organizing itself to implement. As such, there may be a recasting of the "directorate" model in favor of "divisions". All of the participants were sworn to secrecy and were not going to be leaving the room until a new governance model was agreed to. What did they decide upon? Stay tuned.

Keith's 16 Dec update: Well, despite best intentions, nothing final was worked out in terms of a revised governance structure - but progress was made. This activity will pick up again in earnest after the holidays.

Freeing The Data

OSTP to Launch Public Forum to Discuss Options for Improving Public Access to Results of Federally Funded Research, OSTP

The Office of Science and Technology Policy in the Executive Office of the President and the White House Open Government Initiative is launching a "Public Access Policy Forum" to invite public participation in thinking through what the Federal government's policy should be with regard to public access to published federally-funded research results. To that end, OSTP will conduct an interactive, online discussion beginning Thursday, December 10. We will focus on three major areas of interest...

Keith's note: The USAF claims "its not science fiction". So, of course I believe them. Wow, who knew! The USAF has mega comsat battlestars in orbit, their ops personnel wear sleek imperial empire costumes, and they even use the metric system too! Yet when NASA tries to do some harmless education and public outreach, Congress cuts their PAO budget and prohibits them from "lobbying". Sheesh.

But wait - there's more (below)

NASA Diver Insists Tale Of Porn-Watching Muslim Hijackers Is True, Despite Discrepancies

"There's one other wrinkle to the story: Petruna sent the e-mail out from an account marked "Petruna, Tedd J. (JSC-DX12)[RAYTHEON TECHNICAL SERVICES COMPANY]." Raytheon partners with NASA on the Neutral Buoyancy Lab, where Petruna is a diver. And Petruna told us he works for Raytheon as well as NASA. But Raytheon spokesman Jon Kasle tells TPMmuckraker, "This individual is not a Raytheon employee." Kasle says he's not sure why Raytheon's name is on Petruna's e-mail account, and declined to comment on whether the company is looking into the matter."

AirTran 297- Anatomy of an Urban Legend, AirTran

Keith's note: I really am not sure what to make of this story - but if you go to there is a "Petruna, Theodore John" with an email address of tedd.j.petruna -at - and the organizational code JSC-DX12 is what is used for the Neutral Buoyancy Lab at JSC i.e.

NASA Watch is now on Kindle

Keith's note: NASA Watch is now available on Kindle. According to "Kindle Blogs are auto-delivered wirelessly to your Kindle and updated throughout the day so you can stay current. It's risk free--all Kindle Blog subscriptions start with a 14-day free trial. You can cancel at any time during the free trial period. If you enjoy your subscription, do nothing and it will automatically continue at the regular monthly price. Don't have a Kindle? Get yours here."

You can subscribe to NASA Watch on Kindle here.

soyuz_landing_113009.jpgSoyuz Leaves International Space Station and Lands Safely in Kazakhstan, SpaceRef Canada (With Video)

"Canadian Space Agency Flight Engineer Robert Thirsk, Expedition 21 Flight Engineer and Soyuz Commander Roman Romanenko and European Space Agency Flight Engineer Frank De Winne undocked their Soyuz spacecraft from the station at 10:56 p.m. EST Monday and landed in Kazakhstan at 2:15 a.m. Tuesday, 1:15 p.m. local Kazakhstan time. The Soyuz spacecraft landed upright which helped the search and recovery teams extract the astronauts."



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This page is an archive of entries in the News category from December 2009.

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