News: January 2010 Archives

NASA's First ebook

"X-15: Extending the Frontiers of Flight" by Dennis R. Jenkins

"The X-15 was the ultimate "X" vehicle. Built in the 1950s, she became the fastest and highest-flying winged aircraft of its time. During 199 flights from 1959 through 1968, she collected data about hypersonic flight that was invaluable to aeronautics and to developers of the space shuttle. This book describes the genesis of the program, the design and construction of the aircraft, years of research flights and the experiments that flew aboard them."

Download the eBook

PETA to hold protest at NASA Ames against monkey experiment, SJ Mercury News

"Six demonstrators plan to be in front of NASA Ames' main gates at noon today, carrying signs that read "No Tax $ for Animal Abuse" and "Stop Radiation Tests on Monkeys," according to a PETA statement."

NASA Day of Remembrance at Kennedy Space Center Jan. 29, NASA

"NASA's Kennedy Space Center, Fla., will pay tribute to the crews of Apollo 1 and space shuttles Challenger and Columbia, as well as other NASA colleagues, during the agency's Day of Remembrance observance on Friday, Jan. 29."

Israel and NASA

'An Israeli Astronaut? There May be No More Astronauts At All!', Arutz Sheva

"NASA Administrator Charles Bolden spoke with the press at the Ilan Ramon International Space Conference. Bolden related to a number of exciting topics in the field of space and beyond. In the following video the NASA Chief discusses the option of sending another Israeli astronaut into space, the mission of saving the planet from asteroids, and commercial flights to the moon."

NASA Adds Israeli Technical Expertise to Lunar Science Research at Ames

"NASA and the Israel Space Agency have signed a joint statement that recognizes the Israel Network for Lunar Science and Exploration, or INLSE, as an affiliate partner with the NASA Lunar Science Institute at the agency's Ames Research Center in Moffett Field, Calif."

Now A Stationary Research Platform, NASA's Mars Rover Spirit Starts a New Chapter in Red Planet Scientific Studies, NASA

"After six years of unprecedented exploration of the Red Planet, NASA's Mars Exploration Rover Spirit no longer will be a fully mobile robot."

Marc's note: After all these years Spirit keeps on giving. Good news in an otherwise difficult time for NASA.

Culture Change at NASA, Wayne Hale's Blog

"According to the creation myth, in the beginning, NASA was full of young, cocky, innovative, hard charging folks who got us to the moon inside a decade. They were brash, confident, and did not suffer fools gladly. If they were worried, they didn't show it. Stories abound of 100+ hour work weeks end to end, almost impossible to believe. Their theme -as posted on the factory walls - was 'waste anything but time'. Going to the moon was the clich for doing the impossible and they were going to be the ones to do it. They were the epitome of risk-taking, innovative, creative, flexible, nimble, achievers."

Commercial Spaceflight Federation Responds to the Aerospace Safety Advisory Panel's Report, Commercial Spaceflight Federation

"Despite the ASAP Report's contention that commercial vehicles are "nothing more than unsubstantiated claims," the demonstrated track records of commercial vehicles and numerous upcoming manifested cargo flights ensure that no astronaut will fly on a commercial vehicle that lacks a long, proven track record. The Atlas V, for example, has a record of 19 consecutive successful launches and the Atlas family of rockets has had over 90 consecutive successes, and dozens of flights of the Atlas, Taurus, and Falcon vehicles are scheduled to occur before 2014 in addition to successful flights already completed."."

Aerospace Safety Advisory Panel Releases Annual Report (PDF)

"The panel's report provides a summary of key safety-related issues the agency confronts at this time," ASAP Chairman Joseph W. Dyer said. "The most important relate to the future of the nation's human spaceflight program. Critical safety issues the panel reviewed include human rating requirements for potential commercial and international entities, extension of the shuttle beyond the current manifest, the workforce transition from the shuttle to the follow-on program, the need for candid public communications about the risks of human spaceflight, and more aggressive use of robots to reduce the risk of human exploration."

Musk refutes report slamming safety standards, Spaceflight Now

"A commercial space pioneer and a former astronaut are answering claims by an independent advisory panel that private companies do not meet NASA human-rating standards and last year's presidential review of the space program did not adequately consider safety.

In an annual report released Friday, the Aerospace Safety Advisory Panel, or ASAP, said it would be "unwise" to abandon NASA's Ares 1 rocket and turn to private companies to transport astronauts to low Earth orbit. The board said potential commercial crew transportation providers do not meet NASA safety standards for piloted vehicles."

Control Spending Now Act: Sacrificing NASA's Long-Term Effectiveness for Political Expediency, Ian Malone for NASA Watch

As the nation looks for ways to cut out-of-control spending, one senator in particular has proposed a measure that will have a negative impact on the future of manned spaceflight. Senator Russ Feingold, (D-Wis.), has proposed the Control Spending Now Act which would cause the plans to return astronauts to the moon to be delayed by some five years.

Participatory Journalism

Keith's note: NASA AA for Public Affairs Morrie Goodman is an old school, traditional media type. He does not like the way I report things (OK, so who does?). But he also does not like the way that the NASA Advisory Council has been incorporated and wants to get at least one member removed due to their journalism background. So ... I sent him this email:

"Hmm .... Sanjay Gupta - in Haiti as a "journalist" for CNN - ended up doing emergency neurosurgery on "a Haitian victim on a Navy aircraft carrier - in front of the cameras. CNN "journalist" Anderson Cooper grabbed some poor kid covered in blood that a mob was trying to kill - and saved his life - in front of the cameras. As a 4th estate purist, I wonder what your take would be on this? I would guess that you'd say that Sanjay and Anderson should have just stood by and let things happen - while the cameras rolled. Journalists do not "participate" in things, right?. Nor are they human, right? How 20th century. Any response will be posted verbatim on NASAWatch."

Newsman becomes newsmaker, Nature

"There is some conflict between these correspondents' dual roles. Not intervening in a story is a central tenet in journalism, but as doctors, these individuals are compelled to attend the sick and injured when they can help. ... Even at NASAwatch Keith Cowing baits a NASA public affairs administrator who Cowing says takes a hard line on non-interventionist journalism."

"Miles O'Brien and "This Week in Space" are back for their first show of 2010. In this episode: the space nation awaits direction from President Obama, Endeavour gets ready to deliver a room with a view, how an abandoned McDonald's is being used to restore closeups of the Moon, a space telescope finds new planets, plus an interview with Hubble-Hugger-In-Chief John Grunsfeld. You also can subscribe for free to watch episodes from iTunes."

Also featured is the return of Moon rocks and Everest rocks by Scott Parazynski to NASA for placement inside Node 3 on the ISS.

Keith's update: here is our BGAN in operation in Haiti.

Keith's note: Earlier today I had a telecon with Miles O'Brien and David Waters. You have seen them both (along with Leroy Chiao) on's shuttle launch webcasts. David is headed for Haiti on Saturday - and he is taking the HNS9201 BGAN satellite phone (image below) that Scott Parazynski and I took to Mt. Everest last year. I will be giving David a quick intro on BGAN ops in remote locations tomorrow morning.

Embracing Reality

Keith's note: Twitter has some 18 million active users. We've already seen how Twitter has started to alter how news and ideas are spread - instantaneously - with major TV networks scrambling to pay attention. To its credit, NASA was an early adopter and now makes remarkable use of Twitter - and is learning fast how to use other social networking tools. Twitter is paying attention - hence this banner - one that appears with regularity on Twitter.

Alas, while NASA has pushed the envelope with regard to social media, its Assistant Administrator for Public Affairs at NASA Headquarters, Morrie Goodman, has (privately) expressed deep skepticism with regard to the value of these tools. Is Morrie offering a reality check, or reaffirming the status quo of ideas and paradigms that are no longer relevant?

What is it that Twitter sees in NASA - that NASA does not see in Twitter?

Keith's 11 Jan update: Morrie Goodman does not agree with what I have posted. If/when he sends me a formal response, I will be happy to post it - verbatim.

Keith's 14 Jan update: Still waiting for Morrie Goodman's comments.



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This page is an archive of entries in the News category from January 2010.

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