News: May 2010 Archives

Marc's note: In an effort to help advertisers Google has released a list of their top 1000 sites world wide. The list ranks sites based on category, unique visitors, reach and page views. NASA comes in ranked 604. Interestingly Goddard's web site came out tops for NASA subdomains with JPL a distant second. No other dedicated space site made the list including SpaceRef and NASA Watch, surprisingly ;-)

Based on this ranking if NASA decided to allow some advertising on their sites they would be able to cash in on part of the $6.3 billion revenue advertisers spend on internet sites in 2009. In fact they might even be able to fund a Scout or Discovery Class mission each year or better yet start a major scholarship fund and replenish their workforce with new engineers etc. each year.

NASA Releases First-Ever High-Def Footage Of Shuttle Ice Team, NASA (With video)

"NASA has released the first-ever up close, high-definition video of Kennedy Space Center's Final Inspection Team walkdown in the final hours before a space shuttle launch. The footage was shot on May 14 at Kennedy's Launch Pad 39A during the countdown for shuttle Atlantis' STS-132 mission."

Delta IV Launched

Delta 4 Blast Off with Advanced new GPS Satellite Marks 50th Anniversary of Delta Program, Ken Kremer Special to NASA Watch (with video)

"A Delta 4 rocket roared into space on Thursday night (May 27) at 11:00 PM EDT carrying the first in powerful new series of Global Positioning System satellites for the US Air Force. The GPS IIF SV-1 satellite launched from Pad 37 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida and marked the 349th launch in the Delta program's 50 year history."

Inaugural Lunabotics Mining Competition Goes Live With NASA EDGE, NASA

"NASA EDGE, an award-winning agency talk show, will host a live webcast from the Lunabotics Mining Competition at 11 a.m. EDT on May 28 from the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex's Astronaut Hall of Fame."

Background: "The Lunabotics Mining Competition is a university level competition designed to engage and retain students in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM). NASA will directly benefit from the competition by encouraging the development of innovative lunar excavation concepts from universities which may result in clever ideas and solutions that could be applied to an actual lunar excavation device or payload."

Marc's note: Count them, 22 universities competing in this National Space Grant College and Fellowship Program event. Not bad.

Marc's update: Folks, it's not about the moon vs Mars vs asteroids, it's about engaging young people in STEM activities to create a new generation of engineers. If you have time why not watch some of today's competition.

LIVE - Delta IV Launch

Marc's note: Tonight we're testing out our new live launch mission status center for the Delta IV launch of the Air Force's Global Positioning System (GPS) IIF SV-1 satellite.

Enter Mission Status Center

Atlantis Lands in Florida, NASA (with video)

"Space shuttle Atlantis and six astronauts ended a 12-day journey of more than 4.8 million miles with an 8:48 a.m. EDT landing Wednesday at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

The third of five shuttle missions planned for 2010, this was the last scheduled flight for Atlantis."

Marc's note: Will Atlantis fly again? No one can say for sure at this point. Officially, Atlantis just flew her last flight. Unofficially, there's pressure to keep her ready for at least one more flight.

By Ken Kremer for NASA Watch

Space Shuttle Atlantis and her crew of six are headed home from the 32nd flight to space after a flawless 12 day and 3 spacewalk mission to the International Space Station.

The final planned touchdown of Atlantis historic career is set for Wednesday, May 26 at 8:48 AM EDT at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida, weather permitting. The weather prognosis from NASA is for about a 50/50 chance of favorable conditions. There is a chance of showers within 30 miles of the runway.

Space Shuttle Crew Set To Return To Earth Wednesday, NASA

"Wednesday landing opportunities at Kennedy are at 8:48 a.m. and 10:22 a.m. EDT. If Atlantis is unable to land Wednesday, additional opportunities are available at Kennedy on Thursday at 9:13 a.m. and 10:48 a.m. There are opportunities Friday at Kennedy and backup landing site Edwards Air Force Base, Calif. For recorded updates about landing, call 321-867-2525"

2 severely burned in Redstone Arsenal explosion, WALB

"Emergency management officials said two people were injured in an explosion at Redstone Arsenal. A Redstone spokesperson said it happened at 8:45 Wednesday morning at Aviation Missile Research Development and Engineering Center test area 10."

2 severely burned in Redstone Arsenal explosion, WAFF

"One responder said the area where the explosion happened is a heavy demolition site. They have been testing there for days. They are still not sure what went wrong. One HEMSI paramedic described the scene as "horrific."

NASA Heavy Lift Launch System and Propulsion Technology Request for Information

"On May 3, 2010, NASA will issue a Request for Information (RFI) seeking general information regarding potential launch or space transportation architectures (expendable, reusable, or a hybrid system) that could be utilized by multiple customers (e.g. NASA, commercial and other Government agencies). The RFI also will solicit information regarding propulsion system characteristics; technology challenges related to liquid chemical propulsion systems; as well as innovative methods to manage a heavy-lift development program to include effective and affordable business practices. The RFI will be open to the broad space community, including commercial, other Government agencies and academia. Information obtained from the RFI will be used for planning and acquisition-strategy development for current heavylift planning activities, as outlined in the Conference Report to FY 2010 Consolidated Appropriations Act (P.L. 111-117)."


Keith's note: According to a Twitter posting by the TEDxNASA folks at LaRC: "THIS JUST IN! Save the date... TEDxNASA 2011 coming November 4, 2010!". I certainly hope the organizers have some adult supervision this time as they assemble the agenda. As I noted in my comments from the first event last year, a substantial portion of what was presented had little if anything to do with NASA or exploration. Yes, some of it was interesting and out of the box (and NASA certainly needs some of this right now!) but for an event trumpeted as being relevant to NASA, TEDxNASA failed in many ways.

Yes, a lot of it was done by volunteers whose dedication is noteworthy, but just because the volunteers worked hard and the stagecraft was flawless does not mean that the content was appropriate. Specifically, some of the presenters were outright inappropriate for a NASA-sanctioned event - most notably, Sue Morter. Have a look at a video of her presentation. It is riddled with pseudoscientifc mumbo jumble and nonsensical new age babble. Please tell me that this is NOT what is going to be done again at an event that has a deliberate and overt connection and endorsement by NASA.

- TEDxNASA Live Coverage
- Previous TEDxNASA postings
- TEDxNASA Facebook page Curiously, when I am not logged in to Facebook a "comment" option appears on this page. But when I log in, that disappears. NASA LaRC has been blocking my ability to comment since last Fall. Oh well.

Keith's update: Magically, my ability to comment on the TEDxNASA Facebook was restablished a few minutes ago after I was blocked for 6 months. Funny thing: I did absolutely nothing to cause that to happen. I changed nothing on Facebook (because there was nothing for me to change). What a coincidence -- just as I started to complain about being blocked. Yet people at LaRC claim that no one had blocked me. Again, hhat a coincidence.

According to the TEDxNASA website: "A nationally known speaker, teacher and trainer, Dr. Sue Morter has been called one of todays messengers with tomorrows message. Her Intentional Living Seminar has been lauded by participants as a life-changing event. By understanding the relationship between human energy fields, conscious thoughts and subconscious memory, she will explain how we can become who we really are." I guess NASA is now openly endorsing New Age pseudoscience. Watch the video and you'll see. I certainly never heard any of Morter's outlandish ideas in physics class.



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

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