News: July 2010 Archives

This isn't rocket science, Houston Chronicle

"Since leaving her position at NASA, [April Jean] Evans has devoted much of her time to building support for an international treaty that would ban primate experiments for the purpose of space exploration. Already the European Space Agency has adopted such a position, with Director Jean-Jacques Dordain stating in an April 1 letter that ESA's formal position is: "there is absolutely no research interest or planning for experiments with primates." Such is Evans' aspiration that all space agencies would adopt a similar position. But there's also the real-world issue of no longer having a regular income. Since leaving NASA, Evans has moved into her brother's spare room. She's also falling into debt."

Keith's note: PeTA tells me that April Jean Evans is supposed to be on CNN Headline News Channel on "Issues With Jane Velez-Mitchell" at 7 pm EDT tonight to talk about this. If you are going to comment on NASAWatch, then stay on topic and don't try and post stupid stuff anonymously - it won't appear online.

Ex-NASA Engineer on HLN Tonight, PeTA

Space Exploration Technologies (SpaceX) announced this week that they would shoot for a September launch for the next flight of their Falcon 9 rocket. Space Florida announced it had signed an agreement with a United Kingdom group to help further international commercial space cooperation. Over at OPF-3, Discovery was being readied for what could be her final flight. This week also marks the anniversary of rockets exploring the heavens from Cape Canaveral.


ATK Hopeful as they Prepare Ares DM-2 Test, SpaceRef

'Building on the success of their first static-fire, Alliant Techsystems (ATK) and NASA are preparing for the second Ares I first stage five-segment Development Motor (DM-2) test. As engineers and technicians prepare for the test, scheduled for September 2, the question is - will there be a use for it should the just announced NASA reauthorization bill passes? "Every test we do on these SRBs has relevance," said George Torres the Vice President of Alliant Techsystems' Aerospace Systems, "whether it's a new heavy-lift rocket or a crewed vehicle, that information gets utilized in some fashion."

Partially Closed Meeting of the President's Council of Advisors on Science and Technology, OSTP

"Public Comments: It is the policy of the PCAST to accept written public comments of any length, and to accommodate oral public comments whenever possible. The PCAST expects that public statements presented at its meetings will not be repetitive of previously submitted oral or written statements. The public comment period for this meeting will take place on July 16, 2010 at a time specified in the meeting agenda posted on the PCAST Web site at http://whitehouse.gov/ostp/pcast. This public comment period is designed only for substantive commentary on PCAST's work, not for business marketing purposes. Oral Comments: To be considered for the public speaker list at the July meeting, interested parties should register to speak at http://whitehouse.gov/ostp/pcast, no later than 5 p.m. Eastern Time on Wednesday, July 6, 2010."

Keith's 23 June note: Well folks, if you like the President's space policy - or hate it - here is a chance to let his Science and Technology advisors hear your thoughts. If you pass on the opportunity its your fault. OSTP has extended the invitation - don't pass on the opportunity. This event will be webcast.

White House denies NASA remark on Muslim outreach, AP

"The White House is contradicting the NASA administrator's claim that President Barack Obama assigned him to reach out to Muslims on science matters. ... White House press secretary Robert Gibbs said Monday that such activities are not among Bolden's assigned tasks. He said administration officials have spoken with NASA about the matter."

White House: No Muslim outreach for NASA, Washington Post

"Despite his sterling credentials as a former astronaut and military man, Bolden has been a bit of a headache for the White House: Some say he was nominated reluctantly for the post only after Sen. Bill Nelson (D-Fla.) (Bolden's former space shuttle crewmate) insisted that Obama appoint him. Since then, he cried at his first meeting with agency workers and has upset lawmakers and NASA veterans with the administration's new plans for space exploration."

Muslim Outreach Not the Job of NASA, White House Says, Fox News

"But [White House Press Secretaty] Gibbs on Monday appeared to deny that Bolden was asked to focus on Muslim outreach at all. Asked whether Bolden misspoke, Gibbs said: "I think so." He said he wasn't aware of Obama speaking to Bolden about his comments."

Press Briefing by Press Secretary Robert Gibbs, 7/12/2010 - NASA Excerpts

"Q I wanted to ask you, there are some comments that the NASA Administrator, Charles Bolden, made a couple weeks back that drew some interest, specifically from conservatives who are wondering why we he said that one of the charges that the President gave him when he got the job was that he had to focus on outreach to the Muslim world. Why is the NASA Administrator doing that?

MR. GIBBS: That's an excellent question, and I don't think -- that was not his task, and that's not the task of NASA."

Keith's update: It looks like Charlie Bolden did NOT get the direction to do outreach to Muslim countries from President Obama after all.

Letter from Former Columbia Accident Investigation Board Members Regarding Crew Safety

"As former board members of the Columbia Accident Investigation Board (CAIB), we agree with your view that assuring crew safety is an essential element in the discussion of future U.S. crew transportation systems. As members of the CAIB, we have also noted with interest recent space policy discussions where our report has been cited. In particular, we have been somewhat surprised to learn that some people, both within and outside of the Congress, have interpreted the new White House strategy for space which gives a greater role to the commercial sector in providing crew transportation services to the International Space Station, as being not in line with the findings and recommendations of the CAIB report. Our view is that NASA's new direction can be a) just as safe, if not more safe, than government-controlled alternatives b) will achieve higher safety than that of the Space Shuttle, and c) is directly in line with the recommendations of the CAIB."

NASA Glenn Research Center will fare well under Obama's plan, space agency Administrator Charles Bolden says, Plain Dealer

"President Barack Obama's controversial plan to turn away from a moon mission and focus instead on new space-exploring technologies will "significantly raise the profile" of NASA Glenn Research Center, says Charles Bolden, head of the space agency.

Sen. Brown Joined NASA Administrator Bolden at NASA Glenn Research Center

"Today's visit is part of an ongoing effort to develop and grow the relationship between NASA Glenn and the business community. NASA Glenn is one of Cleveland's best assets and today's visit is an important step to show NASA Headquarters that Glenn should be one of NASA's best assets."

NASA Names Lugo As Director Of Glenn Research Center

"Lugo was named Glenn's deputy director in November 2007. Before that, he served as deputy manager of the Launch Services Program at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida. Lugo began his NASA career at Kennedy as a cooperative education student in 1975."

NASA Chief Revealed Muslim Outreach Plan to Al Jazeera Before Congress, Fox News

"Bolden called a couple of lawmakers with the news on June 28, after his interview with the Middle East news organization but before it aired, the newspaper reported. "He ran down some of the things from the president's new space policy, and mentioned outreach to Muslims," Rep. Pete Olson, the top Republican on the House Subcommittee on Space and Aeronautics recalled to the newspaper. "That stunned me. I didn't believe it."

Keith's note: Oops. I guess Rep. Olson missed the comments by fellow Republican Rep. Bill Posey some four months earlier on 23 Feb 2010 on the House floor - as featured on NASA Watch at the time. I guess we can give Rep. Olson a waiver on this since this was one of those 3 minute things that members give in the late afternoon to an empty chamber that only C-SPAN junkies ever see.

Video: Rep. Posey Rips NASA Initiative to Reach out to "Muslim" Countries", earlier post

Of course, there other public statements about this policy that predate the Al Jezeera interview - it would seem that Rep. Olson missed them as well.

NASA plans more outreach to Muslim countries, 16 Feb 2010, OrlandoSentinel

"NASA Administrator Charlie Bolden said Tuesday that President Barack Obama has asked him to "find ways to reach out to dominantly Muslim countries" as the White House pushes the space agency to become a tool of international diplomacy. "In addition to the nations that most of you usually hear about when you think about the International Space Station, we now have expanded our efforts to reach out to non-traditional partners," said Bolden, speaking to a lecture hall of young engineering students."

Exciting Developments in Space Exploration and the Future of International Cooperation Remarks by NASA Administrator Charles F. Bolden American University in Cairo, 15 June 2010

"Soon after President Barack Obama stood in Cairo, just over one year ago, and spoke of Partnership between the United States and Muslims around the world, he asked NASA to change that ratio by reaching out to "non-traditional" partners and strengthening our cooperation in the Middle East, North Africa, Southeast Asia and in particular in Muslim-majority nations."

We must not discard greatest innovator in history, Walt Cunningham, Houston Chronicle, 27 Feb 2010

"In the place of the canceled Ares and Orion hardware, we now have increased support for education, increased spending on the discredited global warming hypocrisy and subsidies to several new commercial rocket companies. And, oh yes, don't forget a new outreach program to Muslim countries without established space programs."

Vitter Rips Obama Space Plan At Tank Ceremony, Florida Today

"U.S. Sen. David Vitter of Louisiana opened this morning's ceremony celebrating the delivery of NASA's last shuttle external tank by ripping President Obama's "radical" proposals for the space agency. "You all deserve better, and the nation deserves better," he told an audience of hundreds of NASA and contractor employees at the Michoud Assembly Facility near New Orleans, earning loud applause."

Stratospheric Spain - Spain Soccer Team Shirt on a Balloon

"Barcelona, July 9th, 2010.
Location: 33 kilometers over Igualada (Barcelona, Spain).
Local Time: July 8th, 2010 at 10:15 am.
Object: Spain's Team Football Jersey for the World Cup 2010 in South Africa.
Occasion: XIV European Balloon Festival.
Reason: "La Roja" has reached unchartered heights. Their success is inspiring for all of us that believe there are no limits. This is our humble tribute."

NASA's Muslim outreach: Al Jazeera told first, SF Examiner'

"Lawmakers across Capitol Hill, both Democrats and Republicans, were surprised to learn recently that the Obama administration has made reaching out to Muslim nations a top priority for the space agency NASA. They will probably be more surprised to learn that administration officials told the Middle East news organization Al Jazeera about it before they told Congress."

Keith's note: Oh how lazy we all are. ESPECIALLY the media. Use Google, once in a while. You might learn something.

NASA plans more outreach to Muslim countries, 16 Feb 2010, OrlandoSentinel

"NASA Administrator Charlie Bolden said Tuesday that President Barack Obama has asked him to "find ways to reach out to dominantly Muslim countries" as the White House pushes the space agency to become a tool of international diplomacy. "In addition to the nations that most of you usually hear about when you think about the International Space Station, we now have expanded our efforts to reach out to non-traditional partners," said Bolden, speaking to a lecture hall of young engineering students."

Exciting Developments in Space Exploration and the Future of International Cooperation Remarks by NASA Administrator Charles F. Bolden American University in Cairo, 15 June 2010

"Soon after President Barack Obama stood in Cairo, just over one year ago, and spoke of Partnership between the United States and Muslims around the world, he asked NASA to change that ratio by reaching out to "non-traditional" partners and strengthening our cooperation in the Middle East, North Africa, Southeast Asia and in particular in Muslim-majority nations."

We must not discard greatest innovator in history, Walt Cunningham, Houston Chronicle, 27 Feb 2010

"In the place of the canceled Ares and Orion hardware, we now have increased support for education, increased spending on the discredited global warming hypocrisy and subsidies to several new commercial rocket companies. And, oh yes, don't forget a new outreach program to Muslim countries without established space programs."

Video: Rep. Posey Rips NASA Initiative to Reach out to "Muslim" Countries, earlier post

Taking Space Exploration Beyond Traditional Partnerships, earlier post

If you watch Al Jazeera, you know Obama's new mission for NASA: To help Muslim nations 'feel good', LA Times

"You know how Wile E. Coyote straps himself to the rocket and lights the fuse? And it burns. And burns. Silence. Nothing. He's poised, hopefully, awaiting launch. We wait, painfully, for the bad thing certain to happen. That's what we've been doing for almost a week now, anticipating the explosive public reaction to word from NASA chief Charles Bolden that President Obama has tasked his once-fabled space agency with a brand-new earthbound mission that has absolutely nothing to do with space."

The final frontier: Muslim self-esteem, National Post

"The earliest Islamic civilizations placed a high value on science and learning while Europe was going through the self-inflicted lobotomy of the Middle Ages. Only the most fierce Muslim-hater will pretend otherwise. But it speaks to the priorities of the current White House administration that even while NASA's manned exploration programs are cancelled and America's military space efforts fall behind due to lack of funding, the best and brightest of America's scientific minds find themselves turning to the task of making a billion people feel better about themselves."

NASA now means 'No Air or Space Anymore', Daily Caller

"So, why isn't Bolden heading up the Peace Corps if he's in the "help them feel good" business?"

Cal Thomas: The right stuff goes wrong under this president, Cal Thomas, Slat Lake Tribune

"Obama is boldly going where no president has gone before. It is a continuation of the president's subjugation of himself (bowing to foreign leaders) and the country he is charged with leading by obsequiously kowtowing to a people for whom advancement to the Middle Ages would be a step up."

Keith's note: Appearing on Fox News, Apollo 17 astronaut Gene Cernan just called on Charlie Bolden to resign. In essence Cernan said that if Bolden believes in what he was directed to say that he should resign and if he does not believe in this then he should also resign.

Written Testimony of Eugene A. Cernan

"We (Armstrong, Lovell and myself) have come to the unanimous conclusion that this budget proposal presents no challenges, has no focus, and in fact is a blueprint for a mission to "nowhere."

Video, Fox News

CERNAN: "Sometimes its hard to figure out Charlie. I some times don't know if he says what he believes or believes what he says, quite frankly. He's a good man, I respect him - I have for a long time - and he's a friend. But if he really believes what he is quoted as saying about this particular subject ... I hate to say this but I don't think Charlie knows or understands what the leadership role of the NASA Administrator really is. International cooperation is one thing. But in the manner in which he put it - the three major objectives in his leadership role as NASA Administrator ... it just does not fit in what NASA was designed - what the charter of NASA really is. If he believes this - and I hate to say this is - its pretty strong and heavy - then I think we ought to ... that leveler heads ought to call for his resignation because that is not what his job is. And if he doesn't believe it, he ought to stand up if he doesn't support the president' s proposal ..."

State Department Daily Press Briefing, NASA Excerpts, 6 July 2010

"QUESTION: Can you speak to why the NASA administrator was doing outreach to the Muslim community? There was an article over the weekend.

MR. TONER: It's an excellent question. I do not have an answer for you on that. I can try to - or I encourage you to talk to our NASA colleagues. I mean, obviously, the new space policy has a more international approach, and we unveiled that, I believe, from the White House last week or a week ago - yeah, a week ago Monday, today. Today's Tuesday.

QUESTION: Isn't that the role of the State Department and not the space agency, obviously?

MR. TONER: Well, I mean, I think it's an interagency cooperative effort. And so obviously - but I - as to specific comments today, I think I saw it on TV, I didn't listen to them closely enough to have any response for you. I can just say that part of the new approach to space - this Administration's new approach to space is to engage in international partners and that would - obviously, that would include in the Muslim world."

Keith's note: Gee, of all places, why would anyone ask the State Department about a recent visit by a senior Administration official to several mideast countries - at the request of the White House?

State Department Officials Afraid To Use Real Names When Talking About Space Policy, earlier post

Beam NASA up from this order, editorial, Post and Courier (Charleston, SC)

"The president is known to be a fan of the old "Star Trek" series, which frequently moralized on the pitfalls of "imperial condescension." Mr. Bolden may find some in the Muslim world more intransigent than a Klingon as he attempts to launch them into the space age."

NASA - no longer "The Right Stuff", opinion, Sussex Sun

"Wouldn't it be interesting to find out what Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldren (sic), or any of the other former NASA astronauts think about the new goals established for NASA by the president of the United States?"

Retro Rockets, opinion, Washington Times

"Was this the big liftoff? Well, no. NASA Administrator Charles Bolden elaborated on the agency's "priority" to reach out to Muslim countries during a July 1 appearance on the Al Jazeera network. Conservatives were vexed, and the White House predictably sprang to his defense. But the offending glare is not new, if a speech Mr. Bolden made June 15 at the American University in Cairo is any gauge."

Ramirez Editorial Cartoons (A take on an iconic image)

NASA logo makeovers: New Arabic Sensitivity Administration

"MichelleMalkin.com readers have answered the call of duty! Last night, inspired by reader Duke, I put out a call for NASA logo redesign Photoshops to mock Team Obama's Muslim-pandering makeover of the space program. Entries are pouring in to my mailbox. Had to share some of the best and most pointed images with you right away. Pick your favorites:"

Video: Obama's NASA mission to Muslims, Fox News

NASA's Final Frontier: The Muslim World, Fox News

Yet again, an Obama official says "Muslim," right-wing media freak-out follows, Media Matters

"Of course, since an Obama official made completely noncontroversial comments about reaching out to the Muslim world in order to gain contributions to the fields of science and technology, the right-wing media freaked out."

NASA: Mission to Mecca?, Washington Post

"But I still found Bolden's comment troubling, for a reason of my own: since when is it U.S. government policy to offer or refuse cooperation with various nations based on the religion their people practice? Last time I checked, the Constitution expressly forbid the establishment of religion. How can it be consistent with that mandate and the deeply held political and cultural values that it expresses for the U.S. government to "reach out" to another government because the people it rules are mostly of a particular faith?"

Keith's 1 July note: NASA's New AA for Public Affairs is David Weaver. He starts work on 19 July at NASA HQ. Details to follow.

Van Hollen chief of staff tapped for NASA post, Gazette.net

"President Barack Obama has appointed Rep. Christopher Van Hollen's top aide to be the chief spokesman for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration."

Former NASA chief: Muslim outreach is 'perversion' of NASA's mission, SF Examiner

"Michael Griffin, who headed NASA during the last four years of the Bush administration, says the space agency's new goal to improve relations with the Islamic world and boost Muslim self-esteem is a "perversion" of NASA's original mission to explore space. "NASA was chartered by the 1958 Space Act to develop the arts and sciences of flight in the atmosphere and in space and to go where those technologies will allow us to go," Griffin said in an interview Tuesday. "That's what NASA does for the country. It is a perversion of NASA's purpose to conduct activities in order to make the Muslim world feel good about its contributions to science and mathematics."

White House, NASA, Defend Comments About NASA Outreach to Muslim World Criticized by Conservatives, ABC

"But the comments have caused a kafuffle. The Washington Examiner's Byron York interviewed former NASA administrator Michael Griffin, who headed the space agency during the last four years of the administration of President George W. Bush, who called Bolden's stated charge for NASA a "perversion of NASA's purpose."

Keith's note: Oh great. Leave it to Mike Griffin to get on the train to crazy town and use the words "NASA", "perversion", and "Muslim" in the same sentence. Thanks for elevating the conversation, Mike.

NASA Official Softens Claim Muslim Outreach Is 'Foremost' Mission

"Bob Jacobs, NASA's assistant administrator for public affairs, told Fox News on Tuesday that Bolden was speaking of priorities when it came to "outreach" and not about NASA's primary missions of "science, aeronautics and space exploration." Still, he said, "international cooperation and collaboration is important to the future of space exploration." Jacobs said he will let the administrator's comments "speak for themselves," but said it was unfortunate those comments are now being viewed through a "partisan prism."

Keith's note: From now on I think NASA should just send Bob Jacobs on these trips and not Charlie Bolden. This would certainly cut down on all of the confusion.

Krauthammer Bashes Obama's Infantile NASA Muslim Outreach Program, Fox via Gateway Pundit

"This is a new of fatuousness. NASA was established to get America into space and to keep us there. This idea of 'feel good about your past' scientific achievements is the worst kind of group therapy, psycho-babble, imperial condescension and adolescent diplomacy. If I didn't know that Obama had told him this, I'd demand the firing of Charles Bolden."

A Muslim star project, New York Post

"Houston, we have a problem -- Muslim countries are feeling insecure. NASA Administrator Charles Bolden, interviewed yesterday on the Arabic news station al-Jazeera, said President Obama had given him three missions, the "foremost" of which was to improve relations with the Muslim world."

NASA's new mission: Building ties to Muslim world, San Francisco Examiner

"NASA is not only a space exploration agency," Bolden concluded, "but also an Earth improvement agency." At the same time, Bolden gave a bleak assessment of the space part of NASA's mission. More than 40 years after the first moon landing, he told al-Jazeera, the U.S. can no longer reach beyond Earth's orbit without assistance from abroad. "We're not going to go anywhere beyond low Earth orbit as a single entity," Bolden said. "The United States can't do it." Its space initiatives junked, its administrator rhapsodizing about helping Muslims "feel good" about themselves: That is the new NASA."

Since when did it become NASA's "mission" to "improve relations with the Muslim world"?, SIster Toldjah

"Would be very interesting to find out just how much this self-esteem "outreach" effort is costing the American people. Anywhere in the stratsosphere of as much as Project Constellation cost before it was effectively axed by this administration, costing along with it thousands of jobs?"

Tuesday's intriguing people: Charles Bolden, CNN

"The website NASA Watch reported Bolden's interview comments a few days ago, but they seem to have hit the fan in a larger-scale Monday. Bryan York of The San Francisco Examiner wrote in response: "From moon landings to promoting self-esteem: It would be difficult to imagine a more dramatic shift in focus for an agency famous for reaching the heavens."

NASA seeks better ties with Muslim world, Federal News Radio

"Bolden denied, however, that he was taking on any kind of diplomatic role. "Not at all. It's not a diplomatic anything," he said."

Keith's note: News of this video is spilling off of Drudge Report and the fringe websites over into mainstream. This is just a quick snapshot of what is being posted out there. In essence, the question seems to be, why is Charlie Bolden off talking to Middle East folks when he is laying off thousands of Americans back home? And is talking to one group of foreign nations more important than focusing on what NASA is supposed to be doing? I will be the first one to suggest that NASA needs to vastly expand its sphere of relevance and inclusiveness wellbeyond traditional boundaries. But the way this comes off in Bolden's comments on Al Jazeera, working with Muslim countries is more important than virtually everything else that NASA is CHARTERED to do ... more important than reinvigorating our space industrial base, protecting the Earth, doing quality science, enhancing aviation, exploring the universe, etc.

Charlie Bolden was on an overtly diplomatic mission during this trip. To deny (as he did) on Al Jazeera that he was doing so is an insult to the intelligence of everyone concerned. Bolden has more on his plate than he can handle at NASA right now. The best thing he can do for America's space program is stay home and focus on his NASA responsibilities and not go off on TDY with the State Department.

On Al Jazeera, Bolden said "and third, and perhaps foremost, [President Obama] wanted me to find a way to reach out to the Muslim world and engage much more with predominantly Muslim nations to help them feel good about their historic contribution to science, math, and engineering."...

One small problem: there is no mention of this priority on Muslim nations that Bolden mentions in the full text of the new National Space Policy nor in the Fact Sheet issued on the policy, nor is there any mention in this briefing with State Department officials. However, the policy does say "Expand international cooperation on mutually beneficial space activities to: broaden and extend the benefits of space; further the peaceful use of space; and enhance collection and partnership in sharing of space-derived information" but it does not specifically and preferentially call out one subset of the world's nations for special attention as Bolden has done.

If Bolden is making these statements about the three goals that he is working on (above all others), one would think that these three goals would resonate and be consistent with the nation's avowed space policy. If he is not saying things that reflect this policy, then either he is freelancing (again) on things, or one has to question whether the National Space Policy, as announced, actually does reflect the nation's true space policy or just a portion thereof.

Go ahead and comment folks. But if the racist, bigoted remarks starts to show up again I'll shut comments off on this posting - just as I did on the earlier one.

Charlie Bolden: Stealth Middle East Diplomat?, earlier post

First-Hand Look: One Family's Unforgettable Zero Gravity Holiday, Space.com

"Like many American families across the country, the Stern family of Colorado celebrated the Fourth of July holiday together on Sunday. But instead of a traditional barbecue or picnic, the family took to the skies for a novel weightless daytrip on a Zero Gravity Corporation (Zero-G) aircraft. Here, journalist and eldest Stern daughter Sarah Stern describes the experience of the July 4th trip, which was arranged as part of a project led by her father - planetary scientist Alan Stern - investigating the scientific uses of zero gravity and suborbital spaceflights at the Southwest Research Institute."

This week at Cape Canaveral saw the red, white and blue honored by one of the most historic of American traditions. It also saw local leaders both working to improve the economic future of the Space Coast region and acknowledging the benefits of the shuttle era extending into another year.


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