News: December 2013 Archives
Keith's note: In response to one of my queries about JSC's Valkyrie robot, David Steitz from NASA HQ PAO replied "Keith, as the recipient of numerous NASA "exclusives" over the years, including private budget briefings and policy discussions with previous NASA Administrators, I'm amused by your feigned outrage over our unintentional exclusive to IEEE Spectrum on R5."
My response: "In watching the video that you allowed IEEE to shoot - including NASA personnel - and the obvious time spent with them - I have to say that nothing I might ever have gotten under any exclusives (I am not going to confirm that) comes remotely close to this. I still have seen no NASA media advisory as to how media can cover this event that NASA is participating in. You are doing a disservice to the media - and the taxpayers who pay for all the toys - in not doing your utmost to make this activity known as widely as your resources could allow you to do. But then again, you just don't care, do you?"
NASA JSC does whatever it wants to do - even when NASA HQ tells them not to - and then NASA HQ PAO is forced to tow the party line and not admit the obvious - and hope that you do not notice what is actually going on. Charlie Bolden's control over NASA is much more tenuous than many people imagine - and it is steadily evaporating at a growing pace. HQ direction to field centers is seen as a "suggestion" these days. As the budget battles heat up next Spring - ISS & Commerical Vs SLS; HSF Vs Planetary - that will become abundantly clear.
No one is in the driver's seat at NASA. Maybe the girl robot can drive.
Iran hails voyage of Fargam the space monkey, Telegraph
"Iran said on Saturday that it had safely returned a monkey to Earth after blasting it into space in the second such launch this year in its controversial ballistic programme.
President Hassan Rouhani congratulated the scientists involved in the mission, in a message carried by the official IRNA news agency. The report added that the rocket reached a height of 120 kilometres (75 miles)."
Keith's note: I am not at all certain what the point of flying this monkey was. When the U.S. and U.S.S.R. first did it in the 50s and 60s it was because no one knew exactly what would happen. Well, they found out and all of that research has been in the public sphere for half a century. The Iranians could have easily availed themselves of that research and avoided scaring they daylights out of this poor monkey.
"Looking forward to 2014, we identified the following as the top management and performance challenges facing NASA:
- Considering Whether to Further Extend the Life of the International Space Station
- Developing the Space Launch System and Its Component Programs
- Securing Commercial Crew Transportation Services
- Maintaining Cost and Schedule for the James Webb Space Telescope
- Ensuring Continued Efficacy of the Space Communications Networks
- Overhauling NASA's Information Technology Governance Structure
- Ensuring the Security of NASA's Information Technology Systems
- Managing NASA's Infrastructure and Facilities
- Ensuring the Integrity of the Contracting and Grants Processes"
Virgin Galactic Could Bring Jobs to Rural NM, Public News Service
"PHOTO: New Mexico's rural economy could get a boost after Virgin Galactic starts its flights into outer space. Photo courtesy of NASA."