News: May 2015 Archives

Using Space Radar To Hear Human Heartbeats in Nepal, SpaceRef

"On 24 April 2015 a 7.8 magnitude earthquake struck Nepal - a nation woefully unprepared to respond to such an event. Dozens of aftershocks have rattled the country daily for the past month. One especially large aftershock of magnitude 7.4 on 12 May caused the already-shattered infrastructure to collapse further. Nepal needed help - help that did not rely upon a non-functional infrastructure. Much of the help was traditional. But some of that help arrived in the form of assets in space and space-derived assets on the ground."

NASA Office of Inspector General Semiannual Report October 2014 - March 2015

"Over the past year, the Office of Inspector General has raised concerns about the sustainability of NASA's varied missions given that the Agency's "top-line" funding level is likely to remain relatively flat for at least the next several years. Accordingly, we believe the principal challenge facing NASA leaders is to effectively manage the Agency's varied programs in an uncertain budget environment."

A Bad Day for Russia

ISS Orbit Correction Failed, Sputnik News

"Engines of the Progress M-26M cargo spacecraft, which is currently docked to the International Space Station (ISS), did not start on time, and a planned correction of the ISS orbit could not be carried out, a source in the Russian Federal Space Agency said Saturday."

NASA ISS On-Orbit Status 18 May 2015

"A reboost of the International Space Station using the Russian Progress 58 cargo craft was completed successfully on Sunday at 7:30 p.m. CDT. A previous attempt on Friday evening was aborted one second into the burn automatically by the Progress vehicle. Russian flight controllers identified an issue with one of the eight thrusters on the spacecraft that was disabled for Sunday's backup attempt."

Russian Proton Rocket Experiences Anomaly Shortly After Launch [With Video], SpaceRef Business

"Almost exactly to the day a year after Russia lost a Proton-M rocket, yet another Proton-M has failed. In this latest setback to the Russian commercial space program, today's Proton-M rocket appeared to launch normally, but failed soon into the launch and did not deliver its payload, a Mexican satellite, to orbit."

Marc's note: The Russians must be besides themselves with all these anomalies ongoing. It begs the question, if the Progress and Protons are having issues, could the venerable Soyuz have issues going forward?

NASA OIG: NASA's Compliance with the Improper Payments Act for Fiscal Year 2014

"We concluded that although NASA complied with IPIA, it can improve its risk assessment process, payment recapture audits, and annual reporting. According to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), which issues implementing guidance for IPIA, an agency must meet six criteria to comply with the Act, including conducting a program-specific risk assessment for each program or activity and publishing and posting on its website an AFR each year. NASA met all applicable OMB criteria for FY 2014.
However, as discussed in our previous IPIA reports, we continue to believe NASA can improve its risk assessment process to increase the likelihood of identifying improper payments."

That NASA Warp Drive? Yeah, It's Still Poppycock, Wired

"The reason the Eagleworks lab presents results in unrefereed conference proceedings and Internet posts, according to Eric Davis, a physicist at the Institute for Advanced Studies at Austin, is that no peer-reviewed journals will publish their papers. Even arXiv, the open-access pre-print server physicists default to, has reportedly turned away Eagleworks results. Why the cold shoulder? Either flawed results or flawed theory. Eagleworks' results so far are very close to the threshold of detectionwhich is to say, barely perceptible by their machinery. That makes it more likely that their findings are a result of instrument error, and their thrust measurements don't scale up with microwave input as you might expect. Plus, the physics and math behind each of their claims is either flawed or just...nonexistent."

Keith's note: did some leg work. Yet despite all of this speculative PR NASA JSC PAO has still not said a single thing about any of this during the recent online flurry of stories about advanced propulsion research that NASA is openly funding.

- Ellen Ochoa's Warp Drive Gizmo, earlier post



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