Recently in Personnel News Category

Kyle Yunaska Named Deputy Chief of Staff At NASA Headquarters

"NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine has named Kyle Yunaska as the agency's Deputy Chief of Staff. ... Yunaska also served as the Principal Deputy Director and Chief of Staff for DOE's Office of Policy and held several advisory roles throughout the Department. Prior to his work at DOE, Yunaska held a range of positions at various academic, nonprofit, and private sector organizations."

Eric Trump's brother-in-law gets promoted. E&E News (2017)

"Eric Trump's brother-in-law is now chief of staff in a Department of Energy policy shop that was once tasked with carrying out President Obama's climate change agenda, according to DOE's online registry. Kyle Yunaska at DOE's Office of Energy Policy and Systems Analysis (EPSA) may manage the front office operations and strategy and advise EPSA's principal deputy director, Carol Battershell, and Executive Director Sean Cunningham, according to a description of the position on DOE's website."

Meet The Hottest Bachelors Of Washington D.C., Inside Edition

"Kyle Yunaska is an accounting manager for a non-profit. The 29-year-old is ready to settle down."

Kyle Robert Yunaska, ProPublica

Annie Glenn

NASA Remembers Annie Glenn

The following is a statement on the passing of Annie Glenn, wife of former NASA astronaut Sen. John Glenn: "We are deeply saddened by the passing of Annie Glenn. A stalwart member of the space and military communities, her courageous support of her legendary husband John was unmatched. "She provided an example for other women who followed to face the challenges of being part of our nation's space program, and the stress of having spouses in combat. She stood steadfastly by her husband as he took to space once again as the oldest person to orbit Earth, even as she continued her own lifelong public service on behalf of children, the elderly, and the disabled. "The Glenns dedication to each other is well known, and we looked to them as an unmatched example of the strength and compassion that a lifetime of devotion creates. She will be missed."

NASA Live Virtual Town Hall

NASA Adminstrator Jim Bridenstine: "I will host a live virtual town hall at 10:30 am EDT Wednesday, May 6 along with other agency leaders to answer your questions about the agency's approach to increasing on-side work. Please read this message, then, to submit questions, go to http://www.nasa.gov/townhall and click on "Ask The Administrator: Return to On-Site Work". Enter your center name, then post your question and/or vote up questions already posted."

Message From The NASA Adminstrator: Planning for Increased On-Site Work - Town Hall

"The response of NASA's workforce to the challenges stemming from the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has been nothing short of awe-inspiring. Across the agency, I have seen individuals and teams find new ways to keep the mission moving forward, support each other, balance work and family, and even dedicate their expertise and personal time to aid in the national response. Now that operations have reached a steady cadence, a lot of folks are wondering about the when and howof returning to "normal." As we plan how best to increase on-site work, please know that we will continue to prioritize the health and safety of the workforce."

Keith's note: The event will air live on NASA TV.

James Beggs

Keith's 25 April note: A note is circulating in the DC space community: "Our great former Administrator, Jim Beggs, died last night (April 23) at his home in Bethesda. Jim was 94 and died just before midnight last. He was at peace and with family throughout. There will be a private internment and a Celebration of Life in about a year, depending. Messages can be sent to the Gawler's funeral home website this week end which would very be nice."

I only have one Jim Beggs story to share and it is funny and prescient. In 1997 a year or so after NASAWatch went online I was introduced to Beggs at some event. He was not exactly a web surfer but he was aware of NASAWatch and what it was doing - and how it upset a lot of people inside the agency. He said "I don't know why these people at NASA are all so upset. Back in my day we just assumed that anything we put on paper would get out. Keep it up. It will teach them a lesson." And then he smiled and patted me on the back.

Ad Astra Mr. Beggs.

NASA Administrator Statement on Passing of Former Administrator James Beggs, NASA

"Mr. Beggs also served his country in the U.S. Navy and supported NASA's achievements during the Apollo era during an agency tenure in the late 1960s. His legacy guided the shuttle program toward its three decades of achievements and set the stage for a diverse and flexible astronaut corps from which we continue to benefit. We salute his service and will continue to honor his contributions to our great agency."

Roselee Roberts

Roselee Nichols Roberts, Legacy.com

"Mrs. Roselee Nichols Roberts was born on Friday, April 24, 1942 and passed away on Wednesday, April 22, 2020. Mrs. Roselee Nichols Roberts was a resident of Maryland at the time of passing."

Obituary, Marcia Smith, Space Policy Online

"An economist, she worked for the Office of Management and Budget and other federal agencies before joining the staff of then-Congressman (later Senator) Bill Nelson (D-FL) during his tenure as chairman of the House space and aeronautics subcommittee. After eight years on the Hill, she joined McDonnell Douglas, which merged with Boeing in 1997. All told she spent 19 years representing those companies' space and aeronautics businesses to Congress, finally becoming Director of Legislative Affairs for Boeing. She then returned to Capitol Hill, working for Rep. Ken Calvert (R-CA) when he chaired the space and aeronautics subcommittee. She later joined NASA as a Special Assistant to Deputy Administrator Shana Dale and then was Special Assistant to the Associate Administrator for NASA's Exploration Systems Mission Directorate working primarily on the Constellation program to return astronauts to the Moon by 2020."

Message From The NASA Associate Administrator: Planning a Return to On-Site Work, NASA

"First, let me say that no decisions have been made at the agency level to move away from the current operational state at headquarters and the centers. But, the questions of how and when we return to on-site work are on everyone's minds these days as we see the curve of coronavirus infection beginning to flatten in portions of the United States and the national conversation shifting to how we get back to "normal."

Jet Propulsion Lab to Pay EEOC $10 Million for Alleged Age Bias, Bloomberg Law (Paywall)

"NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory agreed to pay $10 million and revamp its employment practices to settle an EEOC lawsuit alleging the lab's layoff and rehiring policies had an adverse impact on employees 40 and older when conducting layoffs and rehiring."

NASA Lab Inks $10M Deal To End EEOC Age Bias Suit, Law 360 (Paywall)

"The Pasadena-based laboratory that builds planetary robotic spacecraft entered into a consent decree with the agency Friday to end the Age Discrimination in Employment Act allegations by a class of workers who said they were forced to retire or were laid off after they turned 40. "Since at least 2010, defendant systemically, disproportionately adversely impacted employees aged 40 and older for layoff and rehire compared with employees aged 39 and younger," the complaint filed Friday said, adding that the actions were willful. In addition to the $10 million that will be distributed to the former workers, the lab will have to hire a diversity director to help the lab retain and recruit individuals of all ages and a layoff coordinator to make sure that employment decisions are lawfully made. The agency said it was forced to file suit after making multiple attempts to sort out the dispute through conciliation."

Keith's note: JPL response: "We are pleased to have worked collaboratively with the EEOC on a resolution to bring the matter to a close. The Lab has a longstanding commitment to a diverse and inclusive workplace, free of discrimination. JPL is stronger because of our diversity and we value all our colleagues at every stage of their career."

NASA Weekly Update from the Administrator - March 23, 2020

Most of the agency remains at Stage 3 of NASA's Response Framework to COVID-19, with mandatory telework for all employees and limited exceptions for on-site work. Ames, Michoud and Stennis are at Stage 4 with personnel on-site to protect life and critical infrastructure. Recently, Glenn Research Center in Ohio and NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies in New York City have also been elevated to Stage 4. Every precaution is being taken to safeguard the health of our workforce. Agency leadership is regularly evaluating mission-essential activities and determining what can safely proceed and what should be completed through telework. Please continue to stay in frequent contact with your supervisor and check the NASA People website regularly for updates.

Keith's note: I have been hearing from NASA and contractor employees who are still working and considered to be "essential". "Essential" is a term used by the government and does not mean that other people are not "essential". That said, those people who have been deemed to have an "essential" role face the same risks, stresses, and concerns as the rest of us. This email from someone at KSC speaks very clearly to this issue. Perhaps NASA can respond to those people who cannot telework and must be onsite.

"Hi Keith,

I am a Contractor employee at KSC working on SLS. Could you do the Mission Essential Contractor Team at KSC a favor and ask the NASA Administrator a question. Since we are all concerned about the Corona virus and since every day at work we hear a Safety message why are we still working SLS at KSC. Seems kinda hypocritical. Close the NASA Centers and discontinue all work in an abundance of caution until we as a Country get through this. Safety first.

Thanks"

Keith's update: KSC Worker Confirmed with COVID-19, Talk of Titusville

Al Worden

Keith's note: The other day I posted a note about the passing of Nancy Evans. I got a nice note from Michael Ravine at Malin Space Science Systems about Nancy. She was truly another often unsung hero in the tradition of "Hidden Figures":

"Your story about Nancy made me think about her contribution to something I was involved in: I spent the second half of the eighties working for Ed Danielson at Caltech, building the Mars Observer Camera for Mike Malin, then at ASU. The team was mostly twenty-something kids, smart but inexperienced, but Ed leavened it with a few people had actually worked in the space business before. One of those was Nancy Evans. Ed hired Nancy to run the schedule and deal with the other paperwork tasks that this business demands. None of us kids had much patience for that stuff, and I know it was an ongoing challenge for her to maintain a rational schedule on top of the chaos that was going on at the work level. But she did it, and we eventually got the instrument delivered. The MOC was lost when Mars Observer blew up, but we put together the spare MOC and it was flown on Mars Global Surveyor. That, fortunately, made it to Mars, and made some amazing discoveries. Like many other people, Nancy deserves a slice of credit for that.

One day in 1988, I brought my camera into work and shot pictures of everyone, to try to capture what it was like there, then. I shot this one of Nancy, caught (I see now, squinting at the picture) entering an RFA from our recent instrument CDR into a spreadsheet so she could track it. Now, I'm older than she was in this picture, and I'm the one that gets build spreadsheets to track RFAs."

Larger image

NASA: Reporting Requirements Regarding Findings of Harassment, Sexual Harassment, Other Forms of Harassment, or Sexual Assault

"NASA is publishing, in final form, a new term and condition regarding sexual harassment, other forms of harassment, and sexual assault. ... The many hundreds of U.S. institutions of higher education and other organizations that receive NASA funds are responsible for fully investigating complaints under and for compliance with federal non- discrimination laws, regulations, and executive orders. The implementation of new reporting requirements is necessary to help ensure research environments to which NASA provides funding are free from sexual harassment, other forms of harassment, and sexual assault. Additionally, NASA is bolstering our policies, guidelines, and communications. These requirements are intended, first, to better ensure that organizations funded by NASA clearly understand expectations and requirements. In addition, NASA seeks to ensure that recipients of grants and cooperative agreements respond promptly and appropriately to instances of sexual harassment, other forms of harassment, and sexual assault."

- New NASA Statements on Discrimination and Harassment Policies, earlier post
- NASA Speaks About Harassment in Space Science and Astronomy, earlier post
- New Report On Harassment in Science & Engineering Released, earlier post

Nancy Evans

"Nancy Liggett Evans 11/22/1937 - 1/17/2020 was born to M. Margaret and Dr. Robert Samuel Liggett in Denver Colorado. She was married to E. Wayne Bamford bearing a daughter Megan Ann. She was later married to William J. Evans of Denver. Moving to California in the 70's, she was employed in planetary exploration at Jet Propulsion Laboratory, NASA headquarters and the California Institute of Technology. Known as the "mother" of the Planetary Data System; she later enabled the digitization of the Lunar orbiter images. However, the work of her lifetime was the development, documentation and practice of veterinary acupuncture. She was working on a book about this subject, but it was not completed. She is remembered by her daughter Megan, son in law Mike Flynn, her sister Margaret Ann and many friends and acquaintances."

Image: From 2008: Lunar Orbiter Program Manager Lee Scherer and Nancy Evans in front of the restored and operational FR-900 tape drive used to retrieve Lunar Orbiter images. There was not a dry eye in the house when they both visited. Link

The Hackers Who Recovered NASA's Lost Lunar Photos, Wired

"When they learned through a Usenet group that former NASA employee Nancy Evans might have both the tapes and the super-rare Ampex FR-900 drives needed to read them, they jumped into action. They drove to Los Angeles, where the refrigerator-sized drives were being stored in a backyard shed surrounded by chickens. At the same time, they retrieved the tapes from a storage unit in nearby Moorpark, and things gradually began to take shape. Funding the project out of pocket at first, they were consumed with figuring out how to release the images trapped in the tapes."

https://s3.amazonaws.com/images.spaceref.com/news/2020/earthise.old.new.med.2.jpg

Keith's note: Nancy Evans saw the undiscovered value in the Lunar Orbiter tapes when no one else did. NASA usually likes new, shiny things - not old, dusty things. Nancy put her money where her mouth was and fought to save these tapes as best she could - as well as the drives needed to read them. As a result the world now has an archive of ultra-high lunar imagery from the mid-1960s which can often exceed contemporary imagery and can be used to study changes in the lunar surface over the span of half a century. That imagery is now online in the Planetary Data System - which Nancy lead the development of - where it belongs, along side data from other NASA missions.

Sometimes being a true space pioneer can be as simple as not throwing things out when you are told to throw them out. History is an inexhaustible resource for new discoveries. Nancy Evans did a diving catch and saved some of that NASA history. NASA would do well to take a fresh look at its old data. Who knows what lies within that data awaiting discovery.

Ad Astra Nancy.

- Memorial information (21 March 2022).
- Lunar Orbiter Image Recovery Project, official (archived) website
- Lunar Orbiter Image Recovery Project, Wikipedia
- Lunar Orbiter Image Recovery Project (LOIRP) Online Data Volumes, NASA PDS

Message From the Associate NASA Administrator: Coronavirus Update

"As the coronavirus (COVID-19) situation continues to evolve, I am updating you on behalf of the NASA leadership team regarding actions we are taking to respond to this serious and evolving situation. As always, the protection and care of our NASA team is the top priority and critical to the success of our mission.

. Friday, March 6, will be an agencywide telework day. The purpose of this exercise is to test our capabilities, resources, and preparedness for large-scale teleworking. Participation is optional and highly encouraged. Remember to take home your government-furnished computer, if you have one.

. A separate email will be sent later in the week with additional information about the agencywide telework day. The email will include guidance on use of the Virtual Private Network (VPN) and virtual collaboration tools, and other helpful information. This is also an opportunity to ensure your home internet connection can support teleworking.

. Contractors should speak with their program manager and/or COR regarding telework eligibility and then they are required to follow company guidance/policy regarding telework, travel, and all other work activities. NASA will remain OPEN throughout this exercise."

Chuck Berry, M.D.

Charles Berry, an early NASA physician, dies at 96, Huston Chronicle

"Dr. Charles "Chuck" A. Berry, a NASA physician who helped select the country's first astronauts and devised tests to see if they could survive the demands of space, died in his sleep Saturday night in his Houston home. He was 96 years old. Berry is considered a pioneer in aviation medicine, with a 68-year career in which he served as a flight surgeon for the U.S. Air Force, director of life sciences for NASA, an aviation medical examiner for the Federal Aviation Administration and an aerospace medicine consultant."

NASA Johnson Space Center Oral History Project Edited Oral History Transcript: Charles A. Berry

"I have a deep and abiding faith in the human capability to adapt to almost--the human body is set up in a way that it will adapt to most anything within reason, within some reason. It's going to go through adaptive changes. Of course, then the big question, in my mind, is, is what we're seeing an adaptive change and how far can it go and still be adaptive and not interfere with the performance of the individual involved. That was the real crux of everything that we were going to do. When we got the people to go for those time periods and saw that they could perform and things weren't getting worse, we still didn't know at the end of the Gemini Program, we didn't know which way things were going to go. Had we reached a point where things weren't going to get worse? We certainly didn't know."

Katherine Johnson

NASA Has A New CFO

Saunders Replaces DeWit As NASA CFO, Space Policy Online

"NASA has a new acting Chief Financial Officer (CFO), Melanie Saunders, replacing Jeff DeWit who resigned last week. Saunders was Deputy Associate Administrator and her replacement on an acting basis is Cathy Mangum, who has been Associate Director of Langley Research Center. Saunders will have to be confirmed by the Senate as well, although the CFO position usually is non-controversial and considered under expedited Senate procedures that do not require a hearing or vote by committee, only a vote by the full Senate."

NASA CFO Jeff DeWit Is Leaving NASA

"It has been the honor of a lifetime to serve as the Chief Financial Officer of NASA, especially during a time when we have been tasked to go further and faster than ever before. I can hardly describe how wonderful this job is, how many great people I have met here, and how much I love and will miss NASA. The dedication of everyone here towards the mission is inspiring, and the people here are what I will miss the most."

NASA Administrator Names Marla Pérez-Davis Director Of Glenn Research Center

"NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine has named Marla Pérez-Davis director of the agency's Glenn Research Center in Cleveland, effective immediately. Pérez-Davis has been serving as the acting director of Glenn since Oct. 1, 2019. Prior to this appointment, Pérez-Davis was the deputy director of Glenn, sharing responsibility with the center director for planning, organizing, and managing the agency-level programs and projects assigned to the center."

NASA Names Dennis Andrucyk New Goddard Space Flight Center Director

"NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine has named Dennis Andrucyk director of its Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, effective immediately. Andrucyk has been serving as the acting director of Goddard since Dec. 31. Prior to becoming Goddard's acting center director, Andrucyk was the deputy associate administrator for NASA's Science Mission Directorate at the agency's headquarters in Washington."

Keith's note: NASA Chief of Staff Janet Karika is moving into the position of Principal Advisor for Space Transportation. Deputy Chief of Staff Gabe Sherman will become the new NASA Chief of Staff.

NASA Administrator Names Robert Pearce Head of Agency Aeronautics

"NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine has named Robert Pearce as the next associate administrator for the Aeronautics Research Mission Directorate (ARMD). Pearce replaces Jaiwon Shin, who retired from the agency on Aug. 31. "Bob is a visionary leader with a deep understanding of the current and future aeronautics environment," said NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine. "He'll do a great job directing NASA in helping create a generational shift in air travel for the United States and the world."

Keith's note: On Tuesday at 12:00 pm EST NASA will air an agency-wide Town Hall meeting on NASA TV to introduce the new Human Exploration and Operations Mission Directorate Associate Administrator Douglas Loverro. Watch live here.

New Associate Administrator for the Human Exploration and Operations Mission Directorate: Douglas Loverro, earlier post

"From 2013 to 2017, he served as the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Space Policy. In this role, he was responsible for establishing policy for the United States allies to the benefits of space capabilities and to help guide the Department's strategy for addressing space-related issues. He led Departmental activities in international space cooperation, assessment of the national security impacts of commercial space activities, and oversaw the establishment of a strategy for addressing growing challenges in space security."

At NASA, 2019 was the year of the woman, yet women still are a big minority at the space agency, Washington Post

"But debate still surrounds it. In October, a chat board for members of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) hosted a spirited discussion of the term, with some arguing that "manned" refers to all humans and, as one put it, "the word itself has nothing to do with gender." Lori Garver, a former NASA deputy administrator, wrote on the message board that "if we want to encourage women or non-conforming genders to be a part of our next grand adventure, it would serve us well to remove 'manned' from our lexicon." AIAA Executive Director Dan Dumbacher responded on the board that the institute "prefers to use 'crewed' or 'human' rather than 'manned' when referring to space travel in our publications and on AIAA.org. Increasing the diversity of the aerospace community and the future workforce has been -- and continues to be -- a mission priority for AIAA." The debate became so heated that ultimately the organization decided to shut down the discussion board, asking members to write statements "with empathy and respect for your fellow members."

- AIAA Moves Toward Diversity And Inclusion - Old Mindsets Persist, earlier post
- AIAA Responds To Diversity Concerns, earlier post
- AIAA Shuns Gender Diversity In Scholarship Selections, earlier post

Keith's note: Mike Gold from Maxar has been tapped be become a special advisory to NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine. Gold will be providing advice to Bridenstine on a range of topics with a special focus on expanding commercialization in low Earth orbit, cis-lunar space and beyond. In addition of working for Maxar he also served on the NASA Adviosry Council and was the energetic chair of the NAC Regulatory and Policy Committee. Mike also served on the board of the Commercial Spaceflight Federation and worked for a number of years for Bigelow Aerospace. Mike is also a big Star Trek fan and should provide a balancing influence upon rabid Star Wars fan Jim Bridenstine.

- NAC bio
- Larger image

Ron Reisman

Keith's note: This is from Ron's wife Marcia on his Facebook page: "Dear Friends of Ron, Ron passed away early this morning from complications from pancreatic cancer. Although we knew his time was limited, this still came as a shock. Ron made a lot of friends through the years, and I know appreciated all of you. He leaves behind me, our 3 kids, and endless books and projects."

Ronald J. Reisman, MS, Lifeboat Foundation

"Ron authored A Brief Introduction to the Art of Flight Simulation and coauthored Augmented Reality in a Simulated Tower Environment: Effect of Field of View on Aircraft Detection and Design of Augmented Reality Tools for Air Traffic Control Towers. His patents include Real-time surface traffic adviser and Automated traffic management system and method."

NASA and Aerospace warming up to Blockchain Technology

"Blockchain has seen a lot of success in the past few months. Every industry is trying to get their hands on the success of Blockchain and this time its the aerospace sector. NASA is looking into different ways Blockchain technology can be used in their system. A NASA computer engineer, Ronald J Reisman, sees the scope of Blockchain technology in the US ATC system."

Ad astra Ron.

New Associate Administrator for the Human Exploration and Operations Mission Directorate: Douglas Loverro

"NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine Wednesday selected Douglas Loverro as the agency's next Associate Administrator for the Human Exploration and Operations Mission Directorate. Loverro succeeds former astronaut Kenneth Bowersox who has been acting associate administrator since July. "I worked with Doug for many years on the Hill and he is a respected strategic leader in both civilian and defense programs, overseeing the development and implementation of highly complicated systems," said Administrator Bridenstine from Headquarters in Washington. "He is known for his strong, bipartisan work and his experience with large programs will be of great benefit to NASA at this critical time in our final development of human spaceflight systems for both Commercial Crew and Artemis." For three decades, Loverro was in the Department of Defense (DoD) and the National Reconnaissance Office (NRO) developing, managing, and establishing national policy for the full range of National Security space activities."

Douglas L. Loverro, LinkedIn

Why the United States needs a Space Force, OpEd, Douglas Loverro, Space News

"The president got it right. We need a Space Force. Space is too critical for the nation's defense not to have an organization that speaks for its importance, defends it against all comers, and jealously advocates for new missions and new responsibilities. Space is too crucial to national security to be stalled by a lack of focus and an unwillingness to respond until pushed."

Keith's note: Loverro still has to drink from multiple fire hoses for a while to get up to speed before he can make the big SLS decisions. And if the whole Space Force thing happens then NASA will now have firm support for it at the top levels of agency management.

Interestingly Loverro appears in the FEC donor database most recently as having made multiple contributions to Democratic Senate candidate Amy McGrath who is challenging Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. Earlier donations noted in OpenSecrets show him to be a Democrat - or perhaps an Independent - which tends to support the notion that Bridenstine simply sought expertise in his choice without letting politics becoming involved. A good sign.

Budget leader says NASA's accelerated moon mission timeline unnecessary, Huston Chronicle

"Cowing said he is heartened by the pick, even though Loverro appears to lack civilian space experience. "It's kind of a refreshing choice to pick someone outside the usual suspects within NASA human spaceflight," Cowing said. "Clearly, how things have been running for the past decade is rockets don't launch and bringing a new perspective is required."

Keith's note: Looks like AIAA is making a positive step in terms of inclusion and diversity according to a post by AIAA President Dan Dumbacher on the AIAA members messaging system about using "crewed" and "human" instead of "manned" spaceflight. Well done Dan! (original post by Dan Dumbacher)

"AIAA is dedicated to open discourse across the Institute, including on member platforms such as Engage. AIAA prefers to use "crewed" or "human" rather than "manned" when referring to space travel in our publications and on AIAA.org. Increasing diversity the diversity of the aerospace community and the future workforce has been-and continues to be - a mission priority for AIAA. We've been seeing improvements in recent years, especially through the hard work of our dedicated AIAA Diversity Working Group. The Institute will continue our efforts to be as inclusive and diverse as possible, acknowledging that we as a community have work to do."

Dumbacher's post was at the end of a discourse on the AIAA's internal forum "Engage". Last night Lori Garver and several members had an interaction which is typical of the mindset that persists within the aerospace community. Kudos to Dan Dumbacher for trying to push an more open discussion ahead. (Larger view - participants' identities anonymized)

- AIAA Responds To Diversity Concerns, earlier post

"However, the aerospace industry and AIAA need to better represent the diverse world around us. .... It will take years of intentional, hard--but important--work to increase the percentage of women and underrepresented minorities in our industry, but we must achieve this moral imperative. I urge everyone to help build a stronger more diverse workforce for the future."

- AIAA Shuns Gender Diversity In Scholarship Selections, earlier post

Bobby Braun Is Headed For JPL

Personnel and Organizational Announcements, NASA JPL

"I am very pleased to inform you that Bobby Braun will be joining the Laboratory Executive leadership team effective January 15, 2020 in this capacity. ... Due to the increasingly integrated nature of NASA's Planetary program, and to Bobby's long experience with the Mars Program, we will conduct a study this fall to merge significant portions of the existing Mars Exploration Directorate (6X) into the Solar System Exploration Directorate (4X)."

Bobby Braun, Dean Of CU Engineering, To Step Down In 2020, UC Boulder

"Dean of the College of Engineering and Applied Science Bobby Braun is stepping down in January 2020 to join NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory executive leadership team. JPL is an operating division of the California Institute of Technology."

SNC Welcomes Janet Kavandi to Lead Space Programs Former NASA Astronaut and Center Director Joins Space Innovator (16 September)

"... former NASA astronaut and Glenn Research Center director, Janet Kavandi, will join SNC as Senior Vice President for the company's Space Systems business area. After 25 years with NASA, Kavandi retired this month as director at Glenn, having led the center's Moon to Mars work."

NASA Glenn Director and Veteran Astronaut, Janet Kavandi, to Retire After 25 Years of Service (12 September)

"Dr. Janet L. Kavandi announced her retirement from NASA on Monday, Sept. 9 following 25 years of service with the space agency. Kavandi has served as director of NASA's Glenn Research Center since March 2016. Her retirement is effective at the end of September."

Keith's note: Several sources at NASA Marshall report that their managers sent them memos today that said that they would get 59 minutes of excused leave that they could use at any time next week *if* they went to the all-hands event in the MSFC auditorium today with Jim Bridenstine. Why 59 minutes? Answer: offering an hour or more of leave requires a different management approval mechanism. Other sources report that MSFC employees who were planning to work offsite via telework were told that they needed to come onsite today so that they could attend the all hands event.

I find it to be somewhat baffling that MSFC management was so paranoid that employees might not want to show up for an event of obvious importance to their personal and collective future at NASA that they sought to stuff the room with warm bodies as a show of support. Did they stop to think what NASA HQ would think? It is not as if these employees weren't going to tell people that their management sent these memos all over the center. This also sets a bad precedent for future all-hands events at MSFC and elsewhere..

Word of these official MSFC management urgings first appeared a week or so ago. There is now a fire lit under the existing rivalry between Texas and Alabama with regard to the Human Lunar Lander program - one that extends all the way to the halls of Congress. As such it was probably not too smart in a strategic sense for MSFC management to be caught doing sneaky stunts like this. The Texas delegation was absent from the Huntsville event. They have publicly stated - bluntly - that they did not agree with this decision and that they intend to have a strong voice in how this all unfolds. As such I suspect that the folks at JSC won't need management memos to prompt them to show up at events and rallies - if the occasion arises.

P.S. According to Sen. Cruz and congressional staffers from other offices, NASA's Office of Legislative Affairs did not pre-coordinate all of this with the Texas delegation. This is not the first time this year that Code L has neglected to exert due diligence in coordinating with everyone in advance of a major announcement. Texas is a potential toss-up state in 2020. Alabama is not. Just sayin'.

NASA Goddard Space Flight Center Internal Memo Regarding Employee Use of Cannabidiol (CBD) Oil

"The lack of standards means there are CBD products being marketed that contains a sufficient level of THC to cause a positive drug test result. Please be aware that, the use of any compounds or substances not approved by the FDA cannot be used as a legitimate medical explanation for a positive drug test result. As a reminder, the use of illegal drugs by federal employees is not permissible under any circumstances, regardless of state and/or local laws; this includes the use of Marijuana or products that contains THC for recreational and/or medical purposes. NASA is authorized to conduct pre-employment testing of any individual who will occupy a testing designated position (TDP) and Random testing of employees who occupy a TDP. All employees are subject to testing under provisions for reasonable suspicion and post-accident and/or unsafe practice testing regardless of the TDP designation of their position."

Union: Mulvaney comments confirm agency moves meant to cut, AP

"A federal employees union charged Tuesday that recent comments by acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney confirm the Trump administration's "grand strategy" to cut the federal workforce by relocating agency offices out of Washington. Mulvaney said last week that the U.S. Department of Agriculture's plan to relocate several hundred of jobs from Washington to the Kansas City area is "a wonderful way to streamline government." Speaking to a group of fellow Republicans in his home state of South Carolina, he said it's "nearly impossible" to fire federal workers but added that many will not move to "the real part of the country."

Mulvaney: Relocating Offices is a 'Wonderful Way' to Shed Federal Employees, Government Executive

"I don't know if you saw the news the other day, but the USDA moved two offices out of Washington, D.C., I think to Kansas City, Missouri," Mulvaney boasted, while encouraging applause. "Guess what happened. Guess what happened. More than half the people quit." (USDA has not yet decided if the offices will be in Kansas or Missouri.)"

Mulvaney Comments on Transfers Are Telling, Says Union, FEDweek

"The AFGE union said that the comments "confirm what our union has been saying all along: the administration's decision to transfer hundreds of USDA jobs from D.C. isn't about helping federal employees do their jobs better or delivering better services to the American taxpayer. Their goal is to drive out hardworking and dedicated civil servants and silence the parts of the agencies' research that the administration views as inconvenient."

Keith's note: OK NASA HQ employees (maybe GSFC employees too): Do you love your NASA job enough to be forcibly moved to a NASA field center? Sure, they pay all moving costs, adjust your salary, and all of that good stuff, but they move you away from your community. When will the NASA HQ reorganization plans be announced? I have not heard of any yet - but NASA is just another Federal agency and it is likely that this will happen since this Administration seems to be happy that the moving threat makes people quit.

Thoughts? (no non-NASA HQ employee comments, please). Technically, this is not a RIF. But, to reflect back to the very first post that led to the creation of NASAWatch in 1996 - then called "NASA RIF Watch" there is a value to "the use of fear as a tool in corporate downsizing."''

Jack Kerrebrock

Jack Kerrebrock, professor emeritus of aeronautics and astronautics, dies at 91, MIT

"Jack L. Kerrebrock, professor emeritus of aeronautics and astronautics at MIT, died at home on July 19. He was 91. ... Kerrebrock enjoyed an international reputation as an expert in the development of propulsion systems for aircraft and spacecraft. Over the years, he served as chair or member of multiple advisory committees - both government and professional - and as NASA associate administrator of aeronautics and space technology."

NASA Administrator Names Acting Director for Goddard Space Flight Center

"NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine has named George Morrow to serve as acting director of the agency's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, effective Thursday, Aug. 1. Morrow will replace Chris Scolese, who is departing NASA to be the director of the National Reconnaissance Office."

Chris Kraft

NASA Administrator Remembers Mission Control Pioneer Chris Kraft

"Chris was one of the core team members that helped our nation put humans in space and on the Moon, and his legacy is immeasurable. Chris' engineering talents were put to work for our nation at the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics, before NASA even existed, but it was his legendary work to establish mission control as we know it for the earliest crewed space flights that perhaps most strongly advanced our journey of discovery. From that home base, America's achievements in space were heard across the globe, and our astronauts in space were anchored to home even as they accomplished unprecedented feats."

Leadership Changes in Human Exploration and Operations Mission Directorate, NASA Memo

As you know, NASA has been given a bold challenge to put the first woman and the next man on the Moon by 2024, with a focus on the ultimate goal of sending humans to Mars. In an effort to meet this challenge, I have decided to make leadership changes to the Human Exploration and Operations (HEO) Mission Directorate.

Ad Astra Frank Sietzen

Keith's note: Next week a SpaceX Falcon Heavy with be launched. On board will be the Celestis Heritage payload. Inside will be some ashes of my long time friend and collaborator Frank Sietzen. It would seem that Frank is about to become the first American journalist in space. Frank was also the first SpaceX employee in Washington DC.

Ad Astra Frank.

Frank Clark Sietzen, Jr., Celestis

George Jeffs

John Healey

John Healey

"John Healey was an American aerospace executive manager best known for his role in the redesign and manufacture of the command modules for the Apollo program after the catastrophic launch pad fire that took the lives of Command Pilot Virgil I. "Gus" Grissom, Senior Pilot Ed White and Pilot Roger B. Chaffee on January 27, 1967 (Apollo 1).He died in March 2019 at the age of 97."

Turkish-American NASA scientist released from Turkish prison, AP

"Serkan Golge, a Turkish-American scientist imprisoned in Turkey for nearly three years, has been released. Morgan Ortagus, a U.S. State Department spokeswoman, welcomed the decision but declined to discuss why he was released. However, she told reporters Wednesday it was the "right thing to do." Golge was on a family visit in southern Turkey when he was arrested in the aftermath of a failed coup, which Turkey blames on U.S.-based cleric Fethullah Gulen."

- NASA Employee Imprisoned By Turkey For No Reason, earlier post
- NASA MSFC Employee Tries To Make Serkan Golge's Past Disappear, earlier post

Resignation Letter From Mark Sirangelo To NASA Administrator Bridenstine

"My notice today is for an end to my NASA employment on May 31, 2019. Due to complex nature of the efforts NASA is engaged in, I am open to discussing this situation further before that or to discussing a return to NASA in the future should the situation change. Meanwhile, I will start organizing a transition plan for the many things that I have work on and on list of outstanding activities. Please let me know who you would like me to work with on external messaging."

NASA Internal Memo: Appointment of Mark Sirangelo, 9 April 2019

"I am pleased to announce the appointment of Mr. Mark Sirangelo as a Special Assistant to the Administrator. In this role, Mark will have broad responsibility to work across the Mission Directorates to further develop the agency's plans for the Exploration Campaign. This includes a strategy to meet the Administration's policy to return astronauts to the lunar surface by 2024. He will also lead the planning for the proposed agency restructuring to create the Moons to Mars Mission Directorate that will manage the programs to develop the Gateway, human rated lander and surface systems to return to the Moon and establish a permanent presence. The new proposed Directorate will also manage the Exploration Research and Technology programs to enable capabilities required for exploration of the Moon, Mars and beyond."

Meet the Women in Charge of NASA's Science Divisions, NASA

"For the first time in NASA's history, women are in charge of three out of four science divisions at the agency. The Earth Science, Heliophysics and Planetary Science divisions now all have women at the helm. Each hails from a different country and brings unique expertise to NASA's exploration efforts. "We have an extraordinary group of women responsible for the success of dozens of NASA space missions and research programs, revealing new insights about our planet, Sun and solar system," said Thomas Zurbuchen, associate administrator of NASA's Science Mission Directorate at NASA Headquarters. "They are inspiring the next generation of women to become leaders in space exploration as we move forward to put the first woman on the Moon."

Women are now in charge of NASA's science missions, Mashable

"What's more, of the latest class of 12 astronauts, almost half, five, are women. Still, a woman has never led the entire space agency, as NASA's administrator. This is not surprising. Women still have a stark minority representation in the most powerful positions of U.S. government. Of the 21 members of President Trump's cabinet, four are women. Though females make up nearly 51% of the U.S. population, just 24 percent of Congress is represented by women. NASA, though, is a clear leader in recognizing the leadership abilities and scientific savvy of the agency's female researchers. What are these three women in charge of?"

"Bill Ingalls has served as NASA's Earth-based photographer for three decades, expertly capturing the space agency's rocket launches and critical moments -- even shooting a vehicle test inside an active volcano."

Keith's 12:32 PM note: I sent the following request to NASA HQ and KSC PAO:

"K. Scott Piel @spiel2001 who claims to be a "Software Engineer / TOSC @ NASA/KSC EGS/LCS - Amateur Photographer" refers to a new KSC policy that prohibits employees from any photography while on the job.

1. Has NASA KSC implemented a new policy wherein, according to Piel "employees are no longer permitted to photograph or share images from *any* operations cat KSC without authorization. Regardless of source. Photographing, or sharing images, from operations is grounds for termination." (yes/no)?
2. If NASA KSC has implemented a new policy with regard to photography does it apply to contractor personnel only, NASA civil servants only, or both?
3. Can you provide me with a copy of the current NASA KSC policy with regard to photography - on-site - by KSC employees?"

Keith's 1:14 PM update: NASA replied (very quickly BTW): "NASA does not have a new photo policy. All employees are required to follow federal and contractual requirements, which prevent the sharing of imagery that is export controlled and/or proprietary. I will circle back to you with the policy shortly."

Keith's 1:30 PM update: "As promised, I am including the language below from the Kennedy NASA Procedural Requirement that outlines KSC's photography policy."

"10.4 KSC Photography Policy

More below

Former NASA Acting Administrator Robert Lightfoot Joins Lockheed Martin

"Robert Lightfoot, a longtime NASA executive who served as both the agency's acting administrator and highest-ranking civil servant, will join Lockheed Martin Space as vice president, Strategy and Business Development, effective May 6. In his new role, Lightfoot will lead strategic planning, advanced technology concepts, and new business strategy for the corporation's Space business area. Lockheed Martin Space is a $9 billion, 18,000-person enterprise that has been a leader in satellite and launch systems since the dawn of the space age. The business area's programs include GPS, missile warning and communications satellites for the Department of Defense; human and robotic exploration systems for NASA; weather and commercial communications satellites, and strategic missile and missile defense systems."

Jerrie Cobb

Geraldyn "Jerrie" M. Cobb, first woman to pass astronaut testing in 1961 passes away at 88.

"After living sixty-six adventure filled years as a pilot and advocate for female pilots, and sharing over fifty years of her life with the indigenous Indian tribes of the Amazon, Jerrie's humble smile and sky-blue eyes live on in our hearts. It is fitting that Jerrie was born in, and would leave us in, Woman's History Month. Jerrie Cobb passed away peacefully on March 18, 2019 in Florida. Whenever we look to the heavens, we will see those sky-blue eyes and be reminded of her humble smile, deep compassion and steely determination."

Owen Garriott

Keith's note: The guy who sent these creepy DMs has a history of saying things like this:

- The Confusing and Troubling Public Face of "NewSpace", earlier post
- Sick Comments About Losing Astronauts, earlier post

Joe Cuzzupoli

Joe Cuzzupoli died this past Monday. He was a key manager for Rockwell during the development of the Apollo Command and Service Modules. He held senior positions in a number of aerospace firms, served on the NASA Return to Flight Panel after the Columbia accident, was a member of the NASA Advisory Council, and a member of General Stafford's Safety Panel. More details to follow.

Mr. Joseph W. Cuzzupoli, NASA Return to Flight Panel

Dick Smith

Former Kennedy Space Center Director Richard G. Smith Passes Away, NASA

"Richard G. Smith, a former director of NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida, passed away March 14, 2019, in Decatur, Alabama. He was 89 years old. Smith served as director of Kennedy from Sept. 26, 1979 to Aug. 2, 1986. During his years as director, the buildup of the space shuttle was completed, 25 space shuttle missions were launched and planning efforts began for the International Space Station."

Frank Hicks

Obituary of Dr. H. Frank Hicks Jr., The Union

"Dr. H. Frank Hicks Jr., 95, of Fort Myers, FL passed away on February 21, 2019. Frank led the design and manufacture of America's first high resolution reconnaissance satellite cameras starting in 1958 a few months after the Soviets launched Sputnik. Presidents Johnson and Reagan both spoke about the critical contributions that these spy satellites made to preventing nuclear war. The camera systems on the Lunar Orbiter missions that mapped the moon's surface in advance of the Apollo missions were also developed under his direction. Frank retired from Kodak in 1981 as the Director of Research and Engineering for the Kodak Apparatus Division, and was named Director Emeritus."

Jack Lee

Thomas J. "Jack" Lee

"Thomas J. "Jack" Lee, 83 of New Market, died Sunday at Grandview Medical Center in Birmingham following a battle with pancreatic cancer. Born in Wedowee, AL, he was the son of John Tom Lee and Virginia Hodnett Walker. Mr. Lee graduated from the University of Alabama in 1958 with a BS in Aeronautical Engineering. He received an honorary doctorate from the University of Alabama-Huntsville. Mr. Lee served as the sixth Director of the NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville from July 1989 to January 1994. He began his professional career in 1958 as an Aeronautical Research Engineer with the U.S. Army Ballistic Missile Agency. He transferred to the Marshall Center when it was formed in 1960, as a Systems Engineer with the Center's Centaur Resident Manager Office in San Diego."

Wallops director moving to NASA HQ; acting director named. Delmarva Now

"NASA Wallops Flight Facility's director is taking a job at the agency's Washington D.C. headquarters, leaving his post after nearly a decade in the role. William Wrobel, known by many as Bill, is serving on a detail with NASA's Human Exploration and Operations Mission Directorate in Washington, D.C. Keith Koehler, a spokesperson for Wallops, confirmed the move Wednesday."

Christopher Scolese Nominated to be the Director of the National Reconnaissance Office

"Mr. Scolese currently serves as the Director of NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center. Previously, he served as the associate administrator at NASA headquarters in Washington, D.C., and as NASA's chief engineer. Mr. Scolese is the recipient of the Presidential Rank Award of Meritorious Executive, the NASA Distinguished Leadership Medal, the Goddard Outstanding Leadership Medal, two NASA Outstanding Leadership Medals, and the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) National Capital Section Young Engineer/Scientist of the Year award."

Suzanne Gillen Named NASA Associate Administrator for Legislative Affairs

"Gillen spent 14 years in the U.S. Senate, where she served as professional staff for NASA, civil space, and aviation policy for Chairman John Thune on the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation from September 2013 to March 2018. In this position, she managed the development and legislative advancement of both the U.S. Commercial Space Launch Competitiveness Act of 2015 and the NASA Transition Authorization Act of 2017. She also worked as part of the team drafting the Federal Aviation Administration Authorization Act. Gillen also served in various staff roles for several U.S. Senators and the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works."

Keith's note: NASA Day of Remembrance events at Arlington National Cemetery will be held on 7 February.

NASA Town Hall On Tuesday

Town Hall with NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine

"Headquarters is hosting an agencywide town hall with NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine on Tuesday, Jan. 29, at 1 - 2 p.m. EST. Please join this important discussion as we return to work and begin the process of an orderly restart that ensures employee safety and security. All employees, contractors and civil servants, are encouraged to participate in person at Headquarters in the Webb auditorium and remotely at the designated viewing location at their center. The event will air live on NASA Television (public channel), through your center cable or streaming distribution, and on the agency's website at https://www.nasa.gov/nasalive. You may submit questions securely from any computer or mobile device starting now and throughout the presentation."

Welcome Back To Work, NASA

NASA Administrator Message: Thank You! Let's Get Safely Back to the Business of Exploration

"We understand the worry and confusion coming back to work may cause and we're going to do our best to keep you informed as agency systems are brought back online and you're asked to pick up where you left off more than a month ago. As you probably know, the President signed S.24, the "Federal Employee Fair Treatment Act of 2019," into law. The bill guarantees that federal civil servant workers will receive wages withheld during this shutdown, and future shutdowns. I understand our contractors are facing different challenges regarding pay and benefits and our procurement team will be working these issues in the days moving forward to try to do as much as we legally can to assist everyone affected."

Keith's note: Megan Powers, the NASA Press Secretary for Administrator Bridenstine, will be leaving NASA tomorrow for a new opportunity in the private sector. We here at NASAWatch wish her well.

- Megan Powers Is NASA's New Press Secretary, earlier post

The Most Famous Person To Die In 2018, According To Data Science, Huffington Post

"What this graph doesn't tell us, however, is who specifically was the most famous person to die in 2018. To calculate this, we need a means to measure an individual's level of fame. And this is where we can borrow a trick from Google. The search engine ranks results by counting the number of pages linking into a given page - the theory being that the more pages linking there, the more authoritative it is. And using this Wikipedia data, we can do something similar: We can count the number of other Wikipedia pages linking to the dead person. The bigger the number, the bigger the impact that person had on our world."

"10 - Paul Spudis - Aug. 29 - Scientist - 1502"

Paul Spudis, earlier post

Nancy Grace Roman

Nancy Grace Roman, astronomer celebrated as 'mother' of Hubble, dies at 93, Washington Post

"Undeterred by the barriers to women in the sciences, Dr. Roman found a professional home at NASA. Even there, she recalled in an interview years later, she felt compelled to use the honorific "Dr." "Otherwise," she said, "I could not get past the secretaries." After joining the fledgling space agency in 1959, Dr. Roman became the first chief of astronomy at NASA headquarters, a role that made her one of the agency's first female executives. She remained in that position for nearly two decades before her retirement in 1979."

- NASA Administrator's Statement Regarding Nancy Grace Roman
- Nancy Roman, Wikipedia

Keith's note: The last two times there was a data breach I was directly affected since I am a former NASA civil servant even though I left the agency 25 years ago. I also underwent a FBI security scan to get a press badge at NASA HQ 15 years ago. I sent an email to NASA HQ PAO, Human Resources, and CIO yesterday asking how media and former employees are affected by the latest security breach. This is the response I got.

It is pointless to send me to the website since I am no longer a NASA civil servant and I do not have a "Smart Card" to log in. So I called the phone number. They never bothered to ask me for my case number (so why was I given one?). A recording of the call is below. Clearly NASA is not prepared for handling responses to former NASA employees about this topic. Note: I am in Virginia which is a "one party" state when it comes to recording phone calls (which I never do if you call me BTW). This is a customer service call that I think is worth sharing.

"Dear Keith, Thank you for your inquiry to the Enterprise Service Desk (ESD) regarding the potential PII compromise. At this time we are being advised to direct all media inquiries to NASA Headquarters, Ms. Karen Northon at [deleted]. We are dedicated to providing you with a high-quality and timely resolution. You can review the status of your inquiry at https://esd.nasa.gov. If you have any questions or need further assistance, please contact us at 1-877-677-2123, option 2 or submit a ticket at https://esd.nasa.gov. For quicker service, reference your case number [deleted] when calling or include it in the subject line of your e-mail. Thank you,

Service Provider, NASA Enterprise Service Desk (ESD)
NASA Shared Services Center
Self-Service/Web: http://esd.nasa.gov/esd
Phone: (877) 677-2123
Fax (support documentation only): (888) 525-6497"

Rona Ramon

Rona Ramon, Widow of Israel's First Astronaut Ilan Ramon, Dies at 54, Haaretz

"Rona Ramon, the widow of Israel's first and only astronaut, died of pancreatic cancer Monday at age 54. Ramon's husband, Ilan Ramon, was a crew member on America's 2003 Columbia space shuttle mission when the spacecraft blew up, killing all on board. Rona Ramon later lost her son Asaf, an Israel Air Force fighter pilot, in a training accident. She subsequently established the Ramon Foundation to promote academic excellence and social leadership among Israel's young people."

Columbia: Thinking Back - Looking Ahead, New Moon Rising

"From the an event held on the one year anniversary of Columbia's loss at the Israeli embassy in Washington, DC: "At the end of the event, Rona Ramon, Ilan's widow, spoke last. "Our mission in space is not over" she told the hushed audience. "He was the first Israeli in space -- that means there will be more."

Keith's 14 December note: NASA has a new Associate Administrator for the headquarters Office of Communications: Bettina Inclán. According to her Twitter profile at @BettinaInclan: "Entrepreneur. Storyteller. Political junky. Tired mom of 2 boys. Wife. Wine enthusiast. Proud Latina. Alum of Capitol Hill @GOP @RNCLatinos @NRCC Romney, McCain".

Here's her Linked In profile: Bettina Inclán Agen. Bettina Inclán reports for duty at NASA next week. A quick Google search turned up these interesting stories that mention her:

Miami politician says aliens took her on a spaceship. Now she's running for Congress, Miami Herald (with video)

"A congressional candidate from Miami can go one better: Bettina Rodriguez Aguilera says she's been aboard a spaceship too. But this one was crewed by aliens. As in extraterrestrials. ... Rodriguez Aguilera, 59, a Republican who is running to replace retiring Miami Republican Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, recounted her experience with the ETs during a 2009 television interview." ... Rodriguez Aguilera's daughter is former Republican National Committee Hispanic outreach director Bettina Inclán Agen. Her son-in-law, Jarrod Agen, is Vice President Mike Pence's deputy chief of staff."

RNC ad has own staffer 'breaking up' with Obama cardboard cut-out, MSNBC (with video)

"The video portrays a woman sitting across a restaurant table from a cardboard cut-out of Obama. "You think I didn't see you with Sarah Jessica Parker and George Clooney?" the woman asks. "It's not me, it's you." But perhaps it is the woman. The actor depicting a disillusioned Obama supporter from 2008 is actually the RNC's Director of Hispanic Outreach Bettina Inclan. "You're just not the person I thought you were," Inclan tells cardboard Obama in the ad, while pretending to be someone she is not."

George H.W. Bush

NASA Administrator Statement on Passing of George H.W. Bush

"From being the Navy's youngest fighter pilot in World War II and being shot down, to his years of public service in Congress, the State Department, CIA, Vice President and President, there was nothing he wouldn't give for our country and her people. "President Bush's Space Exploration Initiative helped us to think big and long-term about space. His impassioned vision of 'a journey into tomorrow - a journey to another planet - a manned mission to Mars,' helped sustain NASA's early work on the International Space Station, and it still can be felt in our ongoing efforts to send humans farther into the solar system to live and work for extended periods. "The President noted it was humanity's destiny to explore, and America's destiny to lead. We salute this great American leader, who challenged us to chart a course for the future to benefit all humanity."

Former President George H.W. Bush discusses life in space with station crew, February 11, 2016

"Aboard the International Space Station, Expedition 46 Commander Scott Kelly and Flight Engineer Tim Kopra of NASA discussed Kelly's year-long mission and research aboard the orbital laboratory during a conversation on Feb. 5 with former President George H.W. Bush, who paid a visit to the Mission Control Center at Johnson Space Center in Houston."

Janet Karika Named NASA Chief of Staff, NASA

"I am honored today to announce that Ms. Janet Karika will begin serving as my Chief of Staff on Monday, Nov. 26. Ms. Karika is a recognized subject matter expert on space policy, space transportation, and non-proliferation. In her current role, she supports the NASA Launch Services Program (LSP) and the NASA Headquarters Human Exploration and Operations Mission Directorate (HEOMD) Launch Services Office (LSO) as the Jacobs Executive Director of Interagency Launch Programs. She has a history of working space-related issues and studies to support congressional staffs, the Executive Branch, and various federal agencies and departments, including the National Security Council, the Office of Science and Technology Policy, and the Departments of Commerce, Defense, State and Transportation."

Keith's note: You all may be familiar with Serkan Golge, a NASA JSC employee who has been imprisoned in Turkey for bogus reasons for a long time. A NASAWatch reader noticed that someone at NASA is using the agency's Internet access to make changes to Golge's Wikipedia page - apparently in an effort to diminish his role at NASA. Golge was a full-time contractor with an office next to the MCC. But if you look at the edits it would seem that someone who wanted to minimize his role changed his page to say "working on projects." instead. There were two edits originating from 156.68.64.53 on 4 September 2018. Have a look at the before and after edits here. And another one here.

The NASA IP address where these edits originated is 156.68.64.53

IP Address - 156.68.64.53
City - Redstone Arsenal
State/Region - Alabama
Country Code - United States
Postal Code - 35812
ISP - National Aeronautics and Space Administration
Time Zone -05:00

NASA's CIO Office is mostly useless. Let's see if they look into this. They should. I sent an email to NASA HQ and MSFC CIO offices and NASA HQ PAO. Lets see if they respond.

- One Of Your NASA Coworkers Is Still In a Turkish Jail Cell, earlier post
- NASA Employee Imprisoned By Turkey For No Reason, earlier post

"The following is a statement from NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine about the Senate confirmation of James Morhard as the agency's deputy administrator: "Congratulations to Jim Morhard! He was confirmed as the 14th Deputy Administrator of NASA on Thursday, Oct. 11. "He joins our amazing agency at a crucial time in history. NASA is celebrating its 60th anniversary this year, and I look forward to working with him as we look towards NASA's next 60 years. His legislative and managerial talents will serve NASA well as we accomplish stunning achievements."

Rick Searfoss

Richard Alan Searfoss, 1956-2018

"Col. Richard Alan Searfoss of Bear Valley Springs, 62, passed away at home on Saturday, Sept. 29, 2018. Funeral services will be held Friday, Oct. 12, 2018, at 2 p.m., preceded by a viewing at 12:30 p.m., at The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 600 Anita Drive, Tehachapi, CA. A full obituary will be in next week's edition of the Tehachapi News."

Keith's note: I got to know Rick after he left NASA. We had lots of phone conversations about commercial space. We were almost exactly the same age so we tended to make similar popular cultural jokes. He was really psyched about the notion of training people to fly on XCOR by strapping them into a fighter jet and putting them trough a "Right Stuff" sort of training program - orange flight suits and all - and that the suborbital fight would be more of the same - just higher and faster. He figured this might weed a few customers out but that the ones who made it through would have had one helluva ride. I tried to convince him to expand the ground school such that more people could get a taste of the ultimate experience. Eventually he'd end our long conversations with something like "well it's starting to snow up here in Tehachapi - gotta go." Ad Astra Rick.

Jody Singer Named Director of NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center

"NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine has named Jody Singer director of the agency's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama. Singer has been the center's deputy director since February 2016, and has been serving as acting director since the retirement of Todd May as center director in July. She is the first woman appointed to the position."

NASA Policy Statement on Anti Discrimination In NASA Conducted Or Funded Programs, Activities, and Institutions, NASA

"At the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), we are committed to achieving our missions and realizing our vision to discover and expand knowledge for the benefit of humanity. To accomplish our missions and vision, we invest in programs and activities involving non-Federal institutions. As authorized by Federal laws and NASA civil rights regulations and policies, we are also fully committed to helping these partner organizations - that participate in NASA-conducted programs or receive funding from NASA - adhere to all applicable civil rights authorities, and refrain from discrimination on the bases of race, color, and national origin, sex (including sexual harassment), disability, and age."

NASA Science Mission Directorate Statement on Anti-Harassment

"I am writing concerning an issue that I am relentlessly passionate about: building effective and innovative teams that achieve amazing results for NASA Science. To achieve excellence, we need focus and commitment from the best and brightest of all backgrounds. This goes hand-in-hand with my strong belief in the value and imperative of diversity and inclusion. As the Associate Administrator for Science and as an educator, husband, father and friend, I have personally experienced the value of diversity in my life. On the flip side, I have supported many individuals who have been hurt by harassment, and I have seen the devastating consequences it has had on them and on our community."

Paul Spudis

Keith's note: I am not even sure where to start. I knew Paul for 30 years. He was truly the "man in the moon". I am not sure that there was any one person left among us who had that Apollo-era sort of knowledge of the Moon - its geology, its resources, and its untapped potential. He was an unrelenting advocate for lunar exploration and he will be truly missed. This is a tremendous loss for space science. Ad Astra Paul.

The Passing of Paul Spudis: Moon Exploration Expert, Leonard David

"Spudis was Deputy Leader of the Science Team for the Department of Defense Clementine mission to the Moon in 1994, the Principal Investigator of the Mini-SAR imaging radar experiment on India's Chandrayaan-1 mission (2008-2009), and a team member of the Mini-RF imaging radar on NASA's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter mission (2009-2018). Spudis authored or co-authored over 115 scientific papers and 7 books, including The Once and Future Moon, a book for the general public in the Smithsonian Library of the Solar System series, The Clementine Atlas of the Moon, by Cambridge University Press, and The Value of the Moon: How to Explore, Live and Prosper in Space Using the Moon's Resources, by Smithsonian Books. Spudis was a major lunar scientist based at the Lunar and Planetary Institute in Houston, Texas at the time of his passing. For a glimpse of the renowned work of Paul Spudis, go to: http://www.spudislunarresources.com/"

NASA Earth Science Director Announces Retirement

"Michael Freilich, director of the Earth Science Division in the Science Mission Directorate at NASA Headquarters since 2006, announced he will retire from the agency in February 2019. Freilich leads NASA's mission to increase understanding of our home planet and help safeguard and improve lives for humanity's future."

Open Positions at NASA HQ: Planetary Science Division Director and NASA Deputy Chief Scientist

"NASA is now advertising for the Director of the Planetary Science Division in the Science Mission Directorate. In addition, NASA is now advertising for the Deputy Chief Scientist in the Office of the Chief Scientist (OCS)."

John McCain

Nomination Hearing: James Morhard for NASA Deputy Administrator

"U.S. Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.), chairman of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, will convene a hearing at 10: 15 a.m. on Thursday, August 23, 2018, to consider three presidential nominees."

Morhard's response to questions from the committee

Watch Live

Testimony: Mr. James "Jim" Morhard, of Virginia, to be Deputy Administrator of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration

"I believe transformational leadership and the empowerment and strength of partnering, will ensure a new era for America's space programs, advance scientific knowledge for the Earth, and inspire a new generation to enter the STEM fields. If confirmed, it would be my highest honor to help NASA in these endeavors. This is the time."

Potential Reduction At Wallops Flight Facility, WBOC

"Goddard Space Flight Center said they are evaluating opportunities to streamline and improve the relationship between the center's in Greenbelt, Maryland and Wallops Island. Goddard told WBOC today in a statement, "The importance of a synergistic relationship between the two campuses is vital to the future of each campus and Goddard Space Flight Center as a whole." Bale is disappointed that Goddard is even entertaining the idea of any potential reduction. "We're unclear and unclear is not good," Bale said. "That area of uncertainty would be very detrimental to how we operate, attracting new customers, and attracting the potential business opportunities that continue to evolve here." Goddard is expected to make its final decision within 45-90 days. There is a meeting scheduled next week for the many people who want to spare Wallops from any reduction with a vision of expansion in the future."

NASA Wallops Flight Facility to explore efficiencies with sister campus, Delmarva Now

"Keith Koehler, a spokesman for NASA Wallops Flight Facility, issued the following statement from Ken Human, who recently retired from NASA and is leading the review team: In light of agency efforts to improve management efficiencies and the increasing prominence of commercial space, Goddard has formed a team to study and evaluate opportunities to improve the organizational structure and effectiveness of the relationship between Goddard Space Flight Center's campuses at Greenbelt, Md., and Wallops Island, Virginia, Koehler wrote in an email on Friday."

Keith's note: Notice how NASA will not explicitly rule out job reductions at Wallops? Phrases such as "exploring efficiencies" and "streamline and improve" are the passive-aggressive ways that NASA spokesmouths avoid saying that job reductions are under consideration when in fact they most certainly are on the table. Notice how NASA will only say "The 90-day study will wrap up by late October ... and is not expected to have any impact on the Wallops facility before the study is completed." The operative phrase here is "before the study is completed". What about after the study is completed? I've seen this movie before.

Dan Herman

Obituary, Washington Post

"Dan, 91, died peacefully on July 26, 2018, at his home in Vienna, VA. He reached for the stars when he went to work for NASA and combined his engineering knowledge with his passion for space exploration. Over his career he worked on many ground breaking space missions, including the successful Galileo mission to Jupiter."

Jody Singer Named NASA Marshall Space Flight Center Acting Director

"NASA has named Jody Singer acting director of NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama, as the agency seeks a permanent director. Todd May, who had served as Marshall director since February 2016, retired from the agency effective July 27, capping a 27-year career with NASA that began in 1991 as an engineer at Marshall."

Brad Smith

Planetary Exploration Newsletter: "Brad Smith was a pioneer in the exploration of the solar system. He participated in a number of US and international space missions, including Mars Mariners 6 and 7, the Mars Viking mission, the Soviet Vega mission to Halley's Comet, the Soviet Phobos mission to Mars, and the Wide Field/Planetary Camera team for the Hubble Space Telescope. He was the deputy team leader of the imaging team on the Mariner 9 Mars Orbiter, and was chosen by NASA to lead the camera team on the Voyager missions to Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune. He co-discovered a circumstellar disk around the nearby star, Beta Pictoris, the first direct evidence of a planetary system beyond our own, and continued these studies as a member of the infrared camera (NICMOS) experiment on the Hubble Space Telescope. For the full obituary and memorial service information, go to: http://shorelips.net/bradsmith The memorial service for Brad will be held from 2 to 5 PM on Saturday, September 22, 2018 at the Lunar and Planetary Laboratory, Room 308, at the University of Arizona in Tucson. Please RSVP to Amy Phillips (amy_p -at - mac.com). More information will be posted at the above site as it becomes available."

NASA Langley contract employees get pay cuts under new contractor, Daily Press

"In March, NASA Langley announced it had chosen its newest contractor, Alutiiq-Fusion Joint Venture, to provide about 200 employees under Langley's administrative, media and professional services (LAMPS II) contract. Soon after, Stefula was stunned to discover she would have to take a 37 percent pay cut to keep her job. She wasn't alone. Several contract workers at the center interviewed by the Daily Press say their salary reductions range from 8 percent to 37 percent, and that countless colleagues have taken similar cuts, or greater. They cite unsubstantiated accounts of a few senior staffers who had their pay slashed by 70 percent."

"Langley's new contractor is a partnership between Alutiiq LLC, a Native American-owned business based in Anchorage, Alaska, and Media Fusion of Huntsville, Ala. The companies divvied up employees, with Alutiiq largely handling the administrative and professional staffing and Media Fusion the media services, video production and public affairs. Alutiiq-Fusion also took on a subcontractor, Banner Staffing in Washington, D.C., to handle about a dozen workers for Langley's Office of Human Capital Management."

Keith's note: The most pathetic aspect of this is a refusal to answer questions from the reporter from the Daily Press. Instead the companies involved and NASA Langley PAO simply sent a statement. And no one has heard from Langley Center Director David Bowles. As such, employees have to do their own investigative reporting to find out why they are getting pay cuts. How pathetic and uncaring. People working their asses off for Langley get unexpected and wholly unwarranted pay cuts and their management doesn't have the spine to face them or the media to explain things?

Let's hope Sen. Kaine and Sen. Warner take further action since David Bowles and his management team clearly are not going to. Cutting employee salaries with no notice or reason is not the way to go back to the Moon.

- Michael J.S. Belton (1934-2018)
- Georg von Tiesenhausen (1914 - 2018)
- Per Tegnér (1944-2018)







Don Peterson

Keith's note: Sources report that Don Peterson has died. Details to follow.

Bio

Alan Bean

Remembering Alan Bean, Apollo Moon Walker and Artist, Astronaut Scholarship Foundation

"Apollo and Skylab astronaut Alan Bean, the fourth human to walk on the moon and an accomplished artist, has died. Bean, 86, died on Saturday, May 26, at Houston Methodist Hospital in Houston, Texas. His death followed his suddenly falling ill while on travel in Fort Wayne, Indiana two weeks before."

NASA Administrator Reflects on Legacy Record-Breaking Skylab, Apollo Astronaut

"After logging 1,671 hours and 45 minutes in space, Alan passed the baton to the next generation of astronauts and changed fronts, looking to push the boundaries of his own imagination and ability as an artist. Even in this endeavor, his passion for space exploration dominated, as depicted most powerfully is his work 'Hello Universe.' We will remember him fondly as the great explorer who reached out to embrace the universe."

Steve Jurczyk Appointed NASA Associate Administrator; Krista Paquin Retires; Melanie W. Saunders Named Acting Deputy Associate Administrator

"NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine has named Steve Jurczyk as associate administrator, the agency's highest-ranking civil servant position. Jurczyk has been serving in the position in an acting capacity since March 10. In addition, Deputy Associate Administrator Krista Paquin will retire from NASA at the end of May. Melanie W. Saunders has been assigned as the acting deputy associate administrator, effective June 10."

Keith's note: NASA has developed a bunch of pre-prepared questions to be asked of NASA Administrator Bridenstine. NASA Employees were allowed to submit questions at http://nasa.gov/townhall. Then everyone had a chance to see them all and upvote their favorites. Oddly, a lot of these questions would certainly put Bridenstine on the spot if they were asked.

Tune in to the NASA Town Hall With Jim Bridenstine at 11:00 am EDT on NASA TV to see which of these questions get asked - and which ones are actually spontaneous. You have your user guide to see which is which. I am told that the top questions will be asked.

Reader note: "The top two questions (one about full-cost accounting, and one angling "diversity" toward accommodations for disabilities) have 70 more votes than the next top question, which is strange because neither of those questions were even ON the list at 4:25pm EDT yesterday. See attached ... the sudden viral nature of those two new "top questions" seems very strange indeed."

NASA Announces That Mark Geyer Is The New Director of Johnson Space Center, NASA

"NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine announced Monday the selection of Mark Geyer as the next director of the agency's Johnson Space Center in Houston. He'll assume the director's position on May 25, when current Center Director and former astronaut Ellen Ochoa retires after 30 years at the agency."

Megan Powers Appointed NASA Press Secretary

"Megan Powers has been selected by NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine to be the agency's press secretary, working in the Office of Communications. As press secretary, Powers will act as a chief agency spokesperson, support Administrator Bridenstine's media requests, provide strategic communications planning and execution, and serve as a senior advisor for the administrator."

Inside Trump's Campaign Headquarters With NYU Republican Megan Powers, NYU Local

- LinkedIn
- Twitter

Keith's note: I have had to delete nearly a dozen sexist comments to this post and have sent warnings. I have banned one person from posting. I am tired of this. I have turned off comments. From now on of anyone who posts anything - anywhere - that I consider to be sexist (and my bar is notoriously low on this) will be banned - with no warning. Knock it off.

Jen Rae Wang Resigns As NASA Associate Administrator of the Office of Communications

"I just wanted to let you know that Jen Rae Wang has resigned her position as associate administrator of the Office of Communications. I want to thank Jen Rae for the hard work she put into leading the office during this extended transition time. In the interim, I've asked Bob Jacobs to pick up duties as acting associate administrator as our search for a successor begins. Bob is no stranger to this role, and I'm confident we will be able to advance the important work underway in Communications as we look for a new associate administrator. Please give Bob your full support."

Keith's note: Jen Rae Wang was a Trump Administration political appointee. She resigned and left the building barely 2 weeks after a new NASA Administrator showed up for work. Clearly there was a difference in opinion as to how NASA public affairs was going to operate. I do not know her and had no interaction with her whatsoever during her time at NASA - but I certainly wish her well.

LSINC Corporation Appoints Robert M. Lightfoot, Jr. President

"LSINC Corporation today announced that Robert M. Lightfoot, Jr. will join the company as President. LSINC is a rapidly growing firm dedicated to helping clients achieve mission success by providing innovative strategy assurance and product development, to bring client ideas to reality. Lightfoot is for the former Acting Administrator of the National Aeronautics & Space Administration (NASA) serving in the position for the last 15 months."

NASA: Assessments of Major Projects, GAO

Pages 39-40: "Another trend, the aging of NASA's workforce, has both negative and positive effects. About 56 percent of NASA's workforce is 50 years old and over, an increase of about 7 percentage points over the past 5 years. Officials said that NASA's workforce is aging because NASA has a low attrition rate - about 4 percent annually - and high numbers of staff stay several years past retirement. We also found that, as of the beginning of 2018, 21 percent of the workforce is retirement eligible, about another 23 percent will become eligible in less than 5 years, and the average number of years staff that stay past initial retirement eligibility varied by occupation. On average, individuals remain at NASA between 4-7 years past their initial retirement eligibility date, but staff in the engineering and science occupations stay on longer than other occupations, such as professional and administrative.

Officials said there are both advantages and disadvantages to having an aging workforce. For example, human capital officials noted that having an aging workforce is good for maintaining institutional knowledge due to experienced staff staying longer, but that having a low attrition rate makes it more difficult for the agency to make changes to its workforce skill mix as needed. Officials within the Office of the Chief Engineer and Mission Support Directorate said that they were looking at ways to be more strategic in hiring or using existing capabilities to meet their skills needs."

Port of Los Angeles OKs SpaceX rocket plant on Terminal Island, Daily Breeze

"The median age of SpaceX's 6,000 employees is 31."

NASA Internal Memo: Tom Cremins Appointed Acting Chief of Staff

"I wanted to let the workforce know that I have asked NASA veteran Tom Cremins to serve as my Acting Chief of Staff on an interim basis while I transition into the job of NASA Administrator. Tom led the overall transition effort and was critical to Robert Lightfoot's work to lead the agency over the past 15 months, and I know I will benefit from his 25 years of diverse NASA leadership experience. Tom will continue to serve as the Associate Administrator for Strategy and Plans, as he has since November 2015. I am grateful to Tom for his willingness to help in this role until I bring aboard a permanent Chief of Staff. Ad astra, Jim Bridenstine"

Jim Green Named NASA Chief Scientist as of May 1st, NASA

"Acting NASA Administrator Robert Lightfoot has named the Science Mission Directorate's Planetary Science Division Director Jim Green as the agency's new chief scientist, effective May 1. He succeeds Gale Allen, who has served in an acting capacity since 2016 and will retire after more than 30 years of government service."

NASA Internal Memo: Presidents Management Agenda and upcoming GSA led satisfaction survey for mission support services

"This HR Message is being delivered to you via HRMES On Behalf Of: Krista Paquin, Deputy Associate Administrator. I am sending this note to provide you with some information on the recently released President's Management Agenda and to let you know about an upcoming GSA led satisfaction survey for our administrative services functions. On March 20, the Administration released the President's Management Agenda (PMA). This Agenda lays out a long-term vision for modernizing the Federal Government in key areas, improving agencies' ability to deliver mission outcomes, provide excellent service, and effectively steward taxpayer dollars on behalf of the American people. The Agenda lays out a plan to advance progress at the junctions where three key drivers of change intersect:

- Modern information technology (IT) will serve as the core function for Government to meet the needs and expectations of Americans while keeping sensitive date secure.

- Data, accountability, and transparency will provide the framework and data to deliver better outcomes to the public and hold agencies accountable to taxpayers.

- A modern workforce will drive needed civil service reforms to empower everyone from senior leaders to front-line managers to better align staff skills with evolving mission needs."

Keith's note: Former Senator, Geologist, and Apollo 17 Astronaut Jack Schmitt spoke at an event in Washington, DC today on lunar exploration. I can recall sitting in a Senate hearing in 1978 hearing Sen. Schmitt worrying about this topic, saying "we are eating our seed corn". His concern is even more poignant now.

Keith's note: Acting NASA Administrator has just announced that he is retiring effective at the end of April. No Successor has been named.

NASA team,

It is with bittersweet feelings that I am announcing I will be retiring from the agency on April, 30, 2018. I will work with the White House on a smooth transition to the new administrator.

I cannot express enough my gratitude to the entire NASA team for the support during my career and especially the last 14 months as your acting administrator. The grit and determination you all demonstrate every day in achieving our missions of discovery and exploration are simply awe inspiring. I leave NASA blessed with a career full of memories of stunning missions, cherished friendships, and an incredible hope for what is yet to come.

When I look back on my time at NASA, I can't help but think about the people. From my friends in the test areas at Marshall and Stennis, to the folks that I sat with on console launching shuttles, to the Marshall team when I was the center director, and now as the acting administrator to the entire NASA team - what a privilege to work with such dedicated and passionate people every day.

There is no way I would be where I am today without having had such amazing opportunities and such a great set of colleagues. I've learned in so many ways that at NASA we make the impossible possible - whether it is with the missions we do or whether it is a small town kid who was able to lead the greatest agency in the world.

NASA's history has many chapters with each of us having a part. I've written my part and now the pen is in your hands - each one of you. I know you will make this nation proud as you accomplish the many missions you have in front of you. For me, I look forward to more time with my family and closest friends, and cheering the NASA team on from the outside.

God speed to all of you and thanks for the opportunity to be part of something truly bigger than each of us individually! It's been an unbelievable ride!

Sincerely, Robert

Keith's note: Steve Jurczyk has been named as NASA Acting Associate Administrator. This is the position that Robert Lightfoot held before being named as Acting NASA Administrator. NASA currently has no Acting Deputy Administrator or Chief of Staff. James Reuter will replace Jurczyk as Associate Administrator for the Space Technology Mission Directorate. This webpage at NASA HQ was quietly changed on 9 March. But NASA HQ does not seem to think anyone needs to be told about these management changes.

Michael O'Brien

Keith's note: Michael O'Brien, who ran international and interagency affairs for NASA for decades has died. A viewing will be held on Friday 23 February 6-8pm - Demaine Funeral Home in Springfield, Virginia on Backlick Road. The Funeral Mass will be held on Saturday 24 February 12:30pm - St. Bernadette, Springfield, Virginia on Old Keene Mill Road.

Ad Astra Obie.

Associate Administrator for International and Interagency Relations Michael F. O'Brien

NSF requires institutions to report sexual harassment findings, Science

"The National Science Foundation (NSF) in Alexandria, Virginia, announced today a new set of measures to combat sexual harassment by people working on the projects it funds. The steps may include suspending or eliminating research grants after an institution finds that a grantee committed harassment. NSF said it will require institutions to tell the agency when they make such a finding. They also must report placing grantees accused of harassment on administrative leave while an investigation is underway. NSF Director France Córdova said the agency may suspend a project's funding in such cases. The policy allows the agency to take actions "as necessary to protect the safety of all grant personnel." The move comes as research organizations continue to confront reports that sexual harassment is rampant within many scientific disciplines and too often is ignored by administrators."

Keith's note:I sent this request for comment to NASA Science Mission Directorate and NASA HQ Public Affairs referencing NSF's recent announcement: "Does NASA intend to establish guidelines similar to these announced by NSF with regard to requiring institutions to report instances of harassment?"

NASA PAO's Response: "In response to your question on the recent announcement by NSF and your question about NASA's intention to establish similar guidelines, the following is the agency statement: NASA is committed to ensuring the safety of both our internal and external research community and their right to work in an environment free of discrimination and harassment. Since 2011, the agency has required its grant recipient institutions to provide NASA with information on all discrimination or harassment complaints filed under the institution's internal procedures, as well as any such complaints filed directly with a federal agency. Recipient institutions are required to provide this information every three years. NASA uses the information to assess the institution's civil rights compliance prior to awarding a grant, and for post-award compliance reviews under NASA civil rights regulations. The agency currently is considering means of further enhancing its policy requirements."

Moon Crater Named After Former NASA Chief Exploration Scientist Michael Wargo, NASA

"NASA's former chief exploration scientist, Michael Wargo, has been posthumously honored with the distinction of having a lunar crater named after him. Wargo Crater is an 8.6-mile (13.8 km) diameter impact crater sitting on the northwest edge of Joule T crater, on the far side of the Moon. Wargo worked at NASA from 1991 until his death in 2013."

Message from the Acting Administrator - Government Shutdown Impacts to NASA

"The categorization of employees and whether or not someone is furloughed is not a reflection on the quality of their work, nor of their importance to our agency. It is merely a reflection of the legal requirements under which we must operate during a shutdown. Tomorrow, look for an email update from Human Capital Management Assistant Administrator Bob Gibbs that provides additional information for you, outlines steps being taken for an orderly closeout of your activities, and where to find additional information regarding the shutdown until a funding measure is passed by Congress and signed by the President."

NASA ARC Internal Memo: Informal Notice of Employee Furlough Status - Non Excepted

"Annual funding for the Government will expire at midnight on January 19, 2018. In the event no further agreement is reached to fund Federal agencies, Federal departments and agencies will not be permitted to incur further financial obligations performing activities funded by annual appropriations, except those related to the orderly suspension of operations or performance of excepted activities. This means that employees who do not perform activities excepted by law will be furloughed and unable to work. Our contingency plan assumes that International Space Station (ISS) activities will continue to protect the lives of the crew members on orbit and the safety and security of the ISS. Existing satellite missions in operation also will continue to protect the satellites and the data being collected. In addition, other activities involving protection of life and property will continue. All other Agency activities not determined to be legally exempt will stop."

NASA Just Shut Down. What If An Asteroid Comes?, Buzzfeed

"If an asteroid is headed toward Earth and NASA is shut down, who will astronomers call to issue a warning? The space agency hasn't quite figured it out yet, but said somebody should be around to answer the phone. "There will be people available should such an incident occur," NASA's Bob Jacobs told BuzzFeed News by email. During the 2013 government shutdown, the closure of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory Asteroid Warning Twitter feed sparked headlines and concerns about the public not learning about space hazards. A JPL spokesperson told BuzzFeed News late on Friday that it's unclear whether the Asteroid Watch twitter account will be suspended this time."

NASA JSC Internal Memo: Center Director Ellen Ochoa Is Retiring

"Earlier today at the All Hands, I let people know that I am going to retire from NASA at the end of May. It's a really tough decision to determine when to make that transition; for me, it comes down to my personal situation. I reach 30 years at NASA, and my younger son turns 18, so this summer is a natural point for our family in which to move on to the next phase. We'll be moving to Boise, ID ..."

JSC Center Director Ellen Ochoa Picks Up Yet Another External Job, earlier post

"Keith's note: That's four companies/organizations for whom Ellen Ochoa serves on the board of directors while also serving as Center Director for NASA Johnson Space Center. If she has the time to do all of this external stuff perhaps she is not spending enough time on her day job. Why is it that the vast majority of NASA employees are not allowed to moonlight like this - but Ochoa is allowed to do so? Just sayin'."

John Young

NASA Remembers John Young, The Agency's Most Experienced Astronaut

"The following is a statement from acting NASA Administrator Robert Lightfoot on the passing of John Young, who died Friday night following complications from pneumonia at the age of 87. Young is the only agency astronaut to go into space as part of the Gemini, Apollo and space shuttle programs, and the first to fly into space six times: "Today, NASA and the world have lost a pioneer. Astronaut John Young's storied career spanned three generations of spaceflight; we will stand on his shoulders as we look toward the next human frontier."

Bruce McCandless

Astronaut Bruce McCandless II Dies at 80

"Former NASA astronaut Bruce McCandless II, mission specialist on the STS-41B and STS-31 missions, died Dec. 21, 2017, at the age of 80. McCandless is perhaps best remembered as the subject of a famous NASA photograph flying alongside the space shuttle in the Manned Maneuvering Unit (MMU) - the first astronaut to fly untethered from his spacecraft. His time as an astronaut encompassed much more than that mission, including serving as the mission-control communicator for Neil Armstrong's and Buzz Aldrin's moonwalk on the Apollo 11 mission."

NASA's employee satisfaction continues to soar, report finds, CNN

"If you're looking to enjoy working for the federal government, apply to NASA -- its employees are the happiest of any large government agency, according to a report released Wednesday that compiled government employee satisfaction data. NASA's rankings have earned it the top spot among large federal agencies for six years in a row, with an employee engagement score, or happiness rating, of 80.9 out of 100 this year, according to rankings compiled by the Partnership for Public Service."

Best Places to Work Agency Rankings

"The overall rankings are determined by the Best Places to Work index score, which measures employee engagement."

1 National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)2017: 80.9 -- 2016: 78.6 -- Change +2.3

Ted Stecher

Obituary, AAS

"Theodore P. (Ted) Stecher, 86, passed away peacefully on Sunday, 29 October2017 in Silver Spring, MD, surrounded by his family. A major highlight of Ted's career was his service as Principal Investigator for the Ultraviolet Imaging Telescope (UIT), flown aboard Space Shuttle Columbia (STS-35/ASTRO-1 mission, 2-10 December 1990) and on Space Shuttle Endeavor (STS-67/ASTRO-2 mission, 2-18 March 1995). Ted retired in 2002 after 43 years with NASA, but retained an emeritus position and office for several years thereafter. He was stimulated, challenged, and rewarded by his work at Goddard; it was his passion."

Rosanna Sattler

Keith's note: Rosanna was a former board member of Women in Aerospace and a co-founder of the Space Enterprise Council.

Obituary.

J.R. Thompson

Keith's note: James R. (J.R.) Thompson died on Tuesday. (bio) "Thompson became Deputy Administrator of NASA in 1989. Beforehand, he had served as director of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama. He had assumed his position at Marshall on September 29, 1986, after having served three years as deputy director for technical operations at Princeton University's Plasma Physics Laboratory in Princeton, New Jersey. From March to June of 1986, he was vice-chair of the NASA task force inquiring into the cause of the Space Shuttle Challenger accident. In that capacity, he headed the day-to-day operations of the 51-L Data and Design Analysis Task Force, which collected and analyzed accident-related information in support of the Presidential Commission on the Space Shuttle Challenger accident."

Former Marshall Space FLight Center SDirector James R. Thompson Jr. Dies, WAAY

"[Thompson] left NASA again in September 1991 and jointed Orbital Sciences Corporation. He served as president and chief operating officer of the company from 1999 until 2011, and he retired in 2013. Thompson is survived by his wife, Sherry Gray Thompson; children James Thompson III, Scott Thompson and Paige Moore; and a number of grandchildren and great-grandchildren. Visitation will be from 11 a.m.-1 p.m. Nov. 13 at First United Methodist Church in Huntsville. The funeral will follow at the church."

Dick Gordon

Noted Gemini, Apollo astronaut dies at 88, News965

"Space pioneer Richard Gordon, Jr. has died at age 88, according to an announcement by the Orlando-based Astronaut Scholarship Foundation. ... Gordon first went into space as pilot of Gemini 11 in September 1966. Three years later, he piloted the command module for Apollo 12."

- Remembering Dick Gordon, NASA
- NASA Pays Tribute to Early Space Pioneer Richard Gordon, NASA

Paul Weitz

Astronaut Paul Weitz Dies at Age 85 - Namesake of Harbor Creek High Stadium, Erie News Now

"Likely the most famous graduate of Harborcreek High School, NASA astronaut Paul J. Weitz has died in Flagstaff, Arizona after a difficult battle with a form of cancer known as MDS or Myelodysplastic Syndromes. Weitz flew into space twice. He served as pilot on the crew of Skylab-2, which launched on May 25 and ended on June 22, 1973. It was the first manned Skylab mission, and activated a 28-day flight, a new world record for a single mission."

Elliot Pulham

Keith's update: Former Space Foundation CEO Elliot Pulham died the other day. He was diagnosed with brain cancer in September and had emergency surgery. Elliot was only 62. Details to follow.

Ad astra Elliot.

Jay Greene

Lisa Mazzuca (NASA GSFC), Finalist, 2017 Promising Innovations Medal, Service to America Medals

"In August 2010, a single-engine airplane crashed in the Alaskan wilderness killing five passengers, including former Sen. Ted Stevens. His friend, former NASA Administrator Sean O'Keefe, survived the crash and was stranded on the side of a mountain with three others for more than 18 hours while awaiting rescue and medical assistance. One reason the search and rescue team took so long to reach the crash site was the failure of a small distress beacon in the aircraft, called an emergency transmitter, which is supposed to signal authorities and provide the approximate location of those in need of help. This accident, coupled with the disappearance of a Malaysian airliner in 2014 and other instances where emergency beacon systems failed, prompted NASA's Lisa Mazzuca to examine the growing problem. Through two years of research and testing, Mazzuca's team developed a sturdier, more reliable, second-generation transmitter and an upgraded global satellite system to help responders locate crash sites more precisely. "This is a huge development. It's going to help people out in the most distressing circumstances and will have an enormous impact on scores of people who may not otherwise have had a chance to see another day," O'Keefe said."

Larry Taylor

"Renowned lunar scientist Dr. Lawrence (Larry) Taylor succumbed to a short bout with brain cancer at 8:53 AM EDT on Monday, September 18, 2017. This year Larry received the Michael J. Wargo Exploration Science Award for his significant contributions to the integration of exploration and planetary science throughout his career. He was a lively and colorful presence in the lunar science community for many decades, and we will never forget his kind humanity and devotion to his work."

Dave Christensen

David Lee Christensen, 85, of Lumberton, Texas, died Friday, September 1, 2017, at Christus Hospital - St. Elizabeth, in Beaumont, Texas. He was born on April 7, 1932, in Birmingham, Alabama, to Susan Matilda Harvey and Arne Skov Christensen. David served in the United States Army during the Korean War. He later retired as an Aerospace Engineer. Survivors include his wife, Barbara Christensen; sons, David Lee Christensen and his wife, Sheila, and Erik Christensen, all of Huntsville, Alabama; daughter, Lisa Garver and her husband, Todd, of Lumberton, Texas; eight grandchildren; and five great-grandchildren. David is preceded in death by his parents; sons, Clay Christensen and Keith Christensen; and his first wife, Margaret Baker Christensen. A private family committal was held at Broussard's Crematorium, Beaumont, Texas, under the direction of Broussard's. A memorial service will be held at a later date. Complete and updated information may be found at: broussards1889.com.

NASA power player will become new University of North Texas boss, Dallas News

"Thursday, University of North Texas regents are expected to select a longtime NASA leader to help launch the system into a new era of research and exploration. Lesa Roe will be announced as the sole finalist for the position of chancellor. Roe, who is currently acting as NASA's second in command, will replace longtime leader Lee Jackson, who is retiring after 15 years."

Over A Single Dollar Bill, A NASA Scientist Remains Trapped In A Turkish Prison, Houston Press

"Standing on the street, Serkan realizes they are going to arrest him. Glancing at Mustafa, Serkan hugs Kubra and asks her to take the boy inside. Two hours later the police come back. This time they walk into Serkan's brother's room, open the drawer of a bureau, pull out a small wooden keepsake box and produce a single American dollar bill. The dollar means that Serkan is part of the Gülenists, a movement classified as a terrorist organization in Turkey that is being blamed for a failed attempt to oust Erdogan, the police claim. But Serkan is an American citizen. He is certain this means he can get help from the U.S. government."

NASA Employee Imprisoned By Turkey For No Reason, earlier post

Nasa scientist researching mission to Mars still in prison a year on from failed Turkey coup, Telegraph

"It was only eight days after last year's failed coup attempt against Turkey's president Recep Tayyip Erdogan, but already the reprisals were in full swing. The 37-year-old Nasa physicist, a Turkish-American citizen who was working on the manned mission to Mars programme, was one of tens of thousands of academics, police, military and journalists who were rounded up and detained as Mr Erdogan sought to re-establish his grip on power."

Redstone Arsenal incident update, RocketCity Now

"Redstone Arsenal Garrison Commander Col. Thomas Holliday released more information about the incident at Redstone Arsenal in an afternoon press conference. He said that while the investigation is ongoing, they have determined that there was no active shooter and no injuries. No one has been found with a weapon and there is no evidence of shots fired. It began with a pair of 911 calls at about 9:40 Tuesday morning reporting shots fired and someone seeing a weapon. That led to the response that included securing the entire arsenal."

Mutual of America Life Insurance Company Appoints Johnson Space Center Director Dr. Ellen Ochoa to its Board of Directors

"Mutual of America Life Insurance Company, which specializes in providing retirement products and related services to organizations and their employees, as well as individuals, announced the appointment of Dr. Ellen Ochoa to its Board of Directors. Mutual of America partnered with Korn Ferry's Board and CEO Practice to conduct a national search, which resulted in Dr. Ochoa's appointment."

Ellen Ochoa Appointed to Dallas Fed Board

"The Federal Reserve Board of Governors has appointed Ellen Ochoa of Houston to the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas board of directors. She will fill an unexpired term ending Dec. 31, 2017, and will be eligible for appointment to a full three-year term on the board. Ochoa previously served as chair of the Bank's Houston Branch board."

JSC Center Director Ochoa Elected to Deathcare Product Company Board, earlier post

"Service Corporation International, the largest provider of deathcare products and services in North America, today announced that it will nominate Dr. Ellen Ochoa to be elected to the SCI Board of Directors at the Company's Annual Meeting of Shareholders to be held in May 2015."

Johnson Space Center's director to serve on National Science Board

"Science has always had an advocate in Dr. Ellen Ochoa, director of NASA's Johnson Space Center. Now, it is official, as Ochoa has been named the final member of the National Science Board's (NSB's) class of 2022."

Keith's note: That's four companies/organizations for whom Ellen Ochoa serves on the board of directors while also serving as Center Director for NASA Johnson Space Center. If she has the time to do all of this external stuff perhaps she is not spending enough time on her day job. Why is it that the vast majority of NASA employees are not allowed to moonlight like this - but Ochoa is allowed to do so? Just sayin'.

Charles Lundquist

Dr. Charles Arthur Lundquist

"Dr. Charles Lundquist, 89 passed away Saturday. Services will be announced by Laughlin Service Funeral Home."

Book chronicles 218 immigrants who boosted U.S. space program, UAH

"Dr. Lundquist's experience includes 50 years in high-level positions with the U.S. Army, the Army Ballistic Missile Agency, NASA, and finally at UAH. He officially retired in 1999."

'Gov' Okoloise

"Governor A. Okoloise passed away on Sunday, May 21, 2017 at age 49. His family came to America from Nigeria when he was a boy. Gov, as we called him, worked at Johnson Space Center for the past 24 years. A dedicated space worker, he certified space life sciences and exercise hardware throughout the 90s. Most recently, he was responsible for the design, assembly and safety of the EMU Space suit and hardware used during ISS space walks (EVA). He was a congenial and personable friend to everyone, going out of his way to help others as much as possible."

Michael A'Hearn

via Planetary Exploration Newsletter: Mike passed away on Monday, May 29, 2017, at his home in University Park, MD. He had a deep love of science and gregarious nature, always able to make a positive difference in whatever he did. An obituary will be forthcoming. Mike was the beloved husband of Maxine C. A'Hearn; father of Brian J. (Zlata) of Oxford, UK, Kevin P. (Kanlayane) of Vienna, VA, and Patrick N. A'Hearn of Seattle, WA; grandfather of Sean, Brendan, Marie, Eliane, and Gabriel.

Matt Isakowitz

Matthew Scott Isakowitz

"Matthew found inspiration in Carl Sagan's words, "Somewhere, something incredible is waiting to be known." Matthew's invaluable contributions to the field of commercial spaceflight included working at Astranis, Planetary Resources, the Commercial Spaceflight Federation, Space Adventures, SpaceX, and the XPRIZE Foundation. He was loved by so many and will be greatly missed."

Keith's note: I am just startled and shattered by this. Matt was only 29 and yet was everything you wanted in a space explorer and crammed so much into his all too short life. He was smart, bubbling with enthusiasm, and always ready to tackle a new challenge. I first met Matt in May 2002 at the AIA rocket launch competition here in Virginia. I went to hear Sean O'Keefe officiate at the competition - his father Steve worked for O'Keefe at the time. My initial impression of Matt came when I spotted his father with several kids in tow. Due to the recent rain we were all covered in mud to some extent. Matt was still a young boy and I recall that he was clearly excited by all of the rocket launches he was seeing. Matt was also somewhat impatient with his father and clearly wanted him to dispense with saying hello to O'Keefe and I and get back to the rockets. Over the years I'd see Matt regularly and watched him become quite the space professional. Despite his age, he was fun to debate issues with since he actually knew what he was talking about. Matt was one of those people whose accomplishments I had expected to read about in my old age. Ad Astra.

Donation page, Future Space Leaders

"Matthew Isakowitz was an extraordinary young man whose passion for opening the commercial space frontier was only matched by his kindness and generosity to those around him. In his honor and memory, we are participating in an initiative to support the space-related programs that were so dear to him. Your donations will be applied toward a to-be-announced initiative that will further Matthew's legacy in the field of human space exploration."

EPA to set aside $12 million for buyouts in coming months, Washington Post

"The Environmental Protection Agency plans to set aside $12 million for buyouts and early retirements in coming months, as part of an effort to begin "reshaping" the agency's workforce under the Trump administration."

Other Agencies May Follow EPA's Lead in Offering Incentives

"While final budget decisions are to be negotiated in the months ahead with Congress, a recent OMB memo on restructuring agencies and cutting federal jobs told agencies to assume that those proposals will be approved. It also promised quick consideration of early out and buyout requests, although it did not recommend either for or against using them."

Trump's proposed retirement changes would have major impacts on current feds and retirees

"It's happened before; lawmakers and think tanks have offered their own proposals to change the federal retirement system. Despite a few initial worries, current federal employees and retirees have remained relatively unscathed. Yet that could change next year. Federal financial experts are sounding the alarm bells on the major changes to the federal retirement system included in President Donald Trump's fiscal 2018 budget -- proposals that they say would leave a significant impact on both current retirees and employees and future workers."

Keith's note: This morning the email account for the Center Director of Jet Propulsion Laboratory sent out a lab-wide email with the subject line "active shooter" (see image of full email)

From: Office Of The Director [mailto:Office.Of.The.Director@jpl.nasa.gov]
Sent: Wednesday, April 19, 2017 9:45 AM
To: all.personnel@list.jpl.nasa.gov
Subject: Active Shooter

Sources report that this caused a great deal of disturbance - just one day after shootings in Fresno. The email was not about any threat to JPL but rather describing a course about how to deal with a situation in which there is a hostile person (with a gun) in the work environment. An hour later, the same email was sent out with a different subject line - "Clarification: Training for Active Shooter Event". No one ever admitted that an error was made or apologized for freaking people out.

White House tells agencies to come up with a plan to shrink their workforces, Washington Post

"The White House on Wednesday will instruct all federal agencies to submit a plan by June 30 to shrink their civilian workforces, offering the first details on how the Trump administration aims to reduce the size and scope of the government. A governmentwide hiring freeze the president imposed on Jan. 23 will be lifted immediately. But Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney told reporters Tuesday that agency leaders must start "taking immediate actions" to save money and reduce their staffs. Mulvaney also said they must come up with a long-term blueprint to cut the number of federal workers starting in October 2018."

A $1 Bill Has Landed a NASA Scientist in a Turkish Prison for Nine Months, Houston Press

"When asked whether NASA can or will try to help Serkan, NASA spokesman Allard Beutel referred the Press to the U.S. State Department. That agency acknowledged it has no influence over Turkish authorities in this case. "We can confirm Turkish authorities arrested and detained U.S. citizen Serkan Golge last July," a U.S. State Department official stated. "We remain concerned for Mr. Golge and have raised his case with Turkish authorities. Although the United States does not have a legal right to access dual U.S.-Turkish citizens detained in Turkey, we continue to press for such access as a matter of courtesy. We have no further comment at this time." Even though NASA has stayed quiet, the scientific community has been trying to draw attention to Serkan's case. The Endangered Scholars Worldwide group and the Committee of Concerned Scientists have both issued sharply worded statements over his detention, urging that he be released. A petition has also been filed asking the White House to intervene. If the petition garners 100,000 signatures by next month, it is supposed to be reviewed by President Donald Trump. It has only about 150 signatures so far."

A NASA Scientist Has Been Imprisoned in Turkey for 8 Months, New York Times

"A NASA scientist, Serkan Golge, has spent the last eight months in a Turkish prison. An attempted coup in Turkey last summer resulted in the government arresting thousands of people on flimsy evidence, and Serkan, a Turkish-American, is one of the casualties. Serkan's case signals how bold the Turkish government has become, even imprisoning a well-regarded scientist, when the only evidence against him is a $1 bill. He will soon go to trial, facing a sentence of up to 15 years in prison for being "a member of an armed terrorist organization." There's been little domestic or international press attention to Serkan's detention, but a three-month investigation suggests the injustice surrounding the case of a man caught in a national hurricane. ... Serkan, 37, has been working at NASA for the past three years as a senior research scientist studying space radiation effects on the human crew at the International Space Station. He first traveled to the United States in 2003 and gained American citizenship in 2010."

Petition

Keith's note: One of the signs on a reserved chair in the NAC meeting room has a name tag for Shana Dale with titles "Chief of Staff (acting)" and "Senior White House Advisor" on it. One would assume that she assumed these roles when Trump transition team member Erik Noble (who had these jobs) left NASA last week. It is my understanding that she is only at NASA on loan from FAA for a few months.

Jen Rae Wang Appointed to Head NASA's Office of Communications

"Jen Rae Wang has been selected by Acting Administrator Robert Lightfoot as NASA's Associate Administrator for the Office of Communications. Wang joins NASA with more than a decade of experience at the highest levels of state and federal government in public, legislative, and media affairs both domestically and internationally, strategic communications, as well as small and large-scale organizational executive leadership."

Trump's Team at EPA Vetting 'Controversial' Public Meetings and Presentations, Pro Publica

"Wang helped lead the Trump presidential campaign in Nebraska and last month had been announced as a deputy chief of staff to newly elected U.S. Rep. Don Bacon, a Nebraska Republican."

Keith's trivia note: If Rep. Bridenstine is named NASA Administrator he and Jen Rae Wang have something to talk about: swimming. He holds the Oklahoma record in 200 meter swimming (freestyle, relay) and Jen Rae Wang has an entry in U.S. Masters swimming.

Keith's note: Erik Noble, a member of the Trump Beachhead team at NASA headquarters has departed NASA for a position at NOAA. Noble had been serving as Chief of Staff on the 9th floor. No word yet as to who is replacing him in that position.

Firing federal workers isn't as easy as Trump makes it seem in his budget, Washington Post

"Under President Trump's budget proposal, federal employees at many agencies may need to acquaint themselves with a lately dormant but still much-feared term: Reduction in Force. If Trump's budget is enacted into law, it would hike defense spending by $54 billion - and pay for it with an equal cut in domestic spending at other federal agencies. Trump has said that reducing the size of the federal workforce -- better known by its acronym, RIF - is a top priority. It may not be as easy as Trump would like. Laying off federal workers requires going through a formal process that can be lengthy, expensive and disruptive to the workplace, experts say. And various legal and union rights may come into play, as they do for the similarly complex process of firing a federal worker for misconduct."

What is a RIF? A federal worker's guide to the Trump budget, Washington Post

Trump budget expected to seek historic contraction of federal workforce, Washington Post

"Preliminary budget documents have also shown that Trump advisers have also looked at cutting the Environmental Protection Agency's staff by about 20 percent and tightening the Commerce Department's budget by about 18 percent, which would impact climate change research and weather satellite programs, among other things. Trump and his advisers have said that they believe the federal workforce is too big, and that the federal government spends - and wastes - too much money. They have said that Washington - the federal workers and contractors, among others - has benefited from government largesse while many other Americans have suffered. Federal spending, they have argued, crowds the private sector and piles regulations and bureaucracy onto companies. Trump's chief strategist, Stephen K. Bannon, has said Trump will lead a "deconstruction of the administrative state." On Friday, White House press secretary Sean Spicer said Obama loyalists had "burrowed into government." Last month, Trump said the government would have to "do more with less."

NASA Kennedy Seeks Media Nominations for 'Chroniclers' Awards, NASA

"NASA's Kennedy Space Center is soliciting members of the working news media for names of former colleagues they deem worthy of designation as a space program "Chronicler" at NASA's Kennedy Space Center, Florida. "The Chroniclers" program honors broadcasters, journalists, authors, contractor public relations representatives and NASA Public Affairs officers who excelled in sharing news from Kennedy about U.S. efforts in space exploration with the American public and the world. Deadline for submissions is close of business Monday, March 20, 2017."

Keith's note: I just nominated the late Frank Sietzen for the NASA Chroniclers Award. Frank and I wrote a book together. He served as editor for Ad Astra Magazine, wrote for UPI, served as Charlie Bolden's speech writer, and covered all aspects of space exploration for decades. He lived and breathed space. Were he here with us today he'd be sitting on the edge of his seat covering all of the changes that are going on within the space community. Please consider nominating him. He earned it.Here's how.

Federal workers grow increasingly nervous about Trump's proposed budget cuts, Washington Post

"To the president and his supporters who see a bloated bureaucracy with lots of duplication and rules that choke jobs, the budget cuts are a necessary first step to make government run more efficiently. Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney said this week that non-military spending will take the "largest-proposed reduction since the early years of the Reagan administration." To prepare for that possibility, agencies are preparing to shave 10 percent off their budgets, on average. And words like buyouts, furloughs and RIFs (or reduction in force) - government-speak for layoffs - are now being tossed around at the water cooler as civil servants face the possibility of massive downsizing. Some of these strategies were used when Ronald Reagan was president and others more recently to meet the goals of budget caps known as sequestration."

Keith's note: As you all know it is much harder to lay off government employees than contractor employes. Yet that now seems to be what is in the plans. But if NASA is faced with making substantial cuts in its expenses then you can be assured that contractor personnel will bear a large part of the pain. Contractor employees have far fewer protections than civil servants. Also, in the past when budgets have gotten tight NASA has delayed solicitations, delayed and decreased the number of awards, and the cut the value of awards. With huge cuts in its budget looming on the horizon, you can expect that NASA procurement practices will respond to these cuts with surprising speed.

At the NASA Planetary Science Vision 2050 Workshop this week I asked a panel a question noting that there were "some very depressed people up on the 9th floor working on the budget passback to OMB". I asked the panel "what sort of box outside of which they needed to be thinking they had yet to think outside of" when it came to dealing with these looming budget cuts. The panel dodged the question and paradoxically started to talk about doing more things rather than less. I reiterated the harsh reality that goes with a President who "thinks potholes are more important than planets". Alas, the panel continued along their merry way in denial with some throw away lines such as "clearly we need to be doing things cheaper".

A storm is coming folks. You cannot hide under your desks and try and to ride it out. Not this time. You need to be preparing contingency plans and be ready to try things that you have never tried before to accomplish the tasks you have been given to do. Otherwise those things will not get done.


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