Recently in Personnel News Category

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.

Keith's note: According to her Wikipedia page Lesa Roe "is currently serving as the Acting Deputy Administrator of NASA. Roe is also the Deputy Associate Administrator of NASA, being in role since May 2014.". I cannot find any announcement from NASA or the White House that she was appointed to the position of Acting NASA Deputy Administrator.

The Wikipedia page was last revised to add Roe's new position on 1 February 2017 by someone named "Hosgeorges" from the UK. On 22 February 2017 someone named دارين added a picture of Lesa Roe. Prior to that Roe's Wikipedia page was last changed on 8 May 2016. This senior leadership page on NASA.gov only mentions Robert Lightfoot as Acting NASA Administrator. But this page at NASA.gov (last changed on 10 February 2017) says "Deputy Administrator: Lesa Roe (acting)". So Hosgeorges in the UK knew about this NASA management change nearly a month ago - and NASA quietly added it to its website 2 weeks ago - but no one thought to put a memo out for the rest if us?

But wait: there's more: This page links to a NASA Advisory Council page shows a group portrait of the NAC with former NASA Administrator Charlie Bolden and refers to "Mr. Kenneth Bowersox (NAC Interim Chair)". Yet this page mentions the NAC and says "Chair: General Lester L. Lyles (USAF, Ret.)"

On 20 January 2017 Robert Lightfoot sent out a memo "Message from the Acting Administrator of NASA" which said "As the transition progresses, we have some initial assignments from the new administration. Erik Noble has been named White House Senior Advisor at NASA. Greg Autry, who was with the Agency Review Team, has been named White House Liaison."

According to this current NASA Organization Structure page last updated 10 February 2017 Erik Noble is now "Chief of Staff (acting)". According to multiple sources Greg Autry told people that he would be leaving his White House Liaison position at NASA effective 17 March 2017. But he left on 23 February instead. Oddly, the page was last updated on 10 February 2017 yet made no mention of Autry despite the importance of his position at the time.

Things are starting to get a little strange when NASA makes significant agency appointments like this and does not tell anyone else - except Hosgeorges and دارين that is.

White House prepping government reorg executive order, Federal News Radio

"The White House is preparing a new executive order to require agencies to plan and suggest ways to reorganize the government. Federal News Radio has learned that a draft order is circulating in the government and could be issued this week after the expected Senate confirmation of Rep. Mick Mulvaney (R-S.C.) to be the director of the Office of Management and Budget. The draft order includes a series of requirements for agencies to quickly turn around plans to improve how the department meets its mission. The draft also details a list of elements the agencies need to include in those plans ranging from a list of programs that are duplicative to whether state and local governments or the private sector could do the work better to the costs of ending or merging the capabilities. The draft order also calls on agencies to determine if back-office functions are duplicative with other services within another agency, bureau or program and if so, could they be consolidated."

Zero Base Review Team Report, 19 May 1995 (earlier NASA RIF Watch post)

"An internal NASA review team has produced proposals to enable the agency to meet the tough funding targets set by the Administration in the 1996 budget, Administrator Daniel S. Goldin said today. The proposals include sweeping management and organizational changes to cut spending an additional $5 billion by the end of the decade. "I'm pleased with what I've seen so far," Goldin said. "We've found ways to streamline operations, reduce overlap, and significantly cut costs without cutting our world-class space and aeronautics programs. We have much hard work before us, but I believe a stronger and more efficient NASA will emerge."

Phil Sabelhaus

"Dear Members Of The JWST Family, It is with much sorrow that I must tell you that our friend and colleague Phil Sabelhaus has passed away. Phil was a friend and mentor. Without Phil's leadership and wisdom over the years he was the JWST project manager, we would not be where we are today. The Flight Control Room at the JWST Mission Operations Center will be named in his honor. When thinking of the right words to describe Phil, I thought of the song "Oysters and Pearls" by Jimmy Buffett, which is about the differences between people who love to lead and take risks and those who are content with following."

Neil Gehrels

Goddard Center Director Remarks on Passing of Neil Gehrels

"Throughout his success, Neil always found time to share his achievements with others. Following in the footsteps of his father, an astronomer who helped dissident scientists during the Cold War, Neil and his family were active volunteers in disadvantaged communities around Goddard. In 2005, he helped develop an internship program that allowed local high school students with hardships to work in his labs. "Neil leaves behind a legacy only he could have created, and words cannot adequately express our grief for this great loss."

Robert Braun named new dean of engineering and applied science, University of Colorado Boulder

"University of Colorado Boulder Provost Russell L. Moore today announced the appointment of Robert D. Braun as dean of the College of Engineering and Applied Science. Prior to joining the Georgia Tech faculty in 2003, Braun worked at the NASA Langley Research Center for 16 years."

White House, SpaceX Veteran Phil Larson Joining CU Boulder, University of Colorado Boulder

"The University of Colorado Boulder's College of Engineering and Applied Science Dean Bobby Braun is announcing the appointment of Phil Larson as assistant dean for communications, strategy, and planning, where he will lead strategic relations for the college. Larson - who was senior advisor for space and innovation at the White House, where he served from 2009 to 2014 - will join CU Boulder in February. Most recently, Larson was part of Elon Musk's SpaceX team, supporting communications efforts as well as managing corporate projects."

Keith's note: Last week NASA HQ was told by the incoming Trump administration that they wanted Chief Financial Officer David Radzanowski to stay on for while after the Inauguration to help with the transition. Then the Trump people suddenly changed their minds and Dave was no longer a NASA employee at noon on Friday. As such Dave did not have a proper chance to say farewell to folks at NASA. Before he was CFO he was the NASA Chief of Staff. Dave is one of those people in government that most folks never hear of. He just did his job diligently without any arm waving and did it exceptionally well. Dave was absolutely vital to how NASA worked - especially when it worked well. Its too bad he was not able to have a proper send off. You done good, Dave.

Revenge of the bureaucrats, Politico

"The Trump personnel team led by Kay Coles James and Linda Springer, both also Bush alumni, has broad goals to reduce the size of domestic agencies while slightly bolstering the defense workforce, say sources close to the transition. Aides are also mulling a process, known as "reduction in force," that would allow the new administration to skirt the civil service's complicated rules for hiring and firing. The easiest way to make such reductions might be through budget cuts to each agency, which would be outlined in Trump's first budget proposal this spring."

Trump freezes hiring of many federal workers, Washington Post

"President Trump instituted a governmentwide hiring freeze Monday, signing an executive order that he said would affect all employees "except for the military."

How Trump Could Unravel Obama's Science Legacy, Scientific American

"The much-larger ranks of non-political 'career' employees, meanwhile, could shrink under Trump, who has pledged to freeze federal hiring within his first 100 days in office. Staffing levels at science agencies - which stayed relatively flat under Obama, despite his enthusiasm for research - could eventually dwindle by attrition."

Gene Cernan

Family Statement Regarding the Passing of Apollo Astronaut Eugene Cernan, Last Man to Walk on the Moon

"The family of Apollo Astronaut Capt. Eugene Cernan, the last man to walk on the Moon, announced that he passed away today following ongoing health issues. "It is with very deep sadness that we share the loss of our beloved husband and father," said Cernan's family. "Our family is heartbroken, of course, and we truly appreciate everyone's thoughts and prayers. Gene, as he was known by so many, was a loving husband, father, grandfather, brother and friend." "Even at the age of 82, Gene was passionate about sharing his desire to see the continued human exploration of space and encouraged our nation's leaders and young people to not let him remain the last man to walk on the Moon," the family continued."

NASA Administrator Reflects on Legacy of Last Man to Walk on Moon

NASA Reflects on Legacy of Eugene Cernan and Other Videos

Harriet Jenkins, The History Makers

"From 1974 until 1992, Jenkins worked as the assistant administrator for equal opportunity programs at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). ... From 1992 until 1996, she worked with the U.S. Congress and served as the director at the Office of Senate Fair Employment Practices in the U.S. Senate. ... Jenkins retired from the federal government in 1996. In 2000, NASA established a fellowship program in her name, awarding doctoral fellowships to qualifying minority students. She is the recipient of numerous awards and honors including placing her retirement in the Congressional Record."

UPDATE: The viewing for Dr. Jenkins are listed below:

Harriett Jenkins

Dr. Harriett G. Jenkins, has passed away. Funeral Services and other details forthcoming.

Harriet Jenkins, The History Makers

"From 1974 until 1992, Jenkins worked as the assistant administrator for equal opportunity programs at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). ... From 1992 until 1996, she worked with the U.S. Congress and served as the director at the Office of Senate Fair Employment Practices in the U.S. Senate. ... Jenkins retired from the federal government in 1996. In 2000, NASA established a fellowship program in her name, awarding doctoral fellowships to qualifying minority students. She is the recipient of numerous awards and honors including placing her retirement in the Congressional Record."

The viewing for Dr. Jenkins will be at:
McGuire Funeral Service, Inc
7400 Georgia Ave NW
Washington DC 20012
202-882-6600
Sunday, January 8, 2017
2-4 p.m.

"Please join NASA's Office of Legislative and Intergovernmental Affairs in celebrating Seth's departure on a new journey. Thursday, January 12, 2017 4 - 7 p.m., Room 2E39, NASA Headquarters $15 suggested contribution RSVP: congressionalevents@nasa.gov"

Keith's note: Best wishes, Seth, as you return to the real world ;-)

John Glenn

Statement by the President on the Passing of John Glenn

"The last of America's first astronauts has left us, but propelled by their example we know that our future here on Earth compels us to keep reaching for the heavens. On behalf of a grateful nation, Godspeed, John Glenn."

Statement by NASA Administrator Bolden on the Passing of John Glenn

"The entire NASA Family will be forever grateful for his outstanding service, commitment and friendship. Personally, I shall miss him greatly. As a fellow Marine and aviator, he was a mentor, role model and, most importantly, a dear friend."

ASU university explorer Scott Parazynski remembers his colleague and friend, astronaut and former U.S. Sen. John Glenn

"I first got to spend time with him in January of 1998 after he became part of our crew. He walked in to the crew in a really unique and funny way. He said, 'If any of you guys call me Sen. Glenn, I'll ignore you. My name is just John or Payload Specialist No. 2.' That kind of set it. He just wanted to be one of the crew, no special treatment or favors. A very down-to-earth, humble guy."

The otherworldly spirit of John Glenn, Homer Hickam, Washington Post

"Ironically, John Glenn, the Mercury astronaut most Americans can still name, was the quiet one. He was strong and steady and never in any manner outlandish. He touched us in a different way. There was something about that balding, red-headed Marine with his lopsided smile that just made people love him. It seemed to those of us following the space race back then that everything Glenn did, his Midwestern, "aw shucks" manner of speech, his obvious love for and dedication to his wife, Annie, even his daily jogs along the Cape Canaveral beach, was pure and wholesomely American."

Keith's note: I got this as a text message via satellite phone from astrobiologist Dale Andersen on the shores of Lake Untersee in Antarctica this afternoon: "John Glenn was for me and for so many others of my generation a hero, a legend and The Right Stuff - an icon of space exploration. Interestingly, we just (minutes ago) finished watching Apollo 13 this evening - a wonderful story and a great film (and even better once one has read the flight log end to end). I hope the sacrifices made by those early space pioneers will not be squandered and that they will be honored by our country by re-energizing our space program - one dedicated to exploration, innovation and placing humans back on the surface of the moon and on Mars in the very, very near future. Its time to invest in science, engineering and imagination once again and to move well beyond LEO! From the mountains of Queen Maud Land, Antarctica. Dale"

Aleta Jackson

Loretta (Aleta) Jackson, obituary
Aleta Jackson, LinkedIn

According to Agile Aero: "Loretta 'Aleta' Jackson has over 40 years' experience in the aerospace community, starting with electronics research and prototype development with McDonnell Douglas on the Gemini program. She has been chief researcher for several small electronics and engineering firms in Tucson, Arizona. Some of the projects she has worked on include Manned Orbiting Laboratory, StarTracker, the Tomahawk cruise missile program, Strategic Defense Initiative Organization and the Delta Clipper/Clipper Graham DC-X. For over ten years Aleta served as editor of the Journal of Practical Applications in Space. Her articles have been published in the Washington Post, Analog and technical magazines. In September, 1999, she was one of the founders of XCOR Aerospace, the others being Jeff Greason, Dan DeLong and Doug Jones."

Keith's note: I have known Aleta forever it would seem. Every interaction and every email was always positive. And nearly every email mentioned cats. There were cats wandering around XCOR's hangar that she looked out for. I asked her once if they climbed up inside the rockets. This link she sent me in response. Ad Astra Aleta

Heads Up NASA Employees

Trump has a plan for government workers. They're not going to like it., Washington Post

"President-elect Donald Trump and the Republican-controlled Congress are drawing up plans to take on the government bureaucracy they have long railed against, by eroding job protections and grinding down benefits that federal workers have received for a generation. Hiring freezes, an end to automatic raises, a green light to fire poor performers, a ban on union business on the government's dime and less generous pensions - these are the contours of the blueprint emerging under Republican control of Washington in January. These changes were once unthinkable to federal employees, their unions and their supporters in Congress. But Trump's election as an outsider promising to shake up a system he told voters is awash in "waste, fraud and abuse" has conservatives optimistic that they could do now what Republicans have been unable to do in the 133 years since the modern civil service was created."

Sam Venneri

Samuel Venneri, Washington Post

"Sam had a love of aviation, which he carried throughout his life. He had an impressive Federal career with NASA, which began in 1981, where he held several positions, most notably Chief Technologist from 1996 until his retirement in October 2002. During a portion of that time, he also served as Associate Administrator for Aerospace Technology. While at NASA, Sam received several Presidential Rank Awards."

NASA GSFC Internal Memo: Frank Cepollina Retirement

"This is truly one of the most difficult memos I have ever written to you. We have worked long and hard to develop capabilities for this Agency and for the federal government. These capabilities are truly needed. Some of our efforts started as early as 1970, but few are here today to talk about it - except for me, and that is what this memorandum is all about. I have come to the conclusion that after almost 57 years with the government it is time to retire. It has not been an easy decision. I have been thinking and rethinking my decision, and changing my mind for quite some time now. In the end, I decided to submit my papers and will retire on January 3, 2017."

NASA Ames workers worry over Superfund site's toxins, Mountain View Voice

"More recently, a 2013 U.S. Department of Defense report found toxic vapor levels exceeding EPA limits inside several occupied buildings at Moffett Federal Airfield, including the NASA Ames convention center and the flight systems research lab. ... Based on the mounting concerns, NASA administrators on Oct. 19 held a first-ever town hall meeting to address issues surrounding the Superfund site. The room was packed with a standing-room only crowd of about 120 people. A panel of officials from NASA, EPA and OSHA gave assurances that employees' health and safety was a paramount priority."

Pacific Southwest, Region 9: Superfund: Middlefield-Ellis-Whisman (MEW) Study Area, EPA

Contamination plume map

Space Biologists Thora Halstead and Ken Souza Honored Aboard International Space Station

"A small plant growth chamber orbiting in space was remotely dedicated in Cleveland Saturday evening. At the annual meeting of the American Society for Gravitational and Space Research (ASGSRC) it was announced that the Veggie unit aboard the International Space Station has been dedicated to Thora Halstead and Ken Souza. A special plaque has been affixed to the Veggie hardware by astronaut Kate Rubin. Copies of that plaque were flown in space and then returned to Earth were presented to Ken and Thora's families this evening."

More Problems For Arecibo

Arecibo Observatory hit with discrimination lawsuit, Nature

"Two former researchers at the troubled Arecibo Observatory in Puerto Rico have filed a lawsuit claiming that illegal discrimination and retaliation led to their dismissal. James Richardson and Elizabeth Sternke are suing the Universities Space Research Association (USRA), which oversees radio astronomy and planetary science at Arecibo, and the observatory's deputy director, Joan Schmelz -- a prominent advocate for women in astronomy. ... The EEOC ultimately found evidence of discrimination and that Sternke and Richardson were terminated in retaliation for their complaints, according to documents provided by the researchers' lawyer. In their lawsuit, filed on 4 October in the US District Court in Puerto Rico, Richardson and Sternke are seeking more than US$20 million in back pay and damages."

Taking In The View From Wharton Ridge, SpaceRef

"Today I learned that a feature on the surface of Mars has been named after a friend of mine. This was not unexpected since I knew that his name was in the queue waiting for just the right feature to be discovered by the Opportunity rover. "Wharton Ridge" is named after Robert A. Wharton (Bob). Bob was born a few years before me in 1951 and died unexpectedly in 2012. I worked with Bob at the old Life Sciences Division at NASA Headquarters in the late 1980s."

David Webb

Keith's note: I learned last night that David Webb has died. I first met David 30 years ago when I was just entering the space business. He was always willing to offer advice, a spare bedroom when I visited DC, and offer introductions to people in the business. I was not alone in receiving his mentorship. Indeed, over the years, I suspect that everyone in the space community benefited from his interests and activities. A look at his Wikipedia entry may seem voluminous but it is woefully incomplete. He was a gentle soul. Ad Astra.

David C. Webb, Wikipedia

David Weaver Is Leaving NASA

Keith's note: Sources report that NASA Associate Administrator for the Office of Communications David Weaver is leaving the agency for a position at the Air Line Pilots Association (ALPA).

David S. Weaver, NASA Associate Administrator for the Office of Communications

"David Weaver became NASA's associate administrator for the Office of Communications on July 18, 2010. Weaver is a senior public administration professional with 25 years of experience in government, politics, media relations and public policy."

Woody Bethay

Joseph Arwood Bethay

"He entered the US Army Ordnance Corp in 1957 and was assigned to the Army Guided Missile Agency at Redstone Arsenal where he managed development of ground support equipment for the Corporal Missile System and warhead development for the Sergeant Missile System. Woody joined Marshal Space Flight Center in 1960. In his 35 years at MSFC he worked on research and development programs including the Saturn, Skylab, High Energy Astronomy Observatories, Space Shuttle, Spacelab, Hubble Space Telescope and Chandra. He retired from NASA in 1995 as the Associate Director of MSFC."

Don Curry

Don Curry, Clayton Funeral Homes

"He loved his work at NASA and was involved with every program, from Mercury through the Space Shuttle, before retiring after 45 years. He became one of the world's leading experts on thermal protection systems, receiving much recognition for his work. Don was respected and beloved by his colleagues who referred to him as "The Legend."

Donald M. Curry, NASA Johnson Space Center Oral History Project Edited Oral History Transcript

"I think most people that worked on the Apollo program out here worked for no extra pay because we were too interested in it. It was too much of a challenge because there wasn't anything known. When [President John F.] Kennedy said, "We're going to the Moon," well, we didn't even have the material. We didn't have the guidance schemes. We'd never done some of these things. We'd only flown one Mercury flight, in fact."

Frank Sietzen

Keith's note: My long time friend and collaborator Frank Sietzen Jr. passed away comfortably on Sunday. Born in May 1952, Frank as a consumate space advocate, historian, policy analyst, and journalist. He lived and breathed space. We wrote a book together a few years ago "New Moon Rising" about the Bush Administration's "Vision for Exploration". Indeed, we broke the story of this new plan's existence on the front page of the Washington Times. Frank worked for everyone, so it seems: among others the Space Transportation Association, Aerospace America, SpaceX, UPI, and served as a speech writer for NASA Administrator Bolden. A full resume and bibliography would fill pages. Frank lived his entire adult life amidst space policy. Nearly every phone call with Frank started with "You'll never guess what I just learned" As such, if there is one thing that I think Frank would ask if his life's work were to be analyzed, it would be "well, did you learn something?" I sure did.

Ad Astra Frank.

Arrangements and other details to follow.

Doug O'Handley

Doug O'Handley, Indomitable​ Influence for Hundreds of Space Professionals, Passes

"Douglas Alexander O'Handley, Ph.D., died peacefully at home in Morgan Hill, California July 28, 2016, at the age of 79. ... In the mid-1990s, Doug created and taught a multi-disciplinary undergraduate course in astrobiology at Santa Clara University. He - and the course - were wildly popular. From this course and the program initiated by Jerry Soffen at NASA Goddard, the seeds were planted for the NASA Ames Astrobiology Academy - a summer leadership development program committed to excellence that has operated for nearly 20 years (later the Space Exploration Academy). The Academy catalyzed and inspired the lives of more than 240 students, many of whom are now well-established in scientific disciplines and careers around the country, ranging from NASA flight surgeons and principal investigators on multiple missions, to leaders inspiring others with their careers in academia, government and industry. Doug and Christy drew enormous pleasure from hosting the students that each year brought to their home on evenings, weekends and holidays - whether skiing with astronauts at Squaw Valley, boating on Lake Tahoe or backyard BBQs. The Academy students quickly became a part of Doug's family, always welcome at any time. Doug was present for many life events of his former students, including officiating three weddings and introducing more than a dozen couples who are now married."

----

"We invite you to join us at St. Catherine of Alexandria Catholic Church in Morgan Hill, California, on Saturday, August 20, at 2 p.m. for a mass in honor of Doug and a reception to follow to enjoy the many wonderful memories and accomplishments."

Keith's note: Doug was doing things 20 years ago that no one else at NASA was doing - before there was social media, STEM, NASA socials, etc. While lots of "education" people talk about education and put out powerpoint slides, Doug rolled up his sleeves and just made things happen. More than once Doug would invite me to give his students a lecture on "How To Break the Rules at NASA". He wanted them to know how the place really worked. His efforts led directly to the inspiration of a large number of very fine young people - many of whom work in the NASA family. Doug and his wife took each class of students into his home as if they were family. There are hundreds of students whose careers went into overdrive as a direct result of Doug O'Handley and the NASA Academy. Each one of them has a story to tell - each story points to the enduring power of NASA as a motivator - with Doug holding a hand while also holding a big magnifying glass and bull horn to accentuate the effect. One only has to look at Doug's Facebook page to see the responses from students who have learned of his passing. Doug leaves behind a living, breathing legacy that will endure and expand for decades - one that will expand off this planet.
Ad Astra Doug.

Thora Halstead

Keith's note: The funeral of Dr. Thora Halstead will be held Friday, 29 July at 3:00 pm at Fort Myer's Old Post Chapel in Arlington, VA. followed by internment at Arlington National Cemetery.

Thora retired from NASA Life Sciences in 1994, where she was the Manager of the Space Biology Program; Life and Biomedical Sciences and Applications Division.

- Thora Halstead, earlier post

Molly Macauley (Update)

Celebration of Life for Molly Macauley Scheduled for July 23 in Baltimore, SpacePolicyOnline

"A celebration of life service for Molly Macauley is planned for July 23, 2016 in Baltimore, MD. Macauley, a highly respected member of the space policy community, was murdered on July 8 while walking her dogs near her home in Baltimore."

Woman dies after being stabbed in Roland Park, Baltimore Sun

"A 59-year-old woman was fatally stabbed in Baltimore's Roland Park neighborhood as she was walking her dogs Friday night, police said. Officers were called to the 600 block of W. University Parkway around 11 p.m. and found the victim, Molly K. Macauley. She was taken to an area hospital, where she died."

Dawn Brooke Owens

Keith's note: Brooke Owens has left the planet. Ad Astra.

A memorial service for Brooke Owens will be held at Clear Creek Community Church, in League City, TX, at 10:00am on Saturday July 9th. In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation in Brooke's name to one of the three following organizations:

Friends Thru The Fight (FTTF), a local non-profit which supports breast cancer patients through their treatment and were present in loving on Brooke and her family over the past few months, by visiting friendsthruthefight.org.

AidChild, a non-profit organization that Brooke served with that supports orphans living with HIV/AIDS who do not have the support of extended families in Uganda, by visiting http://aidchild.org/.

Mercy's Village International, an organization that Brooke served with dedicated to fighting poverty through the education of children and the empowerment of girls and young women, by http://www.mercysvillage.org/.

If you have any photos, memories or things like poetry or songs of or by Brooke, please send them to dawnbrookeowensmemorial - at - gmail.com

Patti Grace Smith

Patti Grace Smith, Champion of Private Space Travel, Dies at 68, NY Times

"In an email, Elon Musk, the PayPal and Tesla entrepreneur who founded SpaceX, a company that has developed launch vehicles, wrote that Ms. Smith had "helped lay the foundations for a new era in American spaceflight." "We are closer to becoming a multiplanet species because of her efforts," he added."

Keith's note: There was a time when Patti was the only person in the entire Federal government who was thinking seriously about commercial space. At that time, no one else really cared. She did. Look what happened.

Keith's update: Patti's family requests in lieu of flowers that donations can be made to the American Cancer Society in Patti's name. Patti's "Home-Going" Service will be held Monday, 13 June at 11:00 am at the Mount Sinai Baptist Church 1615 3rd St. NW in Washington, DC.

Tiffany Moisan

NASA scientist's body found in Princess Anne, Delmarva Now

"Tiffany Moisan, 48, a resident of Kemps Nursery Road in Princess Anne, was found in a wooded area behind the Food Lion store on Brittingham Lane, police said. There were no apparent signs of foul play."

Tiffany A Moisan Bio, NASA GSFC

"My research interests are in phytoplankton physiology and optics with relationships to taxonomic composition of the phytoplankton community. My interests are in the Ocean Color Mission and Global Climate Change. I also have interests in NASA Education and Public Outreach."

Keith's note: A month ago I posted news that NASA Advisory Council chair Steve Squyres had sent an email to the NAC and to NASA - resigning as chair of the NAC. In the month that followed this posting NASA has said nothing about the status of the NAC. If you go to the NAC home page at NASA nothing has changed in terms of NAC membership (including people whose terms have expired). Squyres is also listed here as NAC chair. Although the NAC discussed having a meeting in Cleveland in July no future meeting dates are listed here.

NASA Advisory Council Chair Steve Squyres Resigns, earlier post

Jim Busby

James Busby Passes Away, File770

"Space flight historian James Milton Busby died June 1 after a lengthy hospitalization. He was 61 years old, and had suffered many health problems in recent years. He is survived by his wife, Arlene, a longtime LASFS member. They married in 2012. James volunteered and consulted with the California Museum of Science and Industry in Los Angeles on the 1980 redesign of their aerospace museum. He was hired in 1984 as a museum assistant and was employed there until 2003. The museum awarded James with an Honorary Doctorate degree of Space Science Information."

Keith's note: I knew Jim since - I dunno - 30+ years ago. He was such a sweet guy. We are very, very close in age so this hits home very hard. I used to work at Rockwell Downey so he and I regularly interacted over the years. The last time I saw Jim was several years ago. I was asked to be a speaker at the opening of the Columbia Memorial Space Center - a Challenger Learning Center - located on the old Rockwell Downey lot. As it happens the place I stood to speak is where I used to park my car. Jim was in his element as they worked through preserving things from the glory days at Downey. Whatever does remain from that place - from that time - is due in great part to Jim's un-wavering dedication. Jim was the space cadet's space cadet. They just don't make people like him any more. Oh yes - he plays that Grumman guy tapping his pencil in episode 5 of "From the Earth to the Moon." He just oozed space. Ad Astra, Jim.

Associate Administrator, Science Mission Directorate

"The Associate Administrator for the Science Mission Directorate is a senior level position responsible for providing executive leadership, overall planning, direction, and effective management of NASA programs concerned with the scientific exploration of the Earth, Moon, Mars and beyond, including charting the best route of discovery and reaping the benefits of Earth and space exploration for society."

Guy Thibodaux

Joseph Guy Thibodaux, Jr.

"In 1964, Guy and his family moved to Houston, TX where he assumed the role of Chief of the Propulsion and Power Division at the Johnson Space Center until his retirement in 1980. Guy holds five patents on solid rockets and solid rocket manufacturing techniques."

- Joseph G. "Guy" Thibodaux Oral History Interviews, NASA JSC

Michael Watkins Named Next JPL Director

"Michael M. Watkins, the Clare Cockrell Williams Centennial Chair in Aerospace Engineering and Director of the Center for Space Research at The University of Texas at Austin, has been appointed director of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory and vice president at Caltech, the Institute announced today. Watkins will formally assume his position on July 1, 2016. He succeeds Charles Elachi, who will retire as of June 30, 2016, and move to the Caltech faculty."

NASA Welcomes New Director for its Jet Propulsion Laboratory

Bob Ryan

Robert Samuel "Bob" Ryan

"Mr. Ryan worked as an aerospace engineer for the Army Ballistic Agency. He worked on Redstone, Jupiter, and Pershing missiles and then the Explorer, JUNO satellites and the Saturn I Launch system. In 1960 the Von Braun team was transferred to NASA, and he started working on the Apollo program where he served as chief of the Dynamic Analysis Branch for Marshall Space Flight Center (MSFC). He has served in various management and leadership positions for MSFC as Branch Chief, Division Chief of Structural Dynamics, and retired as Deputy Director of the System Dynamics Laboratory. He worked on Saturn V Apollo, Skylab, Hubble Space Telescope, HEAO, Space Shuttle, AXAF, X-33, Spacelab, and numerous scientific payloads."

Brian Bole

Family of former NASA contractor killed in Oakland seeks answers, SF Chronicle

"He was really excited about his life and the work he was doing," his mother, Patricia Tezzas, recalled of their phone conversation. "He was going to go camping next weekend." Bole got his Ph.D. in electrical engineering from Georgia Tech before moving to California in 2011 for an internship with NASA, his family said. He was eventually hired as a contractor for NASA's Ames Research Center on the Peninsula, and within the last year started working at the Armus job. His family remembered him as an avid traveler, science fiction reader and biker."

- Brian Bole, NASA ARC Intelligent Systems Division
- Brian Bole, LinkedIn

John Grunsfeld Announces Retirement from NASA

"John Grunsfeld will retire from NASA April 30, capping nearly four decades of science and exploration with the agency. His tenure includes serving as astronaut, chief scientist, and head of NASA's Earth and space science activities. Grunsfeld has directed NASA's Science Mission Directorate as associate administrator since 2012, managing more than 100 science missions -- many of which have produced groundbreaking science, findings and discoveries."

Keith's note: Click here you will see a larger version of this image. In it John was "vulcanized" by Star Trek's Mike Okuda when John left his NASA Chief Scientist position. This photo somehow made its way to the National Air and Space Museum where a less-than-observant curator made it part of an exhibit of Hubble hardware returned after a servicing mission. Eventually NASM figured out that John was a Vulcan in this picture (but not in real life) and replaced it. But it took a while.

Ken Souza

Keith's note: I was deeply saddened to learn that my long time friend Ken Souza died suddenly yesterday. Ken was probably the first NASA life scientist I got to know when I started with NASA in the mid-1980s. Ken worked on just about every imaginable type of life science mission one could imagine and just had so much information in his head. I wondered how he had managed to know so many things. Over the years, as a mentor and a friend, he would impart a lot of technical knowledge, advice - and always, humor. During times when NASA seemed to want to walk away from space biology he kept it alive at NASA Ames. Ken was relentless in terms of his energy and never seemed to rest - even after he had technically retired from NASA. In fact the retirement designation in 2002 after 35 years at NASA Ames research Center meant that he could just stay equally busy doing more of what he wanted to do without all of the management headaches. A lot of us in the space biology family are a bit numb right now. At the time of his death Ken was engaged in putting together a memorial for his long-time friend and colleague Thora Halstead who had passed away just a few days earlier. Last week I remarked that space botanist Mark Watney from "The Martian" owed his life to Thora Halstead's long legacy at the helm of NASA's space biology program. Let me amend that. Mark Watney owed his Mars farming smarts equally to Thora's program management and Ken's trail blazing hardware. Together they were the first to do so many things in space. Ad astra Ken.

Ken Souza - Rest in Peace among the stars, ASGSR

Bob Ebeling

Challenger Engineer Who Warned Of Shuttle Disaster Dies, NPR

"Bob Ebeling spent a third of his life consumed with guilt about the explosion of the space shuttle Challenger. But at the end of his life, his family says, he was finally able to find peace. "It was as if he got permission from the world," says his daughter Leslie Ebeling Serna. "He was able to let that part of his life go." Ebeling died Monday at age 89 in Brigham City, Utah, after a long illness, according to his daughter Kathy Ebeling."

Thora Halstead

Keith's note: When I first came to Washington in 1986 I had the extreme pleasure of working with Thora at NASA Headquarters. Thora learned her craft from the very first people to send living things into space and I had the distinct honor of learning about those early days from her. She practically invented space biology. She was always fun to work with and had a soft spot when it came to young people. She was instrumental in the founding of ASGSB - now ASGSR - an organization which had the interests of students deeply embedded in its core mission. When budget cuts threatened many researchers she did her best to keep everyone's work alive and defended their interests like a mother wolverine.

She was quite a pioneer - as a scientist and as a woman working at NASA at a time when few women had a chance to run large programs. If anyone can be called a founder of space biology, it was Thora Halstead. Since the film "The Martian" strove for accuracy - and Mark Watney was a space botanist - then it follows that his thesis advisor's thesis advisor's thesis advisor owed something directly to Thora Halstead's commitment to advancing the careers of space biologists and students everywhere. Ad astra.

"Women Have Always Been NASA Pioneers", Dava Newman and Ellen Stofan

"... One of those pioneers, Dr. Thora Halstead, passed away last week. Thora was a mentor to many, and her work benefited thousands. She's been credited with helping to establish the field of space biology before there was such a discipline, and the mentors of many of today's scientists working in the field can credit Thora with direct mentorship or inspiration. Thora's numerous experiments and more than 40 published papers explored how the cells of living organisms respond to a low-gravity environment. As we move closer to Mars, we see that work in many ways, from the VEGGIE experiment that has produced the first lettuce crop in space, or research to show us how plants communicate within their systems in microgravity. Thora also founded the American Society for Gravitational and Space Biology (ASGSB), a 500-plus member society with worldwide scientific community membership (now the American Society for Gravitational and Space Research). The legacy of exchange and collaboration that she began will continue to advance space biology for years to come."

John Newcomb

NASA Langley Engineer and Author John Newcomb Dies

"An engineer at NASA's Langley Research Center during the critical Apollo years and those that successfully landed Viking on Mars, John Foster Newcomb passed away March 10, 2016. In the early heady days of space exploration, Newcomb worked on the Lunar Orbiter Project which placed five Lunar Orbiters around the moon, a mission critical to the success of the Apollo Project. The Lunar Orbiters photographed and mapped the moon, giving researchers insight into the best potential landing sites for the crewed Apollo missions."

Keith's note: John Newcomb and I recently exchanged voicemails about his book but never managed to talk. I wanted to talk to him about his Lunar Orbiter experiences. He spoke at NASA HQ just last week - but NASA does not tell people about these events. Now he is gone. Dammit. I'm glad he was able to write this book and speak to people about it such that we know what it was like to do crazy things that no one has ever done before.

Kavandi Named Glenn Research Center Director, Free Joins Human Exploration and Operations Mission Directorate

"NASA Administrator Charles Bolden has named former astronaut Janet Kavandi director of the agency's Glenn Research Center in Cleveland. Kavandi has been serving as Glenn's deputy director since February 2015. She succeeds Jim Free, who was named deputy associate administrator for technical in the agency's Human Exploration and Operations Mission Directorate in Washington. The appointments are effective Monday."

Don Williams

Association of Space Explorers: "We are very sad to pass along the news that former astronaut Don Williams has passed away. Fair skies and following seas, Cap'n."

NASA astronaut bio

"Born February 13, 1942, in Lafayette, Indiana. Died on February 23, 2016. He is survived by his wife and two children. He enjoyed all sports activities and his interests included running and photography."





Edgar Mitchell

Astronaut Mitchell Dies Exactly 45 Years After His Moon Walk

"Astronaut Edgar D. Mitchell died yesterday. Coincidentally, on 5 Feb. 1971, Mitchell, lunar module pilot for the Apollo 14 lunar landing mission, stands by the deployed U.S. flag on the lunar surface during the early moments of the first extravehicular activity of the mission."

Apollo 14 astronaut Edgar Mitchell, 85, dies in West Palm Beach , Palm Beach Post

"Astronaut Edgar D. Mitchell, who was part of the Apollo 14 space crew that flew to the moon in 1971, died late Thursday in West Palm Beach, according to his family. Mitchell, 85, lived in suburban Lake Worth and died at a local hospice at about 10 p.m. Thursday, his daughter, former West Palm Beach City Commissioner Kimberly Mitchell told The Palm Beach Post."

NASA Administrator Remembers Apollo-Era Astronaut Edgar Mitchell

"He believed in exploration, having been drawn to NASA by President Kennedy's call to send humans to the moon. He is one of the pioneers in space exploration on whose shoulders we now stand."

Todd May Named Marshall Space Flight Center Director

"NASA Administrator Charles Bolden has named Todd May director of the agency's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama. May was appointed Marshall deputy director in August 2015 and has been serving as acting director since the Nov. 13, 2015 retirement of Patrick Scheuermann. As director, May will lead one of NASA's largest field installations, with almost 6,000 civil service and contractor employees, an annual budget of approximately $2.5 billion and a broad spectrum of human spaceflight, science and technology development missions."

RD Promotion Process Survey (Jan 2016), LaRC Survey at Surveymonkey

"The RD Promotion Process Team is evaluating the efficiency and transparency of the promotion process for AST's and technicians in RD. The top-level goals of this team are to evaluate and recommend improvements to the RD promotion process that will improve the efficiency and transparency of these processes for all AST's and technicians in RD."

Keith's 1 Feb update: The survey has suddenly closed. Oops.

OPM Status

"Applies to: Applies to: Tuesday, January 26, 2016 FEDERAL OFFICES in the Washington, DC area are CLOSED. Emergency and telework-ready employees required to work must follow their agency's policies, including written telework agreements."

Snow Covered Washington DC Metro Area Seen From Space

"The Operational Land Imager (OLI) on Landsat 8 captured this natural-color image of Virginia, Maryland, and Washington, D.C. on January 24, 2016."

NASA Administrator Communicates Harassment Policies to Grantees (link fixed)

"The following is a letter from NASA Administrator Charles Bolden to grantee institutions running NASA-funded programs regarding harassment policies: As a leader in the fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM), NASA endeavors to make our collaborations with our grant recipient institutions as productive and successful as possible in all facets of our shared objectives. This means that we seek not only the most innovative and cutting-edge scientific and technological research from our grant recipients, we also expect strong efforts to create and sustain welcoming and inclusive educational environments. We view such efforts not as "something nice to do" if the time can be spared, or something that human resources or the diversity and equity offices are responsible for, but rather as an integral and indeed necessary aspect of all educational program environments. Let me be perfectly clear: NASA does not tolerate sexual harassment, and nor should any organization seriously committed to workplace equality, diversity and inclusion. Science is for everyone and any behavior that demeans or discourages people from fully participating is unacceptable."

Dava Newman: NASA Communicates Harassment Policies to Grantees

Keith's 15 Jan 5:00 pm note: Kudos to Charlie Bolden for making a very public and unequivocal stance on this issue. No one will ever doubt NASA's stance on this issue. In fact Bolden may have just set a new, higher standard in this regard.

Keith's 15 Jan 1:35 pm note: The issue of sexual harassment in space science and astronomy has taken on a life of its own in traditional and social media. The hashtag #astroSH for these discussions has been trending nationally on Twitter. This has attracted a number of women who have opened up about experiences they had to endure while trying to pursue a career - thus inspiring others to comment as well.

As with anything that gets popular in social media there are now fake Twitter accounts popping up behind which people hide and snipe on #astroSH conversations. Other fake accounts use the hashtag as part of so-called spambot marketing schemes. Yet the core focus of #astroSH continues to grow. And of course #astroSH is a subset of much larger issue of harassment in research and the workplace.

NASA funds a substantial portion of the astronomy and space science research that forms the core of this community's activity. While these specific harassment cases are indeed internal issues within specific non-NASA institutions, NASA does have an unequivocal moral stake in the way that these cases are handled - as well as pushing to make such behavior unwelcome in the first place. Yes, NASA like all other government agencies has a list of formal policies on this matter. However having these policies does not seem to have stifled this behavior. But NASA does have people at its helm - specifically NASA Administrator Bolden, Deputy Administrator Newman, and Chief Scientist Stofan, who could use their prominence to speak out on this issue. So far we've heard nothing but silence. One would hope that will change soon.

Caltech suspends professor for harassment, Science

"For what is believed to be the first time in its history, the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) in Pasadena has suspended a faculty member for gender-based harassment. The researcher has been stripped of his university salary and barred from campus for 1 year, is undergoing personalized coaching to become a better mentor, and will need to prove that he has been rehabilitated before he can resume advising students without supervision. Caltech has not curtailed his research activities. The university has not disclosed the name of the faculty member, but Science has learned that it is Christian Ott, a professor of theoretical astrophysics who studies gravitational waves and other signals from some of the most violent events in the cosmos."

Memo from Caltech leadership Regarding Faculty Harassment/Discrimination Issues, Caltech

Congresswoman reveals prominent astronomy professor's history of sexual harassment, Mashable

"A U.S. congresswoman is calling out a leading astronomy educator who violated the sexual harassment policy at the University of Arizona, saying the case highlights a larger problem of holding known offenders accountable in higher education."

Astronomy roiled again by sexual-harassment allegations, Nature

"The new revelations confirm that harassment is a widespread problem in science with only some of the instances now coming to light, says Joan Schmelz, an astronomer at Arecibo Observatory in Puerto Rico and longtime advocate for women in astronomy. "You can't just sweep this stuff under the rug, declare it confidential and hope that no one ever knows about it," she says."

What astronomy can do about sexual harassment, Meg Urry/AAS, CNN

"Last week, at its annual winter conference, the American Astronomical Society held a well-attended plenary session to address harassment and next steps. To an outsider, the many articles about the incident might make astronomy seem like a bad place for women. But having worked in physics and astronomy for some 40 years, I see this bad news about astronomy as really good news."

- Stopping Sexual Harassment In The Space Science Community (Update), earlier post
- Dealing With Harassment at American Astronomical Society, earlier post
- Harassment Hypocrisy from the AAS Membership, earlier post

Fred Durant, George Mueller, and Bob Farquhar Honored at The Smithsonian

"There are three displays presently located in the National Air and Space Museum in Washington, DC honoring Fred Durant, George Mueller, and Bob Farquhar who left our planet in 2015. Ad Astra."

NASA Statements on Katherine Johnson's Medal of Freedom, NASA

"Katherine Johnson once remarked that even though she grew up in the height of segregation, she didn't think much about it because 'I didn't have time for that don't have a feeling of inferiority. Never had. I'm as good as anybody, but no better.' "The truth in fact, is that Katherine is indeed better. She's one of the greatest minds ever to grace our agency or our country, and because of the trail she blazed, young Americans like my granddaughters can pursue their own dreams without a feeling of inferiority."

Katherine Johnson: The Girl Who Loved to Count, NASA

"In 1953, after years as a teacher and later as a stay-at-home mom, she began working for NASA's predecessor, the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics, or NACA. The NACA had taken the unusual step of hiring women for the tedious and precise work of measuring and calculating the results of wind tunnel tests in 1935. In a time before the electronic computers we know today, these women had the job title of "computer." During World War II, the NACA expanded this effort to include African-American women."

NASA: Cabana played role in illegal hires at KSC, Florida Today

"Kennedy Space Center Director Bob Cabana and other senior leaders were more involved than previously disclosed in illegal spaceport hires that may still be subject to federal investigation, according to records FLORIDA TODAY obtained through the Freedom of Information Act. Auditors found the hires of three administrative assistants supporting Cabana and two other high-ranking officials on the fourth floor of KSC headquarters suggested a deliberate effort to get around federal laws requiring competition and priority consideration for certain military veterans. "OPM's report also identified three illegal appointments in the Director's Office that I believed may have resulted from a willful intent to violate veterans' preference laws or to circumvent fair and open competition," NASA Associate Administrator Robert Lightfoot wrote last year in a "Letter of Counseling" to Cabana, referring to the results of a 2013 audit by the U.S. Office of Personnel Management. NASA records show Cabana identified and lobbied for three people who became known internally as the "primes," or prime candidates, to fill openings as his executive assistant and Deputy Director Janet Petro's secretary in mid-2012."

Keith's note: I have to say that this article is an impressive piece of work by James Dean. Based on his good work, it would seem that this sort of flawed management behavior is totally acceptable at KSC - starting at the top. Remember the whole Ed Mango saga? You can be convicted of a job-related felony and still keep your job at KSC. So ... why is any of this other behavior surprising?

- Mango Pleads Guilty to a Job-Related Felony - Still Has a NASA Job, earlier posts
- Update: Former NASA Commercial Crew Director Mango Pleads Guilty to Federal Felony, earlier posts

Have a look at this 3 Nov 2015 internal KSC email - not only can you keep your job at KSC after pleading guilty to a felony, you get promoted.

Subject: GFAST Lead

All, As most are aware Kathy Milon has accepted a position on a Source Board and will be leaving her position in C3 soon. I first want to express a heartfelt thanks to her for her dedication and commitment to the success of GFAST and the C3 Project; truly a great job in getting us as far as we've come. So thank-you Kathy! Ed Mango has accepted the challenge to lead the GFAS Team, with the transition to commence immediately. I know everyone will support Ed in this new assignment and we're fortunate to have someone of his experience ready to step in. This assignment will be for what's likely to be for a few months as we identify a long-term solution and phase that person in over time. Please join me in thanking Kathy and wishing her well, and welcoming Ed into his new role! Please pass this info on to your teams or forward as appropriate.

Bob Willcox

Todd May Named Marshall Space Flight Center Acting Director

"NASA has named Todd May acting director of NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama, as the agency continues the process of looking for a permanent director. Patrick Scheuermann, who served as the Marshall director since September 2012, is retiring from the agency, effective Friday. His retirement caps a 27-year career with NASA that began in 1988 as a propulsion test engineer at the agency's Stennis Space Center near Bay St. Louis, Mississippi."

Victor Hurst

Astronaut plays bagpipes on International Space Station, (video) BBC

"Kjell Lindgren played Amazing Grace on the pipes after recording a message about research scientist Victor Hurst, who was involved in astronaut training. ... In a video recorded in the last few days, Mr Lindgren said all of them had come into contact with Dr Hurst during their training and were "shocked and saddened" to hear about his death. Dr Hurst worked for US engineering company Wyle Science as a research scientist and instructor. He died suddenly in October, aged 48. Nasa flight engineer Mr Lindgren said: "He always had a quick smile, a kind word. I don't know if anyone was more enthusiastic and professional about being involved in human space flight."

Charles Elachi to retire as JPL Director, NASA

"Charles Elachi, the director of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory since 2001, announced today he is retiring at the end of June 2016. He will become professor emeritus at the California Institute of Technology, where he currently serves as a vice president and professor of Electrical Engineering and Planetary Science. Elachi began his career at JPL in 1970."

Bob Farquhar (Update)

In Memory of Robert Farquhar, the Original Space Hacker, Motherboard

"Bob was laid to rest the other day after 83 orbits around the sun. Bob liked to tinker with things - especially spacecraft and their orbits. Let me change that. Bob was a hacker. Since he actually was the smartest guy in the room, he always had the numbers on his side. And he was persistent - sometimes waiting months, years, or even decades to get something to happen the way he envisioned it."

Stan Schmidt

Stanley Schmidt Former Ames Aerospace Engineer Dies

"In 1959, even before President Kennedy had announced that we choose to go to the Moon, Stanley F. Schmidt was developing a midcourse navigation system needed for a space capsule on a circumlunar voyage. Stan then was chief of the dynamics analysis branch at NASA Ames when his former boss, Harry Goett, challenged him to do pioneering research in advance of the Apollo mission. High-speed computer processing was in its infancy, and processing vast amounts of data in real time accurately enough to direct a spacecraft to and from the Moon was a daunting challenge."

Marshall Space Flight Center director announces retirement in email today, Huntsville Times

"NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center Director Patrick Scheuermann announced to center staff today that he will retire on Nov. 13. In his email to the Marshall team, Scheuermann did not say what he will do next, but that he and his family will remain in the Tennessee Valley. He has been director of Marshall since 2012. There was also no immediate word on Scheuermann's successor. The center recently announced that Todd May, formerly head of the Space Launch System (SLS) program, would become deputy director. May replaced Teresa Vanhooser, who also retired earlier this year as deputy director."

Bob Farquhar

Keith's note: My friend Robert Farquhar left this life today. He orbited the sun 83 times. He was big on orbits and designed some of the most esoteric and complex spacecraft trajectories ever attempted which were executed with stunning precision. Between ISEE-3's crazy trips around the inner solar system to the recent flyby of Pluto, Bob had a hand in many missions.

The ISEE-3 Reboot effort during which I got to know Bob very well - was spawned by Bob's relentless persistence and was the capstone to a career that spanned decades and saw into the future with immense precision. He was a hacker in his 80s and simply stunned some of the younger folks who worked on our team.

Bob was a steely-eyed missile man and a genuine space cowboy who always knew exactly how to get NASA to do what it needed to do - even if NASA did not know it at the time. Bob taught me that you are never too old to try new things and that being a pain in the ass serves a vital role in the exploration of space.

I went to visit Bob a week or so ago at home. He was weak but still smiled when I reminded him that he and I had agreed to go outside and wave at ISEE-3 when it flies by Earth again in 2029. More to follow in the days ahead.

George Mueller

George Mueller, NASA engineer who helped enable moon landing, dies at 97, Washington Post (Extensive obituary)

"George Mueller, a coolly decisive, hard-driving engineer, scientist and administrator who was given much of the credit for enabling NASA to meet President John F. Kennedy's manned moon landing timetable, as well as for initiating the Skylab and space shuttle programs, died Oct. 12 at his home in Irvine, Calif. He was 97."

Remembering George Mueller, Leader of Early Human Spaceflight, NASA

Berkeley astronomer in sexual harassment case to resign, Nature

"Astronomer Geoffrey Marcy is stepping down as a faculty member at the University of California, Berkeley, following revelations that a university investigation found he had sexually harassed multiple students between 2001 and 2010. ... Marcy has also resigned as principal investigator of the Breakthrough Listen project, a US$100 million initiative announced in July to search for signs of intelligent life in the Universe."

Stinger Ghaffarian Technologies Announces Appointment of Michael Suffredini as President, Commercial Space Division

"Michael T. Suffredini will lead the Commercial Space Division, a new enterprise for SGT. The Commercial Space Division will focus SGT's and its affiliated companies', spaceflight engineering, operations and hardware development capabilities on space related commercial opportunities. Through private and public/private partnerships the division expects to play a significant role in the development of low Earth orbit capabilities to support and foster the growing economy and commercialization of space. Dr. Kam Ghaffarian, the CEO and President of SGT stated "Mike's experience and accomplishments are the perfect match for our Commercial Space Division and he will build a new future for SGT as we embark on the commercialization of space."

James McLane

James Calvin McLane III

"James Calvin McLane III, an engineer, author, caver, collector, space technology expert, motorcyclist, photographer, Lutheran, adventurer, and friend, died in his home of a heart attack on Tuesday, September 22, 2015. He was 70 years old. In between traveling the world working in oil and gas, he had a distinguished career working in the footsteps of his father for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)."

Hinners Point Above Floor of Marathon Valley on Mars

"The summit takes its informal name as a tribute to Noel Hinners (1935-2014). For NASA's Apollo program, Hinners played important roles in selection of landing sites on the moon and scientific training of astronauts. He then served as NASA associate administrator for space science, director of the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum, director of NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center, NASA chief scientist and associate deputy administrator of NASA. Subsequent to responsibility for the Viking Mars missions while at NASA, he spent the latter part of his career as vice president for flight systems at Lockheed Martin, where he had responsibility for the company's roles in development and operation of NASA's Mars Global Surveyor, Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, Mars Odyssey, Phoenix Mars Lander, Stardust and Genesis missions."

Noel Hinners, earlier post

"He did everything you could do in and around NASA once," Cowing said."

Keith's note: Noel would be totally humbled to learn of this.

Keith's 11 Aug update: Sources report that the person (referenced below) who was told that they could not attend the JPL Planetary Science Summer School has now been told by NASA HQ that they can attend after all.

Keith's 7 Aug 10:11 am note: The following is posted in a Closed Facebook page "Young Scientists for Planetary Exploration". The group has 1,549 members. I was made aware of this issue last night in great detail before I asked to join the group. When my membership was approved just now I was confronted with a warning that I would be banned for life if I posted anything from this group. I was not aware of this restriction when I asked to join - only after the fact. This is an important issue that needs to be surfaced. I will not identify the individual who posted this. I expect to be banned momentarily. Oh well.

Keith's 7 Aug 8:11 pm note: I have been kicked out of the group (one would assume) for raising this issue. You're welcome. What is really odd is that Andy Rivkin, one of the people who run this Facebook group, violates their own rules with regard to publicly discussing content from within the group.

"I've been participating in this year's JPL Planetary Science Summer School for the past 9 weeks, and was told only today that I have been declined further participation in the program, and will be withdrawn from next week's session at JPL. The reason I was given was that my place of birth was in Hong Kong, regardless of the fact that my citizenship is Canadian. NASA regards all persons born in Hong Kong as Chinese Nationals, including those like myself who were born prior to the 1997 handover, were never granted Chinese citizenship, and have immigrated to other countries like Canada. After contacting some people to try to understand why I was informed of this so late, it has come to my attention that this is a NASA-wide issue (not just JPL or PSSS) that was enacted just today by the NASA HQ Security Branch."

- Hong Kong Policy Act Report, State Department
- Designated Countries List, NASA HQ Security

Claudia Alexander

Claudia Alexander

"The passing of Claudia Alexander reminds us of how fragile we are as humans but also as scientists how lucky we are to be part of planetary science. She and I constantly talked about Comets. Comet Churyumov-Gerasimenko in particular. She was an absolute delight to be with and always had a huge engaging smile when I saw her. It was easy to see that she loved what she was doing. We lost a fantastic colleague and great friend. I will miss her." - Dr. James Green, Director of NASA's Planetary Science Division

The Claudia J. Alexander foundation for scholarships for STEM students

NASA Names New Director for Langley Research Center

"NASA has announced that Dr. David E. Bowles has been named director of NASA's Langley Research Center in Hampton, Virginia, succeeding Stephen G. Jurczyk who served in that capacity from April 2014. Bowles has been serving as the acting center director since March of this year when Jurczyk was temporarily assigned to NASA Headquarters as the acting Associate Administrator for the Space Technology Mission Directorate. Jurczyk has since been named associate administrator."

Jack King

NASA Mourns Loss of Former Launch Commentator Jack King

"John W. (Jack) King, former chief of Public Information at NASA's Kennedy Space Center, died June 11, 2015. He was 84. A resident of Cocoa Beach, Florida, King worked in the space agency's Public Affairs office from 1960 until 1975. He returned to Kennedy in 1997, working for space shuttle contractor United Space Alliance until his 2010 retirement. According to Hugh Harris, retired director of NASA Public Affairs at Kennedy, King was instrumental in instituting open communications with the public during the beginning of America's civilian space program."

KSC Employee Update: Photo Opportunity Thursday for The Martian Movie

"By special request from the film producers of the upcoming major motion picture "The Martian," NASA and Kennedy Space Center employees have been invited to participate in a group photo session on Thursday, June 11, at 7:30 a.m. This opportunity will take place at the KSC Visitor Complex Rocket Garden and should last no longer than one hour. The first 200 people to show up will be included in the photo. Be advised that the photo will be altered so that 10-15 faces will be superimposed by actual cast members from the movie."

Keith's note: It is rather odd for NASA KSC to invite people to a photo shoot with movie stars who will not be there and then be told that 10-15 of the people who show up will be replaced by the movie stars - who are not there. And then the photo will presumably be used to show how people who never actually met the movie star worked with those movie stars.

Dale Meyers

NASA Legend Dale Myers Dies at 93; Helped Save Apollo 13, Times of San Diego

"Dale Myers, a famed NASA administrator who helped save the ill-fated Apollo 13 mission and resurrect the space shuttle program after the 1986 Challenger disaster, has died at his retirement home in La Costa. Myers was 93 when he died May 19 at La Costa Glen, his home for 10 years. But he had lived intermittently in Leucadia since 1962, where he had a vacation home, said Janet Westling of San Marcos, one of his two daughters. "He loved being independent," Westling told Times of San Diego. "He didn't stop driving, and was very happy and alive to the day he died. Friends of his say, 'We all want to go that way.'"

Dale Dehaven Myers

Jim Rose

James Turner Rose

"James Turner Rose, 1935-2015, known throughout the space community to have been an early pioneer of space as a place for commercial pursuits, Jim Rose was among the first to develop a business proposition that involved capturing the advantages of microgravity. He created Electrophoresis Operations In Space (EOS), the first joint endeavor agreement between industry and NASA to bring space commercialization into reality."

Marjorie Townsend

Marjorie Townsend, who managed a U.S. spacecraft launch, dies at 85, Washington Post

"In 1959, Mrs. Townsend became one of the first female engineers to join the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. In the next decade, she became the first female spacecraft project manager at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md. From the mid-1960s to 1975, she managed the agency's small astronomy satellite program, where she was responsible for the design, construction, testing and orbital operations of NASA's first astronomical spacecraft."

Oscar Carl Holderer

Oscar Carl Holderer

"Nov. 4, 1919 - May 5, 2015 -- Mr. Holderer was born in Preum, Germany. He was the last surviving member of Wernher von Braun's original team of 120 engineers and scientists coming from Germany as part of Operation Paperclip in 1945."


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