Recently in Personnel News Category

Federal workers can be fired for refusing vaccination, but must show up to work until their cases are determined, new guidance says, Washington Post

"Federal employees can be fired for refusing to be vaccinated against the coronavirus, but as their disciplinary cases wind through the system, they will report to work alongside vaccinated colleagues, according to Biden administration guidance issued this week. The new guidance to implement a vaccine mandate for the government, which Biden announced last week, represents a reversal of the strategy the White House coronavirus task force pushed in August for those employees without shots who refused under an earlier plan to get regular testing for covid-19."

Frequently Asked Questions, Safer Federal Workforce

Gail Skofronick-Jackson

Keith's note: From the NASA GSFC Facebook page: "We are mourning the sudden loss of Dr. Gail Skofronick-Jackson this week. Gail has been part of NASA Earth science since 1997. She was a brilliant, deeply principled, and passionate scientist, beloved coworker, and friend. We send our condolences to Gail's family and honor Gail by continuing to commit to our mission as she did during her time with us. Her impact lives on in our work."

Larry Young

Laurence Young, professor emeritus of astronautics and renowned expert in bioastronautics, dies at 85, MIT

"Laurence R. Young '57, SM '59, ScD '62, the Apollo Program Professor Emeritus of Astronautics and professor of health sciences and technology at MIT, died peacefully at his home in Cambridge, Massachusetts, on Aug. 4 after a long illness. He was 85. ... While he never flew a space mission, he served as backup crew (alternate payload specialist) on Spacelab Life Sciences-2 (STS-58) and was principal or co-investigator on seven shuttle missions conducting human orientation experiments."

Keith's note: Where do I start. Larry was one of the first real, by gosh, space life scientists I ever met - even before I arrived at the old NASA Life Science Division at NASA HQ in 1987. Over the coming decades, whether I was running centrifuge efforts at Space Station Freedom, covering NASA online, enduring advisory committee meetings, hanging out at NASA conferences, shuttle launches, peer review panels, or eating lobster in Woods Hole, there was Larry. He was everywhere doing everything, I always looked forward to regular chats with Larry. He was always interested in what you had to say and was never, ever shy about telling you what he thought. And nothing ever seemed to bum him out. Speaking of bums, in addition to his immense career in space life sciences he was a certifiably crazy ski bum. Larry was always in motion.

A few years ago we were gossiping in the hallway at some event. Indeed, I swear Larry was one of the best people to gossip with in the hallway when a meeting was boring since he was always much more interesting. At some point I mentioned our mutual friends Mel Averner and Dick Keefe who had died recently. I started to tear up. So did Larry. We missed our friends. Now I am really going to miss Larry too. The people who created space biomedical sciences are leaving us far too fast. This MIT bio of Larry only scratches the surface.

Ad astra my friend.

Carolyn Shoemaker

American Astronomer Carolyn Shoemaker's Death at 92, US Day News

"American astronomer and a co-discoverer of Comet Shoemaker-Levy 9, Carolyn Shoemaker's death news has been spreading on social media after she passed away on August 2021 at the age of 92. May the legend rest in power. The heartbreaking news has been confirmed by Meteor Crater in a tweet, reading, "Carolyn Shoemaker, American astronomer and is a co-discoverer of Comet Shoemaker-Levy 9, discusses why she signed the 100x Asteroid Declaration and why #AsteroidDay is important to the World!"

JPL Director Michael Watkins to Return to Academia

"After having served five years as director of JPL, Michael Watkins will move to the Caltech campus as professor of aerospace and geophysics. Larry D. James becomes interim director of JPL. JPL Director Michael Watkins announced Monday he will step down from his position as the director of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory to resume his academic and research career at Caltech as professor of aerospace and geophysics. His last day as JPL director will be Aug. 20. JPL is a federally funded research and development center managed by Caltech for NASA."

Warren Leary

Keith's update: I just learned that Warren Leary died suddenly yesterday. Warren was one of the very first actual journalists I got to know when I started doing NASAWatch. He was a consumate pro with a strong social conscience and a warm heart. I always enjoyed my interactions with him. He was the sort of old fashioned journalist who just pushed through every story to get at the core of what was going on. Although it has been a few years since I last saw him, I will always remember that huge smile of his. Ad Astra my friend.

Warren Leary, LinkedIn

"Warren E. Leary is a retired science correspondent for The New York Times. A journalist who has specialized in science writing for more than 35 years, he is a graduate of the University of Nebraska and received an M.S. degree from the Graduate School of Journalism at Columbia University. Leary began his science writing career with the Associated Press, creating the science beat in the Boston bureau of the news agency from 1971 through 1976, and continuing as a senior science writer for the AP in its Washington bureau from 1976 until 1989, when he joined the staff of The Times. As an award-winning journalist based in Washington, Leary has covered space flight, technology, engineering, aeronautics, and medical science, as well as policy issues and federal scientific agencies. He is on the board of the Council for the Advancement of Science Writing and is a member and former officer of the National Association of Science Writers."

Nanoracks Appoints Marshall Smith as Senior Vice President of Commercial Space Stations

"Nanoracks, a Voyager Space Holdings Company, has appointed Marshall Smith, the former Deputy Associate Administrator (DAA) for NASA's Systems Engineering and Integration (SE&I), Human Exploration and Operations (HEO), as Senior Vice President of Commercial Space Stations."

Statements on Senate Confirmation of Margaret Vo Schaus as NASA CFO

"It's an honor to be confirmed by the Senate to serve as the chief financial officer at NASA and I am grateful for the opportunity to help carry on this agency's great legacy both in space and here on Earth," said Vo Schaus. "I look forward to working with Administrator Nelson and Deputy Administrator Melroy to oversee NASA's budget to support the workforce and the groundbreaking missions ahead. The budget is not just about enabling us to explore the cosmos - it allows us to create educational opportunities, incredible jobs, and inspire the next generation of astronauts and scientists here on Earth, who continue to raise the standard for scientific excellence around the globe. As we continue to explore the universe, expand critical Earth science research to combat climate change, and maintain the world's most talented workforce, I am fully committed to helping ensure the president and administrator's vision is carried out here at NASA."

NASA Public Meeting on Mission Equity

"NASA's public meeting to discuss its recently issued request for information (RFI), entitled Advancing Racial Equity and Support for Underserved Communities in NASA Programs, Contracts and Grants, will take place at 1 p.m. EDT Tuesday, July 13. The RFI is part of NASA's Mission Equity, a comprehensive effort to assess agency programs, procurements, grants, and policies, and examine what potential barriers and challenges may exist for communities that are historically underrepresented and underserved. The public meeting will begin with opening remarks from NASA Administrator Bill Nelson and other agency officials and guests who will discuss the many ways the public can participate in NASA's mission. This portion of the event will air live on NASA Television, the agency's website, and the NASA app."

NASA Administrator Names Johnson and Kennedy Center Directors

"NASA Administrator Bill Nelson has named Vanessa Wyche director of the agency's Johnson Space Center in Houston and Janet Petro director of Kennedy Space Center in Florida. Wyche has served as the acting director of Johnson since May 3 and Petro has served as the acting director of Kennedy since May 17."

NASA Named Best Place to Work, No. 1 for COVID-19 Response

"For the ninth consecutive year, the Partnership for Public Service has ranked NASA as the Best Place to Work in the Federal Government among large agencies and, new for 2020, has also ranked NASA No. 1 among large agencies for its response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. The rankings, announced Tuesday, reflect NASA's focus and dedication as it pursues missions, including sending humans farther into space than ever before. In 2020, the agency saw its highest employee satisfaction results since this index was developed."

Biden administration sets mid-July deadline to finalize agency reentry plans

"Agencies have until July 19 to submit employee and contractor reentry plans to the Office of Management and Budget, the Biden administration said Tuesday. Agencies must finalize their plans for both reopening offices and setting post-reentry procedures and policies by that date, the Safer Federal Workforce Task Force, in collaboration with OMB, the Office of Personnel Management and the General Services Administration, said in an email. Those final plans will build on draft reentry plans, which agencies are supposed to submit to OMB by June 18. Agencies can, in phases, bring more employees and contractors back to their work sites after completing their final reentry plans, satisfying collective bargaining obligations and giving the workforce advanced notice, the task force said."

A message from the NASA Ames Center Director Eugene Tu


Ames family,

It's with a heavy heart and extreme sadness that I inform you of the passing of former Ames Center Director Dr. Henry (Harry) McDonald. Harry was the eighth center director, serving from 1996 to 2002.

Harry arrived at Ames with the charge from Administrator Daniel Goldin to take our center into the 21st century and leverage the fact that Ames is located in one of the most innovative and entrepreneurial regions in the world, Silicon Valley. Harry brought to Ames his decades of experience in both academia and industry. As an expert in computational aerodynamics, people at Ames knew and respected his work even before he arrived. Harry was extremely well regarded across Ames and NASA, and was a personal mentor to me and many of us in senior leadership here.

Cliff Feldman

Clifford Feldman, longtime cameraman and producer for major TV networks, dies of covid-19, Washington Post

"Clifford's coverage of the space shuttle Columbia disaster in 2003 caught the eye of NASA-TV, which asked him to come in-house and reinvigorate how the space station shares its footage. In 2017, he led a project that displayed live location tracking of the eclipse across the country. Clifford received one of NASA's top civilian honors, the Exceptional Public Service Medal, for his work on the Total Solar Eclipse broadcast. He spent his final six months working on how to cover the landing of the Perseverance Rover on Mars. At 73, he had no plans to retire."

Keith's note: Cliff died in January. This article just appeared in today's Washington Post.

NASA Announces New Associate Administrator, NASA

"NASA Administrator Sen. Bill Nelson announced Monday Robert D. Cabana, who has served as director of NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida since 2008, will serve as associate administrator effective Monday, May 17. Steve Jurczyk, who held the position since 2018, announced his retirement Monday."

Jurczyk Retires as NASA Associate Administrator, NASA

"Steve Jurczyk, who served as acting NASA administrator from Jan. 20 to May 3, 2021, announced Monday he will retire on Friday, May 14, after more than three decades of service at NASA."

Keith's note: Meanwhile talk in the hallways is that Bill Nelson wants everyone to call him "NASA Administrator Senator Bill Nelson". Why not include "congressman", "astronaut", and "Ballast" - his other three honorifics i.e. "NASA Administrator Senator Congressman Astronaut Bill "Ballast" Nelson."? Funny, no one ever referred to NASA Administrator Lt Commander Congressman Jim Bridenstine, NASA Administrator Major General Charlie Bolden, or NASA Administrator Hon. Secretary Sean O'Keefe. etc. Then of course we can expect to be hearing about NASA Associate Administrator Colonel Director Bob Cabana too. Meanwhile I suspect that Pam Melroy will be more interested in getting actual work done than titles.

NASA Names New Chief of Staff - Susie Perez Quinn

"As chief of staff, Quinn will be responsible for the day-to-day operations of NASA Headquarters. She will work with Nelson and senior NASA staff to shape the strategic direction of the agency, while overseeing and articulating various policies and programs."

Keith's 1 May note: Sources report that Susie Perez Quinn is coming to NASA to work on the 9th floor for NASA Adminstrator Bill Nelson. There will be more Nelson alumni showing up for work - a few already work at NASA - Press Secretary Jackie McGuinness and NASA Legislative Affairs AA Alicia Brown.

- @susie_quinn (Tweets are protected)
- 2017 Wall of Fame Inductee: Susie Perez Quinn, USF
- Susie Perez Quinn, LinkedIn

Vice President Harris Swears in NASA Administrator Sen. Bill Nelson, NASA

"As part of the swearing-in ceremony, Vice President Harris and Nelson were joined via video conference by Jim Bridenstine, who preceded Nelson as administrator, and in-person by Charles F. Bolden, who served as administrator from 2009 to 2017. Nelson's family and Pam Melroy, nominee for NASA deputy administrator, were guests at the ceremony."

Johnson Space Center Director Mark Geyer Moves To New Role, NASA

"Mark Geyer, director of NASA's Johnson Space Center, is stepping down from his position leading the center to focus more time on his health and family in light of a cancer diagnosis. "Mark has had an exceptional impact on this agency, leading the nation's key human spaceflight programs for decades. Under Mark's leadership, Johnson has moved the United States into a new era of human space exploration," said NASA Administrator Sen. Bill Nelson. "We're fortunate to continue to have Mark and his decades of expertise serving the agency in his new role as senior advisor to the associate administrator."


Michael Collins

Family Statement on Passing of Astronaut Michael Collins

"We regret to share that our beloved father and grandfather passed away today, after a valiant battle with cancer. He spent his final days peacefully, with his family by his side. Mike always faced the challenges of life with grace and humility, and faced this, his final challenge, in the same way. We will miss him terribly. Yet we also know how lucky Mike felt to have lived the life he did. We will honor his wish for us to celebrate, not mourn, that life. Please join us in fondly and joyfully remembering his sharp wit, his quiet sense of purpose, and his wise perspective, gained both from looking back at Earth from the vantage of space and gazing across calm waters from the deck of his fishing boat.

Our family asks for privacy during this difficult time. Details on services will be forthcoming."

Ad Astra

Keith's 22 April update: Sources report that despite pleading guilty to COVID-19 Related Loan Fraud Andrew (Nestor) Tezna still works at NASA - in his capacity of running the NASA CFO Policy & Grants Office as is shown in this org chart. He is still being paid for official duties related to the financial operations and integrity of NASA - even though this loan issue was discovered as long ago as December 2020. He led the COVID-19 response efforts and got an award for that. And apparently when he travelled - he approved his own travel orders.

Note: NASA only provides statements like this to some media - but not others: NASA executive spent $272,000 in COVID loans on pool, cars and dog breeder, feds say, News and Observer

"A representative from NASA did not confirm Tezna's current employment status but provided the following statement: "NASA is aware of reports concerning fraud charges brought against an employee unrelated to the individual's work for the agency," the statement reads. "NASA refers all inquiries to the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Eastern District of Virginia, which has jurisdiction over this ongoing matter."

But wait NASA says that "NASA is aware of reports concerning fraud charges"? Really - that's all? It is more than "reports about charges". Tezna pled guilty and will be sentenced on 16 July. Its over. And yet NASA is only aware of the "reports of charges"?

But the NASA OIG seems to take this far more seriously - from the DOJ release: "As a NASA senior executive, the Agency placed a great deal of trust in Tezna. Taking advantage of the CARES Act to fraudulently obtain PPP loans not only violated the Agency's trust, but the trust of American people that sought assistance for the legitimate needs of their struggling businesses," said Special Agent in Charge Mark J. Zielinski, NASA Office of Inspector General, Eastern Field Office."

I am trying to imagine what the reaction would have been for this guy to apply for his present position at NASA with this sort of criminal offense on his resume. I doubt they'd hire him to do government finances. That said, why does he still have those responsibilities after a guilty plea for financial crimes? In other words Why is Andrew Tezna still working at NASA?

Senior NASA Employee Pleads Guilty to COVID-19 Related Loan Fraud, DOJ

"According to court documents, Andrew Tezna, 36, of Leesburg, fraudulently submitted three loan applications to two financial institutions (totaling $272,284) under the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), a federal initiative designed to help businesses pay their employees and meet their basic expenses during the COVID-19 pandemic. Tezna also submitted two Economic Injury Disaster Loan Program applications to the Small Business Administration (totaling $69,500), and he applied for COVID-related unemployment benefits from Virginia, ostensibly for his mother-in-law, who was retired and did not qualify for the benefits (totaling $15,950). In support of the fraudulent PPP loan applications, Tezna submitted fabricated IRS tax returns and fraudulently claimed payroll expenses that did not exist."

Testimony By Bill Nelson Nominee for Administrator, National Aeronautics and Space Administration

"I also believe NASA plays an important role in inspiring the next generation of inventors and scientists. After the Apollo program, thousands of young people dedicated themselves to studying engineering, science, and computing. Not all of these people joined the space program. Some went into biology or the nascent computer industry. They made this country a technology and economic powerhouse. 60 percent of people alive today weren't alive to see a human walk on the Moon. Imagine who NASA and America inspires when we return to the Moon, and this time include women and people of color.

Finally, the President has highlighted that space investments spur economic growth, improve life on Earth, and keep America competitive. Through all NASA activities, the agency generated more than $64.3 billion in total economic output during fiscal year 2019, supported more than 312,000 jobs nationwide. Every state in the country benefits economically from NASA. Investments in research and technology are our seed corn for future economic growth, and are a key part of the Build Back Better plan."

Keith's note: The hearing got started with a seemingly endless stream of compliments that included the phrase "my good friend Bill Nelson". By the time that ended it was obvious that Nelson was going to be confirmed no matter what he said. Nelson was light on specifics - saying that he was nto allowed to talk to NASA - which is a little strange given how NASA helped him prepare Nelson for this hearing and escorted him around the Hill for office visits.

Sen. Wicker asked a question wherein he stated that NASA was planning a Moon landing on 2024 and a Mars landing in 2029, Nelson did not seek to correct Wicker about the 2029 Mars date. Later in the hearing Sen. Blackburn said that the Mars landing was planned for 2030. Nelson did not correct that. Later he said that the 2024 Lunar landing timetable set by the Trump Administration is still in place and that "space is hard". Nelson later said going to Mars was set to happen in the decade of the 2030s. So it is apparent that Sen. Nelson is somewhat uncertain about exactly what all of NASA's major human spaceflight goals are.

Nelson also tried to pass off some revisionist history wherein he was a staunch supporter of a "dual course" wherein NASA pursued both a government and commercial path do doing things in space. In reality he was a staunch supporter of the government approach (SLS aka "the big rocket") and sought to limit or move funds for commercial space to support SLS. Now he's found religion and claims to be a strong supporter of commercial space. So, stay tuned.

Sen. Cantwell made several comments suggesting that she was not exactly thrilled with the recent decision by NASA to sole source the Human Landing System (HLS) contract to SpaceX. Nelson made several comments saying that he supported competition in such activities but did not go so far as to suggest that he might change the HLS award to SpaceX. Given that the NASA HLS decision was overtly driven by NASA budget shortfalls efforts by Nelson to increase NASA's budget might hint at a revisit to this decision.

As for NASA and China - well, Nelson said that NASA will adhere to the law- specifically that enacted by Rep. Wolf. Regarding the Artemis Accords Nelson said that he hopes to expand the number of signatories to include countries that have yet to sign - with a focus on peaceful uses of space.

When asked what the specific value of the Biden budget for NASA Earth Science and climate change Nelson had no real specific answer other than to support the budget increase and note that NASA observes climate change and that this is (obviously) important.

Nelson was asked about education benefits that can be derived from the space program. He replied that "This is one of the areas I really want to pour the juice to at NASA as requested by the White House." He repeated the 'juice' phrase several more times. One would hope that Nelson is looking to truly overhaul NASA's education office and fix what is broken - and not simply pour money into it.

Again, as far as Nelson's confirmation is concerned, based on the hearing, this is a done deal.

Keith's note: Apparently neither NASA or the White House are inclined to issue a formal press release about the nomination of Pam Melroy to be NASA's new Deputy Administrator. Nothing on NASA.gov. I guess its not a big deal to NASA or the Administration. They just let things dribble out. Oh well, welcome back to NASA, Pam. Nothing has changed.

Keith's 3:20 pm EDT udpate: Today, President Joe Biden announced his intent to nominate eight leaders to key Administration posts (Pam Melroy)
Keith's 4:09 pm EDT udpate: NASA Statement on Nomination of Pam Melroy for Agency Deputy Administrator

-----

Melroy:
It's a great honor to be nominated by President Biden to support Senator Nelson and help lead NASA. The agency is critical in America's fight to combat climate change and maintain leadership in space.

This year, NASA will embark on the first human deep space exploration program since Apollo, launch the James Webb Telescope, test the first all-electric X-Plane, and further technologies to take humans to Mars. And the way to do it is as a team that honors diversity in every dimension!

Nelson:
As a retired USAF Colonel and test pilot, former NASA astronaut and Space Shuttle commander, and a dynamic leader with a wide breadth of experience, I believe that Pam Melroy will be a great partner to help lead NASA.

Pam has the longstanding technical and leadership experience that will help NASA on its mission to explore the cosmos, expand climate change research, and ensure NASA-developed technologies benefit life here on Earth. It's important that NASA has a team leading the agency towards the future - one of partnership and collaboration with commercial providers and committed to advancing equity for all Americans. Together, we will work to help NASA reach its full potential and accomplish the agency's critical missions in the years and decades to come.

Philip K. Chapman

NASA Mourns the Passing of Astronaut Philip K. Chapman

"NASA is saddened by the death of Apollo-era astronaut Philip K. Chapman. He was selected in August 1967 to be a member of Astronaut Group 6, who were primarily scientists rather than pilots. Chapman was the first Australian-born American astronaut."

Keith's note: Mike Gold is leaving NASA Headquarters to join Redwire Space. I am really sorry to see Mike go. While he (deservedly) got a lot of credit for the whole Artemis Accords effort, he played a role in taking on a lot of less glamorous tasks - many of which laid half baked and ignored for a long time and needed to be dealt with. I wish him well at Redwire - so long as they do not make him a redshirt.

Glynn Lunney

Allan McDonald

Remembering Allan McDonald: He Refused To Approve Challenger Launch, Exposed Cover-Up, NPR

"Now, 35 years after Challenger, McDonald's family reports that he died Saturday in Ogden, Utah, after suffering a fall and brain damage. He was 83 years old. "There are two ways in which [McDonald's] actions were heroic," recalls Mark Maier, who directs a leadership program at Chapman University and produced a documentary about the Challenger launch decision. "One was on the night before the launch, refusing to sign off on the launch authorization and continuing to argue against it," Maier says. "And then afterwards in the aftermath, exposing the cover-up that NASA was engaged in."

Etop Esen

Keith's note: From CASIS: In remembrance of Etop Esen, Ph.D., It is with a sad heart that we announce the tragic death of our beloved friend and colleague, Dr. Etop Esen. He is survived by Imeh, his wife, and his two beautiful children. Etop suffered a heart attack on Saturday Feb 27th during his routine jog. A "Go Fund Me" to help the family with the expenses can be found with this link. https://www.gofundme.com/f/help-etops-family-with-funeral-cost

Keith's update: Over $11,000 $14,000 $15,000 $17,000 $22,000 has been raised. Thanks to everyone who contributed. Details of the funeral arrangements are at the GoFundMe link.

Bob Naughton

Robert J. Naughton

"Robert J. Naughton, age 82, passed away peacefully on February 7, 2021, in Houston, Texas, after a courageous battle with pulmonary fibrosis. ... In 1989, Bob became NASA's Chief of Aircraft Operations Division at Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas. He held that position until 2004, and while at NASA, was awarded the Outstanding Leadership Medal and Distinguished Service Medal and was recognized in 1995 by President Bill Clinton with a Meritorious Senior Executive Award."

Lucy Geyser

Lucille "Lucy" C. Geyser

"Lucille "Lucy" C. Geyser, 85, a 1990 retiree with 30 years of NASA service, died Oct. 16, 2020. Geyser joined NACA/NASA in 1954 as a computer. She served primarily in the Computer Services Division and earned acclaim as a member of the Mainframe Systems Branch. She co-authored three award-winning NASA Tech Briefs and earned NASA Group Awards on system migration and integration teams. She was one of the founders of Glenn's Business and Professional Women's Club and held offices in the IFPTE union."

Craig Talley (Update)

House fire leaves one person dead in Southeast Washington, Washington Post

"Kristen Metzger, a spokeswoman for D.C. police, said the victim was a man who was found dead at the scene. The victim was later identified as Craig Talley, 60, of Southeast."

Teresa Faw Grimes: "Sad news for the NASA family and beyond. Craig Talley, 60, a wonderful long-time NASA HQ colleague and kind soul, passed from a fire in his home. ~ Craig's astute professionalism and calm demeanor were among his hallmarks for providing HQ with exemplary AV customer service. His path crossed so many over the years, and he will be deeply missed. Ad Astra ~ Namaste"

Keith's 8 Feb update: A GoFundMe Page has been set up by Craig's family for final arrangements.

NASA Administrator joins Acorn Growth Companies

"Acorn Growth Companies ("Acorn"), a private equity firm investing exclusively in aerospace, defense and intelligence, today announced that Jim Bridenstine, former Administrator of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), has joined the company as a dedicated full-time Senior Advisor. "Jim's wealth of knowledge in the space, military, aerospace and engineering sectors will be invaluable to Acorn and its portfolio companies as we continue our mission to invest in operating companies that strive to enhance global mobility, protect national interests and develop next-generation intelligence capability," said Rick Nagel, Managing Partner of Acorn. "He will play a key role in our efforts to deploy capital from our newest investment vehicle, Acorn Aerospace & Defense Fund V."

Schedule F Update

Biden reverses Trump orders seen as hostile to federal workers, Washington Post

"Biden's order says the Schedule F policy "undermined the foundations of the civil service and its merit system principles" and that "it is the policy of the United States to protect, empower, and rebuild the career Federal workforce. It is also the policy of the United States to encourage union organizing and collective bargaining." It told agencies to cancel any steps they had taken for carrying out the orders."

Keith's note: I did a 30 minute exit interview with Jim Bridenstine on Tuesday. Here is a verbatim transcript (there may still be a few typos).

NASAWATCH: Most people who become NASA Administrator tend to do so at the apex of their career and then dial things back, jump on a few boards, and then retire. Yet you have decades ahead of you. This is unusual. Normally I am talking to people who are in their 60s you know "yea, my wife wants me to take 6months off and do nothing ...". Where do you go from up - when you have done something like this at such a young age?

BRIDENSTINE: 'll tell you - this is going to be hard. There is nothing that is going to match the experience that I have had at NASA. The future out there of course is unknown. I know here at least initially I am going to be coming back to Oklahoma. I have some prospects for employment but I don't want to disclose those or make any announcements at this time - but I am going to be back in Oklahoma. ... I have a very strong direction that I am heading but I am not going to make any announcements until next week.

NASAWATCH: So ... you're not filled with a case of Potomac Fever?

BRIDENSTINE: No (laughs) I am very happily coming back to Oklahoma and am excited about participating in my kids' basketball games, and swim meets, and Boy Scouts, and all kinds of other activities that I have missed over the last 8 years.

NASAWATCH: I recall talking to you before you were confirmed. You looked forward to the challenge - you sought it out - but sounded a little overwhelmed at the sheer magnitude of what NASA does. Looking back - what things initially struck you as being devilishly hard that ended up being easy - and what things did you expect to be easy only to find that they were hard?

BRIDENSTINE: The workforce at NASA was overwhelmingly accepting and encouraging and supporting. I had talked to Sean O'Keefe before taking the job and he said 'look, there's going to be lots of support - there's great people there. And when you show they are going to be anxious to help. I will tell you that I found that to be true. NASA is an exceptional group of people. This should not be surprising given the legacy of NASA and how many people want to work at NASA. We really do have bright people but also people that are deeply caring for each other. That was a great thing to walk into and experience.

Message from NASA Acting Administrator Steve Jurczyk and Senior White House Appointee Bhavya Lal

"We have some initial appointments from the new administration: Alicia Brown has been named NASA's Associate Administrator for Legislative Affairs and Intergovernmental Affairs (OLIA), and Marc Etkind will be the Associate Administrator for Communications. Please join us in giving them a warm welcome to the NASA family. There will be other new faces arriving at Headquarters, and we will communicate these developments with you."

- Bhavya Lal, LinkedIn Twitter
- Alicia Brown, LinkedIn Twitter
- Marc Etkind, IMDb - Twitter

Keith's note: Jim Bridenstine has announced that he is leaving NASA. His last day will be 20 January 2021.

I really did not know much about Jim Bridenstine when his name started to bubble up as a possible NASA Administrator choice in 2017. Given the chaos and amateurish way the Trump Landing Team (more like a "boarding party") conducted itself I was predisposed to think that they'd pick a loyalist with a high loser quotient. So I did some digging. He was actually interesting and had given some serious thought to space policy. Over the following months I'd show up at events in DC (with Jeff Foust et al) and we'd try every trick we knew to squeeze out an answer to variants on the "will you be the NASA Administrator?" question that we'd throw at him. Jim did the whole non-answer answer thing like a true pro. When his nomination was official I gave him a much closer look.

Important note: while I try to annoy everyone equally, I am a Democrat and make no secret of that. Jim is not a Democrat. Indeed he was elected from a rather conservative place with a voting record that makes me, with my leftie leanings, cringe quite a bit. But this is a company town and we try to work together despite the whole "Swamp" thing we have been hearing about. Alas, the rank and file Democrats - with Bill Nelson in the lead - went after him as being undesirable for the job etc. etc. I thought he was a breath of fresh air. So I decided to highlight his credentials - and put them in the context of other NASA Administrators. He got the job. The first day on the job he made an emphatic statement on diversity and climate change to allay concerns and he was off and running. And in an effort to broaden input and support Jim also put none other than Bill Nelson on the NASA Advisory Council.

I have been doing NASAWatch for a quarter of a century. After he was nominated people suggested that Jim might want to ping me for some ideas. So did a certain former NASA Administrator who I know rather well. I don't want to kiss and tell, but let's just say that Jim and I had some conversations. Quite a few - and most of them very long. He drank up everything I could offer about previous exploration initiatives and how NASA engages with the public. If you have read NASAWatch then you know about my rants in this regard. What I saw was someone with a genuine passion for space exploration and its value to the public. He did not have to learn that from me or anyone else. It had always been there.

Shortly after he showed up for work a Twitter account became active. Very active. Someone from NASA PAO actually called me and asked me if I was doing it. I laughed and said that I was flattered, but no, I was not tweeting for Jim. But I tweeted an inquiry to @JimBridenstine and got a response. It was Jim himself. NASA was not exactly ready for this. I loved it. Finally - an Administrator who took the issue of communicating personally.

Jim was presented with a human exploration program of record that had problems. Big problems. It still does. The White House threw the whole 2024 thing at him and he ran with it. But there were other things that he managed to pull off that people have not really noticed. While the Trump Administration did its level best to deny the impact of human influence on climate change at other agencies such as NOAA, somehow, NASA continued to do its science - and talk about it - with no censoring. Yes, some attempts were made to cancel some Earth science missions, but other than that, NASA seemed to have a Teflon coating when it came to openly talking about climate change. This most certainly required some deft thinking on Jim's part.

Jim also had to suddenly transform a sprawling agency and its workforce from one that worked in offices to one that worked from spare bedrooms as the Coronavirus pandemic descended upon our world. Like everyone else, Jim had to deal with his kids eating up the bandwidth for home schooling while he was running NASA on his cellphone in his living room. While this called for a lot unprecedented changes in the way people worked - it seems to have worked far better than anyone had a right to expect. And you can only get that when the person at the top is fully invested in its success.

To me, however, the thing that I hope that Jim will be remembered for is his embracing of education and diversity. Some people like to go back to his voting record. It is what it is - and to be fair, his job was to vote the way his constituents wanted him to vote. But as he arrived at NASA he listened to wiser minds and adjusted his world view accordingly at NASA. Although the "first woman and next man" line appears in everything the agency says, he ran with the notion that when Americans go back to the Moon they need to do so representing our nation as a whole. The "Artemis Generation" phrase also became popular - echoing the "Apollo generation" phrase commonly used to refer to people (like me) who grew up as we first reached out to the Moon half a century ago. After all, while we work here in the present on these programs, the next generation will truly inherit and expand upon the benefits that will result.

As Administrations change there is always a temptation to change the name of things to erase the previous Administration from people's minds and put a new mark on things representative of the incoming team. The "Apollo" program managed to keep its name under the Kennedy, Johnson, Nixon, and Ford administrations. The Orion spacecraft got its name under the Bush II Administration and will bear it under the Biden Administration. I certainly hope that the Biden folks have better things to do and let the Artemis program keep its name - and with it, Jim's contribution to keeping it alive.

Oh yes, Jim brought back the worm logo. And y'all know how I feel about that. ;-)

A lot of people (including me) would have liked to see Jim stay on. But Jim took himself out of possible consideration to stay on at NASA. Odds are that the Biden folks would not have given thought to this given the global house cleaning that they are implementing. That said, Jim's rationale was honorable. When the NASA Administrator sits in front of OMB at budget time, everyone needs to have no doubt of the Administrator's support of the current Administration's interest without having any concern of lingering prior policies. He simply shut down pointless speculation by saying that he was moving on. He wanted NASA to have the best Administrator that the Biden Administration could find.

Jim now has the distinction (I think) of being the youngest former NASA Administrator. We have certainly not heard the last of him. I wish him well.

Ad Astra Jim. You done good.

Bill Thornton

NASA Remembers Astronaut William Thornton

"NASA is saddened to learn of the loss of former physician-astronaut, Dr. William Thornton, who died last week at his home in Boerne, Texas, at the age of 91. Thornton was selected as an astronaut in 1967, and launched twice on the space shuttle Challenger on STS-8 and STS-51B, the Spacelab 3 mission."

Cliff Feldman

Keith's note: Cliff Feldman was a Production Supervisor at NASA Television at NASA HQ. More to follow.

Ad Astra, Cliff.

Cliff Feldman, LinkedIn

NASA OCOMM Leadership Updates

"Over the last two years, NASA Communications has undergone a transformation focused on providing the agency a united and strategic direction for communications. Since March 2019, we have taken bold steps to integrate functions and strengthen capabilities, and, in the process, have better coordinated our strategic efforts across the agency. Now that we have launched the communications enterprise, it's time to go into full implementation. To do that, we must expand our leadership team to reflect the needs and goals of the enterprise model and provide additional focus on developing the business unit of Communications to help convey the significant value we bring to the agency, while maintaining focus on the content development and creative direction we do so well."

NASA Announces Senior Leadership Changes, NASA

"NASA has announced four senior leadership changes: Mike Gold as associate administrator for Space Policy and Partnerships; Karen Feldstein as associate administrator for International and Interagency Relations; Karla Smith Jackson as assistant administrator for Procurement; and Jeff Seaton as chief information officer."

Robert Matthew Winglee

Robert Matthew Winglee

"One of his proudest recent achievements was founding the Northwest Earth and Space Sciences Pipeline (NESSP) in order to bring STEM to underrepresented and minority students. Through his Directorships of Washington NASA Space Grant and NESSP, he has touched the lives of many middle and high school students throughout the country. When students saw him coming they would yell out, "Here comes the rocket man!"

George Carruthers

George R. Carruthers, scientist who designed telescope that went to the moon, dies at 81, Washington Post

"George R. Carruthers, an astrophysicist and engineer who was the principal designer of a telescope that went to the moon as part of NASA's Apollo 16 mission in 1972 in an effort to examine the earth's atmosphere and the composition of interstellar space, died Dec. 26 at a Washington hospital. He was 81. Dr. Carruthers, who built his first telescope when he was 10, had a singular focus on space science from an early age and spent virtually his entire career at the Naval Research Laboratory in Washington. He was one of the country's leading African American astrophysicists and among the few working in the space program."

Image: President Barack Obama awards the National Medal of Technology and Innovation to Dr. Carruthers at the White House in 2013.

Gil Moore

R. Gilbert Moore

"Gil Moore has been active with numerous organizations such as the American Rocket Society and its successor the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA), Utah's Advisory Council on Science and Technology, the Hansen Planetarium, the Utah Science Center Authority, and the Utah State University Research Foundation board of trustees. He is a life member of the Air Force Association and has been a member of the American Meteorological Society, the Association for the Advancement of Science, the Society of the Sigma Xi, the U.S. Space Foundation, the National Space Foundation, the Aerospace States Association, and the Space Business Roundtable. Additionally, he has served as an unofficial advisor on space issues for two U.S. Congressman, two U.S. senators, and three state governors."

Congress won't block Trump's order to strip civil service protections from many federal workers, Washington Post

"The bill is silent regarding an executive order issued just before the election that would change the status of federal employees whose work involves making or carrying out policy or giving confidential advice to top officials. Under the order, they could be dismissed with little cause or recourse, much like the political appointees who come and go with each administration, and competition would no longer be required when filling such jobs. Federal agencies have been working to complete lists of such positions ahead of a Jan. 19 deadline -- the day before President-elect Joe Biden will be inaugurated -- for conversion into a new category of positions to be called "Schedule F."

- NASA Employees: Beware Of Schedule F - And Burrowing
- Civil Servants Are Going To Lose Protections, earlier post
- Executive Order on Creating Schedule F In The Excepted Service, White House

JoAnn Clayton Townsend

JoAnn Clayton Townsend (1935-2020), Space Policy Online

"JoAnn Clayton Townsend, former director of the Aeronautics and Space Engineering Board (ASEB) at the National Academies and an AIAA Fellow, passed away last night from congestive heart failure. She had just turned 85. A native of Tulsa, OK, JoAnn traveled the world with her husband, John Clayton, a journalist with the U.S. Information Service, until his untimely death when their two children were still quite young."

NASA Administrator's Agency Honor Awards Virtual Ceremony

"Each year the NASA Administrator recognizes individual employees who have made an extraordinary and indelible impact on the agency's mission success throughout this past year. All of these individuals help enable missions to explore and discover both our world and the universe."

Keith's note: Let's take a look at the Program for the 2020 NASA Honor Awards to check on the gender of the people named. Guess what: only 3 of the 37 listed 2020 Distinguished Service Medal honorees are female. Of the 14 Distinguished Public Service Medal honorees none are female. It is rather baffling that with such an immense workforce NASA cannot seem to honor anyone except older male employees for their contributions. Why can't younger people - and women - be found who have made similar contributions?

This is not exactly new. Go look at the 2019 NASA Honor awards. 2 out of 32 Distinguished Service Medal winners were women. None of the 10 Distinguished Public Service Medal honorees were female. Yet in 2018 of the 27 Distinguished Service Medal honorees 9 were women - one third. That's not perfect - but it is certainly vastly better than the number of women deemed worthy of awards in 2019 and 2020. These women do exist, NASA - and they are certainly not hard to find. Just sayin'.

Keith's note: According to sources at NASA Headquarters, per standard protocol, when Jim Bridenstine and Jim Morhard leave NASA, Associate Administrator Steve Jurczyk will become the acting NASA Administrator. Given past history, Jurczyk will likely be in that position for 6 months or so. If the Democrats gain control of the Senate then an Administrator nominee will likely be approved sooner. If the Republicans retain control then that may take a while longer.

Trump's Plan to Gut the Civil Service, Lawfare

"But this new executive order exempts agencies from following the civil service rules for hiring and firing Schedule F employees. If you are a career civil servant in either the competitive or the excepted service, your agency can simply move you into Schedule F--after which you lose your civil service job protections and can be fired at will. You would also lose the right to file an appeal to the MSPB if you are fired from a Schedule F position. What's more, current political appointees can be placed into Schedule F positions without competition--a form of "burrowing in," which the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) is supposed to guard against. Improper "burrowing in" occurs when a current (or recently departed) political appointee is hired into a permanent competitive service, nonpolitical excepted service, or career Senior Executive Service position."

Trump lays the groundwork for a massive government purge on his way out the door, Washington Post

"Now that he's lost, it's reasonable to wonder if Trump simply plans to fire (and perhaps not replace) as many career experts as possible, leaving Biden with a hollowed-out government unable to perform even its most basic functions. In other words: a purge. If that sounds alarmist, recall that Trump has engaged in similar government purges before, of both political appointees and career civil servants whom Congress intended to be shielded from such retaliation. This has usually happened under the guise of "draining the swamp."

Keith's note: As far as I can tell, NASA has yet to tell anyone if they've been re-classified as Schedule F. Given tidbits that have dribbled out of places such as OMB, a significant number of NASA employees could find themselves in this new category with little or no advanced notice. NASA apparently does not have to say anything to anyone about their reclassification decisions until 19 January 2021 - the day before the Trump Administration ends. Given the recent stacking of obscure panels with Trump loyalists and all of the insane election lawsuits, anything is now possible.

But wait, there's more. While being lumped into Schedule F can allow you to be fired for virtually any reason, Trump political employees already at NASA or elsewhere in the government can be reclassified as Schedule F with a moment's notice thus allowing them to burrow in to a NASA career position and thus stay employed past the end of this Administration - unless the Biden folks decide to fire them using Trump's new rules. Trump political appointees are located at NASA HQ. Most are heading out the door - as is the traditional, professional thing to do as an Administration comes to an end, and I wish them well. But at least two of them at the highest levels of the agency like working at NASA a little too much and are talking about trying to use political influence to get a schedule F reclassification i.e. *Shazam* and you have a new job that could last forever without having to compete for it.

I debated whether to get into this with folks since, well the pandemic already has everyone on edge, but I feel a responsibility to post what I know. Feedback is always welcome. Sources are protected. Happy holidays.

- Civil Servants Are Going To Lose Protections, earlier post
- Executive Order on Creating Schedule F In The Excepted Service

Chuck Yeager

NASA Administrator Statement on Passing of Gen. Chuck Yeager

"The following is a statement from NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine on the passing of Gen. Chuck Yeager: "Today's passing of Gen. Chuck Yeager is a tremendous loss to our nation. Gen. Yeager's pioneering and innovative spirit advanced America's abilities in the sky and set our nation's dreams soaring into the jet age and the space age. He said, 'You don't concentrate on risks. You concentrate on results. No risk is too great to prevent the necessary job from getting done.'"

Keith's 18 Nov update: NASA wants to transmit their stuff to you. But they really don't want you to talk to their people about it.

Once upon a time - actually for more than a decade - you could go to people.nasa.gov to find out how to contact a government employee at NASA. Not any more. Here is what the site looked like on 28 October 2020. You used to be able to type in names and find out their email address and phone number. Now all you get is a statement that says "This site and its contents are no longer available. Visitors are encouraged to learn more about space and NASA's mission by visiting the NASA homepage. NASA employees visiting this site should refer to internal directory services for employee information."

I just got another response from NASA PAO to my five follow-up questions regarding the shutdown of NASA's online employee directory. In a nutshell they are afraid that letting people see email and phone numbers of government employees puts the agency at risk so that is now stopping. OK, phishing and scams are on the rise so you cannot fault them with being responsive to that. But many - most - other Federal agencies still let citizens, the media, other government employees, researchers, and congressional staff query their agency's websites to find employees. They will no longer be able to find the people who work on various NASA programs.

Instead, everyone outside of the NASA firewall will now have to go to a "Contact Page" at NASA with high level links to everything except a personnel search. Instead of finding the person you need you will have to hope that these generic links will send you some where where someone will decide that maybe you can contact someone else. Given the glacial speed at which it took CIO to fix simple errors in their own directory takedown you can imagine how slow it will be for NASA to get back to you when you are looking for someone. If they even respond, that is.

But OK, they have their "Contact" page. Is this Contact page mentioned at NASA.gov? Answer: It is a small little link at the lower right at the bottom of the home page where most people will never think to see it. How do you contact NASA if the Contact page itself is more or less hidden from view? Shouldn't it be a prominent link in all of the top menus? Seriously, doesn't NASA want to interact with actual human people while it blasts all the space stuff put on the Internet? NASA complains about not being able to do enough outreach and why people often do not understand what NASA does. So what does NASA do? It continues to shrink the ability for the public - the people who pay for the whole party - to interact with NASA. NASA's big cosmic radio is set on "TRANSMIT". It is never set on "RECEIVE".

We should all be concerned. This is another example of dumbing down NASA's public functionality and reducing overall transparency. Hopefully this will change after 20 January 2021.

NASA PAO Response:

1. Why am I still able to access that database via a rather elementary work around a day after I posted mention that the database is still accessible?

NASA Answer: The Lightweight Directory Access Protocol (LDAP) database is a service that enables secure email to be exchanged with our partners and other federal agencies. Reconfiguration is being implemented in phases in order to ensure sufficient testing is performed to not disrupt current operational services. You noticed that the main search page for the public directory was disabled. Additional changes are planned that will address other ways of obtaining this information.

2. Why are other Federal agencies not adopting your "industry standard" i.e. why are their employee directories still openly accessible by the public?

NASA Answer: With respect to other federal agencies, it is certainly up to them to determine what risks they face and how they will address those risks.

3. When was the determination made that long-standing publicly available information now presents a risk to NASA?

NASA Answer: When people.nasa.gov was established over 20 years ago, the risks of sharing internal official communication email addresses and phone numbers was significantly lower than it is today. Since then, internet-facing organizations have had to adapt to a vastly different threat environment by changing how they present and protect their services. Examples of these types of infrastructure service changes include transitioning to Secure HTTP servers, replacing passwords with multifactor authentication, and closing down insecure internet-facing services like NFS and telnet.

The NASA CIO team is working to strengthen cybersecurity across the agency, and this is part of that process. Spear phishing attacks, which are targeted email-based social engineering threats to an organization, are a very common form of attack. NASA is simply trying to prevent attackers from easily obtaining the information needed to facilitate these phishing attacks. You noticed that the main search page for the public directory was disabled. Additional changes are planned that will address other ways of obtaining this information. With respect to other organizations, it is certainly up to them to determine what risks they face and how they will address those risks.

4. Can you provide me with the specific "industry best practices" that NASA is using as a basis for this action?

NASA Answer: NASA is simply trying to prevent attackers from easily obtaining the information needed to facilitate these phishing attacks. Keith's note: in other words they actually do not have any standards even though they claim to be following them. I hope someone sends in a FOIA on this)

5. Are members of the media and general public at legal risk if they post information that can be readily accessed from this database or post the way in which this database can still be accessed by the public?

NASA Answer: The public may certainly access information that NASA makes publicly available. While the main search page for the public directory was disabled, additional changes are planned that will address other ways of obtaining this information. The public can find information about contacting NASA at: https://www.nasa.gov/about/contact/index.html

Earlier post

Keith's note: Here is the text of the comments - the number in front of each was the number of times it was voted up when this text was grabbed at 2:05 pm EDT on 13 November 2020 from "JSC Virtual Town Hall online" at https://jsc.cnf.io/sessions/35018/#!/dashboard (link may become inactive) Update: about 10-15 minutes after this was posted on NASAWatch JSC made the page's contents disappear .

"Please submit questions for the JSC Virtual Town Hall and vote for other questions that you would like to see answered. Top questions will be addressed by Mr. Geyer, Ms. Wyche, and Dr. Taddeo on Nov. 17th. Submissions will be accepted until 2 p.m. on Nov. 13th."

Social Q&A Ask Vote by clicking / tapping the arrow

268 Biden's NASA transition team has been announced and they have made several statements. They support moving the moon landing to 2028. How will this and their desire for NASA to primarily focus on Climate Change impact JSC?

160 What-a-Burger of Chick-fil-A?

148 Found it pretty shocking at last townhall that there was not yet any criteria for what would cause a move back to stage 3. This is incredibly important and was brought up in townhall questions before transition where you all agreed it would be important so what happened and why?

143 What is JSC doing to proactively prepare for a presidential transition?

142 Bridenstine recently warned of a gap between ISS retirement and future commercial space station to take over LEO operations. What is being done currently to ensure we don't have a long gap like we just experienced at the end of the Shuttle retirement.

Keith's note: You would think that after Joe Biden's win that hearings on Trump Administration appointees would be moot. I guess not. Senators could be off focusing on pandemic-related legislation that has stalled - you know, something far more pressing. Instead, they prefer to waste their time rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic. This hearing for three Trump nominees includes former Trump Landing Party member Greg Autry who has been nominated to become NASA CFO is still going ahead today at 2:30 pm EST. You can watch the pointlessness here.

Michael Mishchenko

Trump issues sweeping order for tens of thousands of career federal employees to lose civil service protections, Washington Post

"President Trump this week fired his biggest broadside yet against the federal bureaucracy by issuing an executive order that would remove job security from an estimated tens of thousands of civil servants and dramatically remake the government. The directive, issued late Wednesday, strips long-held civil service protections from employees whose work involves policymaking, allowing them to be dismissed with little cause or recourse, much like the political appointees who come and go with each administration. Federal scientists, attorneys, regulators, public health experts and many others in senior roles would lose rights to due process and in some cases, union representation, at agencies across the government. ... the most likely targets would be employees at the highest level of the General Schedule below that, GS-13, -14 and -15. ... The order would not affect the roughly 6,000 senior executives in the government. But experts on the civil service said the most likely targets would be employees at the highest level of the General Schedule below that, GS-13, -14 and -15."

Trump signs executive order that critics warn politicizes federal career civil service, CNN

"Max Stier, the head of the nonprofit Partnership for Public Service, which seeks to fix government, argued, "Being able to place any number of existing career positions into this new Schedule F not only blurs the line between politics and the neutral competency of the career civil service, it obliterates it."

'Stunning' Executive Order Would Politicize Civil Service, Government Executive

"The order sets a swift timetable for implementation: Agencies have 90 days to conduct a "preliminary" review of their workforces to determine who should be moved into the new employee classification--a deadline that coincides with Jan. 19, the day before the next presidential inauguration."

Trump's historic assault on the civil service was four years in the making, Washington Post

"President Trump's extraordinary directive allowing his administration to weed out career federal employees viewed as disloyal in a second term is the product of a four-year campaign by conservatives working from a ­little-known West Wing policy shop."

Keith's note: Just when everyone is totally stressed out from trying to hold their agencies together from home - during a global pandemic - the White House drops this little gem on everyone. If you are not loyal to the current regime you now risk being penalized or fired.

OK, now everyone needs to get back to their job of exploring the universe - while everything else falls apart back here on Earth.

Gordon Woodcock

Keith's note: Sources report that Gordon Woodcock has died. A long time employee of Boeing, Woodcock had a hand in virtually every type of space project you can imagine over the years. Although he retired from Boeing in 1996, he never really retired and became a fixture in the space community. His career spanned many decades and he influenced a lot of people in the space industry. Details to follow. Ad Astra.

- Bio, NSS
- Gordon Roy Woodcock, Legacy.com

Keith's note: Depending on the election results a week earlier this could be moot.

Colorado Fire Update

Keith's note: As you all probably know there are a lot of space and planetary science and aerospace folks who live in Colorado. You can track the Boulder area fires here and Larimer county fires here.

NASA human spaceflight directorate completes reorganization, SpaceNews

"The NASA directorate responsible for human spaceflight efforts has completed a long-anticipated internal reorganization intended to better align activities ranging from the International Space Station to Artemis. At a Sept. 16 Washington Space Business Roundtable webinar, Kathy Lueders, who took over as NASA associate administrator for human exploration and operations three months ago, said that NASA Associate Administrator Steve Jurczyk formally approved a reorganization of her mission directorate the previous day."

Jay Melosh

NASA Associate Administrator Steve Jurczyk: Agencywide Quiet Fridays are Here!

"With much of the NASA workforce currently teleworking, gone - for now - are the days of the casual collaborations and conversations that happen in hallways or office pop-ins. In their place, many of us are seeing a significant increase in more formal, scheduled meetings. In an effort to help employees maintain a balance of communication, collaboration, and individual productivity, NASA is implementing an agencywide "Quiet Friday" program effective Friday, Sept. 25."

NASA Administrator Announces Senior Leadership Updates

"NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine has announced updates in senior leadership positions at Headquarters in Washington, including Stephen Shinn becoming acting Chief Financial Officer (CFO). Melanie Saunders, who has served as acting Chief Financial Officer since February 2020, will return to her position as NASA Deputy Associate Administrator. She has held that position since 2018. Cathy Mangum, who has been the acting Deputy Associate Administrator while Saunders was acting CFO, will continue to lead the agency's COVID-19 response and other agency priorities."

"I appreciate Melanie and Cathy stepping up and taking on these critical positions, especially during this unprecedented year with the COVID-19 pandemic," said Administrator Bridenstine. "And I'm confident in Steve's leadership while we await Senate confirmation of the President's NASA CFO nominee."

- Former NASA CFO Jeff DeWit Joins Trump Campaign As COO, earlier post
- Eric Trump's Brother-In-Law Is The New Deputy NASA Chief Of Staff. Seriously., earlier post
- NASA Has A CFO Nominee, earlier post

"Today, President Donald J. Trump announced his intent to nominate the following individual to a key position in his Administration: Dr. Greg Autry, of California, to be Chief Financial Officer, National Aeronautics and Space Administration. ... Dr. Autry previously served on the NASA Agency Review Team and as the White House Liaison at NASA."

Keith's note: Autry's nomination is listed on the executive calendar as of 29 July 2020 - #2150 - but it has not been referred to any committee yet. It is unlikely that this nomination will be taken up by the Senate before the election. If Trump loses it will never see the light of day.

The NASA CFO's job used to be about the agency's financial matters and nothing else. In the past 4 years it has become a way for White House political influence to be maintained at NASA via a different channel. Of course presidential son Eric Trump's brother-in-law Kyle Yunaska is NASA's Deputy Chief of Staff - so there are multiple direct channels from the Trump Administration into NASA HQ. Oh yes, former CFO Jeff DeWit is the COO of the President's re-election campaign.

NASA Weekly Update from the Administrator - Aug. 31, 2020

"ANNOUNCEMENT: These difficult times can be especially trying for those with children at home or other dependent/caregiver responsibilities. As we head into the fall, and more schools opt to conduct classes virtually, I am pleased to announce that the agency is able to continue offering excused leave through March 2021. Supervisors should approve all requests, to the extent possible, and work with employees to ensure all available leave options and schedule flexibilities are considered."

Jerry Carr

Family Statement Regarding the Passing of Col. Gerald P "Jerry" Carr, USMC Ret.

"Throughout his life and career, Jerry Carr was the epitome of an officer and a gentleman. He loved his family, he loved his country and he loved to fly. We are all enormously proud of his legacy as a true space pioneer and of the lasting impact of his historic mission aboard America's first space station. We will remember him most as a devoted husband, father, brother, grandfather and great grandfather. We will miss him greatly. - The Carr & Musick Families"

Jakob van Zyl

Michael Watkins: "I write with great sadness to let you know that Jakob van Zyl, our former Director for Solar System Exploration and Associate Director for Project Formulation and Strategy, passed away this morning following a heart attack Monday.

Jakob served the Lab for 33 distinguished years, culminating in his leadership of the Solar System Exploration Directorate through the successful operations of celebrated missions such as Juno, Dawn, Cassini, and the implementation of InSight and MARCO, along with ongoing development of Europa Clipper, Psyche, and all JPL instruments and the Mars Helicopter for Mars 2020."

Donald Arabian

NASA Legend Donald D. Arabian, SpaceCoast Daily

"He had a long and distinguished career as a senior NASA engineer, working on all the major U.S. manned space programs from Mercury through Apollo. He headed the Test Division at Johnson Space Center and was Chief of the Mission Evaluation Room (MER) responsible for solving in-flight problems throughout the Apollo Program. Don and the "Mer-men" as they liked to refer to themselves are best known for solving the problems on Apollo 13 that brought that crew home safely."

- Donald Arabian, Legacy
- Donald D. Arabian, NASA Johnson Space Center Oral History Project, Edited Oral History Transcript

NASA Weekly Update from the Administrator - Aug. 17, 2020

"This week the agency's COVID-19 Response leadership and I will record a town hall to answer your questions and provide an update on the status of the agency. If you'd like to submit a question, please visit https://www.nasa.gov/townhall before the submission window closes tomorrow, Aug. 18, at noon EDT. You'll receive a NASA INC message with a link to the video once it is available for viewing Thursday, Aug. 20."

NASA Associate Administrator Memo: Moving Forward Together; Next Agency Town Hall,

"On Wednesday, Aug. 19, I will join Administrator Bridenstine, Deputy Administrator Morhard, and other agency leaders, to answer your questions about how we move forward together."

Keith's note: The questions used to be available here but NASA has removed the link. They ere all about COVID-19 and teleworking. If anyone has a link to the archived event we'd appreciate it if you'd post in in the comments.

NASA Weekly Update from the Administrator - Aug. 17, 2020

"Shout Out: Tomorrow, Aug. 18, John W. "Jack" Boyd will retire, after joining NASA's predecessor, NACA, 73 years ago. Once serving as the associate center director for Ames and currently as senior advisor to the center director, Jack's early research in aerodynamics contributed to more efficient supersonic flight, such as the development of conical camber and canard configurations. As associate administrator for management, he helped realign headquarters to meet the challenges and the development of the Space Shuttle Program and what would eventually become the International Space Station. I am grateful for all of Jack's contributions from NACA to NASA and wish him the best! Thank you, Jack, and happy 95th birthday!"

Image: Me, Jack Boyd, and his wife at Cooper Garrod Vineyard in 2009. Larger image

Keith's note: When I read this today I had to re-read it since it contained words I never expected to see "Jack Boyd" and "retire". I sent Jack and Eugene Tu an email asking if there had been a clerical mistake. I first met Jack in the 1980s in my 30s and he was in his 60s when I visited Ames while working at NASA HQ Life Science Division. Flash forward: I'm filling out Medicare enrollment forms now. And Jack is still punching his timecard at NASA. In the ensuing 35 years I saw Jack regularly - especially when I was working on crazy projects at Ames. Jack's sharpness has been consistent - and he always seemed to find something funny in everything NASA did while being one of its most steadfast proponents. His advice to Ames - and NASA - has been cogent and reaches back to a time when slide rules and good engineering were important. Today software fixes everything. I am certain "retirement" is just something he's doing because he's 30 years overdue. Yet he'll probably just show up at Ames as a docent at the center's museum.

If you want to meet someone who lived through America's space program it is Jack Boyd. Jack knew NASA before there was a NASA.

Keith's note: I have known John Rummel for 35 years. I first worked with John at the old Life Science Division at NASA Headquarters. John has made an indelible mark on NASA's search for life in the universe. Vicki was awarded a Distinguished Public Service medal from NASA for her work on the Mars Phoenix mission. Please consider making a donation to help out John and Vicki and their family in this time of need.

"John, Vicky, and kids Tristan and Hannah were in a severe car accident on July 22nd. John and the kids are with Vicky now in Billings, Montana where she is undergoing surgeries to her legs, and where she will be monitored until her doctors can determine a safe release date. John sustained a handful of injuries as well, making it necessary to have a second and third pair of hands available to give Tristan and Hannah the best possible attention and care."

Hipkin-Rummel Get Well Soon Fund

Alan Phillips

Alan Harwood Phillips

"Alan Harwood Phillips, 60, of Albemarle passed away on Monday, August 3, 2020 at home surrounded by his family following a four month battle with brain cancer. ... Alan was the founding director of the NASA Safety Center and served as director until his retirement in July of last year. Prior to his selection as director of the NSC, he led Langley Research Center's Office of Safety and Mission Assurance in Hampton, VA for four years. In this position, he led and managed the Center's Institutional Safety and Mission Assurance Program and was accepted as a member of the Senior Executive Service (SES). One of Mr. Phillips' greatest accomplishments was when he received the Presidential Rank Award, which recognizes select members of the SES for their sustained excellent service. Throughout his career and travels, Alan formed deep friendships with numerous colleagues."

Ad Astra.

Mike Freilich

NASA Administrator Statement on the Passing of Mike Freilich

"Mike Freilich, passionate explorer and former director of NASA's Earth Science Division: "Our planet has lost a true champion with the passing of Mike Freilich. NASA sends our condolences to his loved ones, and the entire NASA Family shares their loss. "As the head of NASA Earth Science, Mike was known for his diligence and an unwavering commitment to accuracy and making sure the science was strong. His oversize passion for all things related to expanding knowledge about the complex systems of our planet saw an incredible diversity of missions launch on his watch. Mike never avoided the tough decisions, but his deep expertise and innate love of science helped our agency to innovate and expand the ways it observes our home planet."

John Lewis

Rep. John Lewis, Space Station Savior, Passes Away, Space Policy Online

"Rep. John Lewis (D-GA) passed away yesterday. A legendary civil rights activist, his role at a pivotal point in the history of the space station program is less well known. He is the Member of Congress who cast the deciding vote in 1993 to continue the program despite years of cost overruns and schedule delays. Today's International Space Station might not exist without his support."

Keith's note: I sat at my desk at NASA Space Station Freedom Program Office in 1993 listening to the roll call wondering if I'd have a job. John Lewis did indeed save the space station.

In voting to keep the space station program alive Rep. Lewis said: "I still believe, as do the majority of the American people, that it is America's destiny to explore space. Not for the cold war reasoning of proving we are the greatest Nation on Earth, but because we are the greatest Nation on Earth. We became great by dreaming and pursuing that dream. As soon as we lose the ability to dream and reach for the stars we cease to be great. Madam Chairman, let us keep the dream alive. Support the space station. All mankind will continue to reap the magnitude of benefits from this program." Update - see below 1

1 Reader note: "It's a great quote, but it's from the wrong Rep. Lewis. This is from Rep. Tom Lewis of Florida, and he never actually had the chance to speak these word during the debate because he ran out of time and had to submit it in writing. Citation: Page 13669: https://www.congress.gov/103/crecb/1993/06/30/GPO-CRECB-1993-pt10-2.pdf - https://www.c-span.org/video/?43471-1/house-session"

Mac McCool

Alexander "Mac" A. McCool Jr.

"He was heavily involved in the design of the propulsion systems for the SATURN launch vehicles. In 1969, as Chief of the Systems Project in the Office in the Marshall Space Flight Center's Astronautics Laboratory, he directed project engineering for the SATURN/APOLLO and SKYLAB programs. In the 1970s, as the Director of Structures and Propulsion Laboratory, McCool assumed the leadership role in the early Development of the Space Shuttle's Main Engine and in the early '80s, managed the in-house development, test and flight phases of the Space Shuttle Solid Rocket Boosters. After the Challenger accident in January 1986 Mr. McCool was selected to lead the Solid Rocket Boosters recovery activity at the Kennedy Space Center. His expertise made him a valuable commodity at NASA, being named Director of the Safety, Reliability, Maintainability, and Quality Assurance Office at the George C. Marshall Space Flight Center."

Kushner shakes up Trump campaign team, Politico

"Kushner on Tuesday replaced chief operating officer Michael Glassner with [Former NASA CFO] Jeff DeWit, who held the same position in Trump's 2016 campaign. ... DeWit, a former Arizona state treasurer, is a Trump loyalist who played a key role in the president's 2016 win. Trump later nominated him to serve as chief operating officer at NASA, a position DeWit stepped down from earlier this year. DeWit had been in talks with Kushner for several weeks. In his new position, he will oversee everything from budgeting to the planning of events and rallies."

- There's A New "Make Space Great Again" Campaign Video From Team Trump, earlier post

"It is hosted by Donald Trump Jr.'s girlfriend Kimberly Guilfoyle who works on the Trump campaign. Her guests are former NASA Chief Financial Officer Jeff DeWit and former astronaut and NASA GRC Center Director Janet Kavandi who is now a Senior Vice President at Sierra Nevada Corp."

- Eric Trump's Brother-In-Law Is The New Deputy NASA Chief Of Staff. Seriously., earlier post

NASA Names Joel Montalbano International Space Station Program Manager

"Kathy Lueders, NASA's associate administrator for Human Exploration and Operations, has named Joel Montalbano as manager of the International Space Station Program. The appointment was effective June 29 following the June 26 retirement of Kirk Shireman, who held the position since 2015. ... Montalbano had served as deputy program manager for NASA's space station program since 2012, a role in which he shared responsibility with the program manager for day-to-day management, working across organizations and with NASA centers, other government agencies, and partners to ensure seamless and efficient space station integration."

NASA Names Headquarters After 'Hidden Figure' Mary W. Jackson

"NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine announced Wednesday the agency's headquarters building in Washington, D.C., will be named after Mary W. Jackson, the first African American female engineer at NASA. Jackson started her NASA career in the segregated West Area Computing Unit of the agency's Langley Research Center in Hampton, Virginia. Jackson, a mathematician and aerospace engineer, went on to lead programs influencing the hiring and promotion of women in NASA's science, technology, engineering, and mathematics careers. In 2019, she was posthumously awarded the Congressional Gold Medal."

John Annexstad

John Annexstad

"In 1968 he joined the Apollo Space Program in Houston, Texas, as the associate curator for lunar samples (moon rocks). While employed with the Johnson Space Center he led the creation of the Antarctic Meteorite Program to continue NASA's research of planetary materials. Under his supervision this program discovered numerous meteorites in Antarctica, now all in the NASA collection. Annexstad Peak was mapped by the U.S Geological Survey and named by the Advisory Committee on Antarctic Names for John Annexstad, geomagnetician and Station Seismologist at Byrd Station."

Kathy Lueders Selected to Lead NASA's Human Spaceflight Office

"NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine Friday selected Commercial Crew Program Manager Kathy Lueders to be the agency's next associate administrator of the Human Exploration and Operations (HEO) Mission Directorate. Since 2014, Lueders has directed NASA's efforts to send astronauts to space on private spacecraft, which culminated in the successful launch of Demo-2 from NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida on May 30."

Keith's note: So much for the Mark Geyer stories I was being fed. I guess he finally said "no" enough times ;-)

Jet Propulsion Laboratory to Pay $10 Million to Settle EEOC Age Discrimination Lawsuit, U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC)

"The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) announced today the settlement of an age discrimination lawsuit against Pasadena, Calif.-based Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL). The laboratory has agreed to pay $10 million, along with injunctive relief, in order to reach an early resolution of the suit. According to the EEOC, JPL systemically laid off employees over the age of 40 in favor of retaining younger employees. The complaint also alleges that older employees were passed over for rehire in favor of less qualified, younger employees. Such conduct violates the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA). The EEOC filed suit in U.S. District Court for the Central District of California (EEOC v. Jet Propulsion Laboratory, 2:20-cv-03131-CBM-JC) after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation agreement through its conciliation process. In addition to monetary relief to dozens of older employees, the three-year consent decree settling the suit, which remains under the court's jurisdiction during the term, includes injunctive relief intended to prevent further workplace discrimination."

JPL Will Pay $10 Million Fine For Age Bias Toward Employees, earlier post

OIG: A Review Of Allegations Of Unauthorized Activity By An Executive Assistant To A Former NASA Administrator

"In his OIG interview, Bolden initially denied that the EA had provided administrative support to him following his resignation. He stated that the EA could not provide additional support to him while she was a government employee and "I knew it was inappropriate for her to do that." When asked how he knew that, Bolden replied: "Because it's illegal. It's unethical for me to come in and ask a NASA employee ... to do administrative work for somebody who's not in the government." Id. "She can't serve as my executive assistant when I'm not here.... That's wrong." ... When asked if he ever considered instructing the EA to stop providing administrative support to him, Bolden said no and conceded "my judgment was clouded." He said, "I did not think I was asking her to do personal work for me since almost everything I was doing was space related." Bolden, however, took responsibility for creating the problem. He stated, "This was my error. This was my error in judgment."

Keith's note: Bolden used government employee services for several years after he left NASA. Indeed:

"In January 2017, immediately prior to his departure from NASA and in direct response to concerns about the lack of transition planning when the previous Administrator left NASA following the 2008 presidential election, Bolden added a third Critical Element to the EA's Employee Performance Plan. This new element explicitly authorized the EA to continue to provide administrative support to Bolden such as coordinating his appearance at certain speaking engagements and providing contact information to him and others following his resignation as NASA Administrator."

But since Bolden charges $20,000 speaking fees and did a lot of free stuff for NASA after leaving the agency the OIG did some math and decided that these NASA-provided services probably balanced out. Bolden admits this was all wrong but the OIG says that only the Executive Assistant probably broke the law. It does not seem to be fair to me that a subordinate gets stuck with the illegality.

Statement from AURA President, June 2020

"AURA, as a leader in the astronomical community, believes that a diverse, equitable and inclusive workforce is our most valuable asset. We believe that a community of people of different genders and gender identities, color, ability, systemic advantage and disadvantage, and more - people from all walks of life - are essential to ensuring excellence both in our organization and in the scientific community as a whole. We remain committed to respecting and valuing each and every individual in our organization as a professional and as a person. We recognize that our success relies upon that respect and upon embracing the unique perspectives each one of you brings to work every day."

American Astronomical Society President Calls on Members to Support Black Americans

"On behalf of the AAS, I would like to express our unwavering support for those in our community who are rightfully concerned for their safety or that of their loved ones, and who have experienced or continue to experience bias and institutional racism in their personal or professional lives. "The AAS is committed to making a positive difference in the professional lives of our members. This commitment will be reaffirmed in our upcoming strategic plan, which will have diversity, equity, and inclusion at its core and woven throughout our priorities and plans as a Society."

Message from the NASA Administrator - June 1, 2020

"This is not the first time America has seen times of unrest and division, and looked to NASA for inspiration and confidence that we are capable of something magnificent. Let me be clear, NASA is a place where unity, respect, and decency are prioritized, and we will continue to promote an agency culture that aligns with these core beliefs."

Arnie Aldrich

Arnold Deane Aldrich

"Arnold Deane Aldrich, 83, of Vienna, VA, passed away on May 28, 2020 after a brief battle with cancer. He was born in Arlington, Massachusetts on July 7, 1936. Arnold enjoyed a 35-year career at NASA spanning all manned-mission programs including Mercury, Gemini, Apollo, and Space Shuttle. He served as Skylab deputy program manager; Apollo Spacecraft Program Office Deputy Manager during the Apollo Soyuz Test Project; and Orbiter Project Manager during development of Space Shuttles Discovery and Atlantis. Following the Challenger accident, Arnold was appointed director of the Space Shuttle Program where he led recovery and return-to-flight efforts. He then served as NASA Associate Administrator for Aeronautics and Space Technology and, later for Space Systems Development. Arnold also led initiatives with Russia leading to the incorporation of the Russian Soyuz spacecraft as the on-orbit emergency rescue vehicle for the International Space Station. Arnold joined Lockheed Missiles and Space Company in 1994 as Vice President. He retired in 2007."

Kyle Yunaska Named Deputy Chief of Staff At NASA Headquarters

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

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

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

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

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

Kyle Robert Yunaska, ProPublica

Annie Glenn

NASA Remembers Annie Glenn

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

NASA Live Virtual Town Hall

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

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

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

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

James Beggs

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

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

Ad Astra Mr. Beggs.

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

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

Roselee Roberts

Roselee Nichols Roberts, Legacy.com

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

Obituary, Marcia Smith, Space Policy Online

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

NASA Weekly Update from the Administrator - March 23, 2020

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

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

"Hi Keith,

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

Thanks"

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

Al Worden

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

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

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

Larger image

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

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

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

Nancy Evans

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Ad Astra Nancy.

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

Message From the Associate NASA Administrator: Coronavirus Update

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

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

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

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

Chuck Berry, M.D.

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

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

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

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

Katherine Johnson

NASA Has A New CFO

Saunders Replaces DeWit As NASA CFO, Space Policy Online

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

NASA CFO Jeff DeWit Is Leaving NASA

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

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

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

NASA Names Dennis Andrucyk New Goddard Space Flight Center Director

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

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

NASA Administrator Names Robert Pearce Head of Agency Aeronautics

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

- NAC bio
- Larger image

Ron Reisman

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

Ronald J. Reisman, MS, Lifeboat Foundation

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

NASA and Aerospace warming up to Blockchain Technology

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

Ad astra Ron.

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

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

Douglas L. Loverro, LinkedIn

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

- AIAA Responds To Diversity Concerns, earlier post

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

- AIAA Shuns Gender Diversity In Scholarship Selections, earlier post

Bobby Braun Is Headed For JPL

Personnel and Organizational Announcements, NASA JPL

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Mulvaney Comments on Transfers Are Telling, Says Union, FEDweek

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

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

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

Jack Kerrebrock

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

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

NASA Administrator Names Acting Director for Goddard Space Flight Center

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

Chris Kraft

NASA Administrator Remembers Mission Control Pioneer Chris Kraft

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

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

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

Ad Astra Frank Sietzen

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

Ad Astra Frank.

Frank Clark Sietzen, Jr., Celestis

George Jeffs

John Healey

John Healey

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

Turkish-American NASA scientist released from Turkish prison, AP

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

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

Resignation Letter From Mark Sirangelo To NASA Administrator Bridenstine

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

"10.4 KSC Photography Policy

More below

Former NASA Acting Administrator Robert Lightfoot Joins Lockheed Martin

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

Jerrie Cobb

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

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

Owen Garriott

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

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

Joe Cuzzupoli

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

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

Dick Smith

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

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

Frank Hicks

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

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

Jack Lee

Thomas J. "Jack" Lee

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

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

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

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

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

Suzanne Gillen Named NASA Associate Administrator for Legislative Affairs

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

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

NASA Town Hall On Tuesday

Town Hall with NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine

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

Welcome Back To Work, NASA

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

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

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

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


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