Personnel News: August 2009 Archives

NASA Internal Memo From Jeff Hanley Regarding Steve Cook's Departure

"Steve's departure places a new challenge on all of you. That challenge is to support Teresa in the same manner as Steve has enjoyed, and to keep moving the ball down the field. The best way to honor Steve's service is to press forward with resolve. To those who wish to 'read something into' Steve's departure, I say this... The substance of Ares is dependent on no specific individual. It is what the integrated team HAS accomplished and WILL accomplish that matters. And it is in your hands - it remains true that the very BEST expression of the true heart of the Ares team will be the fortitude required to honor Steve's contribution and excel beyond it."

Ares chief leaving to rejoin ex-boss, Huntsville Times

"Cook has overseen previously canceled spacecraft and rockets. He was manager of the X-33 spaceplane - a $2 billion effort abandoned because of technical problems - the X-34 rocket engine development program and a reusable rocket program known as the Delta Clipper. Longtime NASA observer and critic Keith Cowing said Cook's departure seems "curious given where the Ares I program is." "I cannot imagine if things are truly going to get interesting with Ares, then why leave now?" said Cowing, who runs"

NASA MSFC Internal Memo: Steve Cook Resignation

"Effective Monday, August 31, Teresa Vanhooser will take over as Acting Manager, Ares Projects Office. Teresa will do a great job in leading the team toward accomplishing our near and long term milestones and my last request of you is to support her fully as you did me - your support kept me going."

Keith's note: Word has it that Steve Cook has resigned from NASA and will be working for Dynetics in Huntsville. I am awaiting a formal NASA PAO response.

Keith's update: NASA PAO has confirmed Cook's departure.

NASA MSFC Internal Memo: Steve Cook Resignation

"The progress we have made clearly shows that the Ares team continues to deliver on the promises made 4 years ago - to develop the safest and most affordable launch system family we could field to enable the exploration of space while minimizing the gap in human space flight. We are building on the best of the last 50 years of space flight and marrying it with the most modern systems available today. It is with the backdrop of these accomplishments that I am writing to tell you that after long and prayerful consideration, I have decided to depart NASA after 19 years of service. I have wrestled with making this decision for the past year and the time has come for my transition."

Steve Cook Wants to Be The Next Deputy Center Director at Marshall, earlier post

Keith's note: Steve Cook departs NASA on 31 August. After that, unless he makes a point of getting himself in the news in a way that is related to NASA or has NASA-related responsibilities in his new job, he will not find himself on NASA Watch. That's how it works.

Lightfoot To Head MSFC

Robert Lightfoot named Marshall Space Flight Center director, Huntsville Times

"Robert Lightfoot has been named the director of Marshall Space Flight Center, a NASA official told a group touring Kennedy Space Center, in Florida, this morning. As they were departing the International Space Station Center at Kennedy, the bus applauded the announcement. "We have some exciting news," announced senior NASA manager Pat Fuller. Lighfoot, a 20-year NASA veteran, has been the acting director since former Marshall Director Dave King stepped down in April. He will be the 11th permanent director of the center, which was created on July 1, 1960."

Keith's original 19 Aug 9:42 am note: The rumor going around MSFC today is that former astronaut Jan Davis is in the running to be named the new Center Director at MSFC. Bolden and Davis flew together on STS-60. Charlie Bolden is visiting MSFC today. After the visit he will then speak at a missile defense conference and then fly off to MAF tonight.

NASA administrator talks about space program's future, WAFF

"It was Bolden's first official visit as NASA administrator, but he's been to Huntsville before. He spent a year in training for shuttle missions with his dear friend and former astronaut Dr. Jan Davis. They flew together on STS-60. On Wednesday,Davis confirmed to WAFF 48 News that she's a candidate for Marshall's top job-center director - a position opened when Dave King stepped down in March. When asked if he was nearing the finalization of picking Marshall's new director, Bolden said,"Close, very close."

Davis a candidate for Marshall post, Huntsville Times

"I am a candidate. There are several qualified candidates in the running for this position, and that is about all I can say," Davis told The Times while attending the 2009 Space and Missile Defense Conference and Exhibition at the Von Braun Center. Davis could not comment on whether she would take the position or not, she said."

Walter Jacobi

Original German Rocket Team member Walter Jacobi dies at 91, Huntsville Times

"Walter Jacobi, an original member of Dr. Wernher von Braun's rocket team that came to America at the end of World War II, died today. He was 91. Jacobi played an invaluable role in designing the structure and components of America's Cold War rockets that were developed by the Army on Redstone Arsenal and later NASA at Marshall Space Flight Center, close friends told The Times."

Jim Harnage

ULA Delta II Completes 20 Year Era With Successful Air Force GPS IIR-21 Launch

"The 48th successful and final Air Force Delta II Global Positioning System satellite launch occurred today, ending one of the most successful space launch programs in American history. A United Launch Alliance Delta II rocket launched GPS IIR-21(M) into orbit from Space Launch Complex-17A at 6:35 a.m., EDT today."

Keith's note: Look at the sign on the launch tower.

Ali Safaeinili

Ali Safaeinili, 1964-2009

"Born in Sari, Iran, Safaeinili always wanted to pursue his higher education in science and engineering in the United States and enrolled at Iowa State University in 1985 to study electrical engineering and computer science. He completed his undergraduate studies in two-and-a-half years by testing out of all the required math classes and finished his post-doctorate work in 1995. At JPL for more than a decade, Safaeinili pursued radar as a means to study ice on Earth and the planets. An energetic and innovative scientist, he participated in the design, development, testing, and operation of the Mars Advanced Radar for Subsurface and Ionosphere Sounding (MARSIS) still operating on Mars Express."

Lockheed's space systems unit to cut jobs, Reuters

"Defense contractor Lockheed Martin Corp said on Monday its space systems division plans to cut 800 jobs, or about 4.5 percent of the unit's workforce, in response to soft demand. Lockheed, based in Bethesda, Maryland, said the space systems job cuts would affect all levels and disciplines, including technical, managerial and administrative posts, mainly at facilities in Denver and Sunnyvale, California."

NASA Supervisory Historian, History Division, NASA HQ

"The position is located in the NASA Office of External Relations History Division. This position manages the NASA History Division to assure the establishment and integration of necessary planning, programming and coordination of the NASA History Program."

OMB Program Examiner NASA, NSF, Smithsonian

"Major Duties: Serves in the branch of OMB that has budget responsibilities for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, the National Science Foundation, the Smithsonian Institution and other federally-supported museums, small cultural agencies, and overall Federal research and development coordination. Serves as analyst for research and development activities including program areas for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (such as space station, space shuttle, exploration, aeronautics, and/or support functions and facilities), and/or Federal research and development policy including multi-agency programs in science and technology. Incumbent will analyze, evaluate, and develop creative and effective options and recommendations for policy, budget, legislative, and management issues pertaining to science and technology."

Christopher Scolese Receives the NASA Distinguished Service Medal

"NASA Associate Administrator Christopher Scolese, left, receives the NASA Distinguished Service Medal from NASA Administrator Charles F. Bolden, Wednesday, August 12, 2009 at NASA Headquarters in Washington. Photo Credit: (NASA/Bill Ingalls)"

6 steps to cutting the cord with departing employees, Federal Computing Week

"Thus, when hypothetical employee J.P. Goddard, a network administrator with ten years at the agency, submits his resignation, NASA can effectively de-provision him within minutes, if necessary. But NASA and other large agencies have learned that its difficult to develop a single switch to flick and reliably block access to all the various systems that contain sensitive information. Just identifying all the accounts a long-term employee like Goddard may have isnt always easy. ... NASAs work consolidating Active Directory accounts used to authenticate Goddards privileges to the network and applications is helping to speed this step. Dubbed NCAD, for NASA Centralized Active Directory, the project is bringing individual directories created at various NASA locations under a single, centralized directory."

Sloppy NASA IT: Someone Needs To Update NED (update), earlier post

Keith's note: It has been two weeks since my initial post. NASA's new way of finding its employees still has problems with people who are no longer employed at the agency, some that were and have died, and in several cases, people who never worked there to begin with. According to, the NASA Enterprise Directory or "NED" former NASA Administrators Sean O'Keefe, Mike (and Rebecca) Griffin and Dick Truly still work at NASA as do a number of my dead friends and deceased members of Space Shuttle Columbia's crew Willie McCool and Ilan Ramon (and Ramon's non-NASA widow). In addition, former astronauts Jim Lovell, Frank Borman, Buzz Aldrin (and his non- NASA employee wife Lois) are in the employee directory even though they have not worked there for decades and there wasn't even email when they did.

This is getting to be somewhat pathetic. NASA cannot even purge its online phone book of dead and ex-employees - even when the names are pointed out to them for weeks - and yet NASA wants to be seen as being on the cutting edge of IT in the Federal government?

There's a new "Jobs After Shuttle" live chat today from 5:30p to 6:00p on from the Aerospace Workforce Transition group which is set up to provide free help to aerospace workers. Free assessment, free training, whatever they can do to help soon to be laid off shuttle or aerospace workers find a job that works for them.

Ex-NASA official goes on trial over steering money, AP

"A former high-ranking NASA official went on trial Monday on charges that he steered nearly $10 million to a consulting client and lied about it. Prosecutors told the jury during opening arguments they would prove Courtney Stadd abused the power of his government office to line his own pockets and mislead ethics officials. Stadd's lawyer insisted his client was only carrying out the orders of NASA Administrator Michael Griffin when he insisted in 2005 that $12 million of the money be spent in the state of Mississippi."

Horace Lamberth

NASA employee notes: "Horace had such a far reaching influence on so many people across not only the Kennedy Space Center but also across the NASA contractor team. To many of us, he was more than a boss, chief engineer or co-worker. He was the reason for much of the success we have today as individuals and as a team. Please pass on to those that had the pleasure to work with such a great man. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family."

"Horace's family just called to say that he passed away this morning after losing a valiant battle to overcome both his cancer and the results of his chemo treatment. I can't say much more at this time except that he was a gracious man, a classic engineer and a respected friend who worked with us for so many years and contributed so much to this nation's space programs. We will all miss him - myself especially. Details on funeral services will be forthcoming."




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This page is an archive of entries in the Personnel News category from August 2009.

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