Personnel News: September 2009 Archives

Distinguished Scientist Slated to Become Chairman of Lebanese American University's Board of Trustees

"Lebanese American University (LAU) will welcome Dr. Charles Elachi, director of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), as the new chairman of its Board of Trustees later this year. A valued member of LAU's Board of Trustees for several years, Dr. Elachi will succeed Dr. George Faris, who has served meticulously as the chairman since 2006."

Guilty Plea in Schoeberl Case

NASA Scientist Pleads Guilty to Participating in Award of Contracts To His Wife, DOJ

"Mark Schoeberl, age 60, of Silver Spring, Maryland, a senior manager and scientist at NASAs Goddard Space Flight Center (GSFC), pleaded guilty today to a felony conflict of interest charge in connection with his participation in NASA contracts given to his wife's company, announced United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Rod J. Rosenstein. When government officials direct business to themselves or their family members, other people are deprived of a fair chance to compete, said U.S. Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein. It is illegal for any federal employee to make an official decision that directly affects their financial interest, unless they disclose that conflict of interest and get approval from the government. Mark Schoeberl personally arranged for NASA contracts to be directed to a business owned by his wife, and he filed a financial disclosure form that failed to disclose that NASA had paid her more than $50,000 in 2007."

Save Our Jobs Update

Worried Space Coast officials appeal to Obama to save NASA jobs, Orlando Sentinel

"County officials are braced for as many as 28,000 direct and indirect job losses when the shuttle program ends either late next year or early in 2011. A presidential panel that recently looked at NASA said the agency's proposed successor, Ares I, won't fly before 2017 and that NASA can't afford a "viable" manned-space program without $3 billion more a year. On Monday, local organizers also announced a letter-writing campaign to remind Obama of his campaign pledge a year ago. Its Web site, website, called, is complete with letter templates, a copy of Obama's August 2008 speech in Titusville, a map of the counties affected by the space program and a list of participating organizations."

Keith's note: What I find to be really annoying is how these "save NASA" groups only appear and get active when there's a risk of budget cuts and layoffs. They regularly cite NASA's incredible value to the nation, all matter of spinoffs (real and imaginary), and the jobs that will be lost etc. etc. But when there is no looming threat, these groups - and the people they seek to motivate - couldn't be bothered with making any overt attempt to explain the value of space exploration to a wider audience. Only when jobs are threatened, it would seem, is NASA suddenly such a great value to society.

To be certain, real people are about to lose real jobs and there is no denying the impact this will have on those dedicated workers and the region. Perhaps if these groups and their supporters had kept a steady focus on public education and the value of what NASA does - and possible commercial alternatives (they hire people too) they would not be facing such a situation in the first place. Its not as if these Shuttle layoffs are any big surprise - they been very clearly known to be in the works for a number of years.

Kosmas to Participate In Florida Space and Technology Forum

"Tomorrow, September 28, 2009 from 9:00 a.m. to 11:30 a.m., Congresswoman Suzanne Kosmas (FL-24) will participate in the Florida Space and Technology Forum. Congresswoman Kosmas will discuss her efforts to minimize the human spaceflight gap and protect Space Coast jobs. The Florida Space and Technology Forum brings together state and federal legislators and KSC and community leaders to craft a public policy agenda and identify space industry priorities for the 2010 state legislative session."

NASA Employee Charged

NASA Scientist Charged With Aiding Wife's Firm, Washington Post

"Mark R. Schoeberl, an atmospheric scientist who has worked at the Goddard Space Flight Center since the 1980s, is charged in U.S. District Court in Greenbelt with one felony count of acts affecting a personal interest. ... Schoeberl's wife, Barbara, owns Animated Earth LLC, which develops and distributes "Earth Today," a museum exhibit that allows people to access data on rainfall, earthquakes and other events displayed on a rotating globe. From 2006 to 2009, NASA authorized purchase orders worth up to $190,727 for Animated Earth's products and services, according to federal procurement data. It is unclear whether the charge is connected to those purchases."


Cureton picked as NASA CIO, FCW

"Linda Cureton will be the new chief information officer of NASA, Cureton confirmed today. Cureton is currently the CIO for NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center. NASA officials did not respond to requests for more information about the appointment. Bobby German was named acting NASA CIO in January. Jonathan Pettus gave up the NASA CIO position last year to return to his previous post as CIO for the Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala. Cureton is a vocal supporter of government agencies using social media, and was a driving force behind the creation of NASA's Spacebook, a Facebook-like tool designed for internal collaboration. She is also one of the CIO community's most prolific bloggers."

Assaf Ramon

Ramon's fighter jet crashes near Hebron; cause still unknown, Jersualem Post

"IAF officer Lt. Assaf Ramon, 20, the son of Israeli astronaut Ilan Ramon who died in the 2003 fatal Columbia mission, was killed on Sunday after the F-16 he was piloting crashed into the southern Hebron hills. IAF commander Maj.-Gen. Ido Nehushtan and head of the IDF Manpower Division Avi Zamir personally went to the pilot's mother, Rona Ramon's house to deliver the news. IDF Chief of General Staff Lt. Gen. Gabi Ashkenazi also visited the Ramon residence early Sunday night to offer his condolences."

Steve Cook Update

Dynetics Hires Steve Cook as Director of Space Technologies

"Prior to serving as project manager for Ares, Cook was deputy and acting director of the Space Transportation Programs, deputy manager of the Next Generation Launch Technology/Advanced Space Transportation Program and a member of Systems Engineering and Management at Marshall Space Flight Center. "I have been honored and privileged to work with the best-of-the-best in the aerospace industry over the past 19 years," Cook said. "NASA has graciously allowed me to pursue dreams of exploration that I have had since my passion was ignited watching Apollo 17 land on the moon. That said, my professional goal has long been to spend the first half of my career in public service and the last half in the private sector. On Sept. 14, I will begin phase 2 of my career, as Director of Space Technologies at Dynetics in Huntsville, Ala. I look forward to helping the Dynetics team take on the challenges associated with space flight."

What does Cook's resignation mean?, Orlando Sentinel

"How should the space community interpret Steve Cook's decision to resign as head of NASA's troubled Ares program? One view, common to this blog and others, contends that Cook is leaving a sinking ship. Ares faces financial troubles, technical challenges and little support from a presidential panel tasked with examining the future of human spaceflight in the United States."



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

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