"Former NASA astronaut William "Bill" Lenoir, who flew aboard the first operational mission of the space shuttle in November 1982, died Saturday at age 71. According to sources close to his family, Lenoir died after suffering head injuries during a bicycle accident Thursday. Lenoir, who was selected by NASA for its sixth astronaut group and second class of "scientist-astronauts" in 1967, did not fly in space until 15 years later as a member of the STS-5 crew."
Personnel News: August 2010 Archives
Former NASA chief of staff pleads guilty to conspiracy charge, Government Executive
"Courtney Stadd of Bethesda, Md., pleaded guilty on Aug. 18 to one count of conspiracy in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Mississippi. He faces up to five years in prison and a $250,000 fine when he is sentenced on Nov. 18. ... Former deputy chief engineer [Liam] Sarsfield, who was paid more than $87,000 by Capitol Solutions through the subcontract, pleaded guilty in November to one count of committing an act affecting his personal financial interest. He is scheduled to be sentenced on Sept. 27."
Layoff anxiety top risk to space shuttle, Florida Today
"NASA's shuttle program in 2006 employed 14,000 contractors and 1,800 civil servants in eight states and Washington, D.C. By November 2009, the work force had been cut to 10,300 contractors and 1,200 civil servants. The contractor work force at the end of May: 8,741. One by one, the 5,158 technicians, engineers and managers who still work for United Space Alliance at KSC recently were called in by supervisors and given notice. Some 902 were told they could be out of a job by Oct. 1. Another 3,256 people will lose their jobs by April if NASA's last scheduled shuttle mission is launched as planned on Feb. 26. The addition of one extra mission proposed by NASA would only slow the company's planned drop to 1,000 to late July or August."
"A former high-ranking National Aeronautics and Space Administration ("NASA") official, Courtney A. Stadd, 55, of Bethesda, Maryland, has entered a guilty plea to conspiracy charges in connection with actions he took to obtain and receive funds from a $600,000 sole-source contract from John C. Stennis Space Center to Mississippi State University ("MSU") on a remote sensing study, United States Attorney Donald R. Burkhalter and NASA Inspector General Paul K. Martin announced today.
At the plea hearing, the defendant admitted that beginning in 2004, Stadd, who previously served as NASA Chief of Staff and White House Liaison, conspired with the NASA Deputy Chief Engineer of Programs [Liam Sarsfield] to allocate approximately $600,000 in NASA funds to one of Stadd's consulting clients, Mississippi State University, which subsequently subcontracted $450,000 of those funds to Stadd's consulting business called Capitol Solutions, also known as Capitol Alliance Solutions. .... In furtherance of the conspiracy, Stadd met with senior government officials in an ill-fated attempt to stop the NASA Office of the Inspector General from continuing to investigate his activities. Stadd admitted that, to further conceal the conspiracy, he created false documents in response to a Federal Grand Jury subpoena."
Keith's note: Personally I have always thought that Lee Sarsfield was a self-serving creep. As such, none of what he has admitted to doing really surprises me. But Courtney Stadd, on the other hand, has always impressed me as being genuinely interested in helping people gain personal access to- and appreciate the value of space exploration. Alas, regardless of my personal impressions, these guys were put in positions of authority in America's space program. And what did they do with that opportunity? According to their guilty pleas they tried to cash in and when they were caught, they tried to cover it up. One word comes to mind: betrayal. In the case of Lee Sarsfield, I am not inclined to shed a single tear. But in the case of Courtney Stadd, despite his admitted criminal activity, I am very, very saddened to see someone with such a clear passion for space exploration end up like this.
Both Sarsfield and Stadd face a maximum imprisonment term of 5 years and a fine of $250,000. Sarsfield was originally supposed to have been sentenced on 24 June 2010. Stadd is scheduled to be sentenced on 18 November 2010. They both deserve to be punished for what they have admitted to doing. I do hope, however, that when his debt is paid to society, that there is a second act for Courtney in space.
Courtney Stadd Joins Liam Sarsfield In Pleading Guilty, Earlier Post
"Courtney Stadd, NASA's chief of staff and White House liaison from 2001 to 2003, pleaded guilty to one conspiracy charge in a nine-count indictment in federal court in Gulfport, Mississippi, said Sheila Wilbanks, a U.S. attorney's office spokeswoman. ... Prosecutors say Stadd conspired with Liam Sarsfield, NASA's former chief deputy engineer in Washington. ... Sarsfield controlled a $1.5 million fund and designed contracts that wouldn't have to be put out for bid. He steered them where he wanted them to go, including to Mississippi State University and a company in Ohio, prosecutors said, netting himself about $270,000 in illegal profits."
Keith's note: So ... what's going on with Liam Sarsfield's sentencing? He was supposed to be sentenced back in June.
Liam Sarsfield Pleads Guilty, earlier post
"Sarsfield entered the plea before U.S. District Judge Sul Ozerden. Sarsfield faces a maximum imprisonment term of five years and a fine of $250,000. He is scheduled for sentencing on June 24, 2010."
"AVIATION WEEK has released results from its 2010 Workforce and Young Professionals/Student Study, a mainstay for aerospace and defense (A&D) planning and trend analysis since 1997, which show that A&D companies plan to hire 15,500 professionals this year. However, retaining younger employees continues to be a challenge -- the voluntary attrition rate (employees choosing to leave) for young professionals rose to 21%, and 41% admit to looking for new jobs. The study also reviewed industry retirement rates and ranked the top universities for A&D alumni hires, with California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo, at number one."
John New, 89; NASA engineer pioneered satellite tests, Washington Post
"John New, 89, an engineer at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center who developed a series of methods and facilities for testing satellites during the early days of space flight, died July 28 at the Renaissance Gardens assisted living facility in Silver Spring. He had pneumonia."
Keith's note: Word has it that Andrew Hunter is moving from ESMD to become the second Deputy CFO.
"The U.S. Secretary of Commerce met with soon-to-be laid off employees Wednesday at the Kennedy Space Center before he had to report to President Obama. The meeting is about finding the best way to spend $40 million meant to help laid off shuttle employees. The money won't be enough to help all the workers who will lose their jobs. The Secretary of Commerce wouldn't say exactly how he is going to propose using the money, but he hinted it could be used as business incubators."
"Locke suggested the money would likely strive to attract or expand technology and alternative energy businesses, promote research and partnerships with higher education institutions, and finance ideas proposed by local economic development leaders."
"Special Aerospace Services (SAS) of Boulder, Colorado, is pleased to announce that N. Wayne Hale, Jr. has joined SAS as Director of Human Spaceflight Programs. Mr. Hale brings comprehensive experience in the field of human spaceflight following a career of more than 30 years with NASA. As one of his many instrumental assignments at NASA, Mr. Hale served as Program Manager for NASA's Space Shuttle Program during the critical period following the Columbia accident, where his leadership significantly contributed to the return of the space shuttle to flight operations. Prior to that, Mr. Hale served as a Space Shuttle Flight Director for 40 missions during 15 years. Most recently Mr. Hale served as NASA's Deputy Associate Administrator for Strategic Partnerships in Space Operations."