Policy: April 2010 Archives

Blunt Talk in Houston

Bolden tries to raise spirits at JSC, Houston Chronicle

"But unlike the president's stop in Florida, where he offered to provide the work force there with $40 million in transition aid and made other concessions, Bolden announced no new initiatives that might benefit Johnson Space Center."

Houston Layoffs Not in NASA Plan ... Yet, My Fox Houston

"For you to go to members of Congress, the media and the American public with contradictory information about the road ahead and the need to move beyond the Constellation program isn't helping," said Bolden."

Bolden in Houston to discuss future of NASA, KTRK

"Reasonable people can agree to disagree," Bolden said in his speech, of which a copy was obtained by ABC13. "However, my friends, now is the time that we must pull together."... "If we flounder and lose out on this opportunity, it is unlikely that our nation will have a similar opportunity in our lifetime," Bolden said."

Former Secretary of Transportation Mineta Praises Obama's NASA Plan For Jump-Starting Commercial Spaceflight

"Norman Mineta, who served as Secretary of Transportation under President George W. Bush and as Secretary of Commerce under President Bill Clinton, and who represented Silicon Valley in Congress for more than 20 years, has published an op-ed stating, "With Russia, China and India close on our heels, the only way we can maintain our hard-won leadership in space transportation is by employing America's unique entrepreneurial strength. Obama's new plan for NASA does exactly that."

Obama's April 15th Speech at Kennedy Space Center

"Obama started out his day visiting the KSC area by avoiding the workers. Though NASA and United Space Alliance had sent down word that no personal opinions of the employees would be allowed (also no twitter, Facebook, or talking with the media) would be allowed or tolerated, many of the workers, from what I've been told, had left their jobs briefly to line the road and express their "opinion" of Obama's new policy. But Obama the coward took a back route in from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station to get to his teleprompter at the Operations and Checkout Building many miles away from the workers."

Space Watchers Critique President Obama's Proposal for NASA's Future, PBS NewsHour

"Keith Cowing, editor, NASA Watch: It's a paradigm-shifting proposal. It has matured a little over the past few months and will continue to mature. But what it does overall is challenge the status quo as to how America explores space. And that involves making some difficult decisions. It's changing the policy begun by President Bush with the Constellation program, and it says we want to go further in terms of using private sector than ever before.

Tom Young, former Lockheed Martin executive vice president and former NASA official: I think it's a significant mistake. Not because I don't think the aerospace industry is enormously capable, but I think it's not capable of doing something as challenging as humans in space by itself. I think the probability of it being unsuccessful is very high."

Americans Back Space Exploration, Know Little About Proposed Policy Changes, Everett Group 'Space Poll' Finds

"As Pres. Barack Obama vows continued commitment to space exploration, including increased funding to explore the solar system and the ultimate goal of landing astronauts on Mars, he finds support from many Americans. Most Americans have a positive image of NASA, the country's space agency, and one-third say it's very important to them that the U.S. continue to explore the solar system (with one-third more saying it's somewhat important to them)."

Keith's note: Yawn - yet another space poll with the same results as the last dozen space polls. I am not certain why people keep paying to do these polls. The polls always come up with the same answers - yet government, private sector, and the general public do not care about the results enough to do anything to change the situation. Until someone, somewhere gets off their ass, nothing is going to change.

For half a decade Americans were told by the White House and NASA, with great excitement, that we were going back to the Moon. Then the next President suddenly tells everyone "Why go to the Moon?, we've already done that". Its as if we walked away from Apollo in 1967. These back and forth policy changes leave everyone with a case of intellectual whiplash. Why should anyone understand (or care) about policy changes when they end up meaning little in the end.

Consumers spent billions to see a space-themed film like "Avatar" and yet NASA was incapable of seizing the opportunity to capitalize on this interest before, during, or after the film's release. And then there is the "Summer of Innovation" that NASA has the lead on from the White House. Summer is only a matter of weeks away. Has anyone heard anything about what this project is going to do? Finally, there was the Space Summit/Conference last week with the President. NASA/OSTP waited until only hours before the event to tell people what was actually going to happen at this event. As for follow-up, how will all Americans learn of the event's results?

Don't hold your breath. If NASA does not care enough to reach out and inform the taxpayers who fund its activities, why should it get upset when people's interest in what the agency does is not all that it could be?

Nervous in Florida

What's next for NASA?, opinion, Fran DiBello

"There are still many political battles to be discussed and fought nationwide. The looming dread of entire regions that stand to lose not just jobs but also valuable talent assets in the shuttle workforce, and now the Constellation teams too, hangs heavy over November elections. Florida's central region from Cape Canaveral to Tampa, known as its high-tech corridor, is a key voting block, and these policies will certainly sway voters as the potential loss of more than 23,000 direct and indirect jobs will grab headlines and the hearts of voters."

Obama's space plan adds insult to injury, opinion, Douglas Ma"cKinnon, Orlando Sentinel

"With all due respect to President Obama, regarding his speech in Florida on "Space Exploration in the 21st Century," I simply have to ask, "Are you kidding me?" As one who has consulted on and written extensively about our space program, worked in the White House and drafted a speech or two, I know shameless pandering filler when I read it."

Space politics: Obama must do more to ensure that all NASA centers receive transition assistance, editorial, Houston Chronicle

"What about us? That was the common refrain from Houston-area elected officials after President Barack Obama's speech at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida this week outlining measures to soften the blow to thousands of NASA employees who will be laid off with the cancellation of the Constellation program. In attempting to placate congressional critics of his new NASA road map, Obama explicitly set a goal of a manned landing on Mars in the 2030s, a revival of the Orion manned capsule as a lifeboat at the International Space Station and development of a powerful rocket with the capability to send astronauts beyond low-Earth orbit."

Texans team up against Obama space vision, Houston Chronicle

"Texas' congressional delegation presented a united, bipartisan front on Friday, saying President Barack Obama's compromise on his space budget doesn't go far enough and calling upon him to visit Johnson Space Center. Meeting with the media in the shadow of a massive Saturn V rocket like those that blasted Apollo astronauts to the moon, Republican Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison and four Houston-area representatives said America must not lose its capability of launching U.S. astronauts into space."

Buzz Aldrin Explains Importance of Obama's Mars Mission, CBS

"Aldrin said the key to the space program in the future is sustainable colonies on celestial bodies, rather than on orbiting space stations. Aldrin said he wanted to see "permanence on Mars within 15 years," and that Mars' moon Phobos may be the best spot for a permanent settlement. "This moon is the key to permanence of human beings from Earth on another planet in the solar system," said Aldrin."

Has Obama's NASA Strategy Fizzled at Launch?, Time

"Never mind the tropical sun. Visit Florida and dis the space program, and the reception you'll get is going to be awfully cool. Nobody knew that better than President Obama on Thursday, when he toured the Kennedy Space Center and then spoke to a roomful of 200 VIPs about his plans for NASA after the shuttle program ends later this year. The President had to know that more than the agency's future could be on the line. In Florida -- the ultimate presidential swing state -- his could be too. So how was the temperature in the room? Chilly -- and not without reason."

NASA and Obama's budget: the politics and ideals of human space exploration, CS Monitor

"... public reaction pushed the president on Thursday to set a timetable for the first Mars trip - by the mid-2030s - as well as a schedule to land on an asteroid (near 2025). He also had to set 2015 for starting construction of a heavy-lift launcher based on new innovative technology. But Obama only partially backed down on his proposal to cancel a Bush-era program called Constellation."

Not Your Grandfather's Space Program, US News & World Report

"Space-policy analyst Howard McCurdy of American University in Washington, D.C., says he doesn't see much difference in adherence to timetables and goals between Bush's plan and that of Obama's. But he says he's intrigued by Obama's willingness to "leapfrog" over smaller goals."

Obama's Hollow Promise On Space, Opinion, Tim Jones, Fox

"Last year the U.S. had a proven spacecraft in the shuttle, and a well-defined plan for sending American astronauts to deep space. Next year we will have no spacecraft, and no credible plan to develop our own deep space craft for a decade or more. Our experienced NASA team will have left for jobs elsewhere--if they can find them. Our claims for space leadership will be believed only by the president's speechwriters."

Aldrin Is Buzzing Today

Mr. President, here's my NASA to-do list, Buzz Aldrin, USA Today

"Other astronauts might have different views, and I respect them, but I believe that working with this president toward a consensus on how America can lead human exploration, commercialize that effort in a timely way as possible, and set our collective sites on Mars is more likely to create the kind of sustained effort, commitment and legacy that we all want to see. This seems more productive than simply opposing a change of course."

Buzz Aldrin gets ride on Air Force One, CNN

"Buzz Aldrin is used to traveling on high-profile missions. His 240,000-mile trip to the moon on July 20, 1969, set the precedent. On Thursday, Aldrin is hitching a ride aboard Air Force One to Cape Canaveral's Kennedy Space Center in Florida at the invitation of President Obama, White House spokesman Nick Shapiro said. It appears to be just one of the perks for being on Obama's side of the controversy over the president's new space program, which cancels former President George W. Bush's plan to return U.S. astronauts to the moon by 2020."

Keith's note:NASA TV has "special coverage" of todays events in Florida here at 2:40 p.m. when President Barack Obama speaks.

NASA Announces Conference on the American Space Program for the 21st Century

"Following the President's remarks, NASA Administrator Charles Bolden will host a conference overview, beginning at 3:45 p.m. EDT, with Norm Augustine, chair, Review of U.S. Human Spaceflight Plans Committee and John Holdren, assistant to the President for science and technology and director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy. The conference overview and the four concurrent conference sessions, beginning at 4:25 p.m., will take place in both the Operations and Checkout Building and in the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex. NASA Administrator Charles Bolden will host a conference wrap-up with the four panel moderators at 5:40 p.m. in the visitor complex's Astronaut Encounter Theater."
Feud Over NASA Threatens America's Edge in Space, Wall Street Journal

"Even the Florida summit sparked friction. White House aides initially encouraged lawmakers to organize the event, but then decided to do it themselves. Aides to Mr. Obama then promised to reserve tickets for any members of Congress who wanted to attend, according to legislators and staffers. But invitations were later limited, according to a White House email this week that blamed Democratic Congressional leaders and apologized for "any misunderstanding."

Keith's note: Apparently all manner of space advocacy groups have mananged to get tickets - and are bragging about that fact - yet rank and file KSC employees are not as lucky.

Buzz Aldrin gets ride on Air Force One, CNN

"Buzz Aldrin is used to traveling on high-profile missions. His 240,000-mile trip to the moon on July 20, 1969, set the precedent. On Thursday, Aldrin is hitching a ride aboard Air Force One to Cape Canaveral's Kennedy Space Center in Florida at the invitation of President Obama, White House spokesman Nick Shapiro said. It appears to be just one of the perks for being on Obama's side of the controversy over the president's new space program, which cancels former President George W. Bush's plan to return U.S. astronauts to the moon by 2020."

Statement from Buzz Aldrin On The White House Space Policy

"The President's program will help us be in this endeavor for the long haul and will allow us to again push our boundaries to achieve new and challenging things beyond Earth. I believe that this is the right program at the right time, and I hope that NASA and our dedicated space community will embrace this new direction as much as I do. By so doing we can together continue to use space exploration to help drive prosperity and innovation right here on Earth."

Put NASA on a Diet?! Them's Fightin' Words, Mr. President

"... reaction ranged from mild (Buzz Aldrin endorsed Obama's original plan) to downright irate: moon veterans like Neil Armstrong and Jim Lovell slammed the cuts as effectively dismembering the U.S. space program, saying it "destines our nation to become one of second- or even third-rate stature."

Keith's note: One thing that is really starting to annoy me: all of the complaining about - or campaigning for - this new policy does is being done by people in their 50s, 60s, 70s, and 80s - most of whom had their shot in the sun a generation or more ago. Where are the voices of the people who will inherit this space program and actually go to these new places? I do not see them being interviewed. And who will be at the Space Conference/Summit/Flyby event at KSC? The usual hand-picked suspects, I suppose - all fighting over table scraps of an old way of doing things.

OSTP Fact Sheet on the President's April 15th Address in Florida: A Bold Approach for Space Exploration and Discovery

"On Thursday, April 15, at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida, the President will outline a bold strategy for human spaceflight that increases the NASA budget by $6 billion over the next five years. His plan represents an ambitious effort to foster the development of path-breaking technologies; increase the number, scope, and pace of manned and unmanned space missions; make human spaceflight safer and more efficient; and help create thousands of jobs."

To do the heavy lifting, Paul Spudis, Air & Space

"I'm confused. If a heavy lift launch vehicle (HLLV) is not needed for future human missions beyond LEO, why are we spending billions of dollars researching aspects of it in order to make a design decision five years hence? If a heavy lift launch vehicle is needed for such missions, why are we waiting five years to make that decision when we have the parts and workforce needed to make the vehicle now?"

KSC employee note: "I guess Obama doesn't want to see any employees during his visit. The O&C, where he will speak has been closed to all employees on Thursday. Security Bulletin text included below. Not clear yet whether employees will be told to stay home or just hang out somewhere else. I'm guessing about 1000 employees are affected by this closure, including many of the technology development laboratories."

"SECURITY FLASH - O & C CLOSURE: The O&C Facility will be closed to all personnel on Thursday, April 15, from 7:00 a.m to 7:00 p.m., to accommodate President Obama's visit. All services within the building, to include but not limited to, fitness center, Rehabworks, massage, cafeteria, sundry store, etc., will be closed. No access will be permitted unless previously authorized and included on an approved entry authorization list. Parking will not be permitted in the O&C east parking lot or the front curb parking area. All vehicles, including GSA vehicles, must be removed from these areas no later than 7 a.m. on Thursday, April 15th. The O&C west parking lot will be partially closed. All vehicles, including GSA vehicles, must relocate to the western-most portion of this parking lot (closer to the Training Auditorium)."

Keith's note: One of the oddest things I have learned in the past week or two is that Mike Griffin has been telling people that the 9th floor at NASA HQ has been purposefully leaking things to me for posting on NASA Watch so as to advance their cause. If that is the case, then they are not having much success, are they Mike? Just have a look at what I have been posting - and then think about what I was posting long before this crowd arrived to clean up the mess you left behind. I really don't need anyone to do my thinking for me. The next time you think about circulating a rumor like this, start using the logic lobe of that mega brain of yours to do a sanity check before you engage your speech center.

President Obama to Deliver Remarks at Kennedy Space Center

"On the afternoon of Thursday, April 15 President Barack Obama will visit Cape Canaveral, Florida and deliver remarks on the bold new course the Administration is charting for NASA and the future of U.S. leadership in human space flight. ... The breakout sessions in between will be closed press ... media can only cover either the arrival/departure of Air Force One or the President's remarks. It will not be logistically possible to cover more than one event. Media credentialing and logistic details, for planning purposes only, can be found below."

Keith's note: This last minute stuff is a function of White House rules - not NASA PAO. This is all rather pointless since you either get to take pictures (nothing else) or you can watch the actual events from afar outside the presidential bubble with zero Q&A interaction. In other words, there will be no real media access, no interaction whatsoever with rank and file NASA KSC employees, no possible compromises offered - just staged political theater where the President tries to convince everyone how great his policy is.

No Vision = Perish

Blakey Calls for a U.S. Space Strategy

"In 1962, President Kennedy didn't say we'd go to the moon today; he said, this decade," Blakey said at a meeting of the Forum Club of the Palm Beaches in West Palm Beach, Fla. "Despite the financial troubles that lapped at his feet, President Kennedy stepped up to the challenge and urged us forward, with a goal and a vision and a plan. Today, a lack of urgency and specificity will not sustain the vision and, as we know, where there's no vision, the programs -- and the skills and workforce that go with them -- perish."

Kosmas added to 'Save Space' rally

"U.S. Rep. Suzanne Kosmas has been added to the roster of speakers for Sunday's "Save Space" community rally at the Cocoa Expo Sports Center. The rally is designed to emphasize that human space exploration should be the critical aspect of NASA policy."

Kosmas and Posey to Participate in Florida Today Space Forum

"Congresswoman Suzanne Kosmas (FL-24) will participate in the Florida Today Space Forum at the Simpkins Fine Arts Center on the Brevard Community College Cocoa campus. Kosmas, along with Congressman Bill Posey (FL-15), will answer questions on the future of the space industry in Florida and its impact on Space Coast communities."

NASA Internal memo: "You are invited to join Administrator Charlie Bolden and Deputy Administrator Lori Garver in the James E. Webb Memorial Auditorium at Headquarters for a special NASA Update today at 1 p.m. EDT. The program will be carried internally on NASA Television on Headquarters channel 76. The program also will be streamed internally over the Web to NASA Headquarters employees at: http://aquarius.hq.nasa.gov/ramgen/broadcast/hq.rm

Administrator Bolden and Deputy Administrator Garver will outline the next steps in implementing the new exploration strategy outlined in the 2011 fiscal year budget proposal. Please join them for this important announcement."

NASA Work Assignments Topic of Media Telecon on Thursday, April 8

"NASA Administrator Charles Bolden and Deputy Administrator Lori Garver will brief reporters on Thursday, April 8, about the next steps in implementing the agency's new exploration initiatives outlined in the new fiscal year 2011 budget."

Information is now online here.

- NASA Johnson Space Center Director Michael Coats Avaialable Thursday to Discuss Center's Roles in 2011
- NASA Kennedy Center Director Holds Media Briefing on April 8
- NASA to Hold New Exploration Strategy Briefing; Marshall Center Director Robert Lightfoot to Speak with Media
- Media Invited to Dial In for NASA Langley Assignment News

Keith's note: Relibable sources also note that a conference call is being arranged for today between the Vice President's office and key members of Congress involved in the space policy and budget debate.

Florida State Senate Moves Rapidly to Pass Jobs Bill

"Floridians have kept our nation on the cutting edge of space exploration and development, and the loss of any Florida space jobs will create overwhelming challenges for the Space Coast and our state's entire economy," Governor Crist said. "I applaud Senators Gaetz, Haridopolos and Altman, as well as Representatives Steve Crisafulli and Ritch Workman, for their commitment to preserving and retaining our leadership in the global space arena."

Brevard group takes space-industry fight to D.C., Florida Today

"With a heightened sense of urgency in the face of thousands of pending job losses in Brevard County, Cocoa Beach Chamber of Commerce officials are working to gather a group of citizens for a trip to Washington D.C., to plead with lawmakers to support the space industry before it evaporates."



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This page is an archive of entries in the Policy category from April 2010.

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