Recently in Shuttle News 1997-2003 Category

My STS-1 Story

Keith's note: I had an interesting job at STS-1 - I was Jerry Brown's advance man. I took a few days off from my job at Rockwell Downey where I stood inside of Discovery and Atlantis as they were being built to work for my old boss (I worked on his 1980 presidential campaign). The trip to the launch was insane. The area was still somewhat boarded up after the post-Apollo economic downturn and things were opening up for the shuttle era. So everyone was happy on the Space Coast.

At one point I: drove a large Chevy back and forth between the Mouse Trap and the old Holiday Inn (more than once) with Mercury and Gemini astronauts inside: tried to get Jerry to say hi to Christopher Reeve (he did, what a really nice guy he was); tried to keep Jerry away from Pat Boone (failed); set up a dinner with our group and (then) Rep. Bill Nelson - who then stood us up; and spent a lot of time talking to author James Michener about the new space book he was writing. The son of the President of Mexico, Nichelle Nichols, astronaut Rusty Schweickart, and Whole Earth Catalog founder Stewart Brand were in our traveling entourage.

Before the launch I also spent a lot of time walking around with George Lucas and Stephen Spielberg (who joined our merry bunch) looking at IMAX cameras and bothering Tom Brokaw while a very patient Judy Resnik answered questions. We then walked down A1A to Al Neuharth's Punkin Center. "Raiders of the Lost Ark" premiered 15 June 1981. Let's just say I got a slight preview of coming attractions. I left them saying "keep doing what you are doing". They did.

After the launch at Al Neuharth's house I let Alan Shephard and Buzz Aldrin use my motel key to scratch their signatures on the viewfinder of the Hasselblad camera that our photographer Jamie Stoughton used - his father was JFK's photographer (he also took the B&W photos of me and Jerry at the launch). An hour or so after the launch a helicopter flew over the house and dropped bundles of Florida Today newspapers showing pictures of the launch we just saw. The entire event was surreal.

Oh and then there was the landing. At the landing I offered Nastassja Kinski a donut on the bus up to Edwards and she acted insulted that I'd offer her junk food. At the VIP area John Denver and I were trying to figure out how to properly use the Canon A-1 cameras we had both just bought. And then the shuttle dropped like a brick onto the runway. I was 25. My feet never touched through ground through out this mission.

That is my STS-1 story.

Keith's note: Looks like Boeing is taking this recruitment drive seriously. Now you can become a member of their official fan club by going to this link and get exclusive content. Of course, to do this you have to sign in with your Facebook account (with all the risks that go with that) or give them your email. By visiting this page Boeing puts a cookie in your browser to track what you are doing. If you agree to become a member of their fan club you risk all of the things listed in their Boeing Privacy and Cookie Statement which says:

"Boeing collects personal information from and about individuals for a variety of purposes. In some cases Boeing requests personal information from you, or from your employer in the case of organizational Services. In other cases we obtain personal information by noting how you and the devices you use interact with our Services. Examples of personal information include: first and last names, phone numbers, e-mail addresses, mailing addresses, passport or government identification information, gender, date of birth, country of residence ... We acquire data from credible third-party sources that are either publicly or commercially available. This information includes personal data such as your name, address, email address, preferences, interests, and certain demographic data. For example, personal data is collected when you access our applications through social media account logins. We combine personal information collected through our Services with other information that we or third parties collect about you in other contexts, such as our communications with you via email or phone, or your customer service records. We treat such combined information as personal information and protect it in accordance with this Statement."

And if you are older than 14 Boeing will happily collect this information from anyone. Why does Boeing want to know this about you? We've discussed this creepy activity in previous posts.

- Boeing's Creepy Petition Wants To Track Your Online Activity, previous post
- Boeing's Misleading Anti-SpaceX Pro-SLS Facebook Ad Campaign, previous post

NASA Has To Fight The Forgetting, NBC

"[Space workers] need the consequent inescapable ache of fear and the gnawing of doubt that keeps asking, over and over, if they've covered all angles and done all they can. And if their stomachs do not knot up, and mouths go dry, as they confront such decisions perhaps they need new jobs. They do not need comforting myths about "valuable sacrifices" and "space-is-very-very-hard" rationalizations for the failures of individuals and teams. And most of all, they do not need more human sacrifices to remind them of things they knew, but somehow allowed themselves to forget."

NASA JSC Storytelling - Early SSP Programmatic Decisions

"Come join us today for the November Session of our Storytelling program. A panel of 5 will chronicle the Early Space Shuttle Programmatic Decisions. The program will focus on the Phase A and B concepts that were studied and how NASA arrived at the conceptual baseline that was developed during the subsequent design and development phases, and the management/organizational approach used during the development phase, and the effectiveness of that management approach. This program is being distributed throughout the agency and JSC using cable TV channel 2 plus IPTV channel 202, and additionally using the NASA-JSC USTREAM channel. The NASA-JSC USTREAM is here:"

Tree removal for space shuttle arrival tempers excitement, LA Times

"... for some residents in South L.A., the excitement of the shuttle rumbling through their neighborhoods quickly faded when they learned that 400 trees will be chopped down to make room for the behemoth. The California Science Center -- Endeavour's final home -- has agreed to replant twice as many trees along the route from the shuttle's docking place at Los Angeles International Airport to Exposition Park... Several alternatives for the Oct. 12 move were considered but ultimately discarded. Taking the massive shuttle apart would have damaged the delicate tiles that acted as heat sensors."

Keith's note: Just how many tiles are we talking about? Didn't NASA pull tiles on and off of shuttles on a routine basis - for decades? I am sure a few of those tile maintenance folks could have used a little consulting work. Since these shuttles are not going to fly again, why is this a big deal? The engines on these orbiters are now fake. Indeed, just today NASA announced that it was still trying to give shuttle tiles away. If NASA ever releases the actual proposals it will be interesting to see if the tree removal was mentioned and what effect it would have on property values.

How We Nearly Lost Discovery, Wayne Hale

"Now that Discovery is safely delivered to the Smithsonian, I think I can tell the story of how we nearly lost her in July of 2005, and how well intentioned, highly motivated, hard working, smart people can miss the most obvious. ... So were we stupid? Yes. Can you learn from our mistake? I hope so."

NASA Internal Memo: Official Overarching Messages Regarding Shuttle Retirement

"* The Bush Administration in 2004 made the decision to end the Space Shuttle program. President Obama extended the program's life by adding two Space Shuttle launches to the manifest: STS-134, which was funded in the President's FY 2010 Budget Request; and STS-135 which was funded as part of the agreement that the President reached with Congress for FY 2011 funding.

* An independent commission found that the previous Administration's plan for human spaceflight in the post-Shuttle era was not viable under any feasible budget scenario. Among other challenges, it would have left NASA without the ability to get to the International Space Station until after it was de-orbited in 2016, and weakened other important NASA priorities including science, aeronautics, and technology development."

Space Shuttle Discovery Returns From Space For The Last Time

"At 11:57 a.m. EST, space shuttle Discovery landed for the final time at NASA's Kennedy Space Center after 202 orbits around Earth and a journey of 5,304,140 miles on STS-133. Discovery's main gear touched down at 11:57:17 a.m. followed by the nose gear at 11:57:28 and wheels stop at 11:58:14 a.m. At wheels stop, the mission elapsed time was 12 days, 19 hours, four minutes and 50 seconds."

E.P.A. Plans First Rules Ever on Perchlorate in Drinking Water

"The Obama administration announced on Wednesday that it planned to regulate toxic substances in drinking water more strictly and would issue the first limits ever on perchlorate, a dangerous chemical found in rocket fuel that has seeped into groundwater in at least 400 locations."

PERCHLORATE: Occurrence Is Widespread but at Varying Levels; Federal Agencies Have Taken Some Actions to Respond to and Lessen Releases, GAO

"According to NASA officials, the agency has detected perchlorate at four of the seven facilities where sampling occurred based on the historical use of perchlorate. NASA has undertaken a major perchlorate cleanup effort at one facility--the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, where NASA detected a groundwater plume that had contaminated local drinking water supplies."

JSC Job Loss Update

Amid sadness and anger at NASA, a time for gallows humor, Houston Chronicle

"As NASA administrator Charles Bolden makes his two appearances on Capital Hill this week, it has become ever more clear that NASA's Constellation program is going away, despite the protestations of some people in Congress. Constellation, the space program's next generation of rockets and spacecraft, is managed at Johnson Space Center. Although the mood there is rather dour as one might expect, it is well known that geeks, myself included, respond to stress with gallows humor. And so it goes with Constellation."

We must not discard greatest innovator in history, Walt Cunningham, Houston Chronicle

"In the place of the canceled Ares and Orion hardware, we now have increased support for education, increased spending on the discredited global warming hypocrisy and subsidies to several new commercial rocket companies. And, oh yes, don't forget a new outreach program to Muslim countries without established space programs. In canceling Constellation with nothing to take its place, the president is saying the U.S. should not have its own human space program and is directing funds to the Commercial Orbital Transportation Services program, or COTS. If NASA wants to participate in human spaceflight, it will have to be through contractors."

STS-129 Launch Video

The first few secs of video are jumbled - just wait it is perfect after that.


2 December 2003: NASA Names Crew for New Space Shuttle Mission STS-121, NASA

"Four NASA astronauts have been chosen to fly on the newly created Space Shuttle mission, STS-121. It is the mission following the Space Shuttle's Return to Flight."

1 December 2003: After Columbia, a Picture of Greater Shuttle Vigilance, Washington Post

"Engineers have made scant progress in their struggle to develop a repair technique for the exotic composite heat shielding called reinforced carbon-carbon (RCC), which was the site of the puncture that downed Columbia. Engineering manager Steve Poulos recently said there is only "a fair chance" the team will succeed before flights resume."

25 November 2003: NASA Announces Huntsville Operations Support Center (HOSC) Contract Award

"NASA has selected COLSA Corporation of Huntsville, Ala., as prime contractor for its Huntsville Operations Support Center (HOSC) contract. The estimated value of the contract is approximately $125.6 million."

24 November 2003: NASA Sources Sought Notice: Safety and Mission Assurance Support Services Contract, NASA JSC

"This potential contract will require overall S&MA support to the Space Shuttle Program, the ISS Program, the Orbital Space Plane (OSP) Program, to all Government-Furnished Equipment (GFE) developed at JSC, to both Space Shuttle and ISS-related Extravehicular Activity (EVA) hardware and operations, and to both Shuttle and ISS payloads."

24 November 2003: NASA Releases First Update to Implementation Plan for Space Shuttle Return to Flight and Beyond

"This revision to NASA's Implementation Plan for Space Shuttle Return to Flight and Beyond includes (1) our initial responses to additional data released by the Columbia Accident Investigation Board (CAIB), (2) preliminary cost estimates for return to flight activities, (3) a description of NASA's Space Shuttle return to flight suggestion process, and (4) updates to selected CAIB and Space Shuttle Program (SSP) actions."

22 November 2003: Space Shuttle Enterprise Has a New Home, SpaceRef

"This past Thursday, after spending exactly 18 years in a non-descript hangar at Dulles International Airport, just outside Washington DC, Space Shuttle Enterprise was moved to its new home. Instead of sitting in dark, unglamorous storage, Enterprise is now in a bright place of honor."

20 November 2003: Moving Day for Enterprise

Editor's note: Space Shuttle Enterprise is being moved from a storage hangar at Dulles International Airport into the new Air and Space Annex adjacent the airport today. NASA is shooting some video which should be aired in the next day or so.

20 November 2003: House Science Committee Chair Boehlert Addresses Space Transportation Association

"We will not, of course, be able to reach any kind of closure on issues related to NASA by the end of January. "The Committee continues to closely monitor the Space Shuttle's return to flight. I think the Shuttle needs to lift off as soon as is safely possible, but I'm skeptical that that can actually happen by September."

18 November 2003: NASA Aerospace Safety Advisory Committee Charter

18 November 2003: NASA Names New Aerospace Safety Advisory Panel (ASAP) Members

"NASA Administrator Sean O'Keefe today announced the new NASA Aerospace Safety Advisory Panel (ASAP), which includes nine distinguished members and a new charter. The initial meeting of the new panel is expected soon."

14 November 2003: Leaders Named for New NASA Engineering and Safety Center (NESC)

"NASA Administrator Sean O'Keefe announced the team that will lead the new NASA Engineering and Safety Center (NESC)."

15 November 2003: Controversial appointment at NASA, Daily Press

"Members of the Senate Commerce Committee complained in September about NASA's selection of Roe as the man to help establish the center at NASA Langley. Roe said Friday that his mistakes, which were detailed in the Columbia Accident Investigation Board's report in August, would help him in his new role."

13 November 2003: Space Shuttle Decision Timeline 17 Sep 2003

17 October 2003: Park shuttle, shift gaze to Mars, experts advise NASA, Orlando Sentinel

"The problem is not human spaceflight; the problem is this kind of human spaceflight," said Wesley Huntress, director of the Geophysical Laboratory at the Carnegie Institution of Washington and a former space-science official at NASA.

"I think the problem is we're spending $7 billion a year on human spaceflight without an adequate return," said Bruce Murray, a professor at the California Institute of Technology and a co-founder of the Planetary Society, a space-exploration advocacy group."

15 October 2003: GAO Report GAO-03-1107: Impact of the Grounding of the Shuttle Fleet (Summary)

"Although the effects of the Columbia accident on the space station are still being explored, it is clear that the station will cost more, take longer to complete, and have further delay in the achievement of key research objectives."

15 October 2003: NASA Releases Updated Return to Flight Implementation Plan

"This revision supercedes the first iteration of our return to flight Implementation Plan released on September 8, 2003, and includes formatting that indicates where changes and updates have been made to show progress since the first Plan was released."

9 October 2003: Sean O'Keefe: Progress Report on Fixing NASA's Shuttle, SpaceRef

"According to O'Keefe, some rather simple solutions to repairing tile damage on-orbit have emerged. To demonstrate for reporters how simple one concept was he pulled a small foam brush from his pocket - the small disposable type one would use for home refinishing projects. Noting that this brush "can be bought at K-Mart" O'Keefe went on to describe a two component system (not unlike commercial epoxy kits) which is mixed together and then applied to the affected area with something as simple as the brush he had in his hand."

4 October 2003: NASA's Plans for Shuttles Call for Fall '04 Launching, NY Times

4 October 2003: In the Air Again - NASA Announces Schedule to Return Shuttles to Flight, ABC

4 October 2003: Shuttle flights face further delays, MSNBC

3 October 2003: NASA Moves Planning Date for Next Shuttle Flight to Fall 2004, SpaceRef

"The launch of STS-114 - the so-called "Return to Flight" mission - has been moved to extend from 12 September 2004 to 10 October 2004."

3 October 2003: White House seeks scientists' comments - Deadline approaching for contributions to government streamlining effort, The Scientist

"Research organizations and scientific societies are giving the White House an earful when it comes to their pet peeves about government support for research. The comments were invited by the Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP). Many will become part of the agenda for a top-level review of policies and practices for funding research."

2 October 2003: Shuttle's return may wait longer, USA Today

"The space shuttle Atlantis, which was supposed to fly the first shuttle mission after the Columbia accident, may be grounded until late October 2004 because its nose wasn't thoroughly inspected during a recent overhaul, shuttle engineers said Wednesday."

2 October 2003: Nose cap may delay shuttle's return to space, AP

"Senior NASA executives who make up the Spaceflight Leadership Council planned to meet Friday to discuss the extent of the inspections needed on Atlantis' nose cap, possibly pick a new launch date and address other issues involving the space shuttle and space station programs."

1 October 2003: Bush offers encouragement to space station astronauts, AP

"President Bush is offering encouragement to astronauts just back from the International Space Station. In an Oval Office meeting, the president told them to continue the quest to explore the heavens."

Editor's note: The Expedition 6 Crew met with President Bush on Wednesday. At a 45th anniversary reception at the National Air and Space Museum on Wednesday night, Sean O'Keefe read a letter from the President congratulating the agency on its anniversary. I was at the reception - as a former NASA employee (not media) so all I will say is that tonight's event was as smooth as silk, paced just right, and had the desired effect on at least one attendee. A wonderful time was had by all.

16 September 2003: Space shuttles to last into next decade-Boeing, Reuters

"Since the International Space Station was designed to work with the space shuttle and to stay in service until at least 2018, the shuttle should probably stay in service until that date, Mott said. "So if you go to 2018 that becomes very logical because that (the shuttle and the space station) works together as an integrated system," Mott said."

29 September 2003: Marshall redesigning shuttle tank for safety, Huntsville Times

"Planned changes to the space shuttle's 15-story external fuel tank have Marshall Space Flight Center engineers designing a tank that uses existing, but improved, foam technology that won't pose a danger to the shuttle."

15 September 2003: 9 Days in September: NASA Responds to the Columbia Accident Report, SpaceRef

"The process of responding to the Columbia Accident Investigation Board's report began last week in Washington DC. The outcome of this process will, at a minimum lead to the path required to getting the Space Shuttle fleet flying again. This process may also lead to new directions for America's space program. Then again, it may not."

Editor's note: 14,000 words, 12 parts.

- Ground the Shuttle

- Beyond the Shuttle

- Separating People From Cargo

- Farewell to Faster - Better - Cheaper

- More Money Please

- Schedule

- Risk

- Learning

- Speaking Out

- Visions

- Leadership

- Get With The Program

8 September 2003: "NASA's Implementation Plan for Return to Flight and Beyond", NASA HQ

"This report is the agency's blueprint for acting on the recommendations from the Columbia Accident Investigation Board (CAIB) and safely returning to flight. This document is an initial outline to help guide the Space Shuttle Program."

6 September 2003: NASA Plan Lists Changes to Resume Shuttle Flights, NY Times

"The plan, a copy of which was provided to The New York Times, is a broad blueprint listing actions the agency is pursuing to fulfill those requirements. The agency has also outlined actions it is taking beyond the recommendations, including evaluating the International Space Station as a haven for shuttle crews that might be stranded because of a problem."

18 June 2003: Shuttle Launch Likely in Early 2004, NASA Says, Reuters

"You ask for a gut feeling? We can put this together in the first quarter of '04," Michael Kostelnik, NASA's deputy associate administrator for the shuttle and space station programs, told reporters."

19 June 2003: Overhauls leave NASA 1 shuttle available for goal, Houston Chronicle

"One of the remaining space shuttles is being overhauled and another is about to be, leaving only one orbiter available to meet NASA's timeline for getting the orbiters back in flight by early next year, according to the latest strategy presented to senior space agency officials."

18 June 2003: Official expects shuttle flight by April, USA Today

"At a meeting last week, NASA chief Sean O'Keefe said the agency is "considering" launch dates as soon as December. But spring of 2004 was more likely, he said. At the same meeting, Michael Greenfield, NASA's associate deputy administrator for technical programs, said NASA had set a launch date of Dec. 18 for planning purposes."

18 June 2003: Letter from NASA Director of Shuttle Processing Regarding Safety and Mission Assurance Advisor

"As a result of the numerous activities associated with Return to Flight, I have asked Bill Higgins to accept a new position as the Safety and Mission Assurance Advisor to the Director of Shuttle Processing."

17 June 2003: NASA Sources Sought Notice: 3-D Imaging Sensors for In-flight Shuttle Inspection, NASA JSC

"NASA/JSC is hereby soliciting information about potential sources for proven, flight certifiable sensors that can detect and quantify damage that may occur in-flight to the Space Shuttle Orbiter's thermal protection system (TPS)."

28 May 2003: New Chief Hopes to Steer Shuttle Flight's Revival, Washington Post

"Despite a stint as deputy director at the Houston center, he acknowledged, "there's some in-depth knowledge that I don't have about flight operations." But he said he knows how to delegate responsibility. "I'm very comfortable not knowing everything, and realizing that there are people on my team that have that knowledge and will give me sound advice," he said."

9 May 2003: NASA Selects New Space Shuttle Program Manager

"NASA today announced the selection of William (Bill) W. Parsons as the new manager for the Space Shuttle Program. Parsons, the director of the NASA John C. Stennis Space Center (SSC) in south Mississippi, succeeds Ronald D. Dittemore, who announced his resignation April 23."

9 May 2003: Transcript of Press Conference with Bill Parsons and Mike Kostelnik at NASA Headquarters

6 May 2003: Request for Information on the Acquisition Strategy for the Orbital Space Plane, NASA MSFC

"Receipt of pertinent information and questions will foster a better understanding of the OSP System requirements and industry's capabilities for satisfying those requirements."

5 May 2003: Space Shuttle Program 2020 Assessment (Full text)

"The Space Shuttle Program 2020 Assessment was a NASA effort commissioned by then Office of Space Flight, Associate Administrator, Fred Gregory, in March 2002, to identify and prioritize the future investments required to safely and effectively fly Shuttle through 2020. At the time the 2020 Assessment was commissioned, the Shuttle service life was planned through 2012. This assessment was viewed as a prudent step to better understand what might be required to extend the planned service life of the Space Shuttle."

25 March 2002: "Reassessing Space Shuttle Upgrades Strategy"; Letter from OSF AA Fred Gregory to JSC Center Director

30 April 2003: ISS Monthly Program Review, Vol. 131, 11 April 2003, NASA JSC

Editor's note: If you really want to know the state of Shuttle and ISS program planning post-Columbia accident, this is the document to read.

30 April 2003: Columbia Impact: Groundrules and Assumptions (Internal ISS program), NASA JSC

"All program metrics are being measured against these groundrules and assumptions as of 4/01/03. The Plans below are for planning purposes within the ISSP only - As they are modified, this page will be changed accordingly."

15 April 2003: Presolicitation Notice: Consolidated Space Operations Contract Extension, NASA JSC

"NASA/JSC plans to issue a Request for Proposal (RFP) for an extension to the Consolidated Space Operations Contract (CSOC), currently held by Lockheed Martin Space Operations Company. The extension will provide an additional three-months of effort, through March 31, 2004. An extension of CSOC will ensure a successful transition to the follow-on contracts."

8 April 2003: Space Shuttle Program Launch Manifest 27 Mar 2003, NASA JSC

14 March 2003: Letter from OSF AA Bill Readdy regarding "Space Shuttle Return to Flight", NASA HQ

"As a goal, the SSP shall plan for corrective actions and reviews which support a launch opportunity as early as the Fall of 2003."

Editor's note: In Congressional hearings this morning Sean O'Keefe repeated the agency's goal of Fall 2003 (as outlined in Bill Readdy's memo) as an earliest possible return to flight date for the Shuttle. However, based on this official program schedule, issued a week after Readdy's memo, it would seem that some folks in the agency are even more optimistic and are working towards a launch date for STS-114 NET (No Earlier Than) 21 July 2003.

8 April 2003: Space Shuttle Program Launch Manifest 8 Apr 2003, NASA JSC

Editor's note: I stand corrected. Thanks to an alert NASA Watch reader we now have the subsequent manifest which shows a shift from the previous NET 21 July date to NET 1 October 2003. Still, it is rather interesting that nearly 2 months after the accident that NASA was holding to a mid-summer launch date - until Readdy's correction.

25 March 2003: Alternate Trajectories Options for Competitive Sourcing of the Space Shuttle Program, December 2002, RAND Corp.

"Today, [the Space Shuttle Program]'s dominant customer is NASA itself, and the primary use of the Shuttle is building and servicing ISS. The broadening of this customer base would greatly improve the prospects for a market-based Shuttle system, fed by revenues beyond NASA's and disciplined by customers beyond NASA. The Task Force examined the potential emergence of other demands for the Shuttle. The results were not encouraging."

10 March 2003: NASA Walks the Gauntlet: Sean O'Keefe Does Brunch With the Press, SpaceRef

"This [RAND] report was based on a premise that there was going to be a substantial market viability for commercial launch services that would make it potentially financially practical for someone (a company or a private concern) to consider ownership and operation of the Shuttle. Well, that market forecast not only didn't materialize, it has kind of gone the other way. So much of the analysis that went into the RAND report made it almost instantly moot."

24 March 2003: Enhancing and Replacing NASA's Space Shuttle: Ideas? Yes. Funds? No., SpaceRef

"NASA is looking at how it could extend the life of the Shuttle for many more years - perhaps to 2022 - and then replace it with more advanced spacecraft. While NASA has no shortage of ideas, it certainly is lacking the funds to make them all happen."

31 March 2003: NASA Releases Large Email Collection Related to Columbia Accident (includes links to all documents)

"The following email collections were released by NASA in response to Freedom of Information Requests made to the agency. Discussion and briefing charts are broken into sections to reduce file size."

1 April 2003: Engineer Disputed NASA on Seeking Image of Shuttle, Washington Post

"William F. Readdy, NASA's associate administrator, disclosed recently that he spurned an opportunity to request a high-priority photograph of the damaged space shuttle during the final days of its mission because he felt the agency had no "extraordinary reason" to request the diversion of the equipment -- described by others as spy satellites -- from their assigned military tasks."

Editor's note: Here we go again, Eric and Guy. We went over the Post's sloppy choice of words (Jeff Smith's) back on 15 March. Readdy did not "spurn" the offer for imagery - he simply did not pursue it. That's what he told you (Eric), the Post's Jeff Smith and Kathy Sawyer, and a room full of reporters on 14 March 2003. Scorn is defined as being "to reject disdainfully or contemptuously." That did not happen and the Post has yet to produce anything to suggest that it did. Continuing to use such an inaccurate misrepresentation of reality in a national newspaper whose stories are reprinted around the world is a disservice to all of your readers.

"It is not known whether Rocha then wrote his draft "bordering on irresponsible" response. What he sent to Shack, however, was a two-line e-mail simply asking, "Can you tell us more on Roe's negative answer?" There was indication yesterday that Shack responded to that message."

Editor's note: Instead of printing provocative, unsubstantiated extrapolation of what you think might have happened, how about actually asking the people involved what happened - and then printing their responses? After all, you now have their email addresses ...

Previous NASA Watch Comments on News Coverage of Columbia Accident (contains an ongoing collection of commentary on the Post's sloppy reporting on the Columbia accident).

25 March 2003: Alternate Trajectories Options for Competitive Sourcing of the Space Shuttle Program, December 2002, RAND Corp.

"Today, [the Space Shuttle Program]'s dominant customer is NASA itself, and the primary use of the Shuttle is building and servicing ISS. The broadening of this customer base would greatly improve the prospects for a market-based Shuttle system, fed by revenues beyond NASA's and disciplined by customers beyond NASA. The Task Force examined the potential emergence of other demands for the Shuttle. The results were not encouraging."

10 March 2003: NASA Walks the Gauntlet: Sean O'Keefe Does Brunch With the Press, SpaceRef

"This [RAND] report was based on a premise that there was going to be a substantial market viability for commercial launch services that would make it potentially financially practical for someone (a company or a private concern) to consider ownership and operation of the Shuttle. Well, that market forecast not only didn't materialize, it has kind of gone the other way. So much of the analysis that went into the RAND report made it almost instantly moot."

13 March 2003: Shuttles unlikely to fly for private companies, Orlando Sentinel

"At this point, I can never see the concept of privatization having any legs at all," said U.S. Rep. Dave Weldon, R-Palm Bay. "You may see the opposite. You may see calls for more government involvement, government oversight."

13 March 2003: Lockheed Says NASA Business to Slow, Reuters

"There's a contraction in NASA business and we're likely to see that contraction continue through 2003," Lockheed Martin President and Chief Operating Officer Robert Stevens told investors. He did not give reasons for the slowdown and a company spokesman was not immediately available for comment."

17 February 2003: At NASA, Concerns on Contractors, Washington Post

"In a report to his bosses 17 months ago, space shuttle program manager Ronald D. Dittemore expressed concern that the unconventional public-private partnership entrusted with overseeing shuttle missions was nearing a breaking point."

    28 September 2001: Concept of Privatization of the Space Shuttle Program, NASA JSC (Full report - Adobe Acrobat)

    28 September 2001: Concept of Privatization of the Space Shuttle Program, NASA JSC (Executive Summary)

    "It is the intent of Space Shuttle privatization to expand the business base of the private
    company responsible for Space Shuttle operations to more than just Space Shuttle
    operations. It is envisioned that the private company will be a strong competitor for
    privatized ISS operations. Additionally, because the private company will have a strong
    resident core competency in human space flight operations, it is envisioned that the private
    company will be a strong competitor for future space operations contracts (next generation
    reusable launch vehicles, and Moon, Mars, or other exploration), both human space flight
    and nonhuman ventures."

3 February 2003: Interview with Sen. Bill Nelson, CNN

"But there has been an ignoring and a starving of NASA for funds by the administration, and this isn't a partisan comment. It goes back to the previous administration."

4 February 2003: Sen. Nelson denies politicizing Columbia, UPI

"Nelson was critical of the Bush administration shortly after the Columbia broke apart Saturday, but he has conceded the Clinton administration shares some of the blame in more recent statements."

Editor's note: Although he now admits that the Clinton Adminstration had a hand in cutting NASA's budget, where was Sen. Nelson's outrage WHILE the Clinton Administration cut NASA's budget 7 out of 8 years?

31 January 2003: NASA finalizes contract with United Space Alliance

"NASA has settled negotiations that increase the value of a two-year extension of the Space Flight Operations Contract (SFOC) held by United Space Alliance, LLC, in Houston, by $59.91 million."

4 January 2003: NASA will launch plan to keep shuttles flying

"Faced with flying the highly complex space shuttle almost a decade longer than expected, NASA will start this month pulling together a plan to keep the aging fleet of orbiters launch-ready and safe."

2 January 2003: GAO Report: "Relocating Space Shuttle Modification Work" (full text)

At the request of Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-CA) the GAO assessed the NASA's rationale and documentation to support its decision to relocate Space Shuttle Orbiter Major Modification work from Palmdale, California, to Kennedy Space Center, Florida.


12 December 2002: Small crack found on Discovery raises concerns about Columbia, Orlando Sentinel

"During a standard inspection this week, technicians discovered the crack on a metal ball inside a line that feeds super-cold liquid oxygen to the shuttle's three main engines."

12 December 2002: The Last Scientist On The Moon, Rand Simberg, Transterrestrial Musings, Fox News

"Now let's look at reality. The station currently has three astronauts aboard. Most of their time is consumed in simply keeping the space station functional. While there's now (borrowing from Star Trek) an official "science officer" aboard, it's more public relations than reality. Whenever budgets are cut, the first place to look for savings is from "science." There's no centrifuge aboard the station to provide controls for different gravity levels. Too expensive. The power level of the station is barely sufficient to sustain the basic function of the facility--not to provide power for experiments."

1 November 2002: 'Lifeboat' efforts sinking for NASA, Houston Chronicle

"In the assessment, Hall criticized O'Keefe's responses to his questions about the lifeboat gap as too vague. O'Keefe informed Hall that the agency's lifeboat strategy will be incorporated into a soon-to-be-completed review of NASA's efforts to develop a new reusable rocket and to upgrade the space shuttle fleet, called the Integrated Space Transportation Plan. "The sum of Ralph's reaction is he expected clearer and better answers to his questions," said Dan Pearson, a spokesman for Hall."

31 October 2002: Boeing, LM To Study Launching ISS Crew Atop Heavy-Lift Delta IV, Atlas V, Aerospace Daily

"Boeing and Lockheed Martin will conduct feasibility studies for NASA on the possibility of launching future crews to the International Space Station (ISS) atop the heavy-lift variants of Boeing's Delta IV or Lockheed Martin's Atlas V expendable rockets, the companies said."

27 October 2002: NASA Looks to Replace Space Shuttle With Orbital Space Plane, SpaceRef

"Last weekend NASA Administrator Sean O'Keefe and much of NASA HQ senior management went on a retreat at the Minnowbrook Conference Center at Syracuse University. Among the topics discussed: NASA's Integrated Space Transportation Plan (ISTP). The road ahead? The U.S. is now heading towards a 100% home-grown successor to America's Space Shuttle and alternative to Russia's Soyuz.

18 October 2002:
Further privatization, more competition urged for shuttle program, Orlando Sentinel

"The report calls the existing situation, with United Space Alliance as the prime contractor, "profoundly noncompetitive." The joint venture between Lockheed Martin and Boeing makes it difficult to stimulate true competition, the report says."

10 October 2002: Aerospace Daily: NASA Eyes Lower Subcontractor Fees, Other Savings To Close Shuttle Deficit, Aerospace Daily

"NASA intends to eliminate a $46 million deficit in space shuttle operations partly by negotiating lower fees paid to private firms - including subcontractors for Boeing's Rocketdyne Propulsion and Power unit, which makes engines for the shuttle - according to an outline of the plan."

5 October 2002: Transit Authority Model Eyed for Space Shuttle, Aviation Week and Space Technology

"NASA will examine shifting shuttle management to a corporate "space authority," similar to a ground-based regional mass transit authority, as part of assessments on how to restructure the shuttle program for an additional 20 years of operation. The concept would be structured to incur debt and "float bonds" to maintain, operate and modernize the shuttle system for the second half of its service life. As part of the model, the International Space Station could be run by a nongovernmental organization (NGO) serviced by a space transit authority that would operate the shuttle."

4 October 2002: NASA Awards $25 Million Contract Addition to Lockheed Martin

"NASA has awarded work valued at $25 million involving telecommunications support services to Lockheed Martin Space Operations, Houston, as an addition to the broader Consolidated Space Operations Contract (CSOC) currently held by Lockheed."

23 September 2002: Shuttle Shakeup Eyed For Cost, Safety Goals, Aviation Week and Space Technology.

"The report found "full-scale privatization of the shuttle program is premature" but proposed several other competitive sourcing options. The findings, however, will generate controversy among astronauts and managers over shuttle safety oversight. This is, in part, because portions of the Rand findings run directly counter to a major shuttle privatization review led by the Johnson Space Center in late 2001. That assessment said any delay in shuttle privatization would threaten shuttle safety. "We debunked the Johnson findings," a Rand participant said. "All the Johnson team data was skewed toward NASA's current culture--and a cultural change in NASA is required.""

28 September 2001: NASA JSC Report: Concept of Privatization of the Space Shuttle Program, NASA JSC

"Privatization of the SSP has the potential to provide significant benefits to the Government. However, timing is critical. The continuing erosion of NASA skills and experience threatens the safety of the program. It is critical to take advantage of the existing NASA SSP expertise before further erosion affects the ability to plan and safely implement privatization. Today, the skill and knowledge legacy still remain to formulate the appropriate merger of the NASA SSP and private industry."

20 September 2002: KSC chief addresses canceled program's workers, Florida Today

"On Friday, NASA drove about 600 people in 20 buses to a conference facility at the KSC Visitor Complex."

19 September 2002: NASA chief upset with handling of dismissals , Florida Today

"O'Keefe described himself as "absolutely steamed" when he heard about the incident. He directed Kennedy Space Center Director Roy Bridges to investigate how it happened. A spokesman at KSC did not return a phone call Wednesday seeking a response from Bridges or other space center managers."

Editor's note: word has it that Roy Bridges will hold an all hands for the CLCS folks on Friday in a location with seats, air conditioning, and proper audio to discuss what comes next.

19 September 2002: Layoffs mishandled, NASA chief says, Orlando Sentinel

"You were at fault because you got this in the newspaper before we were able to get to our people," [Roy] Bridges told a Sentinel reporter Wednesday night. "You're actually ruining people's lives here."

Editor's note: Aw C'mon Roy - Blaming the media is taking the lazy way out. You have been getting bad news signals on CLCS for a long, long time. News of its cancellation was sitting here on NASA Watch for almost a month. If YOU had spent a little less time in denial - and more time concerning yourself with the welfare of people who work for you - and keeping them in the loop - this could have been handled in a much more professional, and less insulting manner.

18 September 2002:
O'Keefe Comments on CLCS Parking Lot Meeting at KSC

Editor's note: At a breakfast meeting with reporters at NASA headquarters this morning Sean O'Keefe said the following with regard to the parking lot meeting of all CLCS team members; "I found that to be an outrageous display of poor leadership. This is not a leadership model we seek to use in this agency."

Editor's note: O'Keefe was clearly not a happy camper. More to follow.

17 September 2002: CLCS Employees Given the Bad News

Update: From someone in the KSC area; "The entire CLCS staff was led to the parking lot this morning at 09:00 EDT and informed of the news that the CLCS Project has been cancelled. Most of these same employees were holding newspapers with the CLCS cancellation headline."

16 September 2002: CLCS All Hands Planned

Editor's note: All CLCS personnel have been informed of all hands meeting first thing tomorrow (Tuesday) morning. All CLCS KSC employees have been asked to go to a large parking lot a hundred yards from the VAB. CLCS trailers are located nearby - near press row. It is here that they will be given the bad news.

You read about all of this here first three weeks ago - even if other news sources below seem to omit that fact. The people affected deserved to know - as soon as I knew it - even if they - and their management were in denial.

17 September 2002: After $273 million, NASA scraps project, Orlando Sentinel

"After investing $273 million, NASA is canceling a cutting-edge launch-control computer system for the space shuttle that is over budget, behind schedule and too expensive to operate."

13 September 2002: Delays endanger KSC computer upgrade, jobs, Florida Today

"You might say I'm standing by to see what NASA headquarters might decide about this program," [KSC Center Director Roy] Bridges said."

26 August 2002: NASA to Shut Down Checkout & Launch Control System, SpaceRef

"NASA Headquarters has decided to terminate the CLCS (Checkout & Launch Control System) at NASA KSC. Instead, attention will be focused upon supporting the portion of the existing LPS (Launch Processing System), which the CLCS was originally intended to replace."

Checkout Launch and Control System, excerpt from Upgrading the Shuttle, Committee on Space Shuttle Upgrades (1999), National Academy of Sciences

"The committee believes that an upgrade to the launch control system is necessary and worth pursuing. A modern system that incorporates advances in both hardware and software could not only reduce costs related to obsolescence and personnel but could also facilitate future computer-intensive shuttle upgrades, such as an integrated vehicle health management system. However, the committee has some serious concerns about the CLCS project as currently planned."

Editor's note: the chair of this Committee was Bryan O'Connor, the new NASA AA for Safety.

27 August 2002: Update from KSC

From: King-1, David (PH)

Sent: Tuesday, August 27, 2002 1:59 PM

To: PH All\Shuttle Processing Directorate

Subject: CLCS Rumor abatement

This morning I was made aware of a "NASA Watch" article concerning CLCS. As a result, I personally called NASA Headquarters to find out if any such decision had been made. Headquarters has not made a decision to cancel the project as was stated in the article. The normal budget process is
in place and will render such a decision should it become necessary. I believe it is unfortunate that this kind of inaccurate and inflammatory information is published in such a widely read forum.

David A. King

Director of Shuttle Processing

Mail Code: PH

National Aeronautics and Space Administration

John F. Kennedy Space Center

Kennedy Space Center, FL 32899

Phone: 321-867-4343

Fax: 321-867-3658

Editor's note: I stand by my story.

Checkout & Launch Control System Home page, NASA KSC

12 September 2002: New Webcam Promises Spectacular View of Space Shuttle Launches, SpaceRef

"The STS-112 mission, scheduled for launch on 2 October 2002, will have a live camera in a place where none has been placed before: on the Shuttle's large External Tank (ET). The view is certain to be spectacular."

10 September 2002: NASA Senior Official Appointments Emphasize 'One NASA' Management Approach

"NASA's Associate Administrator for Space Flight, William F. Readdy, today named James W. Kennedy as Deputy Center Director at NASA's Kennedy Space Center (KSC), Fla., and David A. King, as Deputy Center Director at NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center, Huntsville, Ala., effective November 3."

4 September 2002: On the table: A decision to Cancel CLCS, by

"This is a story of a major decision about to be made. It concerns countless lives, careers and the extreme dedication of KSC workers. The future of America's Space Program is at stake. On the surface it appears to be of local interest for Kennedy Space Center only. It is not. America's future in space is at stake. It is very possible that this decision will pass in the night without notice."

29 August 2002: Internal Letter to all USA Employess from Russ Truner Re: SFOC Extension Update

"We have more recently been informed by NASA that they do not intend to begin negotiations on the second two-year option at this time. "

29 August 2002: NASA Awards Payload Processing Contract to Boeing Space Operations Company, NASA KSC

"NASA's John F. Kennedy Space Center in Florida has chosen Boeing Space Operations Co., Titusville, Fla., for the Checkout, Assembly and Payload Processing Services (CAPPS) contract. CAPPS is the follow-on contract to the Payload Ground Operations Contract that has been performed by the Boeing Company since 1987. "

28 August 2002: CSOC and SFOC Update

Editor's note: word has it that NASA HQ has decided not to exercise a 5 year renewal option on Consolidated Space Operation Contract (CSOC) currently held by Lockheed Martin. Meanwhile, the Space Flight Operations Contract (SFOC) folks (USA) are about to get some bad news too. It would seem that NASA is reshuffling its entire operations portfolio. Stay tuned.

3 April 2002: Consolidated Space Operations Contract: Evaluating and Reporting Cost Savings, NASA OIG

"The NASA Office of Inspector General audit of CSOC cost savings found that NASA cannot substantiate the $62 million of cost savings reported to Congress for the first 2 years of the CSOC. As a result, Congress and NASA cannot evaluate current cost savings for the CSOC and cannot determine whether the contract will achieve the anticipated $1.4 billion cost savings through fiscal year 2008."

3 July 2002: NASA Oversight of United Space Alliance's Safety Procedures at Kennedy Space Center, NASA OIG

3 April 2002: NASA OIG: Lockheed Martin Space Operations' Use of Professional and Consultant Services, NASA OIG

10 April 2001: NASA OIG: Space Shuttle Program Management Safety Observations, NASA OIG

6 September 2001: Statement of Michael McCulley, United Space Alliance, before the Senate Subcommittee on Science, Technology and Space: Shuttle Safety

26 August 2002: NASA to Shut Down Checkout & Launch Control System, SpaceRef

"NASA Headquarters has decided to terminate the CLCS (Checkout & Launch Control System) at NASA KSC. Instead, attention will be focused upon supporting the portion of the existing LPS (Launch Processing System), which the CLCS was originally intended to replace."

Checkout Launch and Control System, excerpt from Upgrading the Shuttle, Committee on Space Shuttle Upgrades (1999), National Academy of Sciences

"The committee believes that an upgrade to the launch control system is necessary and worth pursuing. A modern system that incorporates advances in both hardware and software could not only reduce costs related to obsolescence and personnel but could also facilitate future computer-intensive shuttle upgrades, such as an integrated vehicle health management system. However, the committee has some serious concerns about the CLCS project as currently planned."

Editor's note: the chair of this Committee was Bryan O'Connor, the new NASA AA for Safety.

27 August 2002: Update from KSC

From: King-1, David (PH)

Sent: Tuesday, August 27, 2002 1:59 PM

To: PH All\Shuttle Processing Directorate

Subject: CLCS Rumor abatement

This morning I was made aware of a "NASA Watch" article concerning CLCS. As a result, I personally called NASA Headquarters to find out if any such decision had been made. Headquarters has not made a decision to cancel the project as was stated in the article. The normal budget process is
in place and will render such a decision should it become necessary. I believe it is unfortunate that this kind of inaccurate and inflammatory information is published in such a widely read forum.

David A. King

Director of Shuttle Processing

Mail Code: PH

National Aeronautics and Space Administration

John F. Kennedy Space Center

Kennedy Space Center, FL 32899

Phone: 321-867-4343

Fax: 321-867-3658

Editor's note: I stand by my story.

15 August 2002: NASA Bids Farewell to the Mission Operations Computer,

"This afternoon, in the large computer room on the first floor of the MCC that has been the home of the MOC from the early 1960's, a large crowd of Flight Controllers, Flight Directors, Engineers, Technicians, and management witnessed the final power down of the MOC. Missing from this event, unfortunately, were the computer operators and supervisors responsible for actually running the MOC.

They were laid off two weeks ago."

13 August 2002
Looks like Lance is coming home

Editor's Note: With no sign of the money required for Lance Bass to continue training at Star City, it is now only a matter of days (hours?) before Lance will be asked to leave. It would seem that the hype being spun by his agent is not enough to keep Lance's chances of flying aloft. Stay tuned.

13 August 2002 Space singer's deal under review, MSNBC

"In the past, Krieff has indicated that payments were hung up because of delays in getting insurance coverage for the sponsors who reportedly include Procter & Gamble and a soft-drink company as well as RadioShack. On Wednesday, he indicated that progress was being made on the insurance front but added that the contract concerns still had to be addressed."

Editor's note: It is unlikely that RadioShack will be putting any more money into this venture.

13 August 2002 Hollywood, Russia squabble over Lance Bass' space trip, AP

"[Television producer David] Krieff declined to discuss whether a payment was due Tuesday, saying there was a nondisclosure agreement. He singled out space agency spokesman Sergei Gorbunov as a vocal critic of Bass' voyage. Gorbunov called such comments "foolish."

9 August 2002: NASA: 'N Sync Idol Wants Space Shot, Billboard

9 August 2002: Singer's space bid inches forward, MSNBC

"The only acknowledged sponsor so far is RadioShack, but Procter & Gamble and a yet-to-be-identified cola company are also reportedly on board. Krieff declined to say which network would air the "Celebrity Mission" TV series - but other sources, speaking on condition of anonymity, have confirmed reports pointing to MTV."

7 August 2002
Russia space agency says 'N Sync star must pay up, Reuters

"Russia's space agency said Wednesday it might scrap plans for 'N Sync singer to join an October mission to the International Space Station because he had failed to meet a payment deadline."

23 July 2002 Bass Inks Space Deal As Russia's Partners Voice Concerns, MTV

"The financial terms weren't released, but the source said the cost of sending Bass into space is close to previously reported estimates of $20 million."

Editor's note: Dennis Tito got the same flight for $13 million.

12 August 2002 Transporter woes derailing shuttle plans, UPI

"While space shuttle technicians wrap up repairs on shuttle Atlantis' propulsion system, another equipment problem threatens NASA's plans to resume flights in September. Workers have found cracked bearings in the massive Apollo-era crawler transporters that taxi the shuttles to the launch pad, NASA said Monday."

2 August 2002 Space Shuttle Fleet Set for Return to Flight Sept. 28

"Following an extensive investigation into the cause of tiny cracks inside fuel lines of the four space shuttle orbiters, NASA today announced the team is ready to resume preparations for launching on Sept. 28, with Atlantis up first on an assembly mission to the International Space Station (ISS)."

2 August 2002 NASA Exercises Space Flight Operations Contract Option

"NASA's Johnson Space Center in Houston, has exercised an existing option under the Space Flight Operations Contract in support of the Space Shuttle Program. This two-year option extends the contract period of performance through September 30, 2004."

25 June 2002: NASA Grounds Shuttle Fleet, AP, CBS

"These days, the value of safety is higher in the NASA culture than it has ever been," Keith Cowing, editor of NASA Watch, a watchdog Web site and frequent space agency critic, said Tuesday."

24 June 2002: NASA Managers Delay STS-107 Launch

"NASA managers today temporarily suspended launch preparations for Space Shuttle Columbia until they have a better understanding of several small cracks found in metal liners used to direct the flow inside main propulsion-system propellant lines on other orbiters in the fleet.

Columbia's launch on STS-107, previously planned for July 19, will be delayed a few weeks to allow inspections of its flow liners as part of an intensive analysis that is under way. "

12 June 2002: Office of Space Flight Reorganization Package (120 K Powerpoint)

"Why the need for the change?

OSF implementing approach/organization for programs and institutions focused on:

    Reestablishing Level 1 roles/responsibilities
    Rebalancing Center Director and Program Manager roles
    Bringing financial management on par with technical excellence
    Clear control and accountability of personnel and resources
    Streamlined requirements flow down, visibility, reporting
    Enhanced checks and balances

- Strengthen the HQs role in resources analysis and integration

- Better manage OSF's relations with external groups

    Congress (through Code L), Media (through Code P), International, Intergovernmental (OSTP, GAO, IG, etc.), External Advisory Committees and Boards, Industry, Other NASA functional offices

- Change processes, through forward planning, to enable effective and efficient responses to our customers

- Emphasize the need to better manage our institutional assets and investments"

29 May 2002: KSC Contractor Layoffs in the Offing

Editor's note: Boeing and Lockheed Martin are planning to announce layoffs soon at KSC. The rationale being the reduction in flight rate this year from 8 to 6 fights per year. One would expect additional layoffs if the flight rate is reduced further next year per the recommendations made in the Young Commission report.

24 May 2002: Space Station: Can Space Station Science Be Fixed?, Science

"Next month, a star-studded, 20-member scientific panel appointed by NASA Administrator Sean O'Keefe will propose a firm list of priorities for research aboard the space station. To be effective, the panel must make a case convincing enough to win the backing of a cash-strapped NASA, a parochial Congress, and a fed-up research community--a tall order. The timing may be right, however."

16 May 2002: NASA fears attack on shuttle carrying Israeli astronaut, Ha'aretz Daily

"The U.S. space agency NASA is concerned that the July launch of its space shuttle, which will include for the first time an Israeli astronaut, could become a target for a terrorist attack on July 19."

16 May 2002: Israel's first astronaut: NASA's security makes him feel safe, AP, Yahoo

"Additional security is planned for Ramon's launch, currently targeted for July 19. While privately expressing worry, NASA officials fully support Ramon's participation in the flight, which was planned long before the current crisis in Israel. The mission features several Israeli experiments, including research into desert aerosol."

15 May 2002: Letter from ISS and SSP Program Managers regarding "Establishment of the Flight Commercialization Office"

"This office will establish broad-based teams to evaluate, negotiate, and implement commercial proposals and partnerships in coordination with NASA Headquarters and field center personnel."

19 April 2002: NASA Defends Its Plans For Replacing Space Shuttle, Aviation Week

"The fact is that the Administration's got to get its act together on space," said Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-Calif.), the Science subcommittee chairman. "

19 April 2002: Panel calls NASA on the carpet, Orlando Sentinel

"Sam Venneri, NASA's head of aerospace technology, said that it's unlikely any kind of selection from the prototypes now in development would be made before 2006. Given the need to completely test and tweak the new vehicle -- and launch it for at least a short time as a complement to the shuttle fleet -- Venneri said 2012 is a difficult target to meet."

18 April 2002: Space Shuttle and Space Launch Initiative Hearing Charter - House Subcommittee on Space and Aeronautics

"The Space Transportation Subcommittee of the Aerospace Technology Advisory Committee has been advising the NASA Aerospace Technology Enterprise for several years. The last report of the Space Transportation Subcommittee stated, "The basic structure of the SLI (program orientation, objectives, schedule, technology) renders the program impossible of successful completion. These elements are so obviously lacking in credibility as to discourage best efforts by either government or industry. Major restructuring is needed along the lines of the four recommendations below." According to publicly available Advisory Committee meeting minutes, NASA management's response to the Space Transportation Subcommittee was that its recommendations "would get the Program into trouble and would not get it any OMB and Congressional support."

18 April 2002: Testimony of Mr.Gerard W. Elverum to The Subcommittee on Space and Aeronautics Of The House Committee on Science

"NASA should commit the FY01 SLI budget effort almost entirely to Systems Analysis of RLV alternatives. Each alternative must have clear credibility as candidates for a near-term second- generation RLV that can specifically satisfy all NASA's committed mission and ground operations needs. These should include multistage-to-orbit systems ( including enhancing the basic Shuttle with any applicable sub-systems accepted for the other system candidates), etc. top-level needs. "

18 April 2002: Statement of Frederick D. Gregory, Associate Administrator, NASA Office of Space Flight, Before the House Subcommittee on Space & Aeronautics

"Leadership of human space flight must start at the top at NASA Headquarters, and specifically in the Office of Space Flight. To that end, I have resumed chairing the Flight Readiness Review for each mission, which had been delegated down to the center."

18 April 2002: Statement of Richard Blomberg, Former Chair, Aerospace Safety Advisory Panel, before the House Subcommittee on Space and Aeronautics

"In all of the years of my involvement, I have never been as concerned for Space Shuttle safety as I am right now. That concern is not for the present flight or the next or perhaps the one after that. In fact, one of the roots of my concern is that nobody will know for sure when the safety margin has been eroded too far. All of my instincts, however, suggest that the current approach is planting the seeds for future danger."

18 April 2002: Statement of Sam Venneri, Associate Administrator, Office of Aerospace Technology before the House Subcommittee on Space and Aeronautics

"In its first year, the SLI plan has been validated and its investments are now focused on enabling current mission requirements, such as servicing the International Space Station and delivering satellites to orbit. The research and development of technologies critical to meeting safety, reliability, and cost goals is well underway."

18 April 2002: Concern Expressed for Shuttle Safety, House Subcommittee on Space and Aeronautics

"NASA budget cuts and subsequent delays in Shuttle safety upgrades and infrastructure will put the safety of the Space Shuttle in serious jeopardy, a former chairman of an advisory group warned the House Subcommittee on Space and Aeronautics today."

18 April 2002: Prepared Statement by Rep. Dave Weldon - Space Shuttle Launch Initiative Hearing

"To be blunt, NASA has to come clean about what its plans are for manned rated vehicle operations. For the better part of the past decade NASA has been working under the assumption that a Shuttle-class replacement would be on the near term horizon. This caused for the Space Shuttles to have upgrades deferred or cancelled. This glide path toward expected retirement of the Shuttle within the first decade of the 21st century also caused the literally crumbling Shuttle related infrastructure to be given patchwork improvements or trauma center-like repairs. "

18 April 2002: Opening Statement of Chairman Dana Rohrabacher: Space Shuttle and SLI Hearing"

"The Space Shuttle program and the Space Launch Initiative are inextricably linked and perhaps they are at a crossroad. The programs we will discuss today will likely cost the American taxpayer $50-60 billion over the next ten years. Issues involving levels of investment for Shuttle safety and supportability upgrades, Shuttle privatization, and the credibility of the SLI program will define how this country proceeds in improving its national launch capability."

18 April 2002: Space Transportation Association White Paper: Space Shuttle Upgrades, Space Transportation Association

"The Space Transportation Association urges NASA and the Congress to fully fund Space Shuttle upgrades and to accelerate those Shuttle upgrades that will reduce costs and improve safety of flight operations. NASA should leverage technology investments in the Space Launch Initiative (SLI) program such as engine and vehicle health maintenance systems that could be applied to the existing Space Shuttle fleet."

18 April 2002: Congress Should Fund Minimum of Six Annual Shuttle Missions, Space Transportation Association

"The Space Transportation Association released a White Paper Thursday on the future of the Space Shuttle program calling for no fewer than six annual Shuttle missions and full funding for the program's upgrade budget. The organization also called for an infrastructure roadmap that covers the full service life of the Space Shuttle, as well as greater attention to workforce retention issues."

18 April 2002: Hearing on Space Shuttle Upgrades, Privatization initiative, safety and future status

3 April 2002: "Reassessing Space Shuttle Upgrades Strategy"; Letter from OSF AA Fred Gregory to JSC Center Director

"As discussed at the March 14, 2002 Human Exploration and Development of
Space (HEDS) Program Management Council (PMC), the current Space Shuttle
Upgrade Strategy was based on the premise of ensuring the Space Shuttle can
fly safely until 2012. I request that you develop a strategy as part of
initial planning efforts to identify upgrades and supportability investment
that may be required to maintain the Space Shuttle fleet capability to fly
safely through 2020."

28 March 2002: Crumbling Infrastructure at KSC

Editor's note: There has been a lot of talk of late by the ASAP and others about KSC facilities falling apart due to age - and lack of preventive maintenance. A few days ago a piece of concrete 3 x 3 x 12 inches in size broke off of the real ceiling at the Launch Control Center and fell through the false ceiling onto a test conductor's desk.

28 February 2002: California, Florida duking it out over NASA move, Florida Capital News

"Though [Sean] O'Keefe said moving shuttle repairs to the launch pad will save millions of dollars, he said he could not provide an exact figure and estimates from NASA's press offices have varied. [U.S. Rep. Bill Thomas, R-California] said Wednesday that NASA refuses to give him details of the Florida move."

6 February 2002: Space Shuttle OMM Transfer Represents Culmination of Multi-Year Effort by Rep. Weldon

"Unfortunately, the Clinton Administration opted to appease California rather than make a smart policy decision. However, in recent meetings with NASA Headquarters and the White House Office of Management and Budget, Rep. Weldon continued to make the case for transferring this work to Florida, and the Bush Administration ultimately recognized the cost savings and efficiencies gained by such a move. Rep. Weldon's position was also supported by numerous studies completed by NASA and its contractors."

5 February 2002: Kennedy Space Center to Perform Shuttle Modifications, NASA KSC

"After completing detailed, independent cost and risk assessments, the agency has decided to perform Space Shuttle Orbiter Major Modifications (OMM) at NASA's Kennedy Space Center (KSC) in Florida."

6 February 2002: Cutbacks produce gains, Orlando Sentinel

"Florida's gain is a loss for a Boeing manufacturing plant in Palmdale, Calif., northeast of Los Angeles"

6 February 2002: NASA's Shuttle Toilet makes the Smoking Gun

Editor's note: amazing what a FOIA request can uncover...

" ... And as for the recommended deodorization method, we can't believe NASA's four official "sniffers" actually chose Wizard Stick Ups over a hanging tree car freshener. If it works for a Gotham taxi, it should suffice for the International Space Station."

23 January 2002: Broken Crawler Delays Columbia Rollout, Newschannel 2000

"The Space Shuttle Columbia was supposed to make a trip to the launch pad Wednesday, but the giant crawler that carries the shuttle hasn't budged."


5 October 2001: Shuttle Commercialization All Hands at JSC

Editor's note: Word has it that Ron Dittemore, Space Shuttle Program Manager at JSC, will be holding an all-hands meeting today to discuss "shuttle commercialization". According to NASA sources, Dittemore will be discussing an NGO (Non-Governmental Organization) concept that has been developed that would operate the Space Shuttle program. This concept has been under development for the last 9 months. Dittemore will reportedly pitch this concept as being seamless as far as civil servants are concerned with equivalent benefits, significant sign-up bonuses, and guaranteed job security. Dittemore has reportedly expressed personal interest in heading this new organization.

Behind the scenes there is little interest among Dittemore's crowd in actually saving the government money. Rather, this is simply seen as a way to lower the number of federal employees involved in America's civil space program.

Update: Note from

"Mr. Dittemore spoke about a "concept" where a private company would run
the Space Shuttle Program. It was not commercialization, but
"privatization". It has nothing to do with saving money. It will probably
cost the government more money. He said it was in the interest of safety.
Since NASA cannot hire new people and grow them to be managers/engineers, there is no one to run the program safely in the future. That is true since most of the shuttle program folks came from MOD which is mostly all contractors now. This "concept" will work only if all the right people with the right job skills needed to run the program safely, accept the offer to
move over. Highly unlikely. We are talking about mission operations, flight
design, flight directors, astronauts, program/project managers, ground
operations, aircraft operations, launch operations, etc. Only the civil
servants in the Engineering Directorates appear to be spared from this
excercise in futility. He said it would happen in 2 years. That's
unbelievable, the way the government works!"

4 October 2001: Space Shuttle Processing Status 4 Oct 2001, NASA KSC

Editor's note: two missions have had their launch dates pushed back by three weeks in order to gain more processing time to prepare these orbiters for their missions. Other missions in 2002 are also likely to have their launch dates pushed back. STS-108 is still scheduled for a 29 Nov 2001 launch date.

  • STS-109 - was: 17 Jan 2002 - now: 14 Feb 2002
  • STS-110 - was: 28 Feb 2002 - now: 21 Mar 2002

28 September 2001: Concept of Privatization of the Space Shuttle Program, NASA JSC (Full report - Adobe Acrobat)

28 September 2001: Concept of Privatization of the Space Shuttle Program, NASA JSC (Executive Summary)

"It is the intent of Space Shuttle privatization to expand the business base of the private
company responsible for Space Shuttle operations to more than just Space Shuttle
operations. It is envisioned that the private company will be a strong competitor for
privatized ISS operations. Additionally, because the private company will have a strong
resident core competency in human space flight operations, it is envisioned that the private
company will be a strong competitor for future space operations contracts (next generation
reusable launch vehicles, and Moon, Mars, or other exploration), both human space flight
and nonhuman ventures."

"The envisioned privatization of the Space Shuttle is a merger of Government and contractor
capabilities. The private company will have a new leadership team, a strengthened skill and
experience base, and an associated new culture. Business arrangements and operations
management terms and conditions must be in concert with a long-term commitment for privatization to
create workforce stability; allow development, maintenance, and retention of critical skills; incentivize
CS to transition to the private company; and eliminate the short-term limited investment mentality
associated with today's contracting methods. The primary objective of the private company will be the
safe, efficient, long-term utilization of the Space Shuttle."

28 September 2001: Deformed Holes Found On Shuttle, AP, Yahoo

"NASA discovered misshapen holes in the two orbital-engine compartments intended for space shuttle Columbia, which is being readied for a flight to the Hubble Space Telescope early next year."

28 September 2001: NASA Modifies Lockheed Martin Space Operations Contract , NASA JSC

"NASA's Johnson Space Center in Houston has negotiated a contract modification with Lockheed Martin Space Operations Co. that includes the acquisition of operational software for approximately $60.3 million."

27 September 2001: Consolidated Space Operations Contract: Evaluating and Reporting Cost Savings, NASA Office of Inspector General (has link to full report)

"The NASA Office of Inspector General audit of CSOC cost savings found that NASA cannot substantiate the $62 million of cost savings reported to Congress for the first 2 years of the CSOC. As a result, Congress and NASA cannot evaluate current cost savings for the CSOC and cannot determine whether the contract will achieve the anticipated $1.4 billion cost savings through fiscal year 2008. Because NASA has reduced future operating budgets in anticipation of projected CSOC savings, it is imperative that the Agency determine whether current and anticipated cost savings are being achieved under the CSOC."

20 September 2001: NASA, USA sign $62 million space flight operations contract modification

"NASA and the United Space Alliance have signed a $62 million modification to the Space Flight Operations Contract to provide refurbishment of hydraulic actuators on
the space shuttle fleet during the next five years."

19 September 2001: Lockheed Martin's Consolidated Space Operations Contract Completes New Customer Support Room for NASA

19 September 2001: NASA continues Lockheed Martin Engineering Contract, NASA

"NASA's Johnson Space Center, Houston will exercise a $68 million level-of-effort option to continue its Science, Engineering, Analysis, and Test contract with Lockheed
Martin Space Operations Co. of Houston. The option period begins Oct. 1, 2001. Provisions include additional work through the end of 2003."

18 September 2001: Boeing to Lay Off As Many As 30,000, AP, Yahoo

"Boeing Co. is planning to lay off 20 percent to 30 percent of its commercial airline work force -- as many as 30,000 people -- as a result of last week's terrorist attacks, Alan Mulally, president and chief executive of the
company's commercial airplanes division said Tuesday"

10 September 2001: Shuttle Safety Concerns Aired Before Congress, SpaceRef

"At a time when NASA's Space Station cost overruns continue to grow, and the agency's attempts to develop the next generation of launch vehicles flounder, the Space Shuttle program is hitting its stride. Originally designed decades ago to fly a large number of missions in a short period of time, the Space Shuttle now finds itself more needed than ever - long after many thought it would (or should) be in a museum."

"One of the keys to making the Shuttle perform for an extended service life is to increase its reliability and enhance its siamese twin, safety. Yet just as the Shuttle fleet is being redefined for an extended lifetime, the very thing it is being kept around to service, the Iinternational Space Station, seeks to drain the financial resources required for its own survival. It is against this backdrop that hearings on Space Shuttle safety upgrades were held on Capitol Hill last week."

6 September 2001: NASA Plans to Scale Back Upgrades, AP, Yahoo

6 September 2001: Budget cuts threaten shuttle safety, UPI

"I fear that if we don't provide the space shuttle program with the
resources it needs for safety upgrades, our country will pay a price we
can't bear," said Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Fla. "The proposed budget abandons
some of the most critical safety upgrades for our aging fleet."

6 September 2001: Senate Science, Technology, and Space Subcommittee Hearing on Space Shuttle Safety

Witness Testimony

  • William Readdy, Deputy Associate Administrator, Office of Space Flight, NASA Headquarters

  • Michael J. McCulley, Chief Operating Officer, United Space Alliance

  • Richard D. Blomberg, Chair, Aerospace Safety Advisory Panel, President, Dunlop & Associates, Inc.

  • Allen Li, Director, Acquisition & Sourcing Management Team, Government Accounting Office

  • Bryan O'Connor, Futron Group

9 August 2001: NASA on Mission to Planet Pop, New Scientist

"Space expert James Oberg told a newspaper: "When governments try to harness popular culture, they just embarrass themselves."

9 August 2001: Rocket men turn to pop, The Times (London)

"NASA is updating its rather fusty image - and, to shift it into a new orbit, the space agency has commissioned Down to Earth, a pop song about how small the Earth looks from the Moon. The song is performed by Natural, America's hot new teen band. "NASA is hip and getting hipper," said Lou Pearlman, Naturals manager, who knows hip when he sees it. Mr Pearlman also launched 'N Sync and the Backstreet Boys."

24 April 2001: Space Media, Music Promoter Provide Entertainment at Shuttle Launch Briefing, Spacehab

"Space Media is launching its 2001-2002 STARS Academy space education program later this year
and is in discussions with Mr. Pearlman's Trans Continental Records in Orlando, Florida, to have Natural contribute a music element to the STARS Academy program. Mr. Pearlman is widely known for
discovering and developing the popular groups *N SYNC, Backstreet Boys and O-Town. "

10 July 2001: Threat Closes Shuttle Emergency Strip in Morocco, Reuters, Yahoo

"A security threat has closed an emergency landing strip in Morocco available to the U.S. space shuttle program, possibly endangering this week's launch, NASA said on Tuesday."

10 July 2001: Aviation Week & Space Technology Reports: Security Breach Forces
Tighter Space Shuttle Protection
, Business Wire, Yahoo

"A Jamaican, working under the cover of darkness, managed to land a sizable boat carrying 15 Chinese on the Atlantic shore near the launch pads. The concern is that the boat operations and aliens in the brush went undetected for hours in what is supposed to be a highly secure area."

18 June 2001: Rep. Nethercutt Offers Amendment to Preserve Funding for Dedicated Shuttle Science Mission, SpaceRef

Rep. Nethercutt's amendment seeks to fence off $15 M in space station research accounts out of the $40 M that Congress originally provided in FY00 for a life and microgravity research shuttle flight. This flight has been strongly supported by Congress as a way to keep scientific research in space underway during an otherwise "dry spell" wherein little or no science is being done while NASA focuses on the construction of the ISS.

10 April 2001: Letter from Ron Dittemore, Manager, Space Shuttle Program to R.D. Turner, President and CEO, United Space Alliance regarding "Privatization of Space Shuttle Program (SSP) Operations"

"I believe that we should begin a dialog between the SSP and United Space Alliance (USA) discussing the options available and merit of increased privatization of SSP operations functions. Our recent conversation concerning the option of incorporating the External Tank Project into the Space Flight Operations Contract can be used as a foundation for building a frame work to address important issues and developing a model for increased privatization."

16 March 2001: Letter from Ron Dittemore, Manager, Space Shuttle Program to OSF AA Joe Rothenberg regarding "Space Flight Operations Contract (SFOC) Phase II Consolidation and Space Shuttle Program (SSP) Operations "Privatization"

"Continued consolidation of the SFOC Phase II contracts (external tank, Space Shuttle main engine, reusable solid rocket motor) and "privatization" of SSP operations can be an achievable objective provided existing SFOC concerns are adequately addressed. These concerns include insufficient United Space Alliance (US) program/ project management experience, program viability and safety in a cost incentive/profit motivated environment, and SFOC Phase II consolidation cost impacts. These issues need to be addressed before further "privatization" of SSP operations can be safely realized."

15 March 1995: The Kraft Report On Space Shuttle Operations

"The proposed single-business management system will require a steadfast commitment from both NASA and the aerospace industry to ensure success. NASA must be willing to define clear shuttle operating requirements with limited oversight. The prime contractor must be willing to assume responsibility for safe and productive operations. This requires the assignment of competent and experienced people at all levels and the direct attention of top management. For its commitment, the contractor must be rewarded with appropriate incentive fees. The government in-turn must provide similar talent in program management and a guarantee that the contractor will not be encumbered with burdensome and unnecessary oversight."

7 June 2001: Space Shuttle Union Workers to Strike in Florida, Reuters, Yahoo

"We don't anticipate any delay in our ability to support launch milestones,'' said Kari Fluegel, spokeswoman for the United Space Alliance, the private consortium of NASA contractors hired for shuttle processing and operations. The union machinists are all USA employees."

5 June 2001: Shuttle contractor faces strike, Orlando Sentinel

"Company officials say if the walkout moves forward, it will have no effect on the shuttle's launch schedule. However, it would be the first-ever strike by workers who do hands-on processing of the shuttle fleet at Kennedy Space Center."

Editor's note: the USA strike at the Cape has been moved up 24 hours and will start at 12:01 a.m. Saturday instead of Sunday.

5 April 2001: Shuttle work to remain at Plant 42 - State representatives team up in teleconference with NASA, Antelope Valley Press

"Space shuttle work that brings millions of dollars per year into the Antelope Valley will continue to be performed at Air Force Plant 42 in Palmdale. That was the resounding verdict from a telephone conversation Wednesday between a top NASA official and a slew of representatives from the high desert and California to discuss rumors that maintenance and modification work on the orbiter fleet would be siphoned to Florida."

30 March 2001:

Thiokols Use of Professional and Consultant Services
Report Number IG-01-019
, NASA Office of Inspector General (Acrobat)

"NASA's controls over Thiokol's use of professional and consultant services can be improved. We found cases in which justifications for noncompetitive procurements of professional and consultant services were inadequate and untimely. Specifically, we found that Thiokol officials did not maintain
adequate support for decisions to noncompetitively award the service subcontracts and did not prepare written justifications for the noncompetitive awards prior to initiation of the work."

26 March 2001: Audit of United Space Alliance's Use of Professional & Consultant Services, NASA Office of Inspector General (contains link to full report)

"The NASA Office of Inspector General has completed an audit of United Space Alliance's (USA's) use of professional and consultant services. - Specifically, we found that USA officials did not maintain evidence on the nature and scope of the furnished services; maintain adequate support for decisions to noncompetitively award the service subcontracts; and prepare written justifications for the noncompetitive awards prior to initiation of the work."

19 January 2001: Space Shuttle Atlantis Rollback Delayed Due to Cab Crowding

Editor's note: word has it that the rollback of the Space Shuttle Atlantis, scheduled to start at 7:00 AM EST, was delayed for about 45 minutes this morning. It would seem that the crawler's driver couldn't get to his seat since the crawler's cab was apparently overcrowded with people wanting to hitch a ride. More seating was found and rollback eventually began.


26 October 2000: Shuttle Main Engine Test Investigation Points to Fuel Cell System Contamination, NASA

"A detailed review of a Space Shuttle Main Engine test mishap, June 16, at NASA's Stennis Space Center, MS, has revealed that special tape was left behind inside the engine during processing, contaminating the system."

26 October 2000: SSME 0523 TEST 902-772
Failure Investigation Final Report
(10MB Adobe Acrobat)

"In accordance with NPG8621.1H, enclosed is the final report of the Board of
Investigation for the subject mishap that occurred on June 16, 2000 at Stennis Space
The report consists of four volumes: (1) the report, (2) appendices, (3) proposed
corrective action implementation plan, and (4) a lessons-learned summary. The principal
findings of the Board, along with recommended actions, were submitted to the SSME
Project Manager on August 10, 2000. These findings and the SSME Project Offices
response to them are provided in Volume I, Section 13, and in Volume III, respectively,
of this report.

Robert L. Sackheim, MSFC, Assistant Director for Space Propulsion"

11 October 2000: NASA Investigation Team Reports on Shuttle Engine Damage During June 2000 Test, SpaceRef

On 16 June 2000, testing of a Space Shuttle Main Engine (SSME) with a high-pressure fuel turbopump configuration at NASA Stennis Space Center had to be cut short. Higher than expected test temperatures caused the SSME to shut itself down 5 seconds into a planned 200-second test.

In an internal NASA report dated 10 October 2000, the investigation team reports on the damage to the engine.

Editor's note: this story has links to the briefing charts (complete with photos and diagrams) that document the team's findings and recommendations.

8 October 2000: Windsor Locks...We Have a Problem, Hartford Courant

"Frank Guimond and John Steele had been working all that June Sunday on the problem. They'd spent much of the afternoon at Hamilton Sundstrand waiting for a special hex-wrench to be custom-made in Massachusetts and rushed down to Windsor Locks. Now, at about 7 in the evening, Father's Day, they finally began to disassemble the heart of the backup oxygen system of the space suit."

18 September 2000:
Spacelift Washington: Shuttle Upgrades, SLI Dominate NASA Transportation Plans, by Frank Sietzen, Jr.

With more than a half billion in NASA FY 2001 budget dollars set aside for Space Shuttle upgrades, and $290 million more for the Space Launch Initiative (SLI), maintaining the status quo and the quest for its replacement will shape the civil space agency's space transportation direction for much of the next decade. Somewhere in the immediate future the basic launch requirements for NASA-unique payloads and those with a commercial pedigree will have to be defined, if the decisions about how to allocate future resources are to be well structured and definitive.

18 September 2000: STS-106 EMUs to be Reused on STS-92

18 September 2000: XA/EVA Project Office Weekly Activity Report, NASA JSC

"EMU O2 Contamination Recovery Status - Update 9/12

The pace of refurbishment of Secondary Oxygen Packages for future flights and human thermal vacuum runs was temporarily slowed down due to GSE issues at Hamilton
Sundstrand. Compressors in two of the primary test stands were considered to be credible risks as a contamination source. These units were therefore disassembled and
refurbished. This has delayed the cleaning of the next three SOP regulators to be used with the EMUs reserved for STS-92 and EVA Test Article (ETA) chamber runs. To support
flight, plans are currently in place to de-stow the SOPs off of the STS-106 EMUs 24 hours after landing at KSC. Two of the STS-106 SOP units will be re-used for STS-92 and
processed completely at KSC. The next refurbished SOP is due to be on dock at USA by 9/18. This unit will support both ETA chamber runs needed to accept two flight EMUs
and eventually the STS-92 flight as the third SOP."

15 September 2000: Internal NASA JSC email: New Security Surrounds Astronaut Offices at JSC

"Questions have been raised about threats, but the answers have been vague (from "we have more money for security now so we're just using it" to "a couple of laptops have disappeared"). With this latest move (practically sealing 4S off from the building it was intended originally as an annex to), we are all wondering what NASA security is keeping from us."

1 September 2000: NASA deems spacewalking spacesuits safe, Florida Today

"With the launch of shuttle Atlantis to the International Space Station a week away, NASA officials are satisfied that the spacesuits to be used on a spacewalk during the 11-day mission are safe. "Everybody is very happy with (the suits)," NASA spokesman James Hartsfield said Thursday from Johnson Space Center in Houston, adding three of the suits have been loaded onto Atlantis."

24 August 2000: XA/EVA Project Office Weekly Activity Report, NASA JSC

"The EMU program has completed cleaning and qualifying three Secondary Oxygen Packages (SOP) for STS-106."

24 August 2000: Columbia has 3,500 defects in wiring, Florida Today

"Examinations of NASA's oldest shuttle have revealed far more wiring problems than expected, a Boeing Co. official said Friday."

4 August 2000: XA/EVA Project Office Weekly Activity Report, NASA JSC

"EMU O2 Contamination Recovery Status

Work is progressing on the cleaning and reassembly of three Secondary Oxygen Package (SOP) assemblies to support the STS-106 mission. To date, the third and final SOP
regulator required for 2A.2b is nearing completion of acceptance testing. The first two SOP regulators have been integrated into the SOP assemblies and acceptance testing is
proceeding. The first SOP assembly has completed several tests to date and is still planned for delivery to USA on 8/15 for flight processing. During the Joint EVA Working
Group held Monday, July 24, 2000, a summary of the Oxygen contamination issue and recovery status was presented to representatives from Energia and Zvevda. Gas and bottle
sampling and analytical assessments are continuing in support of root cause determination. Interim flight rationale, waivers for off-nominal flight processing, and hazard analyses
are nearing completion and will be presented at the EVA CoFR2 on August 7. "

27 July 2000: XA/EVA Project Office Weekly Activity Report, NASA JSC

"EMU O2 Contamination Recovery Status - Update

The first and second of three Secondary Oxygen Package (SOP) regulators were successfully cleaned, rebuilt, tested, and delivered one day early on 7/21 and 7/26, respectively, with the third to follow by 8/2. Cleaning and calibrating of the various ground test stands and implementation of cold trap filters to support the processing of the EMU hardware is currently the critical path and on track. Test stands for processing SOP assemblies at Hamilton Sundstrand were in operation as of 7/25 for flowing nitrogen. Oxygen test stand operation is scheduled for 7/29. Cold trap installation and tests are continuing at USA to bring two SOP stands on line to support SOP processing by early August. In summary, the EMU team remains on schedule to support launch of STS-106 on September 8."

13 July 2000: Widespread spacesuit problem found, MSNBC

"Amid the euphoria over the successful launch of the International Space Station's living quarters, space engineers are feverishly working on a new hardware problem that could delay future shuttle launches unless it's resolved. If the emergency kit had been activated during a spacewalk, the hazard could have set the spacesuit on fire."

14 July 2000: EVA Status for Flight 2A. 2b, 7/14/00, Integration/Operations, page 22, "Felicity Vol 019" ISS Integrated Program Schedule (2.2 MB Adobe Acrobat file)

"Hydrocarbon contamination has been found in primary and secondary
oxygen systems. Plan is to clean secondary system and fly
primary system "as- is." This plan will support 2A. 2b and subsequent flights."

13 July 2000: XA/EVA Project Office Weekly Activity Report 13 July 2000

"EMU O2 Contamination Recovery Status

Since hydrocarbon contamination on a Secondary Oxygen Package (SOP) regulator was first reported on 6/14/00, the EMU and JSC engineering community
have steadfastly embarked on four main branches of recovery efforts. First, a plan for disassembling, cleaning, and rebuilding all SOP systems was put into place.
This plan provides for three SOPs to support the current STS-106 launch date. Currently, Hamilton Sundstrand and Carleton Technology, the regulator vendor,
are on schedule with this effort. Second, the JSC engineering community has recommended operation of the PLSS system as is, based on WSTF testing and
analysis. In addition, samples taken from flight regulators to date suggest negligible contaminants exist in the primary system. Third, clearing use of test stands at
USA and Hamilton Sundstrand is in work. Development and testing of cold traps (filters) should be completed this week, allowing USA to begin processing
Short EMUs for the upcoming flight next week. Finally, JSC Safety is working hand-in-hand with these efforts to understand and relay the risks to other NASA
flight and ground systems.

27 June 2000: USA Names Deputy Program Manager for Florida Operations; Safety, Quality Leadership Also Shifts to Launch Site, press release

"U.S. Navy Admiral (Ret.) William ``Bill'' Pickavance has been named to the new post, effective July 1, 2000, and will be joined by former Shuttle astronaut Andrew
Allen, who will serve as Director, Technical Operations."

23 June 2000: Problem Aborts Space Shuttle Main Engine Firing, Spaceflight Now

"A space shuttle main engine equipped with a next-generation fuel
turbopump was damaged during an aborted test firing last week, NASA
officials said Thursday."

23 June 2000: NASA Forms Team To Review Space Shuttle Main Engine Test Incident, NASA PAO

Editor's note: we have received a report that internal descriptions of the damage describe it as the worse damage seen without the engine actually coming apart. The fuel pump and preburner turbine were found in bits and pieces and the turbine blades were loose."

26 April 2000: Ever wonder how Mission Control picks the "MVP" after each Shuttle mission?

From "Hanging The Mission Plaque", NASA JSC:

"The Mission Plaque is hung in Mission Control following landing and crew egress for each Space Shuttle flight. The individual or team, having made the most significant contribution to the success of the flight is selected to hang the plaque. The following teams/people have been so honored during the Shuttle program."

26 April 2000: Ever wonder why the folks on the consoles at Mission Control talk the way they do?

From "Stone Tablets of Flight Controller Operations", NASA JSC:

"XII. Flight note and/or vocal actions should include what you want done, by when, and why. When vocalizing this the preferred order is to report what has happened followed by the action required within some time frame. For example: "


21 April 2000: How NASA tracks and fixes problems.

Editor's note: With all of the recent attention given to safety, mission failures, etc. at NASA (i.e where NASA has made mistakes), attention is rarely given to how NASA goes about doing the remainder of its intricate job on a daily basis - successfully. Countless engineering problems are identified, studied, and rectified - yet no one ever hears about this. Certainly not in the press. Having worked at NASA myself, and seen similar detailed engineering presentations on a daily basis, I felt it important to show the considerable detail people at NASA go to understand problems so as to prevent them from happening again.

This is rocket science.

20 April 2000: Rudder / Speed Brake PDU 0403 / HVM 006 Investigation, presentation to Space Shuttle Program management at NASA JSC[Power Point473K file] [HTML]

18 April 2000: STS-101 PDU Status (internal NASA email)

"The latest on the PDU problem is that it has been confirmed that hydraulic
fluid had migrated behind the stop, which caused it to get pushed out, and
would not let the power spool push it back in. This may have been caused
by damage created during initial assembly, since there is some damage in
an area of about 170 degrees of the circumference of the stop. This was
observable after disassembly and cleanup. This damage may have created
the path by which the fluid got behind the stop."

18 April 2000: SR1262: OV-104 Rudder Speedbrake PDU Investigation, PCRB presentation [HTML] [ Adobe Acrobat 384K]

Editor's note: this PCRB presentation contains 7 charts that explain the failure investigation in great detail - including how a spool within Shuttle Orbiter OV104's Speed Brake PDU (Power Drive Unit) failed.

18 April 2000: Failure probe, tight schedule only concerns for Atlantis, Spaceflight Now

"NASA says it remains optimistic space shuttle Atlantis will make its
appointed launch date next Monday despite a continuing investigation
into the failure of a hydraulics unit taken from the ship and a tight
work schedule that has no room for more problems."

18 April 2000: NASA gives Atlantis green light for April 24 launch, Florida Today

"After a weekend of successful work, NASA is on track to start the countdown
Friday for shuttle Atlantis' flight next week to the International Space Station. Officials said Monday that some newly replaced parts worked fine during weekend testing. The ship is set to fly at 4:15 p.m. April 24 from Kennedy Space Center. "

17 April 2000: STS-101 PDU Problem Identified (internal NASA email with photo and 3 briefing charts)

"As of Friday evening, Moog (the hydraulic valve motor (HMV) manufacturer)
had disassembled the power drive unit (PDU) from OV104 and identified the
source of the problem as unseating of the spool stop. This was the
failure mode [first] identified by the PRT as one possible explanation of the
problem (excellent detective work on their part!). The spool stop had
move out of position by about 0.050 inches and was interfering with power
spool motion. This is shown in the photograph below where the failed
spool stop is pictured on the left and a normal spool stop is pictured on
the right."

17 April 2000: Space Shuttle Status Report, NASA KSC

"Over the weekend, Shuttle engineers completed the frequency response test that was required after the rudder/speed brake power drive unit
replacement effort. Preliminary evaluation indicates that Shuttle Atlantis' hydraulic system is operating normally and that the PDU replacement was a success. Shuttle
engineers continue to analyze the cause of the initial PDU failure to ensure that it was an isolated incident. "

13 April 2000: STS-101/OV-104 Update (2 internal NASA emails)

"As you can see, there is a lot going on at the pad but the KSC folks are
still working hard to hold the launch date."

"The OV102 PDU has been installed in OV104 and is undergoing testing. An
APU hotfire is scheduled for Sunday."

11 April 2000: Internal NASA email regarding 104 Rudder/Speedbrake PDU Replacement

"As currently planned, the changeout will have no affect on the current launch date (4/24). The noon chair made it clear that if KSC needs more time, for any reason, they are to take it."

10 April 2000:
SR1206: OV-104 Speedbrake High Secondary Pressures Observed During Frequency Response Test, Daily PRCB

[Power Point file - 1.1 MB] [HTML presentation - much smaller; lower resolution]


During STS-101 Frequency Response Test (FRT), All Four Speedbrake Secondary Delta Pressures Were Unusually High in the Positive Polarity


Anomalous Signatures Could Be Indicative of A Mechanical Obstruction in the Power Valve Resulting in Loss of Control of Speedbrake


Remove OV-104 Rudder/Speed Brake PDU and Replace with Unit Removed from OV-102."

8 April 2000: Atlantis to get replacement part from Columbia, Florida Today

6 April 2000: NASA mulls hydraulic problem on shuttle Atlantis, Spaceflight Now

7 April 2000: SB/RUD Noon Board Meeting notes (internal NASA email)

"Here is a quick summary of today's Noon Board meeting discussion of the
SB/RUD PDU issue. It was decided to proceed with removal of the OV102 PDU
as a possible replacement for the unit on OV104. This decision was made
to preserve launch opportunity options but there are still many open issue
which will be discussed before the PDU on OV104 is removed and a commit to
launch is given."

7 April 2000: STS-101 rudder/speedbrake power drive unit (PDU) problems (internal NASA email)

"The program has decided that the PDU must be removed and replaced
prior to flight. There is a sizable contingent of folks working the
removal options. The current plan is to remove the PDU at the pad and
replace it with the PDU off of OV-102 (currently at Palmdale for OMDP)."

29 March 2000: Tommy Gram #4, internal NASA email from Tommy Holloway to senior ISS staff

"A recent GAO report along with questions from Congress and several news
articles have suggested we are lowering safety standards to accommodate theRussians and implied that safety issues will prevent the planned July
launch of the Service Module (Zvezda)... In short, Russian hardware goes through the same safety process as NASA hardware. Let me deal with the noted "Russian safety" areas as follows: ...

10 March 2000: Thiokol's boosters criticized, Deseret News

"Questionable quality control in a Utah company making solid rocket fuel for the space shuttle booster rockets may have been a "major potential risk area," concludes an independent technical review ordered by NASA. But more frequent test firings, ordered recently, might be part of the solution."

10 March 2000: NASA Says Shuttle Cuts Have Led to Higher Risk - But Study Finds Program Is Still Safe, Knight Ridder, Washington Post

"They seem to make the same mistakes over and over again," said Bob Hotz, who was on the presidential commission that investigated the 1986 Challenger accident that claimed seven lives. "It's a generic road to failure. Finally, you're getting down to where we were with Challenger. They didn't have any quality control. There are outside pressures that cause this."

Donna Shirley, who oversaw NASA's Mars exploration program and is now assistant dean of engineering at the University of Oklahoma, said part of the problem is that private space contractors keen to cut their costs were relying on inexperienced workers with insufficient oversight."

9 March 2000: Cutbacks threaten shuttle safety, space experts tell NASA, Houston Chronicle

"The panel concluded that as NASA trimmed its shuttle costs, it lost too many experienced personnel, creating a potential morale problem as those who remain behind tried to keep up with NASA's flight expectations. "

10 March 2000: Panel: Cost-cutting endangers shuttle, Huntsville Times

"Stressed-out space shuttle workers. Too few NASA inspectors. Overly optimistic risk assessments. A contractor struggling to increase profits while maintaining safety. That potential recipe for disaster and a litany of other problems were detailed in a blistering independent review of the shuttle program released Thursday by NASA."

10 March 2000: Report: KSC workforce at dangerous level prior to troubled Columbia liftoff, Florida Today

"Safety continues to be USA's top priority, and we will continue to pursue every opportunity to improve the status quo,'' Russell D. Turner, USA's president and chief executive officer, wrote in a letter issued to employees Thursday. "

10 March 2000: Panel: Cuts Threaten Shuttle Safety, AP, Yahoo

"Joe Rothenberg, NASA's associate administrator for spaceflight, told the Houston Chronicle that steps already were under way to bolster NASA's safety
oversight by adding 800 new workers over the next two years."

9 March 2000: NASA Releases Space Shuttle Independent Assessment Team Report

"Statement of Mr. Joseph H. Rothenberg Associate Administrator for Space Flight: As the result of ascent anomalies experienced on STS-93, I asked Dr. Henry McDonald (Center Director, Ames Research Center), on September 7, 1999, to
lead an independent technical team to review the Space Shuttle systems and maintenance practices. The team, comprised of NASA, contractor, and DOD
personnel, looked at NASA practices, Space Shuttle anomalies, and civilian and military aeronautical experience. My goal for this study was to bring to Space
Shuttle maintenance and operations processes a perspective from the best practices of the external aviation community, and where applicable/appropriate, apply these practices to the Space Shuttle. "

  • Full report (Warning 8.5 MB Acrobat file)

  • Executive Summary, Space Shuttle Independent Assessment team, Report to Associate Administrator, Office of Space Flight

  • Recommendations: Space Shuttle Independent Assessment team, Report

  • to Associate Administrator, Office of Space Flight Flight

18 February 2000: Crews Names to Continue Space Station Assembly, NASA press release

Editor's note: NASA is now confirming what we've been posting on NASA Watch for a week or so.

17 February 2000: New Space Shuttle launch dates baselined and crews named.

Editor's note: These dates are the result of S042013BK: "RE-BASELINE ISS LAUNCH DATES", dispositioned at the CRG on 16 Feb 2000.

The internal working date for STS-106 (2A.2b) is 18 Aug 2000 even though other schedules still show a mid-July 2000 date. ISS planning calls for a launch of STS-106 no sooner than 35 days after a successful Service Module launch. Russia has set a 8-14 July launch window for the Service Module which would therefore lead to a STS-106 launch in mid-August.

Meanwhile, NASA JSC has generated new crew assignments for the 2A.2a and 2A.2b missions. Ed Lu has been reassigned to the STS-106 (2A.2b) mission. Scott Horowitz will now be the backup EVA crew member for STS-101 (2A.2a). Yuriy Usachev has been added to STS-101 which also includes Jim Voss and Susan Helms plus previous crew members Halsell, Horowitz, Weber, and Williams. Voss, Helms, and Usachev now comprise the Expedition 2 crew.

16 February 2000: International Space Station Schedules Review, February 4, 2000, DSSICB is now online

Editor's note: This is a 1.8 Mb Adobe Acrobat file. This presentation provides a snapshot of where the ISS program is right now. Note that flight 2A.2a is listed as STS-101 with a 13 April 2000 launch date and 2A.2b is listed as STS-106 with a launch date somewhere in the middle of July 2000.

11 February 2000: Key space station launch rescheduled, MSNBC

"After a not-so-veiled threat from NASA's
administrator, the Russians have agreed to schedule the launch
of a key part of the International Space Station for mid-July, the
space agency announced Friday. However, the Itar-Tass news
agency quoted a space official as indicating that the crucial
launch could still slip into August."

11 February 2000: NASA reshuffles missions as Russia delays space station work, UPI

"UPI has learned that one Russian request in particular may outrage the
American side. After learning of the potential split of this shuttle mission
into two flights, the Russians have asked to transfer a ton of their space
supplies to the shuttle so they can use another supply ship for Mir instead
of the international project. That supply ship was largely constructed using
NASA funds."

Editor's note: word has it from Jim Oberg that "the STS-101 crew will consist of Halsell, Horowitz, Weber, Williams, Jim Voss and Helms -- Lu and the two Russians, Morukov and Malenchenko, have been pulled. STS-106's crew will be Wilcutt, Altman, Lu, Mastracchio, Burbank, Morukov, and Malenchenko. If the SM fails to dock and ICM must be launched, STS-106 will switch from 2A.2B to 2A.3, and will fly the ICM mission, with the same crew, minus the Russians.

04 February 2000: Crew assignment changes

Editor's note: NASA JSC has generated new crew assignments for the 2A.2a and 2A.2b missions. Ed Lu has been reassigned to the 2A.2b mission to fly in July 2000. Scott Horowitz will now be the backup EVA crew member for STS-101 (2A.2a).

01 February 2000: NASA hasn't launched shuttle on time since John Glenn's flight, Florida Today

"NASA has not launched a space shuttle on time since John Glenn's heralded return to orbit aboard Discovery in October 1998. "

12 January 2000: Rockwell, Boeing allegedly hid fraud against NASA, Reuters, Yahoo

"The suit, filed in U.S. District Court in Los Angeles, alleges that the U.S. space agency was billed for millions of dollars in fraudulent costs by a company called Omniplan, hired by Rockwell to work on the programs between 1986 and 1993."

12 January 2000: Cos. Accused of Space Shuttle Fraud, AP, Yahoo

"Omniplan also included as allowable expenses the purchases of personal houses, a ski lodge, expensive jewelry and personal vacations to exotic locales
including Nepal, Singapore and Argentina, the suit said. In 1995 the owner of Omniplan, Ralph Montijo, pleaded guilty to about 180 felony fraud violations."

11 January 2000: United Space Alliance is expecting the Justice Department to file a lawsuit.

Date: January 11, 2000 Internal Letter No. RDT-100-00

To: All USA Employees

In the coming days, the Department of Justice is expected to issue public notice
of a suit being filed in federal court naming The Boeing Company, Boeing North
American, Inc., Rockwell Space Operations Company and United Space
Alliance, alleging violations of the Civil False Claims Act and breach of contract.

I feel it is important that, before this news breaks publicly, you have the relevant facts.

The allegations made in the suit arise from the illegal actions of a subcontractor
to Rockwell Space Operations Company under the Space Operations Contract
(SOC) in 1993. We believe USA is being named as a defendant as a result of
some confusion over corporate identities stemming from the novation of the SOC
to USA in 1996. USA has not been involved in any of the alleged illegal activities.

We also understand that the statute of limitations for filing on this case expires on
January 12, which may have precipitated this action at this time.

Regardless of how this action may be reported by the news media, you can be
confident that this company has not engaged in any of the illegal actions alleged
to have been committed in the complaint. Our focus, as always, will stay on the
primary business at hand - flying safely and successfully.


Russell D. Turner

President and Chief Executive Officer

"USA Talking Points", United Space Alliance has been circulating this document in advance of news breaking on the Department of Justice lawsuit.

An image of the actual letter.


17 December 1999: Protocol 2A.X Contingency Meeting (complete text with attachments)

"The parties met on Dec 13 through 17 to discuss the possibility of a contingency mission to ISS to repair the FGB and to extend its on orbit life in the event of a further delay of the SM launch date. RSC-E was represented by L. Gorshkov, NASA by K. Reiley, and KhSC by A. Mikhailov. The following items were discussed.

The parties agreed to begin the development of a contingency mission labeled 2A.2A to protect for the possibility of a further delay of SM launch. It was agreed that if the SM launch is delayed to May or later, then an additional mission (2A.2A) will be planned for March 16. The purpose of this mission will be to repair equipment on the FGB, take measures to extend its' service life to Dec. 2000, and to perform activities planned for the original 2A.2 mission in that general order of priority. After SM launches, a revised 2A.2 mission will be flown. This launch will be scheduled for no earlier than July 8 and will be designated 2A.2B. A preliminary listing of tasks for the 2A.2A is enclosed in attachment 1."

4 January 2000: Space Shuttle Launch Schedule for 2000 ISS Missions Under Review, SpaceRef

NASA issued a Space Shuttle Status Report today that lists the following target dates for the next 3 Space Shuttle Missions:

  • ° STS-99 - Shuttle Radar Topography Mission (SRTM): No earlier than 31 Jan 2000
  • ° STS-101 - 3rd ISS Flight (2A.2) - SPACEHAB DM: No earlier than 16 Mar 2000
  • ° STS-92 - 4th ISS Flight (3A) - Z-1 Truss, PMA-3: No earlier than 14 Jun 2000

NASA is currently considering the addition of a new logistics mission to the ISS - one that would re-use both the same Space Shuttle and the same crew.

Full story...

22 November 1999: New delay for shuttle launch, MSNBC

" If launch delays continue to mount, NASA would face factors that could push the servicing flight into the year 2000: the Christmas holiday plus the Year 2000 computer changeover."

22 November 1999: Hubble Repair Mission Delayed Again, AP, Yahoo

"NASA's repair mission to the Hubble Space Telescope has been
delayed again, this time by three days because of more damaged wiring found aboard space shuttle Discovery. Shuttle managers today set a new launch date of Dec. 9."

19 November 1999: Discovery damage not thought to be serious; pad fix possible, Florida Today

"NASA has found more damaged electrical wires on shuttle Discovery, officials said Thursday, prompting new inspections on the ship as work continues toward a Dec. 6 launch to the Hubble Space Telescope. "

18 November 1999: More Shuttle Wiring Problems Found, AP, Yahoo

"Because the inspections are ongoing, it's too soon to know whether any repairs would delay the Dec. 6 launch, said NASA spokesman Joel Wells"

16 November 1999: Hubble shuts its eyes, BBC

15 November 1999: Hubble Telescope Placed Into Safe Hold As Gyroscope Fails, NASA press release

"The safe mode does not require gyros, so even if another gyro should fail in the next few weeks, HST will remain safe, according to project managers. The aperture
door has been closed to protect the optics, and the spacecraft is aligned to the sun to ensure adequate power is received by Hubble's solar panels."

15 November 1999: Hubble failure shuts down the science Telescope in 'safe mode'; gyroscopes must be fixed, Reuters, MSNBC

10 November 1999:SPACE Shuttle Disocvery set to rollout to launch pad 39B Nov. 13 , NASA KSC press release

"Towering atop the mobile launcher platform and crawler transporter, Space Shuttle Discovery is scheduled to emerge from the Vehicle Assembly Building at about 2 a.m. this Saturday. Discovery is expected to arrive at Launch Pad 39B by 8 a.m. to undergo final preparations for the STS-103 launch, targeted for Dec. 6."

9 November 1999: Second Shuttle Wiring Problem Found, AP, Yahoo

"NASA said today it's still aiming for a Dec. 6 launch of space shuttle Discovery to the Hubble Space Telescope, despite another wiring problem found on the ship."

8 November 1999: Discovery's rollout to launch pad delayed, Florida Today

"During the routine shuttle interface test on Monday, engineers in the firing room noted that a so-called cross-strap cable was not working properly. The cable runs from one solid rocket booster forward attach fitting, through the external tank and to the booster on the opposite side. "

8 November 1999: USA Names McCulley Chief Operating Officer, PR Newswire, Yahoo

5 November 1999: New Shuttle manifest from the JPCRB

Based upon presentations at the JPCRB today this is the latest view of an adjusted Space Shuttle manifest:

  • STS-99 - SRTM - 13 Jan 2000

  • STS-101 - 2A.2 - 16 Mar 2000 [See Note 1]

  • STS-92 - 3A - 21 Jun 2000 [See Note 2]

  • STS-97 - 4A - 20 Jul 2000 [See Note 2]

  • STS-98 - 5A - 19 Aug 2000

  • STS-102 - 5A.1 - 19 Oct 2000

  • STS-100 - 6A - 30 Nov 2000
  • STS-107 - Research - 11 Jan 2001

  • STS-104 - 7A - 8 Feb 2001

  • STS-105 - 7A.1 - 8 Mar 2001

  • STS-106 - UF-1 - 19 Apr 2001

  • STS-108 - HST SM3B - 24 May 2001

  • STS-109 - 8A - 21 Jun 2001

  • STS-110 - UF-2 - 16 Aug 2001

Note 1. This morning's Tass announcement of Service Module launch slip to February should not affect this schedule as the possibility of a February launch was included in these calculations.

Note 2. 5 weeks are required between 3A and 4A to relocate the ICBC. This schedule only shows 4 weeks. As such, work is underway to to move 3A up to a target date of 14 June 2000. If this schedule can be made to work a formal CR should be submitted and reviwed by the JPCRB soon.

3 November 1999: New Delay For U.S. Shuttle Mission To Hubble, Reuters, Yahoo

4 November 1999: More Shuttle manifest changes ahead?

Editor's note:
Just as it seemed that a new Shuttle launch manifest was ready to be baselined, yet another schedule is already in the works (a "Plan B") - one wherein launch dates might slip even further. Word has it that baselining the proposed modifications to the Space Shuttle launch manifest is a bit further away than the next JPRCB. It seems that options will be presented at the JPCRB - but only as a pitch. Whatever the JPRCB accepts ( i.e. plan A, B, or something else) will drive the development of a formal CR (Change Request) that will be submitted - and considered - at a later date.

1 November 1999: Preview of revised Shuttle manifest

The following is supposed to go to the JPRCB on Friday. Once again, there is
speculation that the meeting may be postponed, again.

2 November 1999: Children come out to show their support for VentureStar at ISBA.

Editor's note: I had expected to hear Secretary of State Albright and NASA Administrator Goldin speak at ISBA tonight. They did not show up. Instead, someone who works well down the totem pole from Albright at the State Department (the "Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of State") presented a rather innocuous and dry speech.

The program was apparently altered to include some "entertainment" to fill the gap left in the program. It was filled with what can only be described as a children's chorus lauding the potential of Lockheed Martin's VentureStar.

29 October 1999: Four Photos of the damage done to Space Shuttle Atlantis

NASA Watch Note: These four photos (in low and higher resolution formats) document the damage done to Atlantis earlier this week at NASA KSC. The damage was done to Flipper door #4 and #12 on left outboard and right inboard over the actuators. The flipper doors have been temporarily closed with the push/pull rods disconnected and taped to the door. The rods caught on the structure during movement thus damaging the rods, rocker arms, and structure.

31 October 1999: More Adjustments to Shuttle Schedule, SpaceViews

"A shuttle mission to the International Space Station (ISS) once planned for early December has now been delayed to at least mid March, NASA shuttle managers reported late Friday, October 29."

30 October 1999: Damage to shuttle Atlantis not serious; Discovery preparations continue, Florida Today

"Technicians accidentally damaged wing flaps on shuttle Atlantis last week while preparing the ship for a March flight, NASA officials said Friday.

Repairing the damage will not delay the ship's targeted March 16 launch on a mission to carry supplies to the International Space Station, said Joel Wells, Kennedy Space Center spokesman. "

27 October 1999: "Space Transportation Architecture Studies: The Future of Earth-to-Orbit Spaceflight", hearing before the House Science Committee's Subcommittee on Space and Aeronautics

27 October 1999: Hearing Summary by Keith Cowing, Editor, NASA Watch

Editor's note: it would seem that after 5 years of studying this issue, NASA is still 5 years away from meeting the goal set for the end of 1999 i.e. " government and private sector decisions by the end of this decade on development of an operational, next-generation reusable launch system".

27 October 1999: [Opening Statement] Chairman Dana Rohrabacher, Subcommittee on Space and Aeronautics

"The more we can allow decisions to be made by businesspeople investing private dollars to address public and private needs, the more competitive and prosperous America's space transportation industry will be. And that way, when someone comes in to lobby us on their latest rocketship proposal, our response can be: "show me the money."


  • [Testimony] Dr. Daniel Mulville, Chief Engineer and Chairman Space Transportation

  • Council, National Aeronautics and Space Administration

  • [Testimony] Mr. Rick Stephens, Vice President and General Manager, Reusable Space

  • Systems, Boeing Space & Communications

  • [Testimony] Mr. Michael Coats, Vice President, Reusable Transportation Systems, Lockheed Martin Astronautics

  • [Testimony] Dr. Michael Griffin, Executive Vice President and Chief Technical Officer,

  • Orbital Sciences Corporation

  • [Testimony] Dr. Tom Rogers, Chairman, Sophron Foundation

Space Transportation Architecture Study (STAS), Chief Engineer's Office, NASA HQ

21 October 1999:
"Safety and Performance Upgrades to NASA's Space Shuttle", Hearing before the House Subcommittee on Space & Aeronautics

Hearing Charter

Time: 10:00 am - 12:00 noon

Place: Rayburn House Office Building, Room 2318


    [Testimony] Byron K. Wood, Vice President and General Manager, Boeing Rocketdyne Propulsion and Power
    Andy Allen, Director of Space Shuttle Development, United Space Alliance
    [Testimony] William F. Readdy, Deputy Associate Administrator for Space Flight, NASA
    Stephen A. Book, Member, Committee on Space Shuttle Upgrades, National Research Council

"Upgrading the Space Shuttle", Report by the Committee on Space Shuttle Upgrades, Aeronautics and Space Engineering Board, National Research Council

Editor's note: This 1999 report resulted from a request by NASA to examine the agency's plans for further upgrades to the space shuttle system. The NRC was asked to assess NASA's method for evaluating and selecting upgrades and to conduct a top-level technical assessment of proposed upgrades.

7 October 1999: NASA Pushes Back Hubble Shuttle Mission To December, Reuters, Excite

7 October 1999: Target launch dates set: KSC Space Shuttle Status Report

"With wiring inspections and repairs of Discovery and Endeavour nearing
completion and similar work beginning on Atlantis, Shuttle program managers
today set new planning target launch dates for the next three Space Shuttle
missions. Based on an assessment of the work remaining on Discovery and Endeavour and the inspections which have begun on Atlantis, managers set the following as
target launch dates for upcoming flights:

    Dec. 2, 1999: STS-103/Discovery, Hubble Space Telescope Servicing-3A

    January 13, 2000: STS-99/EndeavourShuttle, Radar Topography Mission

    (no earlier than) February 10, 2000: STS-101/Atlantis, ISS Logistics/Assembly Flight 2A.2

"Our number one priority for the Space Shuttle is to fly safely, and that is
why we delayed our launch preparations and have performed comprehensive
wiring inspections and repairs," Space Shuttle Program Manager Ron Dittemore
said. "As a result of our inspections, we've made significant changes in how
we protect electrical wiring. We believe those changes, along with changes
to the work platforms and procedures we use in the Shuttle's payload bay,
will prevent similar wire damage from recurring," Dittemore added."

24 September 1999: Culbertson and Parazynski lend expertise to space station crews, NASA Press release

"Frank L. Culbertson, who has been leading NASA's efforts in
the Shuttle-Mir program and the International Space Station, will
return to space to command the third crew to live and work aboard
the space station ... Culbertson replaces astronaut Ken Bowersox, a U.S. Navy
captain, who continues to train as commander of the back-up crew
for the first expedition mission in early 2000. Culbertson joins
Russian Space Agency cosmonauts Vladimir Dezhurov and Mikhail
Turin, who were previously named to the flight."

"In another mission assignment, Scott Parazynski will join the
crew of STS-100, the eighth American flight to continue
construction of the space station, currently scheduled for mid-
2000. He replaces astronaut Robert Curbeam, a U.S. Navy
lieutenant commander, who will fly aboard STS-98 in early 2000."

Editor's note: Ken Bowersox reportedly asked to be removed from his assignment to the Expedition 3 crew for personal reasons. Robert Curbeam was moved off of STS-100 to replace Mark Lee who was dumped from STS-98 by George Abbey. NASA PAO, of course, doesn't bother to inform you of either fact anywhere in this press release. Instead, they expect you to now believe that:

"The reassignment resulted from changes in the mission
requirements for the two crews. The initial mission requirements,
particularly with the U.S.-provided airlock module, have evolved
considerably since the initial flight assignments were made. "

Earlier stories on Mark Lee's plight can be found on our Shuttle News page.

24 September 1999: "Space Shuttle Safety", Hearings before the House Science Committee's Subcommittee on Space and Aeronautics, 23 September 1999.
Summary by Keith Cowing, Editor, NASA Watch

24 September 1999: NASA hasn't figured out cost of grounding shuttle fleet, lawmakers told, Florida Today

"United Space Alliance, the private aerospace consortium maintaining the reusable space planes, will not receive an estimated $2.5 million payment it would have otherwise earned for the on-time delivery of an orbiter for the next scheduled shuttle launch, said Michael McCulley, vice president and deputy program manager for the consortium."

    23 September 1999: "Space Shuttle Safety", Hearings before the House Science Committee's Subcommittee on Space and Aeronautics

    Hearing Charter

    Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, Chairman, Subcommittee on Space and Aeronautics. [prepared statement]

    Rep. Dave Weldon FL-15, [prepared statement]


    Mr. Michael J. McCulley, Vice President and Deputy Program Manager, United Space Alliance [prepared statement]
    Mr. Frederick D. Gregory, Associate Administrator for Safety and Mission [prepared statement]
    Assurance, National Aeronautics and Space Administration
    Mr. William F. Readdy, Deputy Associate Administrator for Space Flight,
    National Aeronautics and Space Administration [prepared statement]

21 September 1999: NASA team to review shuttle work procedures in wake of wiring problems, Florida Today

"NASA on Monday launched an investigation into the way maintenance work
is done on its space shuttle fleet, a move prompted by the discovery of damaged electrical wiring on all four vehicles. "

20 September 1999: NASA forms new panel to review shuttle safety, CNN

"Henry McDonald, director of NASA Ames Research Center in California, will chair the shuttle safety team. Other panelists will be named later this week."

20 September 1999: NASA forms independent industry-government team to review Shuttle maintenance and refurbishment practices, NASA press release

"Following the recent discovery of maintenance-related damage to electrical wiring in the Space Shuttle, NASA is forming a team of leading aerospace experts to review the overall safety of shuttle maintenance and refurbishment practices."

7 September 1999: Minutes of Senior Staff and Center Directors' Meeting, NASA HQ

M/Rothenberg: Mr. Rothenberg reported on the following items: 1) Dr. Henry McDonald will lead an Independent Technical Team to review the Space Shuttle systems and maintenance practices. The Team will be comprised of NASA, contractor, and DOD technical personnel and will look at NASA practices, Shuttle anomalies, and civilian and military experience. The Team will recommend additions, changes, and deletions to Shuttle practices and is expected to complete its review by the third week in October."

Editor's note: Why did PAO wait two weeks to announce this - and then do so only a few days before a Congressional hearing on (guess what) Space Shuttle safety? This link was posted on NASA Watch last week.

17 September 1999: Chief Operating Officer to Leave United Space Alliance, PR Newswire, Yahoo

"United Space Alliance Chief Operating Officer Jim Adamson announced
that, effective October 6, 1999, he will be leaving USA to join AlliedSignal Inc. as president of AlliedSignal Technical Services Corporation in Columbia, Maryland."

17 September 1999: NASA refuses to reinstate astronaut to spring flight, Houston Chronicle

"Astronaut Mark Lee's appeal to administrators for reinstatement to a shuttle crew assignment he was bumped from earlier this month has been denied, a NASA spokesman said Friday. "

9 September 1999: NASA Switches Two Shuttle Flights, AP, Yahoo

9 September 1999: KSC revised Shuttle Launch Dates

    STS-103: HST Repair - No earlier than 28 Oct 1999 (we've heard 1 Nov)
    STS-99: Shuttle Radar Topography Mission (SRTM) - No earlier than 19 Nov 1999
    STS-101: ISS 2A.2 - No earlier than 22 Jan 2000

15 September 1999: Space Shuttles Safe After Hurricane, Ap, Yahoo

14 September 1999: Storm Center, Yahoo

14 September 1999: NASA Unable To Handle Big Storms, AP, Yahoo

"NASA tried to protect its four space shuttles the best it could and then evacuated the Kennedy Space Center, unable to handle storms the size and fury of Hurricane Floyd. The shuttles were in danger from the storm, powerful enough to wipe out NASA's launch pads and hangars."

13 September 1999: Floyd Endangering Space Shuttles, AP, Yahoo

"NASA's four space shuttles were in danger as the agency braced Monday for Hurricane Floyd, a storm powerful enough to wipe out its launch pads and hangars.All of the shuttles are in hangars. But the buildings are designed to withstand wind of no more than 105 mph to 125 mph. Floyd was packing top sustained winds of 155 mph wind as of Monday afternoon."

10 September 1999: Astronaut reassignment update:

Editor's note: It now seems that the Ken Bowersox and Mark Lee reassignments are coincidental. Bowersox apparently asked to be taken off of his ISS Expedition mission for reasons having to do with training and operational aspects of the mission itself. Bowersox will remain as a member of the back-up team for Expedition 1 however.

Meanwhile, is seems that Mark Lee may have been bumped from his Space Shuttle mission as the result of an otherwise unrelated dispute with JSC Center Director George Abbey over the development of the "short suit". Lee has recently been removed as the representative from the Astronaut Office (CB) to the EVA Project Office (XA) at JSC. The short suit is an EVA spacesuit designed to accommodate smaller astronauts better than current designs.

JSC has yet to issue a press release on this topic but has been busy modifying astronaut biographies and other web pages to reflect recent changes.

10 September 1999: Astronaut to appeal removal, Houston Chronicle

"Astronaut Mark Lee said Friday he is appealing NASA's decision to pull him from a shuttle crew assigned to a space station construction mission next spring."

9 September 1999: Shuttle astronaut taken off crew for ISS mission, CNN

"After an apparent falling out with NASA brass in Houston, astronaut Mark Lee has been removed from a space shuttle mission to the International Space Station next spring. "

7 September 1999: Astronaut Mark Lee removed from space station assembly mission, Bill Harwood/CBS

"Johnson Space Center Director George Abbey personally ordered the change because of what one source called "conduct unbecoming of an astronaut."

7 September 1999: Minutes of Senior Staff and Center Directors' Meeting, NASA HQ

M/Rothenberg: Mr. Rothenberg reported on the following items: 1) Dr. Henry McDonald will lead an Independent Technical Team to review the Space Shuttle systems and maintenance practices. The Team will be comprised of NASA, contractor, and DOD technical personnel and will look at NASA practices, Shuttle anomalies, and civilian and military experience. The Team will recommend additions, changes, and deletions to Shuttle practices and is expected to complete its review by the third week in October."

4 September 1999: U.S. space shuttle fleet grounded -NASA, Reuters, Yahoo

4 September 1999: Space Shuttles Virtually Grounded, AP, Yahoo

3 September 1999: 64 cases of wiring problems found on shuttle fleet - Next launch no earlier than mid-October, CNN

"NASA technicians inspecting two orbiters in the space shuttle fleet have found more than two dozen wiring problems like one that caused a potentially life-threatening short circuit on a July shuttle flight. "

3 September 1999: NASA's Oldest Orbiter Ready for Refurb,

"The $70 million to $80 million upgrade also includes one cosmetic makeover. Columbia will lose its '70s-era NASA logo, with the letters all connected worm-like, in favor the re-adopted '60s logo, affectionately referred to as "the meatball." Eradicating NASA's worm writing has been a pet project of agency administrator Dan Goldin."

Check Worm Watch for the sad tale of the worm logo's demise.

6 September 1999: Space Shuttle Fleet Grounded -NASA, Reuters, Yahoo

4 September 1999: Space Shuttles Virtually Grounded, AP, Yahoo

3 September 1999: 64 cases of wiring problems found on shuttle fleet - Next launch no earlier than mid-October, CNN

"NASA technicians inspecting two orbiters in the space shuttle fleet have found more than two dozen wiring problems like one that caused a potentially life-threatening short circuit on a July shuttle flight. "

2 September 1999: Kennedy Space Center Space Shuttle Status Report, KSC, Florida Today

"Although numerous locations throughout the orbiters have been identified that require additional preventative measures, the number of places identified in each orbiter where wire has required repair includes:

  • Endeavour -- 38
  • Discovery -- 26
  • Atlantis -- full inspections will begin later this month.
  • Columbia -- other than initial inspections associated with the short experienced during STS-93, full wiring inspections will be performed when Columbia arrives at the Boeing North American shuttlefactory in Palmdale, Ca., late this month"

1 September 1999: Kennedy Space Center Space Shuttle Status Report, Florida Today

"Engineers are continuing to analyze a bent freon line associated with
payload bay support equipment for the SRTM payload. The bent line was
reported earlier this month by a technician working on wiring
inspections in that area of Endeavour's cargo bay. The freon line is
part of a cooling system for some of the SRTM electronics. Although
the bent line has not shown any evidence of a leak, engineers are
evaluating the possibility of either bracing or replacing the line to
prevent further damage that could result from vibrations experienced
at launch."

24 August 1999:  Space Shuttle Schedule in Disarray, AP, Yahoo

24 August 1999:  Shuttle Problems Continue--Mission to Space Station Delayed,

23 August 1999:  Damaged Wires Found in all Shuttles,

"Any lingering doubts about NASA's decision to ground the shuttle fleet for
wiring inspections has vanished, with shuttle Endeavour -- the orbiter that had its payload removed for inspections -- turning up 20 areas of potentially hazardous wiring, including spots that were down to bare wire."

16 August 1999:   Launch Makes Collins More Celebrated, AP, Yahoo

4 August 1999:

Editor's note: it seems that a number of people at NASA have taken to refering to STS-93 commander Eileen Collins as "Janeway" - as in Katherine Janeway, commander of the starship "Voyager". The nickname is meant in a most complimentary way for the cool manner with which Collins handled her technically challenging ascent into orbit on STS-93.

13 August 1999:  
Another bad wire found in Columbia - 5 new photos

Editors' note: These 5 photos show a newly-found bad wire on the No.1 engine that flew on Columbia on the STS-93 mission. It (apparently) did not short
out (but came close).

Editor's note: a correction from

"The 5 new pictures are
from the new wire damage found. They are all from the initial find.
photos with the legend FWD on them are of the segment that actually
shorted to the screw head. The photos with the legend AFT were
discovered at the same time (about 2-3 inches away from the short)
over a screw head on the aft side of the joint that did not short (no
arching noted
on the screw head). The new wire damage was in a different area of the
bay and was thought to be just top coat damage (outside paint). failure
of that wire reported that two layers were removed due to abrasion
Based on all the data and the Criticality of the Main Engines, I
strongly believe
NASA made the correct and only possible decision to inspect and protect
Power lines going to the Main Engine Controllers prior to flight."

13 August 1999:   Next shuttle mission delayed to inspect wiring, Florida Today

13 August 1999:   Next U.S. Shuttle Mission Delayed For Wire Checks, Reuters, Yahoo

12 August 1999:   NASA Grounds the Shuttle Fleet for Wire Inspections,

10 August 1999:   NASA Delays Shuttle Move for Wire Inspections,

"This screw in the Columbia cargo bay may have rubbed insulation off nearby wires, causing a short circuit and arcing that singed the screw. [photo] courtesy NASA Watch."

10 August 1999:  Exposed wire cited as cause of short circuit aboard Columbia, Florida Today

10 August 1999:  Space Station Illnesses Downplayed, AP, Yahoo

10 August 1999:  Screw caused Columbia's short circuit, Orlando Sentinel

9 August 1999:   Closeup photos of the short circuit inside Space Shuttle Columbia

Editor's note: Apparently these photos are a NASA Watch "exclusive". These 6 photos were taken in the OPF (Orbiter Processing Facility) at NASA KSC shortly after Columbia landed.

22 July 1999:   Crew/Cargo Transfer Vehicle
Preliminary Requirements
, Space Transportation Architecture Studies
Phase III, NASA Code AE, Office of the Chief Engineer

"The purpose of this document is to establish top-level requirements for the Crew/Cargo Transfer Vehicle (CCTV) for the conduct of associated tasks for Phase III of the NASA Space Transportation Architecture Studies."

15 February 1999: NASA Looks For Spare Parts - From Alabama Museum, Reuters, Yahoo

"The Marshall Space Flight Center and the United Space Alliance, NASA's shuttles operations contractor, last week contacted the U.S. Space & Rocket Center in Huntsville, Alabama, and asked it to return
the forward assemblies from the solid rocket boosters on the museum's full-size shuttle exhibit "for use in the space program,'' the Huntsville Times newspaper reported Sunday."

14 February 1999: NASA 'repos museum exhibits, Huntsville Times

15 February 1999:
Museum Asked to Return Space Parts, AP, Yahoo

Editor's note: too bad NASA hasn't asked for one of those Saturn V 's lying around at JSC, KSC, and MSFC ....

 13 January 1999: What lies ahead for aging space shuttle?, Orlando Sentinel

 12 January 1999: 
Upgrading the Shuttle, Committee on Shuttle Upgrades, Aeronautics and Space Engineering Board, National Research Council


28 August 1998: 
Liquid Flyback Booster Study, What's New in Program Development
Volume 1, Number 3 August, 1998, NASA MSFC

2 July 1998: USA Assumes Responsibility for Three Additional Major Shuttle
, press release, Yahoo

26 May 1998: 
Russ Turner Named President & CEO of United Space Alliance, press release, Yahoo

1 February 1998: Safety concerns should prompt close scrutiny of NASA layoffs, A Florida Today Editorial

29 January 1998: 
Statement by Rep. Dave Weldon on Space Shuttle Safety

"I remain deeply concerned about the manner in which these
layoffs were planned and carried out, and I will continue to pursue a
Congressional review of that issue. I am confident that the workers and
managers at USA and NASA will make it their top priority to operate the
Shuttle fleet safely."

29 January 1998: NASA advisory group voices concerns about layoff plan, Florida Today

28 January 1998: Space shuttle program to shed 480 jobs, Reuters, Yahoo

29 January 1998: 
NASA clears USA plan to reduce shuttle workforce, Florida Today

29 January 1998: 
Shuttle Program says USA process won't affect safety, NASA press release

"NOTE: Copies of NASA's safety analysis on the USA work force
reduction process is available for review in NASA newsrooms at HQ,
JSC and KSC. "

Note: If NASA is so confident about this decision, you'd think that the report mentioned in this story would be important enough for NASA to distribute widely. Shouldn't reporters be allowed to have copies of the report to study - and quote accurately? A look at the Code Q website's What's New page, updated on 16 January, makes no mention of this report.

21 January 1998:  
Lockheed Martin and CSOC Partners Demonstrate Model
Architecture For Future Space Operations
, press release, Yahoo

20 January 1998:  
Boeing Appoints Former Astronaut Dick Covey to Key
Consolidated Space Operations Post
, Boeing press release, Yahoo

16 January 1998:  Assessment of the SFOC/USA Risk Management Process for Determining Proposed Staff Reductions, NASA Office of Safety and Mission Assurance.

1997 and earlier

24 December 1997: Spacehab gets $62 mln in space contracts, Reuters, Yahoo

19 December 1997: Science Fiction-Like Exploits Of The Space Shuttle, USA press release, Yahoo

16 December 1997: 
NASA officials criticize space report, UPI, Yahoo

16 December 1997: 
Report: space debris threatens shuttle,UPI, Yahoo

16 December 1997: 
Tiny deadly space debris seen as threat, Wired, Yahoo

16 December 1997: 
Orbital Debris May Pose Significant Risk to the Space Shuttle, Press release, National Research Council

16 December 1997: 
Protecting the Space Shuttle from Meteoroids and Orbital Debris, Committee on Space Shuttle Meteoroid/Debris Risk Management, Aeronautics and Space Engineering Board, Commission on Engineering and Technical Systems, National Research Council

12 December 1997: Looks like John Glenn will be flying on a Space Shuttle mission.

Editor's comment: The White House is involved - and, from what we have learned, this is all but a done deal. More details to follow. Once this is announced, you can expect NASA to hurriedly come up with some spur of the moment, after the fact "experiments" to justify flying an elderly former astronaut in space. Glenn's exposure to space flight was so brief and so long ago as to make a scientific basis for this flight utterly meaningless. This is about politics and public relations - not science. Anyone at NASA - or Senator Glenn's office - who attempts to put a scientific spin on the reason for this space junket is being less than truthful with the public.

Since this is all about politics, we urge Senator Glenn to use the obvious media exposure that will result from his flight to call for a reversal of the punitive budget cuts being inflicted upon NASA by the Clinton Administration. THAT would have some clear value to the agency.

Otherwise NASA, if you really want to study the effects of space flight on senior citizens, keep flying Story Musgrave until he's old enough.

10 December 1997: Shuttle Contractor Wants Payloads to Pay Off, Washington Post

9 December 1997: Commerce Business Daily: Presolicitation Notice: DOD Shuttle/ISS Payload Support Contract, Space Test Program (STP) at Kirtland Air Force Base New Mexico

"The scope of the DoD Shuttle/ISS Payload includes operational engineering support for the Department of Defense (DoD) Space Test Program (STP) Shuttle/ISS Payload Support Contract (DPSC). "

25 November 1997:  Terms of Reference, Administrator's Policy Review, Issues Associated with Policies, Plans, and Budget Commitments to Execute the Space Transportation Implementation Plan, online at the Code Z website.

1 October 1997: Space Shuttle: Upgrade Activities and Carryover Balances. T-NSIAD-98-21. 8 pp. plus 1 appendix (3 pp.) [.pdf format]

1 October 1997: prepared statement by Will Trafton, Associate Administrator, Office of Space Flight, as he testifed before the House Science Committee regarding Space Shuttle safety.

The hearings covered the impact on safety of the recent transfer of funds away from the Shuttle program; the effects on Shuttle launch requirements resulting from the slippage of the Space Station assembly schedule; and the amount of uncosted carryovers and possible plans for its disposition.

Word has it that the Committee did a fair amount of testimony "read-back" to the NASA people testifying i.e. "well, in previous testimony, you made the following [contradictory] statement."

Ouch. Don't you hate it when they do that.

30 September 1997:Rick Stephens to Lead Boeing Bid to Consolidate NASA Space
, press release, Yahoo

9 September 1997:  United Space Alliance Names Lunney, DeCastro to Key Executive
, Press release, Yahoo

20 July 1997: Has NASA Decided to Cancel the remaining Shuttle/Mir flights?

We have learned from KSC that word was passsed down recently from the top to plan on cancellation of the 4 remaining Shuttle/Mir flights. KSC folks were told to start planning for what they were going
to do when the flight rate dropped to 2 and 4 flights/year for a couple of years. Apparently, this rather low flight rate being projected is due to NASA's lack of payloads which could be ready in time to fly. In the meantime, when not flying shuttles, KSC personnel will apparently dedicate their time towards continual improvement projects, cost reduction projects, etc.

22 May 1997: Threat to NASA funding a factor in Weldon's `no' vote on budget, By Larry Wheeler, Florida Today.

19 May 1997: Boeing Press Release: Boeing To Study Consolidation of NASA Space Operations

19 May 1997: Boeing Co awarded NASA contract, Reuters, Yahoo

16 May 1997: Despite Objections, NASA Headquarters Moves Forward With Plan to Cut Shuttle Program, News release from U.S. Congressman Dave Weldon, online at Florida Today

15 May 1997: United Space Alliance to trim KSC workforce, By Robyn Suriano, Florida Today

14 May 1997: Novel work incentives at USA

NASA Watch has learned that USA (United Space Alliance) is finally waking up to the hemorrhage of people leaving the ranks in training and flight control. There is now a new incentive plan in place- it is called a "Retention Bonus". Employees remaining within those groups at USA with the highest attrition rates get supplemental checks every month - presumably to entice them to stay onboard.

On the surface, this would seem to be an effective mechanism to make people hang around.

Think about this for a moment. It is also rewarding bad management.

7 May 1997:Hey, who's that looking over STS-2 astronaut Joe Engle's shoulder as he shaves? Its George Abbey! [NASA Photo ID: S81-39573]

29 April 1997: Israel selects astronaut for US shuttle, UPI, at Yahoo

29 April 1997: Honeycutt takes Lockheed job in Houston, By Todd Halvorson
Florida Today

24 April 1997: Boeing Will Bid on NASA Project (CSOC), AP, Washington Post

Consolidated Space Operations Contract Information

21 April 1997: Defense Department might use NASA's shuttle for launches, again, By Todd Halvorson, online at Florida Today

19 April 1997: Hey Boeing: who's on Mir right now?

According to their ISS website : "To date, the Space Shuttle has flown four times to Mir -- one rendezvous mission and three docking flights. Astronaut Shannon Lucid currently is living and working aboard Mir. "

Nope. Wrong answer. Care to try again?

18 April 1997: Columbia gets July re-flight, other missions move back, by Todd Halvorson Florida Today

17 April 1997: NASA Will Re-Try Failed Mission, Associated Press, online at the Washington Post

17 April 1997: [Press Release] NASA and Air Force Space Command Announce Cooperative Efforts

13 April 1997:More new Spacelab missions?

We have also learned that three new Spacelab missions are being planned for serious consideration during the 8 month slip in ISS assembly:

    MSL-2 in 1999
    Neurolab-2 in 1999.
    MC-2 in 1999

30 September 1996: NASA and USA press releases regarding the signing of the Space Flight Operations Contract (SFOC).

26 March 1996: [NSIAD-96-73] Space Shuttle: Need to Sustain Launch Risk Assessment Process
Improvements TEXT

13 March 1997:NASA Aerospace Safety Advisory Panel 1996 Annual Report

28 February 1997: Space Operations management Plan, TA/Space Operations Management Office, NASA JSC

30 November 1995:Rep. Weldon (R-FL) Questions Goldin About NASA's Plan to Consolidate Shuttle Program. Weldon hears that "safety and schedule" drove the selection of United Space Alliance

7 November 1995: NASA to Pursue Non-competitive Shuttle Contract with U.S. Alliance NASA Press Release

22 September 1995: NASA Receives over 40 Responses of Interest from Industry for Shuttle Program Retructure Effort NASA Press Release

The Lower Tiers of the Space Transportation Industrial Base (August 1995)

August 1995: The Lower Tiers of the Space Transportation Industrial Base, Office of Technology Assessment

28 July 1995: [NSIAD-95-171] Space Shuttle: Declining Budget and Tight Schedule Could Jeopardize Space
Station Support

15 June 1995: [NSIAD-95-118] Space Shuttle: NASA Must Reduce Costs Further to Operate Within Future Projected Funds

May 1995: The National Space Transportation Policy: Issues for Congress, Office of Technology Assessment

15 March 1995: Shuttle Management Team Issues Final Report NASA Press Release

15 March 1995: The Kraft Report On Space Shuttle Operations

2 February 1995: Red Team Report

30 November 1995:Rep. Weldon (R-FL) Questions Goldin About NASA's Plan to Consolidate Shuttle Program. Weldon hears that "safety and schedule" drove the selection of United Space Alliance

9 December 1994: GAO Report: Overhead Costs: Unallowable Costs Charged by Rockwell Corporation,
Rocketdyne Division
(Letter Report, 12/09/94, GAO/NSIAD-95-41).

7 November 1995: NASA to Pursue Non-competitive Shuttle Contract with U.S. Alliance NASA Press Release

22 September 1995: NASA Receives over 40 Responses of Interest from Industry for Shuttle Program Retructure Effort NASA Press Release

21 July 1994: GAO Report: Space Shuttle: NASA's Plans for Repairing or Replacing a Damaged or
Destroyed Orbiter
(Letter Report, 07/21/94, GAO/NSIAD-94-197).

26 May 1994: GAO Report: Space Shuttle: Incomplete Data and Funding Approach Increase Cost Risk
for Upgrade Program
(Letter Report, 05/26/94, GAO/NSIAD-94-23).

8 June 1992: Shuttle Management Reogranization Announced

28 April 1992:NASA Administrator Announces Headquarters Appoinments ( Pearson replaces Lenoir as Associate Administrator, Office of Space Flight; O'Connor to become Deputy Associate Administrator, Office of Space Flight for Programs.

30 March 1992: Lenoir Announces Plans to Leave NASA

Access to Space: The Future of U.S. Space Transportation Systems (April 1990), Office of Technology Assessment

Affordable Spacecraft: Design and Launch Alternatives (January 1990), Office of Technology Assessment

As you know, the Mir station is currently in its twelfth year on orbit, and of course all of its systems are operating beyond their intended service life. Our philosophy on service life is that we assess the impact of failure of any instruments or assemblies, and if such failure poses no threat to crew safety, then we allow them to operate not only for the length of their service life, but until they actually fail.

In general, the operating life of the majority of instruments will greatly exceed their official service life. Based on this, a plan was formed to supply the station with the necessary spare parts for instruments and assemblies. Where critical instruments that affect crew safety are concerned, we keep a supply of spares on board; for noncritical instruments, the spares are on the ground and are delivered to the station by the Shuttle or Progress as needed. Of course, there is a certain amount of risk associated with such an approach, and it is not beyond criticism, but taking into account our limited choices, it is perhaps the only possible option, and one that will allow us to achieve out ultimate goal of having a constant crew presence on board the station.

In terms of the expendable materials, in terms of the present state of affairs we are within the agreed limits established by the joint document "Primary Mir Station system requirements enabling continuation of the American astronaut's mission."

General Stafford gave a general introduction and thanked members for attending. He stressed the importance of the upcoming safety and operational readiness assessment for STS-86. General Stafford explained that he was creating a Task Force Red Team, led by General Ralph Jacobson, to lead the Task Force STS-86 assessment effort to gain efficiencies due to the time constraints under which the Task Force was working.

Frank Culbertson briefed the Task Force on the Progress-Mir Mishap that occurred on June 25, 1997. He reported that during the attempted Mir docking of Progress 223 that led to the collision of the two vehicles and the depressurization of the Spektr module, the crew attempted to complete a manual docking using the TORU docking system without range or range rate. NASA had not historically participated in the test plans for these kinds of maneuvers. Ground controllers at Moscow Mission Control reported that they had good control over the Progress vehicle until they turned control over to the crew. It is not clear how the weight of the vehicle might have affected the performance of the Progress or TORU, but it was clear that the closure rates were higher than nominal.


Dear Mr. Goldin:

We are writing to request information regarding the recent decision by NASA to close the Neutral Buoyancy Simulator (NBS) at Marshall Space Flight Center (MSFC). As you know, this facility holds a unique place in the history of our nation's space program. In addition, this facility provides a back-up capability for Extravehicular Activity (EVA) training for Space Shuttle operations and could also do so for the International Space Station program. Lastly, there are a number of commercial uses to which this unique facility could clearly be put.

We are concerned that the NBS has been closed without adequate consideration given to the considerable programmatic, commercial, and historic contributions that this unique, world class facility has to offer.

First of all, it is our understanding that representatives from NASA Johnson Space Center (JSC) have stated that they do not have a requirement for either on-site or off-site back-up EVA training facilities to support the International Space Station and Space Shuttle programs. As such, we have been told by Dr. Littles that he cannot justify maintaining a facility for which he has been given no formal requirement to maintain.

June 29, 1997
Mr. Frederick D. Gregory
Associate Administrator for Safety and Mission Assurance
NASA Headquarters
Washington, DC 20564-0001

Dear Fred:

Thank you so much for the kind words in your letter of June 24, 1997 and the exceptionally nice Bohemian crystal bowl that accompanied it. I have placed it on my desk in a prominent place where I can enjoy its beauty as I am working. I do appreciate your thoughtfulness and the effort you made in sending me this most delightful award.

Since I do not get to see you or communicate with you on a regular basis anymore, I would like to take this opportunity to mention something that I believe is of serious importance to NASA, and the Human Spaceflight Safety and Mission Assurance Program. I am sure that the current crisis in the Mir program is probably foremost in your mind. I am extremely concerned about the safety risks associated with continued operation of the Phase I Shuttle/Mir Program. There already have been two incidents this year where the crew has been placed in a basic survival situation. The Mir station is clearly showing significant degradation as it continues to operate beyond its design lifetime. In addition, the decline in the basic infrastructure of the Russian Space Program been well documented in numerous publications, and even in public statements by some Russian space officials.

When NASA originally began the Shuttle/Mir Program, no rigorous safety analysis or risk analysis was accomplished. NASA decided based on the then understood historical performance of safe Mir operations to accept that record as a given. This was done by a subjective review process unlike the systematic safety and reliability analytical techniques utilized for U.S. human spaceflight. If you remember, at that time the Russians were not always forthright about their systems failures or some of the problems they had in the past. The decision was made at the highest levels of NASA, and the formal safety analysis that was established for the Phase I Program was only for the new joint operations activities, new experiments, and new procedures. The acceptance of the existing Mir safety record was driven by management judgment, and therefore for formal and structured documented risk baseline exists for the start of the program. It should be very clear to everyone that the risk level to human safety on the Mir Station has increased somewhat since the early management decisions and agreements were made.

The question becomes, what is the present risk to human safety in this program as the Mir ages and its systems continue to fail and degrade in capability, and as the Russian space program support infrastructure changes as well? What are the expectations for the risk levels to continue to change with time over the planned lifetime of Phase 1 Program? What is the current risk level as compared with the subjectively determined risk level at the start of the Program? NASA has participated in the Mir program with a lower standard as far as Safety and Mission Assurance assessment processes are concerned, and I believe that the risk levels for human safety to be somewhat higher as well. The most important and cogent question is whether the expected benefits of continued operation justify the increasing risk to human safety that are apparent with current operations on the Shuttle/Mir Phase 1 Program.



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