Shuttle News: June 2008 Archives

If NASA Bricks Could Talk, They'd Say 'Save Me!', Discovery Channel

"The scoop: The scorched bricks beneath Launch Pad 39A at Kennedy Space Center have witnessed decades of spaceflight history. But after a recent space shuttle launch blew thousands of them from the pad, NASA intends to throw these pieces of history away."

NASA estimates 3,000 to 4,000 shuttle job losses, AP

"Although as many as 6,000 to 7,000 shuttle jobs will be eliminated at Kennedy Space Center, about 3,000 positions will open up in the new exploration program, said NASA Administrator Michael Griffin. Those jobs will be created to build and fly new spaceships to the international space station and, ultimately, to the moon."

NASA: Layoffs not so dire, Orlando Sentinel

"I can't say it's good news," said U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Fla., who organized the Senate subcommittee hearing about the future of KSC, "but it's certainly news that's a step in the right direction."

Editor's note: OK, but are the KSC folks who are laid off re-hired - instantly? Or are they unemployed for months - or years? Mike left those details out of his attempt at happy news.

Metaphysically Speaking, Free Space, Discovery

"On Monday, NASA chief Michael Griffin told a Senate oversight committee itd run a few hundred million dollars for the extra flight, with one huge caveat: That figure presumes there is no extension of any shuttle equipment contracts. Griffin wouldnt come straight out and say it, but what he means is that if the AMS flight is added on, there wont be a shuttle available to mount a rescue mission. Since Columbia, NASA routinely adds the contingency mission to every flight."

OMB Statement of Adminstration Policy H.R. 6063 - National Aeronautics and Space Administration Authorization Act of 2008

"... the Administration strongly opposes H.R. 6063 because it mandates specific Space Shuttle flights that greatly threaten NASA's ability to retire the Shuttle in 2010, an action that is critical to implementing the President's Vision for Space Exploration. In addition, the Administration has other serious objections to several provisions of H.R. 6063 that must be satisfactorily addressed prior to final congressional action on reauthorization legislation."

Editor's note: The sad thing about all of this these days is that OMB's Paul Shawcross has more say as to what happens at NASA than NASA's Administrator does. You can yell at Mike Griffin until you are blue in the face but it is Shawcross and the OMB who calls the shots.

Note to Paul: what is "critical to implementing the President's Vision for Space Exploration" is that you and your fellow budgeteers provide NASA with the funds to do the things the President tasked them to do - or - you change the tasks. You can't have it both ways, Paul. Right now you have more or less abandoned the agency - and a large chunk of its work force.

KSC folks: You can drop Paul an email at, call him at 202-395-3807, or send him a fax at 202-395-4652. You can find him in room 8225 in the New Executive Office Building or send him a note at Paul Shawcross, Chief, Science and Programs Branch; Energy, Science, and Water Division, OMB, 725 17th Street, NW, Washington, DC 20503.

White House Memo Calls For Slashing Remaining Space Shuttle Flights, earlier post

Link To Launch First Small Step draws Giant Crowd

"The "Link to Launch" rally at Port Canaveral drew an estimated 1,000 people who joined hands, counted down with the roar of a shuttle launch recording, and stretched their linked hands skyward as the first step in raising the awareness that space is critical to US security, culture and economic competitiveness. The crowd of citizens included children, retirees and those representing small and large businesses, unions, and civic organizations gathered in throngs outside the field hearing of the Senate sub-committee on Space."

Editor's note: To the people holding signs up like this at the rally: in so doing you call your intentions into question - and you invite sad historical comparisons to one shuttle mission departing from- and one heading back to KSC. Neither one ever made it home. Grow up.

Another photo of this sign apears here (3rd album, 7th photo) with the caption "USA Statement of Pride". How creepy.

Griffin: "The only thing that could have prevented this Gap would have been a significantly higher budget so that we could operate during development. [Congress] did not do that. ... Within the context of the resources available, we are doing the best that we can."
Nelson: "For every direct job at KSC it is multiplied to [creating] 2.5 jobs in Florida. The question is the reverse of that: do you anticipate the total jobs lost to be 2.5 jobs to be lost for every job lost at the Space Center?"

Griffin: "Yes sir, that is the multiplier that we are talking about."

Florida Link to Launch Rally to Include Addresses from Federal, State Officials

What: Link to Launch: Floridians will gather, link their hands and countdown from 30 seconds when they will lift them skyward in a gesture to show solidarity and awareness of the importance of the Space Program to America. The rally is scheduled to coincide with a Senate subcommittee hearing being held inside the Port Authority Offices. The Link to Launch movement was started by people in on Florida's Space Coast to raise the awareness of the nation and our policy makers that Space is a critical element in our nation's security, our culture and global economic competitiveness. A limited number of media seats on helicopters are available for aerial photography.

When: Monday, June 23

Senate Commerce Committee Hearing: Preparing for the Workforce Transition at Kennedy Space Center

"Monday, June 23, 2008 09:00 AM. The hearing will examine issues surrounding the retirement of the Space Shuttle and the transition to the new Orion/Ares system. Specifically, this hearing will focus on workforce related challenges at the Kennedy Space Center and analyze potential solutions to mitigate the transition's effects on the community. The hearing will be located at the Canaveral Port Authority, Commission Room, Port Canaveral Maritime Center Offices, 445 Challenger Road, Port Canaveral, Florida. [map] Senator Bill Nelson (D-Fla.) will preside."

Editor's note: Even though Mike Griffin seems to think that jobs and space are not campaign issues, they certainly are in Florida. This could get ugly if local Space Coast employees show up (as they should) at this hearing and take Mike Griffin on, face-to-face, about job cuts and the effect upon themselves and their families. The "I don't do feelings - just think of me as Spock" [audio -- original story source] approach certainly will not work in that situation.

Florida is a key state in both Obama's and McCain's strategy to win the election. I wonder if the White House really wants an embarassment in Florida over huge job cuts and what will be portrayed as "George Bush's Moon Program" (despite repeated Congressional buy in). Stay tuned.

Apollo Job Loss on Steroids, earlier post
Politics? I Don't See Any Politics In Space Exploration, earlier post
Yes, The Party Is Indeed Over at KSC, earlier post
The Party Is Over at KSC, earlier post
Shuttle Job Cuts: Its About Time Florida Took Notice, earlier post

Senator Mikulski Pledges to fight to restore Senate-funded initiatives

"Specifically, Senator Mikulski is frustrated with cuts to critical investments proposed by the Senate for fisheries disasters, Byrne formula grants administered through the Department of Justice (DOJ), National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and National Science Foundation (NSF)."

House adds extra shuttle flight in NASA budget

"The House on Wednesday approved a $20 billion NASA spending bill that calls for an extra Space Shuttle flight before the spacecraft program is shut down. ... The purpose of the additional flight would be to deliver to the International Space Station the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer for experiments in seeking out unusual matter in space."

Fixing 39A

What it will take to fix launch pad 39A at Kennedy Space Center, Orlando Sentinel

"Up close, the area underneath Kennedy Space Center's main shuttle launchpad looks like a cross between an archaeological dig and a crime scene after a bomb blast. There's a 75-by-20-foot swath in a wall where bricks that protect the pad's concrete foundation were blasted off by the roaring exhaust of the shuttle Discovery two weeks ago."

Space Shuttle Discovery Returns to Earth

"Space Shuttle Discovery landed at Kennedy Space Center this morning at 11:15 a.m. on runway 15 at the shuttle landing facility. Commander Mark Kelly performed the deorbit burn at 10:10 a.m. EDT to begin space shuttle Discovery's descent to Kennedy Space Center for landing."

More ISS/Shuttle news
STS-124 Twitter Feed

NASA: Metal clip fell off shuttle but not problem, AP

"A metal clip fell from Discovery's brakes on Friday but NASA said it won't delay the space shuttle's scheduled landing on Saturday. The astronauts reported to Mission Control earlier Friday that they saw a rectangular object, about 1 to 1 1/2 feet long, floating away from the tail of the shuttle. It turned out to be one of three metal clips around thermal insulation. The insulation is in the shuttle's rudder speed brake, which is used to slow the spacecraft as it comes in for a landing. NASA says the missing clip isn't critical for landing. It's used to protect the speed brake from high temperatures during the shuttle's launch."

Editor's note: Technically speaking, nothing "fell" off of Discovery. Rather, it became detached and drifted away, following its own independent orbit ...

HSM4 Intro, John Frassanito & Associates

Link below.

IFPTE Letter To Congress Regarding NASA Re-Authorization bill H.R. 6063

"Although IFPTE supports the bill and the resources called for in H.R. 6063, we continue to have reservations with some of the provisions. We are particularly concerned that adding three additional Shuttle flights to the official manifest may move Shuttle Operations past the Columbia Accident Investigation Board's (CAIB) firm deadline of retirement by the end of 2010. In addition to the daunting safety considerations, should the Shuttle timeline slip past this deadline, many billions of dollars of additional costs will be required, dollars that are not contemplated in H.R. 6063 and not likely to be appropriated."

Space Shuttle Discovery Undocks from International Space Station

"Discovery undocked from the International Space Station today at 7:42 a.m. EDT, ending its almost nine-day stay at the orbital outpost. On Tuesday, The STS-124 and Expedition 17 crews bid one another farewell, and closed the hatches between the two spacecraft at 4:42 p.m. STS-124 arrived at the station June 2, delivering the Japanese Pressurized Module, the second pressurized component of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agencys Kibo laboratory, to the station."

More ISS/Shuttle news
STS-124 Twitter Feed

NASA Balks at Taking Physics Gear Into Space, NPR

"NASA has scheduled just 10 more space shuttle flights before retiring its fleet for good. But the space agency may have to add one more mission, to bring a seven-ton $1.5 billion physics experiment into space."

Pad Damage at KSC

Shuttle launch pad damaged during Discovery's liftoff, Spaceflightnow

"Launch pad 39A at the Kennedy Space Center suffered extensive damage during the shuttle Discovery's blastoff Saturday, NASA officials say. Photographs by news media photographers and others provided by NASA sources show heat-resistant bricks lining large sections of the "flame trench" wall beneath the shuttle's mobile launch platform were blown out by Discovery's booster exhaust, littering the area behind the pad and damaging a perimeter fence."

NASA's Space shuttle Discovery Arrives at the International Space Station

"Space shuttle Discovery docked with the International Space Station at 2:03 p.m. EDT, delivering the STS-124 crew, a new Japanese module and a new crew member to the orbital outpost. Discovery carries with it the second component of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency's Kibo laboratory, the Japanese Pressurized Module (JPM). The JPM will join the first component of Kibo, the Japanese Logistics Module, which was launched on the last shuttle flight, STS-123, in March."
Mission information

A Very Cool Photo

Woody from Toy Story waves good bye to Buzz, Orlando Sentinel

"It's hard to explain how much I love this photo. Kudos to Sentinel photographer Red Huber, who strategically placed a plastic doll of Woody from the movie Toy Story in a tree near the remove cameras that he always sets up for shuttle launches."



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This page is an archive of entries in the Shuttle News category from June 2008.

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