Keith Cowing: May 2009 Archives

Paul Haney

Haney, 'voice of NASA' reporter, dies of cancer, AP

"Paul Haney, who was known as the "voice of NASA's Mission Control" for his live televised reports during the early years of the space program, has died of cancer. He was 80. Haney died Thursday at a nursing home. Kent House, owner of the Alamogordo Funeral Home, confirmed that Haney died of complications from melanoma cancer, which spread to his brain and was untreatable. Haney became NASA's information officer in 1958, three months after the space agency was formed and went on to manage information from the Gemini and Apollo flight programs. He pioneered a real-time system of reporting events as they happened in the first manned flight program, Project Mercury."

Chiao another likely member of Augustine commission, Orlando Sentinel

"Add another name to the Augustine commission: ex-NASA astronaut Leroy Chiao. Sources said the former space station crew member likely would be named to the blue ribbon panel headed by retired Lockheed Martin CEO Norm Augustine that will help chart the future of NASA's human spaceflight program. Reached by phone, Chiao said that he had been contacted by administration officials assembling the committee and that they expressed interested. "I don't think I've done anything since I left NASA to [disqualify] me," he joked."

Frank's note: Chiao is a superb public speaker who knows how to communicate the excitement and enthusiasm he has for space exploration. It is good that we know at least one person is on that panel that can explain all of this to indifferent Americans.

Keith's note: Having worked on several projects with Leroy, I can heartily affirm Frank's assessment.

Obama Turns to NASA Veterans to Lead Space Agency, Science

"President Barack Obama has chosen two long-time advocates of human space flight to lead NASA. On 23 May, the White House nominated former astronaut Charles Bolden Jr. and Washington lobbyist Lori Garver to take the positions of administrator and deputy administrator, respectively, for the space agency. If confirmed by the Senate, Bolden and Garver will confront a series of momentous decisions on where to take NASA in the coming decade."

Keith's note: Science Magazine did not do their homework. Lori Garver is not a lobbyist. In fact, she only registered as a lobbyist for one year in 1988 for NSS/SpaceCause - 21 years ago.

Bolden calls graduates to action, Houston Chronicle

"A pilot and former Marine, Bolden encouraged the young doctors and scientists to follow the principles he learned in the Corps. "It's our core values -- honor, courage, commitment," he said. "... Be courageous in everything you do. Don't be afraid to stand up to someone who is about to do something wrong, because you know it's wrong. And be committed no matter where you happen to go."

 "How can we inspire today's science teachers and students to meet the challenge of the American science education crisis and reclaim the worldwide lead in science and technology? Northrop Grumman is flying teachers on the Zero G aircraft to experience weightlessness just like the astronauts -- for a start. This is the story of the adventure from teachers across the nation. A film for teachers, about teacher, but inspiring to us all!"

Keith's note: The next step (are you listening NASA?) is to leap ahead of just flying teachers - and to fly students - and not for just 20 seconds - but for much, much longer.

Video below

Frank's note: Imagine how it would ignite the passion for science if NASA announced, after Orion is fully operational, a seat first for a student experiment inside the Crew Module, then flying a student to the ISS to operate it him or herself! Yes, I know space is limited and there are risks. But...just imagine the possibilities! And I'll go even further (and risk being branded nuts)-pledging to bring a student and the student's experiment to the moon. And I have just the organization to work with NASA on all of this: The ShareSpace Foundation. Why can't students go into orbit just like tourists? It's time, don't you think, to start working in this direction?

Touching The Sky

Where Staring Into Space Is Actually Encouraged, Washington Post

"Since 1982, Wood Acres students have learned about astronomy by studying the night sky in the planetarium and through lessons in its classroom. The beige dome is suspended by chains from the ceiling over a carpeted circular pit in the retrofitted classroom. Through a program run by trained parent volunteers at Wood Acres, students in first through fifth grades visit the planetarium six times a year for 45-minute lessons. The program for kindergartners is more condensed; students attend one lesson each week for six weeks, said parent Eloise Keary, who is in charge of scheduling and training for the PTA's planetarium committee. During a class Friday, Jorgensen and John Adams, a parent and NASA aerospace engineer, taught the first-graders about the solar system before gathering the youngsters under the dome. Projecting colorful images of planets on a large screen, Adams talked about their characteristics."

NASA marks 50th anniversary of monkeys Able and Miss Baker in space, Huntsville Times

"Monkeys Able and Baker, known as "the monkeynauts," were lofted from Cape Canaveral, Fla., 50 years ago today and were the first American mammals to survive a fiery ride into space.

On May 28, 1959, Able, a 7-pound rhesus monkey, and Baker, an 11-ounce squirrel monkey, were crammed into the nose cone of an Army Jupiter missile and shot 360 miles into space during a 16-minute mission."

Is Sen. Bill Nelson flip-flopping on NASA's COTS-D space program?

"... Well, in case you assume that this exchange means that Sen. Nelson has become a champion of COTS D as a possible way to generate more Space Coast jobs and help fill the gap between the end of the space shuttle program next year and whenever the next rocket program is ready, think again. In comments to several space boosters over the last two days, Nelson has made it clear that he is not necessarily supporting COTS D. Here is what he told the Orlando Sentinel on Wednesday during a visit to Kennedy Space Center: "Whatever you heard, I want to make sure you understand I wasn't specifically pushing COTS D. What I was pushing was launch complex 36 [at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station]. ... COTS D first off is a human-rated program and that has not been sanctioned by NASA yet."

Space station: Boon or boondoggle?, Discovery

"I hope the space station becomes extraordinarily, scientifically productive, but it is not today," said David Leckrone, the senior scientist for the Hubble Space Telescope, one of the agency's most successful and well-regarded programs. Uhran said it is too early in the station program to gauge its success on scientific output, which so far has been meager. The agency's Web site lists 172 station-related research papers -- many of which were not published in peer-reviewed journals. References to Hubble-related published science results, in contrast, number more than 3,500. "Judging the station at this time on its scientific output is a red herring," said John Logdon, a space policy analyst with George Washington University. "It's just getting started."

Keith's note: Hmmm, I wonder how much of Hubble's planned research (all of those published papers) got done before its manufacturing flaw (one that no one at STScI caught) was fixed - and after it was fixed (by humans) and was fully operational. ISS is just starting to flex its solar-powered wings. Stay tuned.

Scott Parazynski: Still on Cloud 10

"Just six days ago I'd wearily downclimbed to Everest's base camp. As I sat in a small blue tent that evening tenuously perched over one particularly malodorous barrel, a loud rockslide thundered directly towards me. I briefly thought of the irony of it all: I had finally summited "The Mountain of My Dreams", only to succumb to a tragic potty accident. Think of all the eulogy possibilities! The intense days of my Everest summit climb, the long descent and my return to Kathmandu's "civilization" have zoomed by, but the key details remain as vivid as the photographs and video we took on top. Simply stated, Everest was the hardest thing I've ever done in my life, physically and mentally, but strangely enough this was also my ultimate reward. Some things just don't have to make sense."

Last Visit To Hubble

The Hubble Constant: High Interest, Miles O'Brien

"I have always had a soft spot in my heart for Hubble Repair Missions. After all, I cut my teeth on the space beat covering the legendary STS-61 mission in December 1993 the first, the most dramatic - and certainly the most important - of the five astronaut telescope calls now inscribed in the space history books.

So I must confess I am a bit wistful even a little misty - now that it is all over."

Keith's note: Scott and I are headed home (ahead: 24 hrs in transit). After a hectic day yesterday flying from Lukla (imagine taking of from a steeply pitched aircraft carrier stuck in the mountains) to Kathmandu we cleaned up, argued with Qatar Airways, made the traditional pilgrimage to the Rum Doodle Bar, and then rode home in a rickshaw. I want to thank Marc Boucher and Frank Sietzen for keeping the home fire burning here at NASA Watch - and Miles O'Brien for all of his help supporting Scott and I while we were at Everest.

Scott Parazynski and other IMG climbers reach the summit of Mt. Everest on 20 May 2009 at 3:55 am local time. OnOrbit video by Danuru Sherpa of Phortse, Nepal.

Two more videos

Image: An Astronaut Holds Apollo 11 Moon Rocks atop Mt. Everest with the Moon High Above

More images

Discovery Channel: "Our first Everest team reached the summit early this morning and we have Sherpa Cam footage beamed straight from the summit to your computer in record time. These videos were sent to us by Keith Cowing two to three hours max after summit. Discovery Channel along with the Everest climbers and crew members are proud to present what is probably the first and only footage of a successful summit attempt so close to the actual climb." [Watch the videos at Discovery]

Scott is now on his way down the mountain to a lower Camp.

Astronaut Scott Parazynski and his Sherpa Danuru are standing on the summit of Mt. Everest as of 6:15 pm EDT - 4 am Nepal time

Scott was at the south summit of Mt Everest 8,750 m (28,700 ft) at 2:35 am local time.

8:26 pm Nepal time: Scott has just departed Camp IV and is headed for the summit of Mt. Everest ETA 5 am Nepal time/7 pm EDT - perhaps earlier.

Updates at

Scott is using his SPOT Satellite Personal Tracker to check in. You can follow his progress all the way to the summit by checking his personal tracking page . Select "terrain" to see how close he is getting to the summit of Mt. Everest.

As you can see from this SPOT update, Scott is now on his way to Camp IV (South Col) at an elevation of 7,920 meters (26,000 ft). The summit is still a bit away at 8,848 meters (29,029 ft). Scott is using his SPOT Satellite Personal Tracker to check in. You can follow his progress all the way to the summit by checking his personal tracking page . Select "terrain" to see how close he is getting to the summit of Mt. Everest.[More]

Keith's note: Scott's summit window still focuses on a 7-8 pm 19 May / 5-6 am Local time 20 May summit. Scott is walking up to the jetstream. The rest of y'all need airplanes and rockets to do that. Dig it.

Orion All-Hands

imageNASA JSC Internal Memo: Orion All Hands on June 4

"Please save the date and join Orion Project Manager Mark Geyer and Lockheed Martin Orion Program Manager Cleon Lacefield for an Orion update and All Hands meeting on Thursday, June 4, from 2 to 4 p.m. in the Teague Auditorium. The agenda will be conducted in two parts: Part one - 2 to 2:45 p.m., Orion update and accomplishments; Part two - 3 to 4 p.m., team accomplishments and awards."

image"Grunsfeld is wearing a spacesuit marked with solid red stripes. Feustel is wearing an all white spacesuit.

For this spacewalk, the astronauts will begin with some setup tasks and then move to install the second battery group replacement in an equipment bay above the Wide Field Camera 2 and next to the compartment where the first battery set was installed on the second spacewalk of the flight."

More reports

Image: Scott holding up sample 10085,134 inside its protective housing

Apollo 11 Moon Rocks Headed for the Summit of Mt. Everest with Astronaut Climber

"Astronaut Scott Parazynski - in the midst of a historic summit bid at Mount Everest - is carrying some small pieces of moon rock as he climbs to the top of the highest spot on Earth. This sample was loaned to Parazynski's team by NASA which seldom gives out pieces of the lunar regolith gathered by the twelve Apollo astronauts who flew to the moon between 1969 and 1972."

Players In Nowak Case Start Adventure Web Site, WESH

"The bio is part of an adventure writing Web site Shipman is running with Oefelein. In their bios, he's known as "Billy O" and Shipman's nickname is "Coll." The two are offering to publications worldwide a list of freelance adventure writing missions. Oefelein claims a long list of writing credits including the New York Times, Washington Post and Newsweek. His bio calls the former shuttle pilot "one of the best aviators of all time."

Former astronaut withdraws insanity plea, AP

"Nowak was accused of confronting her romantic rival, Colleen Shipman, in the parking lot of the Orlando International Airport in February 2007 after driving from Houston. The initial police report said Nowak wore diapers during her trip but her attorney has disputed that claim. Shipman's boyfriend was former space shuttle pilot Bill Oefelein."

Billy O Does SNL, earlier post

Keith's note: From their website: "We're currently working on a couple of books that are sure to raise some eyebrows. Check back for updates."

Oh gosh, let me guess: it involves extramarital affairs, throwing away jobs that millions of people would love to have, hiding from the media, and writing tawdry emails on government time. I am certain we'll see your stuff for sale at grocery check out counters really soon. The trailer park crowd will just eat this stuff up. Great role models? NOT.

Star Trek On Orbit

NASA Astronaut to Watch New Star Trek Movie Among the Stars

"Moviegoers likely will sit in crowded theaters to watch the new "Star Trek" movie, which premiered on May 8, but not NASA astronaut Michael Barratt. He will have the opportunity to watch the film aboard the International Space Station, while he and two crewmates fly 220 miles above Earth. The only thing missing will be the popcorn. Paramount Pictures transferred "Star Trek" to NASA's Mission Control in Houston, which then uplinked the film to the space station on Thursday, May 14. Barratt plans to watch the film on a laptop computer inside the Unity module".

Keith's note: Scott is scheduled to call his friend Mike Barratt from the summit of Mt. Everest sometime around 7-8 pm EDT on 19 May/5-6 am Nepal time on 20 May. Ever wonder what sort of photos Scott will pose for while on the summit? Stay tuned.

Scott Parazynski Talks to the Crew of the International Space Station from Everest Base Camp
Singing Sherpas Serenade Space Station Crew Member

Update 10:00 am Nepal time 9 May: Scott is back at Everest Base Camp - disappointed - but otherwise doing fine.

Update 9:11 am Nepal time 9 May: Weather conditions atop Mt. Everest have become unacceptable for further ascent at this time. Scott and other climbers have begun to descend from Camp II and should be back here at Everest Base Camp any moment now.

Update from Camp II: Resting, Science, and Photography

"Keith Cowing: I just spoke with Scott at Camp II by radio . He sounds cheerful, rested -- and excited. Scott is currently on a rest day before tomorrow's push to Camp III - but he is not just "resting".

IMG Update: Avalanche and Rescue Effort in Khumbu Icefall
Massive Avalanche Over The Lower Khumbu Icefall (images, video)

"Keith Cowing: There was a massive avalanche off of the west shoulder of Mt. Everest this morning. Within a very short period of time the entire lower Khumbu Icefall was enveloped in pulverized ice and snow."

Track Scott's progress via SPOT here.
More info at
Follow Scott on Twitter at SPOTscott

Editor's update: At 12:14 Nepal time Scott radioed in to Base Camp that he had arrived at Camp II.

Editor's note: Scott is on his way to the summit of Mt Everest. He departed IMG Base Camp just after 4 am local time this morning (7 May) with his Sherpa guide Danuru. The moon was out and the sky was crystal clear. ETA at the summit is 7-8 pm EDT 10 May (5-6 am 11 May Nepal time).

Track Scott's progress via SPOT here.
More info at
Follow Scott on Twitter at SPOTscott

This video was taken on 17 April 2009 at Camp 2 on Mount Everest at 21,500 feet. In it, IMG climber Scott Parazynski talks live via satellite phone Michael Barratt aboard the International Space Station on the occasion of his 50th birthday. In the background are three sherpas - the middle one, Danuru, will accompany Scott to the summit. Together they are known as the "Singing Sherpas". Video courtesy of Ed Wardel.

More info at

Editor's note: News reports that Lori Garver is in charge of a re-look at Project Constellation and that Pete Worden is in charge of an ESAS re-look are not true according to utterly reliable sources within NASA who are most certainly in a position to know.



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