Keith Cowing: July 2014 Archives

NASA Announces Mars 2020 Rover Payload

"The Mars 2020 mission will be based on the design of the highly successful Mars Science Laboratory rover, Curiosity, which landed almost two years ago, and currently is operating on Mars. The new rover will carry more sophisticated, upgraded hardware and new instruments to conduct geological assessments of the rover's landing site, determine the potential habitability of the environment, and directly search for signs of ancient Martian life."

NASA Hosts 3 p.m. EDT Teleconference with Mars 2020 Principal Investigators

Keith's note: (sigh) NASA still does not have the imagination or inclination to search for signs of extant life on Mars. All they seem to be willing to do is see if it used to be there. At the rate that they are going it will be 20 years before they get up the nerve to try and answer the question.

Keith's update: I asked the following question at the Mars 2020 Rover press event today. "Your press release says "determine the potential habitability of the environment, and directly search for signs of ancient Martian life." Why isn't NASA directly searching for signs of EXISTING LIFE on Mars? And I will ask my follow-up since the answer to this question is always "we don't know how to look for life on Mars - yet". - How are you going about the task of learing how to look for existing life on Mars, when will you have this capability and why is it that NASA was eager to search for existing life on Mars 40 years ago but is unwilling or unable to do so now?"

I obviously expected Jim Green to answer in the same cautious way that NASA has always answered this question - one I have asked again and again for the nearly 20 years. Instead, Green launched into a detailed description of all the things that the Mars 2020 rover could detect that have a connection with life. Much of what he said clearly referred to extant / existing life. Now THAT is cool. To clarify things I sent the following request to NASA PAO "Can the Mars 2020 rover detect extant/existing life on Mars?  Will NASA be looking for extant/existing life on Mars?" Let's see how they respond.

Recent History Suggests Tougher Russia Sanctions Are Needed, WS Journal

"The U.S. and Europe made good this week on their threats to start penalizing broader sections of Russia's economy in a bid to force President Vladimir Putin to end his support for separatist rebels in Ukraine. But recent history of the use of financial sanctions by Washington and Brussels--including against Iran, North Korea and Syria--suggests that significantly more pervasive penalties, particularly against Moscow's energy sector, would be needed to change the Kremlin's calculations, said current and former U.S. officials and sanctions experts."

NASA PAO statement from Bob Jacobs: "We don't anticipate Tuesday's actions will have any direct impact on NASA's activities with Russia. For specific questions on sanctions I would refer you to the Departments of Treasury and Commerce."

Keith's note: I am not sure how anyone in the U.S. government can "anticipate" what Putin/Russia are going to do next - especially after they invaded Ukraine, annexed Crimea, and killed hundreds of innocent people on an airliner. Fiddling with space stuff would be easy by comparison.

"We used to look up in the sky and wonder - at our place in the stars. Now we just look down and worry about our place in the dirt."

Keith's note: What will NASA do in terms of public outreach when "Interstellar" is released? They dropped the ball when it came to "Avatar" and the producers of "Gravity" never bothered to seek out NASA's help. This film is expected to touch deeply upon themes that point to the core of what NASA does - and will do so in a manner that leaps beyond the usual preaching to the choir that NASA does inside its own self-reinforcing echo chamber.

What (if anything) do you think NASA should do?

Oh yes, NASA is funding a warp drive project. But they do not want to talk about it.

Why? What are they afraid of?

The researcher behind all of this is Harold G. White. According to here is how you contact him:email: Phone: 281.482.0178

- Clarifying NASA's Warp Drive Program, earlier post
- NASA's Super Secret Warp Drive Program, earlier post
- Warp Drive Research at NASA JSC, earlier post
- JSC's Warp Drive: Fact or Fluff?, earlier post

NASA limits foreign contributions to U.S. planetary missions, Science Insider

"Today, at a meeting of asteroid and comet scientists in Washington, D.C., NASA officials explained some of the new rules for the next mission, to be selected in 2016. Among them was a stipulation that the principal investigator would not be allowed to recruit foreign instrument contributions in excess of one-third the value of the U.S. instruments on the payload, even though those contributions don't count against the $450 million cap."

Hartman: U.S. and Russian Crews to Fly Both Soyuz and U.S. Commercial Vehicles, Space Policy Online

"Hartman's point was that in an emergency, it might not make sense to have all the Russians leave on one spacecraft and the Americans and others on a separate spacecraft because a mixture of experience may be needed to conduct operations. "When you have these rescue vehicles on orbit and you have to leave the doesn't make much sense for three Russians to leave and expect the four Americans onboard to operate the Russian segment [of the ISS] and vice versa, right?" Hartman said."

NASA moves to protect whistleblowers, The Hill

"The National Aeronautics and Space Administration is looking to protect whistleblowers at NASA contractors and subcontractors who shine a light on corporate corruption. Government contractors will not be allowed to fire, demote or otherwise discipline employees who blow the whistle on their own companies for abusing their authority by mismanaging a NASA contract, wasting NASA funds, or endangering public health or safety, the agency said Monday. "Such reprisal is prohibited even if it is undertaken at the request of an executive branch official," NASA wrote in the Federal Register."

NASA: Allowability of Legal Costs for Whistleblower Proceedings

"DoD, GSA, and NASA have adopted as final, with changes, an interim rule amending the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) to implement a section of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year (FY) 2013 that addresses the allowability of legal costs incurred by a contractor or subcontractor related to a whistleblower proceeding commenced by the submission of a complaint of reprisal by the contractor or subcontractor employee."

Interim Rule: NASA Federal Acquisition Regulation Supplement: Contractor Whistleblower Protections

"NASA is issuing an interim rule amending the NASA FAR Supplement (NFS) to implement statutory requirements providing whistleblower protections for contractor and subcontractor employees and to address the allowability of legal costs incurred by a contractor related to whistleblower proceedings."

Hacker Breached NOAA Satellite Data From Contractor's PC, NextGov

"National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration satellite data was stolen from a contractor's personal computer last year, but the agency could not investigate the incident because the employee refused to turn over the PC, according to a new inspector general report. This is but one of the "significant security deficiencies" that pose a threat to NOAA's critical missions, the report states. Other weaknesses include unauthorized smartphone use on key systems and thousands of software vulnerabilities."

Significant Security Deficiencies in NOAA's Information Systems Create Risks in Its National Critical Mission, NOAA

"We found that (I) information systems connected to NESDIS' critical satellite ground support systems increases the risk of cyber attacks, (2) NESDIS' inconsistent implementation of mobile device protections increases the likelihood of a malware infection, (3) critical security controls remain unimplemented in NESDIS' information systems, and (4) improvements are needed to provide assurance that independent security control assessments are sufficiently rigorous."

Keith's 17 Jun note: Have a look at the speakers at the upcoming Space Frontier Foundation New Space Conference. This organization claims to be at the forefront of space exploration. If so then the future will be run by males currently in their 50s.

"New" Space? looks more like "old" space to me.

What about everyone else?

Keith's 24 July update: They have added a little more diversity to their speakers list in the past month but this is still a conference where mostly middle age white males (like me) are the ones talking about the future of space. How depressing.

ISEE-3: Next Steps

Announcing the ISEE-3 Interplanetary Citizen Science Mission

"After a successful reawakening the venerable ISEE-3 spacecraft is about to begin the first interplanetary citizen science mission. We will be beginning the "ISEE-3 Interplanetary Citizen Science Mission" on 10 August 2014 as the spacecraft flies by the Moon. We have a functional space craft that can do science and is already returning new data. All of our original citizen science objectives remain unchanged and are ready for implementation. In fact, we'll be announcing some new partnerships shortly that will serve to turbocharge our efforts in this regard."

SLS Resources Need to be Matched to Requirements to Decrease Risk and Support Long Term Affordability, GAO

"NASA also faces challenges integrating existing hardware that was not originally designed to fly on SLS. For example, SLS is using solid rocket boosters from the Constellation program, but integrating a new non-asbestos insulating material into the booster design has proven difficult and required changes to the booster manufacturing processes."

NASA Planetary Science Review To Be Released Soon, Space News

"The planetary senior review, from a scientific report standpoint, has just been completed," said Jim Green, director of NASA's Planetary Science Division, in a presentation at the NASA Exploration Science Forum at NASA's Ames Research Center here. NASA is now drafting "letters of direction" to the various missions covered by the review, he said."

Audit of the Space Network's Physical and Information Technology Security Risks, NASA OIG

"With regard to physical and IT security, we found NASA has not ensured security controls are in place on certain wide area network infrastructure, needs to clarify waiver requirements for IT security controls and mitigations, and should take additional steps to ensure that long-standing physical security risks are addressed. We also found that the Space Network is not using NASA's Agency Consolidated End-User Services (ACES) contract to obtain administrative computers and associated end-user services and therefore may be spending more than necessary for equipment and services without realizing the operational and security benefits of systems provided through ACES."

Former NASA Boss: Russia Has US Space Program in 'Hostage Situation', ABC

"We're in a hostage situation," former NASA administrator Michael Griffin told ABC News. "Russia can decide that no more U.S. astronauts will launch to the International Space Station and that's not a position that I want our nation to be in." But there is a new sort of space race happening now to help reestablish U.S. autonomy. Three private companies -- Boeing, Space-Ex and Sierra Nevada -- are currently competing for billions of dollars in NASA funding to build the next ride to space for American astronauts."

Keith's note: Funny thing: at least one of these commercial ventures will crews fly sooner than Mike Griffin's Ares/Orion would ever have flown under even the most optimistic of scenarios.

Lost and Found in Space: Rebooting ISEE-3: Space for All, op ed, Keith Cowing, New York Times

"NASA likes to say that "space is hard," but to make itself relevant to the people whose taxes fund it, it must get outside its comfort zone. To its credit, NASA saw the potential of our project to reach beyond the traditional audience. The interactions via social media with our supporters have borne this out. Imagine what feats of exploration might be possible if an empowered and engaged citizenry realized that exploring space is really something anyone can do."

Senators vow to reassert America's rocket power, The Hill

"The United States must now respond decisively and provide our own domestic capacity to launch our crew and cargo into space," Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) said. "We simply cannot rely on the vicissitudes of foreign suppliers in a foreign nation for our national security." The full costs of replacing the engine could be much higher than Congress is willing to commit to right now. It is, quite literally, rocket science to fit a new engine into existing rockets. Aside from building the engine itself, engineers will also need to make sure every other component works with the new machinery, kind of like switching out a car's hybrid engine with a V8. That could take five to eight years and cost up to $2 billion, predicted the Pentagon's acquisition and technology chief, Alan Estevez."

Assured Access to Space - Prepared testimony and video, Senate Armed Services Committee

U.S. Launch Enterprise: Acquisition Best Practices Can Benefit Future Efforts, GAO

Keith's note: We went from having only tiny rockets to the Saturn V (and its massive engines) in 8 years. Here we are in the 21st century and it is going to take us the same amount of time to reverse engineer a 50 year old Russian engine design? Am I missing something?

NASA OIG: NASA's Independent Verification and Validation Program

"We found that by continuing to occupy and maintain the West Virginia facility, NASA is paying more than necessary in O&M expenses, which leaves the Agency with less funding to perform actual IV&V services on NASA software projects.  We estimated the Agency could save as much as $9.7 million between FYs 2015 and 2018 if the IV&V Program took steps to reduce costs associated with the facility. In order to make additional funds available for review of mission-critical software, we recommended NASA analyze alternatives for reducing occupancy costs associated with the facility, including abandoning the facility and moving staff to an existing NASA Center or relocating the staff to a nearby office building that would cost significantly less. We determined that NASA was not legally obligated to pay O&M expenses associated with the building it currently occupies, but rather has chosen to pay these expenses over the last 20 years.  In our judgment, continuing this arrangement does not make fiscal sense for NASA, particularly when the Agency has more projects needing IV&V services than the current budget can accommodate."

Access to Rosetta Data, ESA

"However, it is important to know that such an "open data" policy is not the norm for most ESA and NASA missions. Data from the Hubble Space Telescope, the Chandra X-Ray observatory, the MESSENGER mission to Mercury, or for that matter, the NASA Mars orbiters, are all subject to a so-called "proprietary period", as are the data from ESA's Mars Express, XMM-Newton, and Rosetta, for example. This period, typically 6-12 months, gives exclusive access to the data to the scientists who built the instruments or to scientists who made a winning proposal to make certain observations. In ESA's case, the length of the period is decided by our Member States when a mission is selected, although in some cases, the period is made shorter when a mission has been in operation for some time."

Red Sox Foundation to Partner with CASIS and International Space Station

"This prize package will be available to those who enter the promotional code "CASIS" upon ordering their raffle tickets. These tickets are just $2 each, with a minimum of five tickets purchased, and can be found by visiting All proceeds from the Ring Raffle will go toward the Red Sox Foundation's ongoing commitment to youth in our communities."

CASIS Signs Deal with COBRA PUMA GOLF for Research on ISS, earlier post

"The Center for the Advancement of Science in Space (CASIS) today announced that it has signed a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) with COBRA PUMA GOLFTM to carry out materials research projects on the International Space Station (ISS) U.S. National Laboratory for use in its sporting goods products line."

Keith's note: Duane Ratliff and his crack team of space station utilization experts at CASIS can't be bothered to mount a simple webcast for its meetings wherein the benefits of space station research are discussed but yet they manage to find the time to negotiate and announce these questionable sports-related PR stunts. Baseball raffle in space? What's next? At least CASIS' earlier golf announcement suggested that some materials research would happen - but we've never heard if there ever was any actual research conducted on ISS.

Would-Be Rescuers of Wayward Spacecraft Previously Solved a NASA Mystery, New York Times

"Before reviving a zombie spacecraft, Dennis Wingo and Keith Cowing traveled to the past to rescue a trove of early moon photographs that otherwise would have been destined for oblivion. They did not actually time travel, but that might have been easier. Mr. Wingo, an entrepreneur and an engineer, and Mr. Cowing, the editor in chief of the NASA Watch website, had confidence that they could decipher decades-obsolete NASA equipment, because, as Mr. Cowing said, "we've done this before." ... The earlier project involved 1,500 magnetic tapes and a couple of old, broken tape drives. In 1966 and 1967, NASA sent five robotic spacecraft, the Lunar Orbiters, to photograph the moon's surface to help find safe landing sites for the Apollo astronauts. The tapes, which recorded the original high-resolution images, and the tape drives ended up in the garage of a former NASA employee, and Mr. Wingo and Mr. Cowing embarked on a quixotic mission to retrieve the images."

ISEE-3 Is In Borg Mode

We Are Borg: Crowdsourced ISEE-3 Engineering and the Collective Mind of the Internet, Dennis Wingo

"In the science fiction universe of Star Trek, set several hundred years in the future, when we are a spacefaring civilization, humanity encounters a species called the Borg. The Borg are a conglomeration of species who are assimilated into a collective mind numbering in the hundreds of billions. All of the Borg are connected to each other through a communications link that allows each of them to share each others thoughts, though in a manner that erases individuality. This week, with the call that our ISEE-3 reboot team put out to the internet for help in debugging our propulsion system problem, I have come to realize that a significant portion of humanity has reached a Borg like state, one where the internet has become a collective mind for communications and knowledge sharing. We still have our individuality, we can still decouple at will from the collective mind, but in a way that few philosophers or technologists have envisioned, we are connected in a way never before thought possible. The implications are staggering, and here is how our little ISEE-3 project is an example of the operation of the collective mind."

ISEE-3 Status Report 15 July 2014

"Our next window at Arecibo is tomorrow (Wednesday) between 12:19 pm and 3:03 pm ET. During that opportunity we intend to attempt a deep space plumbing repair on board ISEE-3 and then fire its engines."

DARPA's New Spaceplane

Work Commences on Experimental Spaceplane (XS-1) Designs [With Video], DARPA

"In an era of declining budgets and adversaries' evolving capabilities, quick, affordable and routine access to space is increasingly critical for both national and economic security. Current satellite launch systems, however, require scheduling years in advance for a handful of available slots. Launches often cost hundreds of millions of dollars each, in large part to the massive amounts of dedicated infrastructure and personnel required.

- The Boeing Company (working with Blue Origin, LLC)
- Masten Space Systems (working with XCOR Aerospace)
- Northrop Grumman Corporation (working with Virgin Galactic)"

- Boeing to Design XS-1 Experimental Spaceplane For DARPA

"Boeing plans to design a reusable launch vehicle for the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) in support of the U.S. government's efforts to reduce satellite launch costs. DARPA's XS-1 Experimental Spaceplane is conceived as a reusable, unmanned booster with costs, operation and reliability similar to modern aircraft."

Leading Space Experts to Discuss the Search for Life Beyond Earth

"NASA Television will air a panel discussion of leading science and engineering experts on Monday, July 14, from 2 to 3:30 p.m. EDT, who will describe the scientific and technological roadmap that will lead to the discovery of potentially habitable worlds among the stars. The public is invited to attend or view the event, which will take place in the Webb Auditorium at NASA Headquarters, 300 E Street SW in Washington."

Keith's note: No mention is made of this highly visible agency-wide astrobiology event at NASA's Astrobiology Institute website nor on its Twitter account. Once again the crack social media staff at NAI are sound asleep.

- Ignoring "Cosmos": Incompetence at NASA's Astrobiology Institute, earlier post
- Why Is NASA's Astrobiology Program STILL Ignoring "Cosmos"?, earlier post

Keith's update: NAI added an article after the fact but it still does not show up on their main page. It is also missing from their "spotlight" on events. So how does one find it? They also tweeted something - but only "10 minutes" before the event. What enthusiasm.

Meanwhile there is very little "astrobiology" being mentioned in this event titled titled "The Search for Life in the Universe". Its all about Webb Space Telescope. And Webb was not designed to "search for life".

NASA Solicitation: Human Exploration Research Opportunities NASA Research Announcement

"This National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Research Announcement (NRA), entitled Human Exploration Research Opportunities (HERO)-2014, solicits applied research in support of NASA's Human Research Program. The HRP contains six Elements: Space Radiation, Human Health and Countermeasures, Exploration Medical Capability, Behavioral Health and Performance, Space Human Factors and Habitability, and International Space Station Medical Project. Fourteen disciplines or areas support the Program: Behavioral Health and Performance, Bone, Cardiovascular, Extravehicular Activity, Immunology, Medical Capabilities, Muscle, Nutrition, Pharmacology, Radiation, Sensorimotor, Advanced Food Technology, Advanced Environmental Health, and Space Human Factors Engineering."

Keith's note: No mention of this NASA Research Announcement is to be found at CASIS or at the ISS National Lab page at NASA. NASA wants you to think that a lot of important research is being done on the ISS yet the agency can't even coordinate its own internal efforts for something as simple as this? Is anyone in charge?

Distributed Rocket Science is a Thing Now, io9

"Less than two hours after sending out a distress signal for help, engineers who worked on exactly these types of propulsion systems emerged from the digital wilderness to offer their hard-won experience. What the team learned was a mix of good and bad: solubility probably wasn't the problem impeding the satellite's thrusters. Awesome, they don't need to fix that! Boo, they only have about two or three more options of things that are fixably bad to work on. And if none of those are the problem? Then this will be a glorious, exciting, exuberant failure, and ISEE-3 will continue on its orbit about the sun, leaving us behind once more."

ISEE-3 Reboot Project Seeks Your Help To Solve a Technical Problem

Keith's note: We are reworking trajectory numbers and a propulsion system repair plan this weekend. We hope to be able to implement this plan next week and then accomplish our Trajectory Correction Maneuver. Right now we still only need approximately 10 m/sec of Delta V. That will begin to rise toward the end of the month.

ISEE-3 Reboot Project Seeks Your Help To Solve a Technical Problem

"We have a crowdsourced research project for our ISEE-3 Reboot fans. One of our volunteers, Karl-Max Wagner from Germany has an interesting idea. Did the Nitrogen pressurizing gas dissolve in the Hydrazine in the tanks?"

Update: We spent all day yesterday with space propulsion experts. We have identified a series of options including hydrazine tank heating and a long series of pulse attempts to (possibly) clear the lines. We have most certainly not given up on this spacecraft yet. It is doing science and will continue to do so for years to come.

Keith's note: The New NASA Education AA is Don James. Official announcement soon.

NASA OIG: Security of NASA's Publicly Accessible Web Applications

"NASA Inspector General Paul K. Martin released a report today evaluating NASA's effort to safeguard its Internet-accessible web applications. These applications consist of hundreds of websites NASA uses to share scientific information with the public and collaborate with research partners, as well as login portals and administrative systems that provide authorized personnel with remote access to Agency IT resources."

Presidential Nominations Sent to the Senate


Elizabeth M. Robinson, of Washington, to be Under Secretary of Energy, vice Kristina M. Johnson, resigned, which was sent to the Senate on January 6, 2014."

ISEE-3 Update

ISEE-3 Status Report 9 July 2014 (afternoon)

"Our troubleshooting today eliminated some suspected causes of propulsion system problems. We do not think any of the valves are malfuctioning. Right now we think there is a chance that the Nitrogen used as a pressurant for the monopropellant Hydrazine propulsion system may have been depleted. That said, we still have a number of troubleshooting options yet to be explored. We have a DSN pass scheduled for Friday that will allow us to recalibrate our location information and trajectory plans for ISEE-3. Even if the L-1 halo orbit is no longer an option, we do have plans to use ISEE-3 for science in other locations within the inner solar system after the lunar flyby on 10 August."

- ISEE-3 Current Location 21 June 2014
- Worldwide Audience for ISEE-3 TCM Burn
- Top 12 visiting countries for #ISEE3 Telemetry mirror server of today @ISEE3Reboot 1/2
- Rest of the visiting countries for #ISEE3 Telemetry mirror server of today @ISEE3Reboot 2/2

NASA OIG: SOFIA: NASA's Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy

"We found that despite substantial delays in reaching operational capacity, SOFIA remains capable of contributing to the scientific body of knowledge and many in the science community view the observatory as a valuable resource. However, we understand that the SOFIA Program is competing for limited resources and policymakers will have to decide whether other NASA projects are a higher scientific and budgetary priority. If the decision is made to continue the Program, we identified several challenges SOFIA will face going forward."

Russia Shakes Off Glitches to Successfully Launch Angara Rocket, Moscow Times

"The launch was originally scheduled for June 27, but the rocket's flight computer automatically aborted the attempt seconds before liftoff. A drop in oxidizer pressure caused by a leaky valve was responsible for the shutdown. Breaking a decades-old tradition of conducting new rocket tests away from the public gaze, the Russian media televised the first attempt. A few minutes before the launch was meant to go ahead, state media outlets cut to President Vladimir Putin watching the proceedings, or lack of them, from the Kremlin. However, reverting to Soviet form, Wednesday's launch was not televised."

ULA Successfully Completes Critical Design Review for Boeing Commercial Crew Accommodations at Launch Pad

"The CDR, supported by Boeing, NASA, and the Air Force, approved the design for the Crew Access Tower, Crew Access Arm as well as the White Room that will allow the flight crews the ability to safely ingress and egress Boeing's CST-100 crew module for launch. In addition, the team reviewed the conceptual design of the emergency egress system which is similar in design to the space shuttle basket escape system."

Jump Starting ISEE-3

In Effort to Shift Abandoned NASA Craft, a Hiccup (or Burp), New York Times

"The first part of the maneuver succeeded, a milestone in an effort to resurrect a zombie spacecraft that NASA abandoned 17 years ago. But then -- perhaps to be expected during work on a jalopy -- problems cropped up, and the thrusters failed to fire properly. Another attempt to complete the course correction will be made Wednesday. "I feel like it is taunting us sometimes," Keith Cowing, one of the leaders of the effort, said of the 36-year-old spacecraft, the International Sun-Earth Explorer-3, or ISEE-3. It is not NASA commanding the spacecraft now, but a group of civilians working in a former McDonald's in California taking advantage of technological goodies of the 21st century, including Skype, Twitter, laptop computers and crowdsourcing."

More stories

ISEE-3 Status Report 7 July 2014 (evening)

"If all goes according to plan on Tuesday, 8 July, we will conduct the Trajectory Correction Maneuver (TCM). This will require a much longer firing of the spacecraft's thrusters.  Our window at Arecibo opens at 12:42 pm EDT and extends until 3:29 pm EDT. If the burn is a success we will follow up with another ranging session using the DSN to get an exact measure of the spacecraft's position, trajectory, and speed.  After that we should be good to go for our lunar flyby on 10 August. After the last technical tag-up for today it looks like TCM will be 432-435 pulses fired in 7 segments with a total delta V of approximately 7 m/sec."

Keith's update: We managed to conduct the first segment but encountered problems with the second and halted the remainder of segment firings. We're looking at data and formulating a plan for tomorrow.

NASA Needs an Indian Tutorial, Bloomberg Review

"What can the U.S. space program learn from the Indian one? Not much, if the standard is outer-space achievement: India's modest record mostly includes feats the U.S. accomplished decades ago. But if the standard is having a clear vision of what you want to accomplish -- and getting that done quickly and economically, there might be a lesson or two. Consider the speech that India's new Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, gave Monday, shortly after India's space program successfully launched five satellites belonging to far wealthier countries on an Indian-designed rocket. Combatting criticism that India's space program is a profligate waste when so many of the nation's citizens struggle to fulfill basic needs, Modi offered a concise vision for why such launches are necessary: Many misunderstand space technology to be for the elite. That it has nothing to do with the common man. I however believe such technology is fundamentally connected with the common man. As a change agent, it can empower and connect, to transform his life."

India's Rocket Missions Are Cheaper Than What It Takes To Make A Single Hollywood Movie Inquisitor

"India's Mangalyaan satellite to Mars, cost a total of $75 million. The entire budget for the mission didn't even cross a measly $100 million. The movie Gravity alone cost $100 million, quipped India's newly elected Prime Minister Narendra Modi: "I have heard about the film Gravity. I am told the cost of sending an Indian rocket to space is less than the money invested in making the Hollywood movie."

Related stories at @india_inspace

Keith's 2 July note: We just fired the engines on ISEE-3 to perform a spin-up burn. Preliminary results confirm the burn and a change in rotation. The spin rate was originally 19.16 rpm. It is now at 19.76 rpm. The original mission specifications call for 19.75 +/- 0.2 rpm - so we are exactly where we wanted to be.

Keith's 7 July update: We are planning to try and do our Trajectory Correction Maneuver burn tomorrow. Arecibo window extends from 12:42pm - 3:29pm EDT. Follow along at @ISEE3Reboot

- ISEE-3 Reboot Project Mission Control Team (photo)
- Jóvenes por el Espacio Grupo México Listens to ISEE-3
- ISEE-3 Current Location 3 July 2014

Air Force asks court to dismiss SpaceX lawsuit, Defense Systems

"The Air Force is asking the court to dismiss any challenges to the contract that allowed for the purchasing of the cores, arguing that SpaceX failed to object or respond to a public request for proposal issued in March 2012 for that purchase. Because SpaceX was not an actual or prospective bidder on the contract, the company should not be allowed to challenge the contract, the Air Force contends."

Government argues for dismissal of SpaceX rocket contract complaint, CBS

"SpaceX's complaint is amorphous," the motion claims. "Rather than challenge a single procurement action, SpaceX broadly protests any sole-source purchase of single-core evolved expendable launch vehicles (EELV) and associated launch services. This challenge appears to implicate the United States Air Force's entire EELV program -- including past and future purchases under various contracts."

Notes on the ISEE-3 Vector Helium Magnetometer From the Original Principal Investigator

"Ed Smith, Original Original Principal Investigator on ISEE-3 Vector Helium Magnetometer: The effort to recapture the ISEE-/ ICE spacecraft has just achieved a notable scientific success. Data recovered from the spacecraft very recently show that the magnetometer is not only operating well but has observed a large rapid change in the Interplanetary Magnetic Field/IMF."

OIG: Audit of the NASA's Fiscal Year 2013 Financial Statements

"The audit resulted in an unmodified opinion on NASA's fiscal year (FY) 2013 financial statements. An unmodified or "clean" audit opinion means that the financial statements present fairly, in all material respects, the financial position and the results of the entity's operations in conformity with U.S. generally accepted accounting principles."

Keith's note: I have seen some lazy PAO staff but this one takes the cake. Are there any pros at Wallops PAO? How about picking up a telephone and calling Orbital?

Keith's update: Earlier today I sent the original response out via @ISEE3 Reboot - obviously by mistake since I thought I was using @NASAWatch. My apologies. I was live tweeting while sitting in a hospital room with a familiy member in critical condition and did not click the correct button on a small computer screen. I made a mistake just like the NASA Wallops PAO team did.

Keith's update: Someone deleted the tweet. This is what it looked like.

Fred Ordway

Frederick I. Ordway III - Obituary

"Through a meeting with his good friend Arthur C. Clarke, the noted science fiction author, Ordway was contacted by film director Stanley Kubrick and spent three years working as Kubrick's technical advisor on the landmark film 2001: A Space Odyssey."

Keith's note: We were able to use the B transmitter today for the first time but were unable to complete the various steps needed to command ISEE-3 to fire its engines. There is a chance of a window at Arecibo tomorrow. Meanwhile, the first scientific measurements by ISEE-3 in decades have been obtained. Recent magnetometer data from ISEE-3 shows clear evidence of a recent solar event. We will be releasing more information on these observations very soon.



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This page is an archive of recent entries written by Keith Cowing in July 2014.

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