Keith Cowing: February 2010 Archives

GAO - NASA's Challenges Ahead

GAO on NASA's management and program challenges, Federal News Radio

"There are lots of changes coming to NASA during the next couple of years. The agency is retiring the space shuttle and taking its manned missions in a new direction. NASA is also struggling with the fact that the International Space Station is almost complete -- but grossly underutilized. GAO recently looked at what NASA is facing, and wrote a report with a number of recommendations."

"Inspired by NASA's Constellation Program, iRover is a fun way to tour the Lunar surface and see some of the elements that make up NASA's Lunar architecture.

Description: Drive your Lunar Electric Rover (LER) over the Lunar surface to conduct missions. Rescue stranded crew members, transport crewmembers, and launch and recover other Landers. Avoid being caught on the surface unprotected during Solar Particle Events (SPEs)."

Buy it at the iTunes Apps store

Shelby: Government spending 'out of control', Birmingham Business Journal

"Alabama's senior senator said the Obama administration is on pace to turn a $10 trillion deficit into $20 trillion during a speech before the Trussville Area Chamber of Commerce. Shelby, R-Tuscaloosa, reminded the audience he led the charge against federal bank and automaker bailouts. Shelby warned federal entitlements and deficit spending will ultimately hurt the nation's economy. During the question and answer portion of the speech, the four-term senator said he will fight to keep funding for NASA's Constellation program that the Obama administration has cut in its proposed 2011 budget. Huntsville is home to the project that Shelby helped save $600 million for last year."

Shelby Was For The Private Sector Before He Was Against It, Previous Post

Previous Shelbyisms

"A ribbon-cutting ceremony with Endeavour commander George Zamka and station commander Jeff Williams to celebrate the arrival of Tranquility and its seven-windowed cupola on the International Space Station includes the placement on permanent display in the node of a rock brought back from the moon's Tranquility Base by Apollo 11 astronauts Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin in 1969, and carried by shuttle astronaut Scott Parazynski to the summit of Mt. Everest in 2009."

- Video: Moon Rock and Everest Rock Ready for Trip to the Space Station
- Preview: Confessions of a Moon Rock Courier
- Moon Rock Gains Traveling Companion for Historic Return to Space
- Playing With Moon Rocks and Duct Tape at the Dinner Table
- Photos From Moon and Everest Rock Event at NASA

Keith's note: I am at the Next-Generation Suborbital Researchers Conference in Boulder. My plan is to stream several portions of today's event live via USTREAMTV. First, between 8:30 and 10:00 am MST, will be keynotes by Lori Garver, Pete Worden, Alan Stern, and George Nield. Then, at 12:00 pm MST, there will be a press conference with Alan Stern, Pete Worden, Jeff Greason and a representative from Virgin Galactic. The webcast will be available here.

You can follow tweets from the meeting here on Twitter.

Marc's update: SwRI Announces Pioneering Program to Fly Next-Generation Suborbital Experiments with Crew - "The Southwest Research Institute announces a new initiative to build and fly experiments with SwRI payload specialists on next-generation suborbital vehicles.

The program, supported with a $1 million allocation from SwRI, will be led by Dr. Alan Stern, associate vice president of the SwRI Space Science and Engineering Division. It is the first program of its kind in the nation."

Keith's update: This morning, NASA Deputy Administrator Lori Garver announced that the agency will propose $15 million/year for 5 years for the CRuSR (Commercial Reusable Suborbital Research) program - that's $75 million over the course of 5 years.

Commercial Spaceflight Federation Welcomes Historic NASA Commitment of $75 Million for Commercial Suborbital Flights, Payloads

Commercial Spaceflight Federation Announces New Research and Education Affiliates Program, Initial Participating Universities

And now Gov. Charlie Crist blasts Obama's NASA policy, Orlando Sentinel

"While it is great that the President is reaching out to those astronauts working on the International Space Station today, phone calls do not make up for the President's disappointing decision to end NASA's Constellation program. By cutting this program, President Obama is putting an end to significant investment in moon exploration and costing Florida's Space Coast thousands of jobs."

Kosmas to Attend Florida Statewide Space Industry Summit

"Congresswoman Kosmas has worked tirelessly to support the space industry in Florida. She recently responded to the President's FY 2011 budget proposal calling his plan for NASA "simply unacceptable."

Bill Nelson: Manned space program isn't dead yet, Florida Today

"I think they made two tactical mistakes that gave everybody the wrong impression," the Florida Democrat said. "The first one is that the president didn't set what the goal is, and everybody knows the goal and that's to go to Mars."

Keith's note: You can watch the NASA Advisory Council's Subcommittee on Education and Public Outreach meeting today live via USTREAMTV here between 10 am and 4 pm EST.

After all the abuse I heap on the agency, I am glad to see that NASA is finally getting the message. Eventually, all NAC meetings - including all NAC subcommittee meetings - need to be made available to the public like this - live and interactive. Right now these meetings are only witnessed by one or two dozen people. The presentations often take a long time to get online - if ever. Transcripts or recordings are never posted. All that emerges are meeting summaries than can take months to produce - and when they do, are bland and devoid of any meaningful content. Hardly what anyone would call "transparent". Murky at best.

British astronaut Nicholas Patrick prepares for Nasa space launch, The Telegraph

"The head of Nasa, Major General Charlie Bolden, admitted last night that the task of breaking the news of Constellation's proposed cancellation to staff at the space agency's 10 centres had been badly handled. "Was it screwed up? Yes it was," he said, confessing that he had ignored advice from aides that might have made for a smoother presentation. "I didn't listen to people," he added."

Bolden in for a battle, Florida Today

"A popular former astronaut, Bolden said he made a mistake by failing to brief Congress on President Barack Obama's new plan before the rollout Monday of the White House's proposed 2011 budget. "I don't fool myself that I have not injured some relationships. And so my task now is to try to go in and repair those former, incredibly good relationships because of my ineptness in rolling out this plan."

NASA Admin Addresses Constellation Cancellation, WESH

"I thought I knew better, to be quite honest," he said. "So, we rolled out the budget and rolled out everything in the manner we did. Was it screwed up? Yes. So, I learned a valuable lesson."

GAO: NASA Assessments of Selected Large-Scale Projects

"Many of the projects GAO reviewed experienced challenges in developing new or retrofitting older technologies, stabilizing engineering designs, managing the performance of their contractors and development partners, as well as funding and launch planning issues. Reducing the kinds of problems this assessment identifies in acquisition programs hinges on developing a sound business case for a project."


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