Keith Cowing: May 2010 Archives

Lockheed weighs layoffs, other cuts for Orion program", Denver Post

"Lockheed Martin officials have begun looking throughout the Orion crew-capsule program for savings that can be used to cover possible contract termination costs. Those savings could include layoffs of some of the 600 to 650 Lockheed employees in Colorado who are working on the NASA spacecraft."

Save the space program, HBJ readers say, Houston Business Journal

"Houstonians are protective of the region's NASA jobs, according to responses to the latest BusinessPulse survey. Houston Business Journal asked readers if it was a waste of time to save the human space flight program, and 73 percent responded "no - we need space exploration/save jobs."

Work starts on jobs plan, Florida Today

"U.S. Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Economic Development John Fernandez visited Central Florida Thursday as part of his efforts to develop a plan to invest $40 million to help soon-to-be-jobless space workers by bringing in industries that can put them back to work."

Last of space shuttle segments leaves Utah, Desert News

"Even as the space shuttle program is winding down, ATK is building the five-segment first stage of the "next-generation" rocket, the Ares 1, and has all five segments in the test stand for a ground test planned in September. Due to the phasing out of the space shuttle program, ATK announced a fourth round of layoffs involving 247 workers last week. Since last April, a total of 1,500 workers have been let go."

Bishop asks NASA: Will changes be safer for astronauts?, Standard-Examiner

"In a U.S. House hearing on Capitol Hill, Rep. Rob Bishop, R-Utah, held a photo of an unidentified Utah worker who lost his job last week at ATK, one of the contractors for the Constellation program. "I hope I can tell him he lost his job because the government was going to save money or come up with a program that was safer for astronauts ... not because we are choosing winners or losers in the free market," said Bishop at a hearing of the House Committee on Science and Technology."

NASA Joins Web Consortium to Help Improve Universal Access

"NASA announced Thursday it has joined the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C). The consortium is an international organization that develops protocols, standards and guidelines to ensure universal Web access. "Standards will play a key role in making NASA's content more accessible on the Internet and in the implementation of our Open Government plan," said Chris Kemp, chief technology officer for Information Technology at NASA Headquarters in Washington. "Additionally, standards nurture technology innovation. We are especially interested in participating in those areas where NASA's ongoing technical requirements overlap with the W3C's standardization efforts."

Internal NASA email from Jeff Hanley

"I've been advised by HQ that my services as Cx PM are no longer required, effective immediately. Dale Thomas will be Acting PM until something more formal is issued from ESMD."

Shelby says NASA trying to 'suppress' Constellation supporters in ranks, Huntsville Times

"Shelby has grown increasingly frustrated with what he and other lawmakers believe is an attempt by NASA brass to kill Constellation even though the law says they can't without congressional approval. Calling NASA's own leadership "a key impediment" to the nation's space program is another sign of that frustration."

NASA ousts outspoken Constellation chief, Orlando Sentinel

"Bolden had little response at the hearing, but said afterward that Hanley lost his job because he was "conflicted" and had become a lightning rod for controversy. For example, one day after president Barack Obama visited Kennedy Space Center to lay out his reasons for cancelling Constellation, Hanley told his team to pour all its efforts into designing a test launch program for Constellation's Ares I rocket."

Hutchison questions reassignment of Constellation program manager, The Hill

"Emails sent to program officials last week indicate that NASA senior administrators were actively mandating de-prioritizing funding for elements of the program that do not fit within the President's new proposal," said Senator Hutchison. "I will be requesting NASA's Inspector General to conduct a full and thorough investigation."

NASA Gets New Constellation Program Manager, Aviation Week

"Thomas, a systems engineer who has been with NASA for 30 years, has been the deputy Constellation program manager since 2007. He is currently assigned to the Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala., but will divide his time between Marshall and Johnson in Houston, where Constellation is based."

LeMieux joins call for NASA inquiry, Orlando Sentinel

"This is yet another example of NASA taking actions to cancel the Constellation Program, and that is a violation of law," said LeMieux, referencing a provision that Congress passed last year that forbids NASA from killing Constellation in 2010. "This is a very serious issue that affects the future of our nation's space program and thousands of Floridians."

Lawmakers Questioning NASA Manager's Removal, NY Times

"Mr. Rockefeller and Ms. Hutchison asked Paul K. Martin, the NASA inspector general, to "examine whether this or other recent actions by NASA were intended or could reasonably have been expected to foreclose the ability of Congress to consider meaningful alternatives" to the president's proposed policy, which invests heavily in new space technologies and turns the launching of astronauts over to private companies."

NASA's vision gets another battering, MSNBC

"By now you probably have figured out that this committee is not with you," Rep. John Garamendi, D-Calif., told Bolden. The administrator said he was getting that message."

Armstrong, Cernan challenge plan to scrap moon program, Houston Chronicle

"It was during long flights to the Middle East for goodwill visits to American troops that former astronauts Neil Armstrong, Eugene Cernan and James Lovell hatched a plan to step out of the pages of history with a mission to change its course once more. The carefully calculated decision in March has brought two of the three marquee space pioneers to the halls of Capitol Hill to publicly -- and politically -- challenge President Barack Obama's plan to scrap the nation's back-to-the-moon program."

Ex-astronauts blast 'nowhere' mission, Huntsville Times

"We (Neil Armstrong, Jim Lovell and I) have come to the unanimous conclusion that this budget proposal presents no challenges, has no focus and in fact is a blueprint for a mission to 'nowhere,'" Cernan said in his written testimony before the House Committee on Science and Technology."

Legendary astronauts outline shortfalls of Obama spaceflight plan, The Hill

"From the very beginning it was clear that NASA's proposal lacked the sufficient detail that Congress would need to determine whether it was a credible plan," Rep. Ralph Hall (R-TX) said."

NASA Finds New Criticism and Skepticism Before Congress

"So far we have not seen any hard analysis from the administration that would give us confidence that it can be done for the amount budgeted," [Rep. Bart Gordon] said."

EDITORIAL: NASA future still a vast unknown, Huntsville Times

"A story Tuesday by Times aerospace writer Lee Roop said the General Accountability Office has warned NASA headquarters against crossing the legal line of initiating new space policy while Congress continues to debate whether Constellation will end. U.S. Reps. Parker Griffith, R-Huntsville, Robert Aderholt, R-Haleyville, and 13 other members of Congress requested the GAO investigation to determine whether the new mission planning violated the law against creating new programs, projects or activities."

Utah Lawmakers Unhappy With Obama NASA Plan, Capitol News

"Utah lawmakers are pushing back against President Obama's proposal for NASA and the future of human space flight. Jobs in Utah and nationwide are in jeopardy."

Obama NASA Changes Could Benefit Colorado, Capitol News

"President Obama wants to scrap the so-called Constellation program and focus on new technology for the future. He's also calling for increased reliance on the private sector for manned space flight. Jobs around the country are in jeopardy and many lawmakers, especially Republicans, are vowing to block the President's plan. Not Udall."

A Tribute to Atlantis

3-D Mural Hung in Tribute to Atlantis in Cape's Firing Room, Ken Kremer

"A new 3 D tribute commemorating spectacular highlights from the historic missions of Space Shuttle Atlantis now proudly hangs high inside Firing Room 4 of the Launch Control Center at NASA's Kennedy Space Center. The huge mural was created by the NASA and contractor teams that process Atlantis in preparation for blasting off to the High Frontier. The teams themselves, not outside artists, created the collage from objects and images highlighting significant milestones in the steps to check out and prepare Atlantis for launch and events from her 32 actual missions to space."

Majestic Last Landing for Atlantis, Ken Kremer

"Space Shuttle Atlantis closed out a quarter century of service to the exploration of space with a majestic return from orbit and a spectacular landing this morning (May 26) at 8:48 AM EDT at the Kennedy Space Center (KSC) in Florida. Atlantis and her six man crew descended through the atmosphere and were greeted by absolutely clear blue skies for what is likely to be her final touchdown on Earth."

Gov 2.0: NASA Readies Mission-Oriented Cloud Computing, Information Week

"Chris Kemp, former CIO of NASA's Ames Research Center, has been the project leader on Nebula. Kemp was recently named CTO for IT across the space agency, and Cureton says Kemp will bring "focus" to the broader implementation of cloud computing and other emerging technologies across NASA."

House Committee on Science and Technology Reviews, Questions NASA's Proposed Human Spaceflight Plan

"The task before us today is to determine if the Administration's plan actually is doable under the Administration's proposed budget--that it actually is 'executable' and truly puts NASA on a 'sustainable path'. It does no good to cancel a program that the Administration characterizes as 'unexecutable', if that program is simply replaced with a new plan that can't be executed either," stated Chairman Bart Gordon (D-TN).

Letter from Sen. Nelson to President Obama Regarding An Additional Space Shuttle Mission, (PDF)

"As we begin work on the NASA reauthorization bill for fiscal year 2011, I write to inform you of my intention to include language authorizing an additional space shuttle flight... this new mission. STS-135, would be flown with a minimum crew of four astronauts and would provide critical spare parts and logistics for long-term ISS operations"

GAO report says NASA didn't break law with 'study teams, Huntsville Times

"NASA hasn't broken the law by spending nearly 13,000 hours of staff time planning what comes after the Constellation rocket program, the Government Accountability Office said Monday, but it must be careful not to cross the legal line while Congress continues to debate whether Constellation will end. The GAO investigated NASA's recent activities in response to a March request from U.S. Rep. Parker Griffith, R-Huntsville; U.S. Rep. Robert Aderholt, R-Haleyville; and 13 other representatives."

Keith's 25 May update: Members of the Constellation community are saying that they have been told that contract termination letters for Constellation work will be sent out on/around 1 June. Moreover, Jeff Hanley has reportedly been telling his troops not to worry about these contract-related letters since the "Plan B" sorts of work that he has been directing them to do (with Mike Coats' and Charlie Bolden's backing) are really to set the stage for things that "the next Administration" will be doing. Stay tuned.

CAGW Releases Issue Brief on NASA Constellation Program

"President Obama has taken a step in the right direction by proposing to cancel the unsustainable Constellation Program in favor of looking to increased reliance on the private sector and investment in technologies that can lower the cost of human space exploration," concluded Schatz. "Congress should not interfere with this objective."

Issue Brief on the Constellation program., Citizens Against Government Waste

"According to Citizens Against Government Waste's 2010 Congressional Pig Book database, Sen. Shelby earmarked 60 projects worth $173 million in fiscal year 2010, so it is no surprise that he is abusing the appropriations process by slipping the Constellation program into the emergency spending bill. This is one of many reasons why taxpayers remain outraged over excessive spending in Washington."

NASA Nurtures New Ideas for Near Orbit, Tom Kalil, OSTP Deputy Director for Policy

"CRuSR--one of several innovative priorities for NASA's new Chief Technology Officer, Bobby Braun--is building on that momentum. Starting next year, NASA will invest $15 million per year to support a wide range of technology demonstrations, educational experiments, and science payloads on these new vehicles."

"It will also give undergraduate and graduate students the opportunity of a lifetime. They'll help design and build new hardware, work side-by-side with rocket scientists to integrate the experiments into the vehicles, and analyze the data once each experiment has been completed. There may even be opportunities for middle and high school students, who could travel to the nearest spaceport to see their science experiment blast off into space."

Keith's update: Looks like Ed Weiler and other suborbital science opponents have just been given guidance on a new way of thinking (and behaving) by the White House.

NASA Announces Posting of Space Exploration Workshop Charts

"Presentation charts for the opening-day briefings of NASA's Exploration Enterprise Workshop in Galveston, Texas, will be posted online at noon EDT, Monday, May 24. The two-day workshop brings together a broad community of space exploration stakeholders from government, industry and academia. The Exploration Systems Mission Directorate's plans for human and robotic space exploration and the administration's fiscal year 2011 budget request for the agency will be discussed."

Meeting of Space Organizations, 5 May 2010

"This meeting will enable private organizations and associations with a stake in the outcome of this discussion to better understand the current NASA program and its implications for science and technology, and to exchange views on the value of establishing an ongoing coalition of space related organizations."

Challenges and Opportunities at the Dawn of a New Decade, 18 May 2010

"Conference attendees will have the opportunity to network with industry leaders and participate in educational sessions including "The Vital Role of Aerospace Assets in National Security," "The Future of Human Space Flight," and "Air Transportation Modernization."

Keith's note: Given the immense interest in NASA's new policy directions, and the tens of thousands of jobs directly (and adversely) affected, one would hope that these discussions would be streamed live. All it takes to do this is a laptop and a USTREAM.TV account. Otherwise, the only folks who'll be participating (or benefiting) from these discussions will be the usual suspects and space policy wonks known to frequent Washington, DC



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This page is an archive of recent entries written by Keith Cowing in May 2010.

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