Keith Cowing: January 2012 Archives

Rob Strain Leaving NASA

NASA GSFC Center Director Rob Strain Announces Plans to Leave

"It is with mixed emotions that I announce my intention to leave NASA Goddard and return to industry. My last day as Director will be March 4. During my time here, it has been my privilege to play a small role in our awesome missions, remarkable science, complex engineering feats, and initiatives. Goddard continues to amaze me with the extraordinary accomplishments its people make every day."

Goddard Center Director Robert Strain Announces Departure from Agency, NASA Goddard

"NASA Goddard Space Flight Center Director Robert Strain announced he will leave the agency on March 4, 2012, to take a position in private industry."

Big Rocket, Little Support

Expensive NASA rocket draws skepticism, Houston Chronicle

"As engineers at Marshall Space Flight Center in Alabama begin designing a rocket that would eventually be capable of blasting 130 metric tons into orbit, many spaceflight experts are questioning why NASA chose what could be the most expensive and riskiest approach to expanding the human spaceflight program beyond low-Earth orbit. "I'm very skeptical about the heavy-lift rocket," said Chris Kraft, NASA's first manned spaceflight director and the director of flight operations during the Apollo 11 mission."

Matt Reed: Newt's awesome space plan shields a bad candidate, Florida Today

"How Gingrich led the impeachment of President Bill Clinton in 1998 for lying about an affair -- even as Gingrich had cheated on his wife for six years. I despised Gingrich by the time he took the stage in Cocoa on Wednesday. Then, Newt seduced me with one of the best speeches on space I've ever heard."

A colony on the moon? Gingrich finds risks and rewards in backyard politics, AP

"No issue better illustrates the risks and rewards of backyard politics than Florida's space industry. Gingrich ignited the discussion by making a bold declaration at a packed rally last week in Cocoa, about 20 miles from the Kennedy Space Center. "By the end of my second term we will have the first permanent base on the moon, and it will be American," he said before being interrupted by applause."

Leaders In America's Space Program Write Open Letter In Support Of Mitt Romney, Houston Chronicle

"As president, Mitt Romney will facilitate close collaboration not only within the government's civil and national security space sectors, but also with the private sector and with research institutions. He will create conditions for a strong and competitive commercial space industry that can contribute greatly to our national capabilities and goals. And he will ensure that NASA returns its focus to the project of manned space exploration that uniquely affirms American strength and values around the globe. Under his leadership, America will once again lead the world in space."

Keith's note: 24 Hours after the Florida primary votes are in, you will likely hear little - if anything - about space from these candidates ever again.

Mitt Romney would have fired Mike Griffin: Is Romney Already Being Trapped By Unsustainable Space Interests?, Space Frontier Foundation

"During last night's Republican presidential debate, Governor Mitt Romney stated that "a moonbase would be an enormous expense," and later stated that if someone had come to him saying they had wanted to spend a few hundred billion dollars to put a colony on the moon, he would've said "You're fired." Today, it was revealed that former NASA Administrator Mike Griffin is member of the Romney Space Policy Advisory Group. This is the same NASA Administrator who was the chief architect of an unaffordable and unsustainable plan to return humans to the Moon that would have cost about $200 Billion."

Former NASA chief Mike Griffin backs Mitt Romney for president, Houston Chronicle

"GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney won the endorsement of former NASA administrator Mike Griffin on Friday, days before voters in Florida and along the famed Space Coast cast their ballots in the hotly contested GOP presidential primary."

Last man on moon, other space leaders backing Romney, MSNBC

"Players in the commercial space industry, including Eric Anderson, chairman and chief executive officer of space tourism firm Space Adventures; and Mark Albrecht, chairman of the board of satellite communications provider USSpace, also signed the letter. Other signers include Scott Pace, director of the Space Policy Institute at George Washington University (who also serves as chairman of the Romney Space Policy Advisory Group); Peter Marquez, former director of space policy for the National Security Council; and William Martel, professor of International Security Studies at Tufts University."

Romney Mocks Gingrich's Plans For Moon Base, CBS

"Gingrich promised that "By the end of my second term, we will have the first permanent base on the moon and it will be American." Gingrich, the former House speaker, told an overflowing crowd gathered on Florida's space coast Wednesday that he wants to develop a robust commercial space industry in line with the airline boom of the 1930s. He also wants to expand exploration of Mars."

Gingrich jab at debate moderator deflected, Reuters

"One of Romney's biggest applause lines was saying that Gingrich has a pattern of pandering to local audiences - promising a new Veterans Administration hospital in New Hampshire a few weeks ago and a moon colony on Wednesday when he visited Florida's Space Coast. "I spent 25 years in business," Romney said. "If I had a business executive come to me and say they wanted to spend a few hundred billion dollars to put a colony on the moon, I'd say, 'You're fired.'"

Devon Island Journal 20 July 2003: Arctic Memorials and Starship Yearnings

"Given the sheer mass of the structure, and the slow manner with which things change here, this inukshuk may well be standing 500 years from now. That should be long enough. Maybe someone serving on a starship will think to visit it."

Devon Island Journal - 18 July 2007: Ancient Memorials for Modern Space Explorers

"To the friends and families of these lost space travelers, these inukshuks offer a silent thank you - one amplified by the austere remoteness of this place - a remoteness you have to spend a lot of effort to visit. Right now, space travel is just like that. Hopefully that will change one day."

Image: Suomi NPP's View of North America

"Suomi NPP's VIIRS instrument returned this hi-resolution full-disc image of the Earth from several passes made Jan. 4, 2012. The Suomi National Polar-orbiting Partnership (Suomi NPP) mission represents a critical first step in building the next-generation Earth-observing satellite system that will collect data on both long-term climate change and short-term weather conditions."

NASA's Day of Remembrance

Photo: NASA Day of Remembrance Wreath Laying Ceremony

"NASA Administrator Charles Bolden, NASA personnel, and others, participate in a wreath laying ceremony as part of NASA's Day of Remembrance, Thursday, Jan. 26, 2012, at Arlington National Cemetery. Wreathes were laid in memory of those men and women who lost their lives in the quest for space exploration."

Statement by the President on NASA Day of Remembrance

"Today, our Nation is pursuing an ambitious path that honors these heroes, builds on their sacrifices, and promises to expand the limits of innovation as we venture farther into space than we have ever gone before. The men and women who lost their lives in the name of space exploration helped get us to this day, and it is our duty to honor them the way they would have wanted to be honored - by focusing our sights on the next horizon."

Statement by the Charles Bolden on NASA Day of Remembrance

"In the face of our greatest accomplishments, it's easy to lose sight of the fact that each time men and women board a spacecraft, their actions carry great risk along with the opportunity for great discoveries and the chance to push the envelope of our human achievement."

Santorum: Moon base idea is 'crass politics', Politico

"the idea that anybody's going out and talking about grand, new, very expensive schemes to spend more money at a time when we do not have our fiscal house in order, in my opinion, is plain, crass politics."

Romney schedules Cape Canaveral visit for Friday, Florida Today

"According to Romney's campaign, he'll visit Astrotech Space Operations Inc, 260 Magellan Road at 3 p.m. The event is open to the public."


Keith's update: At the first event in Florida today, Newt Gingrich called for setting aside 10% of the NASA budget for prizes (which would be awarded tax free), that there'd be a human base on the Moon by the end of his Administration flying an American flag, that progress on a trip to Mars would be made using propulsion that would dramatically reduce travel time, that there should be 5 launches a day - not just 1, and that the current NASA civil service system should be replaced with something more akin to what is used in the aerospace industry.

At the second event with Gingrich (invitation-only) a panel of local industry and political representatives spoke for several minutes each. With the exception of SpaceX, these panelists all blew their chance to make clear points to Gingrich, the online audience, and the national media. A number of these folks resorted to self-promotion and, in some cases, were simply babbling. Gingrich asked launch industry representatives a simple question i.e. what it would take (time etc.) to man-rate an Atlas V. No one could answer. You'd think that the space communnity would have thought ahead as to how they could make the best of this one time opportunity. FAIL.

Analysis of DNSSEC Validation Failure Comcast - DNS Engineering, Comcast"

"How Did Users Interpret the Failure? The DNSSEC-related misconfiguration of the NASA.GOV domain unfortunately occurred on the same day that some Internet websites such as Wikipedia and Reddit blacked out their sites in protest over the proposed SOPA and PIPA bills in in the U.S. Congress. ... Despite this, a website that discusses NASA-related news and information, called NASA Watch (http://www.nasawatch.com) accused Comcast of blocking access to the NASA.GOV domain, seemingly on purpose."

Keith's note: Despite multiple tweets by @NASAWatch about this problem on 18 January 2012 - tweets that were responded to by @Comcast employees - no one at Comcast ever bothered to contact NASA Watch about the cause - until this report was issued. Yet they seem to place some importance on the fact that NASAWatch (and MSNBC) gave this issue prominence. We had to figure it out for ourselves. If Comcast wants people to know why things are not working for their customers, then they need to take the initiative to respond to public inquiries promptly - and not complain about things well after the fact.

Gingrich plans major speeches, including one on space, CNN

"Riding the momentum of his South Carolina win on Saturday, Newt Gingrich said Sunday he planned a week of big speeches offering "big solutions for a big country." "I'll be at the space coast in Florida this week giving a speech -- a visionary speech -- on the United States going back into space in the John F. Kennedy tradition," the former House Speaker said on C-SPAN's "Washington Journal."

Gingrich & Walker: Obama's brave reboot for NASA, Washington Times (earlier post)

"Despite the shrieks you might have heard from a few special interests, the Obama administration's budget for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration deserves strong approval from Republicans. The 2011 spending plan for the space agency does what is obvious to anyone who cares about man's future in space and what presidential commissions have been recommending for nearly a decade."

NASA Solicitation Commercial Crew Integrated Capability

"NASA intends to begin a new initiative, the Commercial Crew integrated Capability (CCiCap), to facilitate industry's development of an integrated CTS. This activity is expected to result in significant maturation of commercial CTS . Facilitating development of this U.S. capability is expected to provide national economic benefit and support safe, reliable, and cost effective transportation to Low-Earth Orbit (LEO)."

Romney, Gingrich talk spaceflight at latest Republican debate, Foxboro

"Both Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich stressed the importance of space exploration for the United States, saying a strong space program helps develop key technologies and inspires young people to study science and engineering. But during the debate, held at the University of South Florida in Tampa, neither candidate said giving NASA more money was the right way forward."

Geomagnetic Storm Expected Tuesday, Jan 23

"As the strongest Solar Radiation Storm (S3) since May, 2005 continues, the associated Earthward-directed Coronal Mass Ejection is expected to arrive about 1400 UT (9am EST) Jan 24. SWPC has issued a Geomagnetic Storm Watch with G2 level storming likely and G3 level storming possible, with the storm continuing into Wednesday, Jan 25. All of this activity is related to a moderate (R2) Radio Blackout x-ray flare that erupted Sunday night (11pm EST)."

Joint USAF/NOAA Report of Solar and Geophysical Activity 23 January 2012

"Geophysical Activity Forecast: The geomagnetic field is expected to range from quiet to isolated severe storm levels on day one (24 January). Mostly quiet levels are expected through midday on 24 January when the anticipated arrival of the 23 January CME is expected to affect the field. Active to major storm levels, with isolated severe storm periods, are expected for the remainder of day one."

Coalition for Space Exploration Introduces New Leadership for 2012

"The Coalition for Space Exploration (Coalition) today announced veteran aerospace communicators Lon Rains of Northrop Grumman and Mary Engola of Ball Aerospace will lead the Coalition in 2012. Rains and Engola will serve as the new chair and deputy chair, respectively. Each will serve a one-year term, effective January through December 2012."


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This page is an archive of recent entries written by Keith Cowing in January 2012.

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