Marc Boucher: January 2010 Archives

NASA Day of Remembrance at Kennedy Space Center Jan. 29, NASA

"NASA's Kennedy Space Center, Fla., will pay tribute to the crews of Apollo 1 and space shuttles Challenger and Columbia, as well as other NASA colleagues, during the agency's Day of Remembrance observance on Friday, Jan. 29."

Now A Stationary Research Platform, NASA's Mars Rover Spirit Starts a New Chapter in Red Planet Scientific Studies, NASA

"After six years of unprecedented exploration of the Red Planet, NASA's Mars Exploration Rover Spirit no longer will be a fully mobile robot."

Marc's note: After all these years Spirit keeps on giving. Good news in an otherwise difficult time for NASA.

Culture Change at NASA, Wayne Hale's Blog

"According to the creation myth, in the beginning, NASA was full of young, cocky, innovative, hard charging folks who got us to the moon inside a decade. They were brash, confident, and did not suffer fools gladly. If they were worried, they didn't show it. Stories abound of 100+ hour work weeks end to end, almost impossible to believe. Their theme -as posted on the factory walls - was 'waste anything but time'. Going to the moon was the clich for doing the impossible and they were going to be the ones to do it. They were the epitome of risk-taking, innovative, creative, flexible, nimble, achievers."

The Future of NASA: Space Policy Issues Facing Congress, Congressional Research Service (PDF)

"Summary of Major Issues for Congress

- Is there a national consensus for human exploration beyond Earth orbit, despite the inherent risks and the substantial cost?

- If so, what destination or destinations should NASA's human exploration program explore? Should the Moon remain the target, as under current plans? Should there be a graduated sequence of targets as in the Augustine committee's "flexible path" option?

- If human exploration beyond Earth orbit is too costly or too dangerous, should NASA focus its efforts on human missions in Earth orbit, robotic exploration, technology development, other activities such as science and aeronautics, or some combination of these?

- Should the space shuttle program be terminated at the end of 2010 (or in early 2011) as currently planned? If so, how should the transition of the shuttle workforce and facilities be managed? If the shuttle program is to be extended, what actions are needed to ensure the safety of its crews after 2010, and what impact will its continuing cost have on the availability of funds for other NASA programs?

Commercial Spaceflight Federation Responds to the Aerospace Safety Advisory Panel's Report, Commercial Spaceflight Federation

"Despite the ASAP Report's contention that commercial vehicles are "nothing more than unsubstantiated claims," the demonstrated track records of commercial vehicles and numerous upcoming manifested cargo flights ensure that no astronaut will fly on a commercial vehicle that lacks a long, proven track record. The Atlas V, for example, has a record of 19 consecutive successful launches and the Atlas family of rockets has had over 90 consecutive successes, and dozens of flights of the Atlas, Taurus, and Falcon vehicles are scheduled to occur before 2014 in addition to successful flights already completed."."

Aerospace Safety Advisory Panel Releases Annual Report (PDF)

"The panel's report provides a summary of key safety-related issues the agency confronts at this time," ASAP Chairman Joseph W. Dyer said. "The most important relate to the future of the nation's human spaceflight program. Critical safety issues the panel reviewed include human rating requirements for potential commercial and international entities, extension of the shuttle beyond the current manifest, the workforce transition from the shuttle to the follow-on program, the need for candid public communications about the risks of human spaceflight, and more aggressive use of robots to reduce the risk of human exploration."

Musk refutes report slamming safety standards, Spaceflight Now

"A commercial space pioneer and a former astronaut are answering claims by an independent advisory panel that private companies do not meet NASA human-rating standards and last year's presidential review of the space program did not adequately consider safety.

In an annual report released Friday, the Aerospace Safety Advisory Panel, or ASAP, said it would be "unwise" to abandon NASA's Ares 1 rocket and turn to private companies to transport astronauts to low Earth orbit. The board said potential commercial crew transportation providers do not meet NASA safety standards for piloted vehicles."


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