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NASA Staff Meeting Minutes 3 September 1996

By Keith Cowing
NASA Watch
September 3, 1996
Filed under ,

Minutes of Senior Staff and Center Director’s Meeting September 3, 1996
The following documents the discussions addressed at the Senior Staff and Center Director’s Meeting on September 3, 1996. Mr. Goldin was in attendance. Action assignments have been placed in brackets [ ] for easy identification.

1. AA Reports
E/Graves: Black Caucus week is September 11-15, 1996, and LeRC will support this event with exhibits.
G/Stephens: The General Counsel has issued an opinion letter concerning post employment restrictions for employment opportunities with USA. The opinion has been distributed to all of the Center’s Chief Counsels. Congress has passed legislation clarifying that the one-year no contact rule for departing senior officials applies only to ES-5 and ES-6. The restriction applies to an official’s position as opposed to salary. This week, the NASA General Counsel will meet with the Assistant Attorney General and members of his staff to review NASA’s submission to Justice for inclusion in the Administration’s response to the Adarand case. (Note: Justice subsequently canceled the meeting. No new date has been identified.)
R/Whitehead: The LeRC exhibit supporting Black Caucus week is LeRC’s Mobil Education Center. It will be at Jefferson Junior High School on September 9-11, and will be in front of the NASA lobby on September 16. During this same week, an exhibit will be in the lobby for students, Kindergarten through Grade 12, representing all of the Enterprises.
U/Nicogossian: A recent edition of the Journal of American Medicine published a supportive article on the research conducted during a recent Shuttle mission concerning sleep in isolated environments. During the week of August 26, Code U had the opportunity to review the status of Dr. James Smith’s research of the Commercial Space Center at the University of Alabama in Huntsville. This research concerns liquid phase sintering. Metal samples have been processed on the Mir’s Optizon Furnace and are slated to be returned to Earth on STS-79. The research is to determine the effects of microgravity on porosity and microstructure of sintered materials for tool bit applications, which would provide new methods to reduce breakage in the tools. On August 25, 1996, Code I signed an agreement, established through the Commercial Space Center at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, with Argentina to perform investigations related to developing drugs to treat Chagas’ Disease. This vector-bone, debilitating disease affects more than 20 million people in Latin America. Code U is now seeking flight opportunities for this research that involves both Space Product Development and Microgravity Science. The objective of these flights will be to identify the protein crystal structures that will assist in the development of pharmaceuticals to combat the disease.
P/Boeder: In the event that KSC has to rollback the orbiter, Code P will ensure that video of the rollback is available to the press. Weather stations have been using the video of the Hurricane Eduoard, and the follow-on storms in their daily forecasts. The press conference on the second Galileo encounter with Ganymede will be conducted at 3 p.m. on Friday, September 6, 1996.
S/Huntress: The cause of Galileo’s safehold has been identified and corrective action was taken to ensure the spacecraft was prepared to initiate the preparatory sequences for the second Ganymede encounter. The next space science launch will be SAC-B in October 1996 aboard the Pegasus XL.
I/Schumacher: The meeting between the Administrator and French Delegate Minister Fillon, currently scheduled for September 11, has been canceled. It is anticipated that the meeting will be rescheduled to October.
Q/Gregory: The Flight Readiness Review for STS-79 was conducted on August 29, 1996. The launch date has been set for September 14, 1996. The Aviation Safety Advisory Panel is visiting MSFC this week.
L/Lawrence: Congress is back in session. The Senate’s schedule calls for addressing the VA-HUD-Independent Agencies Appropriations bill the afternoon of September 3, 1996. Expected amendments include one to eliminate funding for the Space Station and another to eliminate funding for NASA’s Bion. The bill should be voted on September 4, 1996.
J/Sutton: A new audit by the Office of the Inspector General began with the entrance conference on August 26, 1996. This is the first of three environmental audits planned to start within the next 2 weeks. LeRC/Chester Sipsock is the supervisory auditor. JPL/Stan Graves is the lead auditor. Survey work will be conducted at JPL, MSFC, and probably LaRC. The auditors have five objectives for the survey, but intend to narrow the scope after the survey: (1) determine what progress is being made with respect to cleanup efforts at NASA after the survey; (2) compliance with environmental directives, orders, and other agreements; (3) provisions being made with other agencies and organizations to share the cleanup costs; (4) validity of cleanup cost estimates; and (5) adequacy of internal cost control measures.
F/Armstrong: Last week, NASA received a letter from OPM extending the Agency’s early out authority under the same conditions as last year.
Z/Ladwig: NASA is waiting for further guidance and direction from the Office of the Vice President concerning the Space Summit. A mid-September release of the National Space Policy is expected.
C/Christensen: All of the decisions concerning the identification of SES employees and the Centers to which they will transfer have been made. The letters announcing these decisions will be issued by September 15, 1996. All of the HQ Associate Administrators will be receiving a letter announcing the September 18, 1996, job fair. All employees are strongly encouraged to attend this event.
2. AD/ Dailey
The HQ Honor Award ceremony will be held on September 25, 1996, at 1:30 p.m. in the HQ Auditorium.
During the softball games held on August 27, 1996, Team E/G/H won their second game of the series, defeating Code I 12-7. Code U defeated Code W 23-4. Code B beat Code P 12-7 on August 29. The games scheduled for September 3, Team A/Z will face Code Y, last year’s second place team. Code W will play Team K/L. The games will be held at the Jefferson Field at 7th and G Street, SW, at 5:30 p.m.
3. Center Director Reports
ARC/Dean: Dr. McDonald is in Europe this week and will visit DARA. Next week ARC will host the Astrobiology Workshop that is expected to have at least 350 participants on the first day.
DRFC/Szalai: DRFC will hold an open house to celebrate their 50th Anniversary. Schools from the local area have been invited to participate in the celebration, and the Center will open the laboratories, simulators, and aircraft for them to go through. Mr. Goldin requested information concerning the Aerospike engine’s first flight on the SR-71. Mr. Szalai provided a brief status of the program that indicated the Aerospike’s operational ground check would be conducted during the last week of October at which time the flight schedule would be established.
JSC/Abbey: The Flight Readiness Review for STS-79 was held on August 29, 1996, at KSC and established September 14, 1996, as STS-79’s launch date. The crew will be placed in quarantine on September 7 in preparation of the launch. Node 1, the first component of the International Space Station, and the U.S. laboratory module have successfully completed pressure tests at the Marshall Space Flight Center on August 28.
KSC/Honeycutt: Hurricane Fran is heading straight for KSC. The decision to roll Atlantis back to the VAB will be made by midnight on September 3. STS-79 has range clearance from September 14 – 17. September 16 is anticipated as the alternate launch date, should weather prevent the mission from launching as scheduled. (Note: Atlantis was rolled back on September 4, 1996.)
LaRC/Harris: On August 26, 1996, LaRC participated in an experiment to assist the U. S. Navy’s stall/spin flight test. In this experiment a 22-percent model was dropped from 12,000 feet where it was flown through a series of profiles while being controlled from a ground station. At the conclusion of the test, a problem developed with the first stage parachute that resulted in hard landing. The model has been returned to LaRC to be repaired and the experiment’s timeline is being reviewed and updated.
LeRC/Campbell: LeRC has been working with MIT on a research program investigating high-speed compressor stalls. Additionally, material research has developed a ceramic composite that can be used in the classroom to provide students with better tools to understand metal research.
MSFC/Littles: The ASAP will visit the Center on September 6, 1996, and a subcommittee will return the following week. The Super Light Weight Tank successfully completed its stability test and has one final test left. The Center finalized its contract negotiations with Orbital Sciences Corporation (OSC) to design, build, and test-fly the X-34, which is a small reusable technology demonstrator.
SSC/Estess: The August 27, 1996, final drop test of a recoverable propulsion module was successful. This experiment was in support of the Boeing Defense and Space Group of Seattle in their participation in the Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle project. A sub-committee from the Aerospace Advisory Panel visited the Center on August 29, 1996, and Senator Trent Lott (R-MS) visited the Center on August 30, 1996. Al Diaz and repre- sentatives from Mission to Planet Earth will visit the Center this week, and Mr. Estess will visit Phillips Laboratory later this week.
4. A/Goldin
Mr. Goldin expressed his appreciation for everyone’s hard work on NASA’s budget submission. A meeting was scheduled on September 3, 1996, to place the final touches on the OMB submission. Mr. Goldin addressed the issue of diversity in NASA’s workforce, reiterating the fact that diversity is one of NASA’s greatest strengths and that it is up to all of the supervisors to ensure that all employees have opportunities to excel and to grow.
Officials-in-Charge of Headquarters Offices:
B/Mr. Holz
C/Mr. Christensen
E/Mr. Reese (Acting)
F/Gen. Armstrong
G/Mr. Frankle
H/Ms. Lee
I/Mr. Schumacher
J/Ms. Cooper
K/Mr. Thomas
L/Mr. Lawrence
M/Mr. Trafton
O/Dr. Lundy (Acting)
P/Ms. Boeder
Q/Mr. Gregory
R/Dr. Whitehead
S/Dr. Huntress
U/Dr. Nicogossian (Acting)
W/Ms. Gross
X/Dr. Mansfield
Y/Mr. Townsend (Acting)
Z/Mr. Ladwig
Directors, NASA Field Installations:
ARC/Dr. McDonald
DFRC/Mr. Szalai
GSFC/Mr. Rothenberg
JSC/Mr. Abbey
KSC/Mr. Honeycutt
LaRC/Dr. Creedon
LeRC/Mr. Campbell
MSFC/Dr. Littles
SSC/Mr. Estess
Director, Jet Propulsion Laboratory:
Dr. Stone
A/Ms. Wilcoxen
AB/Ms. Saldana
AD/Ms. Shaeffer
AE/Ms. Moore
AI/Ms. McClung
AO/Ms. Wissinger
AT/Ms. Doss
C-3/Ms. Soper

NASA Watch founder, Explorers Club Fellow, ex-NASA, Away Teams, Journalist, Space & Astrobiology, Lapsed climber.