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Reactions to NASA's Proposed FY 2017 Budget

By Keith Cowing on February 9, 2016 2:58 PM.

The State of Our NASA is Strong: Remarks on the State of NASA by NASA Administrator Bolden

"It's because of the legacy of NASA employees like Katherine Johnson ... it's because of your work here at Langley ... it's because of the work of your colleagues at all our NASA Centers ... it's because of the work of our contractors and our partners in classrooms, boardrooms, laboratories and even garages across our country, that: The state of our NASA is as strong as it's ever been and when I say "our," I really mean it. Because of the work of you and your NASA colleagues to make aviation cleaner, greener, safer and quieter ... the state of our NASA is strong."

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Adjusting NASA's Social Media Memes To Reflect Reality

By Keith Cowing on February 9, 2016 2:40 PM.


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NASA FY 2017 Budget News Today

By Keith Cowing on February 9, 2016 1:20 PM.

Bolden Speech Highlights "State of NASA" Events at Agency Centers Feb. 9

"NASA centers across the country are opening their doors Tuesday, Feb. 9 to media and social media for "State of NASA" events, including a speech from NASA Administrator Charles Bolden, and unique opportunities for a behind-the-scenes look at the agency's progress on its journey to Mars. These events follow President Obama's Fiscal Year 2017 budget proposal delivery to the U.S. Congress. Also on Tuesday, at 5 p.m. NASA Chief Financial Officer David Radzanowski will brief media on the agency's 2017 budget proposal."

Detailed NASA budget info is now online at http://www.nasa.gov/sites/default/files/atoms/files/fy_2017_budget_estimates.pdf

Basic NASA Budget information is online at http://www.nasa.gov/news/budget/index.html

Keith's note: Once again there will be no media interaction with Charlie Bolden (or Dava Newman) about NASA's budget, priorities, policy, etc. Also, the various HQ AAs used to do media briefings. No more of that either, it would seem. Also, it is important to note that none of the prime players in NASA's FY 2017 budget request at the White House will be in their jobs a year from now. The same goes for senior leadership on the 9th floor at NASA Headquarters. As such, don't expect anything exciting in this budget - and certainly don't expect anyone to be taking any heroic measures to see this budget through the process.

Keith's update: Based on initial budget documents, the White House is asking for $19.0 Billion for NASA. That is $300 million less than the FY 2016 enacted level. Their run out project shows them asking for $18.8 Billion for FY 2018 - $500 million less than 2016. The incoming Administration will tweak the FY 2018 budget but not with any consistency. Maybe a supplemental appropriation will happen but with a habit of budget fights, continuing resolutions, etc. No one should be expecting a NASA windfall any time soon. The soonest you will see the new Administration have a budget that is truly their own is FY2019 and we won't see that until February 2018.

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More Snow Headaches For NASA in DC Area

By Keith Cowing on February 8, 2016 8:09 PM.





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Revisionist Millennial Musing by Amy Shira Teitel About The V-2 Rocket

By Keith Cowing on February 8, 2016 4:05 PM.

Was The V-2 a Nazi Weapon?, Popular Science

"The short answer is that, no, the V-2 wasn't strictly speaking a Nazi weapon. The long answer is more complicated, and a lot more interesting."

Keith's note: Amy Shira Teitel who has done PR things for NASA on occasion, posted a video in December that accompanies this article wherein she splits hairs over whether the V-2 rocket was a "Nazi weapon". Of course it was. Its kind of odd that anyone would even ask that question. As Teitel happily wanders through a superficial review of German military history she seems to be thinking that because it was a German Army project before some Nazi walked in and took complete control over, that this affects whether or not to call it a "Nazi Weapon". At best this is a distinction without a difference. Anyone who has read one page in one book on World War II knows that the Nazis ran Germany - period. Teitel ends her video with a bubbly "The V2 is a really interesting rocket that played a very interesting role and it can be looked at so many different ways." Yes, it was an "interesting rocket", Amy. My father was severely injured by a V-2 that struck London - his roommates were killed by it, so I guess I am biased. But I am not alone in holding this view.

Amy Teitel can look at the always "interesting" V-2 anyway she wants from her millennial revisionist viewpoint 3/4 of a century after the fact- and she can even try to recast the V-2 as something it was not. Oddly, you never hear her mention the horrific and subhuman conditions that slaves endured to produce this "interesting rocket". I guess this is a trivial detail that gets in the way of her story telling. In the end the V-2 was created by Nazi Germany plain and simple. The V-2 is and always was a Nazi weapon. Klar, Amy?

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Complaint About NASA Banning Someone's First Name

By Keith Cowing on February 8, 2016 1:41 PM.

NASA bans the word 'Jesus', Fox

"The name of Jesus is not welcome in the Johnson Space Center newsletter, according to a complaint filed on behalf of a group of Christians who work for NASA. The JSC Praise & Worship Club was directed by NASA attorneys to refrain from using the name 'Jesus' in club announcements that appeared in a Space Center newsletter. "It was shocking to all of us and very frustrating," NASA engineer Sophia Smith told me. "NASA has a long history of respecting religious speech. Why wouldn't they allow us to put the name Jesus in the announcement about our club?" Liberty Institute, one of the nation's largest religious liberty law firms, threatened to file a federal lawsuit unless NASA apologizes and stops censoring the name 'Jesus'."

Keith's note: Right. The name "Jesus" is being censored at NASA. Go to people.nasa.gov and type "Jesus" in the first name search box. Look at all the results. [Larger image] If this loony claim is real then any time any of these employees named "Jesus" is quoted in the newsletter or wants to place a want ad, etc. they will have to do so under a false name. And when they write technical papers, they will have to use a false name too. I wonder what happens when it comes to the name on their pay checks. Do the people who write these opinion pieces ever bother to think before they hit 'send'?

Keith's note: NASA PAO sent me the following statement: "NASA does not prohibit the use of any specific religious names in employee newsletters or other internal communications. The agency allows a host of employee-led civic, professional, religious and other organizations to meet on NASA property on employees' own time. Consistent with federal law, NASA attempts to balance employees' rights to freely exercise religious beliefs with its obligation to ensure there is no government endorsement of religion. We believe in and encourage open and diverse dialogue among our employees and across the agency."

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NASA Will Be Totally Absent From Global Asteroid Day Event

By Keith Cowing on February 8, 2016 11:52 AM.

Introducing Asteroid Day, ESA

"The press conference to reveal the events and partners for Asteroid Day 2016 is due to start on Tuesday, 9 February at 1500 CET (1400 UTC). It is being held at ESA's ESTEC technical centre in Noordwijk, the Netherlands."

Asteroid Day Press Event

"Building on the highly successful first-ever Asteroid Day in 2015, organisers, together with the European Space Agency, will announce partners and the addition of premier and independently organised events for Asteroid Day 2016, scheduled for June 30 around the world. The Press Conference will use multimedia platforms to accommodate speakers from around the world."

Keith's note: Interesting. People from all over the world are gathering in person and remotely for this event. This makes sense given the global nature of the threat posed by asteroid impacts. One thing that is glaringly absent about this event: not a single participant is representing NASA. This is especially bizzarre given that NASA has a multi-billion dollar mission (ARM) to retrieve a piece of a Near Earth Object and return it to Earth. NASA trips over itself to cite all of the reasons why this mission is important (to NASA) including lots of asteroid threat studies. Yet when it comes to this global effort: nothing but crickets.

And then this release comes out from PSI promoting the use of the NASA Webb Space Telescope to observe NEOs.

James Webb Space Telescope to Offer Better View of Near Earth Objects, PSI

"NASA's James Webb Space Telescope will allow scientists to better find, study and understand Near Earth Objects (NEOs), a new paper by a Planetary Science Institute researcher said. ... From its orbital position, JWST could have access to observe nearly three-fourths of NEOs, and nearly all asteroids and comets beyond Mars could be observed."

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North Korea Launched Something into Space

By Keith Cowing on February 7, 2016 8:05 AM.

USSTRATCOM Detects, Tracks North Korean Missile Launch into Space, USSTRATCOM

"OFFUTT AIR FORCE BASE, Neb. - U.S. Strategic Command systems detected and tracked what we assess was a North Korean missile launch into space at 6:29 p.m. CST. The missile was tracked on a southerly launch over the Yellow Sea."

Highlights and Initial Thoughts From The DPRK Launch, Arms Control Wonk

"You can also expect the US and South Korea to attempt to recover the wreckage of the first and second stages of the rocket. In 2014, the UN Panel of Experts on North Korea documented many components of foreign origin."

North Korean rocket puts object into space, angers neighbours, US

"The U.S. Strategic Command said it had detected a missile entering space, and South Korea's military said the rocket had put an object into orbit. North Korea said the launch of the satellite Kwangmyongsong-4, named after late leader Kim Jong Il, was a "complete success" and it was making a polar orbit of Earth every 94 minutes."

U.N. Security Council calls emergency meeting over North Korean rocket launch, CNN

"North Korea launched a satellite into space Sunday, its state media reported, triggering a wave of international condemnation and prompting the United States, South Korea and Japan to call for an emergency meeting of the U.N."

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CRS2 Source Selection Statement Released

By Keith Cowing on February 6, 2016 6:58 PM.

Source Selection Statement for the ISS Commercial Resupply Services 2 (CRS2) Contract, NASA (PDF)

Scores:
SpaceX: 992/1000
Orbital ATK: 880/1000
Sierra Nevada: 879/1000

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Edgar Mitchell

By Keith Cowing on February 5, 2016 6:25 PM.

Astronaut Mitchell Dies Exactly 45 Years After His Moon Walk

"Astronaut Edgar D. Mitchell died yesterday. Coincidentally, on 5 Feb. 1971, Mitchell, lunar module pilot for the Apollo 14 lunar landing mission, stands by the deployed U.S. flag on the lunar surface during the early moments of the first extravehicular activity of the mission."

Apollo 14 astronaut Edgar Mitchell, 85, dies in West Palm Beach , Palm Beach Post

"Astronaut Edgar D. Mitchell, who was part of the Apollo 14 space crew that flew to the moon in 1971, died late Thursday in West Palm Beach, according to his family. Mitchell, 85, lived in suburban Lake Worth and died at a local hospice at about 10 p.m. Thursday, his daughter, former West Palm Beach City Commissioner Kimberly Mitchell told The Palm Beach Post."

NASA Administrator Remembers Apollo-Era Astronaut Edgar Mitchell

"He believed in exploration, having been drawn to NASA by President Kennedy's call to send humans to the moon. He is one of the pioneers in space exploration on whose shoulders we now stand."

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Update on NASA's #JourneyToNowhere

By Keith Cowing on February 4, 2016 11:21 PM.

Space experts warn Congress that NASA's "Journey to Mars" is illusory, Ars Technica

"Another panelist, Tom Young, the former director of NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center and former president and chief operating officer of the Martin Marietta Corporation, agreed that NASA does not currently have a clear pathway to Mars. "What we do not have is a plan, strategy, or architecture with sufficient detail that takes us from today to humans on the surface of Mars," he said. Young said he favored continuing with a mission to Mars but that following such a course required hard choices and narrowing NASA's focus. The agency cannot both have a flourishing program in low Earth orbit with the International Space Station while also trying to mount a Mars exploration program, he argued. Agency officials have said they are not ready to talk in detail about Mars plans because they are evolving."

Congress asks: Can NASA really get astronauts to Mars?, Christian Science Monitor

"We pretend that we are on a '#JourneytoMars,' but in fact, possess neither the technology nor the economic resources necessary to undertake a human Mars mission now or within the foreseeable future," testified Paul Spudis, senior scientist at the Lunar and Planetary Institute, a Texas-based space research institution."

The Moon or Mars? NASA Must Pick 1 Goal for Astronauts, Experts Tell Congress, Space.com

"[Tom] Young spoke about the desire to have fewer "tombstones" for cancelled projects and more "memorials" to successful ones. He reiterated the thesis of his opening remarks, that what NASA needs more than anything is a concrete plan for how it should proceed. "I am personally passionate about humans going to Mars, but I'm equally passionate about a good, disciplined plan that is not frivolous," he said. "A plan that does what is required, but also doesn't just do what's possible."

Many politicians are unhappy with what they see as NASA's disregard for concrete details and deadlines, Inverse

"The committee seemed most irritated about how the Asteroid Redirect Mission (ARM) NASA's plan to send a robotic spacecraft to a near-Earth asteroid, pick up a giant boulder, and bring it to lunar orbit for a crew to study fits into the overall Mars objective. .. [ARM] is a misguided mission without a mission, without a launch date, and without ties to exploration goals," said Representative Lamar Smith from Texas. "It's just a time-wasting distraction."

- ASAP: NASA Has No Plan or Firm Funding For Its #JourneyToMars
- Kicking The Can Down the Road to Mars, earlier post
- NASA Begins Its Journey To Nowhere, earlier post
- Yet Another NASA Mars "Plan" Without A Plan - or a Budget, earlier post
- NASA's Strategic Plan Isn't Strategic - or a Plan, earlier post
- Charlie Bolden's Meandering Strategic Plans, earlier post

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Anyone Can Download Raw NASA Airplane and Drone videos - From NASA

By Keith Cowing on February 4, 2016 6:00 PM.

Keith's note: After using Uncle Google for a while and searching for NASA airplane tail numbers etc. I came across a website run by NASA Ames online at http://asp-archive.arc.nasa.gov If you go here you can download all kinds of NASA airplane and drone footage going back a number of years. This really, really ugly HTML 1.0-flavored NASA website is sort of a central uploading point for lots of NASA aircraft imagery and flight data before that data is used by various programs for their research activities. No hacking or FOIA requests required. As best I can tell, some of these "hacked" YouTube videos would seem to have been from NASA's DC-8 N817NA and also NASA 439 C-130H (neither of which are "drones", BTW).

And of course if you go to this other NASA website https://airbornescience.nasa.gov/aircraft_detailed_cal you can see which NASA planes went where over the past few years via a somewhat better designed website. Nothing is being done in secret.

So -- everyone needs to get busy downloading these oh-so-secret NASA videos and then upload them to YouTube with hashtags suggesting that they are somehow #clandestine or #secret or involved with #chemtrails

NASA Publicly Posted 'Drone Videos' Just Like the 'Hacked' One, Motherboard

"Cowing challenged the hackers to release the logs of their activity if they really want to prove their claims. At the same time, he also admitted that it's possible that the group did get into some NASA system and didn't even realize where they were. "They may have hacked in but their gopher tunnel may have gone sideways as opposed to deep in, and they just bumped into something that was already publicly available," Cowing told me. With the new evidence he found online, that theory appears more likely every day."

- Evil NASA Drone Hack Update, earlier post
- Did Someone Hack NASA's Evil Drones? Answer: No., earlier post

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Choosing The Moon - Audi Style

By Keith Cowing on February 4, 2016 12:13 PM.

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SLS and Orion Make Progress - But ...

By Keith Cowing on February 4, 2016 9:36 AM.

NASA Mission: Orion's Next Step, NPR Morning Edition

"The space agency hopes the Orion capsule, which has been transported to the Kennedy Space Center, will one day take astronauts to the moon and Mars. The program, however, faces budget challenges."

Keith's note: My little bit of snark is included toward the end of this story.

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Making The International Space Station More International

By Keith Cowing on February 3, 2016 9:16 PM.

Buzz Aldrin: The next giant leap for space exploration, Washington Post

"Thus, taking our trajectory deeper into space is about more than just the United States. We must explore our solar system with the entire community of current and future space-faring nations. To this point, China should be a part of a global space outreach, as should the 16 nations that currently participate in the International Space Station. We should also look to include the emerging space-faring countries, such as India, South Korea and the United Arab Emirates. Nothing will do more to promote international understanding, particularly when it comes to developing norms of behavior in space."

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NASA International Space Station On-Orbit Status 8 February 2016

NASA International Space Station On-Orbit Status 8 February 2016 Video in Story

The Expedition 46 crew members kicked off their work week today with a series of physics experiments and life science studies. The crew also worked on U.S. and Russian spacesuits and continued packing trash inside the Orbital ATK resupply ship.

More updates...

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