"NASA has taken offline technical reports associated with a cutting-edge technology program out of concerns of a possible export control breach, an agency official said Aug. 24. Speaking at annual symposium of the NASA Innovative Advanced Concepts (NIAC) program in Raleigh, North Carolina, Jason Derleth, the NIAC program executive at NASA Headquarters, said the final reports associated with various NIAC research projects have been removed from the agency's website after one of them appeared to contain information that ran afoul of the International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR) export control rules."Categories: Commercialization
"Astronomers using ESO telescopes and other facilities have found clear evidence of a planet orbiting the closest star to Earth, Proxima Centauri. The long-sought world, designated Proxima b, orbits its cool red parent star every 11 days and has a temperature suitable for liquid water to exist on its surface. This rocky world is a little more massive than the Earth and is the closest exoplanet to us -- and it may also be the closest possible abode for life outside the solar system. A paper describing this milestone finding will be published in the journal Nature on 25 August 2016."Categories: Astrobiology, Astronomy
Don Curry, Clayton Funeral Homes
"He loved his work at NASA and was involved with every program, from Mercury through the Space Shuttle, before retiring after 45 years. He became one of the world's leading experts on thermal protection systems, receiving much recognition for his work. Don was respected and beloved by his colleagues who referred to him as "The Legend."
Donald M. Curry, NASA Johnson Space Center Oral History Project Edited Oral History Transcript
"I think most people that worked on the Apollo program out here worked for no extra pay because we were too interested in it. It was too much of a challenge because there wasn't anything known. When [President John F.] Kennedy said, "We're going to the Moon," well, we didn't even have the material. We didn't have the guidance schemes. We'd never done some of these things. We'd only flown one Mercury flight, in fact."Categories: Personnel News
NASA's 'act of desperation' demonstrates continued cyber deficiencies, Federal News Radio
"One of NASA's main networks used by almost every employee and contractor and managed by Hewlett Packard Enterprise is in such bad shape, the agency's chief information officer could no longer accept the risk and let the cybersecurity authorization expire. Renee Wynn, NASA's new CIO, didn't sign off on the authority to operate (ATO) for systems and tools under the $2.5 billion Agency Consolidated End-user Services (ACES) contract, which HPE won in 2010. Under the 10-year contract, HPE provides and manages most of NASA's personal computing hardware, agency-standard software, mobile information technology services, peripherals and accessories, associated end-user services and supporting infrastructure. A NASA spokeswoman confirmed the ATO expired on July 24. She said Wynn signed a "conditional" ATO for the systems under ACES, but internal NASA sources said the authorization is just for the management tools and not for the desktops, laptops and other end user devices. Letting an ATO expire on a major agency network is unheard of in government. Multiple federal cyber experts said agencies know at least a year in advance when an authorization and accreditation needs to be renewed."
NASA Totally Flunks FITARA Scorecard 2 Years In A Row, earlier post
"I need to thank NASA's AA for Legislative Affairs, Seth Statler, for pointing out the hearing - and NASA's 'F' grade. NASA has the distinction in 2016 for being the only agency to get an overall 'F', so congratulations are in order. Of course, in telling everyone about FITARA, it is quite obvious that Statler was doing a little blame shifting as he spoke for NASA CIO Renee Wynn - while throwing her under the bus."IT/Web
"Russia's state space corporation Roscosmos plans to reduce Russia's crew at the International Space Station (ISS) from three to two cosmonauts, the Izvestia newspaper writes on Thursday, citing Roscosmos manned programs director Sergei Krikalev. "Plans to reduce the crew stem from the fact that less cargo ships are sent to the ISS and from the necessity to boost the efficiency of the program," the newspaper quotes Krikalev. Apart from that, it will make it possible to lower expenses on the space station's maintenance."
Space station crew may drop to five because of Russia, Ars Technica
"In a statement on Monday, NASA confirmed that Russia is considering dropping back to two crew members. However, the agency did not provide any additional information. According to NASA: "Any questions about the near-term Russian Space budget or Russian ISS expedition size should be directed to the Roscosmos press office. Roscosmos has joined NASA and other International Space Station partners in extending support for the orbiting laboratory to at least 2024, and the current level of research of both NASA and the international partners on ISS is at an all-time high."Categories: ISS News, Russia
"Eroded mesas and buttes reminiscent of the U.S. Southwest shape part of the horizon in the latest 360-degree color panorama from NASA's Curiosity Mars rover."
Keith's note: This is why we call Devon Island "Mars On Earth". Top: Mars 2016 Bottom: me on Devon Island 2002. I have been to Devon Island 3 times - twice for a month. Without exception, a day did not go by when my eyes were telling me that I was on Mars every hour or so.Categories: Exploration
"Saying NASA needs long-range political assurances, U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio declared broad backing for the space agency's agenda Friday and called on Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton to do the same. Rubio met Friday with space industry representatives and others in a roundtable discussion organized by the Economic Development Commission of Florida's Space Coast and Space Florida, the state's space industry development corporation. They heard from him what they wanted: that Florida's junior senator, seeking re-election, is behind NASA's most ambitious programs, to turn over as much lower-Earth orbit activity as possible to private companies, and focus the nation's manned space flight efforts on getting to Mars."Categories: Election 2016
"My top number for Orion, SLS, and the ground systems that support it is $2 billion or less," [NASA deputy associate administrator for exploration systems development Bill] Hill told Ars. "I mean that's my real ultimate goal. We were running at about three-plus, 3.6 billion [dollars] during the latter days of space shuttle. Of course, there again, we were flying six or seven missions. I think we're actually going to have to get to less than that." Ars has learned that the agency's ultimate goal for annual production and operations costs is about $1.5 billion. ... Production and operations costs - P&O in NASA's acronym laden jargon - of $2 billion or less would leave a significant amount of money within NASA's budget for human missions to the vicinity of the Moon, to its surface, or eventually crewed missions to Mars. In fiscal year 2016, NASA received $3.7 billion for exploration systems development, essentially the SLS, Orion, and ground systems budget. The number is likely to grow to $4 billion before the decade's end. If it could eventually spend half of that on deep space habitats, landers, surface living quarters, and myriad other systems, the agency could have the beginnings of a viable program in deep space."
Aerospace Safety Advisory Panel Annual Report 2015, earlier post
"In October 2015, NASA published what it called "a detailed outline" of its next steps in getting to the Red Planet. Unfortunately, the level of detail in the report, NASA's Journey to Mars: Pioneering the Next Steps in Space Exploration, does not really validate whether NASA would be capable of achieving such an ambitious objective in a reasonable time period, with realistically attainable technologies, and with budgetary requirements that are consistent with the current economic environment."
"... the SLS program has not positioned itself well to provide accurate assessments of core stage progress - including forecasting impending schedule delays, cost overruns, and anticipated costs at completion - because at the time of our review it did not anticipate having the baseline to support full reporting on the core stage contract until summer 2016 - some 4.5 years after NASA awarded the contract."
- GAO Finds NASA SLS Costs Not Credible, earlier post
- NASA Employs Faith-Based Funding Approach For SLS, earlier post
- NASA Has Three Different Launch Dates for Humans on SLS, earlier post
- Earlier SLS/Orion posts
"For years, many have been waiting for the commercial space industry to become a real market, one where companies actually make money and prosper. William Gerstenmaier, the head of NASA's human spaceflight division, said he thinks that the industry "is on the crest of another wave." "There's a lot of hype," he said at a Federal Aviation Administration space conference this year, citing other times when industry felt it was on the cusp of revolutionary change. "But will we be able to generate enough demand?" he said. "It can't just be solely government demand. It has to be augmented by the private sector. . . . Will that be enough to push us over or to reach that tipping point that actually enables this industry to become more self-sufficient than it was in the past?"
Dazed and Confused About Space Commerce At NASA, earlier post
"The substance that the companies behind SLS and Orion use to keep people employed is identical to what they would theoretically use to operate ISS and routine crew and cargo transport: money. The money either comes from NASA or it doesn't but the financial health of these companies is all running on the same fuel. And whatever money NASA does not have to spend on one thing, it supposedly can spend on another. But this is an ecosystem - one that seems to want to expand off-world - where government money, money earned from government recycled back into other areas, and money from outside the NASA/contractor honey pot all gets mixed together. If one thing can feed another and spur interest amongst investors while others derive profit for the risks they took with their own money, well, that's how actual commerce establishes itself."Categories: Commercialization
"Tibor Balint is a researcher at the Royal College of Art, School of Design, finalizing his second PhD in Innovation Design Engineering. He spent 4 years at NASA-HQ as the Senior Technical Advisor; the Program Executive for GCD at STMD; and a Senior Technologist at OCT. At JPL he worked for 8 years as a mission architect and technologist."
Note: The audio file and presentation are available online and to download.Categories: NASA Culture, Technology
"In its RFI, NASA stressed that that for the moment, it just wants to hear ideas. It doesn't have a budget to help spur any proposed projects, or plans to release them for public perusal. NASA received 11 submissions "from a broad range of respondents including individuals, small companies and large companies," Sam Scimemi, division director for the ISS program, said in an e-mail."
"NASA's trying to develop economic development in low-earth orbit," [NASA Deputy Associate Administrator for Exploration Systems Development Bill] Hill said, speaking on a panel of NASA staff assembled to discuss the upcoming Mars mission. "Ultimately, our desire is to hand the space station over to either a commercial entity or some other commercial capability so that research can continue in low-earth orbit, so that research can continue in low-earth orbit. ... NASA didn't specify any potential buyer, but two commercial entities are about to add significant real estate to the ISS: a new docking adapter is being put in place to support crew shuttle missions from Boeing and SpaceX, both of which are set to start shuttling personnel to the station in 2017."
Keith's note: Every time someone from NASA talks about the future of ISS and the #JourneyToMars thing they contradict themselves and further muddy the issue.
1. CASIS is supposed to be doing this commercial stuff already with the U.S. portion of the ISS - NASA doesn't mention that very often.
2. The ISS is owned by more countries/agencies than just NASA. So how can NASA hand the ISS over to anyone?
3. "Buyer"? NASA is going to sell the ISS? (see #2)
4. Boeing and SpaceX own their visiting spacecraft - "real estate" that comes and goes.
NASA's Plan For Commercializing Low Earth Orbit Is Still A Mystery, earlier post
NASA: We're on a #JourneyToMars - But Don't Ask Us How, earlier post
Dazed and Confused About Space Commerce At NASA, earlier post
A Closer Look At The CASIS "Space Is In It" Endorsement, earlier post
"The following virtual challenge scenario serves as a backdrop for developing coding advancements that enable the autonomy of humanoid robotics: In the not too distant future, R5 as arrived on Mars along with supplies ahead of a human mission. Overnight a dust storm damaged the habitat and solar array, and caused the primary communication antenna to become misaligned. R5 must now repair an air leak in the habitat, deploy a new solar panel, and align the communication antenna. Teams will use software to control a simulated R5 in order to resolve the problems caused by the dust storm. ... The competition arena will contain a rover, solar panels, communication dish, and a habitat on a Martian plain. Each component will be within eyesight and walking distance of each other."
Keith's note: Gee, this sounds like a summary of "The Martian" including the notion that wind on Mars is powerful enough to mess with the main communication antenna.
"In 2035, NASA astronaut Mark Watney, a botanist and mechanical engineer, has been left stranded on Mars after the crew of the Ares III mission were forced to evacuate their landing site in Acidalia Planitia due to an intense dust storm with high winds. Watney was impaled by an antenna during the evacuation and believed dead. His injury proves relatively minor, but with no way to contact Earth, Watney must rely on his own resourcefulness to survive."
The Droid That NASA Should Be Sending To Mars, earlier post
"While NASA pours money into its goofy R5 robot that cannot walk unless it is on a hoist, controlled by a human, and is always broken, Boston Dynamics continues to make astonishing progress on autonomous robots."
It is a little odd that NASA is issuing a challenge that focuses on a functional (but simulated) R5 robot when NASA's R5 does not even work - and two college teams have been given contracts to fix what NASA can't fix. One would think that the R5 problems would be solved before people spent a lot of time using its current design to create simulations of how a real robot might work. Indeed, wouldn't it make more sense to use state of the art robots that already exist? You'd think that NASA would encourage people to work with robots that actually work. As currently designed R5 would be part of the problem on Mars - not the solution.
- Using a Last Place Robot for NASA's Robotics Challenge
- NASA JSC Has Developed A Girl Robot in Secret (Revised With NASA Responses), earlier post
- Is JSC's R5 Droid Worth Fixing?
- Never Ask NASA a Simple Question, earlier post
- NASA Awards Two Robots to University Groups for R&D Upgrades, earlier post
"Public access to NASA-funded research data now is just a click away, with the launch of a new agency public access portal. The creation of the NASA-Funded Research Results portal on NASA.gov reflects the agency's ongoing commitment to providing broad public access to science data. "At NASA, we are celebrating this opportunity to extend access to our extensive portfolio of scientific and technical publications," said NASA Deputy Administrator Dava Newman. "Through open access and innovation we invite the global community to join us in exploring Earth, air and space."Categories: IT/Web
"Now available is the August 3, 2016 NASA Future In-Space Operations (FISO) telecon material. The speakers were Chris Sanders (AeroJet Rocketdyne), Mike Fuller (Orbital ATK), and Bob DaLee (Boeing), who discussed "NASA's Space Launch System: Powering the Journey to Mars."
Note: The audio file and presentation are available online and to download.
Marc's note: The future is SLS folks, that's it. Just have a look at slide 9 for the comparison to existing rockets such as SpaceX's Falcon 9 and Falcon Heavy (soon to fly) and ULA's Atlas V and Delta-IV. Oh, and the comparison is to the possible future SLS Block 1B and 2B, neither of which are funded or will be built anytime soon.
Keith's note: And of course what the BoeingLockheedMartinAerojetRocketdyneOrbitalATK guys never, ever mention is cost - what it cost to develop SLS, what each flight costs, what it would take to fund these larger versions of SLS. Yet they compare their rocket with things like Falcon 9 and Falcon Heavy that you can buy - now. How many Falcon Heavy's can you buy for the the cost of one of these SLS vehicles? How many could you buy with what it cost to develop the SLS overall? That question is impossible to answer - since no one knows what SLS actually costs.Categories: Commercialization
The SpaceX Dragon resupply ship is getting ready to return to Earth Friday morning loaded with gear and a variety of science for analysis. Another spacecraft, the Soyuz TMA-20M, will leave Sept. 6 and land in Kazakhstan with three International Space Station crew members.