NASA Watch

This is not a NASA Website. You might learn something. It's YOUR space agency. Get involved. Take it back. Make it work - for YOU. | Voice +1.703.787.6567 | RSS Feed | Twitter | Advertising | Important Disclaimer

Second Trump Space Op Ed Omits Support of SLS, Orion, ARM, #JourneyToMars

By Keith Cowing on October 24, 2016 7:35 PM.

Donald Trump's "peace through strength" space doctrine, op ed, Space News

"A key Trump goal will be to create lower costs through greater efficiencies. We must ensure that space products developed for one sector, but applicable to another, will be fully shared, not duplicated. It makes little sense to develop numerous launch vehicles at taxpayer cost, all with essentially the same technology and payload capacity. Coordinated policy could end such duplication of effort and could likely determine where there are private sector solutions that do not necessarily require government investment."

Keith's note: A second Trump space policy op ed in 2 weeks - and still no overt mention of support for SLS/Orion, ARM, or #JourneyToMars - just the same statement that government should not be developing launch capabilities when the private sector can do so.

- Trump Space Advisors Omit Support of SLS, Orion, ARM, #JourneytoMars, earlier post


Space Foundation CEO Departs

By Keith Cowing on October 24, 2016 7:30 PM.

Space Foundation CEO Steps Down, Space Foundation

"Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Space Foundation, Admiral James O. Ellis Jr., announced that Space Foundation CEO, Elliot Pulham, has resigned his position, and the board has commenced a search for new leadership of the organization. ... We are committed to an open and competitive process to select the Foundation's next leader, and are grateful for the continued support of the space community."


Will Someone Please Start Launching Rocketships at Spaceport America

By Keith Cowing on October 24, 2016 3:16 PM.

Spaceport America Relay Race Features an Amazing 200 Mile Course Along the Historic Rio Grande River from Texas to New Mexico, Spaceport America

"Spaceport America, the world's first purpose-built commercial spaceport located in southern New Mexico in the USA, today announced that, in collaboration with relay racing specialists MH Enterprises LLC, the Spaceport America Crew will host and support a two-day, 200 mile, relay race event."

Spaceport America, Wikipedia

"As of August 2012, Spaceport America is substantially complete and the cost of the entire project was $209 million. ... In May 2015, budgetary details made public revealed that the substantially unused spaceport has an annual deficit that has been running approximately US$500,000, with the deficit being made up by state taxpayers. The primary planned revenue in the times of delayed operations by Virgin Galactic and SpaceX, with limited operations by other minor tenants, is local tax revenue, paid by the taxpayers of Sierra and Dona Ana counties."


Trump Scrubs KSC Visit

By Keith Cowing on October 23, 2016 7:24 AM.

Keith's update: According to CNN, Trump has cancelled plans to visit KSC. So much for the photo op of his jet landing at KSC shuttle landing facility. Apparently they could not find a rally location offsite in a nearby location that would meet the expected audience numbers. I've also heard that there was a NASA concern that the campaign would try and do a tour where giant NASA logos would appear in campaign photos.

Donald Trump adds Sanford, St. Augustine to Florida swing,

"In addition, he's expected to tour Kennedy Space Center and meet with the Economic Development Commission of Florida's Space Coast. That activity originally was scheduled for Monday but the Space Coast EDC reported it has been postponed to Tuesday. No details are yet available."

Donald Trump to meet with Florida space officials Monday, Orlando Sentinel

"Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump has accepted an invitation to tour Kennedy Space Center and other locations on the Space Coast before sitting in on a roundtable of space industry leaders on Monday, Oct. 24. ... So far, Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton has not accepted invitations to tour the region. Lynda Weatherman, president and CEO of the economic development commission of Florida's Space Coast, said she hopes Trump's visit encourages Clinton to follow suit."


No One Wants To Explain Why India Can't Launch U.S. Satellites

By Keith Cowing on October 22, 2016 2:06 PM.

Smith, Babin Examine Policy Governing Indian Launch Vehicles

"Science, Space, and Technology Committee Chairman Lamar Smith (R-Texas) and Space Subcommittee Chairman Brian Babin (R-Texas) yesterday sent letters to four senior officials following up on requests for information about the current U.S. policy governing the export of U.S. commercial satellites for launch on Indian launch vehicles. On July 6 Chairmen Smith and Babin wrote Director of Office of Science and Technology Policy John Holdren, Secretary of State John Kerry, United States Trade Representative Michael Froman, and U.S. Department of Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker, seeking this information. Yesterday's letters reiterate requests for a briefing and documentation on the current U.S. policy."

Eric Stallmer, Commercial Spaceflight Federation Testimony , April 2016

"Here, CSF opposes any change to the current U.S. policy with respect to launch on Indian launch vehicle systems. For commercial as well as government launches, Indian launch vehicles are operated by the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO), a government entity that also funds the development and manufacture of these launch vehicles. Here, CSF has seen that pricing for commercial launch services on Indian rockets historically has not reflected the true costs associated with their initial development and on-going launch operations, putting U.S. commercial launchers at a disadvantage in competitions for these class of payloads. In effect, India is dumping these vehicles on the commercial market to the detriment of U.S. firms. We would encourage the U.S. Congress to support American firms offering legitimate pricing for launch services in this market."

Elliot Pulham, Space Foundation Testimony, April 2016

"The concern about using Indian boosters is not so much the transfer of sensitive technology to a nation that is a fellow democracy, but rather whether Indian launches are subsidized by the Indian government to the degree that other market actors, for example American launch companies or those of allies, would be priced out the market."

Keith's note: Why is India being singled out for special treatment? Who own's most, if not all, of China's launch infrastructure? Russia's? Europe's? Japan's? Who sets their launch prices? Why is it that every time the U.S. buys Soyuz seats the price goes up far more than it should?

- Will U.S. Companies Be Allowed To Launch on Indian Rockets?, earlier post
- America's Hypocritical Fear of Indian Rockets, earlier post
- Congress Asks Questions About U.S. Policy Regarding Indian Launch Vehicles, earlier post
- Hearing Discusses Using Old ICBMs As Satellite Launchers, earlier post

Categories: , ,

New NASA #JourneyToMars Infographic Still Lacks Money

By Keith Cowing on October 21, 2016 10:31 PM.

Categories: ,

Why Hasn't New Horizons Submitted Feature Names to IAU Yet?

By Keith Cowing on October 21, 2016 3:46 PM.

Categories: ,

Europe's Mars Lander Crashed

By Keith Cowing on October 21, 2016 1:20 PM.

Schiaparelli Crash Site Located From Orbit

"NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter has identified new markings on the surface of the Red Planet that are believed to be related to ESA's ExoMars Schiaparelli entry, descent and landing technology demonstrator module. Estimates are that Schiaparelli dropped from a height of between 2 and 4 kilometres, therefore impacting at a considerable speed, greater than 300 km/h. The relatively large size of the feature would then arise from disturbed surface material. It is also possible that the lander exploded on impact, as its thruster propellant tanks were likely still full. These preliminary interpretations will be refined following further analysis."

Continue reading: Europe's Mars Lander Crashed.


SLS Flight Software Safety Issues at MSFC (Update)

By Keith Cowing on October 21, 2016 12:17 PM.

Keith's 21 October update: According to sources an internal assessment of SLS software safety activities at QD34 has been conducted at NASA MSFC. The main outcome is an admission that communication between NASA and its safety contractor - and within NASA itself - was not happening. Upper management had no idea what their employees were actually doing - or not doing. In some cases contractor employees were told by NASA not to work on things that they were supposed to be working on. The assessment also found that the use of contractor employees by NASA for what amounts to personal services activities has gotten out of control. As a result of this assessment reassignment of NASA civil servants is being planned. Also, as a direct result of this mess, the current support contractor is likely to be eliminated from future contract consideration.

SLS Flight Software Safety Issues at MSFC (Update), earlier post

Continue reading: SLS Flight Software Safety Issues at MSFC (Update).

Categories: , ,

Trump Space Advisors Omit Support of SLS, Orion, ARM, #JourneytoMars

By Keith Cowing on October 19, 2016 5:31 PM.

Trump's space policy reaches for Mars and the stars, Op Ed, Space News

"A 21st century space policy requires a bold combination of public missions, commercial solutions and the agility to address real threats and real opportunities. To craft such a policy, government must recognize that space is no longer the province of governments alone. Ronald Reagan anticipated this revolution long ago when he signed the 1984 Commercial Space Launch Act. ... Creating the technologies necessary to meet these goals would push us into the forefront of technological development and benefit our economy for decades to come. However, NASA cannot be expected to do this kind of 21st century Apollo-like mission if it is forced to accept outdated operational structures, contracting procedures, and bureaucracies created in the last century."

Keith's note: Former congresman, veteran space consultant, and Trump advisor Robert Walker is one of the two authors of this op ed. No mention is made of SLS, Orion, or ARM - yet a list of specific commercial companies and their capabilities - Orbital ATK, SpaceX, Blue Origin, Boeing, Paragon, Sierra Nevada, United Launch Alliance, Virgin Galactic and XCOR Aerospace is included. Moreover a warning against Apollo-like missions (#JourneyToMars) is made.


Juno Experiences Engine and Computer Problems

By Keith Cowing on October 19, 2016 4:42 PM.

Juno Enters Safe Mode And Then Regains Normal Operations

"NASA's Juno spacecraft entered safe mode Tuesday, Oct. 18 at about 10:47 p.m. PDT (Oct. 19 at 1:47 a.m. EDT). Early indications are a software performance monitor induced a reboot of the spacecraft's onboard computer. The spacecraft acted as expected during the transition into safe mode, restarted successfully and is healthy. High-rate data has been restored and the spacecraft is conducting flight software diagnostics. All instruments are off and the planned science data collection for today's close flyby of Jupiter (perijove 2), did not occur."

Engine Problems Delay Juno Engine Burn at Jupiter, SpaceRef

"Telemetry indicates that two helium check valves that play an important role in the firing of the spacecraft's main engine did not operate as expected during a command sequence that was initiated yesterday," said Rick Nybakken, Juno project manager at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California. "The valves should have opened in a few seconds, but it took several minutes. We need to better understand this issue before moving forward with a burn of the main engine."

NASA's Juno Team to Discuss Jupiter Mission Status, Latest Science Results, NASA

"Team members of NASA's Juno mission to Jupiter will discuss the latest science results, an amateur imaging processing campaign, and the recent decision to postpone a scheduled burn of its main engine, during a media briefing at 4 p.m. EDT Wednesday, Oct. 19."


How NSF Is Walking Away From Iconic Radio Telescopes

By Keith Cowing on October 19, 2016 3:06 PM.

Notice of Intent To Prepare an Environmental Impact Statement and Initiate Section 106 Consultation for Proposed Changes to Green Bank Observatory Operations, Green Bank, West Virginia and Notice of Public Scoping Meetings and Comment Period, NSF

"The NSF Directorate for Mathematical and Physical Sciences, Division of Astronomical Sciences, through a series of academic community-based reviews, has identified the need to divest several facilities from its portfolio. This would allow NSF to retain the balance of capabilities needed to deliver the best performance on emerging and key science technology of the present decade and beyond. In 2012, NSF's Division of Astronomical Sciences' (AST's) portfolio review committee recommended divestment of the Green Bank Telescope (GBT) from the AST portfolio."

Green Bank Observatory Inaugurated

"Formerly a cornerstone of the National Radio Astronomy Observatory (NRAO), the Green Bank Observatory [] is now a fully-fledged, independent astronomical and educational facility of the National Science Foundation (NSF), operated under a cooperative agreement with Associated Universities, Inc. (AUI)."

Categories: ,

Soyuz Launches Crew to the ISS

By Marc Boucher on October 19, 2016 8:09 AM.

After Month Long Delay Soyuz Rocket Launches Astronauts to the International Space Station [With video]

"Three crew members representing the United States and Russia are on their way to the International Space Station after launching from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan at 4:05 a.m. EDT Wednesday (2:05 p.m. Baikonur time). The Soyuz spacecraft carrying astronaut Shane Kimbrough of NASA, and cosmonauts Sergey Ryzhikov and Andrey Borisenko of the Russian space agency Roscosmos, is scheduled to dock to the Poisk module of the space station at 5:59 a.m. Friday, Oct. 21. NASA Television coverage of docking will begin at 5:15 a.m. Hatches are scheduled to open about 8:35 a.m., with NASA TV coverage starting at 8 a.m."

- ISS Crew Could be Short Staffed for Another Month and a Half, earlier post


One Mars Robot Watches For Another At Wharton Ridge

By Keith Cowing on October 18, 2016 8:16 PM.

Looking for Schiaparelli At Wharton Ridge

"On Wednesday 19 October the ExoMars Schiaparelli module will land on Mars at 10:48 am EDT. There is a chance that Opportunity may see it on the horizon as it descends. The name of this location on the rim of Endeavour crater was initially announced a week or so ago. "Wharton Ridge" is named after Robert A. Wharton."

Taking In The View From Wharton Ridge, earlier post


Earth Has Two Occupied Space Stations Again

By Keith Cowing on October 18, 2016 3:43 PM.

Shenzhou-11 Docks With Tiangong-2, SpaceRef

"China's Shenzhou-11 has docked with the Tiangong-2 Space Station. After completing a series of systems checks astronauts, Jing Haipeng and Chen Dong will enter Tiangong-2 to begin their one month mission. Next spring an automated cargo vehicle will resupply Tiangong-2 in advance of future astronaut visits."


More stories for October.

Subscribe to NASA Watch

Canadian Space Policy Symposium November 8,2016.

Monthly Archives

NASA International Space Station On-Orbit Status 23 October 2016

NASA International Space Station On-Orbit Status 23 October 2016 Video in Story

Expedition 49 Flight Engineers Takuya Onishi of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency and Kate Rubins of NASA successfully captured Orbital ATK's Cygnus spacecraft with the station's robotic arm at 7:28 a.m. EDT.

More updates...