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Is the NASA OIG Online Hotline Secure?

By Keith Cowing on April 17, 2015 9:05 AM.

Why confidential tips to the government may not be confidential after all, Washington Post

"Got a hot tip about federal waste, fraud or corruption? You should think twice about using the government's own online systems for collecting such complaints. Many of them promise confidentiality but for years have sent sensitive data - including names, addresses and phone numbers of whistleblowers, as well as the details of their allegations - across the Internet in a way that could be intercepted by hackers or snoops. Or, perhaps worse still, by the agencies named in the complaints".

NASA OIG CyberHotline

Keith's note: No mention of encryption at the NASA IG website - or with the hotline - note that the URL is NOT https://oig.nasa.gov/cyberhotline.html

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View From The Barge as Falcon 1st Stage Lands

By Keith Cowing on April 16, 2015 3:39 PM.

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NASA FY 2016 Budget Hearings

By Keith Cowing on April 16, 2015 11:56 AM.

House Hearing: Overview of NASA FY 2016 Budget Proposal

- Hearing Charter
- Testimony by NASA Administrator Bolden NASA FY 2016 House Budget Hearing
- Statement of Chairman Lamar Smith Hearing on NASA's FY2016 Budget Request
-Statement of Space Subcommittee Chairman Steven Palazzo Hearing on NASA's FY2016 Budget Request
- Subcommittee Reviews the NASA Budget Proposal for Fiscal Year 2016, House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology Democrats
- Committee Leaders: Space Exploration Must Be NASA's Priority, House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology

CJS Subcommittee Hearing on FY2016 NASA Budget Request

"Witness: Mr. Charles F. Bolden, Jr.Administrator National Aeronautics and Space Administration Date: Thursday, April 16, 2015 - 2:30pm"

- Statement of Charles Bolden: Senate Hearing on NASA FY 2016 Budget
- Balancing Act: Senate Appropriations Subcommittee Hearing on FY 2016 NASA Request, AIP

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Orbital ATK Vs Aerojet over Antares Explosion Cause

By Keith Cowing on April 15, 2015 9:04 PM.

Orbital, GenCorp spar over cause of October rocket crash, Reuters

"Orbital ATK Inc and engine maker GenCorp Inc on Tuesday offered competing explanations for what caused the Oct. 28 explosion of Orbital's Antares rocket, bound for the International Space Station. Ronald Grabe, Orbital's executive vice president and president of its flight systems group, told the annual Space Symposium conference that an investigation led by his company had concluded the explosion was caused by excessive wear in the bearings of the GenCorp engine. GenCorp said its own probe showed that the wear in the bearings was likely caused by debris in the engine."

Report: Environmental impact of Wallops explosion, DelMarva Now

"Despite initial concerns, and ash that rained down in the area, a final report on the environmental impact of the explosion shows only two recommendations moving forward -- a groundwater study, and possible continued monitoring. The Virginia Commercial Space Flight Authority report also details the steps taken after the explosion to contain any adverse impacts. While Virginia Eastern Shorekeeper Jay Ford said he was concerned immediately following the explosion, he was impressed with the federal reaction."

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SpaceX Launch You Up (It's Now Your Turn @ToryBruno)

By Keith Cowing on April 15, 2015 1:47 PM.

Keith's note: YouTube has flagged this video on copyright grounds. The creators tell me that they are working the issue and that it should be working again now.

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@ToryBruno: About That Rocket Name ....

By Keith Cowing on April 15, 2015 12:57 PM.

U.S. satellite launcher gets first request for Vulcan rocket - change the name, Reuters

"Hours after unveiling its next-generation "Vulcan" rocket, the company that launches most of America's satellites, United Launch Alliance, ran into its first problem - the rocket's name. "Vulcan is a trademark of Vulcan Inc. and we have informed ULA of our trademark rights," Chuck Beames, president of the Paul Allen-backed Vulcan Aerospace told Reuters. "Paul Allen and Vulcan were early leaders within space exploration with the launch of SpaceShipOne more than a decade ago. We are flattered by ULA's tribute to our legacy by naming their new rocket 'Vulcan,'" Beames added."

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Falcon 9 Puts Payload in Orbit and Almost Lands First Stage

By Keith Cowing on April 14, 2015 5:19 PM.

Falcon 9 Launches Supplies to the Space Station

"The mission is the company's sixth cargo delivery flight to the station through NASA's Commercial Resupply Services contract."

SpaceX Successfully Launches Cargo Resupply Mission to the ISS but Fails to Recover Falcon 1st Stage, SpaceRef

"SpaceX successfully launched a Falcon 9 rocket with the Dragon spacecraft to the International Space Station today to deliver over 1950kg of supplies. The attempt to land the Falcon 9 first stage on the drone ship in the Atlantic failed as the rocket toppled over after landing according to CEO Elon Musk."

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After 9 Years In Space New Horizons Mission Still Has No Image Release Policy

By Keith Cowing on April 14, 2015 2:22 PM.

Keith's note: At a NASA press event today, the New Horizons team decided to make their mission less accessible to the public in real time. New Horizons was supposed to be an open mission where everything is shared with everyone as soon as it arrives on Earth. Not any more. They changed their mind and have reversed previous public statements. Just watch as these images will be leaked to selected media first as has been the case with other mission news. What is really baffling is the TBD nature of image release policy. This mission left Earth 9 years ago and basic things such as the overall image release policy are still TBD? #FAIL

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The Reusable Rocket Battle Begins - Vulcan vs Falcon

By Marc Boucher on April 14, 2015 8:23 AM.

ULA Unveils Next Generation Launch System with a Little Showmanship [With Video], SpaceRef Business

"At a news conference at the National Space Symposium in Colorado Springs, United Launch Alliance (ULA) CEO Tory Bruno unveiled their Next Generation Launch System (NGLS) with a crowdsourced new name, Vulcan.

Showing some of the showmanship that Elon Musk of SpaceX has been known for, Bruno tried to follow in Musk's footsteps ratcheting up the marketing hype to a level not seen in recent years at a ULA event."

Marc's Note: Competition is good. It's good for both companies, it's good for America, it's good as it should eventually drive down costs. The question is, can ULA really compete? Can they adapt from their culture to a something like a SpaceX silicon valley culture? It should be fun to watch.

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ULA Next Generation Launch System Announced

By Marc Boucher on April 14, 2015 8:00 AM.

United Launch Alliance Unveils America's New Rocket - Vulcan: Innovative Next Generation Launch System will Provide Country's Most Reliable, Affordable and Accessible Launch Service

"United Launch Alliance (ULA) unveiled its Next Generation Launch System (NGLS) today at the 31st Space Symposium. The new rocket, Vulcan, will transform the future of space by making launch services more affordable and accessible."

Continue reading: ULA Next Generation Launch System Announced.

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NASA CRS-6 Launch Briefings

By Marc Boucher on April 13, 2015 10:49 AM.

NASA SpaceX CRS-6 Pre-Launch News Briefings [Watch]

"Today, a Falcon 9 rocket will launch from Space Launch Complex 40 (SLC-40), Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida on the 6th SpaceX cargo resupply mission to the International Space Station (ISS). Yesterday, NASA held three news briefings to discuss the mission and research on the ISS."

Marc's note: At the briefing, SpaceX's Hans Koenigsmann was asked what the probability of success for the Falcon 9 first stage landing on the drone ship. His response was 75% and then he said perhaps 80%. It seems SpaceX is quite a bit more confident on this third attempt.

Marc's update: The launch was scrubbed until Tuesday at 4:10 pm EDT due to weather. The weather forecast for tomorrow is 50-50.

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NASA Advisory Council Wants to Cancel Asteroid Redirect Mission and Send it to Phobos Instead

By Keith Cowing on April 10, 2015 12:04 PM.

NAC Adopts Finding To Redirect the Asteroid Redirect Mission -- to Mars, SpacePolicyOnline

"The NASA Advisory Council (NAC) today unanimously adopted a finding that it thinks NASA should change the Asteroid Redirect Mission (ARM) into a mission that would go all the way to Mars and thus be more closely aligned with the goal of sending humans there. NAC chairman Steve Squyres stressed that it is a finding, not a recommendation, and requires no action from NASA. NASA's existing concept for ARM responds to Obama Administration policy and NAC recommendations at odds with Administration policy have little value, he explained, since NASA must implement what it is told to do."

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NASA Advisory Council: NASA Human Exploration Plan Insufficiently Funded

By Keith Cowing on April 10, 2015 11:42 AM.

NAC Gets Stuck on Mars Technology Development Finding, Space Policy Online

"The NASA Advisory Council (NAC) reached agreement on a number of findings and recommendations at its meeting over the past two days. Its finding about the Asteroid Redirect Mission has received widespread attention, but other important topics also were discussed. One case where consensus could not be reached was a proposed finding that NASA's technology development effort in support of a human mission to Mars is underfunded. The NAC meetings are lively affairs and it can be difficult to keep track of where a finding or recommendation stands with all the crosstalk and conversations. Eventually, those that are approved are posted to the NAC website, sometimes after additional wordsmithing. The posted versions on the NAC website are the definitive authority. Until then, here are some of the key points and where they seemed to end up. The proposed finding that ran into headwinds was championed by Bill Ballhaus who chairs NAC's Technology, Innovation and Engineering Committee. The strongest objection was voiced by Dave McComas who chairs the NAC Science Committee."

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NASA Advisory Council Meeting

By Keith Cowing on April 10, 2015 7:30 AM.

NASA Advisory Council Meeting (remote access info)

"Thursday, April 9, 2015, 9:00 a.m.-6:00 p.m., Local Time; and Friday, April 10, 2015, 9:00 a.m.-12:00 noon, Local Time."

Agenda

Live tweeting at @NASAWatch, @SpcPlcyOnline, and @jeff_foust

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Will NASA Ever Send Humans to Mars?

By Keith Cowing on April 7, 2015 10:50 PM.

Kicking The Can Down the Road to Mars, SpaceRef

"I just listened to 45 minutes of NASA presentations at the NASA Advisory Committee's Human Exploration and Operations Committee Meeting. The topic: radiation risks during a human mission to Mars. I have seen this movie before. I was not exactly sure who was talking since no one ever bothers to give their names such that people listening on telephone/Webex know who's who. The topic was radiation and a human mission to Mars. Let me preface all of this by noting that I organized peer reviews and advisory panel for NASA's life science division back in the 80 and 90s. I have been listening to this discussion at various levels of technical jargon for 30 years. What I heard today could have easily been said 20 years ago - and often was. It does not matter now who the NASA speaker is or was."

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NASA ISS On-Orbit Status 14 April 2015

NASA ISS On-Orbit Status 14 April 2015 Video in Story

The Dragon spacecraft has separated from its second stage and achieved its preliminary orbit. Dragon's solar arrays have deployed and will provide 5 kilowatts of power to the spacecraft as it begins a carefully choreographed series of thruster firings to reach the International Space Station.

More updates...

Spacewire