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Boeing's Starliner Is Back In Space - And Docked With ISS

By Keith Cowing on May 20, 2022 10:31 PM.

Keith's update: Starliner docked with the ISS on Friday night.

Boeing Starliner Launches To The International Space Station, NASA

"Starliner lifted off on NASA's Boeing Orbital Flight Test-2 (OFT-2) at 6:54 p.m. EDT from Space Launch Complex-41 at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida. Following an orbital insertion burn 31 minutes later, Starliner was on its way for a rendezvous and docking with the space station."

Starliner enters orbit, headed to space station, but not without a glitch, Washington Post

"Boeing's Starliner spacecraft finally reached orbit Thursday on its way to docking with the International Space Station, completing a major step after two previous failed attempts that became part of the company's many woes and a symbol of its fall from grace. But the accomplishment was marred when at a postlaunch briefing, Boeing revealed that two of the four thrusters that were to put the spacecraft into the correct orbit failed."

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Yet Another Report Tells NASA Things That NASA Will Ignore

By Keith Cowing on May 18, 2022 1:21 PM.

Advancing Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Accessibility in Competed Space Mission Leadership at NASA Will Require Extensive Efforts Along Entire Career Pathways, Says New Report, National Academy of Sciences

"Inadequate data gathering and reporting are critical barriers to NASA's understanding of the efficacy of its own DEIA efforts to date, and of the proposal leadership pool's demographics, according to the report. These are necessary steps for measuring progress, and for identifying and eliminating barriers in the mission proposal process. The report recommends developing a systematic approach to routinely monitor and track the demographics of those participating in NASA-funded research, both for competed missions and research and analysis grants, with the public release of the resulting data. Further, SMD should provide funding for professional organizations to regularly conduct workforce surveys across the directorate's research fields to inform NASA on the demographics of the workforce and the barriers and opportunities for advancement along career pathways. The report also recommends that NASA empanel a standing NASA Advisory Council (NAC) committee specifically focused on DEIA issues. That committee should have a broad charter and world-class membership to advise top NASA leadership, and its chair should serve on the NAC."

Keith's note: This report focuses on the NASA Science Mission Directorate but is perfectly applicable to NASA as a whole. NASA gets reports like this on a regular basis. They pay lip service, say thank you, and then ignore whatever the report says. NASA is chronically lacking with regard to the basic data that you'd need to understand what NASA's audiences are, what services they need, who within those audiences actually pays attention to NASA education and outreach, and what the results of these interactions actually accomplish (and where they fail to do so).

NASA's education and outreach efforts are disjointed and do not talk to one another. They are duplicative, and are often tailored around the pet notions of the NASA individuals managing the programs. And no one at NASA in a position to plan strategy (there is no strategy)for education and outreach at NASA is actually professionally qualified to create and implement a strategy. People in jobs where these roles are located often moved there from unrelated jobs that they were originally hired to do. The NASA Advisory Council has a education and outreach working group that has short meetings and accomplishes nothing of value.

With regard to work force issues and understanding the actual audiences that need to be attended to so as to get the best possible research proposals, NASA is also sadly lacking. With regard ot the results of NASA research - aside from pretty pictures, and staged media events - NASA fools itself with large numbers of Twitter followers and news stories. Does NASA actually ask actual citizens what they think - and what they know - and what they want from NASA? No. NASA loves to transmit but they have a chronic problem when it comes to actually listening.

Did I miss anything?

Keith's update: AH, but then there's this - from the only AA at NASA who actually "gets it".

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PBS NewsHour On The Future Of ISS

By Keith Cowing on May 17, 2022 10:30 PM.

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NASAWatch On Al Jazeera Arabic: Hearing On UFOs and UAPs.

By Keith Cowing on May 17, 2022 5:48 PM.

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NASA Wants Your Ideas - Or Do They?

By Keith Cowing on May 17, 2022 3:11 PM.

NASA Seeks Input on Moon to Mars Objectives, Comments Due May 31, NASA

"As NASA moves forward with plans to send astronauts to the Moon under Artemis missions to prepare for human exploration of Mars, the agency is calling on U.S. industry, academia, international communities, and other stakeholders to provide input on its deep space exploration objectives. NASA released a draft set of high-level objectives Tuesday, May 17, identifying 50 points falling under four overarching categories of exploration, including transportation and habitation; Moon and Mars infrastructure; operations; and science. Comments are due to the agency by close of business on Tuesday, May 31."

Keith's note: These to-do 50 items that NASA lists are interesting questions - covering big topics which would require time and thought in terms of the input that people could provide. So what does NASA do? they drop this on the outside world with no advanced notice with only 2 weeks to respond - with a prominent national holiday on the day before comments are due. If NASA was really serious about getting quality input they'd give people more time to think, analyse, and respond.

As such, the real question is whether NASA actually needs help and will consider accepting help from outside the usual suspects within its bubble - or - if they are just going through the motions of asking for input - so as to be seen as being interested - when in fact they are probably not interested in outside input i.e. faux transparency.

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Neil Tyson Finds Astronomy Events Boring

By Keith Cowing on May 16, 2022 5:02 PM.

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Boots Of Exploration

By Keith Cowing on May 15, 2022 4:53 PM.

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Interesting Commercial Space Job Opening At FAA

By Keith Cowing on May 12, 2022 1:37 PM.

Associate Administrator for Commercial Space Transportation, FAA

"The Associate Administrator for Commercial Space Transportation regulates the Unites States' (U.S.) commercial space transportation industry, and ensures compliance with international obligations of the U.S. and protects the public health and safety, safety of property, and national security and foreign policy interests of the U.S.; encourages, facilitates and promotes commercial space launches and reentries by the private sector; recommends appropriate changes in Federal statutes, treaties, regulations, policies, plans and procedures; and facilitates the strengthening and expansion of the U.S. space transportation infrastructure. The Associate Administrator executes the role of the position via a highly technical workforce of approximately 120 employees to include three Executives and the administration of an annual operational and research budget of approximately $40M."

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Space Situational Awareness Hearing

By Keith Cowing on May 12, 2022 11:34 AM.

Space & Aeronautics Subcommittee Hearing - Space Situational Awareness: Guiding the Transition to a Civil Capability (with witness statements)

- Chairwoman Johnson Opening Statement

"As the amount of space debris and number of satellites orbiting the Earth have exponentially increased in recent years, SSA is critically important to maintaining space safety and ensuring that we continue to reap benefits on Earth from monitoring, operating, and living in space."

- Babin Opening Statement

"The debris created by a recent Russian anti-satellite test highlights why SSA remains an important issue. As I said at our Subcommittee's hearing in 2020, near-misses in space attract media attention and calls for draconian regulations, but overreacting could be just as detrimental to our nation's space enterprise. There are, however, some important issues I think we can all still agree on."

- Chairman Beyer Opening Statement

"Mega constellations of thousands of satellites are creating orbital congestion, and orbital debris from past missions--and reckless anti-satellite tests--are compounding the risks of operating in space. The sustainability of the space environment is in peril if we don't act."

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Starliner Still Has Issues (Update)

By Keith Cowing on May 11, 2022 6:11 PM.

Keith's note: According to an official press release issued on 9 May "NASA and Boeing will hold a media teleconference at about 6 p.m. EDT on Wednesday, May 11". So when you go to the NASA media page for the beginning of the event around 6:00 pm EDT the official website says "5:30 p.m. - Media briefing for NASA's Boeing Orbital Flight Test-2 (OFT-2)". The media event ended at 6:11 pm EDT. Neat trick to get media and/or the public who wanted to listen in to miss the event. From what I can tell NASA seems to have managed to confuse the space press corps.

Lift And Mate Of Boeing's CST-100 Starliner For OFT-2

NASA, Boeing to Discuss Readiness of Uncrewed Flight Test

"NASA and Boeing will hold a media teleconference at about 6 p.m. EDT on Wednesday, May 11, following the Flight Readiness Review for the agency's Boeing Orbital Flight Test-2 (OFT-2), the second uncrewed flight test of the company's CST-100 Starliner spacecraft for the agency's Commercial Crew Program. Audio of the teleconference will stream live on the agency's website."

Boeing clashes with key supplier ahead of Starliner spacecraft launch, Reuters via CNN

"The disagreement, which has not been reported before, comes at time when Boeing already is scrambling to emerge from successive crises that have hobbled its jetliner business and drained cash. The Aerojet dispute is the latest illustration of Boeing's struggles with Starliner, a program costing the company $595 million in charges since 2019. Facing fixed-price NASA contracts that leave Boeing with little wiggle room financially, the company has pressed forward with the Starliner test. Boeing in a statement provided by a spokesperson to Reuters acknowledged for the first time that it ultimately intends to redesign Starliner's valve system to prevent a repeat of the issue that forced last year's test-flight postponement. The Boeing statement said that "we are working on short- and long-term design changes to the valves."

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"What is Artemis?"

By Keith Cowing on May 9, 2022 1:38 PM.

Keith's update: Someone saw this tweet.

No One on Jeopardy! Knew About NASA's New Moon Missions, Gizmodo

"I grew up in the 1960s during the Apollo era... but, given the constant reminders I got in school and in the news about going to the Moon, I knew exactly what the brother of Artemis was up to," Keith Cowing, a former NASA employee and editor of the site NASA Watch, told me in an email. "So did everyone else."

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The National Space Day Thing

By Keith Cowing on May 6, 2022 12:40 PM.

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Cosmonaut Quits. "No Proper Motivation" To Work With Americans

By Keith Cowing on May 6, 2022 12:01 PM.

Hero of Russia Alexander Skvortsov explained why he left the cosmonaut corps, MKRU

Google translate: (Alexander Misurkin)"Despite the fact that for health reasons I am still suitable for flying, it is already difficult for me to fly for such a period. It would have been nothing if the program included interesting work on the Russian segment, but there most of the time I would have to work for the Americans, that is, to help them carry out their experiments. Sorry, but there is no proper motivation for this."

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Endurance Returns Four Astronauts To Earth

By Keith Cowing on May 6, 2022 12:44 AM.

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Today's Space History Lesson

By Keith Cowing on May 4, 2022 3:02 PM.

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 NASA Space Station Update 22 May, 2022 - Crew Enters Boeing Starliner Spacecraft

NASA Space Station Update 22 May, 2022 - Crew Enters Boeing Starliner Spacecraft Video in Story

Astronauts living aboard the International Space Station opened the hatch for the first time to Boeing's CST-100 Starliner spacecraft at 12:04 p.m. EDT Saturday, May 21, on its uncrewed Orbital Flight Test-2.

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