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North Korea Launched Something

By Keith Cowing on February 6, 2016 9:05 PM.

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."

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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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Food For Thought

By Keith Cowing on February 3, 2016 2:01 PM.

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Today's Hearing on NASA Human Exploration Plans Or Lack Thereof

By Keith Cowing on February 3, 2016 1:00 PM.

Hearing: Charting a Course: Expert Perspectives on NASA's Human Exploration Proposals

- archived webcast
- Hearing Charter

Statements:

- Rep. Smith
- Rep. Babin
- Paul Spudis
- Thomas Young
- John Sommerer

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Shh - There's a Space Commerce Meeting in DC This Week. (Update)

By Keith Cowing on February 3, 2016 7:42 AM.

Keith's 2 Feb update: Eric Stallmer and his staff at the Commercial Spaceflight Federation have risen to the challenge (on very short notice) and have set up their own livestream of this conference - you can view it here: . Too bad the FAA has not figured out a way to tell everyone that this event is now being streamed.

Keith's 1 Feb 2:53 pm note: The annual FAA Commercial Space Transportation Conference is being held in Washington, DC on Tuesday and Wednesday of this week. Unlike the past several meetings none of the sessions will be webcast. So, unless you are in the room, you won't be able to listen in. As best I can understand the situation from the FAA they do not know how to do a webcast themselves and/or can only do a webcast that costs vast sums of money. Its too bad the FAA did not invite NASA TV to come over and do a webcast. NASA TV covers virtually everything that NASA does - and the whole space commerce thing is something that NASA is hot on these days. Indeed, if you look at the agenda multiple panels at this event are filled with NASA people. Oddly, no one from CASIS is speaking - and they are all about space commerce.

When things are deliberately closed off like this, its hard to take a lot of what FAA and NASA say about space commerce seriously - especially when they approach the promulgation of their activities so half-heartedly. NASA wants everyone to know that they are doing commercial crew and cargo and that they want the private sector to take over routine chores in LEO so that NASA can focus its efforts elsewhere. Indeed, their whole cis-lunar exploration plan requires that this happen. But when it comes to the meetings wherein the nuts and bolts of commercializing LEO are discussed - its suddenly too hard to do a simple webcast. Yes, its FAA's meeting - but the agency most affected is NASA. You'd think that something as simple as a webcast would be easy to do. I did them from Everest Base Camp for crying out loud.

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Evil NASA Drone Hack Update

By Keith Cowing on February 2, 2016 9:27 PM.

The NASA 'Hack' Is Probably The Most Mundane Hack Ever, Motherboard

"Dan Guido, the founder of security firm Trail of Bits, who reviewed the hackers' claims for Motherboard, said that some of their claims were feasible, but overall, he was skeptical. "I think these hackers did gain access to *something* inside NASA," Guido said in an email. "It was clearly unclassified since all of the servers they claimed to hack were online on the internet. I doubt they are accurately describing their breach and that the reality is likely even more mundane. This obfuscation is likely motivated both by a desire to hype their reputation and to obfuscate efforts at incident response in NASA." In fact, a screenshot they included in the zine, claiming that it showed how they bypassed NASA firewalls, seems to be lifted from a NASA site."

NASA Brushes Off Claims One Of Its Drones Was Hacked, Forbes

"NASA has a lot of freely-available information that hackers could claim was taken from internal systems. The agency's Open Data websites offer more than 30,000 datasets for interested parties."

- Did Someone Hack NASA's Evil Drones? Answer: No., Earlier Post

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Did Someone Hack NASA's Evil Drones? Answer: No.

By Keith Cowing on February 2, 2016 2:06 PM.

Hackers Allegedly Hijack Drone After Massive Breach at NASA, Inforwars

"The collection of files, provided to Infowars by AnonSec admin Dêfãult Vírüsa prior to being made public Sunday, include 631 videos from aircraft and weather radars, 2,143 flight logs as well as the names, email addresses and phone numbers of 2,414 NASA employees. A "zine," or self-published paper detailing the hack, dubbed "OpNasaDrones," reveals everything from AnonSec's motives to the specific technical vulnerabilities that enabled the extensive breach."

Keith's 31 Jan note: Normally I'd never link to Infowars since much of what they post is paranoid conspiracy mongering and arm waving. In this case there is overt suggestion that NASA is somehow involved in climate hacking or geoengineering. Since NASA PAO is probably going to be responding to this claim - and this post has lots of screen grabs etc. - what the heck. As for the NASA employee names, mails/phone numbers - anyone can easily get that information from people.nasa.gov.

Keith's 1 Feb update: NASA PAO has replied (it took them several days to comfirm things internally):

"Control of our global hawk aircraft was not compromised. NASA has no evidence to indicate the alleged hacked data are anything other than already publicly available data. NASA takes cybersecurity very seriously and will continue to fully investigate all of these allegations. NASA strives to make our scientific data publically available, including large data sets, which seems to be how the information in question was retrieved. Our Open Data websites offer easier access and use of NASA data through tools and shared experiences using more than 30,000 datasets:

- Open.NASA.gov
- Data.NASA.gov
- API.NASA.gov
- Code.NASA.gov
- GitHub.com/NASA"

Keith's 1 Feb update: The snarky human behind Dêfãult Vírüsa at @_d3f4ult refuses to provide me with a link to the stuff they hacked from NASA - preferring to use profanity laced taunts telling me to use Google - and when I do, to note how unworthy I am as a Google user. Eventually someone else provided an actual link https://nasadrones.thecthulhu.com/ Meanwhile InfoWars has not updated their article to reflect NASA's statement yesterday.

Keith's 2 Feb update: Well InfoWars did mention NASA's response - but only part of it.

Keith's 2 Feb update: They are going to add the full NASA statement since NASA did not send it to them.

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Another New Horizons Naming Stunt

By Keith Cowing on February 1, 2016 4:58 PM.

Keith's note: Of course this is not the first time that the New Horizons team has played games with NASA when it comes to naming things on Pluto.

- More New Horizons Nomenclature Food Fights, earlier post
- Bolden Gets EPO Briefing From New Horizons Mission Team, earlier post
- Campaign for Public Participation in Naming Features on Pluto, earlier post
- NASA Extends Campaign for Public to Name Features on Pluto, earlier post
- New Horizons Redefines Definition of "Planet" and "Moon", earlier post

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Todd May Named MSFC Center Director

By Keith Cowing on February 1, 2016 4:56 PM.

Todd May Named Marshall Space Flight Center Director

"NASA Administrator Charles Bolden has named Todd May director of the agency's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama. May was appointed Marshall deputy director in August 2015 and has been serving as acting director since the Nov. 13, 2015 retirement of Patrick Scheuermann. As director, May will lead one of NASA's largest field installations, with almost 6,000 civil service and contractor employees, an annual budget of approximately $2.5 billion and a broad spectrum of human spaceflight, science and technology development missions."

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NASA International Space Station On-Orbit Status 27 January 2016

NASA International Space Station On-Orbit Status 27 January 2016

The six Expedition 46 crew members today prepared for the deployment of a pair of nanosatellites, loaded trash in the Cygnus cargo craft and reviewed timelines and procedures for a Feb. 3 spacewalk. The International Space Station will also raise its orbit ahead of March's crew swap and cargo delivery activities.

More updates...

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