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National Space Council Plans Another Scripted Event (Update)

By Keith Cowing on March 25, 2019 12:02 AM.

Fifth Meeting of the National Space Council March 26 in Huntsville

"On Tuesday, March 26, 2019, at 12:00 p.m. CDT, Vice President Mike Pence will chair the fifth meeting of the National Space Council at the U.S. Space & Rocket Center in Huntsville, Alabama. This meeting will focus on President Trump's plan to restore American leadership in space and the next steps in implementing his vision to send Americans to the moon, Mars, and beyond. As chairman of the Council, Vice President Pence will convene the meeting, receive reports from Council members, hear from two expert panels on human space exploration, lead a Council discussion, and present policy recommendations for the President."

Keith's note: If you look at the agenda you will see that this is yet another short meeting of the usual suspects who will read pre-prepared statements that echo what others have said at previous NSpC events - and what has been said in front of innumerable blue ribbon panels for decades. In the end there will never be crisp findings nor enough funding to accomplish whatever this panel wants NASA to do. These people really need to focus on specific, realistic deliverables - not buzz words strung together. Otherwise its just more choir practice in an echo chamber.

AIAA Members to Speak at National Space Council Meeting on March 26

"AIAA's executive director emeritus, Sandy Magnus, who's also a former NASA astronaut, will sit on the first panel, "Ready to Fly," which includes AIAA Associate Fellow Col. Eileen Collins, U.S. Air Force (ret.), former NASA astronaut and the first female Space Shuttle commander, and Gen. Lester Lyles, U.S. Air Force (ret.) and former Vice Chief of Staff of the Air Force. The "Ready to Explore" panel will feature two AIAA members: Dan Dumbacher, AIAA executive director, former Purdue University aerospace engineering professor, and NASA (ret.) Deputy Associate Administrator, Exploration Systems Development Division, Human Exploration and Operations Mission Directorate; and AIAA member Wanda Sigur, former vice president and general manager of Lockheed Martin Space Systems. Jack Burns, University of Colorado Boulder, also will participate in the panel."

All we see at this event are people who represent the status quo in big aerospace and government. And to reinforce this bias, AIAA, the big organization for Big Aerospace with a built-in revolving door, wants everyone to know that they have multiple members presenting at this meeting i.e. the deck is stacked in favor of the status quo. Where are the 20-and 30-something people who are entering the space workforce - the ones who ought to have a say in where things are going? Every speaker is over 50. Many are over 60. This is not new. The whole NSpC/UAG thing is like this.

Space Council Users' Advisory Group Meets Without Any Users, earlier post

"Have a look at the National Space Council User's Advisory Group meeting agenda. Not a single person who is speaking is actually a "user" of space - they are either big Aerospace Reps, politicians, government employees, or reps from other advisory bodies. There is no "user" input in evidence."

During the public input section of the meeting I asked how many UAG members are actually users and how many are sellers and noted that no one on the committee really seemed to be speaking for the next generation of space explorers. The chairman responded: "Users are defined in the broadest of sense so we are all users." He said he "appreciates my continued interest" in what they are doing or something. In other words go away with your actual questions.

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Why Is NASA Blurring These SLS Photos? (Update)

By Keith Cowing on March 23, 2019 6:34 PM.

Keith's note: I got this from NASA HQ PAO today: "Our colleagues at Marshall Space Flight Center looked into your questions. You probably already know this, but before NASA images of Space Launch System hardware under development are released to the media or on NASA web or social sites, the images are reviewed by both NASA and Boeing export control representatives to ensure they don't contain sensitive data. In some cases, the export control representative will allow release of the image, if certain sensitive hardware features are blurred. A NASA public affairs officer also reviews the images before they're released. NASA's policy on image use can be found here.

Teams at Marshall followed standard agency procedures for clearing the blurred forward join images on NASA Watch and NASASpaceflight.com. Some export controlled features were blurred in these images made by NASA photographers so that images of this milestone could be released. As hardware is completed, it becomes more sensitive in nature. NASA export control officers are taking another look at these images to determine whether they contain sensitive material or was it so early in development that the feature shown was not sensitive. So some cases, such as it seems to be with these images, hardware that doesn't start out ITAR sensitive can become ITAR sensitive as it's developed, and images of them are blurred accordingly so they can be released publicly."

In summary: someone at NASA/Boeing decided that something on the SLS Intertank that was not ITAR sensitive became ITAR sensitive at some point and they started to blur photos of that ITAR sensitive thing. But since I asked about the blurring of the images the ITAR people are going to go back and see if the ITAR sensitive thing was really ITAR sensitive to begin with. So .. media inquiries are now part of the process of deciding of something is/is not ITAR sensitive, I guess.

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NASA WorldWind Shutting Down

By Keith Cowing on March 21, 2019 10:53 PM.

NASA WorldWind Project Suspension FAQ

"WorldWind is an open source virtual globe API. WorldWind allows developers to quickly and easily create interactive visualizations of 3D globe, map and geographical information. Organizations around the world use WorldWind to monitor weather patterns, visualize cities and terrain, track vehicle movement, analyze geospatial data and educate humanity about the Earth. Learn more at worldwind.arc.nasa.gov. ... As of April 5, 2019, the WorldWind project at NASA has been suspended. This means that the management and development team at NASA Ames Research Center is no longer actively supporting WorldWind. ... As of April 5, 2019, the WorldWind geospatial data servers at NASA Ames Research Center have been shut down. WorldWind applications that rely on those servers may not function properly."

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Watch SpaceX Make Some Noise In Boca Chica (Update - Its Quiet)

By Keith Cowing on March 21, 2019 4:42 PM.

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Watching SpaceX Compress The Rocketship Design Process

By Keith Cowing on March 20, 2019 10:38 PM.

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Watching A Large Impactor From Orbit

By Keith Cowing on March 20, 2019 1:35 AM.

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Dick Smith

By Keith Cowing on March 19, 2019 11:25 PM.

Former Kennedy Space Center Director Richard G. Smith Passes Away, NASA

"Richard G. Smith, a former director of NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida, passed away March 14, 2019, in Decatur, Alabama. He was 89 years old. Smith served as director of Kennedy from Sept. 26, 1979 to Aug. 2, 1986. During his years as director, the buildup of the space shuttle was completed, 25 space shuttle missions were launched and planning efforts began for the International Space Station."

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Apollo Astronauts Gather At The Explorers Club Annual Dinner

By Keith Cowing on March 18, 2019 6:42 PM.

Keith's note: I was there. It was utterly historic. Categories:

Suddenly Boeing Has A Way To Speed Up EM-1

By Keith Cowing on March 15, 2019 4:14 PM.

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Bridenstine Reassures SLS/Orion Workforce

By Keith Cowing on March 14, 2019 2:15 PM.

A Message to the Workforce on SLS and Orion, NASA

"Yesterday, I was asked by Congress about the schedule slip of the Space Launch System and plans to get NASA back on track. I mentioned that we are exploring the possibility of launching Orion and the European Service Module to low-Earth orbit on an existing heavy-lift rocket, then using a boost from another existing vehicle for Trans Lunar Injection. Our goal would be to test Orion in lunar orbit in 2020 and free up the first SLS for the launch of habitation or other hardware in 2021. This would get us back on schedule for a crewed lunar orbital mission in 2022 with the added bonus of a lunar destination for our astronauts. We are studying this approach to accelerate our lunar efforts. The review will take no longer than two weeks and the results will be made available. Please know that NASA is committed to building and flying the SLS for the following reasons:"

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Ironically SLS Supporters Are Worried About Commercial EM-1 Costs

By Keith Cowing on March 13, 2019 4:06 PM.

CDSE Statement Following Senate Commerce Hearing with the NASA Administrator

"No launch vehicle other than the SLS can enable the launch of a fully-outfitted Orion, including the SM, to the Moon. As a result, the Administrator noted that this approach would require at least two launches of heavy-lift vehicles. It could also include in-orbit assembly of a launch vehicle with an upper stage, which would then be used to direct Orion and the SM to the Moon. The analysis to determine whether this approach is feasible is still ongoing. The integration challenges are significant. It is also clear that this approach would require additional funding, since the idea is to undertake both this mission and to continue development of the SLS apace.

The assessment of options such as these are the hallmark of both NASA and the aerospace industry that supports it. Distributed across all 50 states in civil, commercial and military space, the aerospace and defense industry is crucial to U.S. competitiveness across the globe and to American leadership in science, security, entrepreneurship and human exploration of space. The Coalition for Deep Space Exploration and its member companies strongly support forward-leaning efforts to speed human return to the Moon. We welcome the opportunity to join NASA in the flights of Orion, SLS and the Exploration Ground Systems that support these journeys, and the rapid expansion of science, commerce and human exploration at the Moon and beyond."

Keith's note: Looks like the SLS crowd is worried. Meanwhile, it is rather hilarious that The Coalition For Deep Space Exploration (created as a SLS/Orion lobbying organization) is suddenly worried that a commercial EM-1 might "require additional funding" after SLS has gone billions over budget and is 4-5 years behind schedule for EM-1 - thus creating the need for alternate thinking. Where was their outrage when SLS started to "require additional funding"?

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Bridenstine Proposes Commercial EM-1 Mission - Without SLS

By Keith Cowing on March 13, 2019 9:33 AM.

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Dueling Congressional Hearings On Wednesday

By Keith Cowing on March 13, 2019 9:28 AM.

Hearing: America in Space: Future Visions, Current Issues, House Science Committee

10:00 am EDT - Witnesses: Ellen Stofan, Peggy Whitson, and Frank Rose

The New Space Race: Ensuring U.S. Global Leadership on the Final Frontier, Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation

10:00 am EDT - Witnesses: Jim Bridenstine and Kevin O'Connell

Keith's note: Hint: Watch the Bridenstine hearing.

Prepared Testimony by NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine before the Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation United States Senate

"Under the auspices of the ISS National Laboratory, managed by the Center for the Advancement of Science in Space (CASIS), NASA and CASIS continue to expand research on the ISS sponsored by pharmaceutical, technology, consumer product, and other industries, as well as by other Government agencies, such as the National Institutes of Health and the National Science Foundation. Through CASIS' efforts, the ISS National Lab has reached full capacity for allocated crew time and upmass and downmass. NASA also works with commercial companies, such as NanoRacks, to support commercial activity on the ISS."

Keith's note: Someone did not check their facts. CASIS is still unable to use all of the crew time and resources NASA offers them.

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About That "Gateway Is Not A Space Station" Thing

By Keith Cowing on March 12, 2019 8:26 PM.

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CASIS Continues Its Stealth Commercialization Plans (Update)

By Keith Cowing on March 12, 2019 2:43 PM.

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More stories for March.

Humans to Mars Summit 2019
Military Space Situational Awareness April 1 - April 2, 2019, London, UK
MilSatCom USA conference will return to Washington from the 26th – 27th June 2019
Mission To Methonē by Les Johnson - Baen Books
Space Access Conference 2019
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