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The Right Stuff Is For Everyone

By Keith Cowing on September 17, 2021 12:46 AM.

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Doing The Inspiration4 Media Rounds

By Keith Cowing on September 16, 2021 6:43 PM.

Keith's note: Yesterday I was on Bloomberg Radio live - twice - doing launch commentary for their morning show in Asia and was on Deutsche Welle at 9:00 pm EDT. I was CNN New Day this morning morning to talk about the mission. I cut an interview on CGTN tomorrow afternoon about China's space station crew's return to Earth and ... no doubt ... talking to someone else about space in the next few days. Update: I just did an Al Jazeera Arabic interview.


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Inspiration4 Might Be Flying Your Neighbors

By Keith Cowing on September 15, 2021 10:42 AM.

'They could be your neighbors' and they're going to space. SpaceX gets ready to fly the Inspiration4 crew., Washington Post

"But the Inspiration4 mission is of particular importance because three of the crew members are not wealthy, [Alan] Ladwig said. "They're not billionaires," he said. "They are people that could be our neighbors, people you went to school with, people you work with. And for them to get this opportunity is pretty fantastic."

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Join Space Team Biden: Apply For The National Space Council Users' Advisory Group

By Keith Cowing on September 15, 2021 8:37 AM.

Call for Nominations: National Space Council Users' Advisory Group

"The Users' Advisory Group (UAG) is a federal advisory committee comprised of experts from outside the United States Government (USG) created as part of the National Space Council (NSpC). The NSpC is an Executive Branch interagency coordinating committee chaired by the Vice President, which is tasked with advising and assisting the President on national space policy and strategy. UAG members provide counsel on any and all space policy issues. The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) has sponsored the UAG on behalf of the NSpC since 2018."

Keith's note: There is also a new Space Council Users' Advisory Group website but you need username/password to enter. That said, it remains to be seen if the Biden Administration intends to use the NSpC or the UAG to make real accomplishments or if these bodies are just mouth pieces for policy already generated internally. For the most part, the previous Administration filled the UAG with political allies, big aerospace reps, and people with minimal knowledge or interest in space. NSpC also bled the NASA PAO budget dry to put on NSpC and UAG circuses at showy venues to read scripted statements and do little else. Let's hope that this incarnation of NSpC and UAG shuns the glitz and focuses on the policy. Otherwise, we can punt on serious space policy for another 4 years.

National Space Council UAG Goes Through The Motions Of Being Interested, earlier post

"There are no real "users" of space on this panel. Nor are there any members from the next generation who will inherit and conduct America's space activities. All we see are sellers. Yet another choir practice session amongst the usual suspects in an echo chamber."

NASA Internal Memo: National Space Council UAG Update from Chair, ADM Jim Ellis (2021), earlier post

"Our composition has also evolved to appropriately include scientific and regional economic insights, as well. Our diverse representation has been our key strength since it has enabled discussion across many disciplines."

- National Space Council Users' Advisory Group News (Yawn), earlier post
- Space Council Users' Advisory Group Meets Without Any Users, earlier post
- National Space Council User Advisory Group Is Purging Innovation From Its Ranks, earlier post
- National Space Council UAG Wants You To Think They Did Something Important, earlier post

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Gail Skofronick-Jackson

By Keith Cowing on September 14, 2021 10:51 AM.

Keith's note: From the NASA GSFC Facebook page: "We are mourning the sudden loss of Dr. Gail Skofronick-Jackson this week. Gail has been part of NASA Earth science since 1997. She was a brilliant, deeply principled, and passionate scientist, beloved coworker, and friend. We send our condolences to Gail's family and honor Gail by continuing to commit to our mission as she did during her time with us. Her impact lives on in our work."

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NASA HEOMD Has Some Homework To Do Regarding Disabilities

By Keith Cowing on September 13, 2021 12:53 PM.

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9/11: Bad News From Earth

By Keith Cowing on September 11, 2021 12:00 AM.

11 September 2001: Bad news from Earth, New Moon Rising - SpaceRef

Larger image

"The news from Earth that morning wasn't good. Frank Culbertson would soon find that some of the day's pre-planned routine would be altered. As soon as he was told of the attacks, Culbertson checked to see when they would be passing over the east coast of the U.S. Discovering that this was only some minutes away, Culbertson grabbed a camera. The window in Mikhail Tyurin's cabin turned out to be the one with the best view."

Continue reading: 9/11: Bad News From Earth.

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9/11: Old Flags, Sheer Terror, and Red Begonias

By Keith Cowing on September 11, 2021 12:00 AM.

Keith's note: I have lived in the Metro Washington DC area for 33 years - more than half my life. When I first moved to DC to work at NASA HQ I lived in Pentagon City directly across from the Pentagon in the River House III apartment building. The Pentagon was what I saw outside my window every single day. In the afternoons after work I often used to run on the road between the old heliport and the west side of the Pentagon - right where American Airlines Flight 77 struck. This image still makes me shudder.

As I would run by I'd always note a window where the yellow crane is in the left side of the image. There was always a red begonia in the window. I could easily drag my fingers on the smooth limestone surface of the building as I ran by. There was simply no real security back then. Had I still lived in my old apartment on 9/11 this horror would have unfolded outside my home's window. A friend of mine was driving to work and saw the plane come in. Others I knew were in the building and felt the impact. On a stunningly beautiful day we had been attacked in a brutal way by an unknown enemy."

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False Alarm At NASA HQ and KSC. Everyone Is Fine.

By Keith Cowing on September 10, 2021 5:05 PM.

Keith's note: NASA PAO just sent me this statement on the NASA Kennedy and NASA HQ security events which were connected after all. FWIW sources inside NASA say that the false alarm happened when a mistake was made in a training exercise in advance of a formal training event next week at NASA HQ as we reported earlier.

"A false alarm indicating an active shooter was set off at 11:05 a.m. EDT today (Sept. 10) at NASA Headquarters in Washington, D.C. As a result of that false alarm, a concerned citizen, thinking they were notifying the appropriate office, reported an active shooter to the security forces at Kennedy Space Center in Florida. Kennedy security forces responded locally, issuing an alert for its headquarters building at about 11:50 a.m. After confirming no credible threat at either location, NASA issued an all clear to its workforce. The security forces at both locations acted quickly to assess and address the situation in an effective manner. An investigation is ongoing to determine how the alarm was triggered."
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Space Is Truly Worth Fighting Over

By Keith Cowing on September 10, 2021 11:46 AM.

- Elon Musk is dominating the space race. Jeff Bezos is trying to fight back., Washington Post
- Amazon Takes a Swipe at Musk as Satellite Feud Escalates, Bloomberg
- Elon Musk goads Jeff Bezos on Twitter as their prolonged space spat escalates, Geekwire

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Everyone At NASA And Its Contractors Must Be Vaccinated

By Keith Cowing on September 9, 2021 5:14 PM.

Biden to announce that all federal workers must be vaccinated, with no option for testing, AP

"President Joe Biden on Thursday will impose more stringent vaccine rules on federal workers, and take steps to encourage private businesses to do the same, during a major speech meant to lay out a new approach to combating the coronavirus. Among the steps the President will take is signing an executive order requiring all federal workers be vaccinated against Covid-19, with no option of being regularly tested to opt out of the requirement, according to a source familiar with the plans. The President will also sign an executive order directing the same standard be extended to employees of contractors who do business with the federal government. The Department of Defense, the Department of Veterans Affairs, Indian Health Service and National Institutes of Health will also complete their previously announced vaccination requirements, which the White House estimates covers 2.5 million workers."

- White House COVID Plan, White House
- Executive Order on Ensuring Adequate COVID Safety Protocols for Federal Contractors, White House
- Executive Order on Requiring Coronavirus Disease 2019 Vaccination for Federal Employees, White House

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NASA PAO Doesn't Pay Attention To What It Releases

By Keith Cowing on September 8, 2021 8:31 PM.

Keith's note: NASA makes an announcement about three of its employees with Hispanic heritage - in association with an organization that focuses on hispanic heritage. NASA has told me that they have an in-house ability to easily translate releases into Spanish. So, what does NASA PAO do with a press release that could be - should be - issued in Spanish goes out? No translation. Go figure.

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NASA Has No Plan To Spend The Infrastructure Money. But Who Cares.

By Keith Cowing on September 8, 2021 12:26 PM.

NASA OIG: NASA's Construction Of Facilities

"... The process also does not effectively utilize business cases for Agency-level prioritization, despite their value towards providing the required business need and justification for initiating projects in terms of a cost-benefit analysis. Moreover, assumptions such as the scope of the projects used in the Agency's business cases did not consistently match the actual scope of the approved projects. For energy savings projects costing less than $10 million, Centers do not submit a business case to request funds. Instead NASA only considers a projected total cost savings per year with not all expenses, such as operations and maintenance, factored in as part of the life-cycle cost analysis.

... In addition, NASA policy does not distinguish between the use of institutional and programmatic CoF funds. As a result, Centers often use funds that traditionally support institutional capabilities such as office buildings and utility systems to fund highly technical projects that Mission Directorates were unwilling to fund for various reasons including the difficulty in determining cost sharing arrangements for facilities with multiple users. Using institutional CoF funds to build specialized facilities for testing and development dilutes the funds available for making critical repairs and supporting other more traditional institutional requirements.

... Of the 20 CoF projects we reviewed, 6 incurred significant cost overruns ranging from $2.2 million to $36.6 million and 16 of the projects are 3 months to more than 3 years behind their initial schedules. Costs increased primarily because requirements were not fully developed by the Agency before construction began, requirements were not fully understood by contractors, and contract prices were higher than originally estimated. Delays occurred because projects faced postponed start times and changing requirements, among other reasons. Finally, NASA did not provide effective oversight to determine whether the Agency's portfolio of CoF projects met cost, schedule, and performance goals."

Keith's note: And so on. Its a mess. NASA has no cohesive, consistent plan to identify what facilities need to be demolished, repaired, upgraded, or replaced. They have never had such a plan - nor will they. Just imagine the spending spree that is about to unfold as every NASA center director grabs their bucket of infrastructure money - with their congressional delegation shoveling the money in without looking.

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NASA Builds A Global Soft Power Capability And Then Ignores It

By Keith Cowing on September 8, 2021 11:17 AM.

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NASA OIG's Invisible Infrastructure Report

By Keith Cowing on September 8, 2021 10:59 AM.

Keith's note: This is the report "NASA's Construction Of Facilities" [posted by the NASA OIG this morning. PDF. Interesting topic given all of the Infrastructure money NASA is going to get. Too bad it is an empty document. I don't think @NASAOIG really follows Twitter - indeed, they only follow one account: @COVID_Oversight. You'd think that they;d follow at least one or two @NASA accounts.

Update: It took @NASAOIG several hours to notice that they had posted a blank report - but they fixed it.

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NASA Space Station On-Orbit Status 16 September, 2021 - 3D Virtual Reality Spacewalk Filming

NASA Space Station On-Orbit Status 16 September, 2021 - 3D Virtual Reality Spacewalk Filming

A 3D virtual reality camera that filmed Sunday's spacewalk has been returned to the inside of the International Space Station.

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