"Rocket Lab, the global leader in small satellite launch, has today officially opened Launch Complex 2, the company's first U.S. launch site, and confirmed the inaugural mission from the site will be a dedicated flight for the U.S. Air Force. Located at the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport on Wallops Island, Virginia, Rocket Lab Launch Complex 2 represents a new national launch capability for the United States. Construction on the site began in February 2019, with the site completed and ready to support missions just 10 months later. Designed to support rapid call-up missions, Launch Complex 2 delivers responsive launch capability from home soil for U.S. government small satellites. The ability to deploy satellites to precise orbits in a matter of hours, not months or years, is increasingly important to ensure resilience in space. At a press conference held at NASA Wallops Flight Facility today, the U.S. Air Force's Space Test Program has been announced as the first customer scheduled to launch on an Electron vehicle from Rocket Lab Launch Complex 2. The dedicated mission will see a single research and development micro-sat launched from the site in Q2 2020."
Keith's note: In case you have not been paying attention. NASA has been promoting commercial space - a lot. There was an announcement today by RocketLab at Wallops Island, Virginia regarding the opening of its new commercial launch facility. The facility is located on the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport (M.A.R.S.) directly adjacent to NASA Wallops. Great news, right? You'd think that NASA and M.A.R.S. would want to tell people about it. Guess again. No mention is made on its home page or on its news page. No mention is made on the M.A.R.S. website either. Just sayin'Categories: Commercialization
"In an interview, Bridenstine said that while the upper stage will be a great asset for NASA some day, he said "any plan that requires an EUS to be ready by 2024 is a plan that reduces the probability of success. It's just not going to be ready. ... "All of our contractors lobby Congress to achieve what is in their best interest even though it may not be in the best interest of the nation," Bridenstine said in an interview. "This is another example of that. My job as NASA administrator is to make sure we do what's right for the country, and for the taxpayer.""
"As the first Space Launch System (SLS) core stage completes final functional tests ahead of delivery to NASA, Boeing is building the second core stage while accelerating work on a powerful new upper stage that will boost the rocket's performance for the third moon mission and beyond."
Keith's note: This self-serving puffery by Boeing et al obscures the real costs of things and makes it harder to do an apples:apples reality check in the open at a time when no one really trusts any of the costs or schedules associated with Artemis. Indeed bogus claims like this one by Boeing certainly sounds like 'fake news' ;-)Categories: Artemis, Commercialization
"In the Senate version of the NASA authorization bill for next year, lawmakers included language dictating that the agency "continue development" of the upper stage so that it could be ready for the third flight of the SLS, or Artemis III, which would be in time to land humans on the moon by 2024. While there is no House version of the bill, or an appropriation, Boeing's early success at pushing a compliant Congress to mandate the new upper stage for the third flight, instead of a later one, as is now planned, could upend NASA's lunar landing plans and put Boeing in the position of redirecting policy that had been set by NASA's leaders, engineers and scientists who have something other than profits as their priorities. To meet the White House's 2024 lunar landing date, NASA has been trying to build a broad coalition of companies, and has said repeatedly that everyone needs to pull together to help make the moon mission possible by 2024. Listen: Moonrise podcast "When we have one contractor trying to dictate policy that benefits them over the others, it puts the whole program at risk," said one senior NASA official on the condition of anonymity because the official was not authorized to speak publicly."
"For starters NASA is building the SLS. Boeing - along with Lockheed Martin, Aerojet, Orbital ATK, and Airbus are building the pieces. One page says it is Boeing's SLS. The other says it is NASA's. Which is it? And yes, Starliner will be sending human crews into space but it is not "the method NASA uses to send astronauts into space." It is one of the methods - SpaceX is another method."
- Join Boeing's SLS Fan Club So They Can Track Your Activity Online, earlier post
- NASA OIG SLS Audit: Poor Management By Boeing - Send More Money, earlier post
- Is This Any Way To Go Back To The Moon?, earlier post
Keith's note: Jim Bridenstine and Doug Loverro attended the Space News award event in Washington today. I asked them about the Moon/Mars plan that the Vice President and the National Space Council asked NASA to deliver in 60 days. Specifically I asked them if it had been delivered and if so could we see it. Bridenstine replied that it had not been delivered as requested and did not indicate when it would be despite it being rather overdue. See "Where Is NASA's Plan For Sustainable Moon/Mars Exploration? (Update)"
Prior to my question Doug Loverro announced that he was assembling a Baseline Assessment Team to conduct a review to see where the Artemis/SLS/Orion program is and then decide how to move forward. Specifically Loverro said he did not know what the Artemis 1 launch date would be and that this date would only be set once the entire program had been given a look over.
Loverro went on to say that he did not want to see funding as a "crutch" for not meeting the goal of landing humans on the Moon by 2024. He noted that he "does "not complain about gravity or radiation" and that funding is just another obstacle to overcome. Bridenstine cautioned that just because the date of Artemis 1 may change that does not necessarily mean that all other launch dates will be delayed.
When asked about the budget situation Bridenstine said he thinks that there is a chance that NASA will get areal appropriation by 20 December. If not, he said that he's talking to his lawyers about ways to "move forward in this politically charged environment". NASA has other lunar-focused efforts underway that have adequate funding and it is possible that some of them could be used to further assist the human lander effort.
With regard to the ISS Bridenstine said "We know that the space station can't last forever. What are we doing now to make sure we do not have a gap in LEO since we are not going to build another ISS.
Inevitably the topic of Space Force came up in light of recent agreements in Congress. Both Bridenstine and Loverro are strong supporters of Space Force and it showed in their comments. At one point, Loverro sought to link what he's doing at NASA with what Space Force will be doing at DoD: "I am going to the Moon in 2024 and I do not want there to be any space pirates out there". He was kidding. I think. But wouldn't you want a few pirates in the mix? Just sayin'.Categories: Artemis, Commercialization, ISS News, TrumpSpace
Keith's 10 Dec update: ; I asked Jim Bridenstine today if this report has been delivered. He replied that it has not.
"At the 6th meeting of the National Space Council, the following recommendation was adopted: "Within 60 days, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Administrator will designate an office and submit a plan to the Chairman of the National Space Council for sustainable lunar surface exploration and development, including necessary technologies and capabilities, to enable initial human missions to Mars."
'And I recommend to the public's attention the public record that you will find that we are setting specific timelines for the Administrator in the next 60 days to designation of an office and submission of a plan for a sustainable lunar surface exploration and the development of crewed missions to Mars."
Keith's 6 Dec note: The 6th meeting of the National Space Council took place on 20 August 2019. The 60 day due date would therefore have been 19 October. It has been
47 51 days since the due date passed. Has anyone seen this report? Was it ever delivered? If not, when will it be delivered?
"NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine has named Robert Pearce as the next associate administrator for the Aeronautics Research Mission Directorate (ARMD). Pearce replaces Jaiwon Shin, who retired from the agency on Aug. 31. "Bob is a visionary leader with a deep understanding of the current and future aeronautics environment," said NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine. "He'll do a great job directing NASA in helping create a generational shift in air travel for the United States and the world."Categories: Aeronautics, Personnel News
"The Founder Institute, the world's largest pre-seed startup accelerator, announced this week it signed a partnership agreement with NASA Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, to help startup founders connect to selected NASA software and technologies while providing a robust global network of startup resources. The accelerator also announced open applications for the "Founder Institute Advanced Technologies Accelerator" program in Silicon Valley. The new program will help startup founders and entrepreneurs to leverage NASA Technology and and the Founder Institute's Global Network to build companies of the future. Based in Silicon Valley and with chapters across 180+ cities and 60+ countries, the Founder Institute has helped its alumni raise over $800 million in funding."
"To Dr. Tu and all the innovators and visionaries here who are designing and building that bright future of American leadership in space, it's a great honor to join you here in the beating heart of Silicon Valley at the NASA Ames Research Center. ... "Ames is proof that in today's age, the public and private sectors can achieve far more together than we ever have apart," Pence said. "And I really want to commend each and every one of you for the way that NASA and the way that NASA Ames are engaging the private sector to bring the best of America back to space."
Keith's 8Dec note: There is no mention of this important news at the Main NASA Ames website, on its news page, or via @NASAAmes on Twitter. NASA HQ does not seem to know anything about this news. Ames sits in the middle of Silicon Valley. Vice President Pence noticed. So did The Founder Institute. The Founder Institute and Pence noted the value of public/private partnerships and the immense potential resident within NASA Ames. Too bad Ames PAO seems to be oblivious to both its location and potential.
Keith's 9 Dec update: Stil no mention of this by Ames.Categories: Commercialization
Можете меня обзывать как угодно - "тупой железякой" или ещё как, но, узнав о решении VADA, я вам всё же так скажу:— FEDOR (@FEDOR37516789) December 9, 2019
1) те, кто это придумал, имеют большие проблемы с процессором в голове,
2) а те, кто готов это терпеть, не имеют не только стержня, но и позвоночника. И это ещё хуже pic.twitter.com/Nmzc1J7NXL
Keith's note: This creepy tweet shows Fedor, the Russian space droid who recently spent some time on the ISS, looking out the window at a nuclear explosion. The weird picture is accompanied with this text (Google translation):
"You can call me anything you like - a "dumb piece of iron" or something else, but when I find out about the VADA solution, I'll still tell you this:
1) those who invented it have big problems with the processor in their heads,
2) and those who are willing to tolerate this do not have not only a rod, but also a spine. And it's even worse"
It is often hard to tell what Russian social media accounts are official or quasi-official - or something else. The account's Twitter profile says "Fedor @ FEDOR37516789 The first anthropomorphic robot to work in space, the call sign Skybot F-850, an assistant crew of the International Space Station. Here are just facts about space." It was rather active during Fedor's flight. It only follows 8 other Twitter accounts, @NASA, @SpaceX and then the major Russian space agency accounts - including the head of Roscosmos @Rogozin.
I think maybe "VADA" is "WADA" (World Anti-Doping Agency) who just banned Russia from participating in sports due to doping. Some commenters are arguing whether VADA is referring to a "piece of iron" or "an Indian bagel". Why a space droid is tweeting about doping (or Indian bagels) is weird. Looking at a nuclear explosion while doing so is even weirder.Categories: Russia
Odd: @NASA can do live TV with @JimBridenstine & @DouglasLoverro but they can't figure out a dial-in line for offsite media.— NASA Watch (@NASAWatch) December 9, 2019
As for the "shy NASA crowd" it is strange that #NASA employees want management to be more open and engaging yet employees just sit there - mute. #Artemis https://t.co/884J2O59Qe
Trump's Excellent Space Force Adventure, Washington Post
"The creation of a Space Force is still being negotiated in Congress, where different versions of it have passed the House and Senate. As of press time, it's unclear whether the new military service will be included in the upcoming defense authorization act -- but, with bipartisan support, America's extraterrestrial military efforts are, one way or another, poised to accelerate."
"Congressional lawmakers and the White House are on the verge of reaching a sweeping agreement that would extend 12 weeks of paid parental leave to federal workers in exchange for making "Space Force" the sixth branch of the U.S. military, according to four people with knowledge of the tentative deal. The deal is part of a defense authorization bill that is slated to pass this month. If consummated, the agreement could mark one of the biggest deals President Trump has cut with Congress. It would secure a massive expansion of benefits for federal workers, something Democrats have long sought, in exchange for a realignment of the U.S. military that Trump has sought to secure as part of his legacy."
Dear Space Force Fans: Please Chill Out, earlier post
"With a little less of this hyperventillation and crass political favoritism - and perhaps a little more basic wartime defense/prevention discussion - maybe a few more people might support this Space Force thing. Otherwise this sort of breathless op ed arm waving invites nothing more than mockery on a slow news day."Categories: Congress, Military Space, TrumpSpace
Two teams from the grade 11 at the Goldengate International College, Battisputali, Kathmandu will be searching asteroids with us at All-Nepal Asteroid Search Campaign, November 20-December 17, 2019 #AsteroidSearch #ANASC2019 #Nepal pic.twitter.com/CpzfJqUbci— Nepal Space (@NepalSpace) November 24, 2019
Keith's note: Yesterday at the STA luncheon Jim Bridenstine said that "the NASA brand is the most valuable brand America has" - Inside - and outside our borders. In October I cited an example of how NASA's logo - its brand - has a ubiquitous, global reach - and that it is associated with exciting, hopeful, advanced things with no known downside.
"This is a perfect example of so-called "soft power". This costs NASA virtually - literally - nothing. Having worked with folks in Nepal on things related to this, the mere visibility of the NASA logo and recognition by NASA is enticement enough to generate in-country resources and support. Done properly you can have a global awareness of what NASA is and does and spark interest in other nation's space efforts. And the cases where a country has no space activities, spur their development. One would hope that this becomes part of what NASA includes in its Artemis outreach activities - since the ultimate goal is to go there with other nations."
NASA has done a good job - an increasingly good one - at allowing the logo's use - and not discouraging its use when the its is used in a positive and inspiring context. This is a consumate, textbook example of soft power. One would hope that NASA can continue along this path and that legislation that currently hinders NASA's ability to project its message via advertising and other venues - can be lifted by Congress.
- NASA's Global Branding Reach Is Often Under Appreciated, earlier post
- Understanding NASA's Global Reach, earlier post
- NASA is Still A Potent (If Underutilized) Brand, earlier post
- Using NASA's Logo: Expensive T-Shirts Or Global Soft Power?, earlier post
- NASA's Pervasive Brand Recognition, earlier post
- One Major Road Block To Bridenstine's Advertising Ideas, earlier post
Keith's note: Jim Bridenstine spoke at a Space Transportation Association luncheon today in Washington DC. At one point he talked about seeing a "million people living on the Moon in 50 years". So I tweeted that. Soon Twitter lit up with people doing weird math as to how many SLS flights would be required and at what cost. Seriously space fans? SpaceX Starship anyone? Anyway I got a call from Bridenstine a bit later and then tweeted this out:
"OK I just spoke with @JimBridenstine about what he thought he said - and meant to say - but had a slip of the tongue. He meant to say "a million people on the National Mall" celebrating our progress on the Moon 50 years from now. First he referred to huge crowds on the National Mall in DC this past July for Apollo 50 events. He referred to seeing 500,000 people on the Mall here in DC before (we all have) noting "They are usually not happy". The Apollo crowds were happy. Then he started to talk about how we are going to the Moon to stay, and started to imagine what things would be like 50 years hence such that we could "have a million people on the National Mall" celebrating our exploration and utilization of the Moon."
Hmm ... maybe Bridenstine was subconsciously channeling "Star Trek First Contact" (even if he claims to be a SpaceBalls/Star Wars fan):
"Zefram Cochrane: You don't have a moon in the 24th century?
William Riker: Sure we do. Just looks a lot different. There are 50 million people living on the moon in my time. You can see Tycho City, New Berlin... even Lake Armstrong on a day like this."
One other thing Bridenstine said was "the thing about Apollo is that it ended. We want Artemis to continue". Imagine If Apollo never ended 50 years ago and that lunar exploration and development continued and expanded. How many people might be living on the Moon now? Its time to catch up.Categories: Artemis, TrumpSpace
The Space Force's moment of truth, op ed, Peter Garretson, Politico
"Within the Bay Area itself are Made-in-Space, NASA's Ames Research Center, and a conglomerate of Silicon Valley affiliated companies. How will they fare without the Space Force? A recent report State of the Space Industrial Base: Threats, Challenges and Actions outlined the threat these companies face by China's predatory pricing, investment in front companies, control of supply chains, and theft of intellectual property. Just this month, the US-China Economic and Security Commission, created by Congress, endorsed a Space Force to ensure" freedom of navigation and keeping lines of communication open, safe, and secure in the space domain, as the U.S. Navy does for U.S. interests in the maritime commons."
Keith's note: Huh? How is Space Force going to help Made-in-Space? There is no Space Force now and they're doing just fine. Is Space Force going to place armed guards around the ISS to keep the Chinese away? Is Space Force going to prevent China from utilizing space for commercial purposes so that only the U.S. can? Is Space Force going to engage in IP and patent protection in space and on Earth? The national defense aspect of Space Force has some logic to it. But the way the Space Force fans are whipping this whole thing up its as if there will be Space Force Cops patrolling in outer space writing parking tickets, chasing bad guys, and directing space traffic.
Oh and then there's this little gem "Second, it will have a devastating and compounding effect on jobs in key congressional districts." Aren't all congressional districts "key"? Or is this a scare tactic for big aerospace and the members of Congress they have ensnared in their lobbying efforts?
With a little less of this hyperventillation and crass political favoritism - and perhaps a little more basic wartime defense/prevention discussion - maybe a few more people might support this Space Force thing. Otherwise this sort of breathless op ed arm waving invites nothing more than mockery on a slow news day.Categories: Military Space, TrumpSpace
Keith's note: From a retired NASA employee and long-time NASAWatch reader:
"Keith, the attached photo was just too instructive to pass up. Let me explain. This is at the Gilruth Center at JSC.
I believe that it visually shows the risk averse nature of NASA and says something about space politics. I.e., one stop sign wasn't enough. A second one is safer. And then a sign explaining what a stop sign means. Man are we safely redundant.
I am a retired NASA engineer and could not pass up the hilarious sight.
"NASA will announce the first results from the Parker Solar Probe mission, the agency's revolutionary mission to "touch" the Sun, during a media teleconference at 1:30 p.m. EST Wednesday, Dec. 4. During the teleconference, mission experts will discuss research results from four instruments on the probe, which are changing our understanding of the Sun and other stars. Their findings also will be published at 1 p.m. Wednesday on the website of the journal Nature. Teleconference audio will stream live at: https://www.nasa.gov/live"
Parker Solar Probe: We're Missing Something Fundamental About the Sun, University of Michigan
"Our closest-ever look inside the Sun's corona has unveiled an unexpectedly chaotic world that includes rogue plasma waves, flipping magnetic fields and distant solar winds under the thrall of the Sun's rotation, according to University of Michigan researchers who play key roles in NASA's Parker Solar Probe mission."Categories: Space & Planetary Science
In October the International Space Station was even more busy than usual with nine astronauts living and working in humankind's outpost in Earth orbit.