NASA Watch

This is not a NASA Website. You might learn something. It's YOUR space agency. Get involved. Take it back. Make it work - for YOU. | Voice +1.703.787.6567 | RSS Feed | Twitter | Advertising | Important Disclaimer

Slow Motion Climate Change Denial At USGS

By Keith Cowing on July 15, 2019 10:34 PM.

Trump officials deleting mentions of 'climate change' from U.S. Geological Survey press releases, Science

"In the case of the California coastline study, the press release went through the office of James Reilly, the director of USGS, a former astronaut who is attempting to minimize the consideration of climate change in agency decisions. Reilly is preparing a directive for agency scientists to use climate models that predict changes through 2040, when the effect of emissions is expected to be less severe. The New York Times first reported on the directive. At his 2018 confirmation hearing, Reilly promised to protect the agency's scientific integrity."


Today's Media Telecon With Bridenstine

By Keith Cowing on July 15, 2019 6:40 PM.

Keith's note: Notes from Today's press event with NASA Administrator Bridenstine:

- The decision to reassign Bill Gerstenmaier and others was made by Jim Bridenstine. He did not consult the President or Vice President about this personnel issue.
- the decision to replace Gerstenmaier et al was the result of a need fo rnew leadership at HEOMD.
- Gerstenmaier is to be congratulated for helping to keep human space programs alive at NASA during times when human spaceflight was not exactly a priority
- Bridenstine does not. know of there will be a commercial crew flight in 2019
- Bridenstine expects that the cost of landing Americans on the Moon by 2024 will cost less than $20 billion due, in part to commercial participation and advanced technology
- NASA has a diverse workforce including the astronaut corps and it will continue to diversify.
- Artemis will land the next two Americans on the Moon and the first one to set for will be a female NASA astronaut
- NASA has not decided whether or not to do a Green Run test of the SLS before it is launched.
- Bridenstine needs to put permanent people in place at HEOMD before making some important decisions
- When asked about education and public outreach and inspiring the next generation Bridenstine said "the best thing we can do is stunning achievements. What are we doing today that will have a stunning outcome such that 50 years from today people will be celebrating it."
- With regard to destinations and priorities Bridenstine said "Mars is that generational achievement that we are working toward. Going to the Moon to learn how to live on another world"
- When asked if Boeing will be held accountable for SLS delays and cost overruns Bridenstine said "they do or do not get compensation based on milestones. You will see in their award fee that we are not satisfied with their performance."


Forward To The Moon

By Keith Cowing on July 15, 2019 6:12 PM.

Forward To The Moon, Jim Bridenstine, Explorers Journal (Explorers Club)

"I am the first NASA administrator to have never seen humans walk on another world. I intend to be the only administrator with that distinction. Right now there are more people alive than not who share my experience. While most of Earth's inhabitants were born after the end of the Apollo missions, roughly a quarter of all of the people alive today have always known a world where it is perfectly normal for people to live in space. In winter 1911-1912, two overland parties became the first humans to reach the South Pole within weeks of each other. While we visited the South Pole in airplanes in subsequent years, no one thought to travel overland again for nearly half a century. In many important ways that is where we are today with regard to the Moon. We fly over it with satellites while we stay home. It has been a half-century. It is time to go back."

Categories: ,

Mike Griffin Is Not Making Friends In The Pentagon (Update: Or In Congress)

By Keith Cowing on July 15, 2019 5:22 PM.

'Smartest guy in the room': Pentagon R&D chief under fire after controversial firings, Inside Defense

"Key lawmakers are closely examining the behavior and decision-making of the Defense Department's technology chief, spurred by high-profile personnel departures from his office. Mike Griffin earlier this month, according to government sources, orchestrated early departures within days of each other for former Strategic Capabilities Office Director Chris Shank and former Space Development Agency Director Fred Kennedy. The moves, more than a dozen current and former government officials tell Inside Defense, are in line with a well-known pattern of controversial decision-making, turf fighting and abrasive behavior. But the abrupt exits have alarmed officials at the Defense Department and on Capitol Hill, particularly because Shank and Kennedy were Griffin's personal friends and hand-picked for their jobs."

House Armed Services Committee denies funding for Space Development Agency, Space News

"Specifically, the committee is concerned about the abrupt resignation of the director and the apparent change in direction for this proposed program, contrary to planned activities that had been briefed to the committee and contrary to what the committee supported," the letter said. Former SDA director Fred Kennedy resigned June 19. Sources said Kennedy quit following clashes with Undersecretary of Defense for Research and Engineering Mike Griffin over how the agency should be run."

Categories: ,

SpaceX Releases Crew Dragon Explosion Statement

By Keith Cowing on July 15, 2019 3:32 PM.

SpaceX In-Flight Abort Static Fire Test Anomaly Investigation Statement

"Initial data reviews indicated that the anomaly occurred approximately 100 milliseconds prior to ignition of Crew Dragon's eight SuperDraco thrusters and during pressurization of the vehicle's propulsion systems. Evidence shows that a leaking component allowed liquid oxidizer - nitrogen tetroxide (NTO) - to enter high-pressure helium tubes during ground processing. A slug of this NTO was driven through a helium check valve at high speed during rapid initialization of the launch escape system, resulting in structural failure within the check valve. The failure of the titanium component in a high-pressure NTO environment was sufficient to cause ignition of the check valve and led to an explosion."


About That Trump Space Event ...

By Keith Cowing on July 15, 2019 3:22 PM.



By Keith Cowing on July 15, 2019 2:47 PM.

Categories: ,

Book Review: "Eight Years To The Moon"

By Keith Cowing on July 14, 2019 3:46 PM.

Book Review: "Eight Years To The Moon"

"Half a century ago we went to the Moon. We went from no human spaceflight capability to the ability to land people on another world in 8 years. "Eight Years To The Moon" by Nancy Atkinson chronicles the behind the scenes efforts required to accomplish this improbable task. Suitcase-sized computers, monster rockets, and some good old fashioned flying would be required. NASA had all of the flying stuff. The other things - well, that is what this book covers. The format is chronological - you follow the creation of this immense capability from scratch to reality - and you do so while looking over the shoulders - or sometimes the beer glasses, slide rules, or chalk boards - of the people who made this all happen."


Is This What Will Actually Make Artemis Happen?

By Keith Cowing on July 14, 2019 2:34 PM.

Transcript: NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine on "Face the Nation," July 14, 2019, CBS

CBS: "So the first steps [on the Moon] in 2024 will be by a woman?"
Bridenstine: "That's the goal."

Women are less supportive of space exploration, but putting a woman on the Moon might change that, The Conversation

"From my perspective as a space policy analyst, this is an important message for NASA to send. Women have been historically excluded from the space program, especially early on. While women have made inroads both as astronauts and more generally within the NASA ranks since, there remains a significant gender gap in support for space exploration. And for Artemis to succeed in getting the first woman to the Moon by 2024, a lot of political and public support will be required."

Larger image

Categories: ,

Trump's Real Goal Is Mars

By Keith Cowing on July 14, 2019 12:49 PM.

Transcript: NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine on "Face the Nation," July 14, 2019, CBS

Bridenstine: "We also want to keep our eye on what is President Trump's goal - what is his vision? He wants to put an American flag - on Mars. So we go to the Moon to learn how to live on another world."

CBS: "So the first steps [on the Moon] in 2024 will be by a woman?"
Bridenstine: "That's the goal."

Categories: ,

Public Opinion Pivots Toward Mars

By Keith Cowing on July 13, 2019 1:42 PM.

For First Time, Majority in U.S. Backs Human Mission to Mars, Gallup

"Americans' views about landing an astronaut on Mars have shifted, with a majority now favoring the idea for the first time since 1969 and 1999, when majorities opposed the idea. The latest figure comes as President Donald Trump has committed to a manned Mars mission. In his Fourth of July speech, the president said, "We're going to be back on the moon ... and, someday soon, we will plant the American flag on Mars." Gallup first asked Americans about attempting to land astronauts on Mars in 1969, shortly after the U.S. accomplished the same feat on the moon. At that time, just 39% were in favor and 53% opposed. A subsequent update on the 30th anniversary of the moon landing found public opinion had changed little, with 43% in favor and 54% opposed to going to Mars."

Categories: ,

NASA Admits That SLS Is A "Jobs Program". Wow. Who Knew?

By Keith Cowing on July 13, 2019 11:16 AM.

NASA Moves Forward With Plans For Multi-Billion-Dollar Moon Rocket, NPR

"[NASA SLS Core Stage Manufacturing Manager Chad] BRYANT: Think of it as a jobs program. So we're taking - all of the funding that is given us to build this rocket, we're creating jobs everywhere. And not only that, we're all coming together to build a product that is going to make us proud to be Americans."

Earlier SLS posts


Is There Another NASA Destination Pivot Ahead? (Update)

By Keith Cowing on July 13, 2019 11:00 AM.

Categories: ,

Gerstenmaier Out As HEOMD AA

By Marc Boucher on July 10, 2019 9:07 PM.

Leadership Changes in Human Exploration and Operations Mission Directorate, NASA Memo

As you know, NASA has been given a bold challenge to put the first woman and the next man on the Moon by 2024, with a focus on the ultimate goal of sending humans to Mars. In an effort to meet this challenge, I have decided to make leadership changes to the Human Exploration and Operations (HEO) Mission Directorate.

Continue reading: Gerstenmaier Out As HEOMD AA.


NASA JPL Engineers Design Other-Worldly Climbing Robots

By Marc Boucher on July 10, 2019 9:06 PM.

For Climbing Robots, the Sky's the Limit, NASA

"Robots can drive on the plains and craters of Mars, but what if we could explore cliffs, polar caps and other hard-to-reach places on the Red Planet and beyond? Designed by engineers at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, a four-limbed robot named LEMUR (Limbed Excursion Mechanical Utility Robot) can scale rock walls, gripping with hundreds of tiny fishhooks in each of its 16 fingers and using artificial intelligence (AI) to find its way around obstacles. In its last field test in Death Valley, California, in early 2019, LEMUR chose a route up a cliff while scanning the rock for ancient fossils from the sea that once filled the area."

Marc's note: I had the opportunity to see some early prototype climbing robots on Devon Island in the high arctic where they were being tested in an analog environment alongside an exploration team. To me, it's clear when humans return to the moon and venture beyond we'll need our robot helpers. However, some within the space community aren't as convinced and argue that humans should stay on Terra firma. IMHO that's ridiculous.


More stories for July.


Monthly Archives

NASA Space Station On-Orbit Status 12 July 2019 - New Crew Coming With New Experiments

NASA Space Station On-Orbit Status 12 July 2019 - New Crew Coming With New Experiments Video in Story

The International Space Station is gearing up for a pair of spaceships launching next weekend to deliver a new crew and more science and supplies.

More updates...