Congress, NASA, Pentagon

Briefs: Palazzo visits Stennis, recalling NPOESS missteps

Rep. Steven Palazzo (R-MS) paid his first visit to NASA’s Stennis Space Center as chairman of the space subcommittee of the House Science, Space and Technology Committee on Tuesday. Palazzo indicated he’d be looking out for the center, located in his district, while in Congress. “We have the infrastructure here to be able to do anything we want to do. Some questions are what is the mission of NASA for the future, and I think it’s going to be space exploration and manned flight,” he told local TV station WLOX.

Surprise, surprise: the various agencies involved in the NPOESS weather satellite program “failed time and again in their management and oversight” of the program, according to an Aerospace Corporation study of the program, DoD Buzz reports. Combining formerly-separate civil and military satellite programs, with a “hydra-headed management system”, and loading the spacecraft with a large number of sensors, contributed to the problems that led the administration a year ago to split NPOESS into separate NOAA/NASA and DoD programs. “What happened was a series of unfortunate events. If only one of them had happened it could have been recoverable, but mistake after mistake was made,” former congressional staffer and Pentagon official Josh Hartman told DoD Buzz.

31 comments to Briefs: Palazzo visits Stennis, recalling NPOESS missteps

  • I wonder if Rep. Palazzo wore a pig snout mask while touring Stennis …

    And is he related to famed tenor/baseball umpire Enrique Palazzo?

  • amightywind

    We have the infrastructure here to be able to do anything we want to do. Some questions are what is the mission of NASA for the future, and I think it’s going to be space exploration and manned flight

    The siege is over at last! A first step to recovery is congressional leadership that supports in the HSF mission. Now perhaps the post shuttle development era can resume without further interference from wild-eyed Whitehouse activists.

  • Robert G. Oler

    “Wind”…Col Flagg would be pleased with you…

    carry on Robert G. Oler

  • Robert,
    I’m afraid not even Col Flagg could beat ablastofhotair when it comes disjointed interpretation and misrepresentation of the facts.

  • Major Tom

    “A first step to recovery is congressional leadership that supports in the HSF mission.”

    Palazzo has an admirable Marine service record, but appointing a freshman to chair a subcommittee, especially a subcommittee already so weak that it was forced to accept the Senate version of their major authorization legislation last year, is hardly the definition of “leadership”, “congressional” or otherwise.

    “Now perhaps the post shuttle development era can resume without further interference from wild-eyed Whitehouse activists.”

    The White House is required to set priorities and produce a budget proposal for running the executive branch, including NASA, every fiscal year. That’s not “interference” or “activism”. It’s called separation of powers. Read a middle school civics textbook.

    Sigh…

  • Robert G. Oler

    Rick Boozer wrote @ February 2nd, 2011 at 10:00 am

    yeah…ah Flagg…the line where he asked Burns if Burns was a “loyal American” and Burns replied “I believe that if we do not blindly follow our leaders our democracy cannot work”.

    Flagg replieds “Spoken like a true Patriot”

    sorry off topic

    Robert G. Oler

  • Robert G. Oler

    “Combining formerly-separate civil and military satellite programs, with a “hydra-headed management system”, and loading the spacecraft with a large number of sensors, contributed to the problems that led the administration a year ago to split NPOESS into separate NOAA/NASA and DoD programs. “What happened was a series of unfortunate events”

    I should read the full report but well life is depressing enough. There is nothing new in this sentence…it could have stopped with “hudra-headed management” and yet what is amazing is that 1) someone let this happen and 2) no one sensed that it wasnt working.

    There was a great line uttered by a classmate of mine at the Five Sided Building in a Congressional hearing a few years back. someone asked him what was the key to victory in Iraq and his reply was “Have AQ adopt our procurement methods, it has nearly brought us to our knees”.

    Robert G. Oler

  • NASA Fan

    @ Robert: “…no one sensed that it wasn’t working

    Robert, it’s been my experience taking major projects through major independent reviews, that many of the panelist are cheerleaders for the mission, and while some members do see the problems in moving forward, there is an aversion to stopping the train. Not sure why that is.

    To wit: the JWST fiasco was known years in advance by many people involved….

    NPOESS was no different.

    Human beings….got to love ‘em. ;)

  • space123

    Yes, the President has proposed his budget, and raised it for NASA. However, the increase in money is seen for non-HSF stuff. The manned program that was in place HE CANCELLED. Or can someone tell me the name of the new HSF program? Anyone… Anyone…

  • I wonder if Rep. Palazzo wore a pig snout mask while touring Stennis …

    LOL, he probably had it in his back pocket next to his cute curly tail.

    The siege is over at last! A first step to recovery is congressional leadership that supports in the HSF mission. Now perhaps the post shuttle development era can resume without further interference from wild-eyed Whitehouse activists.

    Bwahahahahahahahahahahahaha!!!!! Funnier than stale beer and cold chicken-wings Windy!

    Cut everything but the pork to the Red State NASA districts?

    Surrre. That’s the ticket! ROTFFLMAO!!!

  • amightywind

    especially a subcommittee already so weak that it was forced to accept the Senate version of their major authorization legislation last year

    I cannot vouch for the actions of the 111th congress. The American people clearly had a case of buyer’s remorse. Even the most fervent of Obama cheerleaders cannot be pleased with NASA’s current state.

    Mr. Oler,

    “You think you’re real smart. But you’re not smart; you’re dumb. Very dumb. But you’ve met your match in me.”

    http://mash.wikia.com/wiki/Colonel_Sam_Flagg

  • Or can someone tell me the name of the new HSF program?

    Why does it have to have a name? Billions in funds were requested for human spaceflight.

    The American people clearly had a case of buyer’s remorse.

    The American people were barely paying attention.

    Even the most fervent of Obama cheerleaders cannot be pleased with NASA’s current state.

    NASA’s current state is a result of porkmongers in Congress who don’t seem to give a rat’s patoot about whether or not we’re actually accomplishing anything with the billions they want to waste.

  • Major Tom

    “I cannot vouch for the actions of the 111th congress.”

    You have previously. You supported Constellation, which NASA’s House authorization subcommittee in the prior Congress, tried to resurrect in their version of the 2010 NASA Authorization Act. That version never got out of committee, and that was with the guidance of a chair who at least had a couple terms in the House under her belt.

    Now the new Congress has put a freshman member with even less House experience (and less state legislative experience) than the prior chair in charge of this same subcommittee. If NASA, civil human space flight, and especially Constellation were priorities in the new Congress, the House leadership would have directed the chair to a representative with at least a modicum of experience. Instead, NASA’s House authorization subcommittee has become a training ground for a freshman chair.

    “Even the most fervent of Obama cheerleaders cannot be pleased with NASA’s current state.”

    What does the White House have to do with “NASA’s current state”? Shelby, not Obama, sponsored the Constellation earmark that has needlessly drained NASA’s human space flight program of hundreds of millions of dollars. And it’s Congress, not the White House, that has failed to pass any FY 2011 appropriations bills (NASA or otherwise).

    C’mon, learn middle school civics and think before you post.

    Sigh…

  • Robert G. Oler

    NASA Fan wrote @ February 2nd, 2011 at 11:57 am

    @ Robert: “…no one sensed that it wasn’t working

    “Robert, it’s been my experience taking major projects through major independent reviews, that many of the panelist are cheerleaders for the mission, and while some members do see the problems in moving forward, there is an aversion to stopping the train. Not sure why that is.”

    People who stop the train, or even try are usually either run over by it or shot when the train comes to a halt and then are the folks who usually get the institutional blame for why the train stopped.

    There is a great scene in Under Siege where they are all sitting around the “disaster”" table and the “SpooK” (who is completely responsible for the mess ) looks over at his side kick and says “we can blame the cook”.

    Along side of this, and the GOP is completely to blame here…the notion of almost unlimited deficit spending has tossed out the window any notion of accountability. Use to be when there was a finite amount of money and things were not going well in a project the notion would drift down that “there have got to be changes” or the thing has got to be cancelled. IN WW2 when there was almost unlimited spending, there were however checks in that projects actually had to work or people got killed and we could lose the war…

    But now…its always “we can spend that”. Kay Bailey Hutchinson was sitting in some Senate hearing trying desperatly to get another launch for the shuttle and when told the money was about a billion more she said something like (I have the DVD) “we have that”. of course we do.

    IN the military at least to be the “naysayer” of a project is kind of like Pentagon Wars. O-4′s who are on a project want to become O-5′s and O-5′s want to become O-6′s….etc… that doesnt happen by being critical just “making the project move forward”. Sometimes it nails you…the O-5 who was caught “gundecking” the v-22 numbers was so obvious he had to go…and finally the A-12 project got so absurd that well some people had to be “left behind”…but those are rare.

    YOu dont have to go to far in Clear Lake (and oddly we keep getting invited to parties) to run into people who just made every wrong decisionin the book on Columbia…but they have explanations and one of them is…”we didnt mean to do it”.

    On projects it goes something like “If we can keep this going another year, then I can move on to something else with a good fitrep and if I say “this isnt working” well we all know what happened to Tom Connolly. and he was an Admiral…”

    This creeps into industry…see the Dreamliner!

    At some point if we are to Ifas a society, a technical society we are going to have to have leaders who figuratively shoot managers who allow these failures to occur. LInda Ham instead of staying with NASA in a meaningful role is sent to Space Center Houston, someone with the F-35 is releaved on the spot and canned in a scene from “Branded”. And in politics we do the same…

    oh it will happen but I am not hopeful. Mark Whittington is still making excuses for Rumsfeld!

    Robert G. Oler

  • Vladislaw

    “Or can someone tell me the name of the new HSF program? Anyone”

    What is the name of the airline that an astronaut rides from California to Florida and then takes a shuttle ride into space to work for six months at the ISS?

    What is the name of the airline that an astronaut rides from California to Florida and then takes a commercial spaceline into space to work for six months at the ISS?

    The answer is .. who cares what the name is of a transporation service a worker takes to get to work.

    You just don’t get it,

    President Obama is helping to create a DOMESTIC commercial spacelines industry for the Nation. This will be a dual use system and the prices will be lower because of an increased government/commercial passanger flight rate.

    You have to rid yourself of thinking that space = program.

    Space is a place not a program.

    I would prefer the Nation to have the least expensive flight costs to LEO and redundant providers so NASA has more funds for space based infrastructure.

    The Nation is ill served to have a single point failure system again, like the shuttle, that when something happens we have to shut down the entire Nation’s access to LEO, after 50 years, that is unacceptable. Five years+ were lost on those two shuttle accidents.

    The Nation has finally gained an ‘off world’ foothold into space and a transportation hub to push further outward.

  • Robert G. Oler

    Vladislaw wrote @ February 2nd, 2011 at 5:23 pm

    good post Robert G. Oler

  • DCSCA

    Rand Simberg wrote @ February 2nd, 2011 at 3:30 pm
    NASA’s current ‘state’ is a result of hard decisions made 40 years ago in the Nixon administration aggravated by the poison of Reaganomics injected into space policy nearly 30 years ago.

  • Coastal Ron

    Vladislaw wrote @ February 2nd, 2011 at 5:23 pm

    Space is a place not a program.

    It’s amazing that people have to be reminded of this.

    With this upcoming group of Congressional committee members, we’ll see who the real capitalists are, and who are porkers. The only bright spot is that commercial crew is on the books as law, and it can survive on far less funding than SLS + MPCV.

    Commercial crew also needs far less development time than SLS + MPCV, so unless Congress provides enough funding for SLS + MPCV (unlikely), it will be clear by next year that the only path to replacing Soyuz is commercial crew.

    It’s going to be an interesting year…

  • Byeman

    “aggravated by the poison of Reaganomics injected into space policy nearly 30 years ago.”

    More unsubstantiated nonsense. Not one bit of truth in that statement.

  • Doug Lassiter

    “Some questions are what is the mission of NASA for the future, and I think it’s going to be space exploration and manned flight.”

    Yuk, yuk. Anyone who has read the Space Act knows what the “mission of NASA” is. Human space flight, as important as it might be, isn’t in it. For a Space and Aeronautics Subcommittee chair to take the view that he can independently define the agency is laughable. Also, we have to smile at what appears to be his belief that space exploration means human space flight.

    Palazzo’s trajectory would seem to be towards the marginalization of that subcommittee. His track record on space issues is zero. I think he knows that space is, er, up. Of course, his new COS, Erskine Wells, has some purview on NASA though his former boss, Senator Wicker. Wicker spent some time on Commerce/Space, and if I recall, cosponsored legislation (which never made it out of committee) to protect Constellation last year. But yes, Palazzo is in it simply to protect Stennis which, he is learning, has something to do with space, and gets it’s checks signed by NASA.

  • common sense

    @ Coastal Ron wrote @ February 2nd, 2011 at 7:16 pm

    “It’s going to be an interesting year…”

    Interesting but tiresome… I am wondering when Congress will stop making a fool of itself… Is there ever going to be a chance they put the people of the United States first? Democrats and Republicans are at fault. But I have to say that Democrats in Congress are a special breed of hypocrits. They had almost 2 years to use the political capital they earned when this WH incredibly won the presidency and they dragged their feet. Unbelievable! They did not want to vote for healthcare reform lest they’d be ousted. Well guess what! They were ousted. The public needs winners not whiners. And it applies as well to HSF, see Nelson for example. If they don’t make a statement someone else will. And the one that makes the statement will win. I fear 2012 to some extent. I wish the Republicans had a REAL candidate associated with their values not “the values” if you see what I mean. But to win they will try anything. I cannot imagine a President Palin, worse, I can imagine a President Palin and that is very, very scary. Sorry off topic. Somewhat.

  • Robert G. Oler

    common sense wrote @ February 2nd, 2011 at 11:13 pm

    @ Coastal Ron wrote @ February 2nd, 2011 at 7:16 pm
    …”

    Interesting but tiresome… I am wondering when Congress will stop making a fool of itself………………………………………..

    Hello

    For those of us who follow space policy in my view we have been very very lucky the last two years that inertia, sloth, and the inability to do anything really functional on the part of NASA and the folks who are running crewed flight…coupled with some reasonably enlightened efforts by Boldin, the AC, and yes (and I choke on this a bit) Garver…have all somehow meshed together to give us the “vector” that we are going to get.

    A lot of this is Charlie. As I predicted here when he was named this is Charlies style of management and leadership, and he is methodically making the political moves to change the direction of NASA HSF

    Parts of it as well are just the fact that the various programs started under Griffin simply are collapsing and thats kind of pushed us into the need for change. That coupled with the economic mess left by the last administration..well Bolden has manuevered in the environment he was given and in my view has done well.

    None of it is going as fast as I like but it is going about as fast as federal change can occur in the absence of strong very strong Presidential leadership and Obama has just not proved adequate to the task.

    There is almost nothing the last administration did that I agree with, but in the skills of leadership defined as “changing the direction of public debate”…the last administration was amazing at that. I dont like the direction and think that the nation is screwed for it…it is about the worst direction of leadership since oh Lord Raglan in the Crimiean war but both got people to follow them.

    Obama sadly as not lead very well…and I am starting to feel that he simply does not have it in him…which makes the space change all the more impressive.

    Robert G. Oler.

  • Dennis Berube

    Somehow I cannot understand how anyone today could not push for human spaceflight. Kepler has just discovered more Earth like planets in life zones around distant stars, and I hope we can at some point detect whether life inhabits these places or not. If one is discovered with life, then the question becomes, how do we get there? How can even the politicians not be amazed and interested in pushing the final frontier to itslimits. We live in great times, if only we can curb our wars.

  • Doug Lassiter

    “Somehow I cannot understand how anyone today could not push for human spaceflight.”

    Fair question, though somehow we also can’t understand how anyone today could not push for all the things we do to credibly improve our quality of life. Those are the things that compete for funding with human space flight. Sorry, but shaking hands with a resident of an Earth-like planet is not one of those things. The investments we’re arguing about these days have nothing to do with sending people to distant stars, any more than they have to do with increasing a human lifetime to a thousand years or magically materializing vast quantities of food out of the ether.

    Let me help you understand. The value of human spaceflight hasn’t been clearly established compared with the value of investments on other frontiers. From the perspective of entertaining adventure, and perhaps for species preservation, I hope it can be. But for many people, it hasn’t passed the smell test.

  • @ablastofhotair

    Mr. Oler,

    “You think you’re real smart. But you’re not smart; you’re dumb. Very dumb. But you’ve met your match in me.”

    http://mash.wikia.com/wiki/Colonel_Sam_Flagg

    You are hilarious! By saying the above cited statement, Col Flagg inadvertently called himself dumb while thinking he was only calling the person he was addressing dumb. The fact that you used this quote to retort Oler means that you called yourself dumb because you misinterpreted what the statement was inadvertently saying in the same way that Flagg did. Now we can add lack of understanding of the word irony to the list of logical deficiencies that you have so often earlier demonstrated. :)

  • amightywind

    The fact that you used this quote to retort Oler means that you called yourself dumb because you misinterpreted what the statement was inadvertently saying in the same way that Flagg did.

    Nothing gets by you. But I was using irony on top of irony. Think about it, if it doesn’t hurt too much.

  • “But I was using irony on top of irony.”

    Sure you were. ;)

  • Further explanation.

    I’m sure you were being ironic in the past when you claimed that every one who supported the administration’s space plan were left wing.

    That is also the case when you claimed the first launch of Falcon 9 had not made it to orbit long after it was manifestly apparent that it did. You were just joking.

    Also you prior claims of being a true TEA partier are entirely consistent with your desire to continue the waste of tax money through continuing the prior status quo.

    And you have no ulterior motives a la ATK for wanting the status quo continued.

    In case you missed it, ALL of my above comments were BOTH sarcasm AND irony.

  • common sense

    @ Robert G. Oler wrote @ February 3rd, 2011 at 5:36 am

    Note that I did not speak of Charles Bolden but rather of our dear Congress. I still question Bolden’s choice to keep some of the CxP execs in place but I can see that with a reluctant Congress it might be the only way, until Constellation, or so-of-Constellation, is effectively disbanded.

    I can somehow understand the inertia of our federal government but, and this why I used the parallel to political capital, when Bush though he could forge ahead he just did and everyone, almost, followed him, even into two, or at least one, idiotic wars. Now, what is it with Democrats? They just cannot follow an elected leader? Why? They fear the Republicans so much? If so why don’t they go do something easy like run CxP for example? Remember “In democracy we get the government we deserve”. So here is what we deserve: http://www.house.gov and http://www.senate.gov Pretty sad I think.

    The President MUST lead that is a fact. But he needs people to lead. Where are the people to be led? In the case of the Democrats are they hiding behind the Republicans? We need to find them to go forward. How’s Nelson helping his lead. See “leading” is a 2 way street. You can lead whatever you like if people do not want to be led you go nowhere.

    The people of the USA elected a leader, the President. The people of the USA are represented by Congress. Yet Congress chooses to not be led. Don’t you think there is a problem?

  • James T

    Dennis Berube wrote @ February 3rd, 2011 at 6:56 am

    “Somehow I cannot understand how anyone today could not push for human spaceflight. Kepler has just discovered more Earth like planets in life zones around distant stars, and I hope we can at some point detect whether life inhabits these places or not. If one is discovered with life, then the question becomes, how do we get there?”

    If by “push for human spaceflight” you’re referring to programs like Constellation or the SLS, then I have to tell you that those programs won’t bring us ANY closer to reaching beyond our solar system. We need to focus on technology development if we want to get to the next stage of space exploration and we’ll need significantly more technology development to take us beyond our solar system.

    People seem to take the position that ending our government run launch capabilities for a few years is a disaster of some kind, like it’s the end of HSF forever. But just getting people into space isn’t enough. They need the appropriate equipment to accomplish their missions and be able to live for the duration of that mission and have an acceptable level of health when they get back. If we keep spending the amount of money that we do on unsustainable launch systems, and don’t have enough left over for the ground breaking science, then all we’re doing is sending people into orbit… maybe to the moon again… and not much else.

    People need to end this completely ridiculous conception that not spending money on a government run launch system is somehow an anti-HSF position. It’s not! In fact it is just the opposite. We’re trying to make the developments that we need to go beyond our current capabilities. And also, supporting commercial access to space leads us down the road to eventually providing all humans with a way to get into space, not just the super-elite with years of training.

    At 4 light years away, ever our closest star is way beyond our current reach. We’re going to need to continue with our baby steps before we can run. Unfortunately some people insist on repeating the same baby steps over and over again.

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