Congress, NASA

NASA complying with Senate request for documents

It appears that the threat of a Senate subpoena was sufficient to get NASA’s attention. Florida Today reports that NASA is providing the Senate Commerce Committee with documents it requested last week. The report is unclear whether the agency had actually delivered those documents to the committee by its deadline of 6 pm Eastern time yesterday, or had simply agreed to provide the documents and made other arrangements. In a letter last week to NASA administrator Charles Bolden, the chairman and ranking member of the Senate Commerce Committee warned they would issue a subpoena for documents regarding NASA’s plans for the Space Launch System and Multi-Purpose Crew Vehicle if NASA didn’t comply with their request by Monday.

47 comments to NASA complying with Senate request for documents

  • Perhaps NASA had intended to deliver the documents all along at this particular time and the threatening letter was a coincidence. Or perhaps Rockefeller/Hutcheson knew this and sent the letter as a stunt to strut their “power.”

  • Speaking of Ms. Hutcheson … I just came across this June 23 guest editorial she co-authored with Bill Nelson, patting themselves on the back for the NASA Authorization Act:

    The blueprint we ushered through the Congress last fall also will help reduce the economic impact of the shuttle’s retirement. We made every effort to boost the aerospace industry and take advantage of an extremely skilled NASA work force. We also were able to avoid huge cuts at a time when Congress is slashing across the board.

    More proof it’s all about pork to them. NASA is not a jobs program. It’s supposed to be an aeronautics and space research agency.

  • Dennis Berube

    NASA even as an agency for whatever cause, is a jobs program. If they are paying someone to do aeronautical research, then they are paying someone to do a job. IF NASA can produce jobs that give us great science, then what is wrong with that? If we do not push off into space, we will go the way of the dinosaur!

  • Egad

    The Florida Today headline, “NASA gives Senate panel documents on heavy-lift rocket,” isn’t obviously consistent with the first two paragraphs of the following story. In fact, the story seems to be saying just the opposite: NASA’s working on it, compliance to come sometime in the future. And no subpoena. Maybe the matter will be clarified today.

    WASHINGTON — The deadline Monday passed without a threatened Senate subpoena being issued for NASA documents about development of its next heavy-lift rocket.

    “The agency is working to respond to the Senate commerce committee request and compiling the records requested,” NASA spokesman J.D. Harrington said Monday.

  • Jim Hillhouse

    Score one for the Rule of Law and vigorous Congressional oversight. I know most here hate the space policy created by the Senate CST Committee. but SLS and Orion are going to get us back into the exploration game.

  • Mark R, Whittington

    Fascinating how the awe of the angry law will motivate people.

  • Egad

    I checked this with a source who, as the saying goes, is in a position to know. Apparently NASA has provided the Committee with some documents, but the Committee isn’t saying (or hasn’t decided) if they’re enough to satisfy the Committee’s concerns.

  • “IF NASA can produce jobs that give us great science, then what is wrong with that? If we do not push off into space, we will go the way of the dinosaur!”
    There would be nothing wrong as long as the result isn’t only jobs without the “great science” or any other benefit. Do you not see the contradiction in your statement? Projects like Constellation and SLS may give people jobs, but you won’t get “the push into space” that you want. The vehicles won’t get built because Congress will not appropriate the money to keep them progressing at a reasonable rate when they go way over budget and far behind schedule.

    I want the U.S. to be number 1 in human spacefaring nation and Commercial Crew appears to be the only economically practical way to do that. If you really care about this country’s future in space as much as I and others do, you’ll put aside the pipe dream.

  • Oops, typo. Should have said:
    I want the U.S. to be number 1 in human spacefaring and Commercial Crew appears to be the only economically practical way to do that. If you really care about this country’s future in space as much as I and others do, you’ll put aside the pipe dream.

  • amightywind

    The stonewalling from Bolden is inexplicable. He cannot possibly function with a hostile congress. What will it take to get the information? Jail time? My guess is Obama abandons him soon.

  • Justin Kugler

    How is that going to work, Jim? There is no strategy for how to use them.

  • Major Tom

    “NASA even as an agency for whatever cause, is a jobs program.”

    There are jobs that exist because they are the most appropriate, effective, and efficient way to get a task done. Then there are jobs that exist to maintain votes in certain states and congressional districts. NASA’s civil human space flight program has become dominated by the latter.

    “Score one for the Rule of Law and vigorous Congressional oversight.”

    It’s about pork and votes, not the rule of law or good oversight.

    “SLS and Orion are going to get us back into the exploration game.”

    No, SLS/MPCV have gotten us out of the exploration game. They’ve sucked up all the budget for any actual human space exploration hardware and technology development. There are no exploration payloads for SLS or exploration capabilities for MPCV.

    “The stonewalling from Bolden is inexplicable. He cannot possibly function with a hostile congress. What will it take to get the information? Jail time?”

    Bolden will testify publicly on SLS for the House:

    http://science.house.gov/hearing/full-committee-hearing-review-nasa%E2%80%99s-space-launch-system

    And will address the National Press Club this week:

    http://press.org/events/npc-luncheon-charles-f-bolden-jr-administrator-nasa

    The question is not why is Bolden stonewalling — he’s obviously not. The question is why Hutchison and her staff can’t comprehend information that will be available in the public domain unless it’s delivered to them seperately under empty legal threats.

    FWIW…

  • amightywind

    How is that going to work, Jim? There is no strategy for how to use them.

    Yeah, you’re right. We’ve already been to the moon. Lets just keep doing what we’re doing. Those green spaceflight game changers will be delivered any day now. In the meantime, we can continue to spend $ billions studying insect flight dynamics in zero-g, and no one will notice.

    The question is why Hutchison and her staff can’t comprehend information…

    I’m sure that attitude goes over well on The Hill.

  • Coastal Ron

    Justin Kugler wrote @ June 28th, 2011 at 1:18 pm

    How is that going to work, Jim? There is no strategy for how to use them.

    Good point Justin. And no budget either.

    How’s that supposed to help exploration, Jim?

    When do the mythical SLS exploration payloads get funded, Jim?

    How long will the SLS sit around consuming NASA’s budget before Congress finally gets around to funding something to do with it, Jim?

  • Dennis Berube wrote @ June 28th, 2011 at 8:19 am
    >>If they are paying someone to do aeronautical research, then they are paying someone to do a job.

    NACA was created because the American aviation industry was already falling behind the rest of the world – in 1915! NACA was a servant of industry, to provide the R&D and fund the prototypes industry needed but could not afford, and it helped the US civil aviation industry to lead the world.

    >>If we do not push off into space, we will go the way of the dinosaur!

    That requires a practical way of getting into space. The fuel costs almost nothing. The cost is all in building an expendable vehicle for every flight. If we spend all our money on billion dollar launches we will not have any money to build a sustainable system for human spaceflight.

    Going back to ELVs and capsules is like throwing airliners away after every flight. It’s like supporting a base at the South Pole with dogsleds. It’s like flying only the Wright Flyer until 1933 and then giving up on heavier-than-air and going back to balloons!

    Yet we are about to fire the most motivated workforce in the world- the people (none of them NASA) who actually put their hands on the Shuttles every day. They are the very people that know what we need to do to make a new generation of shuttles that would be practical and safe.

  • Alex

    I’m with Major Tom. If anything all of this has moved TOO FAST. Authorization was passed in Fall ’10. Actual appropriations — in the form of a 6-month CR — was only passed in March. In that time, NASA has rushed studies that re-selected Orion and (seemingly) re-selected Ares V, only with a smaller diameter. And all along the way they’ve been badgered to pull together reams of paper and binders full of printed out emails and rough-drafts for a Congress that’s not interested in NASA finding the best answer to an already politically motivated make-work project, but a Congress that’s rushing them precisely so NASA has no other choice but to begin work on Congress’s preferred architecture. All of the shady business afoot during this farce has been on Congress’s end.

  • Egad

    > The question is why Hutchison and her staff …

    Also Rockefeller & staff. The subpoena letter threatened to escalate the SLS matter from a technical/pork/wonk issue that very few people outside a few congressional districts cared about to an Executive-Congressional clash that might draw much more attention and scrutiny. Which attention and scrutiny the Committee really shouldn’t want. The Senators and staff work in DC, should be attuned to the political aspects of such matters. What are they thinking?

  • Mark R, Whittington

    It looks like NASA has not complied with the Senate by handing over all of the documents required for proper oversight of the space agency. That suggests one of two things.
    (1) NASA really can’t find the documents requested, which suggests incompetence on an epic scale. You would think that record keeping is something a bureaucracy would get right.
    (2) NASA is stalling because it has something to hide. The implications of that possibility are just mind blowing. Despite some of the yammering of some of the people posting here, NASA cannot choose what laws it can follow and what they can ignore.

  • Matt Wiser

    Mark is correct: When Congress tells NASA (or any government agency for that matter) to do something, they’d best do as Congress tells ‘em to. Or else. As in NO FUNDING. Want to bet this is because Charlie Bolden is trying to protect the FY 12 budget for commercial crew/cargo at the expense of MPCV/Orion and Heavy-Lift, as Nelson, Hutchinson, Shelby, etc, have been maintaining all along? If that’s the case, watch out. We’ll see a repeat of last year, where Congress throws out the Administration’s budget request and writes its own. And it’s not just those three: Mikulski (Chair, Senate Sci/Tech subcommittee in Appropriations) Boxer (ugh-can’t stand her, and she’s one of my two Senators), Feinstein (she’s OK for the most part), along with Hatch, Vitter, and Landreau have been critical of NASA’s stone-walling.

  • Coastal Ron

    Matt Wiser wrote @ June 28th, 2011 at 9:52 pm

    If that’s the case, watch out. We’ll see a repeat of last year, where Congress throws out the Administration’s budget request and writes its own.

    You mean when the Administration got 80% of what they wanted?

    - Constellation cancelled
    - ISS saved and extended
    - Commercial Crew funded

    We had a party – didn’t you get an invitation?

    Sure SLS was added, but as many of the Senator’s have stated publicly, the SLS was inserted to save jobs. If they actually wanted it used, they would have funded a series of payloads for it, but they haven’t. I rest my case.

    With the battles over the budget unlikely to go away, the SLS will be up for cancellation no later than 2013.

  • Justin Kugler

    So, we’re just supposed to let Congress drive us to another train wreck like Constellation, Wiser? NASA leadership should have the integrity to speak truth to power. The course they’re trying to set us on is no more sustainable for exploration than Constellation. If both the CBO and GAO said NASA hadn’t closed the business case for CxP, what sense does it make to constrain the budget, schedule, and technical requirements – by legislative fiat, no less – further?

  • Fred Willett

    Meanwhile the space economy continues to grow. Up 7.7% over the last 12 months the global space economy stands at $276B
    http://www.thespacereport.org/files/The_Space_Report_2011_exec_summary.pdf
    compare this with NASA’s flat at the best and possibly shrinking budget.
    NASA is currently <7% of the space economy while Commercial is nearly 70%. The space economy grows by more than the entire NASA budget every year. Most of that growth is commercial.
    NASA is becoming less relevant every year.
    Unfortunately congress is not helping. They have shunted the NASA train onto a dead end track. Requiring NASA to build a HLV without providing sufficient funds, and worse no mission and no money for payloads means NASA risks becoming totally irrelevant.

  • Das Boese

    amightywind wrote @ June 28th, 2011 at 2:19 pm

    Yeah, you’re right. We’ve already been to the moon. Lets just keep doing what we’re doing.

    Since you don’t have a funded lunar lander, surface hardware or mission outline, you hardly have any choice.

    Those green spaceflight game changers will be delivered any day now. In the meantime, we can continue to spend $ billions studying insect flight dynamics in zero-g, and no one will notice.

    Your quickness to demean scientific experiments that you don’t understand exposes you as the primitive ignoramus you are. It also nicely illustrates that you do not actually care about spaceflight beyond its appeal as a crude display of alleged superiority.

    Biological experiments on the ISS are more relevant to BEO spaceflight than the entirety of work done on Constellation to date.

  • Das Boese

    Your congresscritters should be careful what they wish for, they just might get it.

  • Major Tom

    “Yeah, you’re right. We’ve already been to the moon. Lets just keep doing what we’re doing.”

    Mr. Kugler was pointing out that SLS leaves no budget for actual exploration hardware. It makes no sense to build an HLLV with no resources for payloads. A strategy that starts and ends with building a really big, useless rocket may or may not be a good plan for retaining Shuttle workforce votes in certain states and districts. But it is definitely not an exploration plan.

    SLS repeats what NASA’s human space flight program has been doing for the past 40-odd years — assembling and reassembling Shuttle systems and launching them to Earth orbit. If you want to go to the Moon or anywhere else, Mr. Kugler is right. You’re going to have to ditch those expensive Shuttle systems to make room in the budget for transit stages, landers, and other, actual exploration hardware.

    “Those green spaceflight game changers will be delivered any day now.”

    No, they won’t, because SLS already ate that budget.

    (And needed technologies like nuclear power/propulsion are hardly “green”.)

    “I’m sure that attitude goes over well on The Hill.”

    There’s no attitude. It’s a legitimate question. If the House Science, Space and Technology Committee is getting the information it needs from NASA via normal, public hearings and RTQs, then why does Senator Hutchison need to resort to empty legal threats? Is she somehow different from the rest of Congress? Is it because she’s nearing retirement and has nothing to lose? What is Senator Hutchison and/or her staff’s major malfunction? Why can’t they comprehend what the rest of Congress understands?

    “It looks like NASA has not complied with the Senate by handing over all of the documents required for proper oversight of the space agency. That suggests one of two things.”

    Or, the third thing, as Bolden actually wrote in his letter to Hutchison, that it’s predecisional, draft material subject to OMB Circulars:

    “Among the documents we have located thus far is a collection of 19 preliminary drafts of NASA’s initial report pursuant to section 309 of the NASA Authorization Act of 2010, including four drafts that were exchanged between NASA and the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) pursuant to the requirements provided in OMB Circular A-11. NASA has substantial confidentiality interests in this internal, predecisional material, which is generally kept confidential because its release could chill robust and candid deliberations, inhibiting the vigorous analysis and debate that should lie at the core of NASA’s decision- making processes. However, NASA recognizes the Committee’s legitimate and important interest in gathering information in aid of its constitutional function. To accommodate that interest, we propose to make the collection of draft reports available immediately for the Committee or its staff to review and take notes at NASA Headquarters, or at Committee offices at a mutually convenient time.”

    http://www.spaceref.com/news/viewsr.html?pid=37556

    Don’t make up lies.

    “Want to bet this is because Charlie Bolden is trying to protect the FY 12 budget for commercial crew/cargo at the expense of MPCV/Orion and Heavy-Lift, as Nelson, Hutchinson, Shelby, etc, have been maintaining all along?”

    That’s idiotic. The FY12 budget for Commercial Crew and Cargo is $850 million (with an “m”). The FY12 budget for SLS/MPCV is over $2.8 billion (with a “b”). SLS/MPCV is already over three times (or 330%) larger than the commercial programs.

    Lawdy…

  • Robert G. Oler

    Mark R, Whittington wrote @ June 28th, 2011 at 6:55 pm

    Sir Humphrey would be sad…and you were the one who let me read the book…(The Yes Minister and Yes Prime Minister series are great)

    The two things you suggest are possible but hardly the limit of what could be happening and not even the most likely one (although the notion of NASA not finding something and you supporting it trying to go to the Moon is enchanting as is the notion of Fox News talking about a tech stimulus!)

    back to the documents. here is the most likely one

    “(3) NASA is stalling because it wants to stall” This is most likely and typical Sir Humphrey. Every day that NASA stalls on the Senate Launch System the more less likely it is that it could be shuttle derived. Daily the shuttle infrastructure “leaves” as do the people…and this is a pretty good way to stall.

    It is a old government and business trick. My saintly father (who bills at 1000 an hour) is fond in a subpoena (and this would be one by a court not some goofy one by the Senate)…to dump some documents and then “find others” as things roll out…there are several reasons for this, if you stall it takes more time and also if you stall the folks who are reading the documents you sent; usually dont read them as hard.

    I’ll see if I can find Sir Humphreys list of how to put off a request by Parliament. RGO

  • Robert G. Oler

    Matt Wiser wrote @ June 28th, 2011 at 9:52 pm

    “Mark is correct: When Congress tells NASA (or any government agency for that matter) to do something, they’d best do as Congress tells ‘em to. Or else. As in NO FUNDING.”

    ah, this is even more goofy then Whittington’s notions. No government agency or government employee works for Congress. Stonewalling them is not even really “‘stonewalling”. As the general said in “Pentagon Wars” …(a great play by Kelsey Grammer) “screw Congress, all we have to do is answer their phone calls and (expletive deleted) them”.

    a shuttle derived vehicle is having a “death panel” moment.

    RGO

  • Robert G. Oler

    vulture4 wrote @ June 28th, 2011 at 3:51 pm

    “Going back to ELVs and capsules is like throwing airliners away after every flight. It’s like supporting a base at the South Pole with dogsleds. It’s like flying only the Wright Flyer until 1933 and then giving up on heavier-than-air and going back to balloons!”

    long day but sorry that analogy is nuts…maybe I can get back to it tomorrow.

    “Yet we are about to fire the most motivated workforce in the world-”

    please stop saying that. All it does is pander to the goofy notions that these people have. They are no more or less motivated then almost any workforce in the US, the folks who build the nuclear subs, work on the flight deck of an aircraft carrier or…well patrol the streets of Fallujah during the worst of taking Anbar.

    I hear this BS every day around Clear Lake and just marvel at the arrogance of the people who say it.

    Robert G. Oler

  • For what it’s worth …

    Rumors abound around the Cape that an event will be held in the next couple weeks announcing the SLS design. One rumor has it the announcement will coincide with the STS-135 launch. Another has it with the landing.

    If you’ve been to the KSC Visitor Complex, you know they’ve had an Orion mockup for sometime outside the gift shop. (Fill in your own punch line.) A new, more detailed mockup was delivered earlier this week and is sitting in a tent over by the Rocket Garden.

    So something is up. The porkers will get their pound of flesh. Personally, I think it’s just a bribe to keep them happy and distracted while CCDev works on the real next-generation spacecraft. Sorta like when you give a screaming infant a rattle and a pacifier.

  • I don’t recall if Jeff posted it, but back on June 14 seven House members sent this letter to Charlie Bolden demanding that NASA “stop studying and re-studying NASA’s Space Launch System (SLS)” and immediately deliver the final design to Congress.

    The seven signatories, of course, represent districts with NASA space centers or major contractors. Included are my two local porkers, Sandy Adams and Bill Posey.

    They cite no use for the SLS other than as a backup for ISS crew rotation after 2016. If that’s its purpose, then it’s massive overkill and a further waste of money.

  • Mark R, Whittington

    Oler is being bizzare by making a hero out of Sir Humphrey Appleby, the inconic bureaucrat who lives solely to protect the bureaucracy from the machinations of people who just happened to have been elected. NASA is playing a very dangerous game with people who are very adroit at making the lives of other people a living hell if they so choose. This could well end, if certain folks on the 9th Floor of NASA Hq are not careful, in a special counsel.

  • amightywind

    Your quickness to demean scientific experiments that you don’t understand exposes you as the primitive ignoramus you are.

    I demean the notion that 3rd rate science receives 1st rate funding. I stand by my observation that ISS science is trivial.

    (2) NASA is stalling because it has something to hide.

    The natural conclusion. One can imagine what the NASA leadership meeting minutes recorded following passage of the SLS funding bill. Don’t expect to find them now. One can imagine the shedding machine running late at NASA HQ.

    The FY12 budget for Commercial Crew and Cargo is $850 million

    That’s the President’s number. Expect the final number to be south of $500 million as per the December budget agreement. I would rather see Newspace funded with 100% nerdwealth rather than taking a subsidy.

  • Robert G. Oler

    Mark R, Whittington wrote @ June 29th, 2011 at 8:20 am

    “Oler is being bizzare by making a hero out of Sir Humphrey Appleby, the inconic bureaucrat who lives solely to protect the bureaucracy from the machinations of people who just happened to have been elected.”

    As is of course the case with Mr. OBama who was elected with very very large margins. If you do not think that the Senate or House are bureaucracies in themselves then you have not been paying attention. The line about a Senate Launch System was inserted by a bureaucrat and unelected one.

    But it is fine to see you defending pork.

    Charlie has dealt with bureaucrats all his life. He can handle this RGO

  • Robert G. Oler

    Stephen C. Smith wrote @ June 29th, 2011 at 7:20 am

    “I don’t recall if Jeff posted it, but back on June 14 seven House members sent this letter to Charlie Bolden demanding that NASA “stop studying and re-studying NASA’s Space Launch System (SLS)” and immediately deliver the final design to Congress.”

    one of my modest joys is to ask our rep (TX-22) on every post that he has on his facebook page to name a single payload for the Senate Launch System.

    exciting RGO

  • Vladislaw

    amightywind wrote:

    “I demean the notion that 3rd rate science receives 1st rate funding. I stand by my observation that ISS science is trivial.”

    Which science is trivial, list about 100 things they are working on there and rate each one SPECIFICALLY and explain why every single one of them is trivial.

  • Martijn Meijering

    Going back to ELVs and capsules is like throwing airliners away after every flight.

    Since you keep on saying this I’m going to have to keep correcting you. It’s not just about capsules (and yes I know you’re saying you’re skeptical about Dream Chaser), the spacecraft are designed to be reusable and you don’t just need an RLV, you also need a spacecraft and CCDev covers that aspect.

    SSTO could be an answer to that, but it is a bridge too far for now and a reusable spacecraft on top of a partially reusable launch vehicle is a step towards RLVs. If it were a case of simply building an RLV it might make sense to just let them do it. If NASA knew how to do it, which they don’t. Or if you and your friends in the Orbiter workforce had the key knowledge to developing RLVs, which you don’t.

    Building subscale RLVs is a good idea, but there is no need to give you and your colleagues right of first refusal or a guaranteed role in the RLV development game. If you want to work on RLVs, why don’t you apply for a job at Blue Origin, SpaceX or one of the suborbital startups?

    In addition, such a subscale demonstrator will do absolutely nothing about restoring US manned access to the ISS within a reasonable timeframe. It could make limited sense as an addition to CCDev, not as a replacement.

  • Robert G. Oler

    vulture4 wrote @ June 28th, 2011 at 3:51 pm

    “Going back to ELVs and capsules is like throwing airliners away after every flight. It’s like supporting a base at the South Pole with dogsleds. It’s like flying only the Wright Flyer until 1933 and then giving up on heavier-than-air and going back to balloons!”

    you say this a lot…but at some point you really need to explain why you think it is valid.

    The South Pole analogy is pretty weak actually. If supply for the South Pole could be done cheaper and more efficiently with dog sleds then any other technology, they would use dog sleds….and for a time that would have been accurate…the airplanes of the day were just to primitive to do any serious resupply of almost anything.

    Post WW2 (when South Pole research really took off) that was no longer accurate because airplanes had improved for OTHER REASONS…and the DC-3 was about as efficient as one can get. The Herk and C-17 do a nice job, but DC-3′s still fly routinely at the South Pole (and in Alaska as well)…

    Ironically of course they are putting together a land bridge to the South Pole (if it is not already functional I have not kept up need to ask on my next ham radio conversation with the polar folks. Why? cold weather vehicle ops (thanks to Alaska) have gotten routine even on really “Ice” surfaces…if that works it will be more efficient then air.

    Space fans make a mistake of getting enamored with technology…but that is only because space ops have never (until now) had to deal with cost. As long as the Douglas is the most efficient mode per pound of cargo…they will still be flying them.

    RGO

  • common sense

    @vulture4

    You have made some interesting comments for quite some time. I hace to say they were the least biased comments I’ve read from a Shuttle enthusiast on this site and elsewhere and therefore I tend to value your comments. However it now appears you are not your usual self. I understand, I think, your emotion about Shuttle but it is way, way too late now. Things started back in 2004.

    As for capsules, they are the simplest most inherently safe vehicles for reentry. It’s not a step back regardless whether it has wings or not. Wings are a liability in the grand scheme of exploration. Further it seems to me that SN is building a NASA derived, Soviet Union derived, lifting boy with wingy appendices.

    In your last comments you seem to lament the loss of jobs, yours maybe? But again this was planned back in 2004. As I said already, go check and you will see the intent was to reduce the Shuttle workforce for the VSE. Despite the political rethoric, Dems and GOPers alike agree this workforce, hence very high cost, has to go. C’est la vie.

    At this point I’d rather see you making constructive comments again and share whatever experience you (may) have on Shuttle to help the industry gets its act together quickly. If the commercials eventually fail then not only do we lose Shuttle but the entire HSF for the foreseeable future in the US. Yes it is crystal ball prediction but it is based on my experience as an aerospace engineer/scientist/whateveryouwantocallme…

    FWIW.

  • Vladislaw

    Here is what wind thinks is trivial science. Developing a pill that eliminates bone loss in space. Gosh, we sure don’t need that.

    Bisphosphonates as a Countermeasure to Space Flight Induced Bone Loss (Bisphosphonates)06.10.11

    Description

    The purpose of this investigation is to determine whether bisphosphonates, in conjunction with the routine in-flight exercise program, protects International Space Station (ISS) crewmembers from the regional decreases in bone mineral density documented on previous ISS flights. Two dosing regimens will be tested: (1) an oral dose of 70 mg of alendronate taken weekly starting 3 weeks prior to flight and then throughout the flight and (2) an intravenous (I.V.) dose of zoledronic acid, 4 mg, administered just once approximately 45 days before flight. The rationale for including both alendronate and zoledronic acid is that two dosing options will: maximize crew participation
    ————-

    Here is the list from just the current expedition.

    “3D-Space (Mental Representation of Spatial Cues During Space Flight)
    ALTEA-Dosi (Anomalous Long Term Effects in Astronauts’ – Dosimetry)
    ALTEA-Shield (Anomalous Long Term Effects in Astronauts’ Central Nervous System – Shield)
    AMS-02 (Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer – 02)
    BCAT-3-4-CP (Binary Colloidal Alloy Test – 3 and 4: Critical Point)
    BCAT-5-3D-Melt (Binary Colloidal Alloy Test – 5: Three-Dimensional Melt)
    BCAT-5-PhaseSep (Binary Colloidal Alloy Test-5: Phase Separation)
    BCAT-5-Seeded_Growth (Binary Colloidal Alloy Test – 5: Seeded Growth)
    BCAT-6-Colloidal_Disks (Binary Colloidal Alloy Test – 6 – Colloidal Disks)
    BCAT-6-Phase_Separation (Binary Colloidal Alloy Test – 6 – Phase Separation)
    BCAT-6-PS-DNA (Binary Colloidal Alloy Test – 6: Polystyrene – Deoxyribonucleic Acid)
    BCAT-6-Seeded_Growth (Binary Colloidal Alloy Test – 6: Seeded Growth)
    BIOKIS (BIOKon In Space)
    Biological_Rhythms (The Effect of Long-term Microgravity Exposure on Cardiac Autonomic Function by Analyzing 24-hours Electrocardiogram)
    Biorisk (Influence of Factors of the Space Environment on the Condition of the System of Microorganisms-Hosts Relating to the Problem of Environmental Safety of Flight Techniques and Planetary Quarantine)
    Biorisk (Influence of Factors of the Space Environment on the Condition of the System of Microorganisms-Hosts Relating to the Problem of Environmental Safety of Flight Techniques and Planetary Quarantine)
    Bisphosphonates (Bisphosphonates as a Countermeasure to Space Flight Induced Bone Loss)
    BRIC-SyNRGE (Biological Research in Canisters Symbiotic Nodulation in a Reduced Gravity Environment)
    Card (Long Term Microgravity: A Model for Investigating Mechanisms of Heart Disease with New Portable Equipment)
    CBTM-3-Sclerostin_Antibody (Commercial Biomedical Testing Module-3: Assessment of sclerostin antibody as a novel bone forming agent for prevention of spaceflight-induced skeletal fragility in mice)
    CCF (Capillary Channel Flow)
    CEO (Crew Earth Observations)
    CFE-2 (Capillary Flow Experiment – 2)
    CSA_Comm_and_Outreach (Canadian Space Agency Communication and Outreach)
    CSI-05 (Commercial Generic Bioprocessing Apparatus Science Insert – 05: Spiders, Fruit Flies and Directional Plant Growth)
    CsPINs (Dynamism of Auxin Efflux Facilitators, CsPINs, Responsible for Gravity-regulated Growth and Development in Cucumber)
    CVB (Constrained Vapor Bubble)
    DECLIC-ALI (DEvice for the study of Critical LIquids and Crystallization – Alice Like Insert)
    DECLIC-DSI (DEvice for the study of Critical LIquids and Crystallization – Directional Solidification Insert)
    DOSIS-DOBIES (Dose Distribution Inside ISS – Dosimetry for Biological Experiments in Space)
    DTN (Disruption Tolerant Networking for Space Operations)
    EarthKAM (Earth Knowledge Acquired by Middle School Students)
    EKE (Assessment of Endurance Capacity by Gas Exchange and Heart Rate Kinetics During Physical Training)
    Ekon (Experimental Survey on Evaluating the Possibility of Using th Russian Segment of ISS for Environmental Inspection of Work Areas of Various Facilities (Features))
    EPO-Demos (Education Payload Operation – Demonstrations)
    ERB-2 (Erasmus Recording Binocular – 2)
    FLEX-2 (Flame Extinguishment Experiment – 2)
    FOB (Forward Osmosis Bag)
    Functional_Task_Test (Physiological Factors Contributing to Changes in Postflight Functional Performance)
    Hair (Biomedical Analyses of Human Hair Exposed to a Long-term Space Flight)
    HiMassSEE (Spacecraft Single Event Environments at High Shielding Mass)
    HREP-HICO (HICO and RAIDS Experiment Payload – Hyperspectral Imager for the Coastal Ocean)
    HREP-RAIDS (HICO and RAIDS Experiment Payload – Remote Atmospheric and Ionospheric Detection System (RAIDS))
    Hypersole (Cutaneous Hypersensitivity and Balance Control in Humans)
    I-APE (Italian-Astronaut Personal Eye)
    I-ENOS (Italian-Electronic NOse for Space exploration)
    I-FOAM (Italian-Foam)
    Immuno (Neuroendocrine and Immune Responses in Humans During and After Long Term Stay at ISS)
    InSPACE-3 (Investigating the Structure of Paramagnetic Aggregates from Colloidal Emulsions – 3)
    Integrated_Cardiovascular (Cardiac Atrophy and Diastolic Dysfunction During and After Long Duration Spaceflight: Functional Consequences for Orthostatic Intolerance, Exercise Capability and Risk for Cardiac Arrhythmias)
    Integrated_Immune (Validation of Procedures for Monitoring Crewmember Immune Function)
    Integrated_Immune-SDBI (Validation of Procedures for Monitoring Crewmember Immune Function – Short Duration Biological Investigation)
    ISSAC (International Space Station Agricultural Camera)
    ISS_Ham_Radio (International Space Station Ham Radio)
    JAXA_EPO_7 (Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency Education Payload Observation 7)
    JAXA_PCG (Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency Protein Crystal Growth)
    Kids_In_Micro-g-2 (Kids In Microgravity-2 (2010-2011))
    Kristallizator (Crystalization of Biological Macromolecules and Generation of Biocrystal Film in the Conditions of Microgravity)
    Lactolen (Influence of Factors of Space Flight on Lactolen Producer Strains)
    LEGO_Bricks (LEGO® Bricks, formerly known as NLO-Education-2)
    Marangoni-Exp (Chaos, Turbulence and its Transition Process in Marangoni Convection-Exp)
    MAUI (Maui Analysis of Upper Atmospheric Injections)
    MAXI (Monitor of All-sky X-ray Image)
    Micro-2 (Gravitational Effects on Biofilm Formation During Space Flight)
    MISSE-7 (Materials International Space Station Experiment – 7)
    MISSE-8 (Materials International Space Station Experiment – 8)
    MSL-CETSOL_and_MICAST (Materials Science Laboratory – Columnar-to-Equiaxed Transition in Solidification Processing and Microstructure Formation in Casting of Technical Alloys under Diffusive and Magnetically Controlled Convective Conditions)
    NanoRacks-CubeLabs_Module-7 (NanoRacks-CubeLabs Module-7)
    NanoRacks-CubeLabs_Module-8 (NanoRacks-CubeLabs_Module-8)
    Night_Vision (Eyespots and Macular Pigments Extracted from Algal Organisms Immobilized in Organic Matrix with the Purpose to Protect Astronaut’s Retina)
    NLP-Cells-6 (National Laboratory Pathfinder – Cells – 6: Jatropha – 3)
    NLP-Vaccine-Salmonella (National Laboratory Pathfinder – Vaccine – Salmonella)
    Nutrition (Nutritional Status Assessment)
    OChB (Influence of Factors of Space Flight on Superoxide Strain Producer)
    PACE-2 (Preliminary Advanced Colloids Experiment – 2: 3D Particle Test)
    PACE-LMM-Bio (Preliminary Advanced Colloids Experiment – Light Microscopy Module: Biological Samples)
    Passages (Scaling Body-Related Actions in the Absence of Gravity)
    Photosynth (PhotosynthTM Three-Dimensional Modeling of ISS Interior and Exterior)
    Plant_Signaling (Plant Signaling (formerly known as Seed Growth-1))
    Plasma_Crystal (Dusty and Liquid Plasma Crystals in Conditions of Microgravity)
    Pneumocard (Examination of the Influencing Factors of Space Flight on Autonomic Regulation of Blood Circulation, Respiration and Cardiac Contractile Function in Long Duration Space Flight)
    Poligen (Revealing Genotypical Characteristics, Defining Individual Differences in Resistance of Biological Oranisms to Factors of Long Duration Space Flight)
    Pro_K (Dietary Intake Can Predict and Protect Against Changes in Bone Metabolism during Spaceflight and Recovery)
    PSSC (Pico-Satellite Solar Cell Experiment)
    RAMBO-2 (Ram Burn Observations – 2)
    Rastenia (Growth and Development of Higher Plants through Multiple Generations)
    Reaction_Self_Test (Psychomotor Vigilance Self Test on the International Space Station)
    REBR (ReEntry Breakup Recorder)
    Relaksatia (Processes of Relaxation in the Ultraviolet Band Spectrum by High Velocity Interaction of Exhaust Products on ISS)
    Relaksatia (Processes of Relaxation in the Ultraviolet Band Spectrum by High Velocity Interaction of Exhaust Products on ISS)
    Repository (National Aeronautics and Space Administration Biological Specimen Repository)
    Robonaut (Robonaut)
    RRM (Robotic Refueling Mission)
    Rusalka (Development of Methods to Determine the Carbon Dioxide and Methane (Greehouse Gases) Content in the Earths Atmosphere from On-Board ISS)
    SEDA-AP (Space Environment Data Acquisition Equipment – Attached Payload)
    SEITE (Shuttle Exhaust Ion Turbulence Experiments)
    SIMPLEX (Shuttle Ionospheric Modification with Pulsed Localized Exhaust Experiments)
    Sleep-Short (Sleep-Wake Actigraphy and Light Exposure During Spaceflight-Short)
    SLICE (Structure and Liftoff In Combustion Experiment)
    SMILES (Superconducting Submillimeter-Wave Limb-Emission Sounder)
    SNFM (Serial Network Flow Monitor)
    Solar-SOLACES (Sun Monitoring on the External Payload Facility of Columbus – SOLar Auto-Calibrating EUV/UV Spectrophotometers)
    Solar-SOLSPEC (Sun Monitoring on the External Payload Facility of Columbus -Sun Monitoring on the External Payload Facility of Columbus -SOLar SPECtral Irradiance Measurements)
    SOLO (SOdium LOading in Microgravity)
    SPHERES (Synchronized Position Hold, Engage, Reorient, Experimental Satellites)
    Spinal_Elongation (Spinal Elongation and its Effects on Seated Height in a Microgravity Environment)
    Sprint (Integrated Resistance and Aerobic Training Study)
    STL-Regeneration-Keratinocytes (Space Tissue Loss – The Effects Microgravity on Stem Cell-Based Tissue Regeneration: Keratinocyte Differentiation in Wound Healing)
    STORRM (Sensor Test for Orion Relative Navigation Risk Mitigation – DTO 703)
    STP-H3-Canary (Space Test Program – Houston 3 – Canary)
    STP-H3-DISC (Space Test Program – Houston 3 – Digital Imaging Star Camera)
    STP-H3-MHTEX (Space Test Program – Houston 3 – Massive Heat Transfer Experiment)
    STP-H3-VADER (Space Test Program – Houston 3 – Variable emissivity radiator Aerogel insulation blanket Dual zone thermal control Experiment suite for Responsive space)
    Thermolab (Thermoregulation in Humans During Long-Term Spaceflight)
    Tipologia (Study of the Typological Characteristis of ISS Crew Operators Activity at the Stages of Long Term Space Flight)
    Treadmill_Kinematics (Biomechanical Analysis of Treadmill Exercise on the International Space Station)
    Tropi (Analysis of a Novel Sensory Mechanism in Root Phototropism)
    Tropi (Analysis of a Novel Sensory Mechanism in Root Phototropism)
    Uragan (Hurricane: Experimental Development of Groundbased System of Monitoring and Predicting the Progression of a Naturally Occurring Technogenic Catastrophe)
    VCAM (Vehicle Cabin Atmosphere Monitor)
    Vessel_ID_System (Vessel ID System)
    Vessel_Imaging (Vascular Echography)
    VIABLE_ISS (eValuatIon And monitoring of microBiofiLms insidE International Space Station)
    VO2max (Evaluation of Maximal Oxygen Uptake and Submaximal Estimates of VO2max Before, During, and After Long Duration International Space Station Missions)
    Vsplesk (Burst: Monitoring of Seismic Effects – Bursts of High Energy Particles in Low Earth Space Region (Orbit))
    Vzaimodeystviye (Interactions: Monitoring of Space Crew Interactions During Extended Space Flight)
    Zhenshen-2 (Study of the Development of Cell Cultures to Evaluate the Possibily of Increasing Biological Activity)”

    —————–
    Can some of these experiments be classified as trivial? I suppose having kids do some experiments may seem trivial, but if you add it to the total package it is a long list of science in all kinds of fields of study, from medicine to material science.

    Also, the station is just getting finished to a point that the station will be fully geared for science and the international partners have their cargo vehicles in place. In the next couple of years we will see great traffic to the ISS and each year a couple more of those lists of experiments will be done.

    Granted it will be years before we start seeing the results but every year more new knowledge is gained on how the great machine of the universe works.

  • Matt Wiser

    Sorry, Ron, but I beg to differ. Especially if the GOP takes the Senate (but still loses the Presidential election)….with a guy like Shelby as Chair of Appropriations. No idea who’d chair Science and Tech, since Hutchinson’s retiring, but that’s another issue. SLS has the political support, and EELV-based does not. How many times must it be said? There is a marked difference between what you want to do and what Congress will allow you to do. NASA, nor any other government agency, CANNOT pick and choose what laws it will follow and which ones it won’t. NASA has been directed by Congress to develop, build, and operate a crew vehicle and a heavy-lift launcher. Want to do something other than that? Change the law. Right now, good luck with that!

  • amightywind

    Vladislaw,

    Thanks for the list. It is littered with junk science and emphasizes my point. 95% of it is trivial.

    Here are some that qualify for the the ‘Golden Fleece Award’.

    3D-Space (Mental Representation of Spatial Cues During Space Flight)
    EarthKAM (Earth Knowledge Acquired by Middle School Students)
    Nutrition (Nutritional Status Assessment)
    CVB (Constrained Vapor Bubble)
    Vessel_ID_System (Vessel ID System)
    STP-H3-DISC (Space Test Program – Houston 3 – Digital Imaging Star Camera)

  • Egad

    > NASA has been directed by Congress to develop, build, and operate a crew vehicle and a heavy-lift launcher.

    Has Congress actually said that NASA has to operate MPCV and SLS? If so, what do they mean by “operate?” Go to ISS? BEO? Something else? Has anybody said what funds would be needed for those operations?

  • Coastal Ron

    Matt Wiser wrote @ June 30th, 2011 at 1:16 am

    NASA has been directed by Congress to develop, build, and operate a crew vehicle and a heavy-lift launcher. Want to do something other than that? Change the law. Right now, good luck with that!

    Hmm, I think I heard the same argument for Constellation, and we all know what happened there.

    Matt, in these tight budget times a rocket with no mission or funded payloads will be highly visible.

    What will be the ramifications if we were to postpone or cancel it? None.

    And the SLS is the single largest line item in NASA’s budget that hasn’t been started, isn’t needed to support a currently funded program, and has no defined or funded need in the future.

    It’s going to be an interesting summer.

  • Justin Kugler

    Do you even know what those experiments are, windy, or did you just pick some titles you didn’t like?

    Just off the top of my head…

    EarthKAM is a project of Sally Ride Science and allows middle school students across the world to take advantage of existing cameras on the Station to take pictures of the world below. It is minimal cost and teaches students about mission planning and geography. Need I remind you that education and outreach is one of the Congressionally-mandated functions of Station?

    STP-H3-DISC is a Department of Defense payload that was reviewed and approved by their Science Experiments Review Board. It is a low-power testbed for using star field imagery analysis algorithms for attitude determination. This is the sort of technology the DoD will need to bring their Operationally Responsive Space concept to fruition.

  • Matt Wiser

    Ron, it will be an interesting summer. Especially when Congress gets their teeth into NASA’s budget request and changes it. As they did last year. They are NOT happy with the emphasis on commercial crew/cargo at exploration’s expense, and in the most recent hearings, Charlie Bolden got skewered yet again. He’s just not a good communicator. Throw in the perception of foot-dragging on Heavy-Lift, and “may you live in interesting times.”

  • pathfinder_01

    Vessel_ID_System (Vessel ID System)

    A project to allow space based tracking of ships on the ocean. This system has commerce, safety, and security implications. Basically it is a transponder system for ships.

    3D-Space (Mental Representation of Spatial Cues During Space Flight)

    This one is human based. Basically they want to know how does lack of gravity mess with how people navigate, determine distances, and perceive things in space. Even if you had artificial gravity this knowledge would be of use for times when artificial gravity is not in use (like docking—unless they invent star trek tech you will probably need to stop the spacecraft spinning for docking).

    Nutrition (Nutritional Status Assessment)
    This one is human based. It is studying the health of the astronauts and making sure that the diet is doing what it is supposed to. Last thing you want to do is find out zero g or space radiation messes with some vitamin uptake or some drug absorption. We can be sure about an ISS stay, but if something is declining slowly better to find out now than when you attempt longer and longer stays in space.

  • Coastal Ron

    Matt Wiser wrote @ June 30th, 2011 at 10:12 pm

    They are NOT happy with the emphasis on commercial crew/cargo at exploration’s expense

    Matt, Congress has designated the ISS as a National Laboratory (read the law), and designated Commercial Crew as the primary method of getting our crew to the ISS (MPCV is only a backup).

    Now maybe you like sending $Millions of dollars to Russia every year, but I don’t. Who is Congress supporting – the U.S. aerospace industry, or Russia?

    Don’t cut your nose off to spite your face.

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