News that doesn't receive the necessary attention.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Ted Cruz's plan for NASA is epic, seeks to expand space exploration-Business Insider

NASA computers were fully breached 13 times in 2011, in 2012 many still weren't encrypted. In 2009 and 2011 NASA climate satellites crashed on takeoff. 

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1/14/15, "Ted Cruz's Plan For NASA Is Epic," Business Insider, Hunter Walker, Jessica Orweg

"Now that the Republicans have taken over Congress, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) will be chairman of the Senate Commerce Subcommittee on Science, Space, and Competitiveness, which oversees the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). 


Cruz issued a press release on Wednesday outlining his plans for the space agency. In his statement, which was titled "Focus NASA on Its Core Mission: Exploring Space, and More of It," Cruz said he wants to expand the US space program.

"In 1962, President John F. Kennedy laid down a marker for space exploration that inspired a generation of Americans to reach for the stars, recognizing that the race to the heavens was nothing less than a crucial front in the battle between freedom and tyranny," Cruz said.

Cruz, who is widely seen as a potential 2016 presidential candidate, went on to argue that NASA's partnership with Russia on the International Space Station has endangered American space exploration and innovation. 

"More than 50 years later, we have lost sight of that clarion call," Cruz's statement said. "Russia’s status as the current gatekeeper of the International Space Station could threaten our capability to explore and learn, stunting our capacity to reach new heights and share innovations with free people everywhere. The United States should work alongside our international partners, but not be dependent on them. We should once again lead the way for the world in space exploration."

Since NASA retired its shuttle program in 2011, US astronauts have been flying aboard Russian Soyuz spacecrafts to reach the International Space Station. Last year, NASA renewed a contract  with Russia to continue ferrying US astronauts to space that cost the agency $457.9 million for six seats on a Soyuz spacecraft.

Cruz's home state of Texas is home to one of NASA's major field centers, the Johnson Space Center. The facility has gained fame for its role as "mission control" on many manned space missions.

Due to his conservative positions on budgeting and climate change, some observers speculated Cruz would attempt to cut funding to NASA in his new role. However, in his statement Cruz repeatedly insisted he wants to expand America's space-exploration efforts.

"Texas has a major stake in space exploration," he said. "Our space program marks the frontier of future technologies for defense, communications, transportation and more, and our mindset should be focused on NASA’s primary mission: exploring space and developing the wealth of new technologies that stem from its exploration. And commercial space exploration presents important new opportunities for us all."

"We must refocus our investment on the hard sciences, on getting men and women into space, on exploring low-Earth orbit and beyond, and not on political distractions that are extraneous to NASA’s mandate," Cruz continued. "I am excited to raise these issues in our subcommittee and look forward to producing legislation that confirms our shared commitment to this vital mission."

Now that the space-shuttle program has ended,  NASA has started to develop partnerships with private companies in an effort to restore US independence when it comes to spaceflight. In addition to its contract with Russia, NASA also contracted with SpaceX and Boeing last year. In a statement released last September, NASA said:

"US astronauts once again will travel to and from the International Space Station from the United States on American spacecraft under groundbreaking contracts NASA announced Tuesday. The agency unveiled its selection of Boeing and SpaceX to transport US crews to and from the space station using their CST-100 and Crew Dragon spacecraft, respectively, with a goal of ending the nation’s sole reliance on Russia in 2017."

Launching astronauts from US soil is the first step toward NASA's ultimate goal of renewing long-distance spaceflight and taking back America's foothold in space by sending the first humans to an asteroid and then to Mars." via Free Rep.
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Unfortunately, NASA has shown no respect for science in recent years:
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3/2/12, NASA says it was hacked 13 times last year,” Reuters

NASA said hackers broke into its computer systems 13 times last year, stealing employee credentials and  

gaining access to mission-critical projects in breaches that

could compromise U.S. national security.”…

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11/15/12, NASA to encrypt data after its latest laptop loss, BBC

“US space agency NASA has ordered that the data on all its laptops must be encrypted, after losing another one of its portable computers. Until the process is complete, it has forbidden staff from removing Nasa-issued laptops containing sensitive information from its facilities....

The Nasa Watch blog, which comments on affairs at the agency, had previously criticised it for a series of other data losses.

It noted that the organisation had been warned in 2009 that it was not taking enough steps to sufficiently protect information and had reported the loss or theft of 48 of its mobile computing devices between April 2009 and April 2011.

This is not the first time Nasa has promised action to address the problem.

In March, Nasa administrator Charles Bolden told the House Appropriations Committee Subcommittee on Commerce that that he was going to sign a directive ordering all portable devices to use encryption, after acknowledging the agency was "woefully deficient" when compared to other government departments."...









"NASA administrator Charles Bolden previously said that security measures were "woefully deficient"," getty via BBC
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11/14/12, NASA Suffers “Large” Data Breach Affecting Employees, Contractors, and Others, spectrum.ieee.org, R. Charette

"Why it has taken so long for NASA to finally decide to fully encrypt its laptops remains a mystery, given its long-time poor record on IT security. As noted at NASA Watch, NASA has a history of laptops with personally identifiable information being stolen, one as recently as March.

Maybe NASA decided to act this time because it involved a NASA Headquarters’ person who in all likelihood is very senior and should have known better than to possess a laptop with no data encryption.”"...

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In 2009 and 2011 NASA climate satellites crashed on takeoff:

2011 crash was A tragedy for climate science.”
In 2009 NASA Orbiting Carbon Observatory crashed on takeoff:

“Perhaps that’s why the loss hurts most, because Glory “was directed very specifically at the place where our knowledge was weakest, he said.”…”A tragedy for climate science.”…” an area that desperately needs more study.”…

3/4/11, Raze of Glory: NASA Earth-Observing Climate Satellite Fails to Reach Orbit, Scientific American, John Matson


“A launch malfunction sent the Glory satellite crashing into the ocean, almost exactly mimicking the 2009 loss of NASA’s Orbiting Carbon Observatory.“…
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2011 crash lost $424 million and 3-7 years of work:.. .
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3/6/11, "NASA crashes hit geoscience efforts," AFP, News24, Washington

"A pair of costly satellite crashes have dealt a major blow to Nasa's earth science efforts just as the US space agency faces scrutiny from Congress over whether climate science should be part of its focus at all.
The $424m Glory satellite to monitor aerosols and the sun's power plunged into the Pacific on Friday shortly after launch, just two years after a similar satellite to study carbon dioxide in the atmosphere met the same fate.


"The loss of the Glory satellite is a tragedy for climate science," said Bruce Wielicki, senior scientist for earth science at Nasa's Langley Research Centre.



"The time to heal a lost space mission is typically three to seven years depending on budgets and how many spare parts remain from the last instrument builds," he said."

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Regarding climate predictions, James Hansen said US aerosol knowledge is incomplete and can only be obtained by satellites. (p. 6). A 2011 US satellite dedicated to researching aerosols crashed on takeoff, no new mission scheduled:

Jan. 15, 2013, “Global Temperature Update Through 2012, 15 January 2013,” Columbia University, J. Hansen, M. Sato, R. Rudy

(page 1): “Summary.…”The 5-year mean global temperature has been flat for a decade, which we interpret as a combination of natural variability and a slowdown in the growth rate of the net climate forcing….


page 6, last parag. of report, sub-head, “Climate Change Expectations”

The one major wild card in projections of future climate change is the unmeasured climate forcing due to aerosol changes and their effects on clouds. Anecdotal information indicates that particulate air pollution has increased in regions with increasing coal burning
, but assessment of the climate forcing requires global measurement of detailed physical properties of the aerosols. The one satellite mission that was capable of making measurements with the required detail and accuracy was lost via a launch failure, and as yet there are no plans for a replacement mission with the needed capabilities. 4″

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