Press Release

Minutes of Senior Staff and Center Directors’ Meeting December 6, 1999

By SpaceRef Editor
December 6, 1999
Filed under

The following documents the discussions addressed at the Senior Staff and
Center Directors’ Meeting on December 6, 1999. Mr. Goldin did not attend
the meeting. Action assignments have been placed in brackets [ ] for easy
identification.

1. AA Reports

AS/Olsen: Dr. Olsen reported that the Science Council meeting will follow
the Senior Management Council on Wednesday, December 8 at 2 p.m. The topic
of the meeting is NASA’s cross-cutting process “Communicate Knowledge.” In
addition, John Schumacher will discuss some possible international
activities relevant to the scientific Enterprises.

U/Nicogossian: Dr. Nicogossian reported on the following: 1) The General
Accounting Office (GAO) stated in the entrance meeting that NASA is only of
collateral interest in the audit on Beryllium aimed primarily at DOD and
DOE. Congress wants GAO to determine what agencies knew about Beryllium,
and when did they know it? NASA’s Occupational Health Program (OHP) made
the case, and GAO agreed, that GAO should not get their primary information
from occupational health exposure data (of which there is very little) but
rather from the operations people. OHP will supply GAO with reports on
work with Beryllium usage already collected. Reports will be redacted
because of the Privacy Act considerations. 2) Since the start of Mr.
Goldin’s weekly health topics, the number of OHP web site “hits” has
increased by 25 percent. In October, the web site had 10,437 hits, an
average of 336 per day. The vast majority of these hits come from within
the United States. Half of all U.S. hits are from Federal Government
agencies. A total of 577 hits came from 26 foreign countries such as
Australia, Singapore, and Malaysia. 3) The New York Times science section
last Tuesday, November 30, dealt with the application of basic Microgravity
Program-funded Fluid Dynamics research to planetary geology. The work of
Professor Banavar, of Pennsylvania State University, was described by
pointing out the close agreement between actual river tributary patterns
and numerical modeling strictly relying on elevation data. The same
dendritic pattern predicted by the model was observed on the geological scale.

R/Mann: Mr. Mann reported that today, the National Science and Technology
Council is releasing a national plan for aeronautics. The plan establishes
national goals and roadmaps between government agencies and industry that
focus on aviation safety, aviation capacity, security, and environmental
impacts. This is the result of a year-long interagency effort with
extensive interaction between NASA, the Federal Aviation Administration
(FAA), the Department of Transportation (DOT), and the Office of Science
and Technology Policy. General Armstrong, Mr. Goldin, the Secretary of
Transportation, and the FAA Administrator are participating in a roll-out
conference in Chicago.

Y/Asrar: Dr. Asrar reported that all systems and review activities are
supporting the launch of EOS (Earth Observing System) Terra satellite on
December 16, 1999. Mr. Goldin will be briefed on Tuesday, December 7.

AO/Holcomb: Mr. Holcomb reported on the following: 1) Code AO is
distributing a booklet throughout Headquarters entitled, “Y2K and You,”
produced by the President’s Council on Year 2000 conversion. The question
that Mr. Holcomb is most often asked is “How can I prepare for Y2K?” The
booklet contains a nice single-page foldout checklist, suitable for posting
on a refrigerator, which provides the general public with advice on how to
prepare for Y2K. It is available on the web at http://www.y2k.gov. 2)
Next Tuesday, Code AO will hold its second and final Agencywide Y2K drill.
In addition, Code AO is planning an Agencywide Y2K review of contingency
and continuity plans for ensuring the health and safety of the orbiting
spacecraft, Space Station, and Space Shuttle.

2. AI/Gen. Dailey:

Gen. Dailey reported on the following: 1) The Independent Annual Review
for SIRTF (Space Infrared Telescope Facility) is the topic for today’s
Program Management Council meeting. 2) The Capital Investment Council
(CIC) will meet twice this week. Tomorrow, the CIC will discuss the FY
2001 passback and staffing issues. On Thursday, December 9, the CIC will
discuss ownership of the crosscutting technology programs. 3) The Senior
Management Council will meet on Wednesday, December 8, to review and update
the Agency Strategic Plan and discuss the FY 2001 budget. 4) The NASA
Advisory Council will meet at Headquarters on December 14 and 15. Twenty
years ago, on December 6, 1979: NASA reported that researchers from JPL
and the U.S. Geological Survey had carried out measurements using radio
noise from distant quasars that indicated a rapid increase in southern
California’s width. They made simultaneous recordings of radio noise from
quasars at two radiotelescope sites in California, one at JPL, the other at
NASA’s Goldstone deep-space station about 120 miles away, then compared the
signals’ time of arrival using extremely precise clocks. Changes in the
distance between the telescopes could be measured with an accuracy of 2
inches or less, and were important to the USGS’ earthquake prediction mission.

3. Center Reports

GRC/Campbell: Mr. Campbell reported that a briefing on the Smart Aircraft
Transportation System (SATS) program was given to the GRC senior management
by the NASA LaRC SATS planning team on December 6. The team is led by Dr.
Bruce Holmes. The presentation included the vision and objectives of SATS
as well as accomplishments from the Advanced General Aviation Transport
Experiments (AGATE) and General Aviation Propulsion (GAP) programs that are
leading to development of SATS. SATS is intended to explore the use of
local airports for all-weather aircraft transportation to off load air
traffic demands in major hub airports. This vision will allow air
transportation to grow according to demand, providing significant
reductions in travel time and cost of travel. The first phase of the SATS
program is a 5-year effort, starting in FY 2001. Technologies will focus
on safety, affordability, and environmental compatibility, such as noise.
The SATS program will make effective use of NASA investments for the
development of critical vehicle and infrastructure technologies to bring
SATS to reality in the next century. GRC will make major contributions in
the development of advanced propulsion, affordable ice-protection systems,
and digital communication to support the infrastructure. SATS vision
represents a revolutionary approach to public transportation. LaRC, GRC,
and ARC have been involved in the development of this vision. Advanced
airframe, propulsion, and communications technologies will enable SATS.
This is a partnership between NASA, FAA, DOT, the Department of Energy, and
the U.S. industry.

GSFC/Diaz: Mr. Diaz reported that progress continues toward the launch of
STS-103.

JPL/Stone: Dr. Stone reported that JPL is continuing to work through the
contingency modes on the Mar Polar Lander, with another good chance to
establish contact early Tuesday (December 7) morning. If contact is not
made then, JPL will continue to try other options in the days ahead, but
with much reduced likelihood of establishing communications.

JSC/Abbey: Mr. Abbey reported on the following: 1) The crew leaves
tonight for KSC, in preparation for Friday’s launch of STS-103. 2) The
Launch-Minus-Two-Day (L-2) meeting will be held, beginning on December 8,
to review a number of unclosed issues. 3) Zarya and Unity are doing well.
4) The Russian General Design Review has slipped to January.

KSC/Bridges: Mr. Bridges reported that KSC is gearing up for the launch of
STS-103.

MSFC/Stephenson: Mr. Stephenson reported that a member of the MSFC team
recently had a close call with carbon monoxide (CO). She and her family
were enjoying a leisurely weekend at home watching television when their
carbon monoxide monitor alarmed. The detector was a new purchase and
wasn’t even installed yet. The family evacuated, and the firefighters
related that the CO levels would have killed them in 4 hours.

General Dailey noted the special occupational health topic of the week
(Harmful Stress at Work). For more information see
http://www.nasa.gov/bios/health_messages.html on the HQ Home Page.

SpaceRef staff editor.