- Press Release
- Sep 28, 2022
Message and Updates from the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center Director
A MESSAGE FROM THE CENTER DIRECTOR
This week saw the safe return to Earth of astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley during the conclusion of the historic SpaceX Demo-2 mission. The launch of the mission more than two months ago signaled a new beginning in our country’s storied history in human spaceflight, and the return of Bob and Doug makes us more confident than ever that the Commercial Crew Program will help us achieve our greatest human spaceflight endeavors going forward, and I am proud that Goddard is playing several significant roles in making it all happen. A well-deserved congratulations to all those who played their parts in Demo-2!
Since beginning Stage 3 under the NASA Framework for Return to On-Site Work, three new COVID-19 cases – one at the Greenbelt campus and two at the Wallops Flight Facility – have emerged. As we communicated in previous town halls, we have been preparing for the possibility of positive cases during the return to on-site work, and in each case we have taken the appropriate measures – notifying medical staff, contact tracing, cleaning of affected areas, etc. – to mitigate the effects and spread to other employees. You can check our Goddard internal COVID-19 website for updates on any positive on-site cases every Monday and Thursday. As always, if you are feeling unwell in any way, notify your supervisors and do not come to center.
Guidance on Lab/Technical Space Work From Home
When I think of lab work, my mind immediately visualizes hazardous processes, high-voltage equipment, flight hardware, ESD-sensitive components, hazardous chemicals (or at least those not found in a typical household environment), machine shops, and similar efforts. The transportation of, and risk to, very expensive and cumbersome lab equipment in personal vehicles also comes to mind.
Performing high-risk or hazardous types of lab activity, and NASA investment for creating technical space to perform these types of functions at home, will not be permitted. The first option for more benign lab work should be to do that work on-site, however, I’d like to explore the “art of the possible” when it comes to performing low-risk lab work off-site. As we consider going down this path, we must be consistent with NASA policies and procedures regarding property management, safety, and personal and government liability concerns.
I have asked Ray Rubilotta to work with the involved organizational leadership on center to outline the trade space for such activities, and how we might safely make this work to help us meet mission requirements, while also responding to the challenges of a largely teleworking workforce. If we can reasonably make this happen, I would like to do so. Ray’s team will report to me on the subject.
Please know that I certainly appreciate both the commitment and creativity of our employees, and ask that those who already are engaged in such activity to stand down while this is sorted out.
While I understand that there may have been confusion with last week’s messages, I believe no harm was intended either by employees or management. Please know that no action is being pursued against anyone who may have been performing this type of work off-site.
Presentation on Cultivating an Antiracist Workplace
About two weeks ago, NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine announced that inclusion now is one of the agency’s core values. In this spirit, I invite all of you to attend a virtual agencywide presentation at 12:30 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 12, by best-selling author Ibram X. Kendi. He will discuss how to cultivate an antiracist workplace in which all employees feel welcome, respected and engaged. Visit the event webpage for details on how to watch via Ustream and attend a Microsoft Teams watch party. I look forward to “seeing” you there!
Stage 4 Spotlight
For this week’s spotlight, I’d like to recognize Greg Miller from the Environmental Test Engineering and Integration Branch and other members from the branch who are on-site performing tests for flight projects and keeping the clean rooms and facilities safe and in a state of readiness. Greg has been working tirelessly on the Strategic Restart Working Group to maintain a schedule of projects, manage day-to-day workflow and avoid potential conflicts as they relate to COVID-19 safety guidelines. Fellow members of the branch have worked with center management, Dr. Sheryl Ashton-Jones and flight projects to develop and implement plans to spread the work out over time so that social distancing is maintained during tests, all while maintaining standard procedures for our clean rooms throughout the pandemic. Please join me in thanking these colleagues for their commitment and performance during these challenging times! Their names are below.
For those based on the East Coast, I hope that you and your families are safe and well following the tropical storm we endured this past week. For everyone, please continue to look after the health and safety of yourselves and your loved ones.
Dennis J. Andrucyk
Environmental Test Engineering and Integration Branch Personnel:
Bullinger , Michael
Hahn , Tim
Huang, Yingrui “Zao”
Pollard, Hal “Clay”
Roby, James “Mike”