Tuesday, April 31, 1990 Audio: 202/555-1788
This is NASA Headline News for Tuesday, April 31.....
The Congressional Budget Explorer Module (CBEM) is scheduled for installation in the orbiter Titanic's payload bay this afternoon. Technicians resolved an earlier problem with hydraulic line pressure when it was discovered that several fragments of lobbyist had become stuck in a flapper valve. The 127-ton CBEM payload will mark the beginning of NASA's ambitious decade-long "Mission to Fort Knox."
A Flight Eagerness Review is scheduled for tomorrow and Thursday. The current target launch date is Friday, May 11. If no further problems are uncovered in the FER, the launch will probably be pushed back a few days anyway just for the heck of it. The CBEM launch window ends on Tuesday, May 21, when Venus rises in Aquarius and Neptune's influence is no longer balanced, violating critical Astral launch criteria.
Meanwhile, the Velikovsky spacecraft is in good health on its journey to Venus. It's now 122 million miles from Venus and about 28 feet from Earth. Engineers at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory report that failure to actually launch Velikovsky has had little impact on its ability to perform the primary pseudoscience missions. Earlier problems with voltage fluctuations in the Wide Eyed/Credulous Subject Scanner are being monitored carefully. "I'm pretending this is really exciting," says JPL team leader Geraldo R. Spencer.
In other planetary mission news, technicians at the Deep Space Network installation in Canberra, Australia have identified the probable cause of signal weakness in the primary 90-meter antenna: the dish was apparently mounted upside-down. A tentative schedule and budget estimate for correcting the mount is underway. DSN Australian Coordinator Michael J. Dundee was quoted in the Australian weekly "P*** Off Mate" as saying that this mystifying problem had never been encountered before, but was probably due to reliance on American antenna design parameters. "I'm still not convinced that anything's wrong, but we'll try it the other way and see."
Leak checks are underway on the Contractor Information Network (CIN) at Huntsville, Alabama. Technicians at the Huntsville Program Survival Facility (PSF) expect to begin CIN closeouts by Thursday. The system will then be purged for use.
Aerobuck Weekly reports that in testimony last Thursday before the House Space and Storm Door Subcommittee, NASA Administrator Roald Sagdeev testified that a recent re-re-reshuffling and "options devaluation" would enable Space Station to proceed despite the latest round of budget cuts, but warned this was "absolutely the last cut that can be sustained." Citing internal NASA studies, the publication listed several cost cutting measures under consideration, including a two year stretchout of the Ground Telerobotic Administrator (GTA) subsystem, and eliminating atmospheric pressure in the one remaining crew module, which would also be downsized from 23 feet to 16 feet. The name of the station would be officially changed from "Freedom" to "Fred" to fit the new bulkhead dimensions.
The Soviets and Japanese jointly announced a contract with Hilton Hotels last week, to provide a 335-room passenger module for the international Sakharov Space Station currently under construction in Earth orbit.
Malawi became the 78th nation in space Sunday, launching an 1820-pound satellite into orbit atop an Indonesian Merlata II booster. This launcher now has a record of 69 successes in 71 launches.
The last remaining Scout rocket was lost in a launch pad accident near Wallops Island Proving Ground last week, according to a NASA spokesman. Technicians apparently made an error in connecting a hydraulic feed line to the rocket as it awaited payload checkout, connecting it to the purge valve for a nearby Toxic Waste Holding Facility instead. The first stage appears to have partially dissolved and melted itself to the concrete apron; EPA officials have ordered the site sealed pending checkout by an Emergency Response team.
Here's the broadcast schedule for Public Affairs events on NASA Deflect TV. All times are Eastern.
Tuesday, April 31.....
11:30 A.M. "Budget Cut Spinoffs" - classroom teaching aidMonday, May 0....
9:00 A.M. Colloquium on Soviet Inferiority 10:00 A.M. Three Letter Acronym (TLA) List Update (LU) 11:00 A.M. Pre-launch News Conference 12:00 A.M. Post-scrub News ConferenceFriday, April 35....
4:00 A.M. Replay of the Administrator's Good Friday speech: "The Crucifixion: A Lesson for NASA?" 5:30 A.M. Livestock Report 6:00 A.M. Astronaut Aerobics/Morning WorkoutAll events and times and missions and appropriations are subject to change without notice.
These reports are filed daily, Monday through Friday, at 12 noon, EDT. My god, CNN, when do you want me to file? Last April?
A service of the Infernal Communications Branch, NASA HQ.
Help -- I am being held hostage in the Public AffaiMMMMPPHHH
Headquarters, Washington, D.C. March 30, 1990
EDITORS NOTE: NASA PRESS CONFERENCE ON ``POLAR FOIL'' EXPERIMENTS
News media are invited to a press conference Monday, April 2 beginning at 10 a.m., at which NASA Administrator Richard H. Truly and a panel of NASA life sciences experts will respond to questions on the recently acknowledged ``Polar Foil'' experiments undertaken in past years by space shuttle crews.
Polar Foil is the computer-generated designation for the series of experiments in human sexuality which NASA astronauts have conducted in orbit on space shuttle missions. In response to widespread public speculation and official queries from members of Congress, NASA this week revealed the nature and extent of these experiments.
This experiment is one of a group in which NASA life scientists are attempting to understand all aspects of extended human presence in a microgravity environment. Just as careful study has been devoted to human adaptations to sleeping, eating and drinking, and the collection and disposal of bodily wastes in this environment, it is anticipated that astronauts may choose to engage in sexual activities during any protracted earth orbital or interplanetary mission.
NASA astronauts assigned to mission crews in the past several years have volunteered to participate in the experiments. When both a male and a female astronaut on the same mission had volunteered, mission time was allocated to accommodate this activity. As expected, the limiting factor on the number of missions in which the experiment could be attempted was the number of female astronauts. Conversely, the limiting factor on the number of times the experiment could be performed in a single mission was characteristic of the male astronauts.
These limitations will be addressed in Monday's press conference, at which a new astronaut category will be introduced. NASA will soon begin accepting applications for Research Specialist astronauts, which will be distinguished from both Pilot astronauts and Mission Specialist astronauts. The prerequisites for Research Specialist positions are that the candidate be female, at least 18 years of age, physically attractive, possess excellent endurance and flexibility, and moral open-mindedness. Finalists will travel to Johnson Space Center in Houston for thorough interviews and examinations, after which the Research Specialist astronaut candidates will be selected. This selection process will proceed in parallel with, and separately from, the process for the other career astronaut grades. At some future date, when the numbers of male and female astronauts are more nearly even, the Research Specialist category is expected to be opened up to male applicants.
These experiments will continue in the near term with the present composition of the astronaut corps. Since the experiments are no longer considered classified, they will receive the same attention as other aspects of NASA space shuttle missions. Negotiations are in progress for cable TV operators to carry the NASA Select satellite signal while this experiment is being performed. NASA feels this service will prove particularly effective in capturing and holding the public's interest in their national space program.
On a related topic, NASA is considering reactivation of the Citizen in Space programs with application to these experiments. The tentative name of the proposed program is Surrogate in Space. Although not yet an officially adopted program, some members of Congress have already suggested names of civilian professionals who may become candidates for participation in this program.