|Posted on Apr 25, 2008 04:56:16 PM | Shana Dale | 0 Comments ||
INKSNABriefings with congressional staff continue after the Administration cleared language to amend the Iran, North Korea and Syria Nonproliferation Act (INKSNA) [P.L. 109-112]. Portions of that law adopted in 2005, prohibit "extraordinary payments" both "in cash" and "in kind" from the U.S. Government to the Russian Government, Roscosmos, and entities under Roscosmos' authority for the International Space Station (ISS). In 2005, Congress provided an exception for ISS purchases and barters through December 31, 2011.
The U.S. will have no U.S. crew transport or rescue capability after the Shuttle retires in 2010, until a new U.S. vehicle is operational (NASA's Orion or future U.S. commercial crew transport and rescue capability). Until then, we will continue to need to be able to acquire use of Soyuz vehicles. In addition, there are certain limited goods and services where Russia offers unique capabilities, such as sustaining engineering support that we will continue to need to purchase from Russia. The lead-time for contract negotiations and subsequent production is very significant, over three years, thus the need for Congress to pass this amendment as soon as possible this year.
Miami Future Forum
Shana Dale, Donna Shalala, and Florida Governor Charlie Crist. (Photo Credit: NASA)
The University of Miami was an excellent venue to speak to the mix of community and business leaders, educators and students. I would like to extend my sincere thanks to the University of Miami for making this possible and to Mr. Sergio Gonzalez, Vice President for University Advancement and External Affairs, University of Miami, who helped make this dynamic event happen.
The Honorable Donna E. Shalala, President of the University of Miami, spoke as well and she said, “We are grateful for the opportunity to connect space exploration, entrepreneurship and education, as one of the selected sites to host a NASA Future Forum in celebration of the agency's 50th anniversary.”
It is great for the non-traditional communities we have been focusing on to hear what we are doing and where we are going. Carl Walz, Director, Advanced Capabilities Division for the Exploration Systems Mission Directorate, spoke about Constellation, and STS-122 Commander Stephen Frick narrated a video from his February Shuttle mission and participated on the Inspiration Panel.
All in all, this event is one more example of how we are trying to reach out to non-traditional audiences to talk about 50 years of achievement, excite them about future missions, explain how NASA inspires kids to go into STEM, discuss how innovations from America's space program strengthens U.S. economic competitiveness, and explain that this is all done with a funding level that is six-tenths of one percent of the federal budget.
Florida Governor Charlie Crist, announced a partnership between Space Florida and SPACEHAB of Webster, Texas. They plan to use the ISS and the Space Life Sciences Lab at NASA's Kennedy Space Center to carry out space-based biomedical and biotech research. This announcement exemplified why we're holding Future Forums in cities such as Miami. It allows us to talk directly to the public about the diverse ways America's long-term space exploration goals lead to economic growth, scientific discoveries and technological advancements for people here on Earth, and in their own communities.
Barrington Irving at the Miami Future Forum. Photo Credit (NASA)
Finally, it was an honor to have Barrington Irving — the first African-American and youngest person to fly solo around the world — give a presentation at the Future Forum. His talk about his flight and the incredible work he is doing now to inspire young people was outstanding.
The San Jose Future Forum on May 14 should be great too. We are currently discussing how we can do the Future Forum as a mixed reality event. So, as I am doing the Future Forum in person, my avatar will hopefully be doing the same in Second Life. It should be interesting and I'm looking forward to it.
NASA Lecture SeriesOn Monday, April 21, I attended the NASA Lecture Series, another venue to celebrate NASA's 50th anniversary. World-renowned physicist Stephen Hawking, Ph.D., delivered a wonderful lecture on the importance of human space exploration now and for the next few hundred years. For more information about this event visit NASA Lecture Series - Professor Stephen Hawking. It was a special honor for me to meet Stephen Hawking and his delightful daughter, Lucy.
Left to right: Lucy Hawking, Dr. Stephen Hawking, Shana Dale (Photo credit: (NASA
Lucy spoke for a few minutes about the book she co-authored with her father, entitled George's Secret Key to the Universe. The book is meant to inspire children to pursue their interest in space and science. Another theme that Dr. Hawking mentioned — humorously, I might add — was one that Mike Griffin and I have spoken about on several occasions — the Space Economy.
Dr. Hawking emphasized the point that no one alive in the late 1400s could have imagined all of the wonderful things, “like a Big Mac or a KFC,” that our society would have a few hundred years later as a result of the discovery of the New World. While fast-food restaurants were clearly a tongue-in-cheek reference, it nevertheless illustrated his point about unforeseen advancements stemming from human endeavors. Similarly, we cannot comprehend even a small percentage of what miraculous developments and discoveries that will inevitably be spawned by the exploration of our solar system and beyond.
Dr. Stephen Hawking giving his NASA Lecture Series speech. Photo Credit (NASA)
Dr. Hawking, widely known as one of the most brilliant and forward-looking scientists of our time, is an emphatic and eloquent proponent of exploration — perhaps the single most important human trait that has propelled our society forward throughout history. His knowledge of the universe and our place in it gives him a special sense of what it means for human beings to always keep wondering about the unknown, to always keep pushing the boundaries of the next frontier, and to always keep discovering new things to make life better for future generations.
The profound message of Dr. Hawking's lecture is particularly inspiring to those of us at NASA, who are charged with boldly going where no human has gone before.
Tags : NASA Lecture Series, Space Shuttle Future Forum