FY09 Budget Rollout

FY09 Budget Rollout


I’ve been spending a great deal of time this week preparing for the rollout of the President’s FY 2009 budget request. The rollout will occur on Monday, February 4. As part of the rollout, I will be talking to the media to explain NASA’s budget request and to answer questions.


Today, I participated in a press conference along with the Director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) and the Administrator of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). We announced that NASA is working closely with NOAA & OSTP to support the flight of critical climate measurements that were removed from the National Polar-Orbiting Operational Environmental Satellite System (NPOESS) platform following the Nunn-McCurdy recertification of the program. Specifically NASA will be flying the Clouds and the Earth’s Radiant Energy System (CERES) on the NPOESS Preparatory Project, and is working to remanifest the Total Solar Irradiance (TSI) instrument to follow the Total Irradiance Monitor (TIM) now preparing to fly on NASA’s Glory mission.


We also discussed what will be a big deal for Earth science and for NASA: the Administration’s FY 2009 plan enables NASA to vigorously embark on the recommendations of the first ever Earth Science Decadal Survey. NASA’s budget will allow for five total new mission starts, over the next six years, with the first Decadal Survey mission launch planned for 2012. NASA plans to start work on the first two missions in FY 2009: SMAP and ICESAT-II. SMAP is the Soil Moisture Active/Passive mission and it is designed to measure soil moisture. ICESAT-II, the Ice, Cloud and land Elevation Satellite, is designed to precisely measure the heights of ice sheets, sea ice and forests. The President’s budget plan for NASA also secures continued implementation of the current set of seven systematic measurement missions and Earth System Science Pathfinder missions. All of these seven missions were endorsed by the Decadal Survey. Further, we will continue to fund operations and data production for NASA’s 14 Earth Science Missions currently in orbit.


OSTP has issued a press release.


Future Forums — Introduction by Shana


Last week I mentioned the Seattle Future Forum. I think it was very successful and was another step forward on the path to get out beyond our typical stomping grounds and talk about what NASA is doing with other parts of the United States. It was an extremely well-run event and the bar is now raised for the next Future Forum event in Columbus on February 21. I would like to extend my appreciation to the team who worked so diligently to make the Forum a success, including Bob Hopkins, Chief of Strategic Communications; Janet Kavandi, Deputy Chief of the Astronaut Office; Jeff Hanley, Constellation Program Manager; Bonnie Dunbar, CEO of the Seattle Museum of Flight and her staff; Kristen Erickson, Deputy of the Office of Communications Planning (OCP); the OCP staff; Ames Research Center staff; and everyone else who worked on this event. I’ve asked Bob Hopkins to do a posting this week with more information about the Forum.


Future Forums by Bob Hopkins


Last Friday, NASA held its first Future Forum in Seattle at the Museum of Flight. The Seattle Future Forum was the template for the six more to come, so a great deal of planning and organization went into putting this first one together. The result was a great success for NASA, the Museum of Flight, Seattle and the State of Washington. We’re sure that it will serve as a successful formula as we hold these events in locations around the country. For more information on upcoming Future Forums visit https://www.nasa.gov/50th/future_forums/index.html.


Future Forums are a series of one-day events that highlight the benefits of space exploration through the themes of Inspiration, Innovation and Discovery. These three themes that capture what NASA does and how our exciting missions benefit life here on Earth. Inspiring students to pursue science, engineering and math fields is critical to economic growth and global competitiveness. NASA helps drive U.S. innovation that, in turn, builds our economy. We are challenged to push the very limits of technology through the challenges our complex missions present and through this process we realize a variety of innovations. NASA’s pursuit of discovery pushes the extremes of science to answer fundamental questions about who we are and where we come from; to achieve a greater understanding of the universe; and to determine what is happening to the Earth’s climate and why.


The Future Forums offer a discussion of benefits derived from NASA’s work and exploration of space from a local, regional and state perspective. They also provide a venue to educate the public about the future of space exploration through a presentation on the Constellation program and the building of America‘s next generation of space-faring vehicles — Orion and Ares — that will replace the Shuttle and take us to the Moon, Mars and beyond.


The Seattle Future Forum, as they all will, relied heavily on our partners in the local area. The Museum of Flight in Seattle was our host. Under the direction of retired astronaut Bonnie Dunbar, the museum was a perfect venue and Bonnie’s team did a great job in getting the museum ready and supporting the event. We also had considerable support from other organizations in the community, including Google, Boeing, Raytheon, University of Washington, Washington Space Grant Consortium, and WSA – Washington‘s Technology Association. These partners played a critical role in making the event a success. We’re truly grateful for their contributions.


The agenda highlights included a presentation from astronaut Dr. Janet Kavandi, Deputy Chief of the Astronaut Office at JSC, including a taped downlink from ISS Commander Peggy Whitson. Constellation Program Manager Jeff Hanley gave a presentation on the Constellation Program and Deputy Administrator Shana Dale gave the opening keynote speech. Shana’s speech discussed the Space Economy and NASA’s contributions to it through inspiration, innovation and discovery. Read Shana’s speech. You can view the Future Forum on video.


The themes of inspiration, innovation and discovery were also the themes for the panel sessions held during the day. The panel sessions included a mix of NASA officials and local leaders from business, academia and education. They included representatives from Google, Microsoft, Boeing, and prominent scientists such as Dr. Donald Brownlee from the University of Washington and the PI from the Stardust mission. We also had leaders from the education community including former astronaut Dr. George “Pinky” Nelson from Western Washington University and Dr. Bonnie Dunbar from the Museum of Flight. The full agenda can be found at https://www.nasa.gov/50th/future_forums/seattle.html.


The enthusiasm of our panelists definitely seemed to influence the audience. Audience members were heavily engaged throughout the panel sessions, enabling a free flowing back and forth with panel members and a lively discussion ranging from the role of space flight in driving innovation to how NASA contributes to climate change and leveraging NASA’s unique mission to advance STEM education. The three themes of inspiration, innovation and discovery provided a useful framework for discussing NASA’s contributions to education, the economy and science. The theme that seemed to get the greatest attention throughout the day was inspiration. The STEM education issue and NASA’s ability to inspire students to pursue studies in science, engineering and math was the hot issue of the day, getting attention from every panel and sparking dialogue with the audience.


The Seattle event also included a luncheon keynote address from Lt. Governor Brad Owen. Deputy Administrator Dale was presented a proclamation from Seattle Mayor Greg Nickels honoring NASA’s 50th anniversary. While Governor Christine Gregoire was unable to attend the event due to conflicts, she was able to meet with Deputy Administrator Dale the afternoon before the event. The meeting provided a constructive dialogue that touched on areas of mutual interest including the role of innovation in driving a high-tech economy such as Washington State‘s, the importance of STEM education to sustain growth, the State’s thriving aerospace sector, and NASA’s contributions to enabling more sustainable management of the environment.


There was also considerable media coverage of the event as well as local interest in an exhibit arranged through NASA of a Mars meteorite in the Museum of Flight. Deputy Administrator Dale did live local interviews with a morning news program (Sorry for that early wake-up call, Shana), an editorial board meeting with the Seattle Times, an interview with the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, a press conference, and the event featured a live broadcast by KOMO-4 News weather anchor Steve Pool.


Lastly, education was a key component of this event and all of the Future Forums. Teacher training and student activities were conducted the day before and the day of the event. In addition, NASA, along with its partners, arranged for 1,500 square feet of interactive exhibits on space exploration and science at the museum.


Bottom line — this was truly a team effort. I’d like to extend special thanks to folks (you know who you are) from the NASA Strategic Communications team, the Innovative Partnerships Program, all the Mission Directorates, the Office of the General Counsel and Ames Research Center for your dedication and hard work in making this a great event. And especially a big thanks to NASA leadership — Administrator Griffin and Deputy Administrator Dale — for enabling us to move forward with this idea and see it to fruition. This was a great start to a busy and exciting 50th Anniversary year. For more information on NASA’s 50th anniversary activities, please visit https://www.nasa.gov/50th/home/index.html.