Results tagged “CASIS”

Keith's note: The annual ISSRDC - International Space Station Research And Development Conference has had a series of technical session this week - from 16-18 August. If you go to Twitter no one seems to be tweeting anything about what is being said about the capability and potential of the International Space Station. In the first portion of this year's ISSRDC earlier this month NIH Director Francis Collins did an amazing conversation/interview with ISS Astronaut (and actual research biologist) Kate Rubins. They touched on a variety of cutting edge things that NASA is doing on ISS including CRISPR - a technique that allows unprecedented insight into how the genetics of living systems works.

No NASA hype needed - this is actually, no kidding, cutting edge stiff - and NASA is doing it - in orbit. NASA has tried for years to get visibility and parity with NIH - now they have. But you'd never know it. NASA could have promoted video of this interview, posted a transcript etc. But no. They let it fade away. Now, less than 2 weeks later the detailed sessions where things like CRISPR are being discussed and NASA - HEOMD, SMD, PAO, ISSPO and ISSNL have gone out of their individual and collective way to ignore ISSRDC's technical sessions.

Today, this article "International Space Station experiment expands DNA research toolkit using CRISPR" from NASA JSC appeared on Eurekalert. But you cannot find it on the JSC home page, HEOMD's NASA ISS home page, SMD's NASA Biological & Physical Sciences page, or anywhere else that I can find. They did not send this out to news media by email. And when I go to JSC to re-subscribe to their press releases (thinking that maybe I am missing things) the address they tell everyone to use to subscribe to news releases does not even exist.

Are there any more ways NASA can make it harder for people to know what they do? If so, please let me know.

Keith's note: Three days of online technical sessions for the 2021 ISS Research & Development Conference (ISSRDC) are being held from 16-18 August. No one at NASA or the ISS National Laboratory seems to be making any effort to provide public mention of the event or what is being presented. There is no mention at the main NASA ISS page, the ISS National Laboratory (CASIS) home page. There is a small box in the lower right hand corner of the NASA ISS National Laboratory home page. None of the events are being show on NASA TV or live streamed unless you know about this hidden event and register. If you click through 10 pages of archived NASA press releases and media advisories there is no mention whatsoever of ISSRDC. The people who tweet stuff from HEOMD AA Kathy Luders' Twitter account @KathyLuders make no mention.

Meanwhile, NASA continues the promotion of the value of the ISS (which is very real and only partially realized) and how they want the money to keep it fully operational until 2030 while also doing Artemis - with full funding - and building yet another space station (albeit a small one) in lunar orbit. NASA is also spending lots of money on capabilities offered by Axiom Space and other ways to extend the utility of ISS. But when it comes to explaining why this ISS spending is important or what benefits are being derived every day from the ISS, all NASA seems to be able to do is postpress releases about local schools talking to astronauts or cargo flight deliveries to the ISS. The users of the International Space Station are presenting their results and plans online - right now - and NASA HEOMD and PAO could not be bothered to lift a finger to tell anyone outside a very, very small bubble that this is even happening.

NIH Director Francis Collins and NASA Astronaut Kate Rubins to Keynote Joint Session at ISSRDC

"The 2021 International Space Station Research and Development Conference (ISSRDC) will include a virtual keynote session that will feature two key science figures: National Institutes of Health (NIH) Director Dr. Francis Collins and NASA astronaut Dr. Kate Rubins."

The Smithsonian's Dr. Ellen Stofan and NASA's Dr. Thomas Zurbuchen to Keynote Day 2 Session at ISSRDC

"Dr. Ellen Stofan, under secretary for science and research at the Smithsonian Institution, will join NASA's associate administrator for the Science Mission Directorate, Dr. Thomas Zurbuchen, in a keynote address during the 10th annual International Space Station Research and Development Conference (ISSRDC), August 3-5."

Keith's note: This is a big deal: the Director of the National Institutes of Health, Francis Collins, is a Keynote speaker at the CASIS/ISS National Laboratory ISSRDC (10th Annual International Space Station Research and Development Conference) event next week. NASA has tried to get this level of visibility and recognition from the larger biomedical community for a very, very long time. Well done to ever pulled this off. And the AA for Science Mission Directorate is speaking too - a cross-pollinating event.

With all of these excellent guest speakers, you'd think that HEOMD AA Kathy Lueders and the HEOMD team would be wanting to tell everyone about this. Guess again. There is nothing mentioned on the NASA Space Station or Humans in Space web pages. There is no mention on the NASA Science Mission Directorate home page or the SMD NASA Biological & Physical Sciences page. Nothing is listed on the NASA TV schedule for this event. No NASA media advisories or press releases have been put out.

It is not surprising that NASA HEOMD, SMD, and PAO have dropped the ball on this. They never coordinate when it comes to events that reach cross disciplines - or centers - and they are incapable of envisioning the value of cross-pollinating, cross-disciplinary events like this since this means that people who never talk to each other need to talk to each other so as to share the news. Meanwhile NASA's ISS Program Office and ISS National Lab act as if they are separate organizations. How can NASA expect that people will see a vibrant, multi-disciplinary, cutting edge research effort in space - one that is important enough to make certain that ISS continues to operate throughout the decade - if the agency can't even get the people involved in that program to promote their own good news? Baffling.

Keith's note: These are some of the articles - with links to research publications - in this past week's NASA Spaceline Current Awareness List #949 14 May 2021 (Space Life Science Research Results)

As you can see, this is a rather broad array of topics with direct relevance to this whole exploration of space thing that NASA talks about. And the folks who edit this resource put a quality list like this out every week. But unless you know precisely where to look for it - or read our SpaceRef website (which has the only complete archive going back to the 1990s)- you'd never learn about this NASA-related and sponsored research.

- Planetary extravehicular activity (EVA) risk mitigation strategies for long-duration space missions.
- Rad-Bio-App: A discovery environment for biologists to explore spaceflight-related radiation exposures.
- DNA microarray analysis of gene expression of etiolated maize seedlings grown under microgravity conditions in space: Relevance to the International Space Station experiment "Auxin Transport."
- Persistent deterioration of visuospatial performance in spaceflight.
- On the challenges of anesthesia and surgery during interplanetary spaceflight.
- Biomaterials for human space exploration: A review of their untapped potential.
- Revival of anhydrobiotic cyanobacterium biofilms exposed to space vacuum and prolonged dryness: Implications for future missions beyond low Earth orbit.
- Sharp changes in muscle tone in humans under simulated microgravity.
- Gravity threshold and dose response relationships: Health benefits using a short arm human centrifuge.

As I noted a week ago in "Biden Says #ScienceIsBack - But Its Hard To Find It At NASA" NASA makes no mention of this NASA-funded resource anywhere within its Human Space Flight or ISS Space Station webpages. CASIS ignores it too on the ISS National Lab website. In addition, various NASA pages that list research resources ignore it too. And when you tell NASA about this serious omission (which I have done multiple times over the years) they just do-not-care.

I used to just chalk this off to laziness on the part of the responsible offices at NASA. Its now starting to look like willful neglect. There was a Scientific Integrity Task Force meeting today. NASA is a member. The Biden Administration talks incessantly about #ScienceIsBack. Meanwhile, at NASA, #ScienceIsLost.

Keith's note: As a one-time actual space biologist at NASA I find posting of research data online to be one of the most important things NASA can do to show the value - and availability - of research done on the ISS. NASA has been generating research papers for more than half a century. One very useful resource is NASA Spaceline, a regular (now weekly) NASA-funded summary of research sponsored by and relevant to NASA life science research. Here is the latest issue issued today - we post it within minutes of its arrival by email on Fridays.

Look at the good stuff in this issue: "Changes in the optic nerve head and choroid over 1 year of spaceflight"; "Draft genome sequences of various bacterial phyla isolated from the International Space Station"; "The individual and combined effects of spaceflight radiation and microgravity on biologic systems and functional outcomes."; "Everything you wanted to know about space radiation but were afraid to ask"; and "Fusarium oxysporum as an opportunistic fungal pathogen on Zinnia hybrida plants grown on board the International Space Station". That's just this issue alone - space biology, space medicine, radiation physiology, plant physiology, genomics. Each issue is like a weekly textbook on space life science. There's even astrobiology and microgravity science included as well.

NASA has paid someone to produce this research summary for years. There have been gaps due to funding lapses and our SpaceRef website has the only complete archive online here going back to the 1990s. We have been posting it religiously over the decades. Currently you can find and subscribe to this summary at NASA: SPACELINE Current Awareness - NASA Task Book. You'd think that NASA would go out if its way to be certain that all of its space station and space life science research websites would feature it prominently.

Guess again. They ignore it - systematically. There is no mention of - or links to - Spaceline at:

- NASA PubSpace (a linkage to NIH PubMed which has now been dissolved)
- NASA Scientific and Technical Information Program
- NASA SMD Biological & Physical Sciences
- CASIS/ISS National Lab
- NASA Space Station Homepage
- NASA GeneLab
- Life Sciences Data Archive, NASA JSC
- Space Station Research Explorer
- International Space Station National Laboratory

Oh yes - most of the inter-related and duplicative resources listed above don't even link to each other either - but there is another story coming on that.

If you Google "NASA science" (a thing taxpayers might just do) you get sent to this Science Mission Directorate page. If you look at the "topics" menu you see no mention of "biology", "life science", "astrobiology" or "microgravity" - even though all of this research is now housed at SMD. If you click on "missions" you get nothing related to these topics. If you click on "for researchers" and then "Science Data" there is no mention of Spaceline or any of these topics either. And so on.

If you search NASA.gov you can't find any mention of Spaceline.

NASA apparently doesn't have any interest in making this voluminous reference to science accomplished on ISS and in related fields available - if for no other reason than to refute those who would say that nothing of value is conducted on the ISS.

Oddly as NASA ignores things like Spaceline, they do like to jump up and down and tell you about all of the amazing research they want to do on the ISS to solve all of humanity's problems. In recent budget briefings to Congress NASA mentions how they want to ramp up ISS utilization in the coming years. Of course this is a good idea since the potential of this amazing facility has yet to be tapped. And now they want to sell you a bunch of ISS replacements where more of this science goodness will be carried out - and wait there's more: they want to do some on the Moon and in a mini Lunar space Station called Gateway too. Alas, given the way that NASA handles the dissemination of research results such as Spaceline this will simply mean that more important and interesting research will continue to be ignored. But NASA still wants you to fall for all the science justifications they claim to have.

And then there is the dysfunctional relationship regarding space station utilization between CASIS/ISSNL, NASA's ISS Program Office, HEOMD and SMD - but I'll address that in a future posting.

Newsflash NASA: according to Team Biden #ScienceIsBack - even if you can't find it at NASA.

Keith's 18 March update: It has been 24 48 72 96 hours and no mention of this discovery by NASA public affairs or its science mission news sites. I know that NASA HQ knows about this story. The logical place for a news item would be SMD's NASA Science News but they are only interested in planets and stars.

Keith's note: Three novel microorganisms i.e. bacterial strains never before isolated and identified - have been found on the ISS according to a paper published in Frontiers In Microbiology: "Methylobacterium ajmalii sp. nov., Isolated From the International Space Station".

I posted the press release on my Astrobiology.com website - but I used the originating press release title - which could be a little better, BTW since it only scratches the surface of what was discovered: "Bacterial Strains Discovered On The Space Station May Help Grow Plants On Mars".

Let me say this again: three new terrestrial life forms have been discovered - in space - on a space station - using advanced genomics. That is certainly "space biology" and it certainly has relevance to "astrobiology" given that these life forms were discovered growing inside a space station i.e in outer space where they seem to have found an ecological niche. They also have relevance to sensing humans to Mars since they are related to nitrogen fixing which will figure into how we might grow plants in a life support system on other worlds like Mars.

The press release by the journal mentions the funding source: "The research described in this manuscript was funded by a 2012 Space Biology NNH12ZTT001N Grant No. 19-12829-26 under Task Order NNN13D111T awarded to KV, and NASA's 2018 Space Biology (ROSBio) NNH18ZTT001N-FG App B: Flight and Ground Space Biology Research Grant No. 80NSSC19K1501 awarded to CCCW." So NASA Space Biology Program gets a nod - but no connection is made to where space biology fits in the grander scheme of things i.e. the NASA Science Mission Directorate which makes zero mention of this on their science news website.

NASA Astrobiology is not mentioned. The reason NASA will give is that the specific program with this name did not fund it - even though space biology and astrobiology are both within SMD (which is never mentioned). While Mars is mentioned, JPL will make no mention of it on its Mars page since the missions to Mars - even though they are searching for life and testing the potential of supporting terrestrial life there - did not fund this.

The ISS Program Office will not mention this either since SMD/Space Biology funded it - not them. Yet the ISS readily post pictures of the vegetables they grow in space and the research that they do relating to plant growth - if they fund it, that is.

But CASIS/ISSNL - who did not fund or mention this research - did tweet a link to a Scientific American article "NASA Will Map Every Living Thing on the International Space Station". So at least someone at CASIS/ISSNL is paying attention to the overall topic of sequencing in space.

And of course, even though there is some hefty genomics involved NASA Genelab won't mention it since they were not involved. But I am pretty sure that the NASA funded SPACELINE Current Awareness List due out this Friday will certainly make mention. Oh, by the way - NASA's Space Biology, Space Medicine, Astrobiology programs and the ISS program Office and CASIS make no mention of SPACELINE, a NASA-funded research service that puts out a weekly summary of related space life science research. Go figure: NASA has a funded group that finds all of these synergies - yet no one knows that it even exists.

Update: Spaceline did indeed make mention of this research in their 19 March 2021 edition - see item #3.

Think of all the life science and exploration synergies that this discovery could have - if only NASA had the organizational software to seek out such synergies and bring them to light. The public is constantly inquiring as to what NASA does and why it does them. NASA seems to think that they need to justify what they do to their "stakeholders" but they never really do it. Building bridges between the various programs within NASA and things outside the agency would seem to be a prudent thing to do, right? Guess again. There are obvious synergies outside of NASA: how the genomics and microbiology were done, links to agriculture, etc. But NASA would have to cooperate internally to catch all of this and assemble it into a coherent larger picture. Again, NASA doesn't do that.

So .. articles with accurate headlines of "Microbes Unknown to Science Discovered on The International Space Station" will have no mention by any NASA websites. Cool NASA research will be a NASA PR orphan and the media will arrive at their own conclusions without any help from NASA.

Etop Esen

Keith's note: From CASIS: In remembrance of Etop Esen, Ph.D., It is with a sad heart that we announce the tragic death of our beloved friend and colleague, Dr. Etop Esen. He is survived by Imeh, his wife, and his two beautiful children. Etop suffered a heart attack on Saturday Feb 27th during his routine jog. A "Go Fund Me" to help the family with the expenses can be found with this link. https://www.gofundme.com/f/help-etops-family-with-funeral-cost

Keith's update: Over $11,000 $14,000 $15,000 $17,000 $22,000 has been raised. Thanks to everyone who contributed. Details of the funeral arrangements are at the GoFundMe link.

Day 2 of ISSRDC Online Series to Feature Space Investment, Commercialization, and NASA-driven Programs

"Day 2 of the 9th annual International Space Station Research and Development Conference (ISSRDC) will take place virtually this Thursday, September 17, bringing together researchers, engineers, entrepreneurs, investors, and the general public to showcase the benefits of conducting research and technology development onboard our nation's industrial incubator in low Earth orbit (LEO). Each year, ISSRDC is hosted by the Center for the Advancement of Science in Space (CASIS), NASA, and the American Astronautical Society. The day will kick off with a session focused on space-based research that is leading to commercial product applications. Multiple plenary sessions will be dedicated to NASA-driven initiatives like GeneLab and the Cold Atom Lab. Additionally, a session focused on trends within the investment community will be led by executive leadership within Nasdaq."

The conference will also air on NASA TV

NASA Administrator to Open Space Station Research and Development Conference, NASA

"NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine is set to open the ninth annual International Space Station Research and Development Conference (ISSRDC) at 10 a.m. EDT Thursday, Aug. 27, as the microgravity laboratory celebrates the 20th anniversary of continuous human presence in space."

Day 1 of ISSRDC Online Series to Feature NASA Leadership and Promote Commercialization of Low Earth Orbit, CASIS

"The 9th annual International Space Station Research and Development Conference (ISSRDC) kicks off as a virtual event this Thursday, August 27, bringing together researchers, engineers, entrepreneurs, investors, and the general public to showcase the benefits of conducting research and technology development onboard our nation's industrial incubator in low Earth orbit (LEO). Each year, ISSRDC is hosted by the Center for the Advancement of Science in Space (CASIS), NASA, and the American Astronautical Society. This year, the conference will take place as an online series featuring three days of virtual plenary sessions: Day 1 on August 27, Day 2 on September 17, and Day 3 on October 22. The virtual sessions are free to attend; however, registration is required for each day."

Watch live on NASA TV

Keith's note: I will be live tweeting the entire ISSRDC on Thursday on @NASAWatch with the hashtag #ISSRDC I urge others who might be listening to try and do the same.

CASIS Board of Directors Welcomes New Members, CASIS

"The Center for the Advancement of Science in Space (CASIS), the organization that manages the International Space Station (ISS) U.S. National Laboratory pursuant to a Cooperative Agreement with NASA, has inducted four new members to the organization's board of directors. As directors on the CASIS board, these highly decorated and scientifically diverse leaders will work with existing board members, executive staff, and NASA stakeholders to determine organizational priorities. The board seeks to ensure and enhance the ability of CASIS to optimize the use of the ISS National Lab through basic and applied space-based investigations that will continue progress toward our nation's goal of developing a sustainable market economy in low Earth orbit."

NASA Announces New ISS National Lab Leadership, NASA

"One of six action items NASA identified in its response was to identify an ISS National Lab program executive at NASA Headquarters as the primary liaison to CASIS. As a first step in NASA's response, Alex MacDonald, NASA's chief economist, will also serve as the agency's program executive for the ISSNL. In this capacity he will work closely with CASIS to lead the implementation of NASA's forward plan as the agency outlined in its response to the IRT to bring the ISSNL into a new era."

CASIS Welcomes New NASA ISS National Lab Program Executive, CASIS

"We recognize that modifications in the current model of the ISS National Lab are necessary for continued success and maximization of the return on investment for the American people," said CASIS Chief Operating Officer and NASA Liaison Ken Shields. "The entire CASIS management team and staff welcome the opportunity to work with Dr. MacDonald, NASA, and other stakeholders in swiftly implementing many important changes to how the ISS National Lab will operate moving forward."

Keith's note: In a public Zoom telecon today between the National Academies of Science, NASA, CASIS, ASGSR, news media, public etc. about the recent CASIS IRT report Craig Kundrot, Director of NASA Space Life & Physical Sciences Research and Applications (SLPSRA) said that CASIS is no longer going to be issuing grants. That's odd since this is not mentioned anywhere in the IRT report.

So I asked Kundrot via email "In the Zoom telecon today you said that CASIS will no longer be issuing/writing grants. I do not see that anywhere in the IRT report. Has HEOMD made the decision to halt the issuance of grants by CASIS? If so can you send me information on when that decision was made?"

His response: "You did not miss it; it is not in the NASA response to the IRT report. The IRT report does say, "Recommendation 3.2: CASIS use of funding and access to do research, even if it is designed to ultimately be marketable, is in conflict with every model of successful commercialization. " and our NASA position is that CASIS should not be issuing grants, at least while we are in this transition period with leadership, the User Advisory Committee and roadmaps. These were verbal conversations that occurred after the IRT report was received. They are not documented."

https://s3.amazonaws.com/images.spaceref.com/news/2020/casischart.jpg

If you look at Kundrot's chart (larger image) that he showed during the teleconference it reflects what he said in the meeting i.e. "CASIS will cease issuing grants". What does that mean? Research grants? Educational grants? Some grants but not others? Or all grants? There is no wiggle room in his comments or chart wording. In his email response to me Kundrot tried to dial back his statement a bit to say that this applies to the transition period. As best as I understand this issue from NASA and ISS research community sources this is a rather premature statement by Kundrot. At one point in this telecon there were 104 participants. I scanned the list. It was a who's who of NASA and the ISS research and commercialization community - with some news media - chaired by a former NASA Administrator (Dava Newman) -- and Charlie Bolden dialed in and asked a question. Its is not as if I am the only one who heard all of this.

One of the key issues raised by the IRT is that NASA and CASIS simply did not communicate enough nor did they do so with clarity or transparency. This was characterized as being due in part to "many voices" coming from NASA in a confusing and often contradictory fashion. To the best of my knowledge this decision by SLPSRA for CASIS to not issue grants was not communicated to the affected parties - or the broader user and research community - until today's Zoom telecon. Not exactly the best way to be transparent.

NASA HQ would do well to take this aspect of the IRT report to heart as well: "NASA has used CASIS and its results mainly for public relations and has played an insufficient role in driving what CASIS does. CASIS has been left to define and re-define success based on a "many voices" approach from NASA that has driven inflexible and potentially damaging board and operational behaviors. Changes in NASA personnel in the NASA-ISSNL liaison role, with accompanying high variability in strategic guidance has exacerbated this problem."

It is time to stop speaking with many voices, NASA, and start speaking with one. Just sayin'

CASIS IRT Report Released (Update)

NASA Shares Findings, Recommendations, and Response to Review of International Space Station National Lab

"An external team appointed by NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine has completed its review of the operations and management of the International Space Station (ISS) U.S. National Laboratory, which the Center for the Advancement of Science in Space (CASIS) manages. The Independent Review Team (IRT) delivered its report to the agency in February, and NASA is now publicly releasing the report in full as well as the agency's response to its recommendations."

Message from the CASIS Board of Directors in Response to the Findings and Recommendations of the Independent Review of the International Space Station National Lab, CASIS

"With the goal of full utilization of ISS resources achieved, CASIS also recognizes that realizing the return on investment that the American people have made in the ISS requires important changes in the model of the ISS National Lab, and in its relationship with NASA," said Co-chair of the CASIS Board of Directors Dr. Andrei Ruckenstein. "We embrace the recommendations of the IRT report, many of which are fully aligned with our strategic plan and changes we have already begun implementing with our NASA colleagues. We are committed to working with NASA, other non-governmental organizations, implementation partners, and the broader user community toward maximizing access to the ISS for diverse users, accelerating sustainable commercial development of space and inspiring a next-generation of innovators and leaders."

Chairwomen Johnson and Horn Comment on Independent Review of Space Station National Laboratory R&D Management

"We face important decisions about the future of the ISS and its research and development activities in low Earth orbit," said Space and Aeronautics Subcommittee Chairwoman Kendra Horn (D-OK). "The IRT's report raises questions about CASIS's and its role in that future. I look forward to reviewing the IRT report as we work to ensure that NASA and the nation have an effective path forward for sustaining low Earth orbit research."

Earlier CASIS postings

ISS National Laboratory: COVID-19 Response and Update, CASIS

"Effective March 20, 2020, we elevated the COVID-19 response level at the ISS National Lab, enacting a mandatory telework policy for our team. ... As we endeavor to navigate this very dynamic situation, we will provide status updates as necessary. For now, let's all do the best that we can to remain safe and healthy. Let's also make an effort to remain connected to one another through this challenging time. All the best and trying to be Mark Watney."

NASA Selects First Commercial Destination Module for International Space Station

"The element will attach to the space station's Node 2 forward port to demonstrate its ability to provide products and services and begin the transition to a sustainable economy in which NASA is one of many customers. NASA and Axiom next will begin negotiations on the terms and price of a firm-fixed-price contract with a five-year base performance period and a two-year option."

Keith's note: To be certain, the full potential of the International Space Station has yet to be fully tapped - and it has an inherent capacity to be greatly expanded beyond its current configuration with commercial interests being a likely partner. But who is the customer for the use of this addition? Is it only NASA? What user demand model is the basis for facility's size and operations and what assumptions is it based on? NASA still can't fully use the ISS that it has in orbit now and it has dueling (and sometimes conflicting) utilization systems via NASA and CASIS. Isn't it a little odd to sign an agreement with these uncertainties before we know who is going to pay for this and how much they're going to pay? Just sayin'.

Keith's update: Some questions come to mind - this is the stream of consciousness order in which they occurred to me (I used to do space station payload utilization when I had a real job - at NASA): What payload attributes does this Axiom space facility have? How many payload racks will there be? What are the utilities offered at each rack location? Out of whose operations budget do the power, cooling and other utility allocations come? How many racks can be configured for sub-rack payload integration? What payload facilities (glove boxes, integration hardware) will be provided by Axiom? What does the customer have to provide? Will the payload allocation be in addition to NASA's allocation or will rack space be considered part of the overall payload space subject for use by ISS partners? Does CASIS have an allocation within these facilities? Who is the prime user interface for NASA customers - the ISS program office? CASIS? Both? Someone else? Will the cost of flying a payload via ISS program office, CASIS, and Axiom be the same or different? If so how - and why? How much of the facility's capability is owned by Axiom? Does NASA or the other iSS partners have any approval/veto over payloads? Will the U.S. and the international partners be able to include Axiom facilities in their long-standing practice of bartering resources? How does Axiom intend to cover ITAR/IP Issues - is this considered a U.S. facility for those purposes? Will Axiom fly private astronauts to the ISS? If so from whom do they buy seats and is the price the same or different than what NASA pays? At the end of its operational lifetime is Axiom responsible for cost and conduct of the disposal/de-orbit of their facilities? What payload/utilization demand models did NASA and Axiom use as the basis for this agreement? Were these models made available to other bidders? Can these payload models be made available publicly? What orbital lifetime will NASA guarantee to Axiom? What provisions are in place in case NASA is forced to withdraw from supporting ISS? Has Axiom been given options to buy or lease current on-orbit facilities located in other parts of the ISS? And so on.

If there was a press event for this announcement and I was able to ask questions I can guarantee that the answers to my questions would be "we'll get back to you"; "that has not been determined yet", "I do not know"; "That's up to Axiom" (who would decline to answer); "That's up to NASA" (who would decline to answer); "It depends on Congress"; "we are confident that people will want to use this world class facility". And FWIW when they say "we'll get back to you" that is always followed by nothing but crickets. As such its not really worth contacting PAO about this.

Keith's note: Update and clarification: I've had multiple reports inside the NASA/CASIS community that the final report has been delivered. That is not exactly accurate. In fact, an out briefing on the final results has been made to NASA but the actual, formal document is still in preparation - as noted in these tweets today from SMD AA Thomas Zurbuchen.

Keith's earlier note: The final report of the CASIS review panel has been delivered to NASA. It is not expected that we'll hear anything from NASA until the end of the month or the beginning of February. CASIS has been in stand down or "strategic pause" since this review committee was initiated. The CEO has been on leave ever since and several other senior staff have been reassigned. The acting CEO has kept the organization running smoothly in the interim - and both the review team and NASA have noticed this relative improvement.

The review has seen and highlighted the strengths (and there are many) among the folks at CASIS who do the real work. They have also documented all of the needless "drama" (a word commonly used in the review) associated with the prior management team. One would hope that the CASIS review team recommends that NASA continue with what works at CASIS and strives make it and its relationship with CASIS better while ejecting the people and things that hinder or undermine CASIS as it accomplishes its tasks.

The review panel has found many things at CASIS that are broken that are the fault of CASIS management. But they have also found that NASA was an absentee landlord and neglected to provide appropriate oversight of this activity. Without a healthy two-way relationship, NASA and CASIS failed to make the most of the relationship. That needs to change. NASA and CASIS need to redefine what CASIS is and is not expected to do, what NASA is and is not expected to do, how NASA and CASIS can better communicate and coordinate, and how they can both work together in synergy as a team - not as dysfunctional competitors.

The International Space Station is too vital a national - indeed a global - asset to waste. It has only begin to prove its value.

- NASA Orders A Review Of CASIS (Update), earlier post
- Former CASIS Employee Indicted For Charging For Prostitutes on Travel Reports, earlier post
- CASIS Quarterly Reports To NASA Are Now Online at NASAWatch, earlier post
- Previous CASIS postings

Keith's note: Over the past few years I have submitted regular FOIA requests to NASA HQ for documents related to how NASA and CASIS interact with one another. Specifically I asked for the quarterly reports submitted by CASIS to NASA. Below is a collection of these reports. For the most part they are un-redacted. Sometimes they are - alas the redactions are not consistent over the entire collection with somethings blacked out on one report only to be in the clear on another. Since CASIS' perfomance is currently being reviewed by a panel chartered by NASA HQ I thought his information - along with other things I have posted about CASIS over the years - would be of interest to the review panel.

FY 19 Quarters [1] [2]
FY 18 Quarters [1] [2] [3] [4]
FY 17 Quarters [1] [2] [3] [4]
FY 16 Quarters [1] [2] [3] [4]
FY 15 Quarters [1] [2] [3] [4]
FY 14 Quarters [1] [2] [3] [4]
FY 13 Quarters [1] [2] [3] [4]
FY 12 Quarters [1] [2] [3] [4]

Keith's note: Over the past few years I have submitted regular FOIA requests to NASA HQ for documents related to how NASA and CASIS interact with one another. Specifically I asked for the quarterly reports submitted by CASIS to NASA. Below is a collection of these reports. For the most part they are un-redacted. Sometimes they are - alas the redactions are not consistent over the entire collection with somethings blacked out on one report only to be in the clear on another. Since CASIS' perfomance is currently being reviewed by a panel chartered by NASA HQ I thought his information - along with other things I have posted about CASIS over the years - would be of interest to the review panel.

FY 19 Quarters [1] [2]
FY 18 Quarters [1] [2] [3] [4]
FY 17 Quarters [1] [2] [3] [4]
FY 16 Quarters [1] [2] [3] [4]
FY 15 Quarters [1] [2] [3] [4]
FY 14 Quarters [1] [2] [3] [4]
FY 13 Quarters [1] [2] [3] [4]
FY 12 Quarters [1] [2] [3] [4]

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