Results tagged “CASIS”

Keith's note: I was just out walking, listening to NPR's "Science Friday" when noted data visualist (and CAIB Powerpoint analyst) Edward Tufte was on. During a short break the announcer mentioned that Science Friday was "sponsored in part by CASIS" followed by a short description and their web address. A week or two ago I noticed that CASIS took out a full page adverstisement in Science magazine. CASIS may still be dragging its feet in many areas, but at least someone at CASIS is putting some thought into catching the attention of scientists - and people interested in science - in the places that those people are likely to be found.

How to Solve Protein Structures with an X-ray Laser, Science (subscription required)

"For over a decade, biologists have asked whether x-ray lasers can be used to determine the structures of biomolecules such as proteins. Such methods have the potential to allow structure determination from micro- or even nanoscale crystals, but radiation damage can be extensive and data interpretation is fraught with difficulty. On page 227 of this issue, Redecke et al. (1) overcome these problems to determine the room-temperature structure of a protein of importance to drug discovery."

Advanced Protein Crystallization Facility (APCF), NASA

"The three-dimensional structure of protein crystals is studied to determine how structure affects the function of individual proteins. Scientists want to understand how proteins work, how to build them from scratch, or how to improve them. To conduct this type of study, scientists must first generate crystals that are large enough and uniform enough to provide useful structural information upon analysis. Protein crystals grown in microgravity -- the near weightlessness experienced on a spacecraft in orbit -- are often significantly larger and of better quality than those grown on Earth."

Keith's note: Once again, yet another research team has demonstrated that structural information for biomolecules can be obtained from vanishingly small biological samples using a X-ray laser - on Earth - no space station required. So much for the official story NASA has told for 20 years that the ISS is crucial for such work. If NASA hadn't dragged its feet for the past several decades perhaps the agency could have made more progress before Earth-based research caught up and passed them by. You can be certain that CASIS won't be linking to this research.

This doesn't mean that the ISS has no value as a research platform - quite the opposite. What NASA needs to do, however, is get off its collective butt and adopt a research cycle for ISS research - from start to finish - that is commensurate with what happens back on Earth. Otherwise more of the "discoveries" made up there will arrive back on Earth after they have been done 'faster, better, and cheaper' back on Earth.

Using the ISS: Once Again NASA Has Been Left in the Dust, earlier post

CASIS Board of Directors Press Availability

"In November, seven individuals were inducted into The Center for the Advancement of Science in Space (CASIS) Board of Directors. Following the group's first in-person meeting at The Florida House in Washington, D.C., Board members will make themselves available to the press corps for a limited period of time to introduce themselves and answer media inquiries."

Keith's note: You can catch tweets as to what was said on @NASAWatch. The audio was intermittent (could not hear media questions) and the webcast abrubtly died. In summary this was the very first meeting of the CASIS "core board". The CASIS board seems to know very little about the ISS or how it is utilized (by NASA or other partners) and they are using this meeting to learn about the NASA Authorization Act and the NASA MOA with CASIS. They said that they also need to find an executive director for CASIS and add members to their board.

James Royston Statement at Hearing Highlighting Research, Discovery aboard the International Space Station, 25 July 2012

"Through a series of evaluations, interviews, and down-selects, the Interim Board has identified the first group of permanent Board of Directors candidates, all of whom represent the best American minds in the fields of scientific research and management from academia, government, and industry. An announcement of the first set of Board members will be made shortly, with the remaining 15-member Board finalized soon thereafter."

William Gerstenmaier Statement at Hearing Highlighting Research, Discovery aboard the International Space Station, 25 July 2012

"NASA is working with CASIS' interim Board of Directors to identify and evaluate a diverse group of outstanding individuals for that board, and the Agency is also in the process of transitioning existing National Laboratory agreement holders to CASIS."

Letter from NASA to CASIS regarding Notification of Actions Following Dr. Becker's Resignation, 21 March 2012

"Moreover, the functions identified in the Cooperative Agreement and the milestones in the Annual Program Plan (APP) are critical given the limited amount of time remaining to do research on the International Space Station (ISS). NASA would like assurances from the Board that CASIS will be able to meet the milestones in the APP."

Letter from CASIS to NASA: Response regarding Notification of Actions Following Dr. Becker's Resignation, 28 March 2012

"A Selection process for the full Initial Board has been approved and is underway."

Keith's 23 Oct update: Three months since the hearing. Seven months since the memos. Still no news from CASIS as to who is on their board of directors or when this board will be announced. Sources report that no one (White House, NASA, Congress, research community) likes the names that CASIS has floated.

SpaceX Dragon to Carry 23 Student Experiments to Space Station

"SSEP offers a unique flight opportunity that allows students to experience both the excitement and the challenges inherent in conducting research in a microgravity environment," said Roosevelt Johnson, deputy associate administrator for education at NASA Headquarters in Washington. "It really is STEM [science, technology, engineering and mathematics] in action, using the International Space Station -- which has America's only orbiting National Laboratory -- to host these students' science experiments."

Keith's note: No mention is made of this news at the CASIS website. Nor is any mention made at the Space Station or ISS National Laboratory websites. NASA's education website does mention this news. CASIS seems to be going out of its way to ignore the very things it is supposed to be promoting. This project involves Nanoracks which signed an agreement with CASIS to utilize the ISS. Yet CASIS continues to ignore what Nanoracks is doing on the ISS. Baffling.

Photos of Cubesat Deployment From The International Space Station

NASA'S Techedsat Launches From International Space Station

"NASA engineers, student interns and amateur radio enthusiasts around the world are listening for signals from a small, cube-shaped satellite launched into orbit from the International Space Station Thursday."

Keith's update: No mention is made of this news at the CASIS, Space Station, ISS National Laboratory, or NASA education, or Chief Technologist websites.

NASA Research Opportunities in Space Biology

"This NASA Research Announcement (NRA) solicits hypothesis-driven Space Biology research proposals for 1) Ground-Based Research Designed to Lead to Space Flight, 2) Rapid Turn-Around Space Flight Experiments 3) ISS Flight Experiments and 4) New Space Biology Investigations. NASA Space Biology experiments have one or more of the following primary goals: 1) to effectively use microgravity and the other characteristics of the space environment to enhance our understanding of basic biological processes; 2) to develop the scientific and technological foundations for a safe, productive human presence in space for extended periods and in preparation for exploration; and 3) to apply this knowledge and technology to improve our nation's competitiveness, education, and the quality of life on Earth. NASA Space Biology (SB) experiments will be designed to discover how space flight affects a diverse group of microorganisms, plants, and animals; study the effects of gravity (g) across the g-spectrum, i.e., from micro- to hyper-gravity; and characterize the biological effects of radiation, magnetic fields, and the interaction amongst species in the unusual environments of space and spacecraft."

Keith's note: This NASA space biology solicitation makes no mention of CASIS. CASIS makes no mention of it on their website. This is somewhat baffling given that this is exactly the sort of research CASIS is supposed to be doing on the ISS. Indeed, their website says:

"Biosciences will be the first research area that CASIS will promote for National Lab utilization. Access to space will give researchers a unique discovery platform for biological and physical processes that can significantly affect cell biology, human health, macromolecular crystal growth and microencapsulation."

CASIS Announces Upcoming Requests for Proposals in Materials Science and Earth Observational Science

"The ISS National Lab supports a variety of platforms to exploit the space environment in the development and testing of new materials for both commercial and academic investigators. Through these solicitations, CASIS continues in its mission to promote the full utilization of the ISS. ... This RFP will utilize the NanoRacks External Platform."

NanoRacks Announcement of Opportunity-1: Building a NanoLab Community for Space Station Users

"NanoRacks, the leading company in low-earth orbit research and educational utilization, seeks to further stimulate the market for International Space Station usage by offering to designate and promote up to five (5) companies that can offer for retail sale NanoLabs for use in NanoRacks hardware now on the space station and on suborbital platforms."

Keith's note: CASIS makes a big deal out of its agreement with Nanoracks - but they don't seem to be interested in making any mention of this Nanoracks Announcement of Opportunity utilizing the ISS. Baffling - especially given the bundle of money CASIS gave Nanoracks.

Keith's note: Yesterday @ISS_NatLab (an official NASA Twitter account) announced that "This official NASA ISS National Laboratory Office Twitter account will be shut down by October 1, 2012." and "Visitors are urged to follow National Lab activities at https://twitter.com/isscasis, maintained by Center for the Advancement of Science in Space".

That's fine but a little weird. Why not put "@ISSCASIS" in the tweet thus making it a lot easier for people to follow them using their Twitter account? @ISS_NatLab has 16,000+ followers. @ISSCASIS only has 1,211. Better yet - why not just give the @ISS_NatLab account to CASIS? That's their job, right? That way you keep the followers. Take the NASA logo off and add the CASIS logo. Meanwhile, a parallel NASA account, @ISS_Research, with 21,000+ followers remains online and never makes any mention of CASIS or @ISSCASIS. So you can bet that this dysfunctionality between JSC ISS and CASIS will continue regardless of how many Twitter accounts they have and what they call them.

U.S. National Laboratory on the Space Station: CASIS Continues To Have Problems Meeting Its Milestones

"NASA and CASIS finalized their agreement in September 2011. That's 1 month of operations in FY 2011 and 9 months of operations in FY 2012. If CASIS is following the reference model, then it should be well along the way toward having raised $2,892,000 by now. Yet there was no mention of that by Royston. If CASIS is following this reference as Royston told Congress, then where is the money he's supposed to have raised/generated? If he has not generated it yet, when does he project that this milestone will be reached. If CASIS does not meet this milestone, what will NASA do?"

The International Space Station: A Platform for Research, Collaboration, and Discovery

"The U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation will hold a hearing on "The International Space Station: A Platform for Research, Collaboration, and Discovery." With assembly of the International Space Station complete as of May 2011, the focus has now shifted from construction to full scientific utilization through 2020 and beyond. This hearing will examine research progress, the potential for scientific breakthroughs, and any impediments to maximizing the utilization of this orbiting national laboratory."

Prepared Statements

William Gerstenmaier (and Don Pettit)
James Royston
Thomas Reiter
Sen. Rockefeller
Sen. Hutchison

Keith's note: Sources note that prior to this public hearing a private meeting will be held wherein the teams that bid on the contract that CASIS won - and explain how they would have approached this task. That said, nothing spectacular should be expected from the public hearing. Sen. Nelson has staged all of this behind the scenes - from contract award to providing political protection - so as to send jobs to Florida. Actual performance on the task is of secondary importance. As such, Sen. Nelson is unlikely to allow the status quo to be upset during this hearing - and the ongoing incompetence demonstrated by CASIS will be allowed to continue.

Three weeks after an ISS conference co-sponsored by CASIS, they have only managed to figure out how to post a small fraction of what was presented - 2 NASA presentations and 3 CASIS presentations. The rest of what was presented i.e. the vast majority - is being ignored.

NASA: Notice of Prospective Space Act Agreement and Intent to Transfer Sponsorship of Investigational New Drug Application

"The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) has identified a potential pharmaceutical industry partner named Epiomed Therapeutics, Inc., having its principal place of business in Irvine, California, which is interested in assuming responsibilities for the further development and commercialization of a pharmaceutical dosage form for intranasal administration of scopolamine (INSCOP). NASA has been actively engaged in the clinical development of this agent and is now seeking a Space Act Agreement (SAA) Partner whose role will include production of the formulation under FDA stipulated GMP GUIDELINES for clinical trials."

Keith's note: No mention of CASIS - anywhere. Isn't this the sort of thing CASIS is supposed to be doing?

Keith's note: Here's today's excuse from CASIS as to why nothing is online at the CASIS website regarding the recent ISS Utilization conference in Denver. This was posted by CASIS employee Justin Kugler (@Phalanx): "@NASAWatch AAS was taken out for 2 weeks by the outage in the Northeast and we had to coordinate with them. It's coming. Be patient." Hmm. The storm in the northeast was less than "2 weeks" ago. Of course this begs the question as to why none of the CASIS staff in attendance in Colorado (many of whom live in Texas and Florida) were able to write a summary of what happened at the event, post their own presentations, or put something online that documented what all of these hundreds of people heard and said at this meeting. Amazingly, NASA JSC's Liz Warren managed to get something online - yet CASIS is unable to even link to this lone summary. Utterly baffling. Is this inept performance by CASIS what U.S. taxpayers can expect from their ISS investment? CASIS continues to underwhelm and disappoint on a daily basis.

NASA and CASIS Hold Stealth ISS Conference, earlier post

Keith's 9 Jul note: It has been two weeks since the CASIS-co-sponsored First Annual International Space Station R&D Conference. The event itself received little media attention. None of the sessions were webcast. With the exception of one CASIS employee who tweeted a few times, virtually nothing was sent out via Twitter or other social media platforms. This is baffling given the hundreds of people who reportedly attended the event and the supposed mission of CASIS to popularize the ISS and its capabilities. Now, two weeks later a visit to the CASIS website shows that nothing from this conference has been posted online. No presentations. No videos. No summaries. Nothing.

And its not just CASIS that has dropped the ball - there is absolutely nothing posted at the NASA ISS National Laboratory website either. As such, it would seem that only the several hundred people in Denver at the event will ever know what happened. The remaining 300 million of us will have to accept silence.

I am not certain whether to ascribe this lack of follow-up by NASA and CASIS to laziness or incompetence. Or maybe NASA and CASIS simply do not care any more. And if they cannot be bothered to explain what the people who actually use the International Space Station are doing, why should they have any expectation that taxpayers are going to care what happens to the agency's budget?

Keith's 10 Jul update: The NASA ISS National Lab website put a link up to a summary written about the workshop. Yet CASIS can't even be bothered to link to this summary.

Fledgling NASA Nonprofit Starts To Liftoff, NPR (Morning Edition)

"At a hearing later in March, Congressman Frank Wolf, R-Va., asked the head of NASA, Charles Bolden, what grade he would give CASIS on its progress so far. Bolden said it was too soon to tell. "I'd give them a D-plus overall," says Keith Cowing, who runs the website NASAwatch.com. He worked for the agency in the early days of the space station program, and has been a persistent critic of CASIS. "They're making incremental progress, but I just don't think they're going fast enough," he says. "I don't think that they've engaged the people who have decades of experience in doing research in space. And I'm a little frustrated that they haven't gotten that message."

- More Whining From CASIS: Its Not Our Fault, earlier post
- CASIS: It Takes More Than Golf to Utilize the ISS, earlier post
- CASIS & ISS National Lab: Still Ignoring Their Own Stuff, earlier post
- Wake The Kids: CASIS Has A New Logo, earlier post

Other CASIS posts

Keith's note: It has been a week since the CASIS-cosponsored ISS utilization conference in Denver. Nothing has been put online by CASIS in terms of presentations, videos, written summaries. Nothing. Alas, in this interview, CASIS representatives once again proclaim that "CASIS has to succeed" yet they seem to be going out of their way to help it fail by continuing to avoid explaining what it does outside of a very small constituency.

CASIS Signs Deal with COBRA PUMA GOLF for Research on ISS

"The Center for the Advancement of Science in Space (CASIS) today announced that it has signed a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) with COBRA PUMA GOLFTM to carry out materials research projects on the International Space Station (ISS) U.S. National Laboratory for use in its sporting goods products line."

CASIS & PGA Hosting STEM Camp This Week

"Combining instruction in the principles of both science and golf, 20 Title I students from St. Lucie County Schools will take part in the first-ever PGA STEM Enrichment Camp at the PGA Center for Golf Learning and Performance this week, June 18-22."

Keith's note: While CASIS is promoting its golf-in-space efforts, it has totally ignored its partner Nanoracks as it makes an announcement - and does so at a conference that CASIS itself co-sponsored. Oh yes, with the exception of two tweets @ISSCASIS was totally mute at the ISS conference in Denver. Indeed, only half a dozen or so people were using Twitter (#ISSRDC) to talk about what was happening at the conference. I have only found 2 articles - from the Huntsville Times - that refer to news from the conference. And nothing was webcast. How CASIS is going to expand visibility of ISS capabilities when it drops the ball like this escapes me. It takes more than a few golf agreements, CASIS.

Golf or Science: What is NASA's Plan for the Space Station?, Earlier post

Space: The New Frontier For Medical Breakthroughs, US News & World Report

"Deadly bacteria that have spent time in space are already on Earth--but instead of killing humans, they might just save lives. Scientists are using bacteria cultivated on the International Space Station to help develop vaccines that experts say could revolutionize the medical field."

Keith's note: Wow. Actual benefits to people back on Earth from research done in space on the ISS. Deputy Administrator Garver tweeted a link as did the White House Office of Science & Technology Policy. Neither @ISSCASIS or @ISS_NatLab could be bothered to do so. Alas, neither CASIS or the ISS National Laboratory are mentioned in this article. CASIS and the ISS National Laboratory ignore lots of things like this - including this regular NASA summary (not posted online) of space biology and medicine research done on the ISS. The CASIS and ISS National Lab folks are having their big meeting in Denver right now. I wonder if they are talking about how to make the ISS more relevant to the people who pay for it?

Keith's update: Oh yes: CASIS just released "CASIS Announces First Solicitation for Proposals: Advancing Protein Crystallization in Microgravity". No mention by @ISS_NatLab or at the ISS National Laboratory website. No one bothers to work with anyone, it would seem. [Update: a link was added later in the day - well after the release went out.]

CASIS Unveils New Logo Part of Aggressive Plan to Expand Research Partners

"CASIS is determined to facilitate the development of ground-breaking products and technologies on the ISS for the benefit of people on Earth," said CASIS Interim Executive Director Jim Royston. "Our new logo captures our spirit and mission, and serves as a message to the marketplace that CASIS is a strong partner helping business and researchers harness the power of microgravity and the ISS U.S. National Lab."

Keith's note: This is bordering on the absurd. CASIS continues to drop the ball on all of the tasks it is supposed to be doing so as to further the utilization of the International Space Station and now they think that a new logo will "serve as a message to the marketplace"? Newsflash: actions speak louder than logos, CASIS.

Personally, I think the logo looks like something you'd see on an Adobe software package (same font). If this logo is supposed to show the industry that CASIS is serious about space, they certainly picked the wrong logo to do so. What this logo has to do with evoking an image of utilizing the ISS escapes me.

Maybe they were thinking of this movie space ship and its domes when they came up with this logo. The movie title certainly describes how CASIS has conducted itself since last year.

Teledyne to Develop Space-Based Digital Imaging Capability

"Teledyne Technologies Incorporated announced today that its subsidiary, Teledyne Brown Engineering, Inc., in Huntsville, Ala., was awarded a Cooperative Agreement by NASA to foster the commercial utilization of the International Space Station. Under the agreement, Teledyne Brown will develop the Multi-User System for Earth Sensing (MUSES), an Earth imaging platform, as part of the company's new commercial space-based digital imaging business. Teledyne expects to provide the first commercial imaging system on board the facility."

Keith's 14 Jun note: There is no mention of CASIS or the ISS National Lab in this press release. No mention is made on the CASIS website. No mention is made at the NASA ISS National Lab website either. I thought this was the sort of thing NASA wanted CASIS to be doing? Guess not. It would seem that one does not have to deal with CASIS in order to use the ISS.

Keith's 15 Jun update: According to Twitter posts provided last night by CASIS employee Justin Kugler (@phalanx) the TBE agreement was done independent of CASIS: "MUSES was created as a National Lab Enabling project. It is not new. TBE registered with CASIS as an implementation partner" and "TBE is an implementation partner and MUSES preceded the transition. And we have been helping them with potential users.". Kugler added that "NASA is retaining the projects they are funding because of legal requirements."

CASIS Must Succeed: And It Can if We Make it So, CASIS

"CASIS is now the manager of the ISS U.S. National Laboratory. Owing to a slow and unfocused start, tumultuous changes in management after barely six months, and pressure from those who lost the ISS National Lab management contract competition, some have called for CASIS to be removed from the job barely nine months after it was selected. Any move to retire CASIS -- still in its infancy -- and replace it with a still greener successor would be ill advised, I believe. ... I rather doubt that the detractors and would-be successors to CASIS have thought these implications through. But they should. And if they are ISS supporters, they should not only cease their calls to end CASIS and instead support it as it reboots with new leadership and a newfound effectiveness."

Keith's note: (sigh) It's never the fault of CASIS when things go wrong. Oh no. CASIS is the only answer - period. We're stuck with them - no matter what. So get used to it. And if you don't fall in step with whatever CASIS says and does (no matter how much they screw things up) you are a detractor and not a true believer. Yawn.

It is quite clear that CASIS thinks that the choice is to stick with them and their substandard ISS utilization - and not to even think of trying another approach so as to achieve far better utilization of the International Space Station. I vote for "better".

Keith's update: There are some interesting and lengthy comments (below) from someone inside the ISS utilization world that shed some light on issues confronting CASIS.

Keith's note: Last Friday I joined CASIS as a member. Ever since then, when I attempt to login all I get is "Authorization Failed! You are not authorized to view this page. You must either login or you do not have sufficient privileges to access this information ..." But the page that tells me this has a link that says "logout" so I guess I am both logged in and logged out simultaneously. I am not certain how CASIS is going to build the online community it seems to desire when they cannot get something as simple as this figured out.

Keith's update: OK, now when I log in I get sent back to the membership page. Do they still want money from me?

Previous CASIS posts


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