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NASA Senior Management ViTS Minutes 25 April 2005

Status Report From: NASA HQ
Posted: Friday, April 29, 2005

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- Mike Griffin talked about the new format for the newly named "Senior Management Meetings," which will be held as a video teleconference every Monday at 10:30 a.m. to noon. The attendees will be AA's and Center Directors, Public Affairs, Legislative Affairs, and Safety and Mission Assurance. The focus will be on Agency strategic issues and hot news items.

- Dr. Griffin also talked about the new governance structure. Center Directors will report to Code A, and the relationships will be clarified soon. He wants HQ to own strategy, policy, requirements, and budgets, and the Centers to own cost, schedule, performance, and risk analysis. HQ specifies the "what" and reviews the "how," and the Centers execute the "how."

- Dr. Griffin also talked about the New York Times story that referenced internal documents forwarded to Times reporters. The documents indicated NASA had changed at least some of the statistical methods used to understand the risks of ice, foam insulation, or other launch debris impacts. The fact that the documents were leaked did not matter to Dr. Griffin, as it cannot be stopped anyway. However he said that when we talk about changing the NASA culture, he would like to change the "need" to leak information. He supports an open environment where employees are entrusted to raise their hand to express opposing views and receive praise, not retribution. Within NASA, there will be no punishment for a contrary opinion, though the person who raises the objection may not get their way. Management must make a final decision. When an objection is raised, it will be listened to and the person should receive rationale and a timely response to their objection.

- There will be a monthly face-to-face Management Council Meeting with AA's and Center Directors. This meeting will be moved around to each Center. Dr. Griffin said that we can only get a limited amount of things done on the ViTS, so a dedicated monthly day-long meeting will take place. These meetings will begin after the return to flight mission is complete.

- Dr. Griffin asked that when he schedules meetings with Center Directors or AA's and there is a conflict to please let him know. There may be flexibility in the schedule, but if there is not he will tell you. He apologized to Craig Steidle for scheduling a meeting with him, which caused Adm. Steidle to cancel an event on his calendar. Dr. Griffin later had to cancel the meeting.

- Science Mission Directorate's Al Diaz reported that there was a delay in the release of Discovery Announcement of Opportunity (AO) selection for 2005 due to a Congressional inquiry about 2004. His goal is to manage in a manner not to draw fire from our major supporters. Next week, Al Diaz will be in Europe to discuss Mars Science objectives with the Europeans. He also noted that yesterday was the 15th anniversary of Hubble Space Telescope in orbit. He congratulated the Agency and thanked the Centers for making Hubble a success.

- Exploration Systems Mission Directorate's Craig Steidle reported that the DART mishap investigation board convened and began their work. The Systems Engineering and Integration delay notice went out yesterday. Adm. Steidle will be meeting with Dr. Griffin regarding the Crew Exploration Vehicle Request for Proposal soon.

Dr. Griffin mentioned that he was convening an architecture team, led by Doug Stanley. He will be drawing people from across NASA, such as Astronaut Marsha Ivins who is detailed from JSC. Two deputies will serve on the architecture team -Steve Cook from MSFC and a second one from KSC (unnamed at this time).

- Space Operations Mission Directorate's Lynn Cline reported that the crew of Exploration 10 has safely landed and are doing well in Star City. This week, a delta design and verification review on the ice formation will take place on Tuesday and Wednesday at JSC. The International Space Station Cargo Services Conference, also known as Industry Day, took place yesterday at JSC. The Administrator commented that we should be visitor friendly.

- Aeronautics Research Mission Directorate's Victor Lebacqz will be meeting with the FAA Administrator, Marion Blakey on Tuesday during a Small Aircraft Transportation System demo, and he asked if Dr. Griffin wanted to join him. Dr. Griffin declined because of a schedule conflict. He wanted Fred Gregory and Vic Lebacqz to focus on the creation of a National aeronautics strategy. He said that we support the President's vision and cannot do everything. However, he does not have the sense that as a country we have an aeronautics strategy.

- ARC reported on a meeting that took place with United Airlines. They are interested in arrival trajectory analysis of aircraft and would like to participate in a field test of the system. They also reported on the 15th anniversary of the Human Performance Laboratory.

- DFRC reported on a successful KSC/Edwards shuttle landing simulation dress rehearsal that took place last week. They also reported that the Center is starting a series of flights supporting NOAA's unscrewed aircraft. And Chief Pilot, Gordon Fullerton, was inducted into the U.S. Astronaut Hall of Fame!

- GRC reported that a Solar Sail test media event will take place at Plum Brook Station in the Space Power Facility on Wednesday.

- GSFC reported that NOAA-N safety readiness review that took place last week, with the launch planned for May 11, 2005. Senator Mikulski will be at the Space Business Roundtable on May 9, 2005.

- JPL reported that extensive risk reviews for the Deep Impact launch have been conducted.

- JSC held the first open house at JSC since 9/11/2001 on Saturday, and it went very well. Congressman DeLay was there and suggested that we are not using astronauts appropriately for public relations. They are national heroes and should be used to tell the story. Dr. Griffin agreed but noted that they have tasks to perform, and they must do their job first and foremost. He may be coming to JSC this week to understand the debris shedding issue and to get a better understanding of where we are with return to flight. Dave King at MSFC mentioned that a design verification review on the topic will take place this week on Tuesday and Wednesday, and that Dr. Griffin could join in the review or receive a synopsis at the end. JSC also reported that the Short Radius Centrifuge will be on the cover of Aviation Week.

- KSC reported that there are 5 contingency days left after May 22, 2005, for the return to flight mission. OV-104 is tracking well behind OV-103, and the tank has been mated to it. Representative Ken Calvert was at KSC on Monday, and Dr. Griffin asked Jim Kennedy to convey his regrets that he was not able to be there.

- LaRC reported on Senator Allen's visit last week. The Senator was engaged, friendly, and sympathetic to the problems of the Agency but he wants aeronautics funded. A press conference was held.

- MSFC reported on the ice shedding issue on the shuttle. They are looking at testing to keep ice from forming on the leading-edge bellows for STS 114 and 121. A longer-term solution is to install a heating element for future flights.

- SSC reported on a successful Space Shuttle Main Engine test last week.

- Dr. Griffin mentioned that the Agency was spammed with an Earth Day message. In fact, too many messages are being sent out from Headquarters. He will make sure that messages that come from his office are important and relevant to the agency's mission in the future.

- Strategic Communication's Joe Davis is working on return to flight messages.

Dr. Griffin mentioned that he wants our actions to speak louder than our words. He wants to assure success of the flight first, and then we can publicize what we did. He is more into doing than talking.

Aeronautics Research Mission Directorate (ARMD) ViTS:

- Dr. Shin gave the value example and picked "excellence" to highlight. He congratulated Larry Spence from Legislative Affairs and Elvia Thompson from Public Affairs who are both working in ARMD. They are a team who worked closely during the FY06 budget rollout and addressed the issues that resulted by getting ahead of the issues and being prepared. Thank you for your service during this difficult budget time for Aeronautics.

- Dr. Lebacqz reviewed highlights from his schedule last week: He attended an AIA stakeholders group meeting on Monday. On Tuesday he was at GRC for General Martin's visit, then flew to Atlantic City for Air Traffic Controllers conference, then met with Senator Voinovich's staff in DC in the afternoon. On Wednesday, he was a witness for the House Appropriations committee meeting on the NASA FY06 budget. On Thursday he talked to the National Chamber Foundation on Aviation in the United States, and he took Friday off.

- Dr. Lebacqz was scheduled to brief Administrator Griffin on the Aeronautics Research Mission Directorate this week, but the meeting will likely slip into next week. On Wednesday, he will deliver a keynote address to San Jose State College of Engineering for an awards ceremony.

- Vehicle Systems' Rich Wlezien reported that a Quiet Aircraft Technology Program technical workshop will take place in early May. Today he will be at the University of Akron with Rich Christiansen.

- Glenn Fuller talked about the second operating plan that will be delayed for a couple of weeks in order to get Mike Griffin's input. Proposals for FY05 earmarks need to be issued before May 12, when a Senate hearing will take place on the FY06 NASA budget. He talked about a reimbursable budget policy and noted that there are now three over guide formats: one for the institution, one for programs, and one for core competencies. The Centers will have until the COB on May 6 to load institutional budget data into NBS.

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