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President Recognizes NASA Employee at White House
 Posted on Jan 09, 2012 04:35:48 PM | Administrator Charles Bolden

NASA has been recognized nationally as an innovator once again.

The White House established the Presidential Securing Americans' Value and Efficiency (SAVE) program in 2009 to give front-line federal workers the chance to submit their ideas on how their agencies can save money and work more efficiently.

After nearly 20,000 ideas were submitted and more that 48,000 votes were cast, Matthew Ritsko, a financial manager at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md., won the 2011 SAVE award. He was congratulated today at the White House by President Obama.

Matthew's proposal calls for NASA to create a "lending library" where specialized space tools and hardware purchased by one NASA organization will be made available to other NASA programs and projects.

The NASA family comprises some of the most innovative and creative people in government, and we're pleased that Matthew's simple idea can help our nation's space program be more efficient and get more bang for the taxpayer's buck. I congratulate Matthew and all the NASA employees who submitted SAVE ideas. Keep them coming! We are always open to the fresh insights of NASA employees in every capacity across the nation. You're helping us reach for new destinations and making it easier to meet the big challenges we are privileged to tackle for the nation.



NASA Goddard Space Flight Center Financial Manager and White House 2011 SAVE award winner Matthew Ritsko is seen during a television interview at NASA Headquarters shortly after meeting with President Obama at the White House on Monday, Jan. 9, 2011. The Presidential Securing Americans' Value and Efficiency (SAVE) program gives front-line federal workers the chance to submit their ideas on how their agencies can save money and work more efficiently. Matthew's proposal calls for NASA to create a "lending library" where specialized space tools and hardware purchased by one NASA organization will be made available to other NASA programs and projects. Photo Credit: (NASA/Bill Ingalls)

Hiring Veterans at NASA
 Posted on Dec 16, 2011 09:44:49 AM | Administrator Charles Bolden

NASA and the military have a long and storied history. Our earliest astronauts came from the military because we wanted people who had test pilot experience and the willingness to face dangerous situations. Many members of the current astronaut corps are members of the military, including five people in our newest astronaut class and the current commander of the International Space Station.

As the leader of our nation's space program, and a proud Marine, I am committed to hiring as many veterans as I can at NASA. The President has called on NASA to once again tackle the big things for which we're known. And that's just the kind of challenge at which I know my military brothers and sisters excel.

Earlier this week, I attended an Office of Personnel Management summit on employing veterans. Our nation’s veterans already have a commitment to national public service. National service is founded on doing big things and doing things that benefit the whole world. Outside of the military, nowhere is that more true than at NASA. We truly believe in the potential of our veterans and in taking advantage of the diverse contributions they can make to our space program.

NASA is making great strides as an agency that places a priority on hiring veterans for our many mission-critical needs. At the end of fiscal year 2011, veteran new hires were over 11 percent of our total hires; and of those, almost 5 percent were disabled veterans. In 2012 we have a goal of 12 percent for our veteran new hires, with 5 percent of those being disabled veterans.

We have established a Veterans' Employment Opportunity Program within our Office of Human Capital Management. We've identified Veterans' Employment Coordinators at each of the NASA field centers and at Headquarters. We're identifying high-demand occupations conducive to veteran employment and working with other federal partners to align ourselves and our needs and resources with them. Some of our NASA field centers have developed veteran information pages on their websites, and some have participated in veteran-focused outreach and recruiting events.

When I was flying combat missions over Vietnam, there were times when I didn't think I'd come back – and five of my squadron mates did not. That's just one of many reasons that military service is like no other career in the world. You entrust your life to the integrity and skill of your colleagues. Not every veteran has faced enemy fire, but they've all made sacrifices for their country and fulfilled a public duty that demands our highest respect.

President Obama has asked each federal agency to make an effort to hire veterans. I consider this not only a challenge for NASA, but a personal commitment for me. As our service members return home, it is even more important to ensure that they have a place to continue contributing to the success of our great nation. Veterans continue to be a group whose contributions are crucial to NASA's success, and will continue to be as we enter the next great era of human exploration.

Small Businesses Are Critical to NASA
 Posted on Nov 25, 2011 04:01:19 PM | Brian Dunbar

NASA Administrator Charlie Bolden (right) and the Kegman, Inc., team.Earlier today I visited Kegman Inc., a woman-owned, veteran-owned business in Melbourne, Florida, that is providing valuable data to assist with Saturday’s expected launch of the Mars Science Laboratory Curiosity.

Curiosity’s mission is to get Mars to give up its secrets. But we can’t get to Mars without companies like Kegman who contribute technology, innovation, component parts and know-how to the project.

Small businesses play a big part in the work NASA does every day, and are a big part of the American economy. For the Mars Science Laboratory mission, more than two dozen small companies supplied component parts, engineering design and other technical assistance to the project.  More than 5,000 people in 31 states worked on Curiosity. The world’s most sophisticated interplanetary rover was created, designed, built and will be flown to the Red Planet in large part due to the work of American small businesses.

Small businesses are a critical piece of the American economy, employing 1 in every 3 Americans. As we recognize Small Business Saturday this week, I’m proud that NASA is working with great small businesses like Kegman, as well as supporting the small businesses that provide other services and benefits to the NASA family.

Above: NASA Administrator Charlie Bolden (right); Susan Glasgow, president and CEO of Kegman, Inc., and other members of the Kegman team. 

Honoring Four Legends
 Posted on Nov 16, 2011 01:48:33 PM | Administrator Charles Bolden

Today I made these remarks during a ceremony in the rotunda of the U.S. Capitol, where leaders of Congress honored astronauts John Glenn, Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins with congressional gold medals:

"As we embark upon the next great chapter of human space exploration, we stand on the shoulders of the extraordinary men we recognize today. Those of us who have had the privilege to fly in space followed the trail they forged.

America's leadership in space and the confidence that we can go farther into the unknown and achieve great things as a people rests on the achievements of these brave men.

When, 50 years ago this year, President Kennedy challenged the nation to reach the moon, to 'take longer strides' toward a 'great new American enterprise,' these men were the human face of those words. From Mercury and Gemini, on through our landings on the Moon in the Apollo Program, their actions unfolded the will of a nation for the greater achievement of humankind.

Today, another young President has challenged us to reach for new heights and plan an ambitious mission to Mars. Just as we called on the four individuals we honor today to carry out our early achievements in space, we now call on a new generation of explorers to go where we have never gone before.

As we honor these heroes, I want to recognize the hundreds of thousands of dedicated NASA employees and industry partners who contributed to the incredible success of the Mercury, Gemini and Apollo programs and all that has followed, and all that is yet to come.

I also want to thank our Congress. Our nation is a better place because of more than a half century of strong, bipartisan support for NASA's work in human exploration, science and aeronautics.

Five members of the most recent Astronaut Candidate Class are with us today to pay tribute to the Congressional Gold Medal honorees, and build on their accomplishments to make similar, lasting contributions to our nation's space program.

This new group of astronauts will redefine space exploration in the years to come and continue to honor the legacy of John Glenn, Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin, and Michael Collins.

It is a lasting legacy – a legacy that continues to unfold and transform our modern world.

The inspiration these four have provided to generations isn't something we can measure, but we can feel it in our hearts. As a nation, we would not be the same without them and their bravery, their sense of duty and dedication to public service and their great skill at thinking on their feet.

They changed the course of history and helped our nation to achieve the bigger things to which our greater nature aspires. We owe them our humblest gratitude.

On behalf of NASA and all the astronauts past and present, I congratulate and thank each of you – John, Neil, Buzz, and Mike, our Congressional Gold Medal recipients."

For biographies of the astronauts, visit:


NASA Administrator Charles Bolden (far right) with (l to r) astronauts Buzz Aldrin, John Glenn, Neil Armstrong, Mark Kelly and Michael Collins. Photo credit: NASA/Paul Alers

Another Milestone for the Future of Exploration
 Posted on Nov 09, 2011 03:45:40 PM | Administrator Charles Bolden

Today we made smoke and fire with a rocket engine yet again. The Stennis Space Center in Mississippi, long the front line in testing NASA's propulsion systems from the Apollo to the shuttle era, is now helping us understand the J-2X engine. The J-2X will power the upper stage of our new Space Launch System (SLS), which will carry the Orion spacecraft, its crew, cargo, equipment and science experiments beyond Earth orbit.

Today's engine test fire – at nearly 500 seconds, the longest one to date -- is one in a series of tests that will provide critical data to help fine tune the engine to maximize performance and provide the SLS with the capability to take humans to new destinations. And it's not the only activity that NASA has going on around the nation as we open the next great chapter of space exploration.

Earlier this week, we announced that we're planning an unmanned flight test of the Orion spacecraft in early 2014. This Exploration Flight Test, or EFT-1, will fly two orbits to a high-apogee, with a high-energy re-entry through Earth's atmosphere. Orion will make a water landing and be recovered using operations planned for future human exploration missions. The test mission will be launched from Cape Canaveral, Fla., to acquire critical re-entry flight performance data and demonstrate early integration capabilities that benefit the Orion, SLS, and 21st Century Ground Systems programs. We've posted a synopsis explaining our intention on the NASA procurement website.

Our Langley Research Center in Virginia recently performed another successful drop test of Orion's landing capabilities in its Hydro Impact Basin. And this year's Desert RATS activity, where scientists and engineers run tests and simulations in landscapes that mirror other worlds – in this case the desert of Arizona – was designed to gather information for a potential crewed mission to an asteroid.

In an innovative agreement that will create new jobs, NASA has announced a partnership with Space Florida to occupy, use and modify Kennedy Space Center's Orbiter Processing Facility-3, the Space Shuttle Main Engine Processing Facility and Processing Control Center.

Space Florida, the aerospace economic development agency of the state of Florida, has an agreement for use of Orbiter Processing Facility-3 with the Boeing Company to manufacture and test the company's Crew Space Transportation (CST-100) spacecraft, creating up to 550 jobs along the Space Coast. The 15-year use permit with Space Florida is the latest step Kennedy is making as the center transitions from a historically government-only launch complex to a multi-user spaceport.

Across NASA, scientists, engineers and – yes – new classes of astronauts, are preparing for a future in space at destinations where we've never been, marking new achievements in human history as we develop ever more capabilities to do the big things for which NASA is known. It's going to be a great ride.

Small Business Good for NASA and for America
 Posted on Nov 03, 2011 10:23:49 AM | Administrator Charles Bolden

Earlier today at an awards ceremony in Herndon, Virginia, I got a chance to recognize the men, women and companies that have made outstanding contributions to NASA’s indispensable partnership with small business. The Fourth Annual NASA Small Business Symposium and Awards Ceremony was a two-day event, providing opportunities for small businesses to network and learn about NASA programs and initiatives, while recognizing outstanding individuals and companies that support the agency’s small business program. Awards were presented to both NASA civil servants and large and small businesses that were instrumental in NASA awarding $4.3 billion to small businesses in FY 2011. This represented 17.9 percent of NASA contracting and exceeded our goal for 2011.

Small businesses are not only crucial to NASA’s trailblazing achievements in space exploration; they are the backbone of the American economy. As the wheels of our economy continue to pick up speed, it is important to remember that small business is the engine that is getting us moving again. According to the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), small firms have generated 65 percent of net new jobs over the past 17 years. And federal procurement for women, minority and veteran-owned small businesses are a big part of that equation.

The Obama Administration understands the importance of this sector and has consistently worked, through SBA loans, technical assistance and numerous tax incentives, to help more small businesses start and grow.

The President’s American Jobs Act would do even more. It would cut the payroll tax in half for 98 percent of businesses. The President’s plan would completely eliminate payroll taxes for firms that increase their payroll by adding new workers or increasing the wages of their current workers. It would also extend 100% expensing into 2012 and put in place reforms and regulatory reductions to help entrepreneurs and small businesses access capital.

NASA shares the Administration’s strong commitment to the small business community and I am proud of what we have done under the leadership of our Associate Administrator in the Office of Small Business Programs, Glenn Delgado, to move the ball forward.

There will be new opportunities to work with small business partners as NASA takes its next big leap into deep space exploration. As a result of our focus on developing a new Space Launch System that will be capable of taking our astronauts into deep space, we are turning over transport of astronauts and cargo to the International Space Station and other low earth destinations to commercial crew partners. We also have an ambitious slate of upcoming science missions and we are continuing our aeronautics work to build the Next Generation Air Transportation System. All of this means jobs for the American people and new opportunities for small business. Congratulations to all this year’s Small Business Award winners. I look forward to strengthening and expanding our partnerships in the year ahead.

Creating Jobs and Keeping America the Leader in Space Exploration
 Posted on Oct 31, 2011 11:10:14 AM | Administrator Charles Bolden

Neither NASA nor the Space Coast can afford to stand still. We must be aggressive in pursuing the next generation of space exploration – and the jobs and innovation that will accompany it. That’s why the Obama Administration is pressing forward with its ambitious plans for commercial space and deep space exploration, and it’s why the agreement we’ve reached with the State of Florida to re-use our Kennedy Space Center facilities is so important.

NASA has signed an agreement with Space Florida, the aerospace economic development agency of the state of Florida, to lease Kennedy's Orbiter Processing Facility-3 (OPF3) to Boeing to manufacture and test the company’s Crew Space Transportation (CST-100) spacecraft. In addition, Boeing will be locating its commercial crew headquarters at Kennedy to take advantage of the center’s outstanding facilities and experienced workforce. The 15-year use permit deal is the latest step Kennedy is taking as the center transitions from a historically government-only launch complex to a multi-user spaceport, and it will help us retain and create jobs in the region.

Today is a great day for NASA, Kennedy, Boeing, Space Florida, and the commercial space industry on the Space Coast.

The Obama Administration has marshaled significant resources to the Space Coast region to strengthen NASA’s role in innovation and job creation.

•     Earlier this month we announced the selection of the design for the Space Launch System – the most powerful rocket ever to be built -- that would carry astronauts into deep space. This new deep space rocket will be processed, stacked and launched at the Kennedy Space Center, supporting thousands of jobs in the Space Coast.

•     The next-generation deep space explorer, Orion, designed as a multipurpose crew vehicle to ferry astronauts beyond Earth orbit to the moon, asteroids, and beyond, will undergo final construction, integration, and eventual launch at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center. The work on Orion will support at least 350 jobs at the center.

•     The Mobile Launcher is being built at Kennedy to assemble, test, check out, service, transfer to the pad and launch future rockets. Just one of these launch vehicles will be NASA’s SLS heavy lift launch vehicle to transport the Orion crew exploration vehicle, its crew and cargo on missions farther into the solar system than we have ever gone before.

•     We’ve headquartered our Commercial Crew program at Kennedy, and just last week we reported that four companies involved in the Commercial Crew development program are making substantial progress toward achieving crewed spaceflight. Since signing partnership agreements with NASA in April, these firms already have completed nearly 40 percent of the milestones on their rocket designs to carry astronauts into low-earth orbit. One of the companies, SpaceX, testified before Congress last week that it has invested $500 million in its Commercial Crew program, a significant private-sector commitment to this emerging industry.

The NASA-Space Florida-Boeing agreement is a major boost to the Florida Space Coast and another important signal of the Obama Administration’s support for the area, and for the future of human space flight. We can’t wait when it comes to creating jobs and building the space program of tomorrow – and we’re not.

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