Browsing: NASA

NASA sets due date for $20B IT contract

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NASA has extended the deadline for bids on its $20 billion Solutions for Enterprise-Wide Procurement (SEWP) V contract, following last month’s government shutdown. The agency has extended the due date to Nov. 15, according to an online notice. Originally, companies had until Oct. 14 to bid. NASA said the 16-day shutdown delayed its response to industry’s questions as well as changes to the solicitation. The contract will provide agencies with desktops, laptops, servers and other information technology equipment.

SILVER SCREEN FEDS: 'Apollo 13,' 'The Simpsons Movie'

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Today on Silver Screen Feds, Andy Medici takes a look at the best team of federal employees ever to grace the big screen: Mission control from “Apollo 13.” And keep reading for Stephen Losey’s take on Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Russ Cargill, from “The Simpsons Movie” — the first character we’ve profiled who descends into outright super-villainy. BEST FEDS: Mission Control, NASA, “Apollo 13″ (Andy Medici) Most of the time, being a good federal employee requires working well as a team. Being able to finish projects on tight deadlines while dealing with multiple other priorities is a staple of any…

NASA to start market research for SEWP V

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NASA will take tips on how to form the next iteration of its governmentwide IT contract this summer, agency officials announced today. NASA’s Solutions for Enterprise Wide Procurement (SEWP) program office will hold 45-minute one-on-one interviews the weeks of July 9 and July 23 to get insight from contractors and interested parties on current and upcoming IT products and trends that will help build SEWP V, according to a news release posted on the SEWP website. Sixty interview spots are available on first-come basis at https://www.sewp.nasa.gov/registration. The registration is also open to anyone who wants to receive updates on SEWP V. SEWP V, like its predecessors, will be a governmentwide acquisiton…

Agencies need better contract planning, GAO says

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Poor acquisition planning on service contracts has led to late contract awards, cost overruns and insufficient services at four federal agencies, an Aug. 9 Government Accountability Office report  shows. Federal regulations require agencies to go through a detailed planning process for all acquisitions so that well-defined requirements, realistic cost estimates and lessons learned from past procurements are  in place before an agency seeks proposals from vendors.  Looking at the four agencies with the highest obligations on professional, administrative, and management support services — the Health and Human Services Department, Department of Homeland Security, NASA and U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) — the GAO…

NASA CTO resigns

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After a five-year stint at NASA, Chris Kemp is stepping down as the space agency’s chief technology officer. In a blog post Monday, Kemp said “deciding to leave NASA has not been easy, and is something I’ve been struggling with for the past few months.” About a month ago, I mentioned to one of my mentors that “it’s a very difficult time to be an entrepreneur at NASA.”  She responded “is it ever a good time to be an entrepreneur at NASA?” Reflecting on this, I realized that most of my accomplishments at NASA were not at Headquarters, but out…

NASA's big announcement: Possible 'second genesis' of life

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The Washington Post has an advance peek at the big announcement NASA has scheduled for later today. It’s not aliens, but it is pretty interesting nonetheless — researchers have found a bacterium that relies on arsenic, not phosphorus, as one of its six essential components. The Post said this doesn’t prove that some forms of life on Earth evolved from a different common ancestor than the rest of us — the so-called “second genesis.” “But the discovery very much opens the door to that possibility, and to the related existence of a theorized ‘shadow biosphere’ on earth.” The Mono Lake…

Contract confusion

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A little fuzzy on the distinctions between various types of federal contracts? Don’t feel bad, because some federal contracting officers are, too, according to a Federal Register notice published today. In a jointly filed proposed rule, the Defense Department, NASA and the General Services Administration indicate that they are trying to correct the mistaken impression among contracting officers “governmentwide” that the fixed labor rates in time-and-materials/labor-hour contracts make them “fixed-price type contracts.” In fact, as the Government Accountability Office reported last year, time and materials contracts are considered high-risk because the contractor’s profit hinges on the number of hours worked.

Report: Ex-Sen. Stevens, former NASA administrator believed aboard crashed plane

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Former Alaska Sen. Ted Stevens and former NASA Administrator Sean O’Keefe are believed to have been aboard a plane that crashed in southwest Alaska last night, according to the Associated Press. O’Keefe is chief executive officer of defense contractor EADS North America. EADS told the AP that O’Keefe was on board the plane. Friends of Stevens think he was a passenger as well, according to the Anchorage Daily News. The Alaska National Guard said there are possible fatalities in the crash, but Stevens’ and O’Keefe’s conditions are currently unknown. UPDATE: The National Transportation Safety Board says nine people were aboard,…

NASA engineers join forces with rock band OK Go

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You may have seen the music video for OK Go’s song “This Too Shall Pass.” But what you probably don’t know is that the amazing, extended Rube Goldberg device that is its centerpiece was partly designed by a few engineers and staffers at NASA’ Jet Propulsion Laboratory. JPL engineers Mike Pauken and Heather Knight, planetary scientist Eldar Noe Dobrea, and intern Chris Becker joined forces with Syyn Labs, a group of engineers who “twist together art and technology” and were tapped to build OK Go’s machine. The results — featuring dominos, a falling piano, a Mars rover, and a TV showing the band’s…

NASA "pad fuehrer" Guenter Wendt dead at 85

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Guenter Wendt, a NASA contractor who was in charge of launch pad activity during the Mercury, Gemini and Apollo programs, passed away today at 85. The German-born Wendt ruled his launch pads with an iron fist — so much so that astronauts affectionately dubbed him the “pad fuehrer.” “It’s easy to get along with Guenter,” astronaut Pete Conrad once said. “All you have to do is agree with him.” But deep down, astronauts such as Wally Schirra and Gordon Cooper appreciated his attention to detail and his dogged enforcement of the rules designed to keep them alive. As Wendt said…

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