FET 203 Hours Furlough Report

Judging by the other furlough beards I saw yesterday, Gillette stock is about to start tumbling.

Judging by the other furlough beards I saw yesterday, Gillette stock is about to start tumbling.

Duration of Furlough: 8 days and counting

Work not done: I was able to work for a few hours yesterday, but in that short time it revealed some issues that are only going to get worse.  We received clarification on the things we can now support as being on-call.  We’re allowed to continue any mission prep activities to support the upcoming cargo missions for Orbital and SpaceX which are on track for later this year or early next year.  We’re also now allowed to support limited crew training for International Space Station crews slated to launch within the next year.  We’ll also continue with our cargo planning for current and future ISS missions.  At this point, the bulk of my team is on-call or on part-time status.  I can follow along for any issues related to these activities and assist if necessary or possible.

What are we not authorized to work on?  Commercial crew program support. We (NASA) have the role of defining requirements for the commercial crew partners, reviewing mission concepts, reviewing proposals, and doing other support work.  Maybe this is being done in other parts of the org, but not in ours.  It’s also not clear to me what work is being done on EFT-1, the first flight of the Orion capsule that is slated for late in 2014.  I don’t have first-hand insight here so I’m not entirely certain of the impacts of the shutdown on this project.

I’ve mentioned before how all of our contractors were forward-funded, which means the government already paid those contractors for services and they can continue work until those funds run out.  Well, as of Friday we’ll have our first contractor run out of funding.  This particular contract handles facility support for our Neutral Buoyancy Lab, where we do EVA training, and our Space Vehicle Mockup Facility, where we do other ISS training.  I have no idea how this will be handled, but we obviously need those facilities for ISS crew training as well as some real-time support.  It’s possible more workers could be furloughed with only minimal staff available to support any mandatory activities.  The impacts of this shutdown will only continue to worsen as time passes.

As for me personally, yesterday I missed my monthly tagup with the lead ISS Flight Director, where I discuss the support my groups provide in mission control and any issues related to that support.  Last month, we discussed some critical items such as whether our PLUTO flight controllers needed to provide more support in mission control for ISS visiting vehicle missions and how much food our ISOs need to keep on ISS, but we also discuss more mundane things like whether our ISOs could have another parking spot in parking lot for Mission Control.

Outlook for Continuing Resolution passage by Congress: No end in sight.

Have I showered today? No and there appear to be no drivers for today.

Chores done: Dishes.

Wife-Requested Tasks: Start painting our master bathroom.  Should be less work than my role as photographer at my wife’s Star Wars Reads event on Monday. So many children. I’m not allowed to post any pictures of the kids without consent from the parents, so I’ve recreated their looks of joy below.

I've learned all my MS Paint skills from philly.com's Jimmy Kempski.

I’ve learned all my MS Paint skills from philly.com’s Jimmy Kempski.

My wife is a librarian at Whitcomb Elementary, a title 1 school with a lot of disadvantaged children.  She doesn’t get much of a budget, so she’s asking for some help here for a small project if you’re so inclined: http://www.donorschoose.org/mhutt

Video games played: I ain’t got time for that.

Mood: I’ll admit that yesterday morning was a bit of a low point, hence the lack of a post as I’m trying not to be too depressing in these updates.  I’m doing better today after being meaningfully engaged for a bit yesterday.

I’m also smiling a bit at the irony of the situation.  Last week, I mentioned how some trolls were glad the 800,000 leeches were off the Federal payroll.  I bristled at that because I understand the truth of the situation.  Except now, I’m going to get paid but I’m not allowed to work.  Hooray, I’m a leech!

Furlough Fun Fact: Furloughed federal employees in many states are eligible for unemployment benefits. Hooray for costing the states more money for work that should be unnecessary!

Movie of the day: Sneakers – We could all use a little subversion today.

If you missed it:

F + 1 Day Furlough Report

F + 2 Days Furlough Report

F + 3 Days Furlough Report

F + 4 Days Furlough Report

FET 155 Hours Furlough Report