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FCW : July 30, 2014
Trending 10 July 30, 2014 FCW.COM non-IT incidents outranked the HealthCare. gov launch on the Brookings Institution’s list of government’s “most visible failures” since 2001 18 NASA is sending Google smartphones to the International Space Station as the next step in pursuing the agency’s goal of having robots assist astronauts in space. The two phones, which were scheduled to be launched July 12, are equipped with 3D sensing technol- ogy and will be attached to Synchro- nized Position Hold, Engage, Reorient, Experimental Satellites (SPHERES) on the ISS. NASA has been using the SPHERES since 2006 for relatively minor activi- ties such as docking maneuvers and free-flying algorithm tests. But the agency has bigger plans for the bowl- ing ball-sized spherical satellites, which can be guided around the space sta- tion’s interior at about an inch per second. Officials want the satellites to be able to perform tasks and sense their surroundings. And all the capa- bilities NASA wanted could be found in a smartphone. In July 2011, NASA sent up Google Nexus S phones, which were the state- of-the-art Android phones at the time, and used them to establish remote con- trol of the SPHERES for the crew on the ISS and the Johnson Space Center in Houston. Those SPHERES have only been operating in a two-square-meter area on the ISS. That’s where the latest Google smartphone comes in. The Project Tango smartphone — not yet available to the public and no word on when it will be — has 3D sensing capabilities and a wide-angle camera that can detect surrounding features. Chris Provencher, NASA’s Smart SPHERES project manager, described it as a phone that knows exactly how much it is moving when it moves — “a GPS without the GPS.” “It didn’t make any sense to rein- vent the wheel,” he added. “Instead of trying to do it ourselves, we decided to leverage the existing smartphone capabilities.” NASA will run two tests with the Google phones. First, someone on the ISS will take a phone through the entire space station to build a 3D map. Then a second test will use the phones to tell the SPHERES where to fly. However, even seemingly simple tasks, such as the screen rotation tilt controlled by the phone’s orientation, are affected by zero gravity. To tackle those challenges, Google and NASA signed a Space Act agreement, which gives companies a way to partner with the agency and for NASA to get its hands on new technology. Eventually, NASA officials hope the SPHERES will reduce the amount of housekeeping tasks astronauts have to perform and allow them to spend more time on mission-focused tasks, Provencher said. — Colby Hochmuth Lorraine Landfried resigns from VA Lorraine Landfried, deputy CIO for product development at the Depart- ment of Veterans Affairs, has left the agency to launch her own business with the working title of Landfried Govern- ment Solutions. She told FCW she plans to offer stra- tegic consulting, executive coaching and advisory ser- vices that will draw on her decades-long career in government. Landfried joined the VA in 2009. Previously, she was executive direc- tor of enterprise data management and engineering at Customs and Border Protection’s Office of Infor- mation and Technology. Landfried won a Federal 100 award in 2013, when she was cited for improving the VA’s on-time pro- gram delivery rate to 89 percent. She has also been involved in gov- ernmentwide efforts to spread agile development methodology across government. — Adam Mazmanian Hill’s Shannon Taylor moves to ITI The Information Technol- ogy Industry Council named House Energy and Commerce Com- mittee counsel Shannon Taylor as its director of government affairs and legislative counsel. Taylor has more than 11 years of legislative affairs experience, serving most recently as a coun- sel for commerce, manufactur- ing and trade for the Energy and Commerce Committee, where her work included privacy, data breach and patent policy. Before that, she was a counsel for what is now the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee. — Mark Rockwell McLaughlin tapped for No. 2 spot at Cyber Command Maj. Gen. James “Kevin” McLaugh- lin was nominated to be deputy com- mander at U.S . Cyber Command. He is currently commander of the 24th Air Force, the service’s major cyberspace component. He is also commander of Air Forces Cyber at U.S. Cyber Command. — Sean Lyngaas FCW INSIDER Lorraine Landfried NASA sends smartphones into space
July 15, 2014
August 15, 2014