NASA Institute of Advance Concepts (NIAC) as a front for friends

"Secrecy of simple information, by NIAC is concealment of a criminal activity"

1. Secrecy of NIAC operations & activity
NIAC (NASA Institute for Advance Concepts) is funded and controlled by the U.S. Government Organization (NASA), which is formed also as the department of USRA (Union Space Research Association). The stated official NIAC purpose is:

• “Provide an independent, OPEN forum for the external analysis and definition of space and aeronautics advanced concepts.
• Complement the advanced concepts activities conducted within the NASA Enterprise.”
 “Goal: Develop advanced concepts which will result in changes to the nation's future aerospace policies and plans”. According with Chapter and Status, NASA is to be a non-military open government organization having civil purposes and falling under the “Freedom of Information Act” (FOIA)(5 U.S.C. § 552). This act obliges to give any information about operations and activities, “… ANY executive department, military department, Government Corporation, Government controlled corporation, or other establishment in the executive branch ...”.

   What are the facts?  The following are the questions I had asked numerous times of the NIAC Director, Mr R. Cassanova:
• Why has NIAC not published on a WEB site, the abstracts of all submitted proposals? The NIAC, NASA, other government organizations require special abstracts contained ONLY open information?
• Why doesn't NIAC give names and addresses of organizations, which took part in submissions?
• When, where, were review panels, peer reviewers?
• When, where, and how, were scientists selected for review?
• How many scientists took part in the review process?
• What were the results of voting for every proposal?
• How many reviewers see the proposal?
• Why the debriefings were sent much later, after the awarding process?
• Why debriefing does not contain the scope of the review criteria, and the total scores?
• The debriefing does not contain the information: reviewer recommends, or not recommends, this proposal for awarding and development?
• Mr. Cassanova did not reply to any of these simple questions. Why??

The explanations are very simple: NO review panels, No peer reviewers, NO scientists who took part in the review process, No voting, No scientists who see the proposals, NO anything! Everything is just fabricated fiction. There is only just Mr. Cassanova in NIAC who changes all reviewers, all scientists (in any scientific fields!), all panels, and all debates. Who distributes tens (hundreds?) of millions government (taxpayers) money to friends and insiders (To grease their palms?). What sort of proposals are awarded by Mr. Cassanova will be considered later?

2. Factious Front (Puppet Organization) NIAC Science Council
Mr. Cassanova has a NIAC Science Council consisting of 9 persons from every considered organization. No information at all (from Mr. Cassanova) who these scientists are? Two of them are named “consultant” without name of affiliated organizations. Where are these consultants?, what scientific field? (unknown?). I requested from Mr. Cassanova, to give the E-mail addresses for this “Science Council”.  He answered, that this information is secret??  After the large time demands in 2002 Mr. Cassanova names Mr. Whitehead as Council Chairman (who is named only as consultant in NIAC Council list?). I asked Mr. Whitehead – what is the name of the person who appointed him as Council Chairman, and when it was?  He doesn't know?!  I sent a complaint to the Council and Mr. Whitehead promised to consider it on the next NIAC Council meeting. After many reminders some months later he answered the Council declined your complaint. I asked, when, where was this Council, who was presented at this meeting, what is voting?  He doesn't know!

Now Mr. Cassanova has published the new list of the NIAC Science Council (9 persons), which also presented two consultants without organization. I called 7 of the indicated organizations. Two of them answered, none of these names were in their employee directories. Two E-mails did not work. I however, could reach three members of the “Council”. All of which did not know who the Chairman of their “Council” was, and did not take part in any panel reviews, and have never seen my proposals.

I asked Mr. Cassanova: who is the Chairman of NIAC Science Council for 2004, the specialty of the Council members, their affiliated organizations, some brief information about their scientific activities, their E-mail addresses, etc.  No reply, because the NIAC Science Council is only a scam, a front, a false decoration.

I am very surprised, as to why these scientists take part in a fake and factious NIAC Science Council, and allow Mr. Cassanova to make all the decisions for them, and to use their names for the cover of his criminal activities.

3. False debriefing
In conscientious competition, a funded organization sent proposals to independent reviewers (minimum 2), who wrote dated recommendations, and may be granted this proposal, or not, and why.  This special science Committee studies these reviews, studies proposals, compares them, votes on them, and writes protocol why the Committee selected these approved proposals for granting.

I asked Mr. Cassanova many times to send me dated reviews of my proposals, resulting votes, and the decision of the Committee regarding my proposals, date of debriefing, etc.

No reply! Why? Because nothing in NIAC is for real, and is just a front. No reviews, no Committee, no peer reviewers, no discussing, no voting, no protocol. Just Mr. Cassanova knows the winners BEFORE announcing of Call Proposals. Therefore, all the other proposals are called for as decoration, for factious purposes, as a total deception. The debriefing is written AFTER (sometimes a month later) announcing of winner and only for the troublesome applicants. Mr. Cassanova writes all debriefing in all the scientific fields (!!). These “debriefings” show poor knowledge of Mr. Cassanova in many space problems (launch, engine, powers system, space flights, etc).  He doesn’t understand or recognize new revolutionary concepts, their prospects or possibilities. He requests unrealizable, idiotic demands, claims in debriefing (for example, to present solutions of all problems in proposal (???), or a space catapult of 1070 km length is the same as aircraft carrier catapults).

Every serious organization gives brief information about its chief and members of Science Council, Committee, Trust, Founders, etc in WEB.  I required Mr. Cassanova what is his education, specialty, and list of main scientific works.  No reply.  Apparently, he is specialist in all sciences.

4. NIAC (Mr. Cassanova) activity

Every serious organization is lead by a competent Chair, who chooses (picks out) and solves the main problems first of the most importance.  The main problems of space exploration and routine access to space, is decreasing the cost of launch.  The launch of a 1 Lb payload presently costs about $10,000, and a 30,000/lb payload at the present time, is a very high and restrictive price. We cannot have routine orbital & space flight and exploration of Space, if we do not decrease the cost of a launch in the magnitude of a hundred times.  This means that the main development finances, resources, and money (70-80% of research efforts) must be funded and directed into new & advanced launch technology, engine technology, and power systems.

During the last 6 years of the existence of NIAC, it gave 113 grants: 92 grants of 40-80 thousands dollars and 21 grants of 400-800 thousand dollars.  That was a total spent of about 20 millions dollars plus 30% for Mr. Cassanova operations!

What do we see in NIAC?  Three grants are given in computer (for example, 3D Viewing of Images on Basis of 2D Images), 4 grants in biology (spent more $1,5 millions!) (for example, bio-suit), 10 grants in Astronomy?), 5 grants in life Sciences (for example, spent about 1 millions dollars only in chameleon suit), 10 grants in Earth Scientist, 12 grants in Robotics, 8 grants in aeronautics (for example, Planetary Exploration Using Biomimetics).

Most grants declared as advanced propulsion do not have any relation to space propulsion (for example, Cyclical Visits to Mars via Astronaut Hotels, spent about 1 million dollars).

In launch & propulsion system's Mr. Cassaniva grants only old ideas having tens and hundreds of research articles. For example, Space Elevator (Tsiolkovsky offered in 1894, Artsatyunov published a detail article 50 years ago,  Cassanova granted about one million in 2002 (?)), tether system (15 years old, it has about hundred articles, it granted 1,5 millions dollars), magnetic sail (10 year old), etc. The most NIAC reports are compilation of published articles, contain only results are gotten by others authors.

Take, for example, NIAC Grant Awards list in 2001:

1) Adaptive Observation Strategies for Advanced Weather Prediction.

2) Controlling the Global Weather.

3) Global Observation… There are special weather Institute (NOAA) for this topics. NSF also accepts this topic, but does not accept the revolutionary launch and propulsion systems. Why do NIAC give the grants (awards) them?

4) 3D Viewing of Images on the Basis of 2D Images.  There are a lot of organizations which award in computer science (include special Department USRA). Why Mr. Cassanova awarded them?

The same question applies to the following topics:

5) A Flexible Architecture for Plant…
6) Astronaut Bio-Suit System …
7) A chameleon Suit …
8) Directed Application of Nanobiotechnology…
9) Achieving Comprehensive Mission Robustness.
10) Architecture of Intelligent Earth Observation Satellite for Common Users in 2010-2050.
11) Ultrahigh Resolution X-ray Astronomy….
      etc. That is only 11 from 18.
For all these topics there are a lot of specialized organizations, which accept, develop, give grants, and awards to these types of proposals. However, there is only ONE organization (NIAC from NASA), which “MUST” support new revolutionary launch and propulsion systems.  Why does NIAC (Its Director Mr. Cassanova?) award limited and precious resources to other non-related topics?  Does he help just his friends and NASA insiders?

Maybe there are just NO good proposals, which suggest new launch and propulsion systems? I know more 18 proposals which offer new revolutionary launch, propulsion ideas. These concepts decrease the launch cost in thousands of times, and offer no expensive installations. They are cheaper then rocket systems by tens of times.

For example: building space elevator from ground without rockets and space flights; transport system Earth-Moon without rockets; the “Space Launcher” which allows to launch in space thousands tons of payload annually in price 1-2 dollars/lb; method which allows to change speed and trajectory of space ships and probes without expending fuel by employing the use of any space bodies (small asteroids, meteorites, comets) (increase ship speeds up in 1-2 km/sec, get any direction and energy from small space bodies). That increases the probe capability in ten million times! All can be done with current technology.

These real revolutionary concepts need support, development, initial small funding. Mr. Cassanova does not understand them and makes the idiotic demands: “first, solve all problems of these concepts?”.

For example: I received debriefings, which show the full incompetence of Mr. Cassanova in physics, in propulsion systems, and in space.  If it is necessary, I can present the details of the answers of nonsense, which he wrote, and I am ready for the open discussion about new ideas, which can make a new revolution in an access to Orbit, Planets, and Space.

Overview:  The NIAC spent more 20 millions dollars in 6 years, but they did not suggest new concepts or ideas?!  Now the NIAC is just a private manger for “friends” and has spent 90% of government (taxpayers) money, not very effectively, and specifically in fraudulent and criminal ways.  
5. Connivance from NASA

I saw the NASA WEB site.  There are many NASA self-clarifications.  However, “NO” simple information about E-mail of leaders and the chairman of Departments, Advisory Committees, Science Councils.

I asked NASA who lead NIAC from NASA? What is the E-mail of Deputy Administrator, Mr. F. Gregory; Chief of Technology - Mr. M. Hirschbein; Chief of Advisory Council?  No reply for my questions!

The press wrote about the criminal activity of Mr. Cassanova and many scientists complained in NASA about NIAC activity.  However, in 2004 the NASA makes a new contract with NIAC?!  I asked for a copy of NASA-NIAC Agreement about funding NIAC by NASA. NASA must give FREE this information according The Freedom of Information Act if it is less 100 pages and not request more 2 hours for copying.  NASA cannot find this agreement in a half of year (?!).  After many reminders, NASA sent me 10 pages Agreement + 60 pages of garbage, and then begins to require $100 dollars!

As I understand it, there is “NO” control over the tens of millions of dollars, which NASA gives Mr. Cassanova for distributions as grants.  Mr. Cassanova can spend them for any of his friends or just plainun-usefulpeople and unproductive efforts.

I worked at NASA, and I know a lot of NASA specialists who have very low qualifications.  That is the results of NASA illegal employee policy.  Scientists can get positions in NASA only on the quiet, under the table, or with class protection.  I have a doctor of space science and have lots of real experience, and a lot of scientific articles, inventions, and applied for a vacant position for a research project manager; but NASA took a pilot without any scientific experience, scientific works, or inventions?!  When this scientist wanted the position of science engineer, NASA wrote more support to a young bachelor who doesn't have any experience, scientific works, or inventions.

This is why NASA has a lot of failures (for example, in Mars missions, when NASA “scientist” put in computer pounds and foots instead of international standard kilograms and meters and probe of cost $250 millions flights in incorrect direction).  You can tell: NASA has also successes; but “Don’t Forget”, NASA has gigantic financing, more then all others countries together.  If you will use conventional criteria: use/money you would see that NASA has the worst efficiency compared to all the other space agencies in World.

For example, in the Big Space Race the Soviet Space Agency had 3 to 5 times less funding then NASA, but they were the leader for many years, while America reached for the Moon.  After this the Soviet Space Agency had 5 to 7 times less financing then NASA.  But the USSR launched up to 1989 (collapse of USSR) 2 to 3 times more Earth satellites then all countries together, including the USA.

Mr. Sean O'Keefe forced his way into the position of NASA Administrator, even through disparate critics of NASA activity attempted to block.  However, he only makes small decreases in the NASA defects. 

6. Connivance Mr. Black , President of the Union Space Research Association (USRA)

NIAC is also formally the Department of USRA.  May be Mr. Black the President of USRA doesn’t know about the criminal situation in NIAC?  There were some complaints to Mr. Black, but no replies.  The E-mail addresses of USRA Executive director Mr. David Cummings and Chief Engineer Mr. Lewis Peach indicated in USRA WEB side are false.  Mr. Black did not answer any simple questions, such as: who leads Mr. Cassanova?; who selects (or appoints) chair and members NIAC Science Council and NIAC Grant Committee?; what are E-addresses of Chair and members of Science Council, Committee?; when and where was  (are, will be) NIAC peer reviewers?; etc.

7. Conclusion
I offered USRA (and NASA) a detailed plan on how to improve the work of NIAC, make more open and useful their work, and to change the dismal situation when one man (Mr.Cassanova) distributes tens millions of taxpayer money with no safe guards or oversight.  There was No Reply?!

In this situation, it is the best decision, to stop the wasteful and ineffective financing of NIAC and pass their functions to another organization, for example, the growing and historically relevant and important International Space Agency ( I.S.A. ) Organization, ( )-or-( ) which would be better suited, and able, to stimulate and promote advanced space launch, propulsion, power, orbital, and planetary grant disbursement, research, development, and implementation.  This, based on an ever-increasing need for global cooperation, collaboration, effort, and common viewpoint.  The International Space Agency ( I.S.A. ) Directives, Charter, Purpose, Goals, and Certificate of Incorporation reflects this reality far better than the USRA or NIAC directives or charters. The many millions in Government (Tax) & Private Money and Resources would be better used, and better served, under the management and oversight of the International Space Agency ( I.S.A. ) Organization.

The President and Congress of the United States of America, needs to, and must, thoroughly investigate the NIAC situation and must punish, and dismiss NASA and USRA leaders who allow and create the abuse and corruption from, and by the NIAC.  I am ready to present to a Special Investigation Commission the documents which confirm the statements presented and outlined in this article.

Dr. Sci. Alexander Bolonkin

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Author`s name Andrey Mikhailov