By GCN Staff

NASA cubesat

NASA to give CubeSats a lift

Need to get your science project into space?   NASA is making room on upcoming launches for more CubeSats.

CubeSats, or nanosatellites, are cube-shaped satellites approximately four inches long, weighing about 3 pounds and usually carry scientific instruments for research.  To catch a ride on NASA launch vehicles, proposed CubeSat research must address an aspect of science, technology development, education, or operations encompassed by the space agency's strategic goals. The program is open to U.S. not-for-profits, accredited U.S. educational organizations and NASA's own research centers.

NASA will select candidates for launch or deployment on the International Space Station and negotiate agreements with those selected as manifest opportunities become available. Selection recommendation does not guarantee the availability of a launch opportunity, NASA stressed.

In support of the White House Maker Initiative, special consideration may be given to nanosatellites from organizations that have not previously been selected by the CubeSat Launch Initiative.

Selected participants will negotiate an agreement with NASA, which will provide integration and other services as necessary for launch. Collaborators will be responsible for securing funding for development of their CubeSat payload, and for participation in the CubeSat Launch Initiative.

Electronic proposals may be received until Nov. 24, 2015.

Posted on Aug 07, 2015 at 9:07 AM0 comments

Congress.gov gets upgrades

Congress.gov gets usability upgrades

Congress.gov, the official website for federal legislative information, recently got some usability upgrades. Prompted by user feedback, the most recent enhancements focus on customer experience, accounts and alerts, browsing and appropriation tables.

A new “listen to this page” feature  will now read the full or a selected portion of a bill summary aloud to the user.  The accessibility tool also offers a downloadable audio file of the bill, according to a blog post by Robert Brammer of the Library of Congress.

Searching capabilities, meanwhile, were improved with the inclusion of the “search within” results feature on committee pages and member profiles.

To make appropriations-tracking easier and more efficient, appropriation tables have been updated to include more content, starting with a table for fiscal year 2016 and going back to 2005.

Email alerts will now include the title of the bill, so users can see which bill they are being alerted about before opening up the notification. Additionally, member alerts are now prompted by amendment sponsorship and co-sponsorship.

The latest upgrades are in response to user comments, and continue a series of monthly releases that began with Congress.gov's debut in September 2012.

Posted on Aug 05, 2015 at 9:02 AM0 comments

HHS awards grants to support states

HHS awards grants to support states' health data sharing

The Department of Health and Human Services is expanding its efforts to accelerate healthcare information sharing, and helping to fund a dozen state's data-sharing projects.

The $29.6 million grant will support programs in 12 states that plan to adopt the necessary tools, technology and services to provide and share health information, according to the agency. The funding will help address workflow challenges and technical issues to improve the meaningful use of clinical data from outside sources.

The funding is part of a two-year cooperative agreement program, and the grants come from program funding established by the 2009 American Recovery and Revitalization Act’s Health Information Technology and Clinical Health Act. All told, nearly $38 million has gone out to 20 awardees for three health information technology grant programs.

Posted on Aug 04, 2015 at 9:37 AM0 comments

text to 911

Crisis Text Line highlights NG911 potential

The Crisis Text Line, a 24-hour crisis-counseling hotline, takes text messages from people dealing with everything from domestic violence to suicide and passes the information on to public safety answering points, as appropriate.

Created in 2013 to help people who are in crisis but feel uncomfortable talking over the phone, the Crisis Text Line has received 7.3 million texts from as all 295 area codes in the country and provides a glimpse of the possibilities of a successful next-generation 911 implementation.

The flat IP-architecture of next-generation 911 could allow public safety answering points to specialize in types of issues, like suicide, according to an article in American City and County.

Posted on Aug 03, 2015 at 12:09 PM0 comments

DREN to receive supercomputing boost

Supercomputer network to get speed upgrade

Researchers using the Defense Research and Engineering Network (DREN) will be getting a productivity boost when the service upgrades to 40 gigabit/sec.

DREN securely connects five Defense Department supercomputing facilities to 4,300 scientists in over 150 agencies.   Fully IPv6-enabled, DREN currently provides connectivity through a mix of Ethernet, IP and optical wavelength services, with speeds varying accordingly. The Navy DOD Supercomputing Resource Center at NASA's John C. Stennis Space Center in Mississippi, which operates national test facilities for the rocket engine propulsion programs, will be the first of five DREN locations to receive 40 gigabit/sec service.

CenturyLink and LGS Innovations will be performing the upgrade.

Posted on Aug 03, 2015 at 12:08 PM0 comments