Nasa mission aborted: Leadership lacking | Bangkok Post: learning

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Nasa mission aborted: Leadership lacking

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Pioneer science research mission on weather & climate change ends in politicians accusing each other & threatening to sue each other. 


Photo above of the Nasa ER-2 plane that was to be used in the Nasa science research mission that was cancelled.

Nasa posted the project cancellation notice in a simple "Editor's Note" atop a previous article describing what it called an unprecedented research mission (See infographic)

Click button to listen to Mission Aborted to download

Mission aborted

28/06/2012
BangkokPost.com and Post Reporters

WASHINGTON : The US space agency Nasa announced Wednesday it has cancelled the August research mission it had hoped to base at U-tapao airbase after the government refused to endorse the project. 

The official announcement, on the Nasa website early Thursday Thailand time, said.

Nasa cancelled the SEAC4RS mission, which was scheduled to begin in August 2012, due to the absence of necessary approvals by regional authorities in the timeframe necessary to support the mission's planned deployment and scientific observation window.

The single paragraph was added to a website page which described the project in glowing terms as "something that has never been done before: probing a vast expanse of the Southeast Asian atmosphere from top to bottom" during the monsoon season.

A few hours later, Nasa confirmed the cancellation with a tweet.

We have, unfortunately, had to call off this airborne science mission planned for Southeast Asia this year.

From today's Bangkok Post editorial:

The prime minister said Thailand would lose the opportunity to develop weather forecasting capability if the project was cancelled, which is a pity... 

...The decision represents not only a lost opportunity for the country. It was also a chance for the prime minister to demonstrate her leadership, but she failed.

If state agencies and the military agreed the project would help the country, why didn't Ms Yingluck press ahead first and confront the opposition in parliament later on.

In so doing, she would be able to rely on public support as shown in a recent Abac poll which found a majority of respondents wanted the project to proceed.

Deputy Prime Minister Chalerm Yubamrung told the cabinet that it was the fate of the country to sacrifice the Nasa project to spare the government from possible opposition criticism. But the big question is how much more the country will be made to sacrifice or suffer, for the sake of the politicians.

And in today's news:

Pheu Thai spokesman Prompong Nopparit yesterday said the party was preparing to sue the previous Abhisit Vejjajiva cabinet for negligence of duty involving the Nasa study project.

Mr Prompong said the science and technology minister under the Abhisit government had signed an agreement with Nasa without cabinet approval.

(Source: Bangkok Post, Mission aborted, 28/06/2012, BangkokPost.com and Post Reporters, link

(Source: Bangkok Post, Editorial, Failure of leadership, 28/06/2012, link


NASA Mission Vocabulary

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space Administration, the agency of the US government that is responsible for the country's space program and related research (See Wikipedia)

Nasa ER-2 plane - a derivative of the Lockheed U-2 plane known as the ER-2 (Earth Resources-2): "nicknamed 'Dragon Lady' is a single-engine, very high-altitude reconnaissance aircraft that provides day and night, very high-altitude (70,000 feet / 21,000 meters), all-weather intelligence gathering...  capable of simultaneously collecting signals, imagery intelligence and air samples" (See Wikipedia)

reconnaissance - the use of aircraft to go into an area and get information (about an enemy during a war)
intelligence - information collected about the secret plans of another government (about an enemy during a war)
simultaneously - at the same time

mission - an important job, especially a military one, that someone is sent somewhere to do งาน 
research mission
science mission

pioneer - one of the first people or projects to do something new and important that is continued later by others
pioneer science research mission

abort mission - end mission before it is completed successfully
mission aborted

cancel (verb) - to say that something planned or arranged will not happen now
cancel mission

cancel project
project was cancelled


cancellation (noun)

notice - information or warning หมายเตือ
cancellation notice

call off - stop something that is happening or will happen
call off this science mission

base - a place from where an activity can be planned ฐานที่มั่น
base mission at
base mission at U-tapao airbase


endorse - to support; to approve
endorse the project

refuse - say that you will not do something

refused to endorse the project
the government refused to endorse the project

The US space agency Nasa announced Wednesday it has cancelled the August research mission it had hoped to base at U-tapao airbase after the government refused to endorse the project. 

official
- approved by the government or some authority ที่เป็นทางการ
announcement - information given to public ประกาศ
official announcement - some approved thing said by the government to the public

The official announcement, on the Nasa website early Thursday Thailand time, said.

scheduled - planned to happen at a particular time or day ตามตารางเวลา
scheduled to begin

absence - not being present  การหายไป ไม่ปรากฏตัว
absence of
abscence of necessary approvals

authorities - government officials; the police or people in official organisations who have the legal power to make people obey laws or rules เจ้าหน้าที่ (ตำรวจ หรือผู้มีอำนาจ)
regional authorities

timeframe - the length of time during which an event or a project happens ในกรอบเวลาที่ระบุำไว้
approval in the timeframe necessary - meaning: it was too late; not in time

support - help, by giving money, for example สนับสนุน

deployment - the movement of soldiers or equipment to a place where they can be used when they are needed การเคลื่อนกำลังพลพร้อมอาวุธไปอยู่ในตำแหน่งที่พร้อมจะต่อสู้ (ทางทหาร)

window - a period of time during which something can happen

the mission's planned deployment and scientific observation window.

Nasa cancelled the SEAC4RS mission, which was scheduled to begin in August 2012, due to the absence of necessary approvals by regional authorities in the timeframe necessary to support the mission's planned deployment and scientific observation window

post - to put something in a place where people can see it; publish something to the web
posted the cancellation notice

simple - easy to understand, solve or do; not complicated ง่าย,ไม่ยุ่งยาก, ไม่ซับซ้อน
a simple Editor's Note

unprecedented
- has never happened before ที่ไม่เคยเกิดขึ้นมาก่อน
an unprecedented research mission

Nasa posted the cancellation notice in a simple "Editor's Note" atop a previous article describing what it called an unprecedented research mission

paragraph -

a single paragraph

in glowing terms - looking very nice; appearing or seeming very good
described the project in glowing terms

vast - extremely large in area, size, amount, etc; of great size กว้างใหญ่, มหาศาล มหึมา  ส่วนใหญ่
vast expanse - a very large area

probe -
looking closely at, looking in detail at; investigating, searching for something 
probing
a vast expanse

atmosphere (noun) - the air around the earth or another planet (See Wikipedia and Wikipedia's Atmosphere Portal)

probing a vast expanse of the Southeast Asian atmosphere from top to bottom

monsoon - the season of heavy rain during the summer in hot Asian countries มรสุม heavy seasonal winds and rain (See Wikipedia) ฤดูมรสุม
monsoon season

The single paragraph was added to a website page which described the project in glowing terms as "something that has never been done before: probing a vast expanse of the Southeast Asian atmosphere from top to bottom" during the monsoon season.

confirmed
- said that a claim is true, verified; shows that is definitely true or definitely exists  
confirmed the cancellation

A few hours later, Nasa confirmed the cancellation with a tweet.

airborne -
in the air
airborne science mission

call off this airborne science mission

We have, unfortunately, had to call off this airborne science mission planned for Southeast Asia this year.

editorial - an article in a newspaper that gives the opinion of the author or newspaper
Bangkok Post editorial

opportunity
- a situation when it is possible to do something that you want to do (See glossary)
lose the opportunity (verb phrase)
a lost opportunity (noun phrase)

forecast - saying what is likely to happen in the future (usually about the weather, business or the economy); prediction  (See Wikipedia)
weather forecasting - saying what the weather will likely be in the future (See Wikipedia)

capability
- the ability to do something ความสามารถ

is a pity
- is disappointing น่าผิดหวัง น่าเสียดาย

demonstrate - show how something works; explain how it works สาธิต
chance to demonstrate leadership - opportunity to show that you can lead (to show your leadership skills)

state
- government รัฐ
state agencies

The prime minister said Thailand would lose the opportunity to develop weather forecasting capability if the project was cancelled, which is a pity ...The decision represents not only a lost opportunity for the country. It was also a chance for the prime minister to demonstrate her leadership, but she failed.

confront - 1. to face, meet or deal with a difficult person, group, problem or situation เผชิญหน้า การรับมือหรือจัดการกับปัญหา ; 2. to stand in front of someone in a frightening way เผชิญหน้า

opposition
- of a political party that is not part of the government or a group which is against the government ฝ่ายค้าน ผู้ต่อต้าน
opposition - strong disagreement with a plan or policy ความขัดแย้ง

confront the opposition
confront the opposition in parliament

press ahead first
confront later on

press
ahead first and confront the opposition in parliament later on
rely on public support

poll
- opinion poll; an occasion when a lot of people are asked about what they feel about something; a survey (See Wikipedia)
Abac poll

majority
- more than 50%; more than half of the people in a group ส่วนมาก  เสียงส่วนมาก  คนส่วนใหญ่
respondents
- people who answered the questions in a poll or survey
majority of respondents

proceed - to continue as planned ดำเนินการ
a majority of respondents wanted the project to proceed

fate - the things that happen to someone, especially unpleasant things ชะตากรรม
sacrifice - give up something you want to have เสียสละ; important or valuable things given up, so that you or other people can have or do something else ความเสียสละเพื่อส่วนรวม

spare from
- to prevent someone from having to experience something unpleasant ยกโทษให้,อภัยโทษ
suffer - to experience physical or mental pain

for the sake of ...  -
do it for the reason ...

it was the fate of the country to sacrifice the Nasa project to spare the government from possible opposition criticism

sacrifice or suffer, for the sake of the politicians

If state agencies and the military agreed the project would help the country, why didn't Ms Yingluck press ahead first and confront the opposition in parliament later on. In so doing, she would be able to rely on public support as shown in a recent Abac poll which found a majority of respondents wanted the project to proceed.  Deputy Prime Minister Chalerm Yubamrung told the cabinet that it was the fate of the country to sacrifice the Nasa project to spare the government from possible opposition criticism. But the big question is how much more the country will be made to sacrifice or suffer, for the sake of the politicians.

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