News in Brief

Booking a satellite, busting on executive orders and more

Shutterstock image: satellite orbiting.

Researchers' nanosatellites can hitch a ride with NASA

Want to get your research into space on a tiny satellite? You're in luck.

NASA plans to carry a limited number of space research nanosatellites, called "CubeSats," on board planned launches and deployments from the International Space Station from 2016 through 2019, the agency announced.

NASA centers, U.S. nonprofits and educational institutions can apply to have their research carried aboard a miniscule "Cube," with satellite sizes ranging between 1,100 and 6,600 cubic centimeters.

Responses are due Nov. 24, and proposals must support some element of science, technology development, education or operations found in NASA's strategic plan.

Selected participants will be responsible for securing their own funding, NASA noted.

NASA has already chosen 105 CubeSats, with 37 having been launched and 16 more scheduled to go into space in the next 12 months.

Contractors: No more executive orders, please

Contractors would like a reprieve.

In a letter to the White House, the heads of the National Defense Industrial Association, the Aerospace Industries Association, the Professional Services Council and the Information Technology Industry Council asked for a halt to the executive orders they say have bogged down their work.

"[S]ome estimate that nearly thirty cents of every contract dollar goes toward compliance with unique government regulations," the letter noted.

The letter pointed to 12 executive orders penned by President Barack Obama since 2009, and 16 resulting regulations. Obama's orders have addressed such issues as raising the minimum wage federal contractors must pay and increasing contractor collection of gender pay gap information.

Many orders, the letter said, have added to contractors' compliance burden without producing much substantive impact. "While we have openly expressed our support for some [orders], suggested changes to others with which we agree on the intent, and raised major concerns about yet others, the net effect has been to significantly increase the costs of doing business with the government," the letter said. "[T]his rapid growth in compliance requirements is becoming untenable."

OMB's Sweezy moving to D.C. post

Ben Sweezy, the strategy lead for federal CIO Tony Scott at the Office of Management and Budget, is leaving his post to take a job with the D.C. city government.

Sweezy is set to take over as chief performance officer in the District of Columbia's government. He told FCW that he begins his new job the week of Aug. 17.

DHS S&T licenses interoperability tech

The Department of Homeland Security's Science and Technology Directorate has licensed an interoperable radio communications technology to two private companies.

The Radio Internet-Protocol Communications Module (RIC-M) was licensed to Christine Wireless Inc. and Avtec Inc., and can upgrade and reconfigure legacy communications systems -- potentially extending the life of the emergency radio technology for decades.

The licenses were awarded through a Cooperative Research and Development Agreement to manufacture and sell RIC-Ms in commercial markets. Interested agencies can order the devices from both vendors, and will soon be able to procure the devices via General Services Administration schedules.

SEC unveils hacking, trading charges

The Securities and Exchange Commission on Aug. 11 announced fraud charges against 32 people for their alleged roles in a hacking and illicit trading scheme.

Two of the defendants are Ukrainian men who allegedly hacked into newswire services to steal data on corporate earnings before the information was publicized. The SEC charged that the two men, Ivan Turchynov and Oleksandr Ieremenko, set up a "secret, web-based location" to send the stolen data to traders in several European countries and to Georgia, New York and Pennsylvania. "This international scheme is unprecedented in terms of the scope of the hacking, the number of traders, the number of securities traded and profits generated," SEC Chair Mary Jo White said in a statement. Profits from the scheme exceeded $100 million, according to the SEC.

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