Reagan Letter on NASA Letterhead Sent to Colin Gallagher re. Solar Sailer

Colin Gallagher filed this request with the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library of the United States of America.
Tracking # 2016-036-1
Est. Completion None
Status
No Responsive Documents

Communications

From: Colin Gallagher

To Whom It May Concern:

This is a request under the Freedom of Information Act. I hereby request the following records:

(Summary and Background)

Dear NASA,

At some point during the Reagan presidenc(ies) (January 20, 1981 – January 20, 1989), I sent an idea to then President Ronald Reagan in the form of a letter, which contained a drawing of a "solar sailer" concept in which a space ship, similar to the space shuttle, would deploy a large canopy or "sail" in order to collect energy, which could then be used to help sustain and propel the shuttle over a long distance. The idea I sent was not particularly original, but was tailored and emphasized (I hoped) to have an effect on the President.

I received a response from President Reagan, sent to me on NASA letterhead with his personal signature, congratulating me on this idea and indicating that the government was interested in it. While I no longer have a copy, I believe that this document was also cc'd to NASA (a copy sent to NASA by the White House staff at that time).

(Records Request, Below)

I am now requesting any records NASA has about this interaction, or other similar materials, as follows:

1) Any records which would refer to President Reagan (where such records would have been created between January 20, 1981 – January 20, 1989) sending a response to Colin Gallagher regarding his "solar sailer" idea submittal in which a space ship, similar to the space shuttle, would deploy a large canopy or "sail" in order to collect energy, which could then be used to help sustain and propel the shuttle over a long distance. (Note: During the time described, President Reagan's letter to Mr. Gallagher was sent to Mr. Gallagher's home address which was then in Redding, CA.)

2) Any records (from January 20, 1981 -- January 20, 1989) where President Reagan or his staff would have made inquiries to NASA about solar sailers or submitted information to NASA about solar sailer ideas.

3) Any records (from January 20, 1981 -- January 20, 1989) documenting any of NASA's deliberations about solar sailer ideas, regardless of their origin or who may have submitted or developed them.

The requested documents will be made available to the general public, and this request is not being made for commercial purposes.

In the event that fees cannot be waived, I would be grateful if you would inform me of the total charges in advance of fulfilling my request. I would prefer the request filled electronically, by e-mail attachment if available or CD-ROM if not.

Thank you in advance for your anticipated cooperation in this matter. I look forward to receiving your response to this request within 20 business days, as the statute requires.

Sincerely,

Colin Gallagher

From: HQ-FOIA

  • 15-HQ-F-01024 MR. COLIN GALLAGHER FOIA FEE WAIVER JUSTIFICATION

From: Colin Gallagher

From: Colin Gallagher
167 Pebble Place
Marina CA 93933

October 12, 2015

To: NASA Headquarters
Washington, D.C. 20546-0001
Office of Communication

Re.: FOIA: 15-HQ-F-01024

Dear NASA Headquarters (Office of Communication Staff),

This message is sent to you as a response to your letter to me dated September 28, 2015, which is titled "FOIA: 15-HQ-F-01024. You indicated I would need to respond to you regarding the matters in your letter within 20 working days of the date of your letter ~ I have done so, thus my response to you is timely filed with you. I'll describe the issues that need to be addressed in the points below.

1. You claimed that there was improper addressing for the request based on Regulation 14 CFR § 1206.300(a) and that you would need my home address for fee purposes. Please note, however, that this is incorrect and that the language of 14 CFR § 1206.300(a) actually states ~ quoted in full ~
"A requester submitting a request for records must include his/her name and mailing address, a description of the record(s) sought (see§ 1206.301), and must address fees or provide justification for a fee waiver (see § 1206.302) as well as address the fee category in accordance with § 1206.507. It is also helpful to provide a telephone number and email address in case the FOIA office needs to contact you regarding your request; however, this information is optional when submitting a written request. If a requester chooses to submit a request online via the NASA FOIA Web site, the required information must be completed. Do not include a social security number on any correspondence with the FOIA office."

Note that "a mailing address" is different than a "home address." You claimed you would need my "home address" for "fee purposes." The regulations do not contain an explicit requirement that requesters submit their home address in order to have an agency begin processing information.

The fastest way to respond is by e-mail. However, responses which are sent in hard copy should be sent to the following address:

Colin Gallagher
MuckRock
DEPT MR 21453
PO BOX 55819
Boston, MA 02205-5819

As mentioned in my original FOIA request, I was living in Redding, CA during the period of time covered by this request (January 20, 1981 – January 20, 1989). To provide some context, it may help the staff involved in processing the request to know that I lived at the following address at that time:
3270 Sunset Drive
Redding CA 96001
The following is my current address, but should not be used to send documents to when corresponding to me as you process this request.
167 Pebble Place
Marina CA 93933

2. You suggested that there is not sufficient information for you to make a determination regarding a fee waiver, based on 14 CFR 1206.506. Based on these regulations, the following items are submitted for your consideration and approval. (See below for both citations of 14 CFR 1206.506 and my submittal of information that justifies the fee waiver based on the subsections of 1206.506.)

Records shall be furnished without charge or at a reduced rate if the requester has demonstrated, based on all available information, that disclosure of the information is in the public interest because it:
(1) Is likely to contribute significantly to public understanding of the operations or activities of the Government;

(The first category, (1) above, is met. See below for details.)

and
(2) Is not primarily in the commercial interest of the requester.

(The second category, (2), above, is also met. There is no profit being sought from any analysis or posting of the documents that would result from any documents that NASA would provide to the requester as a result of this FOIA request. This request is not being made for commercial purposes. Please see additional details at the bottom of this message.)

(d) In deciding whether a request for a fee waiver meets the requirements in§ 1206.506(c)(1), the FOIA office will use the following factors, which must be addressed by the requester:

(1) Does the subject of the request specifically concern identifiable operations or activities of the Agency with a connection that is direct and clear, not remote or attenuated? For example, is the information requested clearly associated to current events?

Yes. Current events, oriented around travel that has to do with significant public interest in possible future colonization of Mars, the LightSail-1 (Planetary Society's solar sailing spacecraft ~ the CubeSat) scheduled to launch with the SpaceX Falcon Heavy in April 2016, high public interest in the Dawn spacecraft which has been used to study Ceres, and similar examples, show that this FOIA request is clearly associated with current events. Disclosure of information as requested would benefit the public at large interested in the history and development of solar sailing concepts and deep space exploration.

(2) If the record(s) concern the operations or activities of the Government, is disclosure likely to contribute to an increased public understanding of those operations or activities? For example, are the disclosable contents of the record(s) meaningfully informative in relation to the subject matter of the request?

Yes. The record(s) would provide insight into the historical development of solar sailing research or activities by NASA and also into activities by President Reagan associated with NASA. There would be some records which would be disclosable (for example, a copy of a letter from President Reagan to the requester on NASA letterhead, and any disclosable agency notes or documents relating to the same) and they are meaningfully informative in relation to the subject matter of the request.

(3) Is the focus of the requester on contributing to public understanding, rather than on the individual understanding of the requester or a narrow segment of interested persons? The requester must demonstrate how he/she plans to disseminate the information. The dissemination of information must be to the general public or a reasonably broad audience. (Dissemination to a wide audience is not merely posting the documents on a Web site, but using his/her editorial skills to turn raw materials into a distinct work.)

Yes. Any documents which are sent to me by NASA as a result of this request will not merely be posted to MuckRock, but also would be analyzed and re-created (using my editorial skills to turn the content and raw materials of the documents into a distinct work that I would create). I would anticipate posting to the Lifeboat Foundation blog, where have posting access. My profile can be seen at: https://lifeboat.com/ex/bios.colin.gallagher

(4) If there is likely to be a contribution to public understanding, will that contribution be significant? A contribution to public understanding will be significant if the information disclosed is new, clearly supports public oversight of Agency operations, including the quality of Agency activities and the effect of policy and regulations on public health and safety, or otherwise confirms or clarifies data on past or present operations of the Agency.

I believe that documents NASA could release in response to this request, and my posting of said documents and writing of analyses and historical commentary on the subject, would clarify data on past operations of the Agency.

(e) In deciding whether the fee waiver meets the requirements in§ 1206.506(c)(2), the FOIA office will consider any commercial interest of the requester that would be furthered by the requested disclosure.

(1) Requesters are encouraged to provide explanatory information regarding this consideration.

I do not currently have any personal financial or corporate interest that could possibly be furthered by any disclosure that NASA would make with respect to my FOIA request.

(2) A waiver or reduction of fees is justified where the public interest is greater than any identified commercial interest in disclosure.

The public interest is greater than any identified commercial interest in disclosure, as there is no commercial interest that I have in disclosure.

(3) If the requester is a representative of a news media organization seeking information as part of a news gathering process, the FOIA office will presume that the public interest outweighs the requester's commercial interest.

The requested documents will be made available to the general public, and this request is not being made for commercial purposes.

(4) If the requester represents a business, corporation, or is an attorney representing such an organization, the FOIA office will presume that the commercial interest outweighs the public interest unless otherwise demonstrated.

I am not a business, corporation, or attorney representing such an organization.

Thank you for your letter, and I look forward to your prompt response to my FOIA request as required by statute.

From: HQ-FOIA

  • 15-HQ-F-01024 MR. COLIN GALLAGHER FOIA NARA RESPONSE LETTER

From: HQ-FOIA

HQ-FOIA would like to recall the message, "15-HQ-F-01024 MR. COLIN GALLAGHER FOIA NARA RESPONSE LETTER".

From: HQ-FOIA

  • 15-HQ-F-01024 MR. COLIN GALLAGHER FOIA NARA RESPONSE LETTER

From: MuckRock

To Whom It May Concern:

The FOIA request copied below was initially sent to NASA, and it has been brought to our attention that it may be better suited for your office. Confirmation of receipt and an estimated date of completion would be greatly appreciated.

Thank you.

_____________________
To Whom It May Concern:

This is a request under the Freedom of Information Act. I hereby request the following records:

(Summary and Background)

Dear NASA,

At some point during the Reagan presidenc(ies) (January 20, 1981 – January 20, 1989), I sent an idea to then President Ronald Reagan in the form of a letter, which contained a drawing of a "solar sailer" concept in which a space ship, similar to the space shuttle, would deploy a large canopy or "sail" in order to collect energy, which could then be used to help sustain and propel the shuttle over a long distance. The idea I sent was not particularly original, but was tailored and emphasized (I hoped) to have an effect on the President.

I received a response from President Reagan, sent to me on NASA letterhead with his personal signature, congratulating me on this idea and indicating that the government was interested in it. While I no longer have a copy, I believe that this document was also cc'd to NASA (a copy sent to NASA by the White House staff at that time).

(Records Request, Below)

I am now requesting any records NASA has about this interaction, or other similar materials, as follows:

1) Any records which would refer to President Reagan (where such records would have been created between January 20, 1981 – January 20, 1989) sending a response to Colin Gallagher regarding his "solar sailer" idea submittal in which a space ship, similar to the space shuttle, would deploy a large canopy or "sail" in order to collect energy, which could then be used to help sustain and propel the shuttle over a long distance. (Note: During the time described, President Reagan's letter to Mr. Gallagher was sent to Mr. Gallagher's home address which was then in Redding, CA.)

2) Any records (from January 20, 1981 -- January 20, 1989) where President Reagan or his staff would have made inquiries to NASA about solar sailers or submitted information to NASA about solar sailer ideas.

3) Any records (from January 20, 1981 -- January 20, 1989) documenting any of NASA's deliberations about solar sailer ideas, regardless of their origin or who may have submitted or developed them.

The requested documents will be made available to the general public, and this request is not being made for commercial purposes.

In the event that fees cannot be waived, I would be grateful if you would inform me of the total charges in advance of fulfilling my request. I would prefer the request filled electronically, by e-mail attachment if available or CD-ROM if not.

Thank you in advance for your anticipated cooperation in this matter. I look forward to receiving your response to this request within 20 business days, as the statute requires.

Sincerely,

Colin Gallagher

From: Ronald Reagan Presidential Library

An acknowledgement letter, stating the request is being processed.

From: Ronald Reagan Presidential Library

A no responsive documents response.

From: Shelly Williams

Dear Mr. Gallagher,

Please find attached to this email a copy of the letter that was sent to
you regarding your request. As this letter explains the document in
question was a Vice Presidential document. I hope this informtion is
helpful and let me know if you have additional questions.

Sincerely,

Shelly Williams
Reagan Library
Archivist/FOIA Coordinator
phone: 805-577-4012
email: shelly.williams@nara.gov

_________________________________

Ronald Reagan Library
40 Presidential Drive
Simi Valley, CA 93065-0699
800-410-8354
www.reagan.utexas.edu

April 29, 2016 In reply refer to:
Case # 2016-036/1

COLIN GALLAGHER
MUCK ROCK
DEPT MR 21453 PO BOX 55819
BOSTON MA 02205-5819

Dear Mr. Gallagher:

This letter is in further response to your Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request dated March 16, 2016, regarding Nd018 327481. When the archivist went to pull the record in question, he was not able to locate it in our files. It appears to have been pulled at the time of creation and placed in the Vice Presidential material that resides at the George H W Bush library in the Vice Presidential collection. Based on this information we would recommend that you contact that library and see if they can locate this material for you.

At this time, you have the right to file an administrative appeal of any Reagan Presidential records responsive to your FOIA request that have been withheld under an exemption category of the FOIA, 5 U.S.C. §552(b). To appeal a FOIA exemption, the appeal must be submitted in writing to the attention of the Deputy Archivist of the United States, c/o the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library, 40 Presidential Dr., Simi Valley, CA, 93065, by email to Reagan.library@nara.gov, or by facsimile to (805) 577-4074. You should also include a copy of your original request and our denial. Both your appeal letter and the envelope should be clearly marked “FOIA Appeal.” You have 35 calendar days from the date of this letter to file your appeal. The Library will coordinate your appeal with the appropriate authority. Since these are Presidential records administered in accordance with 44 U.S.C. §§2201-2207, Executive Order 13489 and NARA regulations at 36 C.F.R. § 1270.46, NARA must notify the former and incumbent Presidents prior to the release of any information in response to an appeal. If an appeal is filed and a determination is made to release more information, once the provisions of E.O. 13489 have been met, we will contact you.

If you have any further questions regarding your FOIA request, please contact me, (shelly.williams@nara.gov or 1-800-410-8354, ext. 74012).

Sincerely,

SHELLY WILLIAMS
Archivist

Enclosures

REAGAN PRESIDENTIAL RECORDS

RESTRICTION CODES

Freedom of Information Act – [ 5 U.S.C. 552 (b) ]
B1 National security classified information
[ (b) (1) of the FOIA ]
B2 Release could disclose internal personnel rules and practices of an agency
[ (b) (2) of the FOIA ]
B3 Release would violate a Federal statute
[ (b) (3) of the FOIA ]
B4 Release would disclose trade secrets or confidential commercial or financial information [ (b) (4) of the FOIA]
B6 Release would constitute a clearly unwarranted invasion of personal privacy
[ (b) (6) of the FOIA ]
B7 Release would disclose information compiled for law enforcement purposes
[ (b) (7) of the FOIA ]
B7a Release would disclose information concerning pending or prospective law enforcement proceedings [ (b) (7a) of the FOIA ]
B7b Release of information would deprive a person of a right to a fair trial or an impartial adjudication [ (b) (7b) of the FOIA ]
B7c Release of information could reasonably be expected to constitute an unwarranted invasion of personal privacy [ (b) (7c) of the FOIA ]
B7d Release of information could reasonably be expected to disclose the identity of a confidential source, including a State, local , or foreign agency or authority or any private institution which furnished information on a confidential basis, and, in the case of a record or information compiled by a criminal law enforcement authority in the course of a criminal investigation, or by an agency conducting a lawful national security intelligence investigation, information furnished by a confidential source [ (b) (7d) of the FOIA ]
B7e Release of information would disclose techniques and procedures for law enforcement investigations or prosecutions, or would disclose guidelines for law enforcement investigations or prosecutions if such disclosure could reasonably be expected to risk circumvention of the law [ (b) (7e) of the FOIA ]
B7f Release of information could reasonably be expected to endanger the life or physical safety of any individual [ (b) (7f) of the FOIA ]
B8 Release would disclose information concerning the regulation of financial institutions [ (b) (8) of the FOIA ]
B9 Release would disclose geological or geophysical information concerning wells
[ (b) (9) of the FOIA ]

C. Closed in accordance with restrictions contained in donor’s deed of gift.

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