Keith's note: Looks like Trump boarding party/transition team member Jonathan Dimock has burrowed into the depths of NASA HQ. He's landed at the NASA HQ Space Technology Mission Directorate Communications and Operations Code OD00) with a job title of "Public Outreach/Partnership". It is somewhat odd that NASA would give a job that seemingly requires interacting with the public to a former campaign staffer who sent a job audition email to the White House stating:
"National Aeronautic Space Administration (NASA or Deep Space Exploration Administration or DESA) - Aside from the fact this is based very heavily in science, there is also a large cry to reduce their $105.5b budget and even movements to roll our space program into DSEA. With the help of, and to the credit of, the administration there can be drastic cost cuttings for big wins for the administration. ... Aside from understanding the technical aspect of NASA and the components that goes into it. I can also understand the economics of launching satellites and supplies into space for both private and government entities. We all know that Richard Branson with Virgin Galactic, Elon Musk with Space-X and various investors including Shaun Coleman with Vector Space are racing for more contacts with NASA and others. This is a time when NASA can scale back without huge loss to their operation and we can continue to provide suitable funding for suitable research that benefits the citizens both scientifically and economically. It is not outrageous to believe that a small cut in the $105.5b budget cannot be cut by even a small percentage for a large gain to the taxpayers while providing a big win for the administration."
One would hope that Dimock now has his budget facts straight and that he knows the actual name of the agency where he works - now that his job is to communicate all of that technology stuff to the public.TrumpSpace
"Richard Danne -- the designer of a NASA logo from 1975 -- went off on Trump's Space Force artwork. Danne ripped into the designs released by the Trump Administration ... telling TMZ, "This logo effort is typical of the present administration: impulsive, ill-advised, superficial, and second-rate." "A random student from the Los Angeles Art Center could put these logos to shame ... They are, in a word: sophomoric!" Richard is peeved some of the Space Force designs were lifts from past NASA logos. "The images are totally derivative from NASA graphics but are -- All flash and no substance, and comical really."
"Establishing a sixth branch of the Armed Forces requires Congressional action. This report outlines immediate steps by the Department of Defense to protect U.S. vital interests in space, including:
- Accelerate space technology and anchor development initiatives to the modernization priorities outlined in the National Defense Strategy,
- Establish a Space Development Agency, a joint organization charged with rapidly developing and fielding next-generation capabilities,
- Establish a Space Operations Force of career space experts who are trained, promoted and retained as space warfighting professionals and who form a space community of engineers, scientists, intelligence experts, operators, strategists and more,
- Establish an affordable and efficient operating structure with accountable civilian oversight to provide service and support functions for the Space Force,
- Establish a new U.S. Space Command to improve and evolve space warfighting, including integrating innovative force designs, concepts of operation, doctrines, tactics, techniques and procedures."
"Hours before the rise of the very star it will study, NASA's Parker Solar Probe launched from Florida Sunday to begin its journey to the Sun, where it will undertake a landmark mission. The spacecraft will transmit its first science observations in December, beginning a revolution in our understanding of the star that makes life on Earth possible. Roughly the size of a small car, the spacecraft lifted off at 3:31 a.m. EDT on a United Launch Alliance Delta IV Heavy rocket from Space Launch Complex-37 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. At 5:33 a.m., the mission operations manager reported that the spacecraft was healthy and operating normally. The mission's findings will help researchers improve their forecasts of space weather events, which have the potential to damage satellites and harm astronauts on orbit, disrupt radio communications and, at their most severe, overwhelm power grids."Categories: Space & Planetary Science
"The launch of a United Launch Alliance Delta IV Heavy carrying the Parker Solar Probe spacecraft was scrubbed today due to a violation of a launch limit, resulting in a hold. There was not enough time remaining in the window to recycle. The launch is planned for Sunday, Aug. 12 from Space Launch Complex-37 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. The forecast shows a 60 percent chance of favorable weather conditions for launch. The launch time is 3:31 a.m. ET."Categories: Space & Planetary Science
Getting strange emails with wacky conspiratorial arm waving language from the "Space Development Steering Committee" - a "group" that brags about its membership but refuses to identify all of its members when asked. Just what space advocacy needs right now.— NASA Watch (@NASAWatch) August 10, 2018
Keith's note: I did another interview on the whole Space Force thing with CGTN this morning. Yes we talked about the official Space Force logo contest.
"A suspicious package that fell from the sky over New Jersey caused some alarm because it contained a note that mentioned President Donald Trump. South Brunswick police say the package, attached to a parachute, was making a hissing sound and included a note that said: "NASA Atmospheric Research Instrument NOT A BOMB!" If this lands near the President, we at NASA wish him a great round of golf."Categories: TrumpSpace
Keith's note: Hey gang - it looks like you too can vote on the design of the new logo for The Space Force. Which one do YOU like? (larger image)
According to this official Trump 2020 campaign email from Brad Pascale: "Friend, President Trump wants a SPACE FORCE -- a groundbreaking endeavor for the future of America and the final frontier. As a way to celebrate President Trump's huge announcement, our campaign will be selling a new line of gear. But first we have to make a final decision on the design we will use to commemorate President Trump's new Space Force--and he wants YOU to have a say. Vote for your favorite logo."
"And while these steps have been vital to our national defense, they're really only a beginning. They're only a beginning of meeting the rising security threats our nation faces in space today and in the future. As President Trump has said, in his words, "It is not enough to merely have an American presence in space; we must have American dominance in space." And so we will. (Applause.)"Military Space, TrumpSpace
Keith's note: According to the White House Vice President Pence will visit the Department of Defense on Thursday and will be joined by Secretary of Defense Mattis at an honor guard ceremony and a DOD briefing. Following that briefing the Vice President will give formal remarks. Among the topics to be covered with be President Trump's proposed Space Force.
"And while these steps have been vital to our national defense, they're really only a beginning. They're only a beginning of meeting the rising security threats our nation faces in space today and in the future. As President Trump has said, in his words, "It is not enough to merely have an American presence in space; we must have American dominance in space." And so we will. (Applause.)"
"I'm hereby directing the Department of Defense and Pentagon to immediately begin the process necessary to establish a space force as the sixth branch of the armed forces. - President Donald J. Trump"
Keith's note: I'm the last person to say that NASA should not explore new ways to put its branding in front of people so as to further explain the agency's mission and accomplishments. Indeed I harp on NASA relentlessly to seek out new ways to get its brand out. People like to identify themselves with what NASA is and what it does. In so doing, NASA itself gets more visibility. And NASA just turned 60 so its doing a victory lap right now.
This recent article "NASA Releases Streetwear Fashion Line To Celebrate Its 60th Anniversary" talks about the new clothing line by Heron Preston that features NASA's retired "worm" logo: "If you would have asked me to figure out how NASA would celebrate their organization's 60th anniversary, I probably wouldn't have guessed a new streetwear fashion line. Yet, that's exactly what the National Aeronautics and Space Administration opted to do. .... If you're hoping to get your hands on some of the NASA gear, you better have some deep pockets, as t-shirts are currently priced at $326, while some of the more popular items like the iconic backpack ring up at a hefty $1,342. The most expensive item in the collection, the parka pictured above, will set you back nearly $2,000."
Great stuff. The items being sold by this designer perfectly match the logo usage that the agency's original stylistic guidelines specify and they look a lot like the stuff I used to buy in NASA gift shops when I worked at the agency in the 80s and 90s. And of course, as many of you know, I am a NASA worm logo fan. But I paid $20 for those t-shirts - not $326. Hmm.Continue reading: Using NASA's Logo: Expensive T-Shirts Or Global Soft Power?.
Keith's update: There is a meeting about Mars exploration underway at the University of Colorado in Boulder sponsored by SpaceX. Contrary to some initial descriptions the meeting is not "secret". But its not exactly "open" either. Rather, it is invitation-only. The purpose of the meeting according to sources is for SpaceX to ping Mars exploration experts outside their company about the technology needed to implement the Mars exploration plans that have been described by Elon Musk. It is likely that SpaceX will do more of these external events in the future.
While NASA has yet to confirm that any of the 50-60 attendees are from the agency, sources report that the following institutions are represented: Colorado School of Mines, University of Colorado, Boulder; NASA HQ, ASI, JPL/Caltech; SpaceX, Lunar and Planetary Laboratory, University of Arizona; ASURE, MIT, Bechtel Corporation; Schlumberger; University of Florida; Freestyle Analytical & Quantitative Services, LLC; Ball Aerospace; Arizona State University; Brown University; NASA Ames; NASA Marshall, NASA KSC, EchoStar; NASA Glenn; JAXA; SpaceX/Tesla; BAERI; ESA; University of Central Florida; University of Western Ontario; Caterpillar Inc; NASA JSC; Aerospace Corporation; Maxar Technologies; MBRSC - UAE; Planetary Science Institute; LASP / University of Colorado, Boulder; and Honeybee Robotics.
The big question is whether NASA is considering participating in the SpaceX Mars plans - plans which would send humans to Mars a decade or more before NASA does. While NASA human spaceflight people at HEOMD were invited to this event none of them apparently attended. Only Mars science types showed up. That's rather odd for a meeting where the prime focus is humans to Mars in giant rockets and building permanent human bases.
Keith's further update: I spoke with NASA Science Mission Directorate AA Thomas Zurbuchen about this meeting. He said that that some of his program staff were invited to give presentations of what NASA was doing (and planning to do) on Mars but that they really had no input into the meeting structure itself. One of the topics that interests Zurbuchen is how SpaceX might be able to work collaboratively with NASA on sample return. Zurbuchen says that he has encouraged discussions about commercial, public/private partnerships on this and other topics sich as smallsats. But as for participation in human exploration, Zurbuchen said that no policy positions should be implied by NASA SMD's participation in this meeting about SpaceX's human Mars plans and that to the best of his knowledge no one at NASA has really been authorized to have such a policy discussion.Categories: Exploration
"This appears to be the first meeting of such magnitude, however, with nearly 60 key scientists and engineers from industry, academia, and government attending the workshop, including a handful of leaders from NASA's Mars exploration program. The invitation for the inaugural Mars meeting encourages participants to contribute to "active discussions regarding what will be needed to make such missions happen." Attendees are being asked to not publicize the workshop or their attendance."
Keith's note: Looks like NASA may be having some second doubts about its own #JourneyToMars thing - or what is left of it - and are seeking out alternatives. Smart. Of course no one is talking about this at SpaceX, NASA, or CU. Kudos to Eric Berger.
Keith's update: I am still waiting for NASA HQ to admit that it's people are at this meeting even though I know that they are. As for the admonition to attendees not to talk about the meeting or their attendance, well, there's always Twitter.
The Expedition 56 crew is getting ready for a spacewalk Wednesday outside the International Space Station's Russian segment.