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Support For Bridenstine Solidifies

By Keith Cowing on September 20, 2017 10:48 PM.

Space Florida backs NASA nominee, but senators aren't so sure, Orlando Sentinel

"Space Florida, the agency leading Florida's efforts in reviving the space industry at Cape Canaveral, praised President Donald Trump's new nominee to lead NASA, but Florida's two U.S. senators aren't embracing last week's pick. Space Florida CEO Frank DiBello called Oklahoma Republican U.S. Rep. Jim Bridenstine "a dedicated student of the industry and a passionate champion in Congress for the maturation of the space economy." "He will no doubt apply the same knowledge, dedication, and passion to the leadership of NASA, for the benefit of all space stakeholders," DiBello said in a prepared statement. "New leadership at NASA, combined with the regeneration of the National Space Council and passage of the NASA Transition Authorization Act of 2017, will provide the guidance and stability necessary for NASA to continue to explore new frontiers, advance technology and sustain U.S. leadership in space."

Trump's pick for NASA lays out agenda and answers critics, Ars Technica

"Although Bridenstine is a politician, there are likely few people in Congress more qualified to lead the space agency. As a Naval aviator, he flew missions off of aircraft carriers and combat missions in Iraq and Afghanistan. As a member of Congress, Bridenstine immersed himself in space-related committees and policy decisions, seeking to reform US aerospace efforts in both civil and military space. The conservative has previously outlined broad goals to modernize the US spaceflight enterprise with his American Space Enterprise Act."

Keith's note: The confirmation schedule has been a little uncertain. For a while it looked as if there would be a confirmation hearing on 27 September. But nothing has appeared on the Senate Commerce Science and Transportation Committee hearing calendar nor is any mention made on the nomination status page. That said, hearing preparations are already underway at NASA HQ. The support for Bridenstine's nomination offered by Space Florida's Frank DiBello is likely going to soften the stance taken by Rubio and Nelson.

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Rough Weather Ahead For Arecibo

By Keith Cowing on September 20, 2017 10:56 AM.

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Larry Taylor

By Keith Cowing on September 19, 2017 8:11 PM.

"Renowned lunar scientist Dr. Lawrence (Larry) Taylor succumbed to a short bout with brain cancer at 8:53 AM EDT on Monday, September 18, 2017. This year Larry received the Michael J. Wargo Exploration Science Award for his significant contributions to the integration of exploration and planetary science throughout his career. He was a lively and colorful presence in the lunar science community for many decades, and we will never forget his kind humanity and devotion to his work."

Continue reading: Larry Taylor.

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NASA's SLS Roadshow Heads For Indiana. The First of 50 Or Just A Stunt?

By Keith Cowing on September 19, 2017 3:36 PM.

Keith's note: I do not recall the NASA SLS mafia heading out to a specific state to talk to see how local companies are helping out on SLS - at least not recently. Is this just a one-off thing to curry favor in the Vice President's home state - or are they going to start doing this for every state in the union? And are the going to do this for other NASA programs? If this is a national effort then that would be an interesting way to demonstrate just how wide an industrial base is required to build large space hardware. But if this is just a dog and pony stunt to kiss up to the VP then its value will be minimal. This also smells like the beginning of a slow motion effort to assure the SLS faction that NASA has got their back.

Checking this page at NASA.gov you get this list of companies that support SLS/Orion and GSDO *(Ground Systems Development and Operations) in Indiana. So there is certainly a there - there - as there is across the country.

So NASA, what is the next state that the SLS road show will be visiting?

http://images.spaceref.com/news/2017/indiana.jpg
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Bridenstine Lists His Qualifications To Become NASA Administrator

By Keith Cowing on September 18, 2017 9:17 PM.

Biographical Information Submitted by NASA Administrator Nominee James Bridenstine

"I believe NASA's top three challenges are:

- Maintaining consistency and constancy of purpose while establishing a consensus agenda that can bridge multiple administrations regardless of party. This is essential to avoid resource-wasting program cancellations and maintain high morale both within the Agency and its contractor workforce;
- Maintaining and building international partnerships while ending dependency on unfriendly nations to avoid exploitable vulnerabilities;
- Bringing together traditional space companies and new space entrepreneurs into a comprehensive NASA vision to maximize resources and create efficiencies."

"My committee assignments and subcommittee chairmanship placed me in a position of responsibility for oversight of America's civil, commercial, and national security space. NASA is an incredible leadership and soft power tool for the United States of America. With NASA's global leadership, we will pioneer the solar system, sending humans back to the Moon, to Mars, and beyond. This requires a consistent, sustainable strategy for deep space exploration. I am fully familiar with NASA's role as a purchasing agent for NOAA and how critical this partnership is to protect lives and property. As a United States Representative from Oklahoma, I have led efforts to improve severe weather prediction and I have come to appreciate how complex Earth is as a system. NASA must continue studying our home planet. Unfortunately, Earth science sometimes gets pitted against planetary science for resources. This is not in the best interest of NASA, the United States, or the world. Mars once had a magnetic field, rivers, lakes, and an ocean on its north pole. At some point, Mars changed dramatically and we should strive to understand why. Studying other planets can inform our understanding of Earth. NASA must continue to advance both Earth science and planetary science for the benefit of mankind."

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House Science Committee Climate Conspiracy Collides With Reality

By Keith Cowing on September 18, 2017 5:35 PM.

Facts Contradict House Science Committee Majority's Attack on NOAA's Climate Scientists

"On Sunday, the British tabloid The Mail on Sunday, was forced to publish an "adverse adjudication" against it by the Independent Press Standards Organization (IPSO), the independent regulator of the British newspaper and magazine industry, regarding a climate change story it published on February 5, 2017, by controversial reporter David Rose. The article, with the original online headline: Exposed: How world leaders were duped into investing billions over manipulated global warming data, was largely based on an interview with Dr. John Bates, a former National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) scientist about his criticism of a NOAA climate study. In its published findings, the IPSO concluded that the article was both inaccurate and misleading. ... Science Committee Republicans had seized on the misleading The Mail on Sunday article and published their own press release the same day the article appeared on February 5, 2017 with a headline that also twisted the comments by Dr. Bates, incorrectly asserting that Dr. Bates had said NOAA colleagues "manipulated climate records.""

Former NOAA Scientist Confirms Colleagues Manipulated Climate Records, House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology (Feb 2017)

"U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Science, Space, and Technology members today responded to reports about the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's (NOAA) 2015 climate change study ("the Karl study"). According to Dr. John Bates, the recently retired principal scientist at NOAA's National Climatic Data Center, the Karl study was used "to discredit the notion of a global warming hiatus and rush to time the publication of the paper to influence national and international deliberations on climate policy."

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Space Dinosaurs Continue To Eat One Another

By Keith Cowing on September 18, 2017 9:00 AM.

Northrop Grumman to Acquire Orbital ATK for $9.2 Billion, Northrop Grumman

"Northrop Grumman Corporation (NYSE: NOC), a leading global security company, and Orbital ATK, Inc. (NYSE: OA), a global leader in aerospace and defense technologies, today announced they have entered into a definitive agreement under which Northrop Grumman will acquire Orbital ATK for approximately $7.8 billion in cash, plus the assumption of $1.4 billion in net debt. Orbital ATK shareholders will receive all-cash consideration of $134.50 per share. ... Upon completion of the acquisition, Northrop Grumman plans to establish Orbital ATK as a new, fourth business sector to ensure a strong focus on operating performance and a smooth transition into Northrop Grumman."

Press conference presentation

Keith's note: Lockheed ate Martin Marietta. Boeing ate Rockwell and McDonnell Douglas. Aerojet ate Rockedyne. Lockheed Martin and Boeing created a sanctioned monoply (ULA). Northrop ate Grumman. ATK ate Orbital. Now Northrop Grumman is going to eat Orbital ATK. That's one less company to pay Coalition for Deep Space Exploration membership dues. How is this good for competition? Oh yea - that is what SpaceX, Blue Origin, and Virgin offer.

The Coalition for Deep Space Dancing Dinosaurs, earlier post

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Big Aerospace Contribution Recipient Complains About Imaginary SpaceX Monopoly

By Keith Cowing on September 17, 2017 8:15 PM.

For some reason, Ron Paul has taken to Fox News to skewer SpaceX, Ars Technica

"Three-time presidential candidate Ron Paul has written an opinion piece for Fox News that comes out swinging against SpaceX, accusing the company of benefiting from potentially having a monopoly on national security launches. The article also attacks US Sen. John McCain as a "lead sponsor" of provisions to give SpaceX a monopoly on launch services."

Ron Paul: Crony defense budget hands SpaceX a monopoly - why?, Ron Paul, Fox News

"Allowing SpaceX to obtain a monopoly over launch services harms taxpayers much more than forbidding the Pentagon from purchasing Russian products harms Vladimir Putin. If this provision becomes law, SpaceX will be able to charge the government more than they could in even a quasi-competitive market. This monopoly will also stifle innovation in rocket launching technology."

Keith's note: This is just too funny. Only a few years back SpaceX was shut out of national security launches for dubious reasons. So they kept launching rockets and doing the dance moves DoD asked them to do. When they had a chance to compete against a government created - and sanctioned duopoly (ULA) they won on cost and performance. And now former members of Congress who got big donations from ULA's parent companies Lockheed Martin and Boeing (also Coalition for Deep Space Exploration charter members) are complaining about an imaginary SpaceX monopoly?. Coincidence?

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Bridenstine's Climate Record Is Different Than You Thought

By Keith Cowing on September 15, 2017 5:18 PM.

House lawmakers back amendment requiring Pentagon climate change report, The Hill

"The House Armed Services Committee's annual defense policy bill will include a provision requiring a Defense Department report on the effects of climate change on military installations. The amendment - brought up by Rep. Jim Langevin (D-R.I.) in the readiness portion of Wednesday's markup - instructs each military service to come up with a list of the top 10 military installations likely to be affected by climate change over the next 20 years. The report would include a list of possible ways to combat such climate change threats as flooding, droughts and increased wildfires. ... Rep. Jim Bridenstine (R-Okla.) backed up Bishop's line of thinking. "It's just a report and there are strategic implications that we need to be aware of," he said."

House Poised To Approve National Defense Authorization Bill, NPR

"MCEVERS: So the House armed services committee has already approved this bill. Does that mean that Republicans are going along with this amendment?
WELNA: Not only did they go along with it in a clear voice vote. They even talked it up. Here's Jim Bridenstine, who's a Navy veteran from Oklahoma.
JIM BRIDENSTINE: There are real changes in the Arctic that do affect the Navy. The Arctic ice is disappearing. There are strategic changes that are being implicated here. And it's important for the Department of Defense to report to Congress on this. We're talking about a report here."

Keith's note: Bridenstine's support of this amendment - one that recognizes that climate change is something that needs to be paid attention to - was widely seen as being instrumental in its passage. So its probably not prudent to just dismissively categorize him as a climate denier. He may have said some things that certainly suggest this but he then went and voted in a way that clearly admits that there is something to climate change that warrants serious future study. I suspect we'll hear more about this at his upcoming confirmation hearing.

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Upcoming Calendar Events For TrumpSpace

By Keith Cowing on September 15, 2017 10:33 AM.

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Rocket Explosion Blooper Reels As A Marketing Tool

By Keith Cowing on September 15, 2017 1:03 AM.

Keith's note: Who'd have thought that the day would come when promoting videos of your product blowing up would be a way to promote your business? There's a subliminal paradigm shift at work here ...

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Will Bridenstine Reboot The Vision For Space Exploration?

By Keith Cowing on September 14, 2017 11:14 PM.

A Pioneering NASA Administrator, Air & Space

"These three "Pioneering Doctrines" embrace a bold statement of purpose for NASA: to extend our reach with machines and people beyond low Earth orbit, into deep space and to the objects of the Solar System. Under such a charter, the mission of the agency becomes nothing less than the opening up of the entire space frontier to exploration, use and development. This was one of the original purposes behind the Vision for Space Exploration in 2004, a goal that got lost in bureaucratic make-work minutiae of objectives and roadmaps. By maintaining and holding firm to a clear vision of space development beyond low Earth orbit, NASA can push the envelope while at the same time offering practical value for its cost."

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NASA's Stealth Year of Education on Station Thing

By Keith Cowing on September 14, 2017 6:48 PM.

Keith's note: This notice "A Year of Education on Station" appeared with no fanfare on the NASA education audience page: "September 2017 - September 2018: Although on different crews, astronauts Joe Acaba and Ricky Arnold - both former teachers - will work aboard the International Space Station. K-16 students and educators can do NASA STEM activities related to the station and its role in NASA's journey to Mars."

Cool stuff. Another year long thing on the ISS. Too bad NASA is going out of its way not to tell anyone about this. There is no mention on the NASA.gov homepage, nothing on the main ISS page, no mention on the NASA Education page, and zero mention on the CASIS website (not a surprise since they try to ignore any mention of "NASA" these days). Nothing has appeared on @NASA, @Space_Station, @NASAedu, @astroacaba, @ISS_CASIS or @ISS_Research either.

Apparently NASA just assumes that people will find this page within NASA's website. This is called the "if you build it they will come" approach. Or maybe people will notice that Joe Acaba has started to give out homework assignments.

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More Opposition To Bridenstine (Revised)

By Keith Cowing on September 14, 2017 2:00 PM.

Gay rights advocates target Trump's NASA nominee, Politico

"Rep. Jim Bridenstine, a Republican congressman from Oklahoma and former Navy pilot, has drawn praise across the space community for his thoughtfulness on space policy and support for both traditional government programs and new private-sector ventures. But lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender advocates are now trying to thwart his nomination based on Bridenstine's controversial social stances, as they did with one of Trump's nominees for Army secretary."

Keith's note: Yesterday Politico posted this article that took a harsh view of NASA Administrator nominee Bridenstine's stance on a variety of social issues and how they seem to be linked to how he'd run NASA. When you write articles like this context is important when you extract snippets for quoting. You can make an excerpted sentence mean anything you want - when it is out of context. Its also useful to see what the person who is being quoted actually thinks and feels when you string these quotes together. There is often more than meets the eye. I am not defending any of Bridenstine's stances and do not agree with a lot of them. That said:

"He railed against the 2013 Supreme Court decision declaring same-sex marriage constitutional. "The court's decision was a disappointment not only because it is contrary to millennia of human experience," he said, "but also because it is clearly contrary to the choice of the people as expressed in a constitutionally valid process."

As for DOMA, I am told that Bridenstine disagreed with the Supreme Court decision but when it became the law of the land he honored the law. People who know him well say that they have never seen even the slightest indication that he takes issue with anyone's sexual preference and that it has zero bearing on how he conducts himself.

"And he has criticized the Boy Scouts for allowing LGBT members. The left's agenda is not about tolerance, and it's not about diversity of thought," Bridenstine said in 2013. "It's about presenting a worldview of relativism, where there is no right and wrong, then using the full force of the government to silence opposition and reshape organizations like the Boy Scouts into instruments for social change."

As I understand it Bridenstine was an Eagle Scout and is very devoted to the organization. His comments are apparently reflective of his anger over the religious groups that have now initiated legal action about this issue and how this affects the ability of scout troops to function since many local scout organizations rely upon religious organizations and their facilities.

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The Coalition for Deep Space Dancing Dinosaurs

By Keith Cowing on September 12, 2017 9:26 PM.

Support builds for Bridenstine to lead NASA despite past skepticism on climate change, Washington Post

"The Coalition for Deep Space Exploration, representing many of the big legacy contractors, said it also welcomed the nomination, saying Bridenstine "has been an active and vocal advocate for space on Capitol Hill." But in a subsequent statement to The Washignton Post, the coalition's president, Mary Lynne Dittmar, backed away from a full endorsement, saying, "We look forward to learning more from Rep. Bridenstine during the Senate confirmation hearings."

Keith's note: This is the dilenma that Mary Lynne Dittmar and her organization face. They want to have it both ways. On one hand they envision a world where there is no SpaceX or Blue Origin - just the usual aerospace suspects building the giant Senate-designed SLS mega-rocket where everyone gets a piece of the contracting pie. On the other hand they resent the success of upstarts like SpaceX and Blue Origin and want to be seen as being just as sexy and cutting edge and able to "compete" in a commercial marketplace. Alas that is just impossible. Its like expecting a big dinosaur to eat an entire forest every day and yet still be able to tap dance when they are done eating.

Bridenstine has signaled an interest in seeing SLS and other big NASA projects through. Yet he also talks about lots of paradigm shifting ideas that are antithetical to the status quo. This drives Dittmar et al nuts. Stay tuned.

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NASA Space Station On-Orbit Status 19 September 2017 - Astronomy Gear Setup

NASA Space Station On-Orbit Status 19 September 2017 - Astronomy Gear Setup Video in Story

The Expedition 53 crew worked on a variety of astronomy gear today that looks at meteors in Earth orbit and harmful radiation from deep space. The crew also explored how microgravity affects human bones and muscles.

More updates...

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