Orlando and the miraculously bad timing of the NASA-UAE Space Agency deal, op ed, Danny Bednar, Space News
"On Sunday, June 12, NASA Administrator Charles Bolden was in Abu Dhabi finalizing an agreement with the chairman of the United Arab Emirates Space Agency Khalif Al Romaithi. The deal is also significant in that on the same day in which hatred and bigotry lead to the senseless death of 50 innocent people inside an LGBTQ Orlando nightclub, the leaders of a federal agency (with deep ties to the state of Florida) essentially said that in the desire to explore space, with the best science and technology humanity can develop, it is A-OK to overlook archaic laws regarding homosexuality and LGBTQ rights."
Canadian astronaut offers to help UAE's space aspirations, The National (2014)
"A Canadian astronaut, whose social-media postings from the international space station inspired millions, has offered to consult with authorities here about setting up a space agency. Chris Hadfield, who had an instrumental role in the formation of the Canadian space agency, has spent the past four days visiting Emirati engineers in Dubai and Abu Dhabi. On Monday he gave a talk at President Sheikh Khalifa's majlis in the capital. The UAE last week announced its intention to set up a space agency and launch an orbital probe to Mars by 2021. "It's going to take a lot of international cooperation in order to make that work," said Mr Hadfield. "Hopefully it's an opportunity for Canada and the UAE to work together."
Keith's 13 June note: It is repugnant to see people lazily conflating the devastating, bigotry-centric tragedy in Orlando, by virtue of a coincidence of the calendar, with a totally unrelated government-to-government activity planned months ago so as to score a political point - and impugning the motives of an entire space agency in so doing. In addition it is the height of hypocrisy to see someone complain about another nation's space agency for things that their own country's agency has embraced. Danny Bednar (a Canadian) apparently thinks it was OK for canadian space legend Chris Hadfield to visit UAE in 2014 to help set up a space agency but it is not OK for America's space agency's administrator to work with the same space agency in 2016 that Hadfield helped to set up? If working with UAE is so terrible then where was Bednar's outrage in 2014? Why does he make no mention of this contradiction now?
Space cooperation is not a vehicle for LGBTQ rights, OpEd, John Sheldon, SpaceNews
"And now, Danny Bednar, a Ph.D. candidate at the University of Western Canada, writes in these very pages perhaps the most vapid attempt at politically linking what happened in Orlando to the agreement reached between NASA and the UAE Space Agency in Abu Dhabi on June 12, 2016. ... The ridiculousness of Mr. Bednar's stance beggars belief, and implies a political agenda that, doubtless unwitting on his part, mirrors that of xenophobes like Donald Trump. On top of that, it reeks of the kind of breathless, hypocritical, and self-righteous identity politics that poisons the body politic."
"I'm not sure why SpaceNews published the opinion piece After Orlando, NASA-UAE deal gives reason to ponder space partnerships of Danny Bednar, a PhD candidate in the Department of Geography at Western University, the day after the Orlando terror attack. I can only surmise it was to pull a Buzzfeed and post something controversial to attract readers. It worked."