Recently in Election 2012 Category

Senator: NASA to Lasso Asteorid, Bring it Closer, AP

"George Washington University Space Policy Institute Director Scott Pace, a top NASA official during the George W. Bush administration, was critical of the plan, saying it was a bad idea scientifically and for international cooperation. Instead, NASA and other countries should first join forces for a comprehensive survey of all possible dangerous space rocks, Pace said."

Russia may join asteroid retrieval mission, UPI

"Russia says its Roscosmos space agency may join NASA in an ambitious mission to capture an asteroid and bring it to a lunar orbit for exploration. ... [It is] a very interesting project, which NASA proposes to carry out jointly with Roscosmos specialists," Roscosmos head Vladimir Popovkin said."

Keith's note: It certainly seems like Russia is interested in this in contrast to what Scott Pace would have you think. Other countries will soon line up as well. Scott Pace should know that there is no technical or political reason not to do this mission and and asteroid survey in parallel i.e. simultaneously. It comes down to money (there seems to be some) and sources report that this mission will also see an enhancement in a variety of activities associated with NEO detection.

When it comes to Obama space policy and Scott Pace there always seems to be a lingering "what if" bitterness - of the sort often associated with talking about having lost some big game way back in high school. You have to know that if President Romney told Scott Pace to do this mission he'd have been absolutely thrilled at being given the opportunity.

- The Romney Campaign has a Space Policy Etch-A-Sketch, earlier post
- Double Standards and Sour Grapes From the Romney/Griffin Camp

NASA and the Inauguration

Image: National Mall in Washington, DC As Seen From Orbit

"Astronauts on board the International Space Station captured this view of Washington, D.C. and the surrounding area on Sunday, Jan. 20, one day before the public Inauguration of President Barack Obama."

Image: Mars Curiosity Replica Prepares for Inaugural Parade

"On Saturday morning, Jan. 19, 2013, at Joint Base Anacostia Bolling (JBAB) in Washington, Steve LaDrew, with Capitol Exhibit Services, adjusts the Mastcam on a replica of the Mars Curiosity Rover."

@SpaceArtAl: @tweetsoutloud's special hair tattoo for #inaug2013 parade. I always loved the @NASA worm logo.

Image: Washington DC on The Eve of Inauguration As Seen From Orbit

"@Cmdr_Hadfield - Chris Hadfield - Washington D.C. on Saturday night of the Inaugural Weekend. You can even follow the parade route."

"@SpaceArtAl [Alan Ladwig] NASA is the only Federal Agency [Other than DoD] in the Inaugural Parade. Still think this Administration doesn't support space? #inaug2013"

NASA and the Inauguration

NASA Participates in Presidential Inaugural Activities Jan. 18-21

"NASA will participate in the inauguration of President Obama with several events, including an open house, a star party and a NASA Social; exhibits on the National Mall and at NASA Headquarters; and with two floats and marchers in the inaugural parade. During the events Jan. 18 - 21, members of the public will have an opportunity to meet and mingle with several astronauts and members of NASA's Mars Science Laboratory team responsible for the Curiosity rover, which is five months into a two-year mission on the Red Planet."

Post-election Space Policy

Keith's note: President Obama has won re-election. What will this mean for space policy? Will (should) NASA have a new administrator? - if so, then who? Should NASA's budget be increased? Should there be more commercial focus? Does the planetary science budget need to be increased? Will Congress be more or less cooperative with the White House? Thoughts?

Oh yes: Charlie Bolden is on a trip to Hawaii for 6 days for the local 237th Marine Corps Birthday Ball. He's the guest of honor at this event.

Earlier Election 2012 posts

Keith's note: At the beginning of 20:25 into this video, Gov. Romney repeats a story he has told about an American flag flown on Space Shuttle Challenger's last mission at the request of a Boy Scout troop and how it was recovered - virtually intact - after the loss of Challenger. For the record, I served as a member of the Board of Directors of the Challenger Center for Space Science Education. I have built memorials to the crews of Challenger and Columbia with my own hand on a remote island near the North Pole and helped facilitate on the summit of Mt. Everest.

As such, this issue is personal and I am very protective of the legacy of Challenger and Columbia crews and their families. In this video, the flag that flew on Challenger is presented on the stage and the crew of Challenger is mentioned honorably. As such, this video is worth watching. We all rant and rave about this and that when it comes to space policy - but there are a number of families for whom these issues are deeply personal - lest we ever forget.

Two-Thirds of Americans Think Barack Obama Is Better Suited to Handle an Alien Invasion Than Mitt Romney

"In regards to national security, nearly two-thirds (65%) of Americans think Barack Obama would be better suited than fellow presidential candidate Mitt Romney to handle an alien invasion. In fact, more than two in three (68%) women say that Obama would be more adept at dealing with an alien invasion than Romney, vs. 61 percent of men. And more younger citizens, ages 18 to 64 years, than those aged 65+ (68% vs. 50%) think Romney would not be as well-suited as Obama to handle an alien invasion."

Searching for ET, But No Evidence Yet, OSTP

"Thank you for signing the petition asking the Obama Administration to acknowledge an extraterrestrial presence here on Earth. The U.S. government has no evidence that any life exists outside our planet, or that an extraterrestrial presence has contacted or engaged any member of the human race. In addition, there is no credible information to suggest that any evidence is being hidden from the public's eye. However, that doesn't mean the subject of life outside our planet isn't being discussed or explored."

Charlie Bolden Intends To Press President Obama on Mars Mission Mandate for NASA

"This long term ISS operations plan did not sit well will NASA Administrator Charlie Bolden. Bolden said that he needed to know directly from President Obama whether or not missions to Mars starting in the 2030s was to be NASA's ultimate goal. If this is not the President's goal for NASA, then Bolden wondered why NASA should be expected to continue funding the ISS for another decade and a half. At one point, Bolden teared up and said that "Mars is the Goal". Bolden claimed that he was intent upon going to the White House, "pounding his shoe on the table", and demanding a commitment from President Obama to direct NASA to send humans to Mars. Bolden said that he needs that commitment to allow him to decide what to do (not do) with regard to extending the ISS."

Mitt Romney: Lost in Space ..., opinion, Jim Kohlenberger (former Obama OSTP official), Space News

"In 2008, the U.S. Government Accountability Office had identified poor planning around the looming space shuttle retirement and its follow-on program as one of 13 "urgent issues" that any new president would have to confront when they came into office in 2009. Because of years of mismatch between vision and resources, the independent Augustine commission found that the Constellation program was not viable under any feasible budget scenario. Members of Congress from both sides of the aisle agreed. Rather than walking away, President Obama knew we had to do better and laid out an ambitious new agenda of human and scientific missions that promise to take NASA and America's space program to historic new heights."

... Or Ready to Restore Lost U.S. Leadership in Space?, Opinion, Scott Pace and Eric Anderson, Space News

"Unfortunately, American leadership is in jeopardy. Today we have a space program befitting a president who rejects American exceptionalism, apologizes for America and believes we should be just another nation with a flag. President Barack Obama has put us on a path that cedes our global position as the unequivocal leader in space. For the first time since the dawn of the Space Age, America has chosen to forgo its own capabilities for putting astronauts into space and instead relies on the Russians. The space shuttle's planned retirement was known on the day President Obama took office, yet the earliest that Americans will again ride American rockets into space is 2016."

Keith's note: What a pair of memory-challenged hypocrites.

Its rather odd that Space Adventures CEO Anderson would be party to such comments. in April 2010, when he was Chairman of the Commercial Spaceflight Federation, Anderson is quoted as saying the following about the Obama Administration's space policy: "This visionary plan is a master stroke. It's exactly what NASA needs in order to continue to lead the world in space exploration in the 21st century." In May 2012, on the occasion of the first launch of the SpaceX Dragon, CSF Chairman Anderson is again quoted, saying "This is a testament to the viability of the commercial spaceflight industry ... Congratulations to SpaceX for successfully completing the first steps of this demonstration flight. Elon and his team's success today is an important milestone in achieving a sustainable space program."

That's quite a reversal in opinion for Mr. Anderson given what he is quoted as having said before. Curiously CSF hasn't changed their stance and Anderson continues to serve on their board.

Its also rather curious that Anderson would be against flying American astronauts (for a fee) on board Russian Soyuz spacecraft and also a plan whereby American commercial vendors (such as SpaceX) would be used to fly cargo and eventually future American crews to the ISS given that Anderson's company has been taking money from rich Americans to buy seats on the very same Russian Soyuz spacecraft to the ISS. Indeed each sale his company facilitates results in a large check being written to Russian companies. How is that helping the U.S. commercial launch sector? - especially when Gov. Romney has already identified Russia as being "without question our number one geopolitical foe."

Scott Pace's comments evidence total amnesia on his part. Regardless of whether you think it was a good or bad idea, the plan to retire the Space Shuttle and rely upon Russia to transport Americans to the ISS for a number of years was put in place by the Bush Administration - not the Obama Administration. After working in the Bush White House to develop that policy, Scott Pace spent 4 years with Mike Griffin at NASA during the Bush Administration implementing this policy. FYI I am told this phenomenon has become known as "Romnesia"

Pace and Anderson lament a gap between Shuttle retirement and first possible U.S. access to space in 2016 yet that date was already accepted as fact for Orion/Constellation while Pace and Mike Griffin were still running NASA. Indeed 2018 was cited as a more realistic estimate. As for the commercial access to space being pursued by SpaceX and others, Mike Griffin (one would assume with Scott Pace's agreement) signed a number of agreements with private companies to bolster their involvement with NAS A including this one with SpaceX and Orbital in 2008.

In other words Scott Pace and Eric Anderson were most certainly for the things that the Obama Administration has been doing - before they were against them.

- Double Standards and Sour Grapes From the Romney/Griffin Camp, Earlier Post

- The Romney Campaign has a Space Policy Etch-A-Sketch, Earlier Post

Romney for president, Houston Chronicle

"As Texans, it is a particular vexation that this president's attitude toward the interests of our state has occasionally bordered on contempt, particularly in decisions relating to the NASA budget and the energy sector. The hurtful symbol of this attitude of insensitivity to Texans' feelings was the administration's choice to deny Space City's bid to become home to one of the retired space shuttles."

The Chronicle is wrong on NASA, opinion

"While the Romney campaign has largely been quiet on space policy except to criticize President Obama or mock Newt Gingrich's lunar base proposals, what noise has been made from his camp is coming from the same former administrators and policy wonks who got us into this mess in the first place, like former NASA Administrator Mike Griffin."

Ryan tells Fla. crowd: Obama 'not telling you what his second-term plan would be', The Hill

"Ryan was later pressed about what his administration would do about funding to NASA, a potent issue in the state that houses Cape Canaveral. The Wisconsin lawmaker used the opportunity to swipe at the president for saying "just about everything that is wrong today was the last president's fault," parlaying that into an attack on the Obama administration's changes to NASA funding. "The Obama administration came in and they inherited a plan for NASA from the Bush administration. They had a plan for space. They jettisoned that plan," Ryan said. "They put it on, basically got rid of that plan. Now we have effectively no plan. We are not putting people in space anymore." Ryan noted that NASA now sends astronauts to space aboard Russian spacecraft, and transitioned into an attack on the looming sequestration deal that could cut defense spending."

Keith's note: Former U.S. Senator - and astronaut - John Glenn appears in this Obama campaign video. While astronauts have endorsed candidates in the past - and even run for (and won) office, I think (as best as I can tell) that this is the first time that an astronaut has appeared in a campaign video (film) in support of a specific presidential candiate. Fact checking by NASAWatch readers would be appreciated.

Obama Space Endorsements

Astronauts, Business Owners, and Space Leaders Agree: Obama Vision for Space Exploration Ensures a Brighter Future,

"Sunday night's successful SpaceX launch marks another extraordinary new milestone in space. It also provides an opportunity to assess the significant advances we've seen in just four years on Florida's Space Coast. ... We, the undersigned, believe that President Obama's vision for growing America's leadership in space through investments in U.S. commercial space companies, high-tech research and development, and deep-space exploration capabilities, is critical for Florida's Space Coast and essential for continued U.S. leadership in space."

Mitt Romney pulls in $6 million at Beverly Hills fundraiser, LA Times

"When you have a fire in an aircraft, there's no place to go, exactly, there's no -- and you can't find any oxygen from outside the aircraft to get in the aircraft, because the windows don't open. I don't know why they don't do that. It's a real problem. So it's very dangerous."

Gingrich criticizes Romney-Ryan space plan, NBC

"One-time presidential hopeful Newt Gingrich, who promised during the GOP primary to create a U.S. moon colony if elected, criticized Mitt Romney's plan for space exploration as not being "robust" enough. "The Romney plan for space starts to move in the right direction but could be much more robust," the former House speaker told NBC News a day after the Republican presidential nominee unveiled his "Securing U.S. Leadership in Space" plan. "We could move into space much, much faster than we are. Romney is better than [President] Obama on space but could be bolder and more visionary."

Gingrich & Walker: Obama's brave reboot for NASA, Washington Times (2010)

"Despite the shrieks you might have heard from a few special interests, the Obama administration's budget for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration deserves strong approval from Republicans. The 2011 spending plan for the space agency does what is obvious to anyone who cares about man's future in space and what presidential commissions have been recommending for nearly a decade."

Other posts on Newt Gingrich

According to this statement from the Romney campaign by Scott Pace: "We have enjoyed a half-century of leadership in space, but that leadership is eroding due to multiple policy and management mistakes by the current Administration. Our nation's space efforts require clear, decisive, and steadfast leadership to determine exactly where we are going and the larger purposes behind our space program in support of vital national interests. A Romney Administration will provide the steadiness of purpose, coherence, and bipartisan support that our nation's space community needs and deserves."

The Romney position paper states: "For the first time since the dawn of the Space Age, the United States has no clear plan for putting its own astronauts into space. We have a space station that we cannot send astronauts to without Russian transportation."

Keith's note: Scott Pace's comments evidence total amnesia on his part. Regardless of whether you think it was a good or bad idea, the plan to retire the Space Shuttle and rely upon Russia to transport Americans to the ISS for a number of years was put in place by the Bush Administration - not the Obama Administration. After working in the Bush White House, Scott Pace spent 4 years with Mike Griffin at NASA during the Bush Administration implementing this policy. The net result under their leadership was a gap between shuttle retirement and Constellation implementation that grew, costs that rose, and performance that dropped. Looks like Pace, Griffin et al have their own Etch-A-Sketch when it comes to space policy. Just shake it and the past goes away.

Mike Griffin/Scott Pace Road Show Update, earlier post

Keith's note: The following was issued by the Romney Camapign:

Romney Campaign: Securing Leadership in Space (with policy paper)

"Embracing A Robust Role For Commercial Space:

Mitt Romney recognizes the exciting opportunity that the commercial space industry offers for technological innovation and commerce. He will establish a clear framework that ensures NASA serves as a constructive partner for private sector initiatives.

- NASA will set the goals and lead the way in human space exploration, working from a clear roadmap in partnership with our allies, research institutions, and the private sector.

- NASA will look whenever possible to the private sector to provide repeatable space-based services like human and cargo transport to and from low Earth orbit. It will provide clear and timely guidance as to expected needs so the private sector can plan and invest accordingly.

- The private sector will handle commercially viable activities -- from satellite launches to space tourism to new businesses and industries that U.S. entrepreneurs will no doubt create if provided a friendly environment for doing so. NASA will license technology as soon as is practicable, and aim to facilitate the growth of this sector.

All of these efforts will produce technologies that can be commercialized throughout our economy, spurring growth and job creation and strengthening our competitiveness. "

There is, of course, the required bashing of Romney's opponent and the prerequsite call for (yet another blue ribbon) panel to fix whatever it is that is broken. Otherwise, in addition to its stated commerical policy (above), the Romney team also mirrors the Obama policy i.e. no clear locations are specified, no time frame is offered, and no budget pledges are made. The space policy advisors listed on the position paper are: Scott Pace (Chair), Mark Albrecht, Eric Anderson, Gene Cernan, Bob Crippen, Michael Griffin, Peter Marquez, and William Martel.

It's time for America to make miracles again -- with Obama, opinion, Katheleen Kennedy Townsend, Orlando Sentinel

"On Aug. 6, NASA again made history by successfully landing the Curiosity rover on Mars to look for signs of life and pave the way for the first human mission. No other country in the world has done what we have done on Mars. I was almost as excited by that miracle landing as I was in 1969 as an 18-year-old girl, mesmerized by the sight of American footprints on the moon. President Kennedy never lived to see that dream come true. But so many of his miraculous dreams are living reality today."

Obama on Medicare, space in Florida, Politico

"And while Obama was in the neighborhood of the Kennedy Space Center, he praised NASA for the successful landing of the spacecraft Curiosity on Mars last month. Obama called Curiosity "an incredible achievement that speaks to our sense of wonder and can-do spirit." He said the landing serves as "an example of what we do when we combine our science, our research, our ability to commercialize new products, making them in America."

Obama Talks Space In Florida

Guest column: Obama's space vision, Rusty Schweickart, FL Today

"As President Obama visits the Space Coast today, we are witnessing how his policies are bringing jobs to the area and new hope to the space community. Florida's Space Coast has become not just the launching pad for commercial rockets to the station and America's launch pad for the largest heavy-lift rocket that NASA has ever built, but is now also a launching pad for new businesses and jobs of the future. In light of this leadership, Mitt Romney's candidacy presents a stark choice. Romney claims to support the space program, but like many other issues this election, Romney fails to present Americans a plan for the future of NASA and the program that is forever etched in our nation's history."

Republicans' plan for space program mirrors Obama's, opinion, FL Today

"Mitt Romney and the Republican National Committee have blown it on space. For two years, Republicans have accused President Barack Obama of bungling Brevard County's signature industry. They hammered him in appearances and interviews for canceling Constellation, botching thousands of shuttle jobs and relying on the Russians for lifts to the International Space Station until private U.S. rockets fly. But given a chance to do better, Republicans in Tampa approved a platform that calls for ... staying the course. Their plan is, literally, Obama's plan."

Remarks by the President at a Campaign Event: Melbourne, Florida (Excerpt)

"Here on the Space Coast, we started a new era of American exploration that is creating good jobs right here in this county. (Applause.) We've begun an ambitious new direction for NASA by laying the groundwork for 21st century space flight and innovation. And just last month, we witnessed an incredible achievement that speaks to the nation's sense of wonder and our can-do spirit -- the United States of America landing Curiosity on Mars. (Applause.)

Obama courts Florida voters over Medicare, space policy, Reuters

The president picked a tricky spot in Florida to make his case. The Melbourne area supported Republican nominee John McCain in 2008 by a wide margin, but demographic changes have made the area more friendly to Democrats, an Obama campaign official said. Mindful of the importance of the space industry to voters in a part of the state that includes the Kennedy Space Center, Obama defended his administration's handling of the space program during the rally.

Space exploration is star-crossed on campaign trail, Washington Times

Mr. Romney drew laughter during a Republican debate in Florida in January when he proclaimed that he would have fired primary contest rival Newt Gingrich for proposing the establishment of a human colony on the moon. "If I had a business executive come to me and say they wanted to spend a few hundred billion dollars to put a colony on the moon, I'd say, 'You're fired,'" Mr. Romney quipped. "The idea that corporate America wants to go off to the moon and build a colony there, it may be a big idea, but it's not a good idea."

Obama for America-Florida Announces New Report on President Obama's Accomplishments with the Space Community (with report)

"President Obama has been a champion, laying the groundwork for an ambitious and sustainable NASA program that is equipped for the exploration and innovation of the future, and today. Obama for America-Florida announces the release of accomplishments President Obama has chartered for the space program through his first term in office. From continued investments in deep space exploration to extending the life of the International Space Station, the President understands this nation must press forward, ensuring a future of investment in a suite of innovative space technology research efforts that will enable bold science and exploration missions in the future."

Romney and Obama Campaign Responses to Question on Space Policy, ScienceDebate

12. Space. The United States is currently in a major discussion over our national goals in space. What should America's space exploration and utilization goals be in the 21st century and what steps should the government take to help achieve them?

Barack Obama: ... "From investing in research on advances in spaceflight technology, to expanding our commitment to an education system that prepares our students for space and science achievements, I am committed to strengthening the base for America's next generation of spaceflight. No other country can match our capabilities in Earth observation from space. In robotic space exploration, too, nobody else comes close. And I intend to keep it that way."

Mitt Romney: "... A strong and successful NASA does not require more funding, it needs clearer priorities. I will ensure that NASA has practical and sustainable missions. There will be a balance of pragmatic and top-priority science with inspirational and groundbreaking exploration programs. Partnering Internationally. Part of leadership is also engaging and working with our allies and the international community. I will be clear about the nation's space objectives and will invite friends and allies to cooperate with America in achieving mutually beneficial goals."

2012 Democratic National Platform

"President Obama has charted a new mission for NASA to lead us to a future that builds on America's legacy of innovation and exploration."

Keith's note: That's it? One sentence? Not that I expected more about space (its never a hot theme in presidential cmapaigns) - but with the constant series of press releases coming out of the Obama campaign that go after Mitt Romney's space policy (or lack thereof, so they claim), at least the Romney campaign and the RNC have platform used more words to discuss the issue.

Romney's silence on NASA's future worries space fans, Orlando Sentinel

"Congressional and industry sources said Romney's vagueness also could be attributed to divisions within his own team. His advisers include former NASA chief Mike Griffin, who championed Constellation and the big-government approach of exploring space. But other Romney aides are said to support, at least philosophically, Obama's push to rely more on the private sector to send astronauts into orbit, in part because they see that alternative as more cost effective. The conflict pits old-school Republican support of NASA spaceflight against its fiscally conservative roots -- complicated by an unwillingness to side with the current administration. How the internal battle plays out could determine which course a Romney administration would chart for NASA."

As Republicans Call Out Romney For Having No Clear Vision For NASA, Floridians Deserve the Truth From Romney On Space Issues, Barack Obama 2012

"Over the past few months, Mitt Romney has hoped that Floridians wouldn't notice how he has no plan for NASA nor any vision for space exploration outside of the Romney-Ryan budget that would devastate the space program. But now that even Republican leaders are calling on Mitt Romney to reveal his real plans for the space program and the middle class, maybe Floridians will finally get answers from Romney."

America's Future in Space: Continuing this Quest, Republican Platform (page 28)

"The exploration of space has been a key part of U.S. global leadership and has supported innovation and ownership of technology. Over the last half century, in partnership with our aerospace industry, the work of NASA has helped define and strengthen our nation's technological prowess. From building the world's most powerful rockets to landing men on the Moon, sending robotic spacecraft throughout our solar system and beyond, building the International Space Station, and launching space-based telescopes that allow scientists to better understand our universe, NASA science and engineering have produced spectacular results. The technologies that emerged from those programs propelled our aerospace industrial base and directly benefit our national security, safety, economy, and quality of life. Through its achievements, NASA has inspired generations of Americans to study science, technology, engineering, and mathematics, leading to careers that drive our country's technological and economic engines.

Today, America's leadership in space is challenged by countries eager to emulate--and surpass-- NASA's accomplishments. To preserve our national security interests and foster innovation and competitiveness, we must sustain our preeminence in space, launching more science missions, guaranteeing unfettered access, and maintaining a source of high-value American jobs."

RNC 2012: Mitt Romney speech to GOP convention (Full Text), Washington Post

"I was born in the middle of the century in the middle of the country, a classic baby boomer. It was a time when Americans were returning from war and eager to work. To be an American was to assume that all things were possible. When President Kennedy challenged Americans to go to the moon, the question wasn't whether we'd get there, it was only when we'd get there. The soles of Neil Armstrong's boots on the moon made permanent impressions on OUR souls and in our national psyche. Ann and I watched those steps together on her parent's sofa. Like all Americans we went to bed that night knowing we lived in the greatest country in the history of the world. God bless Neil Armstrong. Tonight that American flag is still there on the moon. And I don't doubt for a second that Neil Armstrong's spirit is still with us: that unique blend of optimism, humility and the utter confidence that when the world needs someone to do the really big stuff, you need an American."

Are you considering increasing funds to the space program?, Reddit

President Obama: "Making sure we stay at the forefront of space exploration is a big priority for my administration. The passing of Neil Armstrong this week is a reminder of the inspiration and wonder that our space program has provided in the past; the curiosity probe on mars is a reminder of what remains to be discovered. The key is to make sure that we invest in cutting edge research that can take us to the next level - so even as we continue work with the international space station, we are focused on a potential mission to a asteroid as a prelude to a manned Mars flight."

The Top American Science Questions in 2012,

" invited thousands of scientists, engineers and concerned citizens to submit what they felt were the the most important science questions facing the nation that the candidates for president should be debating on the campaign trail ...

12. Space. The United States is currently in a major discussion over our national goals in space. What should America's space exploration and utilization goals be in the 21st century and what steps should the government take to help achieve them?"

Ex-astronaut Eugene Cernan steps on Obama, Politico

"I don't think he fully understands what traditional America is all about, because he didn't literally grow up here," the Apollo 17 commander told Fox News's Neil Cavuto. "I don't think that I could convince him why this is important. I don't know that he wants America to be first. I don't know that he doesn't want us to play on a more level playing field. I don't know that he doesn't care if Russia or China gets to the Moon and we're dragging tailbone." ... Cernan also said he has "been offered an opportunity to be part of" the GOP convention in Tampa."

Keith's note: President Obama was born in Hawaii (a U.S. state, by the way) and has lived in the United States for his entire life except for 1967-71. Between 1966 and 1969 Mitt Romney lived in France. John McCain was born in the Panama Canal Zone and spent much of his youth living abroad. So what? As for what the phrase "traditional America is all about" means, perhaps Cernan will enlighten us as to what he's implying if/when he participates in the Republican national convention.

Ryan on NASA

A conversation with Paul Ryan about Medicare reform, Cuba and NASA, ABC Action News

"Ryan, who voted against the 2008 and 2010 NASA Authorization Acts, said he believed in a "robust space program." He said the space agency, which has shed thousands of jobs after the retirement of the space shuttle and the cancelation of its Constellation program, was an "invaluable asset to our national security." "President Obama has advanced what we think are devastating and irresponsible cuts to defense programs. We want to restore that because we believe in peace through strength. We believe in scientific research. We obviously believe that a robust space program is in the vital national security interests of America," he said. "Mitt Romney has committed to restoring our national defense which we see as a national security issue including our space programs." Ryan declined to say which role, if any, commercial space companies such as Space Exploration Technologies, or SpaceX, would have under a Romney-Ryan administration."

Romney Taunts Chinese Moon Landing Plans, TPM (with video)

"On the campaign trail in Florida - home of the Space Coast - Monday, Romney taunted Chinese plans to land an unmanned probe on the on the moon in 2013. Romney: "This is still the greatest nation on earth. I know there are people around the world who are always critical of America, have something negative to say, say our greatest days are in the past. Baloney. We just won more Olympic medals than any other nation on Earth. You also just saw we just landed on Mars and took a good look at what's going on there. And I know the Chinese are planning on going to the Moon and I hope they have a good experience doing that and I hope they stop in and take a look at our flag that was put there 43 years ago."

Ex-NASA boss defends GW Bush "vision" (again...), Doctorlinda (Linda Billings)

"Griffin told the committee that he's grown "tired" of pronouncements that the United States is "the world's leader in space."* "We barely rank number 3.... Our vision today is mostly talk," he said ..."

Keith's note: Gee, it certainly sounds like Mitt Romney doesn't agree with his space advisor Mike Griffin when it comes to America Vs China in space.

Keith's note: It would seem that Mike Griffin has given up on becoming Mitt Romney's NASA Administrator. I guess that means that the way has been cleared for fellow Romney space advisor Scott Pace: "Schafer Corporation Appoints Michael Griffin Chairman and Chief Executive Officer"

Keith's note: An election-oriented, invitation-only roundtable discussion is being held today in Melbourne, FL. Sponsored by the Economic Development Commission of Florida's Space Coast, the event features former OSTP Chief of Staff Jim Kohlenberger and Obama for America Florida Policy Director Laurie Watkins. The topic is education and aerospace sector issues affecting Brevard County. Local educators and aerospace companies with a presence in Florida are sending representatives.

Obama campaign to Romney on Space Coast: Where are you on space?, Orlando Sentinel

"Dale Ketcham of the EDC said the Romney campaign has been invited to address the EDC-Space Coast about his space vision, but has not responded. "There's always a standing invitation from the EDC and this community. We did it for past presidential candidates and candidates for governor, senator, congress. There's been a tradition and expectation of the candidates coming to this district and talking about their vision for space," Ketcham said. "There's certainly time for them, but it would be a little puzzling if they don't. They're certainly handing the president a chance to beat them over the head."

Space Coast leaders pushing presidential candidates on space policy, 13 News

"Jeff Bechdel, Florida Communications Director, Mitt Romney For President issued this statement Friday: "Governor Romney will provide the clear, decisive, and steadfast leadership the space program requires. As President, Romney will bring together leading officials, researchers, and entrepreneurs to establish clear goals and missions for NASA that fulfill its objectives of spurring innovation, pursuing exploration, and symbolizing American exceptionalism."

As NASA Announces Partnerships With Commercial Crew Program, Floridians Worry About Romney's Silence On Space Policy, Obama for America-Florida

"As Floridians have seen President Obama's continued commitment on moving our nation's space program forward, Mitt Romney refuses to answer even the most basic questions surrounding space policy. He won't say if he supports President Obama's efforts to support and grow America's commercial space industry, and as each day passes, it becomes increasingly clear that Mitt Romney has no clear vision for NASA." - Eric Jotkoff, Obama for America-Florida"

Futron Releases 2012 Space Competitiveness Index,

"Futron has released its 2012 Space Competitiveness Index marking the 5th anniversary of the yearly publication. According to the report, the United States remains the overall leader in space competitiveness but is seeing a decline for the 5th year in a row."

Ex-NASA boss defends GW Bush "vision" (again...), Doctorlinda (Linda Billings)

"Griffin told the committee that he's grown "tired" of pronouncements that the United States is "the world's leader in space."* "We barely rank number 3.... Our vision today is mostly talk," he said, insisting that the Constellation program put in place in response to President Bush's so-called "Vision for Space Exploration" was, and still is, a good plan and affordable to execute. He asserted that Bush's strategy was "the right strategy, was endorsed by both Democrats and Republicans in Congress, and did not a massive increase in the NASA budget."

Keith's note: What is Mike Griffin Smoking? Futron shows the U.S. in #1 position but Griffin claims that it is #3. Does Griffin know something that the experts at Futron do not know? Where does Griffin get his data? Is he going to share the numbers with the rest of us? Is this some secret campaign data that the Romney folks have unearthed or just more hot air and sour grapes on Mike's part? Truth be known: Mike Griffin needs the U.S. to be in an inferior and declining position so as to hype his own voodoo rocket science. It makes no sense otherwise. He seems to think that if he just says things often enough that people will think what he says is true.

Mike Griffin/Scott Pace Road Show Update, earlier post

"Once again Mike Griffin and Scott Pace are using a third party forum to (1) whine about the big game they lost in high school and (2) advance their personal views - views that may or may not represent the Romney campaign - which is (3) an organization that they may or may not represent depending on how they (4) want the media to report what they say or did not say so as to (5) stay in the news so that (6) one of them gets to run NASA (again)."

AIAA to Hold Capitol Hill Dialogue on Deep Space Exploration

"The panel ... will be moderated by Dr. Scott Pace, director, Space Policy Institute, The George Washington University. ... " AIAA President Mike Griffin stated, "Human history is the story of societies expanding the frontiers of their time, exploiting and consolidating their gains on those frontiers, and moving on again. That history is not written by or about the people who stayed home ..." ... blah blah blah ... (Apollo on Steroids, etc).

Keith's note: Once again Mike Griffin and Scott Pace are using a third party forum to (1) whine about the big game they lost in high school and (2) advance their personal views - views that may or may not represent the Romney campaign - which is (3) an organization that they may or may not represent depending on how they (4) want the media to report what they say or did not say so as to (5) stay in the news so that (6) one of them gets to run NASA (again).

NASA rebuts Cuyahoga County GOP claim of pending cuts at Cleveland's Glenn Research Center

"The Republican group's news release also cited former NASA administrator Mike Griffin as a source on the layoffs. "The fact that the Obama administration is seriously considering moving human space flight work out of Glenn is deeply troubling," Griffin is quoted as saying. "To eliminate Glenn's role in human space flight is to call into question its very participation in NASA's future." Griffin declined to expand on that statement when reached by email."

NASA says there are no plans for human spaceflight cutbacks at Cleveland's Glenn Research Center, Cleveland Plain Dealer

"The one-page chart given to reporters came from Michael Griffin, who ran NASA during George W. Bush's presidency, and shows that the agency could save $216 million between 2013 and 2016 by eliminating 244 human space flight jobs at Glenn and 825 similar positions at seven other NASA centers. ... Griffin and former NASA associate administrator Scott Pace, who also is a Romney space policy advisor, repeated those criticisms Thursday at a news conference organized by the Cuyahoga County Republican Party, saying the potential cutbacks at Glenn showed the lack of a clear, coherent human space flight mission."

Two-Thirds of Americans Think Barack Obama Is Better Suited to Handle an Alien Invasion Than Mitt Romney

"In regards to national security, nearly two-thirds (65%) of Americans think Barack Obama would be better suited than fellow presidential candidate Mitt Romney to handle an alien invasion. In fact, more than two in three (68%) women say that Obama would be more adept at dealing with an alien invasion than Romney, vs. 61 percent of men. And more younger citizens, ages 18 to 64 years, than those aged 65+ (68% vs. 50%) think Romney would not be as well-suited as Obama to handle an alien invasion."

Searching for ET, But No Evidence Yet, OSTP

"Thank you for signing the petition asking the Obama Administration to acknowledge an extraterrestrial presence here on Earth. The U.S. government has no evidence that any life exists outside our planet, or that an extraterrestrial presence has contacted or engaged any member of the human race. In addition, there is no credible information to suggest that any evidence is being hidden from the public's eye. However, that doesn't mean the subject of life outside our planet isn't being discussed or explored."

Keith's note: The agenda for today's Aerospace Industires Association (AIA) Space Council has a 90 minute disucssion with only one campaign represented: "11:30-1:00 p.m. 2012 Election Speaker: Mr. Peter Marquez Romney Space Policy Advisory Group". An earlier draft version of the agenda listed "Dr. Scott Pace, Chairman, Chair of the Romney Space Policy Advisory Group and Peter Marquez, Member, Romney Space Policy Advisory Group".

So where's the Obama campaign representative? Were they invited? Did they decline? Why is Scott Pace not speaking? Scheduling conflict? Is he no longer representing the Romney campaign?

Complete agenda. Agenda memos below.

Floridians Continue Waiting For Answers From Mitt Romney On Future Of Commercial Space, Obama Florida Press Office

"This week, Mitt Romney's Republican allies in Congress finally dropped their effort to eliminate the competition among the private space industry after the successful launch of SpaceX's Dragon. While this is a step in the right direction, Floridians still deserve to know where Mitt Romney stands on space issues. While the world watched the historic first commercial spacecraft dock with the International Space Station, Romney's campaign refused to say if he supported President Obama's efforts to support and grow America's commercial space industry. Despite his promise to fire anyone who suggested spending billions of dollars on building a colony on the Moon, after Romney's Space Advisor Mike Griffin called for just that, Romney still refuses to say if he kept his promise to fire Griffin."

Obama to Romney: Will You Fire Mike Griffin?, earlier post

Is Space Getting Too Politicized?, Wired

"Now that the 2012 Presidential field is officially set, the candidates can finally focus on the question that is on everyone's mind: what would you, as President, do with NASA? How would you guide the American space program? Ok, so space exploration isn't exactly a high salience issue for most of the country, but it does loom large for several swing state constituencies, most notably the Space Coast of Florida. A couple of excellent articles in the current edition of Space Quarterly Magazine, excerpted on NasaWatch, contemplate the role space policy may have in the 2012 election."

Space Quarterly Magazine June 2012 Issue

Marc's note: The current edition of Space Quarterly magazine has a couple of articles dealing with the election and space. One discusses the Democratic perspective and the other the Republican perspective. Below you'll find excerpts from each. To read the full versions please subscribe to the magazine. A single digital issue is $5.95 while a 1 year digital subscription is $19.

One Convert At A Time

Obama's tough decisions will lead nation forward in space, opinion, Mark Kelly, Orlando Sentinel

"The decision to commercialize certain parts of our space program was not easy. I was not a fan at first of canceling the Constellation rocket program. I worried about what it would mean for NASA's overall mission, and what it would do to the brilliant and patriotic men and women who work there. But I'm impressed by how far SpaceX has come in the past 17 months. And it's a bargain: The dramatic cost savings of commercial spaceflight -- savings we need to reduce the deficit and grow our economy -- let us expand the frontiers of space and stay at the forefront of technological innovation. The president made a tough, bold decision -- and I now believe he was right. It's part of a series of tough decisions he has made to stand by NASA and especially Florida's Space Coast. The president is investing in work-force training to connect Space Coast workers with emerging clean-energy businesses."

Will Mitt Romney Fire Space Advisor Michael Griffin For Proposing Permanent Moon Base?,

"While speaking to Global Space Exploration Conference in Washington D.C. on Tuesday, Romney Space Advisor Michael Griffin renewed his calls for a "permanent base on the moon." Given Romney's promise to fire anyone who proposed putting a colony on the moon, will Romney keep his promise by firing Griffin?"

Keith's note: Mr. Romney has said next to nothing about space policy thus far. But on the one notable instance where he did say something, Romney stated that he'd fire anyone who took the position of supporting moonbases - the stance that Romney campaign space advisor Mike Griffin has taken. You have to wonder whether Mike Griffin actually knows what his candidate's positions are with regard to space policy - or is this an indication that Romney's positionon moonbases has changed? Stay tuned.

- Partisan Romney Space Advisor To Call For Non-Partisan Space Policy, earlier post
- Obama Campaign Issues Space Policy Fact Sheet, earlier post

FACT SHEET: President Obamas Accomplishments for NASA and Floridas Space Coast

"On the heels of the first successful launch of a private spacecraft to the International Space Station ushering in a new era of space exploration, Obama for America-Florida released the following fact sheet on President Obama's space policy and accomplishments: "I am 100 percent committed to the mission of NASA and its future. Because broadening our capabilities in space will continue to serve our society in ways that we can scarcely imagine. Because exploration will once more inspire wonder in a new generation sparking passions and launching careers. And because, ultimately, if we fail to press forward in the pursuit of discovery, we are ceding our future and we are ceding that essential element of the American character." -President Barack Obama"

Keith's note:Of course, we'll be more than happy to post space policy statements from the Romney campaign - as soon as they issue them.

AIAA President to Call for Space Exploration Policy Goals Which Transcend Partisan Political Concerns

"Event Features AIAA President Dr. Michael Griffin - space exploration policy goals which transcend partisan political differences, enhancing the future of the US space program and its ability to cooperate more fully with its international partners."

Newt Gingrich brings campaign to a close, with swipes at Obama, jokes at his own expense, Washington Post

"And in bowing out, Gingrich made several joking references to his campaign-trail plan for a permanent moon colony - a proposal that has come to symbolize Gingrich's descent from one of the most powerful players on the national stage to an also-ran often ridiculed for his often-grandiose ideas."I want to just say I'm cheerfully going to take back up the issue of space," Gingrich, who spoke in front of a black velvet curtain and at a podium bearing his campaign logo, said as he came to the end of a long list of issues he said he intends to continue addressing in appearances across the country. "My wife has pointed out to me approximately 219 times, give or take three, that moon colony was probably not my most clever comment in this campaign," he continued. "I thought, frankly, in my role as providing material for 'Saturday Night Live,' it was helpful."

Keith's note: (Sigh) it would seem that talking about extending our species to other worlds is still not a topic for serious public discussion - unless you make SciFi movies or write for Saturday Night Live. Like him or not, Newt stuck his neck out on this topic - and also for the commercial space policy of the Obama Administration - even though he had to cross partisan lines to do so. I am sure we'll be hearing more from Newt about space and It will likely be interesting.

Obama camp, Dems swipe at Mitt Romney over space policy, MIami Herald

From a transcript of a call with Obama supporter and Cocoa Mayor Michael Blake said: ... "Romney has repeatedly stressed he'd make no promises about funding for the space program or the future direction of NASA. When it comes to NASA and space exploration, it is clear that Mitt Romney is completely wrong on the issue and out of touch with the Space Coast."

Mike Griffin, Romney Space Advisor, earlier post

Remarks by the President on Energy at Roswell, New Mexico

"It was a wonderful trip over here. We took the helicopter. We landed in Roswell. I announced to people when I landed that I had come in peace. (Laughter.) Let me tell you, there are more 9- and 10-year-old boys around the country -- when I meet them, they ask me, "Have you been to Roswell, and is it true what they say?" (Laughter.) And I tell them, "If I told you I'd have to kill you." So -- and their eyes get all big. (Laughter.) So we're going to keep our secrets here."

Keith's note: Oops. The White House (OSTP) likes this - on Twitter

Obama campaign could trip over space policy, Houston Chronicle

Mike's alternate universe fantasy: "Access to space should have been a campaign issue in every election since Nixon cancelled Apollo in the 1970s," added Griffin, an adviser to GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney."

Vs reality: "You'd have to distort reality to make that a partisan issue in the fall campaign," insists John Logsdon, a space historian and veteran of the Columbia accident board who helped Obama develop his policies. "We are where we are because of decisions by the last two presidents and both parties in Congress. This should not be a campaign issue."

Back to the Moon

Back to the Moon--For a Fraction of the Old Price, Charles Miller

"As a former NASA executive, I am saddened by the media response to Newt Gingrich's proposal that we return to the moon. The mockery and ridicule does America a great disservice. Space exploration and development is an important national issue. It's not only possible and necessary to safeguard our future--it can be a lot cheaper than anybody dreams."

Newt defends his space program, Politico

"Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich on Sunday defended his comments about expanding the U.S. space program. "This was not some slip. This was a deliberate effort to start a conversation," Gingrich said on NBC's "Meet the Press." Last month, Gingrich said during a campaign stop in Florida that by his second term as president the U.S. flag would be planted again on the moon and that there would be a permanent lunar base."

Growing Opportunities on Earth Rather Than Colonies on the Moon, Rick Santorum RedState

"Already, the debt of the U.S. federal government threatens to engulf the next generation of scientists, mathematicians, and engineers. Each American citizen's share of the United States' public debt is over $48,000, but let's be honest for a minute. This burden won't fall on our shoulders: it will fall on our children's. There is over $200,000 in government debt for every American child. My goal is to shrink this number, and we can if we pursue policies that make life better for American households -- unlike Speaker Gingrich's moon colony. Our children are far too precious to be saddled with growing debt for a government that doesn't keep its promises. This money is better spent on earth - or kept in the pockets of American families, where it truly belongs."

Keith's note: And of course, SNL got in on space policy by opening with a segment titled "Newt Gingrich: Moon President". Oh yes, another segment "Secret Word featured U.S. astronaut Buster Allright who had some peculiar post-flight problems with "probes". If you are outside the U.S. you can watch the skit here on YouTube.

Human Rating the Atlas V

United Launch Alliance Completes Critical Milestones Toward Certifying Atlas V for Human Spaceflight

"United Launch Alliance (ULA) today announced the completion of two key milestones leading toward the certification of the Atlas V launch vehicle for human spaceflight. ULA has successfully completed the third and fourth milestones of its Commercial Crew Development (CCDev) Unfunded Space Act Agreement (SAA). In December, ULA conducted a series of detailed reviews that reflected the culmination of efforts involving technical experts and representatives from NASA's Commercial Crew Program (CCP)."

Keith's note: Little more than a week ago, at an campaign event with Newt Gingrich, Gingrich asked a bunch of space company reps specifically what it would take to human-rate the Atlas V and how long that would take. No one from ULA could answer. Now this press release comes out addressing that same question in detail. Odd.

Gingrich Talks About Space Policy in Florida (Update), earlier post

To the moon? It's not that loony, MSNBC

"GOP hopeful Mitt Romney says that he'd fire anyone who suggested spending hundreds of billions of dollars to build a moon colony -- but what about tens of billions of dollars? A former NASA adviser says he and others at the space agency drew up an approach that could put astronauts on the moon for $40 billion, as a "Plan B" for future exploration. "We figured out at NASA how to do it in about 10 years for $40 billion," said Charles Miller, who recently left his position as NASA Headquarters' senior adviser for commercial space and is now president of NextGen Space. "The question is, would Mitt Romney fire me for a proposal to return to the moon for $40 billion?"

Gingrich: Terrible President on Earth, Great One in Space, opinion, Huffington Post

"Take just about any issue on Earth and I disagree vehemently with Newt Gingrich's policy position. His disingenuous expressions of anti-elitimism infuriate me daily, and his runaway hypocrisy embodies everything that's wrong with the political process. But the man said he was going to build a moon base, and for that, he's just about got my vote."

Tea Party in Space Endorses Gingrich for President

"Mr. Gingrich's bold announcement of a moon base by 2020 is not unrealistic like some would have Americans believe," Gasser continued. "Newt brings the kind of leadership lacking at NASA while the other candidates want to continue the status quo. This isn't the 1960s and 70s where 'only NASA' could build rockets and space stations. Today the private sector has more than proven that if you remove the shackles of government bureaucracy, American ingenuity will flourish."

Matt Reed: Newt's awesome space plan shields a bad candidate, Florida Today

"How Gingrich led the impeachment of President Bill Clinton in 1998 for lying about an affair -- even as Gingrich had cheated on his wife for six years. I despised Gingrich by the time he took the stage in Cocoa on Wednesday. Then, Newt seduced me with one of the best speeches on space I've ever heard."

A colony on the moon? Gingrich finds risks and rewards in backyard politics, AP

"No issue better illustrates the risks and rewards of backyard politics than Florida's space industry. Gingrich ignited the discussion by making a bold declaration at a packed rally last week in Cocoa, about 20 miles from the Kennedy Space Center. "By the end of my second term we will have the first permanent base on the moon, and it will be American," he said before being interrupted by applause."

Leaders In America's Space Program Write Open Letter In Support Of Mitt Romney, Houston Chronicle

"As president, Mitt Romney will facilitate close collaboration not only within the government's civil and national security space sectors, but also with the private sector and with research institutions. He will create conditions for a strong and competitive commercial space industry that can contribute greatly to our national capabilities and goals. And he will ensure that NASA returns its focus to the project of manned space exploration that uniquely affirms American strength and values around the globe. Under his leadership, America will once again lead the world in space."

Keith's note: 24 Hours after the Florida primary votes are in, you will likely hear little - if anything - about space from these candidates ever again.

Mitt Romney would have fired Mike Griffin: Is Romney Already Being Trapped By Unsustainable Space Interests?, Space Frontier Foundation

"During last night's Republican presidential debate, Governor Mitt Romney stated that "a moonbase would be an enormous expense," and later stated that if someone had come to him saying they had wanted to spend a few hundred billion dollars to put a colony on the moon, he would've said "You're fired." Today, it was revealed that former NASA Administrator Mike Griffin is member of the Romney Space Policy Advisory Group. This is the same NASA Administrator who was the chief architect of an unaffordable and unsustainable plan to return humans to the Moon that would have cost about $200 Billion."

Former NASA chief Mike Griffin backs Mitt Romney for president, Houston Chronicle

"GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney won the endorsement of former NASA administrator Mike Griffin on Friday, days before voters in Florida and along the famed Space Coast cast their ballots in the hotly contested GOP presidential primary."

Last man on moon, other space leaders backing Romney, MSNBC

"Players in the commercial space industry, including Eric Anderson, chairman and chief executive officer of space tourism firm Space Adventures; and Mark Albrecht, chairman of the board of satellite communications provider USSpace, also signed the letter. Other signers include Scott Pace, director of the Space Policy Institute at George Washington University (who also serves as chairman of the Romney Space Policy Advisory Group); Peter Marquez, former director of space policy for the National Security Council; and William Martel, professor of International Security Studies at Tufts University."

Romney Mocks Gingrich's Plans For Moon Base, CBS

"Gingrich promised that "By the end of my second term, we will have the first permanent base on the moon and it will be American." Gingrich, the former House speaker, told an overflowing crowd gathered on Florida's space coast Wednesday that he wants to develop a robust commercial space industry in line with the airline boom of the 1930s. He also wants to expand exploration of Mars."

Gingrich jab at debate moderator deflected, Reuters

"One of Romney's biggest applause lines was saying that Gingrich has a pattern of pandering to local audiences - promising a new Veterans Administration hospital in New Hampshire a few weeks ago and a moon colony on Wednesday when he visited Florida's Space Coast. "I spent 25 years in business," Romney said. "If I had a business executive come to me and say they wanted to spend a few hundred billion dollars to put a colony on the moon, I'd say, 'You're fired.'"

Santorum: Moon base idea is 'crass politics', Politico

"the idea that anybody's going out and talking about grand, new, very expensive schemes to spend more money at a time when we do not have our fiscal house in order, in my opinion, is plain, crass politics."

Romney schedules Cape Canaveral visit for Friday, Florida Today

"According to Romney's campaign, he'll visit Astrotech Space Operations Inc, 260 Magellan Road at 3 p.m. The event is open to the public."

Keith's update: At the first event in Florida today, Newt Gingrich called for setting aside 10% of the NASA budget for prizes (which would be awarded tax free), that there'd be a human base on the Moon by the end of his Administration flying an American flag, that progress on a trip to Mars would be made using propulsion that would dramatically reduce travel time, that there should be 5 launches a day - not just 1, and that the current NASA civil service system should be replaced with something more akin to what is used in the aerospace industry.

At the second event with Gingrich (invitation-only) a panel of local industry and political representatives spoke for several minutes each. With the exception of SpaceX, these panelists all blew their chance to make clear points to Gingrich, the online audience, and the national media. A number of these folks resorted to self-promotion and, in some cases, were simply babbling. Gingrich asked launch industry representatives a simple question i.e. what it would take (time etc.) to man-rate an Atlas V. No one could answer. You'd think that the space communnity would have thought ahead as to how they could make the best of this one time opportunity. FAIL.

Gingrich plans major speeches, including one on space, CNN

"Riding the momentum of his South Carolina win on Saturday, Newt Gingrich said Sunday he planned a week of big speeches offering "big solutions for a big country." "I'll be at the space coast in Florida this week giving a speech -- a visionary speech -- on the United States going back into space in the John F. Kennedy tradition," the former House Speaker said on C-SPAN's "Washington Journal."

Gingrich & Walker: Obama's brave reboot for NASA, Washington Times (earlier post)

"Despite the shrieks you might have heard from a few special interests, the Obama administration's budget for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration deserves strong approval from Republicans. The 2011 spending plan for the space agency does what is obvious to anyone who cares about man's future in space and what presidential commissions have been recommending for nearly a decade."

Romney, Gingrich talk spaceflight at latest Republican debate, Foxboro

"Both Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich stressed the importance of space exploration for the United States, saying a strong space program helps develop key technologies and inspires young people to study science and engineering. But during the debate, held at the University of South Florida in Tampa, neither candidate said giving NASA more money was the right way forward."

Gingrich on Space

Gingrich calls for 'bold' space program, opens Orlando campaign office, Orlando Sentinel

"Gingrich said NASA must be "more realistic about risk taking," both for itself and in encouraging the private space industry, including offering large cash prizes to entrepreneurs willing to invest in new space technology, including a private space station, moon colonization and a trip to Mars. "People take risks to climb Mt. Everest. People take risks to hang-glide. People take risks to do lots of things," Gingrich said. "If you offer a more open-ended system, you say, 'Here's the prize to get there but we understand it's risky,' I think you'll see a lot more people investing and taking risks."

Election 2012 and Space

Where the candidates stand on space in 2012, SpaceReview

"The 2012 presidential campaign seems like it has been going on for months, if not years, but today it really starts to count. Tonight thousands of Iowans will gather at caucus meetings across the state to select delegates in the first electoral event of the campaign, to be followed a week later by the first primary, in New Hampshire. The various speeches, debates, ads, and media interviews in the months leading up to now have allowed the candidates to discuss a wide range of topics, from the economy to foreign policy to social issues. But what about space?"

More on Election 2012 and space

NASA no priority for most presidential candidates, Orlando Sentinel

"Of all the presidential candidates, the election of Newt Gingrich likely would have the greatest effect on NASA for one simple reason. He would pay attention to it. The beleaguered space agency, despite its frequent mention in lofty speeches about "reaching for the stars," rarely gets put on the front burner of domestic policy -- if it's on the stove at all. It took former President George W. Bush more than three years after his election in 2000 to unveil any significant plan for the agency. President Barack Obama's biggest impact has been following through on a campaign promise to downgrade NASA's troubled moon program -- the one set up by Bush."

Newt Skywalker

Gingrich is right about the space program, Daily Caller

"I've made fun of Gingrich before. There's a lot to make fun of. But zapping him on the space program is shortsighted pandering. Our presence in space is a strategic necessity. But it's more than that too. Last spring, a Marist poll found that kids no longer want to be astronauts. That's a generation no longer inspired to reach for the stars. It's un-American. And it has to change."

The return of Newt Skywalker, Politico

"Gingrich defended his lunar notions Saturday. "I grew up in a generation when the space program was real, when it was important."

Newt Gingrich "has suggested" building "a mirror system in space" could improve the Earth's habitability,

"Gingrich co-wrote his book more than a quarter century ago, and since he doesn't appear to have reiterated the call for floating mirrors in recent years, we can safely assume the idea is no longer at the top of his policy agenda. But did cite the idea approvingly in his book, so we rate Brooks' statement True."

Newt Gingrich targeted over policy, personal life in GOP debate, LA Times

"Mitt Romney, who has been running at or near the front of polls until Gingrich's recent surge, challenged Gingrich's call to colonize the moon and to change child labor laws so inner-city students can go to work cleaning their classrooms. Romney contrasted his background in the business world with Gingrich's long career in Washington.

"Let's be candid," Gingrich shot back. "The only reason you didn't become a career politician is you lost to Teddy Kennedy in 1994." The rejoinder -- a reference to Romney's unsuccessful U.S. Senate bid before winning the Massachusetts governorship eight years later -- was the closest Gingrich came to showing pique.

Acting like the college lecturer he once was, he rebutted his opponents point by point, saying, for instance, that colonizing the moon would inspire students to study math and science and that putting poor students to work was a way to instill a healthy work ethic."

Obama and NASA This Week

White House Photo of the Day, 3 Nov 2011

"Janet Kavandi, Director of Flight Crew Operations at Johnson Space Center, presents President Obama with a jacket during a drop by with the crew of the Space Shuttle Atlantis in the Oval Office, Nov. 1, 2011. The jacket features patches from several past space shuttle missions. Pictured in the background, from left, are: Pilot Doug Hurley, Mission Specialist Sandy Magnus, Commander Chris Ferguson and Mission Specialist Rex Walheim. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)"

Pres. Obama talks NASA's future with Dave Ward, KTRK

"What we've said with NASA is that we need to re-tool, to take that next big leap forward in space. The shuttle program had a wonderful run but the truth of the matter is that the next phase, including the Orion project, was way behind schedule and didn't seem to be meeting its budget objectives," President Obama said. "So what we've done is to try to say let's take a step back, let's figure out how do we re-tool."

'We've got to do more', MyFox, Tampa

"We are, for example, working with NASA and the private sector to bring additional jobs to central Florida. Boeing just made an announcement that we're very happy about."

NASA Signs Agreement with Space Florida to Reuse Kennedy Facilities For Boeing CST-100 Development

"The next era of space exploration won't wait, and so we can't wait for Congress to do its job and give our space program the funding it needs. That's why my Administration will be pressing forward, in partnership with Space Florida and the private sector, to create jobs and make sure America continues to lead the world in exploration and discovery," President Barack Obama said."

We Can't Wait, Atlanta Journal Constitution

"The White House continues to run with the new theme of President Obama, "We Can't Wait," making the argument that if the Congress won't approve Obama Administration initiatives, then the President will do what he can on his own."

Boeing to Establish Commercial Crew Program Office in Florida

""Pending the continued selection of Boeing for future Commercial Crew development and service contracts, and sufficient NASA funding, we project a Commercial Crew program workforce ramping up to 550 local jobs by our scheduled operational date of December 2015."

Keith's note: This is interesting. An Obama 2012 campaign slogan is used in an official NASA press release. Just Google "Obama we can't wait" and you will see this campaign phrase embedded in virtually everything that the President says these days - especially when it relates to employment.

TEA Party Space Platform

"TEA Party in Space (TPIS), a non-partisan organization, today publicly released the TEA Party Space Platform "This is our response to the vacuum of leadership in Washington, D.C., for America's national space enterprise," said Andrew Gasser, President of TPIS. "Whether it's timidity from the White House or Congress' earmark-laden 'compromises', our space dreams will be stuck on this planet unless someone articulates a vision based on economic and technical reality, so that's what we've done." This platform, and its specific planks, are grounded in sound science, technology, and the TEA Party's core values. The TEA Party in Space Platform promotes fiscal responsibility, limited government, and stimulation of the free market."

Transcript of Republican Presidential Debate - NASA Excerpt, CNN

"KING: All right, let's continue the conversation, but we'll come back to this if we have to. Let's go to Jean Mackin in Hancock. She has a question.

MACKIN: Thanks, John. This question goes out to Speaker Gingrich. Next month, the space shuttle program is scheduled to retire after 30 years, and last year, President Obama effectively killed government-run space flight to the International Space Station and wants to turn it over to private companies. In the meantime, U.S. astronauts would ride Russian spacecraft at a cost of $50 million to $63 million a seat. What role should the government play in future space exploration?

GINGRICH: Well, sadly -- and I say this, sadly, because I'm a big fan of going into space and I actually worked to get the shuttle program to survive at one point -- NASA has become an absolute case study in why bureaucracy can't innovate.

If you take all the money we've spent at NASA since we landed on the moon and you had applied that money for incentives to the private sector, we would today probably have a permanent station on the moon, three or four permanent stations in space, a new generation of lift vehicles. And instead, what we've had is bureaucracy after bureaucracy after bureaucracy and failure after failure."

Update: NASA insider: Some truth to Gingrich's barb, CNN

"Why so quiet? Some NASA officials suspect Gingrich may be letting us know that the emperor has no clothes.

Some insiders are wondering if NASA is operating with an outdated management paradigm better suited to the 1960s Apollo era rather than the 21st century."



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