Election 2016: November 2016 Archives

A transition vet offers tips to Trump's NASA transition team, Courtney Stadd, SpaceNews

"You will also be subject to many rumors. Information is power in D.C. Any tidbit of information, no matter how trivial, is worth something to the consultants, lobbyists, journalists, bloggers, and self-appointed social media space policy mavens who are constantly trying to demonstrate their inside knowledge. And many people with an interest in the issues within your portfolio are not beyond greatly exaggerating their level of access. I've lived and worked in the nation's capital for 40 years and can attest to the hypocrisy that has always been a growth industry within the Beltway. But I have to say that in the wake of this election, I have never seen anything like the hypocrisy among the political class. The very people who disdained Donald Trump on the Monday before the election were currying for political favor within 24 hours of Hillary Clinton's concession phone call. By now, I am sure you have discovered many "friends" you never knew existed the day before the election."

Trump's space policy reaches for Mars and the stars, Space News

"NASA should be focused primarily on deep space activities rather than Earth-centric work that is better handled by other agencies."

"Trump to scrap Nasa climate research in crackdown on 'politicized science', The Guardian

"Bob Walker, a senior Trump campaign adviser, said there was no need for Nasa to do what he has previously described as "politically correct environmental monitoring". "We see Nasa in an exploration role, in deep space research," Walker told the Guardian. "Earth-centric science is better placed at other agencies where it is their prime mission. "My guess is that it would be difficult to stop all ongoing Nasa programs but future programs should definitely be placed with other agencies. I believe that climate research is necessary but it has been heavily politicized, which has undermined a lot of the work that researchers have been doing. Mr Trump's decisions will be based upon solid science, not politicized science."

Yes, Donald Trump did call climate change a Chinese hoax, Politifact

"At one point, Clinton said, "Donald Trump says climate change is a hoax invented by the Chinese." Did he? Yes, though he later said it was a joke. The original source of this claim was a tweet Trump sent on Nov. 6, 2012, as we noted in a January 2016 fact-check of a similar claim by Clinton's Democratic opponent, Bernie Sanders."

Trump admits 'some connectivity' between climate change and human activity, CNN

"President-elect Donald Trump conceded Tuesday there is "some connectivity" between human activity and climate change and wavered on whether he would pull the United States out of international accords aimed at combating the phenomenon, which scientists overwhelmingly agree is caused by human activity."

Keith's note: Last week a number of articles appeared with the startling (at least to the authors) news that President Trump was going to cut all of NASA's Earth science programs. The authors based this arm waving on quotes in the Guardian by on-again/off-again/on-again Trump transition team advisor Bob Walker. This is not the first time Walker has said something like this. Back in the middle of October, in a Space News op ed, Walker made similar comments. Other than these two comments by Walker we have little else to go on except some off-handed, indecisive quotes from Trump himself on climate change. So - will Trump gut NASA space science? We only have some hints from someone who may or may not actual know what Trump is going to do. If Trump does take a run at NASA's Earth science programs he'll have allies such as Sen. Ted Cruz and House Science Committee Chair Lamar Smith who have been going after climate-based research funding for years. Then again, Trump may find himself consumed by far more pressing issues. We won't know until a Trump space policy emerges and a Trump team is installed on the 9th floor at NASA Headquarters.

Big change on the horizon for NASA under Trump, Lori Garver, The Hill

"NASA Administrator Charlie Bolden's perceived lack of enthusiastic support of the White House agenda gave an opening to the opposition. Without a willingness to take on these special interests, the administration made a Faustian bargain to secure congressional support for Earth sciences, technology and commercial crew, in exchange for support of developing a large expendable rocket (the Space Launch System or SLS) and deep space capsule (Orion) for human spaceflight. While these parochial interests still exist, a Trump White House has the opportunity to more effectively defend its own agenda. Former Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-Ga.), one the president-elect's most senior advisers, understands space issues and is a strong believer in commercial space development as the goal of space settlement. Former Congressman Robert Walker (R-Pa.) and former National Space Council executive director Mark Albrecht share many of Gingrich's views on the NASA bureaucracy and goals for NASA. Neither Albrecht nor Walker appear to be anxious to return to government service, but will certainly select a like-minded administrator."

NASA Under Trump, Planetary Society

"Of the $1 trillion of "discretionary" spending, more than half is spent on national defense. Everything else the government does - scientific research, border control, education, environmental protection, federal judges, infrastructure, NASA - comes from this non-defense discretionary amount. This has also been targeted for wholesale cuts by the Trump campaign in order to help pay for their large tax cut. These cuts, along with the reinstitution of the sequester (across-the-board cuts to all federal agencies), would collapse non-defense discretionary spending to its lowest point in modern history. This budgetary scenario potentially spells doom for NASA and its ambitions. The congressional subcommittee responsible for NASA - Commerce, Justice, and Science - is also responsible for the NSF, NOAA, the FBI, the Justice Department, and Commerce Department, and the Census, among others."

How Donald Trump's win could change the trajectory of commercial space ventures, Geekwire

"President-elect Donald Trump's advisers say they want to rely more on commercial ventures to pioneer the space frontier - but some of those ventures' high-profile backers aren't exactly in line with other parts of Trump's policy agenda. For example, SpaceX's billionaire CEO, Elon Musk, sees climate change as the biggest challenge facing humanity on Earth and has said a tax on carbon emissions is as necessary as garbage collection fees. In contrast, Trump has said concerns about climate change are a hoax perpetrated by the Chinese, and has vowed to "cancel" U.S. participation in the recently established Paris climate pact. (The Chinese say they're trying to set Trump straight on that point.) Amazon billionaire Jeff Bezos, who founded Blue Origin to send passengers and payloads into space, is also the owner of The Washington Post. The Post, Amazon and Bezos were all caught up in Trump's ire during the campaign. On the flip side of the issue, there's at least one space billionaire who can hardly wait for Trump to get into office: Robert Bigelow, the founder of Bigelow Aerospace."

http://images.spaceref.com/news/2016/admin.wheel.jpg

Will Trump pick an "agent of change" or an insider to lead NASA?, Ars Technica

"Probably the leading contender among the outsiders is a US Republican Representative from Oklahoma, Jim Bridenstine, who since being elected to Congress has quickly become a darling of the commercial space industry. ... Not only does [Scott] Pace presently work at a university in the nation's capital, he has also served George W. Bush on space policy and was 2012 Republican nominee Mitt Romney's chief space adviser."

Keith's note: FWIW the rumors here in DC suggest that Mike Griffin is looking for a position in the defense sphere. Mark Albrecht says that he's not interested in going back to government, Bob Walker notes that his lobbyist stance makes him (probably) ineligible, and Eileen Collins annoyed the Trump people when she suddenly backed out of the endorsement that they thought they were going to get.

If I were betting on horses it would be Bridenstine and Pace. Pace worked at NASA Headquarters for a number of years and has experience in the running of a large government agency with tens of thousands of employees and a multi-billion dollar budget. Bridenstine ran a small air & space museum and now has Potomac Fever and wants to stay in Washington when his self-imposed term limit expires. Pace is measured and deliberate with a deep understanding of space policy whereas Bridenstine is all fired up and motivated to enable change in the way that we explore and utilize space. It would be nice (for once) for a President to pick someone to run NASA with actual experience in running big things. It would also be nice to have an energetic advocate for space promoting NASA's efforts to a broadening audience.

Alas, as that song at Trump rallies often reminded us "you can't always get what you want". Stay tuned.

NASA Transition Update

NASA Internal Memo: Update on the Presidential Transition, NASA

"As many of you know, we are ready to support the presidential transition activities. NASA has a team and a process in place to ensure a smooth transition of our agency. Tom Cremins, NASA Transition Official, and Jolene Meidinger, NASA Transition Coordinator, have been leading the NASA Transition Team (NTT) in their readiness to provide the incoming administration with the information it needs about NASA's important work. The President-Elect Transition Team (PETT) has indicated that NASA will not be receiving an Agency Review Team (ART) at this time. NASA, as all federal agencies, stands ready to support the PETT at a future date."

Why hasn't Trump's transition team called the Pentagon?, CNN

"Election Day was eight days ago, but Donald Trump's transition team has yet to contact the Pentagon, State Department or other federal agencies. And a move to purge some transition advisers and employees has further slowed the process of getting the incoming administration off the blocks ... Trump's team will announce the first teams -- for the Justice Department and national security agencies -- Thursday, RNC spokesman Sean Spicer told reporters Wednesday night. Economic and domestic policy teams will be announced next week. But it was not immediately when those officials will actually arrive at agencies in Washington. The White House was still waiting Wednesday night on names from the transition of the individuals who will form the landing teams."

Robert Walker, Wexler Walker

"A major space publication, Space News, attested to his effectiveness saying, "One of Washington's most influential lobbyists" whose "stature and influence have only grown since leaving Congress."

GOP congressman being considered for NASA administrator in Trump administration, Washington Post

"Rep. Jim Bridenstine (R-Okla.), a former Navy pilot who is one of Congress's leading space exploration advocates, has had informal conversations with the Trump campaign about serving as NASA administrator or secretary of the Air Force, according to an official close to the congressman who is not authorized to speak publicly."

Keith's note: Since I broke this story last week quite a number of people have noted that it is somewhat ironic that Bridenstine wants a job that is decided by the White House when legislation he offered (H.R. 4945 the American Space Renaissance Act (ASRA)) sought to strip the ability of the White House to appoint or manage the activities of the NASA Administrator. Since Bridenstine is self term-limiting, word has it that he wishes to stay in the Washington area and is looking for something that will last longer than the 2 years of his last term. However, he lacks any experience managing an organization with thousands of employees and a budget in the billions - but that's not unusual for a NASA administrator nominee. Also, FWIW self-promoting for jobs like this is usually not the best way to get them. Then again, this year the rules do not seem to apply, so who knows? Either way Bridenstine has certainly put in a lot of time on this topic since he arrived (see spacerenaissanceact.com) and has solid climate denial credentials - both of which should help. Oh yes, in case you want to lend your support, the staffer in Bridenstine's office who seems to be working on generating buzz on this is Christopher Ingraham @cwingraham




Why Mars Can Be Affordable And Achievable, Joe Cassady/AeroJet, Huffington Post

"On the other hand, the Space Launch System (SLS) is the key to placing large blocks of payload into Earth orbit. An analogy here on Earth would be how intermodal shipping of supplies and manufactured goods is accomplished. Short haul is accomplished by trucks or rail, while long haul is accomplished by massive ships. In this same way, SLS accomplishes the short haul mission to orbit, whereas the cargo is transported over the much larger distance to Mars by solar electric transport ships. The two different propulsion systems, each of which is appropriate for its particular type of mission, are complementary. And to transport the astronauts, we add in a third element: the Orion multi-purpose crew vehicle as well as a deep-space habitat module, which together provide living space and life support systems."

Trump's Campaign CEO Ran a Secretive Sci-Fi Project in the Arizona Desert, Mother Jones

"Long before Stephen Bannon was CEO of Donald Trump's presidential campaign, he held a much different job - as the acting director of Biosphere 2, a $200 million scientific research facility in the mountains outside Tucson, Arizona. ... Bannon left Biosphere 2 after two years, and the project was taken over by Columbia University"

Trump's campaign CEO Stephen Bannon spent tumultuous time at Biosphere 2 in southern Arizona, Arizona Republic

"... the science project, which started with eight people living in a closed habitat, disintegrated amid earthly squabbles, lawsuits and allegations of sexual harassment involving Stephen Bannon. The former Biosphere 2 consultant went from dreams of space colonization to courtroom drama after he was accused in separate court filings of threatening one female employee and harassing another."

Biosphere 2, Wikipedia

"After a successful turnaround by Bannon & Co. in December 1995 the Biosphere 2 owners transferred management to Columbia University of New York City which embarked on a successful eight-year run at the Biosphere 2 campus. Columbia ran Biosphere 2 as a research site and campus until 2003. Subsequently, management reverted to the owners."

TrumpSpace Previews

What Will Trump's Space Program Look Like?, Lori Garver, Scientific American

"A Gingrich/Walker aligned NASA leadership team would likely advance an agenda that increases support for entrepreneurial space and re-focuses NASA on the Moon as the next human destination. Neither are big supporters of spending billions of dollars on large, government programs, numerous programs would be reviewed for possible cancellation or adjustment such as SLS, Orion, ISS, Mars 2020 etc. A Griffin return would also likely refocus NASA's human exploration goals on the Moon, but would be more open to continuing SLS and Orion, at the expense of ISS. Either agenda would almost certainly include continuation of the commercial crew program."

Trump: "I Will Free NASA" From Being Just a LEO Space Logistics Agency, Space Policy Online

"Did you ever see what's going on with space, with Russia and different places? And us? We're, like, we're like watching. Isn't that nice? So much is learned from that, too. "A cornerstone of my policy is we will substantially expand public private partnerships to maximize the amount of investment and funding that is available for space exploration and development. This means launching and operating major space assets, right here, that employ thousands and spur innovation and fuel economic growth. "I will free NASA from the restriction of serving primarily as a logistics agency for low earth orbit activity. Big deal. "Instead we will refocus its mission on space exploration. Under a Trump administration, Florida and America will lead the way into the stars. With a victory in November, everything will change. Just think about what we can accomplish in 100 days."

Trump's space policy reaches for Mars and the stars, op ed, Space News

"NASA's core missions must be exploration and science - and inspirational! These are the fundamental underpinnings of a Trump civilian space program. NASA should be focused primarily on deep space activities rather than Earth-centric work that is better handled by other agencies. Human exploration of our entire solar system by the end of this century should be NASA's focus and goal. Developing the technologies to meet that goal would severely challenge our present knowledge base, but that should be a reason for exploration and science. Space station activities must also remain robust given their long delayed, but now functioning, research potential. However, the U.S., working with the international community, should seek new participants in its mission and look to transitioning the station to a quasi-public facility supported by international contributions and resupplied utilizing commercially available services."

Keith's note: The Trump campaign was mostly caught by surprise by their win. While there was a formal Trump Transition Team operating, it had not gotten to the point of working details of who would visit each agency and what they would do once they arrived. If you check this chart you will see that NASA is currently not a priority for the Trump "Agency Action Team" structure. NASA is not even mentioned.

Right now the bulk of the Trump Transition Team for NASA is headed by former Rep. Bob Walker and Mark Albrecht. Walker spent 20 years representing Pennsylvania in the House and served as chair of the House Science Committee. He also chaired the Commission on the Future of the United States Aerospace Industry and was a member of the President's Commission on Implementation of the United States Space Exploration Policy. Albrecht was Executive Secretary of the National Space Council between 1989-1992 and principal space advisor to President George H. W. Bush. Albrecht is currently chairman of the board of U.S. Space LLC. It is going to take Walker and Albrecht a while to get up to speed.

Bolden Welcomes Trump

Internal NASA Memo From Charlie Bolden: Reaching for New Heights in 2017 and Beyond

"In times when there has been much news about all the things that divide our nation, there has been noticeable bipartisan support for this work, our work - support that not only reaches across the aisle, but across the public, private, academic and non-profit sectors. For this reason, I think we can all be confident that the new Trump Administration and future administrations after that will continue the visionary course on which President Barack Obama has set us, a course that all of you have made possible."

Donald Trump tells 10-year-old that 'space is terrific' but potholes are more important, Washington Post

"The local boy laughed, told the presidential candidate "yeah," and said: "I want to know your opinions on NASA." Trump wanted to make sure he correctly heard the question, turning to those around him to clarify if the boy was asking about the national space program or the North American Free Trade Agreement. A woman near the boy shouted: "Space!" "You know, in the old days, it was great," Trump told the boy, along with an audience of more than 600. "Right now, we have bigger problems - you understand that? We've got to fix our potholes. You know, we don't exactly have a lot of money."

Earlier election 2016 posts

Keith's update: I would expect that former Rep. Bob Walker is working in the background on the transition plan for NASA. You will also hear names such as Mark Albrecht mentioned for Administrator. Scott Pace and Jim Muncy should also figure prominently in this transition. More to follow.

The Election and Science

Beyond Trump vs Clinton: A scientist's guide to the US election, Nature

"Take Maryland, whose senior senator, Barbara Mikulski, is retiring after 30 years in office. Mikulski is not only the highest-ranking Democrat on the powerful Senate Appropriations Committee, which formulates the Senate's spending bills. She's also the top Democrat on the Senate subcommittee that oversees funding for the NSF, NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), and has pushed to increase spending on science over the years. That interest is home-grown: NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center and several NOAA facilities, including the agency's satellite operations centre, are located in Maryland."


Loading

 



Monthly Archives

About this Archive

This page is an archive of entries in the Election 2016 category from November 2016.

Election 2016: October 2016 is the previous archive.

Find recent content on the main index or look in the archives to find all content.