Recently in Election 2020 Category

There's A New "Make Space Great Again" Campaign Video From Team Trump, Earlier post

"At 4:10 the live chat begins. It is hosted by Donald Trump Jr.'s girlfriend Kimberly Guilfoyle who works on the Trump campaign. Her guests are former NASA Chief Financial Officer Jeff DeWit and former astronaut and NASA GRC Center Director Janet Kavandi who is now a Senior Vice President at Sierra Nevada Corp. Apparently the Trump family is really into space - Eric Trump's brother-in-law Kyle Yunaska is the new Deputy Chief of Staff at NASA."

Keith's note: Some research from a noted space policy expert: Open Secrets has a lot of data that lets you do a deep dive into who gave what to whom. Check out this chart (larger image). Looking at Big Aerospace - specifically the top 12 NASA contractors and their PAC contributions by party during the recent election cycle - all but SpaceX and Bechtel favor the congressional republicans. Republican-leaning donors are shown in red, Democrat-leaning contributors are shown in blue.

Traditionally PACs focus on incumbents, which makes these numbers even more skewed. Every contractor gave significantly to Sen. Cruz (R-TX) and virtually ignored Sen. Sinema (D-AZ) for example. Oh yes, Sen. Sinema is about to become the Chair of the prime Senate space subcommittee (subcommittee on Aviation and Space, Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation). Big Aerospace gave candidate (and now Senator) Mark Kelly (D-AZ) next to nothing yet many aerospace contributors maxed out when donating to his opponent, incumbent Sen. McSally (R-AZ).

With such a lopsided approach to contributions toward their opponents why should Democrats feel a need to advance the Big Aerospace agenda? Out of ~$12 million in contributions, over $1 million more was given to Republicans than Democrats. Boeing, SAIC and Aerojet Rocketdyne gave 60% (or more) to Republicans. Aerojet Rocketdyne gave 73% more. Other than ULA, only company PAC contributions are included in chis chart - not contributions from employees. ULA doesn't have a PAC, so employee contributions (73% Republican) were used.

How Big Aerospace Supported Efforts To Undermine Democracy, earlier post

Donors to Electoral College Objectors, OpenSecrets

"OpenSecrets compiled a list of the top donors to GOP lawmakers who objected to the Electoral College results on Jan. 6, 2021. The dataset includes the top PAC donors, top individual donors and top industry donors to the campaigns and leadership PACs of lawmakers who objected to at least one state's election results."

Keith's note: This is what big aerospace thinks about American democracy - they were massive donors to efforts to undermine the election:

10. Northrop Grumman $687,500
15. Lockheed Martin $651,000
18. Raytheon $570,000
19. Boeing $567,000

It is one thing for big aerospace companies to play both sides. It is quite another to even consider supporting someone who'd have undemocratic leanings - regardless of their party affiliation.

NASA Is Better Than This

Keith's note: FYI earlier today I sent an email asking for comment on Blackwell's political tweeting to the NASA NASA Office of General Counsel, the Inspector General, NASA HQ Public Affairs - and Blackwell - citing the most recent NASA memo on the Hatch Act. No one responded. Moments after I posted this tweet this evening regarding these tweets Blackwell suddenly scrubbed her Twitter account and then made it private. There must be a reason why the account was suddenly edited and hidden.

Luckily the NASA family is better than these tweets - and the horrible events today that they served to endorse.

Keith's update: I got this response from NASA PAO just before midnight last night: "Thank you for forwarding this matter to NASA. As this is a personnel matter we will not be able to comment further."

https://s3.amazonaws.com/images.spaceref.com/news/2019/Star-Trek1.jpg

Keith's note: I originally posted this on 7 August 2019. Give today's political events I thought it was worth reposting.

---

In light of the naked racism and politics of division coming from the White House - and the impact that it has had on societal events of late - I need to say something. We are stronger as a result of our diversity - not weakened by it. Humanity evolved elsewhere - not in America. As such we are all immigrants. Full stop.

We have had a space station in orbit for decades that is the collaborative effort of many nations. When political strife fractures relationships on Earth, space keeps them intact. Small wonder that the ISS has been nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize (recently endorsed by NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine).

Back in the 1960s when the original "Star Trek" first aired, we had a black and white TV. My first exposure to the future was a multi-ethnic/multi-racial/multi-species/gender-balanced crew exploring the universe. I fell for it. It never left me and resonates in my mind to this day half a century later. Alas, back in the 60s, with near simultaneity 20 feet away in my back yard, I was playing catch with a friend of mine. He was black. His name was Wesley. My bigoted neighbors shouted a racial slur at him. We played catch at his house after that. These two things clashed in my young mind. Yet the Star Trek ethos prevailed.

Indeed, in 2009, I had a resonant Star Trek epiphany of sorts in Nepal as I supported Scott Parazynski's ascent of Everest: "My Star Trek Episode at Everest".

Over the past 25 years that I have edited NASAWatch I have tried to avoid mention of partisan politics - and, when my personal views showed through, I openly admitted them - but sought contrary views.

NASA is being pushed to reassert, speed up, reinvigorate America's efforts in space. Hurray. Let's have more. Let's race back to the Moon and then to other places and try to out-compete one another with all manner of cool stuff such that we all benefit in the end.

But in so doing, America needs to assert itself in space in a way that advances the interests and the dreams of all Americans - and do so in a way that encourages all other nations to engage in space exploration in a fashion that advances the interests of all of humanity.

We've all seen those Star Trek episodes where worlds fall into chaos, tear themselves apart, and play only a negative role in the overall legacy of the universe. Let's not do that. We need to do the right thing.

Just sayin'

Note: my comments do not reflect on anyone at NASA. If anything the interest in diversity practiced by the folks behind the glass doors on the 9th floor embodies what I am talking about. As for NASAWatch readers who do not like what I have said and/or respond with profanity or threaten to never visit this site again: bye bye.

Keith's note: Here we go again. Its presidential transition team season and all the space fans are lining up trying to get their ideas in front of the new Administration. As is usually the case someone starts a white paper and looks for supporters who invariably start to edit and nick pick and add wish lists. Space organizations such as the Space Foundation, the Coalition for Deep Space Exploration, the Satellite Industry Association, and the Aerospace Industries Association are supporting this particular white paper/position paper effort. There may be other organizations lurking in the shadows. Meanwhile, organizations such as the Commercial Spaceflight Federation and the AIAA are shunning the effort. For now. Other organizations have not been approached. Then there's swarm of space advocacy groups, pundits, and thought influencers, whose views will be all over the map. Welcome to the space community.

Eventually, since these efforts inevitably turn into a circular firing squad with everyone wanting everything they want - but not what anyone else wants, some early participants will walk out in a huff and badmouth the effort. In the end this will be yet another example of choir practice by the usual suspects in an echo chamber. Invariably, since only a subset of the usual suspects are involved, other efforts will pop up and the net result will be a inconsistent bunch of noise from the space community. Surprise surprise.

At one point the white paper says "It is imperative to fully fund the nation's space exploration enterprise in the face of competing policy priorities." Why is that at all imperative? Isn't defeating COVID-19 and bringing our economy back more of an imperative? Space fans seem to not be listening to President-elect Biden or reading the newspapers. It may well be that NASA's budget and the budgets of other agencies will need to take a hit to get us through this. Or maybe NASA can tweak what it does to be more of partner in a whole-of-government effort to solve pressing national challenges.

Oh and then there's the whole climate change issue that the Biden team has listed as one of its top 4 priorities. That is not even mentioned. Nor does this paper even reflect a cognizance of what the Biden team has been saying that it wants to do in other areas - and why it thinks that these things are important. Is NASA Independent of the national priorities that affect the rest of the government? Indeed the word "Biden" appears nowhere in this paper. Nor is there any mention of the pending issues affecting the new Congress. Cluelessness abounds within this paper that purports to represent the consensus of the space community. But space fans know more than the Biden folks do, I guess.

Meanwhile, the Biden Transition Team is having to work with zero cooperation from the Trump Administration while facing a raging pandemic and an economy that is spiraling downward. Yet space people seem to think that there is going to be a lot of interest by the Biden Transition Team in the self-serving wish list of all the space fans who think that all of their things are important because they think that these things are important. Read on and you will see every tired and worn justification for spending piles of money on space stuff in a shopping list meant to make everyone's Christmas stocking full.

And when the Biden Transition Team gives the space fans a look of bewilderment in reaction to a totally self-serving laundry list of "gimmies" the space community will turn and tell everyone that Biden is anti-space. Truth be known, the space community has lived in a little alternate reality bubble for far too long - a bubble inflated to near bursting with fairy dust and unicorns by the Trump Administration and its Make Space Great Again memes. Oh and then there's the Space Force waiting to beam everyone up.

The exploration and utilization of space offers to enable an incredible future full of promise, benefits, and adventure for both our nation and the rest of the world. Yet if we just leave it to the space community to call the shots then all we will get is a disjointed collection of more of the same - and less of the immense potential of what could otherwise come to be.

As such, here is the latest iteration of the space community wish list I have seen. Stay tuned. There will be more ...

"Leading the next generation in space - A vision for the 117th Congress"

"Space impacts every facet of 21st-century life. Business, governance, security, education, manufacturing, healthcare, communication, and many other sectors rely on space-based infrastructure and technologies. The nation's space exploration enterprise is facing unprecedented challenges and demands attention and action from policy makers.

To ensure that the United States continues to prosper and lead in outer space, the incoming 117th Congress will have to:"

A little-known Trump appointee is in charge of handing transition resources to Biden -- and she isn't budging, Washington Post

"No agency head is going to get out in front of the president on transition issues right now," said one senior administration official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak publicly. The official predicted that agency heads will be told not to talk to the Biden team."

Keith's note: The following is based on what I have heard, and what I can surmise as being representative of what you can expect from the incoming Biden-Harris Administration. As for who the next NASA Adminstrator will be: pick a name. Your guess is as good as anyone else's.

One of the top priorities listed by the Biden-Harris Transition Team is Climate Change . While climate science/ Earth science is not explicitly mentioned, understanding how our planet's climate is changing is at the top of the list of science priorities for agencies such as NASA and NOAA. And the Biden folks like to use that word "science". How the Transition Team conducts itself will be guided by a Code of Ethical Conduct and Ethics Plan. We'll just have to wait and see if the Trump Administration allows a professional level of cooperation during the transition - or not. FWIW I do not sense that the Biden folks have any plans to blow anything up or make dramatic changes. So everyone reading this should chill out a bit. (See "Draft 2020 Democratic Party Platform Statement On Space")

We'll all get an idea as to how the transition is going to go tomorrow when the Biden Team names their COVID-19 task force. The obvious question be asked by the media is whether this august group of experts has - or will - even be allowed to talk to people at NIH, CDC, FDA, etc. so as to best understand the state of play for the pandemic and to line up their plan with what is or is not being done. Whether or not transition activities can proceed depends on whether the GSA says that they can. So far they are not giving the go ahead (as noted above). And the White House has not even admitted that the Biden-Harris team won the election. So ... if the Administration wants to allow roadblocks to prevent efforts to address the pandemic to proceed, trivial matters such as NASA are certainly not going to get any attention.

With regard to Transition Teams, every new Administration has their own way of doing things. Some are more organized than others. The Obama Transition Team was organized and had people in place on inauguration Day. Had Hillary Clinton won in 2016 they had a team with tickets to place them at National Airport on the day after election day and had planned to wrap up their activities by Thanksgiving 2016.

The Trump Transition Team was a mess. They had not expected to win so they stumbled around when they did. Eventually a bunch of people - many of them from the campaign - were part of a "landing Party" that parachuted into NASA. None of them had a plan. In short order they started to compete internally and stab each other in the back. Then, one after another, they were ejected from NASA. To his credit Robert Lightfoot held things together until Jim Bridenstine arrived.

Eventually the National Space Council was re-created along with the User's Advisory Group. Both entities were stacked with political members and pro forma agency and industry members - many of whom did zero work and provided no real value other than attending staged public events and rubber stamping decisions already made elsewhere. What was actually accomplished by the National Space Council (and there was a lot) was due almost exclusively to the determined and dedicated efforts of Scott Pace and his staff - with the full support of Vice President Pence.

As to what lies ahead - stay tuned. Whether or not there will continue to be a National Space Council is not clear. The National Space Council is enabled by law - but not required by law. Indeed, the nation functioned for decades without a National Space Council.

As for NASA's existing programs, the usual reflex with a new Administration is to set up a Blue Ribbon panel and study things for 8 months and kick the can down the road. Given that NASA is poised to embark on a lot of hardware it is likely that a more expedient review will be done. It is highly probable that there will be an enhanced focus on science at NASA - especially with regard to Earth science as it relates to expressed intentions by the Biden Team to deal with climate change. You may see some delayed or cancelled missions due to actions by the Trump Administration brought back to live - plus some new ones.

Nothing has yet appeared to suggest that the Biden Administration is hostile toward the Artemis Program to land humans on the Moon - or send humans to Mars. However, given delays with SLS and budgetary issues it is probable that the 2024 lunar landing date imposed by Vice President Pence will be pushed back a few years. One should expect that a hard look will be made as to whether the "program of record" for Artemis using SLS, Orion, Gateway etc. is the desired path or whether an alternate plan - perhaps one using much more in the way of commercial options, would work better.

As for Space Force, there will likely be a review of progress made thus far and an assessment made as to whether the rapidly expanding infrastructure of the Space Force enables or hinders the ability of the U.S. to coordinate its defense efforts in space. There is also the issue seen by many that Space Force seems to feel that it is competing with NASA to do things that NASA is supposed to do. This is not only beyond the scope of their charter, it is also duplicative and redundant.

As for NASA's biggest project, there are a lot of people who want to drive a stake through the heart of SLS. Well, NASA is about to fire its engines for the first time, so the thing is real. Get over it. Building more of them is vastly cheaper than the process of designing the rocket in the first place. To walk away from billions in sunk costs and more than a decade of development would certainly cause critics of NASA to wonder if the agency can or should do things like this ever again.

But more importantly, with the U.S. in the midst of a worsening pandemic and an associated economic downturn, you should assume that the Biden Administration is not going to be especially interested in putting more people out of work. As such you might see a compromise: perhaps a block buy of 5 or 6 SLS block 1 rockets (no EUS) to do space science missions or one-off heavy lift missions thus keeping the assembly lines open. Meanwhile NASA might pivot to more commercial options which will keep other production lines open while holding down costs. The upcoming SLS Green Run and SpaceX Starship tests will certainly have an impact on these considerations.

With regard to NASA's broader role as one agency among many within the Federal Government, you will no doubt see an impact of the new Administration's broader themes. With a teacher as First Lady it is highly likely that the Trump Administration's attempts to eliminate funding for education at NASA will be halted, reversed, and funding increased beyond prior levels. And sources report that Vice President-elect Harris is a total Star Trek fan.

With the implementation of the Biden Administration's theme of "Build Back Better" you will likely see all government agencies called upon to look for ways to deal with the pandemic, the economic downturn, infrastructural issues, and, to put it bluntly - the callous - sometimes hostile - indifference that the Trump Administration showed toward various sectors of our society.

In other words, NASA will likely be called upon to be more relevant to the nation than it has been in a long time. And when I say relevant, I do not mean what NASA thinks is relevant or what space fans think is relevant. Rather, it is what the 300 million or so people who pay for the party deem to be relevant. This may well be NASA's greatest challenge in the years ahead.

Kelly Wins, Gardner and Horn Lose, Space Policy Online

"A former NASA astronaut will join the ranks of the Senate in January, while two other notable space supporters, one in the Senate and one in the House, will be leaving according to election results called by the Associated Press (AP). Votes are still being counted, but two have already conceded."

Opinion: Joe Biden can unite our pale blue dot, Houston Chronicle, Op Ed by Astronaut Garrett Reisman

"As vice president, Biden followed the science. He made possible the funding that returned human space flight to the United States by partnering with private companies through NASA's commercial crew program. He saved thousands of jobs in Texas by extending the International Space Station program until 2024, and as president he will continue NASA funding for the space station beyond 2024. We need people in the White House who listen to our nation's scientists, engineers and technologists. Biden is not afraid to take on difficult challenges head-on while Trump's approach to complex problems is to pretend that they don't exist."

- Former NASA Administrator And Navy Secretary Sean O'Keefe Endorses Joe Biden, earlier post

Trump issues sweeping order for tens of thousands of career federal employees to lose civil service protections, Washington Post

"President Trump this week fired his biggest broadside yet against the federal bureaucracy by issuing an executive order that would remove job security from an estimated tens of thousands of civil servants and dramatically remake the government. The directive, issued late Wednesday, strips long-held civil service protections from employees whose work involves policymaking, allowing them to be dismissed with little cause or recourse, much like the political appointees who come and go with each administration. Federal scientists, attorneys, regulators, public health experts and many others in senior roles would lose rights to due process and in some cases, union representation, at agencies across the government. ... the most likely targets would be employees at the highest level of the General Schedule below that, GS-13, -14 and -15. ... The order would not affect the roughly 6,000 senior executives in the government. But experts on the civil service said the most likely targets would be employees at the highest level of the General Schedule below that, GS-13, -14 and -15."

Trump signs executive order that critics warn politicizes federal career civil service, CNN

"Max Stier, the head of the nonprofit Partnership for Public Service, which seeks to fix government, argued, "Being able to place any number of existing career positions into this new Schedule F not only blurs the line between politics and the neutral competency of the career civil service, it obliterates it."

'Stunning' Executive Order Would Politicize Civil Service, Government Executive

"The order sets a swift timetable for implementation: Agencies have 90 days to conduct a "preliminary" review of their workforces to determine who should be moved into the new employee classification--a deadline that coincides with Jan. 19, the day before the next presidential inauguration."

Trump's historic assault on the civil service was four years in the making, Washington Post

"President Trump's extraordinary directive allowing his administration to weed out career federal employees viewed as disloyal in a second term is the product of a four-year campaign by conservatives working from a ­little-known West Wing policy shop."

Keith's note: Just when everyone is totally stressed out from trying to hold their agencies together from home - during a global pandemic - the White House drops this little gem on everyone. If you are not loyal to the current regime you now risk being penalized or fired.

OK, now everyone needs to get back to their job of exploring the universe - while everything else falls apart back here on Earth.

Keith's note: The best way to ensure that space exploration is allowed to proceed in the way that it should is for everyone to just sit down and shut up. It never fares well when injected into presidential campaigns. When space is put along side something else or emphasized instead of something else invariably you get "what about [insert other issue] instead of space". Oh yes: "manned presence"? "Manned mission to Mars"? So much for the whole "first woman on the Moon" thing.

On-orbit Democracy Ops

Offworld Voting

"From the International Space Station: I voted today

-- Kate Rubins"

Senior space officials met to "war game" Biden administration space policy, Ars Technica

"On Tuesday about a dozen space officials met virtually to simulate how a National Space Council might operate during a Joe Biden administration, should the Democratic Party nominee win the 2020 presidential election. The American Foreign Policy Council convened what it characterized as a "closed-door" and "scenario-based simulation" to understand how the Biden administration would think through important space events. Invitations were sent to officials in the aerospace industry whom the Biden administration might call upon as advisers or to fill key leadership roles. The event was not organized at the behest of the Biden campaign."

Keith's note: The American Foreign Policy Council is a conservative non-profit with zero influence on Democratic activities. Zero. Newt Gingrich is on its advisory board. Tick tock. Eric Berger's reporting is spot on. As he notes the Biden campaign had nothing to do with this event. As such, anything that emerged from their "war games" amounts to little more than a game of "you sank my battleship". These sort of things always happen in Washington, DC during election times. If no concrete policy emerges on a specific topic, the usual suspects feel compelled to go off and look like they are creating one. That is what is going on here. Also, a few people are also jockeying for jobs (like chairing the National Space Council). When Team Biden has a space policy we'll all hear about it in broad daylight - not cloistered shadows.

Why Nature supports Joe Biden for US president, Nature

"No president in recent history has tried to politicize government agencies and purge them of scientific expertise on the scale undertaken by this one. The Trump administration's actions are accelerating climate change, razing wilderness, fouling air and killing more wildlife -- as well as people."

Dying in a Leadership Vacuum, New England Journal of Medicine

"The United States came into this crisis with enormous advantages. Along with tremendous manufacturing capacity, we have a biomedical research system that is the envy of the world. We have enormous expertise in public health, health policy, and basic biology and have consistently been able to turn that expertise into new therapies and preventive measures. And much of that national expertise resides in government institutions. Yet our leaders have largely chosen to ignore and even denigrate experts."

Scientific American Endorses Joe Biden, Scientific American

"It is not certain how many of these and his other ambitions Biden will be able to accomplish; much depends on laws to be written and passed by Congress. But he is acutely aware that we must heed the abundant research showing ways to recover from our present crises and successfully cope with future challenges."

Sean O'Keefe Trump and the RNC abandoned the Republican platform and the legacy of Ronald Reagan, NBC

"I have not always agreed with Biden, and it's unlikely I will always agree with him if he is elected president. But when disagreements do occur, I will have returned to the ranks of the loyal opposition and will be able to express my objections and prescriptions by appealing to the deeply held principles that have guided him throughout his career in public service. Those differences will likely be due to conflicting views over policy, and at least the Democrats put out a party platform of policies to debate."

Joe Biden is the best choice for space progress, Opinion, Sean O'Keefe and John Grunsfeld, Florida Today

"Today, Americans face a choice about whether we want to renew that vision and continue to lead the world in exploration beyond our own planet, and our drive to unravel the mysteries of the universe. With opportunities at hand for innovation and exploration, the United States can again go in peace for all humankind. We believe the best leader to realize that ambition is Joe Biden. Like President Kennedy, Biden believes that NASA represents the best of America and helps our country to be even better -- that NASA inspires all Americans, serves as an engine for economic and technology developments, engages citizens in science and engineering, and boosts our global leadership by working with our partners across the world for continued peaceful development of space to the benefit of all."

Keith's note: The prepared line was "And soon under my father's leadership, it will send Americans to Mars." OK Eric, what does "soon" mean? The target date for human Mars missions is still the mid 2030s. That is hardly "soon". Maybe you should check with your brother-in-law Kyle Yunaska, the NASA Deputy Chief of Staff, before you make these announcements. He has access to better info on the rocket science stuff. Just sayin'.

President Trump Is Making The World (And Space) Safe Again [space excerpt], RNC

"Space Policy Online: "There is substantially more than in Obama's 2015 strategy," about space."

Keith's note: Full context "Space is not a focus of the 55-page document, but there is substantially more than in Obama's 2015 strategy. That may be because Obama issued a National Space Policy in 2010 that contained extensive guidance about U.S. civil, commercial, national security, and cross-sector space activities, followed by a National Security Space Strategy in 2011. Trump has not issued similar guidance yet. Therefore what was released today is the most formal statement to date of Trump's views on these issues, although he, Vice President Mike Pence, who chairs the White House National Space Council, and other administration officials have expressed many of them already."

Oh yes and SpaceQ: "U.S. aims to take lead in space traffic management with Space Policy Directive 3." is actually an article title on our sister website SpaceQ which covers Canadian space news, the article says "As reported in NASA Watch, during a morning media call this morning "National Space Council Executive Director Scott Pace said the U.S. needs to have unfettered access and the ability to operate space - but space is becoming congested. The new policy (SPD-3) addresses these challenges."

Oh yes with all the NASA hoopla about Artemis and the Artemis Accords this RNC/Trump greatest hits document makes zero mention. But they certainly mention Space Force a lot.

- Draft 2020 Democratic Party Platform Statement On Space, earlier post
- And Today's Stupid And Untrue Space Tweet Award Goes To ..., earlier post

Keith's note: I sent the following to NASA PAO: "Last night imagery of two NASA astronauts appeared in a Democratic National Convention video. Did the DNC seek permission from NASA and/or the astronauts portrayed to use this imagery for political purposes? If so did NASA grant permission? Does NASA intend to file a complaint with the DNC for the use of this imagery of two of its employees in a political context and/or ask for it to be deleted?"

The response I got today says "NASA was not made aware of the video before it was released and we did not provide any assistance or footage, which was publicly available online."

https://s3.amazonaws.com/images.spaceref.com/news/2020/trump.NASA.jpg

Keith's note: Here is the actual tweet. I am posting a picture of it since Trump tends to block a lot of people.

My Statement on the Successful Splashdown of NASA-SpaceX Dragon Endeavour, Joe Biden

"Congratulations to NASA, SpaceX, astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley, and all the hardworking women and men who made possible a successful conclusion to this historic mission. The first American splashdown in 45 years was executed with precision and professionalism, just like the entirety of this awe-inspiring trip to the International Space Station. This is a victory for American innovation and persistence, and I am proud of the role President Obama and I had in fighting to ensure that commercial crew flights from American soil would become a reality. As president, I look forward to leading a bold space program that will continue to send astronaut heroes to expand our exploration and scientific frontiers through investments in research and technology to help millions of people here on Earth."

Chairwomen Johnson and Horn Celebrate Successful Splashdown of SpaceX Demo-2

"After a momentous launch to space from American soil for the first time in nearly a decade, NASA astronauts have successfully returned home after a productive mission on the International Space Station," said Chairwoman Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-TX). "The safe return of these two NASA astronauts is a significant milestone for America's space program. I want to welcome Astronauts Hurley and Behnken home and congratulate all those who made their mission possible."

Joe Biden is the best choice for space progress, Opinion, Sean O'Keefe and John Grunsfeld, Florida Today

"Biden knows that NASA has accomplished a great deal by evolving and adapting to rapid change. Through his public service, Biden has had an important influence to forge bipartisan support for NASA. Seeing the vast potential of the burgeoning commercial space industry, the Obama-Biden Administration helped NASA seize opportunities to extend our exploration reach and conduct its other important activities. The recent NASA/SpaceX launch of American astronauts to the International Space Station was set in motion by a strategy devised in the George W. Bush Administration and enabled by policies established by the Obama-Biden Administration and is yielding results now. After the Falcon 9 launch in May, Biden noted, "We planted the seeds of today's success during the 2009 Recovery Act. According to NASA, it has now saved taxpayers up to $30 billion and invigorated an aerospace industry in Florida that accounts for more than 130,000 jobs in the state."

2020 Democratic Party Platform (Draft)

"Democrats continue to support the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and are committed to continuing space exploration and discovery. We believe in continuing the spirit of discovery that has animated NASA's human space exploration, in addition to its scientific and medical research, technological innovation, and educational mission that allows us to better understand our own planet and place in the universe. We will strengthen support for the United States' role in space through our continued presence on the International Space Station, working in partnership with the international community to continue scientific and medical innovation. We support NASA's work to return Americans to the moon and go beyond to Mars, taking the next step in exploring our solar system. Democrats additionally support strengthening NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Earth observation missions to better understand how climate change is impacting our home planet."

Keith's 1 July note: Ads appear on your browser based on your entire browsing history and other online habits such as Amazon, eBay, etc. Google Adsense often targets ads based on words they see on websites or websites are selected by advertisers to be deluged with advertisements. The post about Jeff DeWit and the Trump campaign caused these Trump ads to start to appear. If I type "Joe Biden" (as I now have) that will likely cause Biden ads to appear (and then we will block them). We block as many of these political ads as we can (over a hundred thus far). But the advertisers are insidious and unrelenting. You can also block these ads yourself by clicking the "Ad Choices" box on the upper right. Alas, advertising helps keep NASAWatch online. By supporting our donation effort we can delete them all together.

Notice to the Trump campaign - if you are going to use advertisements to try and annoy our readers and/or skew the appearance or direction of our coverage rest assured it will have the exact opposite effect..

Keith's 2 July update: Well the Trump campaign just put another ad on our site. We'll nuke it as we have all the others. Hopefully the latest block will prevent more of these from showing up again. But the Trump campaign advertises like the Borg i.e. they rotate their shield frequencies in terms of ad codes - so who knows. There is a certain desperation that goes with incessant placement of annoying and unwanted political ads on websites that simply do not want them. Maybe Trump's son's brother-in-law Kyle Yunaska who is now Deputy NASA Chief of Staff can pass on our request to the campaign.

Kushner shakes up Trump campaign team, Politico

"Kushner on Tuesday replaced chief operating officer Michael Glassner with [Former NASA CFO] Jeff DeWit, who held the same position in Trump's 2016 campaign. ... DeWit, a former Arizona state treasurer, is a Trump loyalist who played a key role in the president's 2016 win. Trump later nominated him to serve as chief operating officer at NASA, a position DeWit stepped down from earlier this year. DeWit had been in talks with Kushner for several weeks. In his new position, he will oversee everything from budgeting to the planning of events and rallies."

- There's A New "Make Space Great Again" Campaign Video From Team Trump, earlier post

"It is hosted by Donald Trump Jr.'s girlfriend Kimberly Guilfoyle who works on the Trump campaign. Her guests are former NASA Chief Financial Officer Jeff DeWit and former astronaut and NASA GRC Center Director Janet Kavandi who is now a Senior Vice President at Sierra Nevada Corp."

- Eric Trump's Brother-In-Law Is The New Deputy NASA Chief Of Staff. Seriously., earlier post

Keith's note: Looks like we have another Trump space promotional video to enjoy on Trump TV. This video starts with some routine Biden bashing, followed by the "Make Space Great Again" campaign advertisement that the Trump campaign quickly pulled offline last week. At 4:10 the live chat begins. It is hosted by Donald Trump Jr.'s girlfriend Kimberly Guilfoyle who works on the Trump campaign. Her guests are former NASA Chief Financial Officer Jeff DeWit and former astronaut and NASA GRC Center Director Janet Kavandi who is now a Senior Vice President at Sierra Nevada Corp. Apparently the Trump family is really into space - Eric Trump's brother-in-law Kyle Yunaska is the new Deputy Chief of Staff at NASA.

The video starts with Guilfoyle saying "with President Trump's inspirational leadership the United States has officially made space great again". She also mentioned that she was at the first DEMO-2 launch attempt. It is a little strange that political campaign people were on the invitation list when virtually no one else was invited. Oh well. Anyway, after a clip of the President taking credit for things that previous presidents initiated the hyperbole that follows continues that theme leaving one with the impression that before the President showed up NASA was closed for business or something. Oh and DeWit complains that the press does not give Ivanka Trump the credit she deserves for whatever it is she does. Like I said space is a family affair for all the Trumps.

- The First 2020 Election Space-Themed Campaign Commercial Flops, earlier post
- White House Post-Launch Commentary, earlier post
- Eric Trump's Brother-In-Law Is The New Deputy NASA Chief Of Staff. Seriously., earlier post

Keith's note: Along with the now silenced "Make Space Great Again" political campaign advertisement that was yanked within hours was another space-related PR effort - but the U.S. State Department. The State Department seems to have had a social media campaign of sorts to promote the @SpaceX DEMO2 mission around the world via the #LaunchAmerica hash tag. I guess this is supposed to be soft power except mostly it says "Hey - America did this". Sometimes they put the tweet out in the target country's official language. Often times its only in English. Some times they included videos that are narrated - and captioned - in English such as the one aimed at Colombia (the point being ...?). Curiously, the tweet aimed at Ukraine is captioned in Ukrainian.

In 2018 Ukraine had 41.98 million people. Colombia had 49.65 million. Given their similar size, you'd think that they would both warrant a local translation/captioning of the video. But wait: there are only 35 million Ukrainian speakers worldwide vs 572 million spanish speakers (53 million in the U.S.). 20 counties count Spanish as an official language. You could certainly create many more tailored tweets from U.S. embassies to each of these 20 countries with one video translation and reach many more people than the one-off Ukrainian translation. Just sayin'

NASA's accomplishments have always led the rest of world and continue to be a raw source of immense soft power. Now, if only America knew how to ask everyone else to work with them in a calm, collaborative fashion, and not just wave our flag at them on Twitter. Again, just sayin'

Keith's note: This video is posted on a non-Trump campaign YouTube account.

Keith's note: Parts of this Trump campaign commercial look like portions of a promo for the Netflix show "Space Force" or outtakes from the end of the film "Armageddon". Statements by the President such as "Because we are Americans and the future belongs totally to us" certainly do not suggest that international cooperation is something that the campaign is promoting. The Trump producers also ripped off a logo from Disney too. Did the NASA employees openly shown in this video give their permission to be shown in a partisan political commercial? Astronaut Karen Nyberg certainly did not think so. NASA policies seem to disagree as well. The campaign eventually pulled the ad offline but it has started to pop up again online elsewhere.

Media Usage Guidelines, NASA

"Current NASA employees, including astronauts, may not appear in commercial material," those guidelines state. "If a recognizable person, or talent (e.g., an astronaut or a noted personality engaged to narrate a film) appears in NASA material, use for commercial purposes may infringe a right of privacy or publicity. Permission should be obtained from the recognizable person or talent if the proposed use of the NASA material could be viewed as a commercial exploitation of that person."

- Trump Campaign Pulls Space Launch Ad That Violated NASA Rules, MSN
- Trump campaign removes space-themed ad amid complaints from former astronaut, others, CNN
- Trump campaign pulls 'Make Space Great Again' video that may have violated NASA regulations', Space.com
- Trump campaign pulls space-themed ad after complaints, SpaceNews
- After sparking consternation at NASA, Trump campaign pulls ad featuring SpaceX launch, Geekwire
- In Space No One Can Hear You Campaign: Trump Team Pulls Ad, Barrons

Statement by Vice President Joe Biden on Today's Successful SpaceX Launch at Cape Canaveral, Joe Biden

"I congratulate NASA, SpaceX, and all the hardworking women and men who made today a victory for American innovation and persistence. This mission represents the culmination of work begun years ago, and which President Obama and I fought hard to ensure would become a reality. We planted the seeds of today's success during the 2009 Recovery Act, which according to NASA, has saved taxpayers up to $30 billion and invigorated an aerospace industry in Florida that accounts for more than 130,000 jobs in the state. As President, I look forward to advancing America's commitment to pursuing space exploration and unlocking scientific discoveries that will inspire a new generation of dreamers to gaze up at the sky and imagine all that our future may hold."

Keith's note: Last week it was Space Force merchandise from the Trump 2020 campaign. Now, it looks like the NRCC (National Republican Congressional Committee) has jumped on the whole space thing. The fact that we no longer fly this particular space vehicle seems to be of minor importance. But hey, we now get to say SPACE FORCE all the time.

- Hey, Its The Trump 2020 Campaign Space Force Logo Contest, earlier post

Keith's note: Hey gang - it looks like you too can vote on the design of the new logo for The Space Force. Which one do YOU like? (larger image)

According to this official Trump 2020 campaign email from Brad Pascale: "Friend, President Trump wants a SPACE FORCE -- a groundbreaking endeavor for the future of America and the final frontier. As a way to celebrate President Trump's huge announcement, our campaign will be selling a new line of gear. But first we have to make a final decision on the design we will use to commemorate President Trump's new Space Force--and he wants YOU to have a say. Vote for your favorite logo."

https://s3.amazonaws.com/images.spaceref.com/news/2018/trump.spaceforce.jpg

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