Transition: March 2009 Archives

Remarks by The President With The Crew of the Space Shuttle and Space Station (Transcript) 24 March 2009

"THE PRESIDENT: Well, obviously we're really proud about the extraordinary work that our American astronauts are doing. You are representative of the dedication and sense of adventure and discovery that we're so proud of. But one of the things that's wonderful about this is that it is an international space station. And I know that we have our Japanese and Russian counterparts on board, as well. We'd love to say hello to them -- and hope that this is an example of the kind of spirit of cooperation that we can apply not just in space but here on the ground, as well."

Editor's note: President Obama called the shuttle and ISS crews this morning at 9:49 a.m. EDT. The President was joined by Acting NASA Administrator Scolese, members of Congress, and children from local schools.

Video (via Collectspace.com) Below

Who Will Serve as NASA Administrator?, Washington Post

"President Obama will speak with Shuttle Discovery astronauts today as they wrap up a series of spacewalks high above. But they still don't have a boss back here on Earth. "I will soon be appointing a new NASA director," Obama recently told a group of reporters from regional newspapers. "I think it's important for the long term vibrancy of our space program to think through what NASA's core mission is, and what the next great adventures and discoveries are under the NASA banner." Two weeks since that statement however, there's still no NASA chief and two candidates once believed to be finalists have been tapped for other government jobs: Steve Isakowitz was reappointed chief financial officer at the Energy Department and retired U.S. Air Force Maj. Gen. Scott Gration will serve as a special envoy to Sudan."

Next NASA chief remains a subject of speculation and rumors, Orlando Sentinel

"Whatever the case, insiders say that Obama is unlikely toname anybody to the job before next month, despite urging byFlorida legislators that hepick somebody for thepost soon."

Who is Scott Gration? , The New Republic

"But there are also a few reasons for Darfur interventionists to worry. Significantly, Gration originally had his heart set on running NASA. Obama tried to put him there until defense lobbyists scotched the idea. This raises questions about whether this new assignment is an afterthought for both Gration and the administration. If Obama sees the Darfur envoy simply as a patronage job for loyal supporters--like the multilateral affairs job that went to Power--then he may not be that ambitious about Darfur."

President Obama Announces More Key Administration Posts, White House

"President Obama also made the following announcement today: Steve Isakowitz, Chief Financial Officer, Department of Energy - Steve Isakowitz was sworn in June 1, 2007 as Chief Financial Officer of the Department of Energy after being unanimously confirmed by the United States Senate."

Editor's note: Now that Steve Isakowitz has been shot down by Sen. Nelson, and Scott Gration is headed to Africa, a new name has started to circulate inside the Obama Administration as a possible NASA Administrator: Mae Jemison. Dr. Jemison is a former astronaut who flew on STS-47 in 1992. Jemison went to college with Valerie Jarrett, a senior advisor to President Obama. Jemison has been present at some initial Administration planning activities when Jarrett was in attendance. Stay tuned.

Marking Womens History, an Accomplished Troupe, Washington Post

"First Lady Michelle Obama will celebrate Womens History Month on Thursday by bringing a star-studded group of female actors, singers and others to visit 11 schools in the Washington area. .. Mae C. Jemison, a former astronaut, will also meet with students."

Florida lawmakers urge Obama to name new NASA chief, Orlando Sentinel

"Two Space Coast lawmakers today urged the Obama administration to quickly pick a new NASA chief as the agency "faces numerous time-sensitive challenges and needs decisive leadership," according to a letter signed by U.S. Reps. Suzanne Kosmas and Bill Posey. Most pressing is the fate of NASA's human spaceflight program. The space shuttle is set for a 2010 retirement, but its replacement is not scheduled to fly before 2015 at the earliest -- which likely would leave thousands of Kennedy Space Center workers without jobs."

First lady tells students to aim their goals high, AP

[Photo] "First lady Michelle Obama, left, hugs former NASA Astronaut Mae C. Jemison, right, as she welcomes guests to the Diplomatic Room of the White House in Washington, Thursday, March 19, 2009, as she hosted a series of events in celebration of Women's History Month."

Scratch Gration

Source: Obama picks retired Air Force pilot, close friend, Africa expert as Sudan envoy, AP

"A senior administration official says President Barack Obama has chosen retired Air Force Gen. J. Scott Gration to be a special envoy to war-wracked Sudan. Gration is a close personal friend of Obama and has considerable experience on African issues.

The administration official told The Associated Press on Tuesday that Gration is the pick of both Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton.

The announcement was being made Wednesday."

Editor's note: Well, it certainly seems that Sen. Nelson is of the mind that he is going to decide who is - or rather - who is not the next NASA Administrator. It should be no secret by now that Nelson would like to see former astronaut Charles Bolden nominated. Widely regarded as a sterling individual, few people dislike Bolden or question his capabilities.

However, the White House seems to have other ideas as to who they'd like to nominate. Nelson made it quite clear that he did not want Scott Gration to be the nominee due to a lack of space experience. Now, Nelson has made it clear that he does not want to see Steve Isakowitz as the nominee either and has taken active steps to block Isakowitz's name from moving forward.

It would seem that Nelson's prime, personal criteria for picking a NASA administrator is staunch support for human space flight - and keeping the shuttle flying as long as possible (thus reducing job loss in Florida). Alas, there are are other things besides human space flight on NASA's agenda.

This is starting to get silly - and is becoming counterproductive so far as NASA's best interests are concerned. It is time for Sen. Nelson to stop being selfish and allow the remaining members of the Senate to have some say in this matter - and to let the White House actually nominate someone to run NASA - someone who can run the agency for the entire nation, not just Florida.

Bill Nelson and Co. take down Obama's NASA frontrunner , Orlando Sentinel

"Nelson and other NASA boosters did not like Isakowitzs reputation as a tough fiscal manager. Nelson aides blamed Isakowitz for helping kill a repair mission to the Hubble Space Telescope -- a decision that was later reversed under former NASA chief Mike Griffin -- and they worry that he would not be a strong supporter of human spaceflight. Manned spaceflight is vital for KSC, which launches the space shuttle and would be in charge of preparing its replacement for missions."

Obama calls NASA an agency 'adrift' and in need of new mission, Orlando Sentinel

"OBAMA: ... I will soon be appointing a new NASA director. I think it's important for the long term vibrancy of our space program to think through what NASA's core mission is and what the next great adventures and discoveries are under the NASA banner. The space shuttle program has yielded some extraordinary scientific discoveries, but I think it's fair to say that there's been a sense of drift to our space program over the last several years. We need to restore that sense of excitement and interest that existed around the space program. Shaping a mission for NASA that is appropriate for the 21st century is going to be one of the biggest tasks of my new NASA director. Once we have that vision, then I think that it's going to be much easier to build support for expanding our space efforts. What I don't what NASA to do is just limp along. And I don't think that's good for the economy in the region either. ..."

"OBAMA: First of all, we have authorized were budgeted for additional shuttle launches that had not been scheduled. So we're extending the life of the shuttle because a) I think it is doing some important work and b) we are very mindful of the economic impact of the space program in the region."

NASA FY 2010 Budget Details

"NASA will fly the Space Shuttle to complete the International Space Station and then retire the Shuttle in 2010; an additional flight may be conducted if it can safely and affordably be flown by the end of 2010."

Editor's note: I am not sure how you can be saying that you will be "extending the life of the shuttle" at the same time that you state in budget documents that you are going to "retire the Shuttle in 2010".

Obama Puts His Own Spin on Mix of Science With Politics, NY Times

"The document orders Mr. Obama's top science adviser to help draft guidelines that will apply to every federal agency. Agencies will be expected to pick science advisers based on expertise, not political ideology, the memorandum said, and will offer whistle-blower protections to employees who expose the misuse or suppression of scientific information."

Editor's note: There is continued Congressional interest in Washington in Steve Isakowitz as a possible NASA Administrator - Sen. Mikulski in particular. A very small "bring back Mike" contingent is also still at work in and around Capitol Hill albeit without much success. And a "draft Len Fisk" effort is also underway. Whether any of these efforts will have any effect remains to be seen. Stay tuned.

Editor's note: Multiple sources report that Mike Griffin is mounting a quiet, but persistent comeback campaign on Capitol Hill and elsewhere. So far, none of the people in the Obama Administration who let him go and/or those who could have kept him in the job seem to be remotely interested in asking him back. Stay tuned.

Steve Isakowitz leads the pack for NASA Administrator job, Orlando Sentinel

"But the frontrunner, at least for now, appears to be Isakowitz. He was sworn in as the Energy Department's CFO on June 1, 2007, after being unanimously confirmed by the Senate. Prior to that he has distinguished career serving at the Office of Management and Budget, the CIA and NASA. At NASA he was Deputy Chief Financial Officer and Comptroller, and Deputy Associate Administrator in charge of major space exploration programs. An engineer, he used to work for Lockheed Martin."

Editor's note: "Appears" is the operative word...


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This page is an archive of entries in the Transition category from March 2009.

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