TrumpSpace: June 2017 Archives

Science division of White House office no longer staffed: report, The Hill

"While the science division had no staff members as of Friday, a White House official told CBS News that the science and technology office was still functioning with 35 staffers. Still, that compares to the more than 100 employees who worked in the office under Obama."

How Jonathan Dimock Auditioned To Be NASA White House Liaison

"My preference in positions are as follows: Office of Science and Technology Policy - This topic is a natural fit for me. A lot of narratives can be driven or disproven with scientific evidence as long as there are no preconceived ideas walking into it. The mind sees what it wants to see and science is a theory and a means of communicating with other people in the same field, not a fact."

RSC BUDGET OPTIONS 2005 Summary and Explanation of Offsets, Rep. Mike Pence, RSC Chairman Rep. Jeb Hensarling, RSC Budget & Spending Task Force Chairman

[Page 6] "Cancel NASA's New Moon/Mars Initiative 2006: -1,493 5-year savings -11,511 10-year savings -44,042"

[Page 8] "Cancel NASA's New Moon/Mars Initiative In 2004, the President announced a new initiative to explore the Moon and Mars with the goal of returning humans to the Moon by 2020. NASA currently intends to use the savings from phasing out the space shuttle in 2012 to fund this program. Savings: $44 billion over ten years ($11.5 billion over five years)"

Early Retirement for Space Shuttles Unlikely, Lawmakers Say, (2005)

"A group of Republican lawmakers led by Mike Pence of Indiana last week said the $104 billion to replace the shuttles with a new spaceship and rockets to carry astronauts back to the moon ought to be canceled to help pay to rebuild the hurricane-wrecked Gulf Coast. Key Congressional leaders said there is little political support for either suggestion."

Keith's note: The only person from NASA present at this event is an astronaut (Alvin Drew). No NASA Administrator. No Newt Gingrich or Bob Walker. And no Rep. Jim Bridenstine ...

Text of Executive Order Re-Establishing The National Space Council

"By the authority vested in me as President by the Constitution and laws of the United States of America, and in order to provide a coordinated process for developing a national space policy and strategy and for monitoring its implementation, it is hereby ordered as follows: Section 1. Purpose. This order is intended to re-establish the National Space Council ("the Council") as an independent entity tasked with advising and assisting the President with national space policy and strategy. Executive Order 12675 of April 20, 1989 (Establishing the National Space Council) created the Council, and the Council effectively ceased operation in 1993. This order re-establishes the Council and provides additional details regarding the Council's duties and responsibilities."

Remarks by the President Signing an Executive Order on the National Space Council

"Our travels beyond the Earth propel scientific discoveries that improve our lives in countless ways here, right here, at home: powering vast new industry, spurring incredible new technology, and providing the space security we need to protect the American people. And security is going to be a very big factor with respect to space and space exploration. At some point in the future, we're going to look back and say how did we do it without space?"

White House to formally announce a space council led by Mike Pence, Ars Technica

"Later today, the White House is expected to announce that President Trump has signed an executive order to reinstate the National Space Council. This should finally kick off the much-anticipated formulation of a space policy from the Trump administration, which will encompass military, civil, and commercial interests. The new council, led by Vice President Mike Pence, has the potential to do a great deal of good--or it could further muddy the waters of what already is kind of a mess."

Keith's note: There is an event of sorts at 3:00 pm EDT today wherein the Executive Order (which has been in existence for months) will be signed. VP Pence will be leading the NSC. But it is not expected that an executive director for the NSC will be named today although Scott Pace is widely expected to be chosen at some point. Today's event (very last minute BTW) is being orchestrated by the Alabama mafia. You can expect to see Mary Lynne Dittmar and the SLS-hugging Coalition For Deep Space Exploration in attendance. It seems that commercial space folks are being kept at arm's length for this little party. But there may be one or two commercial superstars who might parachute in at the last minute. Oh yes there will an astronaut or two there as well. Stay tuned.

Keith's note: This is how political campaign staff get a job after the campaign is over -- if you were a campaign loyalist and worked hard enough to get your candidate elected (and got noticed yourself), that is. Once the election is over the Transition Team asks you to make suggestions in terms of an agency or department you'd like to call home and then the Transition Team looks at the open positons in the Plum Book. If there's a fit you then parachute into your new position as a political appointee. In this case current NASA White House Liaison Jonathan Dimock sent an email to Molly Michael and Brian Jack at the Trump Transition Team angling for a job at NASA, or the Office of Science and Technology Policy, or maybe the Department of Energy.

Despite his claims to the contrary, I can't say that Dimock was all that familiar with NASA since he referred to it as "National Aeronautic Space Administration (NASA or Deep Space Exploration Administration or DSEA)" and cited its "$105.5b budget". But, when you look at his drive-by science philosophy treatise about how "This puts the age of the world (as we have perceived it) much younger than the "millions and billions" of years that has been widely excepted" and how "oil fracking can rejuvenate the crust and make the surface flourish" I guess I am really glad that he did not end up at OSTP.


From: "Jonathan W Dimock"
Date: January 13, 2017 at 2:25:45 AM EST
Subject: Requested Departments

CC: Molly Michael

Hey Brian -

I've reattached my resume so you have it on hand and below you will find the quick version and the longer version with more detail. I understand that any position is ultimately a "people position" and the underlying rules of government and politics apply but the following subjects are most familiar to me.

My preference in positions are as follows:

NASA Internal Memo: Agency Update - June 27, 2017

"Finally, as we work the FY19 budget process, we are preparing to submit our first response to the Executive Order on a Comprehensive Plan for Reorganizing the Executive Branch. We have a number of initiatives -- including building off several activities like the Business Services Assessment and Capability Leadership -- which are well underway. Lesa Roe and I will be doing all-hands meetings at each center in August and look forward to updating everyone on these items."

NASA's Response To That White House Downsizing Thing, earlier post

How Long Will ISS Remain Isolated From Terrestrial Politics?, earlier post

Keith's note: How long is the ISS going to be able to remain an orbital, Antarctic-like, politics-free zone? The longer it manages to remain apart from terrestrial turmoils, the more space exploration speaks to a way to transcend such things. But there has to be a breaking point sooner or later.

Book Review: The Orbital Perspective, earlier post

"Perhaps the most pervasive theme in Garan's writing about the orbital perspective is collaboration - across disciplines, cultures, geography, income, and politics. To make his point he delves into the challenges that faced the International Space Station program. Curiously, as relations between the West and Russia have deteriorated due to Ukraine, the one joint endeavor that continues, more or less unaffected, is the ISS program. Therein lies lessons for many other projects, according to Garan."

This Week at NASA: Mid-Year at NASA (video), NASA

"2017 is shaping up to be another year of unprecedented exploration, amazing discoveries, technological advances and progress in development of future missions - and we're just six months into the year. Here are some of our top stories of 2017, so far - Mid-Year at NASA."

The Journey to Mars seems to be pretty much dead, Ars Technica

"The other planet not mentioned in the video is Earth, which NASA's charter in 1958 specifically calls upon the new federal agency to study. NASA has made some significant discoveries about Earth this year, from clouds and ice to the radiation belts that surround the planet."

Keith's 4:37 pm EDT note: This video is suddenly offline. The older one used to be here. First Eric writes his article and tweets it. I tweet a reply and post a link here at 12:26 pm EDT. Then a few hours later NASA just takes the video offline. FWIW we posted a link to it on SpaceRef last Saturday - and no one at NASA had a problem with it prior to that. Oops.

Oh but wait: they posted a revised version here. They removed the old SLS footage were it talks about "commercial" rockets and replaced it with a Falcon 9 launching followed by Orion orbiting the Moon. Meanwhile, the NASA infomercial narrator guy says "future crews will launch on American-made commercial spacecraft and will carry out exploration missions that will take humans farther out into space than ever before." One small problem: Orion is not "commercial". And its service module is made in Europe. If they re-edited the video to change the SLS clip to show a Falcon 9 (commercial launch vehicle) then why did they not include a Dragon or Starliner as well - unless, who cares?

NASA Leadership Update

Keith's note: This is an interview I did on "Newsday" on the BBC World Service 7 June 2017 on NASA's FY 2018 budget and proposed cuts made to Earth and climate missions by the Trump Administration.

Vice President Pence to Visit NASA's Johnson Space Center for Astronaut Class Announcement

"The new astronaut candidates could one day be performing research on the International Space Station, launching from American soil aboard spacecraft built by American companies, and traveling to the moon or even Mars with the help of NASA's new Orion spacecraft and Space Launch System rocket."

Keith's note: Well Duh, isn't that why NASA picks astronauts? Odd that NASA needs to remind the media what astronauts do. Oh yes NASA just sort of formally announced that it wants to send astronauts back to the Moon - and also to Mars - with a shrinking budget (shh!).

Mike Pence Abruptly Cancels PBS Interview After Comey Testimony Is Released, The Wrap

"Just moments after Comey's prepared opening remarks to the Senate Intelligence Committee were posted to the United States Senate website, Vice President Mike Pence abruptly canceled a planned interview with PBS Newshour. ... No explanation for the cancelation was given, despite the fact that the interview had already been promoted on the air on Tuesday. The announcement came as a surprise to PBS correspondent Miles O'Brien, who was already at Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas, to interview the vice president."

Keith's note: On Wednesday 7 June VP Pence will be at JSC for the astronaut announcement thing. The next day there is a markup of the American Space Commerce Free Enterprise Act of 2017 in Washington, DC and Rep. Jim Bridenstine will be in attendance. Given all of the visibility one would think that the JSC event might be a good place to announce that Bridenstine is the Administration's choice for NASA Administrator. Then again this announcement might be better done as a stand-alone event back in Washington, DC. Bridenstine is term-limited and has now spent 25% of his last term in the House waiting to see if he is going to be nominated to run NASA - or not. Bridenstine has told people that he wants to stay in DC once his term is over. Of course, the best place from which to pick a post-Congress landing site is from your seat in Congress. How long will Bridenstine be willing to wait for the NASA job? Stay tuned.



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This page is an archive of entries in the TrumpSpace category from June 2017.

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