TrumpSpace: October 2017 Archives

Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation Nomination Hearing (Bridenstine et al)

"U.S. Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.), chairman of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, will convene a nominations hearing at 10:00 a.m. on 1 November, 2017, to consider four nominations subject to Senate confirmation."

The hearing will air on NASA TV (NTV-1 (Public)) and the agency's website at: http://www.nasa.gov/live

Pences Does LockMart

Trump taps former NASA head Griffin for deputy defense role: White House

"U.S. President Donald Trump intends to nominate Michael Griffin, a former administrator of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, as principal deputy undersecretary of defense for acquisition, technology, and logistics, the White House said on Friday."

Commentary: Bridenstine wins a Democrat's support for NASA's top job, Rep. Ed Perlmutter, Orlando Sentinel

"Despite our different political parties I am convinced Bridenstine will lead the brilliant scientists, engineers, technicians and outstanding personnel at NASA as it embarks on a new era of space exploration and scientific discovery. He fought for our country on the battlefield and fought for common-sense space policy in Congress. Now is the time for Jim Bridenstine to take command and grow NASA's capabilities and American leadership in space as NASA administrator."

Trump's nominee as NASA chief would literally run it into the ground, Rachel Licker Senior Climate Scientist, Union of Concerned Scientists, Red, Green, and Blue

"Bridestine's public remarks suggest that his current understanding of Earth science is largely informed by politically-charged skeptics of climate change research. Given that Bridenstine would enter into the Administrator position with no formal science education, it is particularly important that members of Congress test his ability to differentiate science from politics."

Biographical Information and Qualifications, Rep. James Bridenstine

"As a United States Representative from Oklahoma, I have led efforts to improve severe weather prediction and I have come to appreciate how complex Earth is as a system. NASA must continue studying our home planet. Unfortunately, Earth science sometimes gets pitted against planetary science for resources. This is not in the best interest of NASA, the United States, or the world. Mars once had a magnetic field, rivers, lakes, and an ocean on its north pole. At some point, Mars changed dramatically and we should strive to understand why. Studying other planets can inform our understanding of Earth. NASA must continue to advance both Earth science and planetary science for the benefit of mankind."

Sen. Patty Murray Calls On colleagues To Oppose Trump Nominee To Lead NASA

"In a letter today to the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, Assistant Democratic Leader Patty Murray (D-WA) urged her colleagues to oppose the nomination of Representative Jim Bridenstine (R-OK) to serve as Administrator of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)."

Keith's note: Nearly all of this letter has to do with issues that have almost nothing to do with NASA. The incendiary quotes noted in Murray's letter were not even made by Bridenstine but instead by other people. Murray is not on the committee and is the only senator who has signed this letter. Meanwhile letters of support for Bridenstine are circulating in Congress and among industry representatives. The hearing will consider 4 nominees - Bridenstine and three Commerce Department officials. As such the time for questions for each nominee will be limited. Sen. Nelson is expected to bring up environmental issues and question Bridenstine's qualifications. Support from Sen. Cruz and Sen. Inhofe (who will introduce Bridenstine) is expected. There will also be support from Democratic members of the committee. In the end Bridenstine has the support and the votes to be confirmed by the Senate as the next Administrator of NASA.

Keith's update: Sources report that Bridenstine's confirmation hearing will be on 1 November.

Keith's update: Still no word as to when the confirmation hearing for NASA Administrator nominee Rep. James Bridenstine will be held. There has been no change to this nomination status page for Bridenstine - nor is there any update to this matrix of pending nominations or on the hearings calendar for the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation.

A date in the last week of September had been penciled in but this was pushed back 2 weeks so that Sen. Nelson and others could deal with a backlog of hurricane-related issues. Since then things have been delayed further. Sen. Rubio still has issues that seem to point back to the 2016 primary season. Meanwhile Sen. Nelson is digging his feet in in terms of opposing Bridenstine and now wants to delay the confirmation hearing indefinitely on the whole climate change issue.

Meanwhile, Bridenstine has been at NASA Headquarters to start the confirmation preparation process. Headquarters veteran Tom Cremins and newcomer Brandon Eden (both with extensive Capitol Hill experience) are in charge of those confirmation hearing preparations.

Why We Go to the Moon. It starts with a mission statement, Air & Space

"A mission statement is vital for people to succinctly understand and fully comprehend the reasons for returning to the Moon. Ideally, a mission statement is a simple, declarative sentence, one that permits no ambiguity about intentions or execution. There is much truth in the belief that if you can't sum up your mission in just a few words, you probably don't understand it yourself. One's mission statement must encompass both anticipated activities and imply the value of its accomplishment."

The Interplanetary Political Football of Space Exploration, Scientific American

"Leaving aside the harsh realities of any country's political motivations to go to space, as a member of the astronomical community, it's hard not to feel like a passenger in the back seat of a car, watching an ongoing struggle over the steering wheel. Having the vision for our space program remain agile and responsive in a changing science and technology landscape is one thing, but it bears remembering that if all we do is pivot, we'll never get anywhere."

No, human space exploration is not a dead end, op ed, Marillyn Hewson (Locheed Martin), Washington Post

"For Post columnist David Von Drehle, NASA's renewed focus on human space exploration is "unnecessary" and "a dead end." I fundamentally disagree with this assessment. I was excited to see President Trump ensure that the United States remains the leader in space by reestablishing the National Space Council. Under the leadership of Vice President Pence, the council held a meeting last week for the first time in nearly 25 years, announcing a distinct objective: promote a clear U.S. space policy and enact the reforms necessary to strengthen American leadership in space. Von Drehle's argument against human space exploration boils down to three main questions, and I'd like to address each of them."

The mission to Mars is one stupid leap for mankind, op ed, Washington Post

Keith's note: Sigh. Marillyn Hewson's pro-human spaceflight op ed response to the anti-human spaceflight op ed by David Von Drehle is as formulaic and uninspired as Drehle's is ignorant and incorrect. Of course Lockheed Martin is going to support whatever NASA wants to pay them to do and of course they are going to plug their product line (Orion, SLS, Mars Base Camp). One would hope that the reason we explore and utilize space involves more than just the whims of big aerospace parroting back NASA's old talking points.

Council Meeting Signals High Level Administration Interest In Space, Space Policy Online

"Pence indicated the Council will meet again in 45 days to review all those efforts, hence the deadline. That's a challenging goal, but conveys a sense of urgency to make decisions. That could be tied to budget schedules since the administration is currently crafting the FY2019 budget request. By law, budget requests are supposed to be submitted to Congress on the first Monday of February so the FY2019 request should be sent to Congress on February 5, 2018. If the Space Council meets again in 45 days, there would still be time to influence the FY2019 request."

National Space Council hears calls for moon trips and stronger space defense, Geekwire

"Pence said the council's meeting was a "very good start" for a re-examination of America's space policy. But not everyone agreed. Keith Cowing, the editor of NASA Watch and a longtime commentator on space policy, said in a blog posting that the proceedings were "scripted and predictable." Former space shuttle program manager Wayne Hale said in a tweet that the meeting offered "bold talk ... but we've heard it before." "What counts will be resources ($) and long term commitment," Hale said."

The first meeting of the National Space Council, Behind The Black

"Overall, this meeting indicates that the Trump administration is likely not going to do much to drain the swamp that presently dominates our space effort. Trump's interest in reducing regulation remains strong, but it also appears he and his administration is also strongly committed to continuing the crony capitalism that is wasting literally billions of dollars in space and helping to put the nation into unrecoverable debt."

Keith's note: My summary:

1. Big aerospace companies said that they'd be happy to do whatever the government will pay them to do.
2. Commercial space companies didn't ask for a handout and will be doing other things - with their own money.
3. Military space discussion was hampered because much of what is going on is classified and cannot be discussed in an open forum.
4. Earth and space science - no one talked about that.
5. Pence says America needs to lead in space again - even if it is still leading in space - already.

And no that's not the official logo. But they need one.

Keith's note: You probably saw my complaints about not being credentialed for the National Space Council meeting today. Well, the Vice President's office called late this afternoon to apologize for the fact that I had not been credentialed. They were very nice about this. As often happens with large events here in Washington, DC, my name fell through the cracks. FWIW very, very few people here in DC ever admit making a mistake. Even fewer ever make a point of calling to apologize.

America Will Return to the Moon--and Go Beyond, Op Ed, Mike Pence, Wall Street Journal

"We will refocus America's space program toward human exploration and discovery. That means launching American astronauts beyond low-Earth orbit for the first time since 1972. It means establishing a renewed American presence on the moon, a vital strategic goal. And from the foundation of the moon, America will be the first nation to bring mankind to Mars. ...To achieve these goals, the National Space Council will look beyond the halls of government for insight and expertise. In the coming weeks, President Trump and I will assemble a Users' Advisory Group partly composed of leaders from America's burgeoning commercial space industry. Business is leading the way on space technology, and we intend to draw from the bottomless well of innovation to solve the challenges ahead."

President Bush Announces New Vision for Space Exploration Program (2004)

"Inspired by all that has come before, and guided by clear objectives, today we set a new course for America's space program. We will give NASA a new focus and vision for future exploration. We will build new ships to carry man forward into the universe, to gain a new foothold on the moon, and to prepare for new journeys to worlds beyond our own."

President Calls For Mars Mission and a Moon Base, NY Times (1989)

"President Bush proposed today that the United States establish a base on the Moon, send an expedition to Mars and begin ''the permanent settlement of space.'' In a speech celebrating the 20th anniversary of man's landing on the Moon, Mr. Bush made the first major commitment by a President to these ambitious goals and set the stage for the first full-scale debate in years on the nation's troubled space program."

Keith's note: The distance between Apollo 17 and Bush 41's pronouncement was 17 years. The distance between Bush 41's speech and Bush 43's speech was 15 years. The distance between Bush 43's speech and Pence's is 13 years. The gaps between these grand proclamations shortens by 2 years each time one is offered, but are we any closer to sending humans back to the Moon or on to Mars?

I was in the audience for the Bush 41 and 43 events. I was a teenager when we landed on the Moon in 1969 and we were told that we'd be on Mars by 1981 - when I'd have been 26. Now we're told that we won't be on Mars until the 2030s when I will in my 80s. Why should anyone believe these White House predictions?

Keith's 5 Oct update: The Vice President's office just called to apologize for me not getting credentialed for today's National Space Council meeting. They were very nice and, as happens with large events here in DC, my name fell through the cracks. FWIW very, very few people here in DC ever admit making a mistake and even fewer ever apologize.

Keith's 4 Oct update: I followed all the rules that the White House laid out for media asking to attend and cover this event and cc:ed NASA on the email I set them - yesterday. I never heard back. They are now hand-picking which news media can cover their events and which ones cannot. Not a good sign. At least there's a webcast for the rest of us who won't be allowed to attend.

Keith's 3 Oct note: Last week the White House issued a short press release stating that "the first meeting of the National Space Council is scheduled for October 5, 2017 at the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center in Chantilly, Virginia. The meeting, titled "Leading the Next Frontier: An Event with the National Space Council," will include testimonials from expert witnesses who represent the sectors of the space industry: Civil Space, Commercial Space, and National Security Space."

I had to dig around but there was a White House media advisory issued today. The event will be streamed online on NASA TV and via Whiteouse.gov starting around 10:00 am. The event itself is only 2 to 2.5 hours long (not mentioned on the advisory).

Even though I live 11 miles away I most likely won't be going since NASA stopped issuing formal laminated press credentials more than a decade ago and I am self-employed i.e. I'd have to make my own press badge at Kinkos or something - and that usually gets you an interview with government security people at events like this in DC. I have followed the process laid out by the White House press office with a cc: to NASA and am waiting for a reply.

There is nothing online anywhere to suggest that the public can attend this event so it looks like it is going to be an expensive photo op with only a select few actually in attendance listening to pre-written statements being read before the cameras. The expense of taking over a large portion of a busy museum seems to be for the purpose of providing impressive backdrops for a meeting that is mostly show and little substance.

Keith's 4 Oct update: The public is apparently not going to be allowed to attend but 100-150 hand-selected special guests are being invited. There will be three panels for this event:

- National Security: Mike Griffin; Pam Melroy, DARPA; and James Ellis, Space Foundation
- Civilian Space: Marillyn Hewson, Lockheed Martin; Dennis Muilenburg, Boeing; and David Thompson, Orbital ATK
- Commercial Space: Bob Smith, Blue Origin; Gywnne Shotwell, SpaceX; and Fatih Ozmen, Sierra Nevada


Loading

 



Monthly Archives

About this Archive

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

TrumpSpace: September 2017 is the previous archive.

TrumpSpace: November 2017 is the next archive.

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