TrumpSpace: March 2019 Archives

Town Hall with NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine

"Headquarters is hosting an agencywide town hall with NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine on Monday, April 1, at 1:30 p.m. EDT. Please join the Administrator for this important discussion on our Moon to Mars plans. All employees, contractors and civil servants, are encouraged to participate in person at Headquarters in the Webb auditorium or at the designated viewing location at their center. The event will air live on NASA Television (public channel), through your center cable or streaming distribution, and on the agency's website at https://www.nasa.gov/nasalive."

Remarks by Vice President Pence at the Fifth Meeting of the National Space Council Huntsville, AL

"Just a few moments ago, Buzz Aldrin was reflecting on his time in the Apollo program. He talked about that fabled Apollo 11 mission. He said, in 1962, we had an objective; we had time, but we didn't have a plan. In Space Policy Directive-1, the President directed NASA to create a lunar exploration plan. But as of today, more than 15 months later, we still don't have a plan in place. But Administrator Bridenstine told me, five minutes ago, we now have a plan to return to the moon. (Applause.)"

Keith's note: OK. So NASA has a "plan". A plan usually has words - words that are contained in a document. Plans usually have pictures and diagrams too. A plan cites goals and objectives and the steps that will be taken to meet goals and achieve objectives. There is usually a timeline and a budget associated with such a plan too. So, if NASA now has a plan to go back to the Moon, is NASA going to share that plan with the rest of us?





Recommendations Approved by the National Space Council to President Trump

"Recommendations on Human Space Exploration

1. Consistent with the overall goals of SPD-1, the United States will seek to land Americans on the Moon's South Pole by 2024, establish a sustainable human presence on the Moon by 2028, and chart a future path for human Mars exploration. NASA's lunar presence will focus on science, resource utilization, and risk reduction for future missions to Mars.
2. NASA will continue to improve its structure and management, and improve cost and schedule performance, to implement SPD-1, seeking legislative authorization as necessary. NASA will create a Moon-to-Mars Mission Directorate and make all necessary efforts to achieve Exploration Mission-1 no later than 2020 and Exploration Mission-2 no later than 2022.
3. NASA will unleash American industry, including public-private partnerships and other mechanisms, to enhance innovation and sustainability of activities from low Earth orbit to the lunar surface and beyond.
4. The United States will engage with and involve current and future international partners to enable a sustainable program of lunar exploration and development.
5. The NASA Administrator will provide an update on the implementation of SPD-1 and these specific items to the Chair at the next meeting of the National Space Council."

President Donald J. Trump Is Boldly Putting Americans Back on the Moon

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Remarks by Vice President Pence at the Fifth Meeting of the National Space Council Huntsville, AL

"Well, thank you all. To Governor Ivey, Secretary Ross, Secretary Chao, Secretary Wilson; to NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine; to all the members of the National Space Council and the Users' Advisory Group; to Dr. Deborah Barnhart and the great team here at the Space and Rocket Center; honored guests; and especially to all the dedicated the men and women of the Marshall Space Flight Center: It is great to be back in Rocket City. (Applause.) Thank you for joining us for this fifth meeting of the National Space Council at an enormously important time in American leadership in space."

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NASA Administrator Statement on Return to Moon in Next Five Years

"Among the many topics discussed during our meeting at the U.S. Space and Rocket Center in Huntsville, Alabama, was to accelerate our return to the Moon:

- NASA is charged to get American astronauts to the Moon in the next five years.
- We are tasked with landing on the Moon's South Pole by 2024.
- Stay on schedule for flying Exploration Mission-1 with Orion on the Space Launch System (SLS) rocket next year, and for sending the first crewed mission to the lunar vicinity by 2022.
- NASA will continue to 'use all means necessary' to ensure mission success in moving us forward to the Moon."

Keith's note: OK, so that is sporty to say the least but wait - the commercial EM-1 option is now dead:

"Earlier today I was also at Marshall Space Flight Center for an all-hands to reinforce our commitment to SLS with the workforce. We discussed my recent announcement that NASA would consider all options to fly Orion around the Moon on schedule. I shared the analysis we conducted to asses flying the Orion on different commercial options. While some of these alternative vehicles could work, none was capable of achieving our goals to orbit around the Moon for Exploration Mission-1 within our timeline and on budget. The results of this two-week study reaffirmed our commitment to the SLS. More details will be released in the future."

So ... SLS is the only solution and somehow, HEOMD, MSFC, and Boeing are suddenly going to not only be on time and on budget - but they are going to increase the speed with which they deliver SLS/Orion capabilities without a budget increase. The same people are going to suddenly learn a bunch of new tricks - seemingly over night. Or ... are we going to see a bunch of reassignments and retirement parties? Something has to give. The status quo is clearly not going to just become efficient over night - and things are going to have to change over night if this challenging new schedule is going to be met.

"We will take action in the days and weeks ahead to accomplish these goals. We have laid out a clear plan for NASA's exploration campaign that cuts across three strategic areas: low-Earth orbit, the Moon, and Mars and deeper into space. "I have already directed a new alignment within NASA to ensure we effectively support this effort, which includes establishing a new mission directorate to focus on the formulation and execution of exploration development activities. We are calling it the Moon to Mars Mission Directorate."

OK- so NASA will change the phone book and they have a "plan". Earlier today VP Pence lamented the fact that NASA did not have a plan to go to the Moon after 15 months of National Space Council operations - but that Jim Bridenstine told him today that NASA now has a plan. So ... let's see the plan.

The Vice President certainly laid down the gauntlet to NASA to get off its collective butt and go back to the Moon. Jim Bridenstine happily picked up the gauntlet and accepted that challenge. Now its up to NASA and its contractor workforce to either work with Bridenstine and Pence or, by sitting on their hands, to work against them.

What is at stake? Well ... what do you think will happen when SpaceX and Blue Origin start sending their own missions to the Moon - without NASA?

The Coalition for Deep Space Exploration's Comments on March 26 National Space

"Though we support the focus of this White House on deep space exploration and the sense of urgency instilled by aggressive timelines and goals, we also are cognizant of the resources that will be required to meet these objectives. Bold plans must be matched by bold resources made available in a consistent manner in order to assure successful execution. Similarly, the contracting mechanisms by which spacecraft, facilities, systems and supporting equipment are incorporated into a robust Moon-to-Mars architecture must be applied in a rapid and flexible manner with only the absolute minimum of bureaucratic process and oversight necessary to succeed. This is especially true for technologies that have long been in use but continue to labor under excessive oversight during development - a burden that exacerbates cost, schedule, and program risks."

Keith's note: Based on what was said at the National Space Council today by Vice President Pence, the standard procedure employed by NASA and Big Aerospace is not working and that NASA needs to avail itself of "any means necessary" to land Americans on the Moon by 26 march 2024. Clearly the standard practices employed by the Coalition for Deep Space member companies are not working. If they were then the need for a "course correction" vis-a-vis the architecture for getting humans back to the Mon would not be required. Big Aerospace has not been able to be "bold" for decades.

NASA Television to Broadcast Fifth Meeting of the National Space Council

"NASA Television and the agency's website will provide live coverage of the fifth meeting of the National Space Council starting at 1 p.m. EDT Tuesday, March 26. The meeting will focus on the Trump Administration's Moon, Mars and beyond plans, and be held at the U.S. Space & Rocket Center in Huntsville, Alabama."

Fifth Meeting of the National Space Council March 26 in Huntsville

"On Tuesday, March 26, 2019, at 12:00 p.m. CDT, Vice President Mike Pence will chair the fifth meeting of the National Space Council at the U.S. Space & Rocket Center in Huntsville, Alabama. This meeting will focus on President Trump's plan to restore American leadership in space and the next steps in implementing his vision to send Americans to the moon, Mars, and beyond. As chairman of the Council, Vice President Pence will convene the meeting, receive reports from Council members, hear from two expert panels on human space exploration, lead a Council discussion, and present policy recommendations for the President."

Keith's note: If you look at the agenda you will see that this is yet another short meeting of the usual suspects who will read pre-prepared statements that echo what others have said at previous NSpC events - and what has been said in front of innumerable blue ribbon panels for decades. In the end there will never be crisp findings nor enough funding to accomplish whatever this panel wants NASA to do. These people really need to focus on specific, realistic deliverables - not buzz words strung together. Otherwise its just more choir practice in an echo chamber.

AIAA Members to Speak at National Space Council Meeting on March 26

"AIAA's executive director emeritus, Sandy Magnus, who's also a former NASA astronaut, will sit on the first panel, "Ready to Fly," which includes AIAA Associate Fellow Col. Eileen Collins, U.S. Air Force (ret.), former NASA astronaut and the first female Space Shuttle commander, and Gen. Lester Lyles, U.S. Air Force (ret.) and former Vice Chief of Staff of the Air Force. The "Ready to Explore" panel will feature two AIAA members: Dan Dumbacher, AIAA executive director, former Purdue University aerospace engineering professor, and NASA (ret.) Deputy Associate Administrator, Exploration Systems Development Division, Human Exploration and Operations Mission Directorate; and AIAA member Wanda Sigur, former vice president and general manager of Lockheed Martin Space Systems. Jack Burns, University of Colorado Boulder, also will participate in the panel."

All we see at this event are people who represent the status quo in big aerospace and government. And to reinforce this bias, AIAA, the big organization for Big Aerospace with a built-in revolving door, wants everyone to know that they have multiple members presenting at this meeting i.e. the deck is stacked in favor of the status quo. Where are the 20-and 30-something people who are entering the space workforce - the ones who ought to have a say in where things are going? Every speaker is over 50. Many are over 60. This is not new. The whole NSpC/UAG thing is like this.

Space Council Users' Advisory Group Meets Without Any Users, earlier post

"Have a look at the National Space Council User's Advisory Group meeting agenda. Not a single person who is speaking is actually a "user" of space - they are either big Aerospace Reps, politicians, government employees, or reps from other advisory bodies. There is no "user" input in evidence."

During the public input section of the meeting I asked how many UAG members are actually users and how many are sellers and noted that no one on the committee really seemed to be speaking for the next generation of space explorers. The chairman responded: "Users are defined in the broadest of sense so we are all users." He said he "appreciates my continued interest" in what they are doing or something. In other words go away with your actual questions.

New White House budget spells trouble for NASA's SLS rocket, Ars Technica

"Two sources familiar with the thinking of Vice President Mike Pence--who leads US space policy--have said he is frustrated with the slow pace of the nation's efforts to send humans to the Moon. In particular, he is growing tired of delays with NASA's Space Launch System rocket, which was originally due to launch in 2017 and is now likely delayed until 2021 at the earliest. ... With this proposal, therefore, NASA is taking away a key upgrade to the Space Launch System's upper stage, proposing to launch Gateway on commercial rockets, and removing a high-profile mission from the launch manifest--the Europa Clipper. This leaves just one real task for SLS, which no commercial rocket can presently perform: the direct delivery of a crewed Orion capsule to a high lunar orbit."

FY 2020 Federal Government Budget (NASA starts on page 97)

"- The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) is responsible for leading an innovative and sustainable program of exploration with commercial and international partners to enable human expansion across the solar system and bring new knowledge and opportunities back to Earth.

- The Budget takes steps to achieve lunar exploration goals sooner, improve sustainability of NASA's exploration campaign, and increase the use of commercial partnerships and other procurement models to enhance the efficiency and effectiveness of NASA programs.

- The Budget includes $363 million to support commercial development of a large lunar lander that can initially carry cargo and later astronauts to the surface of the Moon.

- The Budget focuses funding for the Space Launch System (SLS) rocket, a heavy-lift expendable launch vehicle, to ensure the rocket is operational in the early 2020s when it will be needed to carry astronauts to the vicinity of the Moon.

- The Budget requests $21 billion for NASA, a $283 million or 1.4-percent increase from the 2019 estimate."

Keith's note: NASA's enacted FY 2019 budget was $21.5 billion. The White House budget request for NASA's FY 2020 budget is $21.019 billion which actually means a 2.2% decrease in NASA's budget. But NASA (at the direction of the White House) wants you to think that this is an increase. Congress will be weighing in on this.

- FY 2020 Budget Summary Briefing (2 MB PDF)
- FY 2020 Budget Agency Fact Sheet (300 KB PDF)
- - FY 2020 Budget Mission Fact Sheet (510 KB PDF)
Video: NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine's Remarks on the FY 2020 Budget
- Earlier budget postings

U.S. Science Envoy Program (2018)

"The Honorable Charles Frank Bolden Jr., (USMC-Ret.), recently retired from service as the 12th Administrator of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). At NASA, Bolden oversaw the safe transition from 30 years of Space Shuttle missions to a new era of exploration focused on full utilization of the International Space Station and space and aeronautics technology development. As a Science Envoy for Space, Gen. Bolden will promote American leadership in space exploration and emphasize the importance of commercial opportunities."

India won't re-invent wheel with human mission: US space envoy, The Times of India

"Major General Charles Frank Bolden, the former NASA administrator who has been appointed the US' first space envoy, says there's no reason for Indians to be apprehensive about the Indian Space Research Organisation's proposed human spaceflight mission as the space agency won't be reinvent."

March 11 Events Highlight NASA's Moon to Mars Plans, FY 2020 Budget

"NASA invites media and social media to agency centers across the country Monday, March 11, to get an up-close look at America's work to return astronauts to the Moon and on to Mars, following the delivery of President Trump's fiscal year 2020 budget proposal to the U.S. Congress."

NASA could see a 5 percent budget cut next year, official says, Houston Chronicle

"President Donald Trump is expected to propose a 5 percent cut to NASA's budget next year, a decision that stands in stark contrast to the president's pushed to return humans to the moon for the first time since 1972. The proposed cuts -- part of sweeping cuts to non-defense discretionary spending in every agency -- was disclosed in an article published online Monday by Russ Vought, acting head of the Office of Management and Budget. "It's unfortunate that once again when everyone is getting excited about going back to the moon ... that the announcement is on the heels of cuts for NASA," said Keith Cowing, editor of NASA Watch, a website devoted to space news. "This is not the signal you would hope to see at an agency that is about to embark on a multi-decade program of returning to and exploring the moon. ... "Again, NASA is caught making all these plans with faith-based projections where budgets will be," Cowing said. "There's nothing wrong with being optimistic, but at the end of the day, you can't just click your heels three times and hope money falls out of the sky."

Keith's note: It is going to be interesting to see how NASA is affected by the 5% across the board cuts that the White House is planning to make. For NASA that could mean as much as half a billion dollars or so. While the Vice President has all but set up a second home at NASA, his enthusiasm for space exploration needs to be followed with the funding to make all of the promises actually happen. Add in the chronic problems with SLS (which always require more money to fix), the inability for NASA to get its ISS privatization/commercialization plans implemented (while CASIS fumbles everything); and the challenge of keeping enthusiasm going for a first (return) human landing still a decade away. And then there's the impending pivot in the House on Earth and climate science, and the funding equation NASA is confronted with is as challenging as it has ever been.

Trump's new science adviser says it's not his job to correct the president on climate change, Vice

"But in an interview in his brand-new office next to the White House, Droegemeier evaded questions about his own views. He told VICE News he has no opinion on the president's winter-storm tweets and has no plans to talk to him about them. "The main thing for me is to provide the president with the best science advice possible," he said. Droegemeier said he does believe climate change is occurring, and that humans play a "significant" role in it. But he ultimately landed on a standard refrain often heard within the Republican Party, arguing that humans aren't the main culprit. "If you say humans are the cause of climate change, that's incorrect because climate change is due to humans and natural variability," he said."

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Mike Pence: It's time for Congress to establish the Space Force (Opinion), Washington Post

"Since taking office, President Trump's top priority has been to strengthen our national defense and protect the American people. We have made historic investments to rebuild our armed forces. We have removed unnecessary restraints on our commanders, giving them the rules of engagement they need to defeat our enemies. And to meet the emerging threats in space, the newest war-fighting domain, the president has called for the creation of the U.S. Space Force."

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This page is an archive of entries in the TrumpSpace category from March 2019.

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