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Biden Space

Space Team Biden Issues A Report Card at T+100

By Keith Cowing
April 29, 2021
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Space Team Biden Issues A Report Card at T+100

Biden-Harris Administration Shows Strong Support for NASA in First 100 Days, NASA
“In the first 100 days of the Biden-Harris Administration, NASA has taken bold steps to expand America’s exploration and scientific frontiers, advancing the nation’s commitment to build back better through innovation, combat climate change, re-establish America’s standing abroad, and inspire the next generation.”
Keith’s note: Lots of stuff is mentioned in this self-issued report card. Apparently Space Team Biden gives itself an ‘A’ grade on everything. But some caveats need to be brought up to adjust the rosy glow. For starters, the Mars Perseverance/Ingenuity mission left Earth for Mars before the election or the Inauguration. The SLS stuff was more or less a done deal as well. So … the new Biden folks mostly kept the lights on and did not break anything. As for the attention paid to NASA by the Biden Administration, there has been quite a lot – right from the onset. Not the rah rah type of semi-campaign rally stuff that the Trump folks seemed to revel in. Rather, the Biden folks have been placing NASA in a larger context of what the nation aspires to be – and do – as we emerge from the economic downturn and the pandemic.
Those big ticket items aside, there are some other accomplishments noted in this update that require a little more transparency – and some actual information – from Space Team Biden. Of course, the logical place to look would be NASA’s website which, as I have noted previously, is broken, stale, confusing, and totally inadequate for the tasks it should be accomplishing. Some examples:

“Appointed a diversity and inclusion advisor to advance the administration’s commitment to advance racial equity. The advisor will work with NASA leadership to further advance diversity and inclusion in the strategic decision-making of the agency to enhance organizational effectiveness, help achieve mission goals, and meet future challenges.”

Who is this person? What is their background? What are their responsibilities? Is this a civil service hiring or a political appointee? The NASA ODEO (Office of Diversity and Equal Opportunity) website makes no mention of this person or their responsibilities.

“Established an internal working group on orbital debris to improve the safety and sustainability of the orbital environment, which is a critical component of the space-based activities that our modern society depends on.”

Who is on this working group? What is their charter and when will they issue a report? If you use the website to search for this effort all you get are old results. If you go to the Orbital Debris Program Office page there is no mention made of this activity,

“Initiated an internal review of the Artemis program to evaluate the current program budget and timeline, and develop high level plans that include content, schedule, and budgets for the program.”

When will this review be made public? Who is on the review team? Is it already complete given that the HLS contract was awarded? There is no mention made on the NASA Artemis or NASA HEOMD websites.

“Established a new position of senior climate advisor to provide NASA leadership critical insights and recommendations for the agency’s full spectrum of science, technology, and infrastructure programs related to climate.”

When is this person (Gavin Schmidt) going to tell us what he is doing? There is nothing on the GISS or SMD Earth Science pages that mentions what he will be doing. His Twitter account (is this personal or official?) does not seem to mention anything about the job either.
Hopefully NASA PAO and OCOMMS will fix this dilapidated web presence once and for all so that everyone can find out what the agency is actually doing. Right now the NASA website presence is often more of hindrance than an asset.

NASA Watch founder, Explorers Club Fellow, ex-NASA, Away Teams, Journalist, Space & Astrobiology, Lapsed climber.