Trump Appoints New Members of NASA Transition Team

Donald Trump (Credit: Michael Vadon)
Donald Trump (Credit: Michael Vadon)

President Elect Donald Trump has appointed six new members to the NASA transition team, including Steve Cook, who formerly managed the agency’s Ares program, and retired astronaut Sandra Magnus.

Steve Cook, acting president of Dynetics Technical Services in Huntsville, Ala., led NASA’s Ares program from July 2005 to August 2009. The program included the Ares I and Ares V heavy-lift vehicle and the Orion crew spacecraft for deep-space exploration.

The Obama Administration canceled the programs. However, Congress resurrected the Ares V as the Space Launch System and kept the Orion program in place.

At Dynetics, Cook has been involved in support Aerojet Rocketdyne’s development of the AR-1 engine. He also supported the company’s work on Stratolaunch Systems’ aircraft, which is designed to air launch satellite boosters.

Magnus spent a total of 157 days in space on various spaceflights, including 134 days aboard the International Space Station. She was a mission specialist on the final flight of the space shuttle, STS-135, in July 2011.

Magnus left the space agency to become executive director of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics in 2012.

Other members appointed to the NASA transitions team include:

  • Greg Autry — Assistant Professor of Clinical Entrepreneurship, University of California Marshall School of Business;
  • Jack Burns –Professor, Department of Astrophysical and Planetary Sciences, University of Colorado Boulder;
  • Rodney Liesveld — former Senior Advisor for Strategy and Policy Formulation,  the NASA Office of Administrator; and,
  • Jeff Waksman — former research fellow, U.S. House of Representatives.

Autry has written extensively about commercial space activities. He is currently co-writing a book titled, “The Meek Shall Inherit the Earth: The Entrepreneurial Space Race.”

Chris Shank, who formerly worked for House Science Committee Chairman Lamar Smith (R-Texas), is heading up the NASA transition team. He was a high-level official at the space agency under then Administrator Mike Griffin from 2005 to 2009.

  • ThomasLMatula

    Looks like NASA is going to return to the Moon using commercial and private assets given the members of the team listed.

  • windbourne

    New space going to the moon is great.
    Redirecting all of nasa at this would be a horrible mistake.

  • Donald Trump’s Aries 2 and the AJ-260-2 is gonna be great, again.

    By keeping NASA rocket scientists out of the private sector.

  • ThomasLMatula

    I am sure they will continue to send robotic spacecraft to Mars at every opposition to see if there is some place that just might have the exact conditions needed for life. Indeed, they might even get bold enough to look for life directly again.

    But let’s be honest, beyond the robotic spacecraft to Mars, the rest of NASA wasn’t doing anything about going to Mars other than producing nice view graphs of what they might do, someday, in the distant future, if get the money to do it, somehow, from somewhere.

  • windbourne

    no, ARM is a good first start.
    In addition, NASA has been pushing the ISS engineering, along with private space to continue working. They are creating multiple companies that have life support, cargo support, landing support, etc.
    All in all, they are headed in the right direction.
    The SLS was a joke that CONgress foisted on us (and this was BOTH dems and GOP).
    But at this time, if we are going to the moon as well as mars, we need multiple SHLV. While SLS may be expensive, it might be needed for the moon.

  • windbourne

    will that be YUGE?

  • I especially liked the photo where they fired the booster into the ground, upside down. It doesn’t get any better than that!

  • savuporo

    Time to start renaming SLS again. And comeback of the corn-dog in 3,2,1 safe, simple soon months

  • Kapitalist

    Is there any tendency towards allowing nuclear power and propulsion in space flight, given the records of people appointed or otherwise involved right now? Energy policy reform and another attitude towards environmental protection seems to be high priorities for the new administration. Proposing nuclear space missions might now be welcomed since it accomplishes more with less.

    Breaking this nuclear space taboo would immediately change space exploration planning fundamentally. The space race of the 1960s would look slow in comparison to what could be accomplished with nuclear space, within today’s budgets. What interest would a Trump administration have to keep the taboo in place? Who would say no to it?

    I would think that ULA gets a big advantage over private space if nuclear space is given a green light, because of the regulations and military security aspects of it. Nuclear might be their chance to stay competitive against private space.

  • Neil_Baker

    President Trump should order an immediate public demonstration before independent witnesses of a NASA spacesuit with ice sublimator cooling system operating in a high vacuum chamber on Earth duplicating pressure and temperature conditions of orbit.

    The Achilles Heel of the probable NASA space program hoax is the NASA spacesuit with ice sublimator because it can be proven on Earth today.

    NASA refuses to be accountable probably because they can’t be accountable probably because they’ve been committing fraud against the Citizens of the United States for more than fifty years.

    There are plenty of NASA videos of spacesuits in swimming pools but zero video of spacesuits with sublimators operating in vacuum chambers although there is one video from 1966 of a spacesuit without sublimator operating in a vacuum chamber but it shows a suit failure and near fatality.

    If NASA uses the spacesuits with sublimators on spacewalks from the ISS as they allege and regularly tests them in high vacuum chambers in Texas as they also allege then it should cost nothing extra and create no unacceptable inconvenience to allow a few witnesses to observe the next test.

    The NASA space program is a faith-based thing and that’s unacceptable. In this great age of the Scientific Method we should not have to believe we went to the moon; we should KNOW.

  • windbourne

    Totally agree.
    We need nuke space and one are that the gop beats Dems is they are not afraid of nuke power.

    And ula IS private space. Just old, private space.

  • windbourne

    Uh, I think you are on the wrong site.
    Try Tesla or an aca site. You can get lots of lithium from each.

  • Paul451

    Ares not Aries.

  • Paul451

    Is there any tendency towards allowing nuclear power and propulsion in space flight, given the records of people appointed or otherwise involved right now?

    Many of the people on the transition team are friends and colleagues of Mike Griffin.

    And Griffin was the one who cancelled the Prometheus reactor research program during Constellation in order to direct its funding to Ares/Orion.

    If, as has been speculated, Griffin is pushing for a come-back, then he will double-down on SLS/Orion. So there’s no chance of funding for Prometheus or equivalent returning.

    Breaking this nuclear space taboo

    There’s no taboo. It’s just an issue of the “major program” (always intended by Congress to preserve old technology) always stealing the funding from new enabling technology.

  • I do that for Joe and Saturn13 and all the other hard working, long lasting NASA Constellation space cadets, who traditionally were unable to get the spelling of the NASA disasters correct.

    Just like I still refer to Chucky Bouldin and his large gaggle of delusional NASA SLS, Orion and Mission to Mars space cadets.

    It’s a great honor for me to still be able to do this after nearly 12 years of NASA human space flight and launch vehicle debacles.

    Thank you. It’s going to be a wonderfully snarky four more years.

  • Flatley

    Wow Neil, an Apollo Hoaxer, 9/11 Truther, and Holocaust Denier? That’s quite the resume. Go away.

  • Neil_Baker

    The truth is what the truth is. With a few investigations we could know what the truth is. I don’t like it any more than you do but engineers have a code of ethics and I abide the code regardless of how unpleasant or costly it may be. Truth fears no question, investigation or trial but, unfortunately, many Americans do fear the truth. I hope President Trump isn’t one of them.

  • ThomasLMatula

    ARM is a classic example of the extreme “gymnastics” the Mars folks at NASA will go to in order to prevent a lunar return. They argue it’s just “too impractical” to build a lunar
    lander so instead let’s waste billions to drag a rock into lunar orbit so astronauts have a destination to go to as far as the Moon but without the need to land on it. Yes, it’s such an important mission, one that will teach us so much about the NEO threat…

    If you are really worried about the NEO threat then go to the Moon. Date some of the newer impact craters so we have a better impact history of the inner Solar System. Get samples of the impactors so we are able to learn where they formed and if they are related to existing objects. Build a tracking observatory to find those NEO lost in the Sun’s glare from Earth.

    And while you are there explore the long term impacts of low gravity. If prolonged stays are safe on the Moon, Mars will be no problem. If not evacuation to Earth is quick and easy.

    But no, the Mars folks will do anything to stop building a lunar lander for humans. And they are continue to create the misinformation you need a Saturn V style heavy lift launcher to do it.

    You only need a Saturn V class rocket to go to Mars by skipping the Moon. But you don’t need heavy lift for a lunar return if you build infrastructure. An EM L1 station using a pair of B330 modules would be an easy first step. Preposition the lunar lander there, don’t drag it along with the crew capsule like Apollo. Make the lander reusable and preposition fuel for it at the landing site with a no return cargo only lander.

    Include a universal docking module at the L1 gate port so Dragons, Soyuz, Orions and other capsules may service it. Include facilities to allow the assembly of larger robotic spacecraft at the L1, ones too big for launch even with the massive SLS. And yes, Mars transit vehicles for humans with enough fuel to make quick runs there and not be restricted
    to year long minimum fuel flight. That is how you open up the Solar System.

    Really, stop seeing Mars as Apollo 2.0. Instead build the infrastructure to open the whole Solar System.

  • redneck

    My contradiction meter shattered. You owe me a new one.

  • Neil_Baker

    NASA owes you long-overdue verification of a NASA spacesuit with ice sublimator cooling system.

  • redneck

    Why should NASA provide proof of your delusions when you do such a good job for yourself.

  • Neil_Baker

    Because despite NASA allegedly using spacesuit ice sublimator cooling systems for more than fifty years, they have yet to publicly demonstrate one operating in a high vacuum chamber on Earth duplicating environmental conditions of orbit.
    Despite many videos of spacesuits in swimming pools, anomalously, there are none of spacesuits in vacuum chambers except for the sad one from 1966 of a spacesuit failing and causing a near fatality.
    Despite NASA spacesuit ice sublimators representing one of the most exotic and interesting heat transfer devices ever concocted, there wasn’t a single photo of one on the Internet until I started agitating for one in 2007. Now there are a few but none from the 21st Century.
    My calls to the NASA Johnson Space Center requesting verification, although initially met with a positive response with promises to provide photos and video and verification are now met with stony silence.
    My requests for more information about spacesuit sublimators to the alleged manufacturer of spacesuit ice sublimators, United Technologies Hamilton Sunstrand, have resulted in only receiving the most very basic elementary information that can also be found on the Internet.
    NASA could verify the spacesuits with sublimators today on Earth but they refuse to be accountable probably because they can’t probably because they’ve been committing fraud against the Citizens of the United States for more than 50 years.
    They hide behind the too many Americans like you that value their precious delusions more than the truth.

  • windbourne

    they are not hiding.
    They are laughing and have a good time with you.

  • Neil_Baker

    I think I’ll eventually have the last laugh as they exit the courtroom in cuffs to their Federal jail cells.
    They’re government. They work by my consent. They better be accountable sooner than later.
    I simply cannot understand why there are so many like you that want to argue the government’s right to deceive you. Have you been castrated?

  • Vladislaw
  • That’s one of my favorites but that’s the first time I’ve seen it with an SLS logo. Thanks.

  • Vladislaw

    I added the names and SLS…

  • Haha Very nice, thank you. That was my favorite in the Bush Griffin NASA Ares 1 NASA debacle era. The Corndog era.

    It’s nice to see the NASA debacles evolving into ever more insane and expensive boondoggles. It’s great comedy material.