Report: Biden to Retain National Space Council

NASA’s Orion spacecraft that flew Exploration Flight Test-1 on Dec. 5, 2014 is seen on the South Lawn of the White House, Sunday, July 22, 2018 in Washington, DC. Lockheed Martin, NASA’s prime contractor for Orion, began manufacturing the Orion crew module in 2011 and delivered it in July 2012 to NASA’s Kennedy Space Center where final assembly, integration and testing was completed. More than 1,000 companies across the country manufactured or contributed elements to the spacecraft. Photo Credit: (NASA/Joel Kowsky)

Politico reports that the Biden Administration will retain the National Space Council. The council was revived by the Trump Administration in 2017 to coordinate national space activities after a 24-year gap in operation.

The council includes representatives of NASA and the departments of Defense, Commerce, Energy and Transportation, among other agencies.

The space council’s Users’ Advisory Group, composed of leading industry figures, will also be retained by the Biden Administration, Politico said. Beyond that, there are not a lot of details at this point.

The leadership and makeup of the Biden council is not yet settled. “While we are still working details,” the NSC said, “we will tailor the Council to ensure we have representation that can address the priorities of the Administration — such as space-related science and technologies, space exploration, solutions to address climate change, ensuring economic and educational opportunities, building partnerships, cementing norms of behaviors in space, and addressing matters of national security efforts in space.”

The National Space Council was previously chaired by then-Vice President Mike Pence. It’s not clear whether Vice President Kamala Harris will take the reins.

The Biden Administration’s focus on climate change and Earth science could mean the council and users’ group would include members representing these areas. They were notably absent from these bodies during the Trump Administration.

A key matter is who Biden nominates as the council’s full-time executive secretary. The director runs a small office that liaises with agencies and formulates policies and directives between meetings of the council.

Scott Pace served as the council’s executive secretary during the Trump Administration. Pace, who resigned in January, was widely viewed as being highly effective in coordinating activities and moving policy initiatives forward.