Chair Grijalva, Ranking Member Cantwell Urge Trump Administration to Stop Obstructing Release of Sharpiegate Report

President Donald Trump redraws Hurricane Dorian’s path after the fact.

WASHINGTON, D.C. (Raul Grijalva/Maria Canwell PR) – Chair Raúl M. Grijalva (D-Ariz.) and Senate Ranking Member Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.), who lead the committees of jurisdiction over the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), wrote to Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross demanding that the Trump administration stop interfering with the Department of Commerce Inspector General’s (IG) “Sharpiegate” investigation that was scheduled to be released last week.

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Sharpiegate: IG Accuses Commerce Officials of Blocking Release of Critical Hurricane Dorian Report

President Donald Trump redraws Hurricane Dorian’s path after the fact.

by Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

The Department of Commerce’s Office of Inspector General (OIG) has publicly accused department officials of preventing the public release of a report critical of actions taken by high-level department officials during hurricane Dorian last September.

In a memorandum to Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross posted on the OIG website, Inspector General (IG) Peggy E. Gustafson said officials have held up the report by refusing to identify specific sections that should be redacted because they contain privileged information.

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Trump Space-themed Campaign Spurs Anger, Might Have Broken Law

Donald Trump (Credit: Michael Vadon)

UPDATE: The campaign ad has been removed from YouTube.

President Donald Trump’s new campaign commercial that focuses on America’s space program has spurred anger and might have broken the law by featuring NASA astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley, who launched to the International Space Station (ISS) aboard SpaceX’s Crew Dragon last week.

Former NASA Deputy Administrator Lori Garver tweeted:

Total politicization of ⁦@NASA⁩, Bob, Doug & ⁦@SpaceX⁩. Did they want to be used in a Trump campaign ad? Are these FEC [Federal Election Commission] & Hatch Act violations? “We are Americans & the future belongs totally to us” Really? Space should be healing, not dividing!

The Hatch Act limits the ability of federal employees to become involved in political activities. Behnken and Hurley are government employees because they work for NASA.

Hurley’s wife, former astronaut Karen Nyberg, is featured in the ad watching her husband and Behnken lift off aboard SpaceX’s Falcon 9 booster on Saturday. She tweeted:

I find it disturbing that a video image of me and my son is being used in political propaganda without my knowledge or consent. That is wrong. @nasa @JimBridenstine

NASA has traditionally enjoyed bipartisan support from Democrats and Republicans. A petition titled, Stop Donald Trump politicizing SpaceX and NASA accomplishments, has been posted on Change.org.

Crew Dragon Notes: Weather Forecast Poor, Trump to Attend Launch

Credit: 45th Weather Squadron

President Donald Trump will join Vice President Mike Pence at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center for the Crew Dragon launch scheduled for the afternoon of Wednesday, May 27.

However, Trump and Pence may end up disappointed by Florida’s stormy weather. The latest forecast predicts a 60 percent probability of violating weather constraints. The main concerns are rain, lightning and clouds.

The backup launch date is Saturday, May 30.

NASA astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley are set to conduct a flight test to the International Space Station. It will be the first Crew Dragon flight with astronauts aboard.

Commerce Department Releases New Streamlined Commercial Remote Sensing Regulations

WASHINGTON, May 19, 2020 (NASA PR) — Today, the U.S. Department of Commerce released new regulations to improve the licensing process for private U.S. satellite remote sensing operations, helping ensure continued U.S. leadership in a critical commercial space industry.

The new final rules increase openness and transparency in the licensing process, will eliminate most restrictions on how licensed remote sensing systems may be operated, such as limits on the resolution of imagery, and prohibit the government from imposing additional conditions after a license has been issued.

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Senate Committee Approves Jacobs as NOAA Administrator

Neil Jacobs

by Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

NOAA might finally get a permanent — if that is the right word –administrator more than three years into President Donald Trump’s four-year term.

The U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, & Transportation approved the nomination of Neil Jacobs to become under secretary of commerce for oceans and atmosphere, a position that includes serving as NOAA administrator.

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U.S. Space Force Unveils Flag

WASHINGTON, D.C., (AFNS) — Defense leaders presented the flag of the Space Force to President Donald J. Trump in the Oval Office. The flag of the newly created armed service will hang alongside those of the other military services at the White House.

“I just want to congratulate everybody and thank everybody,” the president said. “Space is going to be … the future, both in terms of defense and offense in so many other things.”

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NASA to Make Announcement About WFIRST Mission Trump Keeps Trying to Cancel

Wide-Field Infrared Survey Telescope (Credit: NASA)

WASHINGTON (NASA PR) — NASA will host a special edition of NASA Science Live at 11 a.m. EDT, Wednesday, May 20, to share an exciting announcement about the agency’s Wide Field Infrared Survey Telescope (WFIRST) mission. The episode will air live on NASA’s websiteNASA YouTubeNASA Facebook and Twitter/Periscope.

Members of the mission will respond to questions from the livestream chat in real time during the episode. Follow @NASA and @NASAWFIRST on Facebook and Twitter for additional information.

WFIRST is a space telescope that will conduct unprecedented large surveys of the infrared universe to explore everything from our solar system to the edge of the observable universe, including planets throughout our galaxy and the nature of dark energy.

WFIRST is managed by NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, with participation by NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, the California Institute of Technology’s Infrared Processing and Analysis Center in Pasadena, the Space Telescope Science Institute in Baltimore, and a science team comprising scientists from research institutions across the United States.

For more information about WFIRST, visit:

https://www.nasa.gov/wfirst

Roscosmos Official: U.S.-Russian Space Cooperation Deteriorating

Roscosmos boss Dmitry Rogozin meets with Russia’s boss of bosses, President Vladimir Putin. (Credit: Russian President’s Office)

by Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

Although Russian President Vladimir Putin is apparently U.S. President Donald Trump’s favorite autocratic ruler, cooperation between the two nations on future space projects are breaking down, a high-ranking Roscosmos official said.

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Space Force Welcomes First Academy Graduates to its Ranks

Gen. John W. “Jay” Raymond, Chief of Space Operations, administers the U.S. Space Force Oath of Office to the Eighty-Six Space Force Cadets during the U.S. Air Force Academy Class of 2020 graduation at the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colo., April 18, 2020. In all, Nine-hundred-sixty-seven cadets crossed the stage to become the Air Force/Space Force’s newest second lieutenants. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. J.T. Armstrong)

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (AFNS) — Eighty-six graduates from the United States Air Force Academy celebrated receiving their diplomas April 18 and moved directly into the U.S. Space Force, marking the first infusion of commissioned personnel into the new service since its creation last year.

Vice President Mike Pence was in attendance at the event and congratulated the entire graduating class.

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Trump Issues Order for Protection of GPS-Reliant Infrastructure

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)

Executive Order

By the authority vested in me as President by the Constitution and the laws of the United States of America, it is hereby ordered as follows:

Section 1.  Purpose.  The national and economic security of the United States depends on the reliable and efficient functioning of critical infrastructure.  Since the United States made the Global Positioning System available worldwide, positioning, navigation, and timing (PNT) services provided by space-based systems have become a largely invisible utility for technology and infrastructure, including the electrical power grid, communications infrastructure and mobile devices, all modes of transportation, precision agriculture, weather forecasting, and emergency response.  Because of the widespread adoption of PNT services, the disruption or manipulation of these services has the potential to adversely affect the national and economic security of the United States.  To strengthen national resilience, the Federal Government must foster the responsible use of PNT services by critical infrastructure owners and operators.

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Trump Calls for Full Support for Artemis Moon Program

Astronauts on a future lunar walk. (Credit: NASA)

During his State of the Union address on Tuesday, President Donald Trump urged Congress to fully fund NASA’s Artemis program to astronauts on the moon in 2024.

The Administration will release its budget proposal for the 2021 fiscal year next week. We will finally get some idea of what the program will actually cost for the first time since the Administration moved the landing date up from 2028 last March.

Congress will probably gag if the estimate is too high. It won’t take the proposal seriously if the Administration tries to low ball the estimate.

Trump’s ideas for how to fund Artemis — by cutting Earth science and other NASA programs — probably won’t go over any better with Congress than they did in previous years.

And Congress probably won’t pass a budget until next fall, probably after the election.

Other than that, no problemo.

EXIM Bank Reauthorized for Seven Years

Washington, D.C. (Ex-Im Bank PR) – President Donald J. Trump signed legislation today that reauthorized the Export-Import Bank of the United States (EXIM) for a historic length of seven years. The bipartisan legislation approved by Congress achieved two important goals: providing certainty to American businesses and workers that EXIM is fully open for business, and giving clear direction to focus on the economic and national security challenges from China. 

“I thank President Trump for making history today by signing into law the longest reauthorization of EXIM in the agency’s 85-year history,” said EXIM President and Chairman Kimberly A. Reed. “The legislation signed into law by the President also directs EXIM to focus on the important economic and national security challenges posed by China, which at my direction, EXIM has prioritized since my confirmation in May. I am proud to have the support of President Trump and Congress in this undertaking.”

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