WASHINGTON, DC (House Science Committee PR) – Today, Chairwoman Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-TX) sent a follow up letter to Department of Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross on the Department’s involvement in the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) actions surrounding claims that Hurricane Dorian would impact Alabama. This letter follows up on the Chairwoman’s September 11 and October 10 requests for information.
“To date, we have received no responsive materials from the Department that would address the items in either of these letters, despite repeated follow-up phone calls and emails to the Office of Legislative and Intergovernmental Affairs,” Chairwoman Johnsonsaid in the letter. “The Department of Commerce’s communications with the public on weather forecasting is a critical government function that depends on the public trust in order to ensure the health and safety of all Americans. The Department’s refusals to give a public explanation for its actions in early September and to cooperate with Congressional oversight after the fact are harmful to our national weather enterprise.”
President Donald Trump’s nominee to lead the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has withdrawn from consideration for health reasons.
Barry Lee Myers, 76, toldThe Washington Times that he has had surgery for and is undergoing chemotherapy treatments for cancer.
Myers’ nomination to lead NOAA had languished in the Senate for more than two years since the White House announced it in October 2017. Opponents of the nomination said he lacked scientific expertise and had conflicts of interest because the position entails overseeing the National Weather Service (NWS).
Myers was previously CEO and general counsel of AccuWeather, a private weather forecasting company founded by his older brother, Joel. The family-owned firm has backed efforts to curtail the information the NWS could release, arguing that the government agency competes with private services.
Myers stepped down from his post at AccuWeather and promised to divest himself of his holdings in the company. But, the moves were insufficient to advance his nomination to a Senate vote.
WASHINGTON (NASA PR) — President Donald Trump, second from left, joined by Vice President Mike Pence, left, Advisor to the President Ivanka Trump and NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine, right, speaks with NASA astronauts Christina Koch and Jessica Meir during the first all-woman spacewalk on Friday, Oct. 18, 2019, from the Roosevelt Room of the White House in Washington.
The first all-woman spacewalk in history began at 7:38 a.m. EDT with Koch and Meir venturing outside the International Space Station to replace a failed battery charge-discharge unit. This is the fourth spacewalk for Koch and Meir’s first.
Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) and National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)
Joint Statement on Cooperation in Lunar Exploration
During their September 24, 2019, meeting at JAXA Headquarters in Tokyo, NASA Administrator James Bridenstine and JAXA President Hiroshi Yamakawa welcomed the ongoing engagement between their agencies to realize JAXA’s participation in NASA’s Artemis program and vision for the participation of Japanese astronauts in lunar exploration.
Well, it’s not the famous winter of Game of Thrones, but the 14-day lunar night has arrived where India’s Vikram lander and Pragyan rover made what IRSO officials have called a “hard landing” two weeks ago with no communication between them and ground controllers.
Since neither vehicle was designed to survive the frigid temperatures of the lunar night, the Indian space agency has called it a day in a rather bare bones announcement.
This following is the original message Craig McLean, NOAA Research Assistant Administrator, sent to all NOAA Research employees on the morning of Monday, September 9th regarding Hurricane Dorian and its wide-ranging impacts.
The fierce storm we know as Hurricane Dorian has concluded its ferocious path through the Bahamas and along the U.S. East Coast. Many of you have contributed to the excellent science that has underpinned the forecasts and current understanding of storms such as this one, which accelerated quite rapidly in intensity. The storm also presented challenges in track which improved with enhanced observations.
WASHINGTON, DC, September 10, 2019 – Yesterday, the New York Times reported “Secretary of Commerce threatened to fire top employees at NOAA on Friday after the agency’s Birmingham office contradicted President Trump’s claim that Hurricane Dorian might hit Alabama, according to three people familiar with the discussion.”
Chairwoman Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-TX) made the following statement.
“I am extremely disturbed by the directive that NOAA leadership sent on September 6, which threatens the integrity and public trust of weather forecasts at the peak of Hurricane season. I am even more distressed to learn that political interference from the Secretary of Commerce may be behind the directive. The Committee will pursue this issue and we expect full cooperation from the Department of Commerce in our efforts. I would remind Department employees of the whistleblower protections afforded them by law. Any employees with information are welcome to share anonymously via the Committee Whistleblower Page.”
The New York Timesreports that Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross threatened to fire top officials at NOAA unless they backed President Donald Trump’s claim that he was right when he tweeted about Hurricane Dorian threatening Alabama with worse damage than anticipated.
Meanwhile, NOAA’s top scientist is investigating whether the statement backing Trump’s claim violates the agency’s scientific integrity rules.
Trump tweeted on Sept. 1 that Alabama would be one of the states hit by the Category 5 storm. The warning was quickly contradicted by the National Weather Service’s office in Birmingham, Ala.
Current and past NOAA employees are condemning the agency’s decision to back President Donald Trump’s disputed claim last weekend that Alabama was at risk from Hurricane Dorian even after the storm’s path had moved it away from the state.
“As a former @NOAA leader I can say two things with certainty. No NOAA Administrator I worked for would have done this. And I would have quit if I had been directed to agree to let this BS go out,” tweeted Monica Medina, who previously served as deputy undersecretary of the Commerce Department where NOAA is housed.
In a statement attributed only to a NOAA spokesperson, the agency refuted its own denial last Sunday that Alabama continued to be at risk as Dorian moved toward Florida.
Nothing illustrates the changes wrought by the Trump Administration’s decision to move up the deadline for returning astronauts to the moon from 2028 to 2024 than a pair of contracts NASA awarded for the Lunar Gateway that will serve as a staging point for the landing.
In May, Maxar won a competitively awarded $375 million contract to build the Gateway’s Power and Propulsion Element (PPE). NASA released a source selection statement that detailed how officials evaluated the five bids they received and why Maxar’s proposal was superior to the others.
On Space Exploration Day, we marvel at our country’s accomplishments
in space, commemorate the 50th anniversary of the first lunar landing,
and pledge to launch a new era of discovery and exploration of our
For more than a half century, the United States has led humanity’s
quest into the great unknown. Few moments in our American story spark
more pride than the Apollo 11 mission, when Neil Armstrong, alongside
Buzz Aldrin, planted our beautiful flag into the Moon’s surface on July
20, 1969. Those first steps upon that “magnificent desolation”
represent a remarkable era in American innovation that has inspired
future generations to become scientists and engineers and has served as a
catalyst for the technological revolution of the 21st century. The
Apollo 11 lunar landing was a spectacular demonstration of American
technical prowess and space leadership, and it served as an enduring
example of what can be accomplished, in the face of incredible odds, by
American heart, courage, and grit.
To honor those who have come before us and for the future betterment
of all humankind, we pledge to launch a new era of exploration,
extending our pioneering spirit into the farthest reaches of the cosmos.
My Administration is committed to reestablishing our Nation’s
dominance and leadership in space for centuries to come. I have
instructed the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) to
send the next man and first woman to the Moon and to take the next giant
leap—sending Americans to Mars. Sustained exploration that extends
from our Earth to the Moon and on to the Martian surface will usher in a
new era of American ingenuity, drawing untold individuals into the
fields of science, technology, engineering, mathematics, and defense.
On this Space Exploration Day, we celebrate our tremendous
technological advancements, honor those we have lost in the pursuit of
discovery, and embrace the American Spirit that has inspired our Nation
to lead the world in space.