SpaceX has scrubbed the launch of NASA’s TESS exo-planet hunting satellite, which had been planned for Monday evening.
“Standing down today to conduct additional GNC analysis, and teams are now working towards a targeted launch of @NASA_TESS on Wednesday, April 18,” the company tweeted.
Meanwhile, Vice President Mike Pence addressed the 34th Space Symposium in Colorado Springs earlier today. He made the following announcements:
Ret. Adm. Jim Ellis has been named to lead the National Space Council’s Users Advisory Group; and,
The space council has come up with a set of guidelines on space traffic management that will be signed by President Donald Trump and implemented by the Commerce Department. A key goal of the new guidelines is to deal with the threat of orbital debris.
“Our travels beyond the Earth propel scientific discoveries that improve our lives in countless ways here, right here, at home: powering vast new industry, spurring incredible new technology, and providing the space security we need to protect the American people.”
— President Donald J. Trump
AMERICA FIRST AMONG THE STARS: President Trump’s National Space Strategy works within his broader national security policy by putting America’s interests first.
The Trump administration’s National Space Strategy prioritizes American interests first and foremost, ensuring a strategy that will make America strong, competitive, and great.
The new strategy emphasizes dynamic and cooperative interplay between the national security, commercial, and civil space sectors.
The United States will partner with the commercial sector to ensure that American companies remain world leaders in space technology.
The new strategy ensures that international agreements put the interests of American people, workers, and businesses first.
The National Space Strategy prioritizes regulatory reforms that will unshackle American industry and ensure we remain the leading global provider of space services and technology.
Bloomberg has an update on the impasse in the Senate over the Trump Administration’s nomination of Rep. Jim Bridenstine (R-OK) to become the next NASA administrator.
Bridenstine has been blocked by all 49 Senate Democrats. Florida’s Congressional delegation enjoys an outsized influence on NASA because of Cape Canaveral, and Senator Bill Nelson, who flew on the Space Shuttle Columbia in 1986, isn’t a Bridenstine fan. His colleague Marco Rubio, the junior senator for the Sunshine State and a Republican, doesn’t want Bridenstine, either. With fellow Republican John McCain of Arizona absent for cancer treatment, that leaves confirmation 50-49 against….
Beyond [Acting Administrator Robert] Lightfoot, the lack of movement on Capitol Hill effectively leaves NASA leadership to Scott Pace, executive director of the National Space Council, which [Donald] Trump revived last summer. The council has taken a direct role in overseeing NASA’s priorities, including the administration’s 2017 directive to return astronauts to the moon, but doesn’t have the same hands-on role an administrator would. Bridenstine has attended both National Space Council meetings, in October and last month, but only as an observer.
Rubio has argued that the NASA post shouldn’t be occupied by a politician, particularly one with stridently partisan positions. “It’s the one federal mission which has largely been free of politics, and it’s at a critical juncture in its history,” he told Politico in September.
Bridenstine, a member of the highly conservative House Freedom Caucus, has drawn Democratic opposition for his views on gay marriage and abortion rights, as well as past statements dismissing climate change. And he may have rubbed Republican Rubio, and possibly McCain, the wrong way on account of his past support for their primary opponents.
In the 2016 presidential primaries, Bridenstine, a former Navy fighter pilot with an interest in space issues, produced several advertisements supporting Texas Senator Ted Cruz in his failed quest for the Republican nomination. Those ads criticized Rubio, also a candidate, for his position on immigration and attacks on Cruz. Rubio has reportedly denied a connection between Bridenstine’s past barbs and his opposition to the NASA nomination. Bridenstine also supported McCain’s Republican rival, Kelli Ward, in a fierce 2016 primary campaign that McCain eventually won.
The Wall Street Journalreports that George Nield’s decision to retire as head of the Federal Aviation Administration’s Office of Commercial Space Transportation (FAA AST) at the end of March is related to dissatisfaction over the pace of deregulating space activities.
But Mr. Nield’s leaving, according to industry and government officials, was prompted at least partly by White House and cabinet-level criticism that his initiatives to ease licensing procedures for rocket launches are proceeding too slowly. Members of the White House Space Council, a senior policy-making group, and the Transportation Department’s deputy secretary have expressed displeasure about the pace of change, these officials said.
The retirement, which was a surprise to some industry officials, also comes in the face of escalating pressure by budding commercial-space ventures to streamline federal rules, cutting the time and expense of obtaining launch licenses and approvals to operate spacecraft in orbit and beyond.
Mr. Nield’s decision could end up accelerating moves by top FAA officials, along with other parts of President Donald Trump’s administration, to ease or roll back regulations covering everything from earth-observation satellites to lunar landers to eventually mining minerals on asteroids.
Last week, the White House policy group chose the Commerce Department to serve as the main catalyst to promote U.S. commercial space ventures, effectively taking that role away from the FAA. During internal administration debates leading up to that public meeting, FAA critics pushed to strip the agency of authority over launch licensing, according to two people familiar with the details.
Mr. Nield’s office, which ultimately answers to the Transportation secretary, retained that responsibility but ended up with overall reduced stature.
WASHINGTON, DC (White House PR) — Vice President Mike Pence will provide policy recommendations to the President to streamline the regulatory environment for commercial space companies. At the second National Space Council Meeting, the council agreed on the following four recommendations to reform the commercial space regulatory frameworks at the Departments of Transportation and Commerce:
WASHINGTON (White House PR) — Vice President Mike Pence, Chairman of the National Space Council, today announced the candidates selected to serve on the National Space Council’s Users Advisory Group.
Pending official appointment by the Administrator of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, the selected members of the Users Advisory Group will serve to fulfill President Trump’s mandate to “foster close coordination, cooperation, and technology and information exchange” across our nation’s space enterprise.
The announcement as made on the eve of the second meeting of the National Space Council. “Moon, Mars, and World Beyond: Winning the next Frontier” includes testimonials from leaders in the civil, commercial, and national security sectors about the importance of the United States’ space enterprise.
Selection to the National Space Council’s Users Advisory Group:
Buzz Aldrin, Apollo 11 astronaut
Tory Bruno, President and CEO of United Launch Alliance
Wes Bush, CEO of Northrop Grumman
Dean Cheng, Scholar at the Heritage Foundation
Eileen Collins, 4-time Shuttle astronaut, first female shuttle commander
Steve Crisafulli, Former Speaker of the Florida House of Representatives
Mary Lynne Dittmar, President and CEO of The Coalition for Deep Space Exploration
Adm. Jim Ellis, Retired 4-star Admiral, former head of STRATCOM, and member of the Space Foundation Board of Directors
Tim Ellis, CEO of Relativity Space
Newt Gingrich, Author, former Speaker of the House
Marillyn Hewson, CEO of Lockheed Martin Corporation
Homer Hickam, Author of the book “Rocket Boys” and former NASA Marshall Spaceflight Center engineer
Governor Kay Ivey, Governor of Alabama
Fred Klipsch, Founder and Chairman of Hoosiers for Quality Education
Les Lyles, Retired 4-star Air Force General and member of the NASA Advisory Council
Pam Melroy, 3-time Shuttle astronaut and former Deputy Director of the Tactical Technology Office at the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency
Dennis Muilenberg, CEO of the Boeing Company
Faith Ozmen, CEO of the Sierra Nevada Corporation
G.P. Bud Peterson, President of the Georgia Institute of Technology
Jack Schmitt, Apollo 17 Astronaut and former Senator
Gwynne Shotwell, President and COO of SpaceX
Bob Smith, CEO of Blue Origin
Eric Stallmer, President of the Commercial Spaceflight Federation
David Thompson, Founder and CEO of Orbital ATK
Pamela Vaughan,, Board Certified Science Teacher
Mandy Vaughn, President of VOX Launch Company
Stu Witt, Founder of Mojave Air and Spaceport, former Navy pilot, former Chairman of the Commercial Spaceflight Federation
David Wolf, 4-time Shuttle astronaut and physician
Pete Worden, Former Air Force General and NASA Ames Center Director.
WASHINGTON, DC (White House PR) — On Tuesday, February 20, Vice President Mike Pence will travel to NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. There, he will tour the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station launch facilities and participate in a commercial spaceflight federal reception.
On Wednesday, February 21, Vice President Pence will lead the second meeting of the National Space Council at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center. “Moon, Mars, and Worlds Beyond: Winning the Next Frontier,” will include testimonials from leaders in the civil, commercial and national security sectors about the importance of the United States’ space enterprise. The Vice President will conclude his visit with a tour of the Kennedy Space Center.
UPDATE: NASA Television and the agency’s website will provide live coverage of the meeting beginning at 10 a.m. EST.
I realize it’s a bit late, but here’s a look back at the major developments in space in 2017.
I know that I’m probably forgetting something, or several somethings or someones. Fortunately, I have eagle-eyed readers who really seem to enjoy telling me just how much I’ve screwed up. Some of them a little too much….
So, have at it! Do your worst, eagle-eyed readers!
WASHINGTON, DC (NASA PR) — NASA has established a new advisory group on behalf of the National Space Council that will represent the expertise, interests and perspectives of non-federal aerospace organizations to the National Space Council.
The official charter for the Users’ Advisory Group (UAG) was signed by acting NASA Administrator Robert Lightfoot on Dec. 6, and subsequently announced in the Federal Register. It explains, in detail, the role, responsibilities and operation of the advisory group.
The UAG will advise and inform the National Space Council on a broad range of aerospace topics, including the impacts of U.S. and international laws and regulations, national security space priorities relating to the civil and commercial space sectors, scientific and human space exploration priorities, and ways to bolster support for U.S. space priorities and leadership in space.
The UAG will consist of between 15 and 30 members selected to serve in the capacity of either a representative or a special government employee (SGE). Representatives will come from non-federal aerospace organizations, such as private industry, and act as advocates for their sector. SGEs will be selected for their expertise in their particular aerospace field to provide objective advice. More information on the member nomination process will be made available later this month.
The following is a statement from acting NASA Administrator Robert Lightfoot about the results from the first meeting of the National Space Council on Thursday:
“It was my pleasure today to attend the first meeting of the new National Space Council. The council includes government leaders from civil and military space, and the group also heard from space industry leaders. The council has historic roots in the earliest days of the Space Age, and it has been established by the president to streamline and coordinate national space policy.
Praise is rolling in for the first National Space Council meeting on Thursday from the Commercial Spaceflight Federation, Space Florida and the Coalition for Deep Space Exploration.
Commercial Spaceflight Federation
Earlier today, Vice President Mike Pence chaired the first meeting of the National Space Council. The Space Council, comprised of numerous cabinet and agency heads, was briefed by industry leaders on topics of national security, civil, and commercial space. Blue Origin, SpaceX, and Sierra Nevada Corporation were among the Commercial Spaceflight Federation (CSF) member companies whose leadership briefed the Space Council. CSF also had a large contingency of member company leadership in attendance at the kickoff meeting.