Office of Science and Technology Policy Announcement
The White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) is organizing a series of virtual listening sessions to hear about ideas, issues, and potential solutions related to the problem of orbital debris from members of the public who have an interest or stake in orbital debris research and development. Perspectives gathered during the virtual listening sessions will inform the National Science and Technology Council (NSTC) Orbital Debris Research and Development Interagency Working Group (ODRAD IWG) as it develops a government-wide orbital debris implementation plan, examining R&D activities as well as other considerations such as policy levers, international engagements, and other ideas outside of R&D solutions that may help build a cohesive implementation strategy. The implementation plan is a continuation of work done for the National Orbital Debris Research and Development Plan (January 2021), which was a response to Space Policy Directive—3 (June 2018), directing the United States to lead the management of traffic and mitigate the effects of debris in space.
WASHINGTON (House Science Committee PR) – On Friday, Chairwoman Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-TX)and Ranking Member Frank Lucas (R-OK) sent a letter to Dr. Eric Lander, Director of the Office of Science and Technology Policy, recommending that he issue a charge to the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST) to report on strategies for protecting and enabling spectrum access and quality for science and operational applications. As demand for spectrum for mobile applications has increased drastically in recent years, spectrum-dependent scientific fields and operational functions such as weather forecasting are facing increasing threats to their spectrum equities due to harmful interference.
AGENCY: Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP).
ACTION: Notice of Request for Comment (RFC).
SUMMARY: On behalf of the National Science and Technology Council (NSTC), Committee on Homeland and National Security, Subcommittee on Space Weather Security and Hazards, Interagency Working Group on Orbital Debris Research and Development, OSTP requests input from all interested parties on the Orbital Debris Research and Development (R&D) Plan, which will inform the Orbital Debris Research and Development Interagency Working Group’s activity for building out an implementation plan.
WASHINGTON (NASA PR) — In an effort to ensure effective fulfillment of the Biden Administration’s climate science objectives for NASA, the agency has established a new position of senior climate advisor and selected Gavin Schmidt, director of NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies in New York, to serve in the role in an acting capacity until a permanent appointment is made.
WASHINGTON (Commerce Department PR) — The Office of Space Commerce published a report on the Commerce Department’s space commerce accomplishments under Secretary Wilbur Ross and the Trump Administration.
The report recaps the Department’s success in achieving its strategic objective to expand commercial space activities through a host of actions. The text of the report is below.
Department of Commerce Accomplishments Space and Space Commerce
Under the leadership of Secretary Wilbur Ross, the Department of Commerce emphasized the importance of space and space commerce to U.S. national and economic security, prosperity, and the growing role of the Department in this area. Strategic Objective 1.1 of the Secretary’s Strategic Plan for 2018-2022 was to increase U.S. commercial space activities; the Department’s efforts to improve space situational awareness were Agency Priority Goals in FY2020 and FY2021.
In its waning days, the Trump Administration released the National Orbital Debris Research and Development Plan, which is designed to guide federal R&D efforts aimed at limiting, tracking, characterizing and remediating debris in Earth orbit.
WASHINGTON (National Space Council PR) — Today, the National Space Council released the National Strategy for Planetary Protection. This Strategy will advance the Nation’s role in the sustainable exploration of space by appropriately protecting other planetary bodies and the Earth from potentially harmful biological contamination from space exploration activities.
By Establishing a National Strategy for Planetary Protection, the United States Continues to Lead in the Safe and Sustainable Exploration and Commercialization of Space
PLANETARY PROTECTION FOR THE 21ST CENTURY: The National Space Council released a strategy to ensure the protection of the Earth and other planetary bodies from harmful biological contamination from space exploration activities.
As the United States continues to lead in space exploration and commercialization, national policy must keep pace to accelerate our world-class commercial space sector and scientific enterprise, while appropriately avoiding biological contamination.
Many aspects of planetary protection policy have not been updated since the Apollo Era and do not reflect the increasing role and capabilities of the private sector.
Planetary protection against “forward contamination” ensures the validity of potential scientific discoveries in the search for extraterrestrial life.
Planetary protection against “backward contamination” ensures that the Earth’s biosphere is not adversely affected by the return of potentially hazardous microbes.
ADVANCING SPACE EXPLORATION LEADERSHIP: The National Strategy for Planetary Protection advances U.S. interests in science and exploration, commercial space activity, and international leadership.
This strategy outlines steps to implement direction from the 2020 National Space Policy for the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy to lead U.S. departments and agencies in the development of planetary protection operational guidelines.
Meeting the strategy’s objectives will ensure a cohesive national effort that balances scientific discovery, human exploration, and commercial activity in space, while meeting applicable international and domestic obligations.
The United States will continue to lead in the sustainable exploration of space by appropriately protecting the Earth and other celestial bodies.
Best practices developed by the United States that account for commercial and international partners will ensure safety, sustainability, and predictability in space for the benefit of all humankind.
MEMORANDUM FOR THE VICE PRESIDENT THE SECRETARY OF STATE THE SECRETARY OF DEFENSE THE SECRETARY OF COMMERCE THE SECRETARY OF TRANSPORTATION THE SECRETARY OF ENERGY THE DIRECTOR OF THE OFFICE OF MANAGEMENT AND BUDGET THE ASSISTANT TO THE PRESIDENT FOR NATIONAL SECURITY AFFAIRS THE ADMINISTRATOR OF THE NATIONAL AERONAUTICS AND SPACE ADMINISTRATION THE CHAIRMAN OF THE NUCLEAR REGULATORY COMMISSION THE DIRECTOR OF THE OFFICE OF SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY POLICY
SUBJECT: National Strategy for Space Nuclear Power and Propulsion
Section 1. Policy. The ability to use space nuclear power and propulsion (SNPP) systems safely, securely, and sustainably is vital to maintaining and advancing United States dominance and strategic leadership in space. SNPP systems include radioisotope power systems (RPSs) and fission reactors used for power or propulsion in spacecraft, rovers, and other surface elements. SNPP systems can allow operation of such elements in environments in which solar and chemical power are inadequate. They can produce more power at lower mass and volume compared to other energy sources, thereby enabling persistent presence and operations. SNPP systems also can shorten transit times for crewed and robotic spacecraft, thereby reducing radiation exposure in harsh space environments.
Former astronaut Pam Melroy and Kathryn Sullivan also named to review teams
Former XPRIZE vice president leads OSTP team
by Douglas Messier Managing Editor
President-elect Joe Biden has appointed former NASA chief scientist Ellen Stofan to lead the review team assigned to the space agency.
Stofan, a planetary scientist who became the first female director of the National Air and Space Museum in 2018, leads an eight-member team that includes former NASA astronaut Pam Melroy and former NASA chief scientist Waleed Abdalati.
Biden has also appointed Kathryn Sullivan, who was part of the first group of women recruited as NASA astronauts, to serve on the agency review team for the Department of Commerce.
OSTP Showcases S&T Wins That Changed the World Over the Past Four Years
WASHINGTON (OSTP PR) — The White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) today released “Advancing America’s Global Leadership in Science and Technology, Trump Administration Highlights: 2017-2020.” The document is a selection of significant investments, accomplishments, policies, and other actions undertaken by President Trump to advance science and technology.
A week before the presidential election, the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) set Twitter afire on Tuesday by crediting the Trump Administration with “ending the COVID-19 pandemic.”
Donald Trump has clearly not ended the pandemic, which has left more than 226,000 Americans dead and set a single-day record for new cases just last week.
A bill to reorganize the nation’s response to space weather has passed both houses of Congress and heads to the White House for President Donald Trump’s signature.
The Promoting Research and Observations of Space Weather to Improve the Forecasting of Tomorrow Act (PROSwift) assigns roles to federal departments and establishes an interagency working group to coordinate their activities.
NASA’s planetary defense mission to deflect a small asteroid continues to move toward a February 2022 launch date while holding to its $313.9 million budget, according to a new assessment by the Government Accountability Office (GAO).
The Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART) will fly to the binary asteroid Didymos and impact the smaller of the two bodies to assess techniques for deflecting dangerous asteroids on collision courses with Earth.