Last week, we took a look at the significant increase in NASA’s budget for FY 2019. In this story, we will examine the budget increases for the Commerce Department — which manages the nation’s weather satellites — and the Department of Transportation, which oversees commercial launches. We will also take a look how the White House’s National Space Council fared.
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)
NOAA’s satellite programs received $1,45 billion, which is an increase of $55 million over FY 2018. The bulk of the funding is designated for the GOES-R, Joint Polar Satellite System (JPSS) and Polar Follow-on (PFO) programs. The amounts include:
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.
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!
The Commercial Spaceflight Federation and Space Florida praised the selection of Scott Pace to lead the newly revived National Space Council.
“I have had the pleasure of working with Scott for many years, and look forward to continuing to do so following his appointment.” said CSF President, Eric Stallmer.
CSF board chairman Alan Stern added, “Scott is a leader who will serve the National Space Council well. We look forward to working closely with Scott and the rest of the NSC to advance the United States space enterprise by leveraging the U.S. commercial space industry’s vision, investment, and innovation.”
Space Florida also issued a statement of support.
“Space Florida applauds President Trump’s appointment of Scott Pace as the Executive Director of the newly formed National Space Council. Scott’s long experience across the many facets of this nation’s growing space enterprise will serve the Administration and the country well. Following so closely after the Vice President’s visit to the Cape Canaveral Spaceport, this is further testament to the commitment of this White House to America’s space program and its commercial opportunities.
We look forward to working with Scott, the Vice President and others on the Council and the User’s Advisory Group to consolidate US leadership in space.”
President Donald Trump has announced his intent to appoint Scott Pace as the executive secretary of the newly revived National Space Council.
Pace is director of the Space Policy Institute and professor of the Practice of International Affairs at The George Washington University in Washington, DC.
The National Space Council has been revived after a 24-year sabbatical. Vice President Mike Pence will oversee the operation of the council, which is designed to coordinate space activities across the government.
Dr. Pace currently serves as the Vice-Chair of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) Advisory Committee on Commercial Remote Sensing (ACCRES). From 2005-2008, Dr. Pace served as the Associate Administrator for Program Analysis and Evaluation at NASA. Prior to NASA, he was the Assistant Director for Space and Aeronautics in the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP). From 1993-2000, Dr. Pace worked for the RAND Corporation’s Science and Technology Policy Institute (STPI). From 1990 to 1993, he was Deputy Director and Acting Director of the Office of Space Commerce, in the Office of the Deputy Secretary of the Department of Commerce. Dr. Pace received a Bachelor of Science degree in Physics from Harvey Mudd College in 1980; Masters degrees in Aeronautics & Astronautics and Technology & Policy from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1982; and a Doctorate in Policy Analysis from the RAND Graduate School in 1989.
Dr. Pace received the NASA Outstanding Leadership Medal in 2008, the US Department of State’s Group Superior Honor Award, GPS Interagency Team, in 2005, and the NASA Group Achievement Award, Columbia Accident Rapid Reaction Team, in 2004. He has been a member of the US Delegation to the World Radiocommunication Conferences in 1997, 2000, 2003, and 2007. He was also a member of the US Delegation to the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Telecommunications Working Group, 1997-2000. More recently, he has served as a member of the U.S. Delegation to the UN Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space in 2009, and 2011-15. Dr. Pace has been a member of the NOAA Advisory Committee on Commercial Remote Sensing (ACCRES) since 2012. Dr. Pace is a former member of the Board of Trustees, Universities Space Research Association, a Member of the International Academy of Astronautics, an Associate Fellow of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, and a member of the Board of Governors of the National Space Society.
1. Monday, August 26, 2013, 2-3:30 PM PDT (5-6:30 PM EDT, 4-5:30 PM CDT): We welcome DR. JAMES HANSEN, author of “First Man: The Life of Neil A. Armstrong.” Dr. James Hansen is Professor of History and former Director of The Honors College at Auburn University in Alabama. An expert in aerospace history and the history of science and technology, Hansen has written numerous books and articles covering a wide variety of topics, including the early days of aviation, the history of aerospace engineering, NASA, the Moon landings, the Space Shuttle program, and China’s role in space. He has special expertise on the history of the American astronaut corps, having authored the life stories of Neil Armstrong and John Young and directed a doctoral dissertation (now a published book) on the first class of women astronauts in the U.S. space program.
2. Tuesday, August 27, 2013, 7-8:30 PM PDT (10-11:30 PM EDT, 9-10:30 PM CDT): No show as am celebrating my son’s birthday in L.A.
3. Friday, August 30, 2013, 9:30-11 AM PDT (11:30- 1 PM CDT, 12:30PM-2:00 PM EDT): No show today. As many of you know, I have mentioned many times on the show that I plan on moving and relocating. I am now in the process of doing just that. My plan is to minimize as much as possible Space Show interruptions but there will be times when I will be unable to host a show in favor of the moving project. I will keep you posted and again, I will hold show and schedule interruptions to a minimum.
When Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney unveiled his space advisory group at the end of January, one might reasonably have expected that the group would have gone to work producing some sort of plan for the candidate to run on in relatively short order.
Five months later, there is no sign of such a document. However, two members of that body — former NASA Administrator Mike Griffin and his former deputy, Scott Pace — showed up in Cleveland this week to scare people with allegations that the Obama Administration plans to cut back staff at the NASA Glenn Research Center.
They failed to mention, however, that Romney’s budget proposals would cut NASA’s spending plan even more.
1. Monday, May 21, 2012, 2-3:30 PM PDT (5-6:30 PM EDT, 4-5:30 PM CDT): No show today as I am at the Sea-Space Workshop at Googleplex in Mountain View, CA.
2. Tuesday, May 22 2012, 7-8:30 PM PDT (10-11:30 PM EDT, 9-10:30 PM CDT): No show today as I am at the Sea-Space Workshop at Googleplex in Mountain View, CA.
3. Friday, May 25, 2012, 9:30-11 AM PDT (11:30- 1 PM CDT, 12:30PM-2:00 PM EDT) : We welcome back KEVIN SLOAN to the program to discuss this year’s University Rover Challenge which is part of the Mars Society.
4. Sunday, May 27, 2012, 12-1:30 PM (3-4:30 PM EDT, 2-3:30 PM CDT). We welcome back DR. SCOTT PACE to discuss policy, commercial space and more. Dr. Pace will also tell us about the Global Space Exploration Conference 2012 sponsored by AIAA and the IAF which has a strong commercial space component. Interested listeners should hear our recent Space Show program dated May 1 on this conference
In a move destined to anger NewSpace advocates, Mitt Romney has released a letter of support signed by eight space leaders, including prominent commercial space critics Mike Griffin, Scott Pace and Gene Cernan. Pace, in fact, is chairman of the Romney Space Policy Advisory Group.
“We have watched with dismay as President Obama dismantled the structure that was guiding both the government and commercial space sectors, while providing no purpose or vision or mission,” the signers wrote. “This failure of leadership has thrust the space program into disarray and triggered a dangerous erosion of our technical workforce and capabilities. In short, we have a space program unworthy of a great nation.”
The Space Transportation Association conducted a panel discussion yesterday during which some quite divergent views were expressed over the future of NASA and the Obama Administration’s commercial focus.
The NASA Inspector General released a blistering report on Monday claiming that the agency broke the law when it created a key advisory board for its Orion lunar program and stocked it full of advisers who were employed by and stockholders in the companies they are supposed to oversee.
“NASA did not establish the Orion SRB [Standing Review Board] in accordance with Federal law or NASA guidance,” the report’s Executive Summary reads. “The Orion SRB meets the Federal Advisory Committee Act (FACA) definition of an advisory committee. Although FACA committees must be established in accordance with FACA and NASA Policy Directive (NPD) 1150.11, ‘Federal Advisory Committee Act Committees,’ September 22, 2004, the Orion SRB was not.
“Had NASA initially recognized the Orion SRB as an advisory committee subject to FACA, NASAâ€™s ethics process associated with advisory committee participation would have been triggered, resulting in a focus on board member independence and conflict of interest resolution. Aside from these considerations, independence is a requirement for SRB participation; however, of the 19 members of the Orion SRB, 6 (32 percent) were not independent of the Orion Project.”
The SRB’s chairman, former Skylab astronaut Edward Gibson, is a senior vice president and stockholder in Orion contractor SAIC, as is fellow member and former NASA flight director Neil Hutchinson, the Associated Pressreports. Another unidentified SRB member works for SAIC.