The Pentagon’s Office of Inspector General has announced an investigation into the U.S. Air Force’s controversial decision to locate U.S. Space Command’s headquarters at the Redstone Arsenal in Huntsville, Ala.
In a letter to the U.S. Air Force secretary, the office said it would investigate whether the decision process:
“complied with DoD and Air Force policies during the location selection process;
used objective and relevant scoring factors to rank the six candidate locations; and
calculated the cost and other scoring factors accurately and consistently among the six candidate locations.”
Colorado’s nine-member Congressional delegation has asked President Joe Biden to suspend the move of the U.S. Space Command from Colorado Springs to Huntsville, Ala., until the administration conducts a full review of a decision made during the waning days of the Trump Administration.
“This move undermines our ability to respond to the threats in space and is disruptive to the current mission. Additionally, significant evidence exists that the process was neither fair nor impartial and that President [Donald] Trump’s political considerations influenced the final decision,” the delegation said in a Jan. 26 letter to the president.
The U.S. Air Force announced the move of the U.S. Space Command from Peterson Air Force Base in Colorado Springs to the Redstone Arsenal in Huntsville on Jan. 13, one week before Trump left office and a week after Congress certified the election of Democrat Joe Biden.
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.
SUBJECT: Space Policy Directive 7, The United States Space-Based Positioning, Navigation, and Timing Policy
This Space Policy Directive establishes implementation actions and guidance for United States space-based positioning, navigation, and timing (PNT) programs and activities for United States national and homeland security, civil, commercial, and scientific purposes. This policy complements the guidance set forth in Executive Order 13905 of February 12, 2020 (Strengthening National Resilience through Responsible Use of Positioning, Navigation, and Timing Services), and the intersector guidance for Global Navigation Satellite Systems (GNSS) included in the December 9, 2020, National Space Policy. This policy supersedes National Security Presidential Directive-39 (NSPD-39) of December 15, 2004 (United States Space-Based Positioning, Navigation, and Timing Policy).
WASHINGTON, January 12, 2021 (White House PR) — Today, President Trump is issuing an Executive Order on Promoting Small Modular Reactors for National Defense and Space Exploration, which will further revitalize the United States nuclear energy sector, reinvigorate America’s space exploration program, and produce diverse energy options for national defense needs.
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. Nuclear energy is critical to United States national security. That is why I have taken a series of actions to promote its development and facilitate its use. On June 29, 2017, I announced an initiative to revive and expand the nuclear energy sector and directed a complete review of United States nuclear energy policy to help find new ways to revitalize this crucial energy resource. On July 12, 2019, I signed a Presidential Memorandum entitled “The Effect of Uranium Imports on the National Security and Establishment of the United States Nuclear Fuel Working Group,” with the goal of examining the current state of domestic nuclear fuel production and reinvigorating the nuclear fuel supply chain, consistent with United States national security and nonproliferation goals. On August 20, 2019, I signed National Security Presidential Memorandum-20, entitled “Launch of Spacecraft Containing Space Nuclear Systems,” calling for development and use of space nuclear systems to enable or enhance space exploration and operational capabilities.
Policy Recommendations Support America’s Renewed Leadership in Space
WASHINGTON, D.C. (DOE PR) – Today, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) announced the “Energy for Space” strategy, an outlook of policy recommendations to further DOE’s role in powering the next generation of space exploration. “Energy for Space” supports President Trump’s recently released National Space Policy, and calls for DOE to be an essential source of the science, technology, and engineering solutions that are needed for advancing U.S. leadership in the space domain.
“Under the vision outlined in today’s “Energy for Space” plan, DOE’s scientific and engineering capabilities will be applied to overcome the challenges of vast distances, extreme conditions, complex operations, and unfamiliar environments to propel and power exploration, security, and commerce in space,” said Secretary of Energy Dan Brouillette. “In coordination with NASA, the interagency, and private sector partners, we must continue to harness the incredible capabilities throughout the DOE enterprise to expand exploration and utilization of the space domain.”
With the Trump Administration winding down, Scott Pace has left his position as executive executive of the National Space Council and returned to his previous post in academia.
“It has been the honor of a lifetime to serve President Donald J. Trump and Vice President Mike Pence in my capacity as Executive Secretary of the National Space Council,” Pace said in a statement. “The leadership of the president in reviving the National Space Council and the active chairmanship of the Vice President have made the past four years among the most ambitious and productive years for the Unite States space enterprise.
NASA’s Office of Inspector General terminates audit of Artemis program with words of obviousness
by Douglas Messier Managing Editor
NASA’s Office of Inspector General (IG) has determined that the biggest problem the space agency faces in its Artemis lunar program is….wait for it….money.
“Based upon our audit work completed to date, we found that the most significant challenge NASA currently faces in returning humans to the Moon by 2024 is budget uncertainty, a challenge that could ultimately affect the Agency’s ability to safely accomplish the mission,” the IG said in a memorandum published on its website.
WASHINGTON (NASA PR) — President Donald Trump has issued a new Space Policy Directive that will help propel NASA and humanity’s next giant leap – creating a sustainable presence on the Moon and sending astronauts to Mars.
The president issued Space Policy Directive-6 (SPD-6), the Nation’s Strategy for Space Nuclear Power and Propulsion (SNPP), Wednesday, Dec. 16. Space nuclear systems power spacecraft for missions where alternative power sources are inadequate, such as environments that are too dark for solar power or too far away to carry sufficient quantities of chemical fuels.
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.
WASHINGTON, DC (White House PR) — The new National Space Policy is my plan for how the executive branch will advance United States interests in space for the benefit of the American people. By charting a clear course for United States space activities, this policy reaffirms our leadership in the space domain and our status as the world’s foremost spacefaring nation.
This policy represents a whole-of-government approach that recognizes space as a national imperative. After years of drift, my Administration revived the United States space enterprise to once again unleash our unmatched pioneering potential.
WASHINGTON (NASA PR) — President Donald J. Trump issued the National Space Policy Wednesday. Through this policy, the president reaffirms his commitment to move space exploration goals beyond low-Earth orbit and return humans to the Moon for long-term exploration and utilization, followed by human missions to Mars and other destinations.