Groups Praise First National Space Council Meeting

Vice President Mike Pence delivers opening remarks during the National Space Council’s first meeting. (Credit: NASA/Joel Kowsky)

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.

“This Administration campaigned on an inspirational vision for America’s commercial space industry, and today’s National Space Council discussion represents a significant step towards furthering that goal,” said Eric Stallmer, President of CSF, who attended the meeting. “We are encouraged by the dedication and interest demonstrated by the Council today. We look forward to engaging the Space Council to showcase America’s commercial space technology, facilities, and expert staff, and collaborating with the Council to advance the Administration’s space agenda.”

Space Florida President Frank DiBello
Space Florida President Frank DiBello

Space Florida

This morning, Vice President Pence chaired the inaugural meeting of the reconstituted National Space Council at the National Air and Space Museum’s Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center in Chantilly, Virginia. The Council, which is comprised of the Secretaries of State, Commerce, Transportation, and Homeland Security, as well as the heads of the Office of Management and Budget, National Security Advisor, Director of National Intelligence, NASA Administrator, Deputy Secretary of Defense, Deputy Chief Technology Officer, and Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, aims to ensure coordination and avoid duplication in the Federal Government’s efforts to maintain US leadership in space.

At today’s meeting, the Council heard testimony from senior representatives from civil, commercial, and national security space, the three major areas of focus for the American space program. Among the speakers were company representatives for Blue Origin, Boeing, Lockheed Martin, Orbital ATK, and SpaceX, all of which have operations at the Cape Canaveral Spaceport. It was clear from the testimony that the strength of the robust commercial space enterprise will form the foundation of success by NASA and the national security community in meeting their respective mission requirements. The Vice President committed to returning the US to the Moon and tasked the Council with developing action plans to address a myriad of issues discussed across the three domains within 45 days, an auspicious start for a new government entity.

“It was an encouraging start to the revitalization of the American Space Program and I was inspired by the leadership both on the stage and in the crowd,” said Frank DiBello, President of Space Florida, who attended the meeting. “Space Florida looks forward to further engaging with the National Space Council as it undertakes this noble effort.”

Image Credit: NASA/Goddard/Arizona State University

Coalition for Deep Space Exploration

The Coalition for Deep Space Exploration (Coalition) congratulates Vice President Pence and Executive Director Dr. Scott Pace on the first meeting of the reconstituted National Space Council in more than 25 years, which was held today at the National Air and Space Museum’s Udvar-Hazy Center. Key administration officials attended the Council’s meeting, including National Space Council Chairman, Vice President Mike Pence; Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson; Secretary of Commerce, Wilbur Ross; Secretary of Transportation, Elaine Chao; Acting Secretary of Homeland Security, Elaine Duke; Office of Management and Budget Director, Mick Mulvaney; National Security Advisor, H.R. McMaster; Director of National Intelligence, Daniel Coats; Acting NASA Administrator, Robert Lightfoot; Homeland Security Advisor, Thomas Bossert; Deputy Secretary of Defense, Patrick Shanahan; Deputy Chief Technology Officer of the United States, Michael Kratsios; and the Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Paul J. Selva.

The Coalition was well represented at the meeting with presentations by Lockheed Martin President and CEO Marillyn Hewson, Boeing Company President and CEO Dennis Muilenburg and Orbital ATK President and CEO David W. Thompson. Other members in attendance included Aerojet Rocketdyne, Honeywell, Jacobs Engineering, L3 Cincinnati Electronics, Leidos, Made in Space, Moog, Northrop Grumman, and United Launch Alliance.  Additionally, Coalition President and CEO Dr. Mary Lynne Dittmar and Coalition Legislative Liaison Tom Culligan attended on behalf of all Coalition member companies.

“The Coalition is honored to have been present at the inaugural meeting of the National Space Council and pleased by the strong representation from some of our most prominent member companies,” said Dittmar. “Our Coalition includes large and small firms at the leading edge of U.S. manufacturing, aerospace engineering, new technology development, space science, and human space exploration. We support not only NASA’s programs of record such as the Space Launch System, the Orion crew vehicle, the James Webb Space Telescope, the Juno mission, OSIRIS-Rex, and the International Space Station, but also small business manufacturers in communities across the country and innovative companies focused on creating new business approaches for exploration technologies, such as in space manufacturing, robotic lunar landers and habitats. Our increasingly diverse membership is drawn from the aerospace sector as a whole, and represents the full range of America’s industry expertise and innovation.”

“We were encouraged by, and offer our full support for, the statements made by Vice President Pence today that U.S. leadership in space is a priority for this Administration. In particular, we eagerly anticipate the day Americans once again return to deep space on American vehicles. We look forward to supporting lunar missions and missions to the area of space around the moon even as we prepare for Mars, and anticipate working closely with the Administration and with Congress to advance national leadership in human space exploration, science, and commerce in deep space. We welcome the opportunity to explore synergies between our interests and those of the broader space community.”

The Coalition previously attended the White House signing ceremony with the President and Vice President reestablishing the National Space Council earlier this summer, with Dr. Dittmar and many large and small Coalition member companies in attendance.

  • mike_shupp

    I think I’d be just as happy or even more so to skip the speechifying and just have OMB announce that NASA’s budget was going up 2 or 3 billion bucks for next year and those following. Is there something wrong with me?

  • ThomasLMatula

    Meanwhile the folks who are against human space exploration are starting to organize their talking points on why this Administration’s space policy is bad – even though they don’t seem to have a clue about it…

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/the-mission-to-mars-is-one-stupid-leap-for-mankind/2017/10/06/24078102-aac2-11e7-850e-2bdd1236be5d_story.html?utm_term=.cbe0bbe45995

    The mission to Mars is one stupid leap for mankind

    By David Von Drehle Columnist
    October 6, 2017

    “Europe is splintering. North Korea has gone full “Dr. Strangelove.” Disaster in
    Puerto Rico. Massacre in Las Vegas. Crickets chirping on Capitol Hill, where Republican promises go to die. With so much to be done and few plans for doing it, the people need to be distracted. So Vice President Pence was trotted out last week to revive a long-dormant presidential commission and get American astronauts back into space.”

    and

    “Though Pence’s commission is unlikely to tell you, there are very good
    reasons Americans, and other humans, abruptly stopped going deep into space. It’s deadly. It’s unnecessary. And to borrow from Gertrude Stein, there’s no there there.”

    and this one that attempts to link SpaceX to this Administration.

    https://www.salon.com/2017/10/08/against-mars-a-lago-why-spacexs-mars-colonization-plan-should-terrify-you/

    Against Mars-a-Lago: Why SpaceX’s Mars colonization plan should terrify you

    Keith A. Spencer
    10.08.2017•10:00 AM

    “And in a Wall Street Journal op-ed this week, Vice President Mike Pence wrote of his ambitions to bring American-style capitalism to the stars: “In the years to come, American industry must be the first to maintain a constant commercial human presence in low-Earth orbit, to expand the sphere of the economy beyond this blue marble,” Pence wrote.

    One wonders if these luminaries know their history. There has be no instance in which a private corporation became a colonizing power that did not end badly for everyone besides the shareholders.”

    and goes on…

    “This is what makes Musk’s Mars vision so different than, say, the Apollo missions or the International Space Station. This isn’t really exploration for humanity’s sake — there’s not that much science assumed here, as there was in the Moon missions. Musk wants to build the ultimate luxury package, exclusively for the richest among us. Musk isn’t trying to build something akin to Matt Damon’s spartan research base in “The Martian.” He wants to build Mars-a-Lago.”

    Sad, just sad..

  • delphinus100

    You should ask for details, yes. If the increase all gets sucked into SLS for example, what was really gained?

    NASA’s problem is more one of policy, than of money.

    And they have only so much say, in policy.

  • mike_shupp

    Well yeah … but you’ve got people out there petrified with terror at the thought of outing fluorine into drinking water, vaccination, genetically modified foods; people convinced AIDS and HIV are different things, people on all-meat-and-fat diets, people who think God created the world just 6000 years ago, people who think God is going to destroy the world sometime this year or the next; people with different ideas about coal and nuclear power plants, lead in automobile emissions, abortion, providing healthcare to low income citizens, gun control, whether cops treat black crime suspects fairly, what stance professional football players should take when the national anthem is played ….
    It’d be an extraordinary thing if 30% of the US population DIDN’T lose their minds at the thought of future manned space flight. We’re just that kind of people anymore,