A Closer Look at National Space Council User’s Advisory Group Nominees


So, I finally had a chance to go through folks that Vice President Mike Pence nominated to serve on the National Space Council’s Users Advisory Group.

Below is my attempt to break down the 29 nominees by category. It’s far from perfect because several of them could easily be listed under multiple categories. But, here’s my best shot at it.

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Mixed Reactions to Plans End Direct Federal Funding to ISS in 2025

This artist’s concept shows how a future robot called LEMUR (Limbed Excursion Mechanical Utility Robot) could inspect and maintain installations on the International Space Station. The robot would stick to the outside using a gecko-inspired gripping system. (Credits: NASA/JPL-Caltech)

There have been some varied reactions to the Trump Administration’s proposal to end direct federal funding to the International Space Station (ISS) in 2025 in favor of commercial ventures in low Earth orbit and a focus on returning astronauts to the moon.

Sen. Bill Nelson (D-FL)

“The administration’s budget for NASA is a nonstarter. If we’re ever going to get to Mars with humans on board and return them safely, then we need a larger funding increase for NASA. The proposal would also end support for the International Space Station in 2025 and make deep cuts to popular education and science programs. Turning off the lights and walking away from our sole outpost in space at a time when we’re pushing the frontiers of exploration makes no sense.”
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Praise for Space Policy Directive 1

Image Credit: NASA/Goddard/Arizona State University

Praise is pouring in for Space Policy Directive 1, the Trump Administration’s document that focuses the nation’s civilian space program on returning astronauts to the moon.

Coalition for Deep Space Exploration

The Coalition for Deep Space Exploration (Coalition) welcomes Space Policy Directive-1 (SPD-1) signed today by President Trump, formalizing the commitment made by the Administration during the first meeting of the National Space Council to reinvigorate America’s deep space exploration program. The signing ceremony in the White House West Wing was attended by Coalition President and CEO Dr. Mary Lynne Dittmar together with the President, Vice President, members of Congress, NASA Acting Administrator Robert Lightfoot and NASA astronauts – including Dr. Harrison “Jack” Schmitt, who together with the late Captain Eugene Cernan were the last Americans to visit the Moon during Apollo 17 exactly 45 years ago.

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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.

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Coalition for Deep Space Exploration Backs Bridenstine Nomination

Rep. Jim Bridenstine

WASHINGTON, D.C.The Coalition for Deep Space Exploration (Coalition) welcomes the Trump Administration’s continuing commitment to human space exploration, space science, and the economic development of space with the nomination of U.S. Representative Jim Bridenstine for NASA Administrator.

“Together with the establishment of the National Space Council chaired by Vice President Pence, this step advances the framework for U.S. leadership in space,” said Dr. Mary Lynne Dittmar, President and CEO of the Coalition. “Rep. Bridenstine has been an active and vocal advocate for space on Capitol Hill. We look forward to working with NASA’s new leadership team to support NASA’s development of a deep space infrastructure for human spaceflight, beginning with the Space Launch System, Orion crew vehicle and Exploration Ground Systems. Other exciting developments include the launch of the James Webb Space Telescope and Mars Insight in 2018, progress on future deep space exploration and science platforms such as Mars 2020, Europa Clipper and the Wide Field Infrared Space Telescope, and ongoing science, exploration, international cooperation and economic development enabled by the International Space Station, leading to the eventual extension of new ventures and technology into deep space.”

“The Coalition— representing thousands of Americans working in the space industry, including many small business suppliers and manufacturers across the country— stands ready to support the new NASA leadership team and looks forward to working together as we embark on this exciting new era of deep space science and human exploration.”

About the Coalition for Deep Space Exploration

The Coalition for Deep Space Exploration is a national organization of more than 70 space industry businesses and advocacy groups focused on ensuring the United States remains a leader in space, science and technology. Based in Washington D.C., the Coalition engages in outreach and education reinforcing the value and benefits of human space exploration and space science with the public and our nation’s leaders, building lasting support for a long-term, sustainable, strategic direction for our nation’s space program.

NASA Budget Reactions

CSF_logo2Some reactions to NASA’s $19 billion FY 2017 budget request from the Commercial Spaceflight Federation and the Coalition for Deep Space Exploration.

Commercial Spaceflight Federation

Washington D.C. – Today the Obama administration submitted its FY2017 budget request to Congress. The request includes proposed funding and guidance for all NASA programs and the Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) Office of Commercial Space Transportation (AST).

“I commend the Administration for a budget that provides robust funding for NASA and FAA AST,” said CSF president Eric Stallmer. “We applaud the proposals that would enable and utilize private space capabilities to help build a sustainable American expansion into the Solar System from the edge of space through low-Earth orbit to the Moon and beyond. It builds on the strong foundation established by the FY16 Omnibus and Commercial Space Launch Competitiveness Act. We look forward to working with the Congress to fully fund a number of the proposals in this request, while also championing efforts to shore up areas that need additional input and support.”

Within the NASA portfolio, the request continues the bipartisan commitment to the United States achieving safe, reliable, and independent human access to the International Space Station (ISS) from American soil by 2017. The request provides funding for NASA’s Commercial Crew and Cargo programs to ensure that the nation has multiple U.S.-based transportation capabilities to and from the ISS, ending NASA’s dependence on Russia, and expanding ISS scientific research and technology development activities through 2024. The request includes funds for the development of a deep space habitat, which should utilize a public-private partnership to ensure NASA meets the Congressionally mandated 2018 deadline for development of a prototype habitation module. Finally, the request includes $15 million for the Flight Opportunities program to enable affordable testing of new technologies necessary for future exploration plans, and provides critical training opportunities needed to sustain a skilled workforce.

The budget request includes $19.8 million, an increase of $2 million over FY16, for the FAA’s Office of Commercial Space Transportation, to ensure that it has the resources necessary to process and approve commercial space launch and reentry licenses, experimental permits, and spaceport licenses in a timely manner, which will help reduce the possibility of delayed launches, slowed innovation, and a diminution in the United States competitive edge. In addition, the request includes $3 million for Commercial Space Transportation Safety to better integrate commercial launch and reentry “traffic” with the National Airspace System.

Coalition for Deep Space Exploration

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Coalition for Deep Space Exploration notes the release of the Administration’s FY 2017 NASA budget request. The Coalition had hoped the request would reflect the priorities laid out for NASA in the FY16 Omnibus, for which there was broad support. Unfortunately this was not the case. The Coalition is disappointed with the proposed reduction in funding below the FY16 Omnibus for NASA’s exploration programs.

Dr. Mary Lynne Dittmar, the executive director of the Coalition for Deep Space Exploration, issued the following statement:

“While we appreciate the funding proposed for the International Space Station and its transportation systems, space science programs including the James Webb Space Telescope, and proposed deep space habitat, we are deeply concerned about the Administration’s proposed cut to NASA’s human exploration development programs. This proposed budget falls well short of the investment needed to support NASA’s exploration missions, and would have detrimental impacts on cornerstone, game-changing programs such as the super-heavy lift rocket, the Space Launch System (SLS), and the Orion spacecraft – the first spacecraft designed to reach multiple destinations in the human exploration of deep space.

The greatest challenge to these programs is not technical, but budget stability, plain and simple. At this critical stage, it is important to ensure that the significant progress already made on the development of the SLS and Orion spacecraft continues, so as to meet important milestones including the first integrated launch in 2018 and crewed missions beginning in 2021. Fully developing these systems will enable the United States to realize its aspirations for human exploration, planetary missions, international collaboration, and scientific discovery.

Year after year, Congress, with bipartisan leadership in the House and Senate, has led the way in ensuring these important exploration capabilities remain on track, including in the recently-enacted FY 2016 Omnibus. Once again, we look to bipartisan efforts in the Congress to ensure that these programs receive the funding necessary to continue progress, enabling the nation’s return to deep space and ensuring America’s role as the global leader in human space exploration.”