As Bridenstine Begs for Bucks at Home, Italy & Japan Move Forward on Artemis Cooperation

Jim Bridenstine (Credit: NASA/Bill Ingalls)

by Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

During the same week he pleaded with Senators to fully fund the Artemis lunar program, Jim Bridenstine signed a cooperation agreement with Italy and a key partner, Japan, moved forward with its part of the effort.

On Friday, Bridenstine “signed a joint statement of intent with Italian Undersecretary to the Presidency of the Council of Ministers Riccardo Fraccaro, representing the Italian government, articulating strong mutual interest between the two countries in pursuing Italian contributions to lunar exploration activities as part of NASA’s Artemis Program,” the agency announced in a press release.

(more…)

NASA Publishes Mammoth Economic Impact Study

At 2,670 pages, the report is more than twice as long as the first edition of War & Peace.

WASHINGTON (NASA PR) — NASA released Friday the results of its first-ever agency wide economic impact report. The report shows that, through all NASA activities, the agency generated more than $64.3 billion in total economic output during fiscal year 2019, supported more than 312,000 jobs nationwide, and generated an estimated $7 billion in federal, state, and local taxes throughout the United States. 

“In this new era of human spaceflight, NASA is contributing to economies locally and nationally, fueling growth in industries that will define the future, and supporting tens of thousands of new jobs in America,” said NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine. “With an investment of just one-half of 1% of the federal budget, NASA generates significant total economic output annually. This study confirms, and puts numbers, to what we have long understood – that taxpayer investment in America’s space program yields tremendous returns that strengthen our nation on several fronts – a stronger economy, advances in science and technology, and improvements to humanity.”

(more…)

NASA, U.S. Space Force Sign MOU to Deepen Cooperation

WASHINGTON (NASA PR) — While advancing plans for unprecedented lunar exploration under the Artemis program, NASA also is building on a longstanding partnership with the Department of Defense with a new memorandum of understanding announced today by NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine and U.S. Space Force (USSF) Chief of Space Operations Gen. John “Jay” Raymond.

The agreement, discussed during a Sept. 22 Mitchell Institute virtual event, commits the two organizations to broad collaboration in areas including human spaceflight, U.S. space policy, space transportation, standards and best practices for safe operations in space, scientific research, and planetary defense.

(more…)

Artemis: Back to the Future Past?

Astronaut Edwin E. Aldrin Jr., lunar module pilot, deploys two components of the Early Apollo Scientific Experiments Package on the surface of the Moon during the Apollo 11 extravehicular activity in 1969. A seismic experiment is in his left hand, and in his right is a laser-reflecting panel. Astronaut Neil A. Armstrong, mission commander, took this photograph. (Credits: NASA’s Johnson Space Flight Center)

UPDATE: NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine was emphatic today that the first crewed landing and subsequent ones would land at the lunar south pole. He said remarks he made last week were misinterpreted.

by Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

For 18 months NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine, Vice President Mike Pence and other Trump Administration officials have repeatedly promised to land the next man and the first woman at the south pole of the moon in 2024.

Now, that plan has apparently changed.

(more…)

Bridenstine, Raymond to Discuss NASA-U.S. Space Force Collaboration

Jim Bridenstine (Credit: NASA/Bill Ingalls)

WASHINGTON (NASA PR) — NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine will participate in a virtual discussion on the agency’s collaboration with the United States Space Force at 9:30 a.m. EDT Tuesday, Sept. 22. This Space Power Forum event will stream live on NASA Television and the agency’s website.

Gen. John “Jay” Raymond, chief of space operations for the U.S. Space Force, will join Bridenstine in this discussion, hosted and moderated by the Mitchell Institute for Aerospace Studies as part of its Space Breakfast Series.

As NASA advances its plans to explore the Moon under its Artemis program, the two will discuss areas of collaboration that include support for human spaceflight, emerging space transportation, standards and best practices for safe operations in space, scientific research, and planetary defense.   

For more information about America’s Moon to Mars exploration plans, go to:

https://www.nasa.gov/moontomars

NASA to Host Preview Briefings, Interviews for First Crew Rotation Mission with SpaceX

SpaceX Crew-1 astronauts Shannon Walker, Victor Glover, Michael Hopkins and Soichi Noguchi. (Credits: NASA)

HOUSTON (NASA PR) — NASA will highlight the first crew rotational flight of a U.S. commercial spacecraft with astronauts to the International Space Station with a trio of news conferences beginning 11 a.m. EDT Tuesday, Sept. 29.

The briefings, which will take place at the agency’s Johnson Space Center in Houston, will air live on NASA Television and the agency’s website. The full astronaut crew flying on the mission also will be available for interviews.

(more…)

IG Audit: NASA Planetary Program Faces Major Financial, Managerial Challenges

Dragonfly flying over the surface of Saturn’s moon Titan.

by Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

NASA’s Planetary Science Division (PSD) faces a series of managerial, financial and personnel challenges as it prepares to conduct a series of ever more ambitious missions to the moon and planets, according to a new audit by the space agency’s Office of Inspector General (IG).

(more…)

Space Resources are the Key to Safe and Sustainable Lunar Exploration

Jim Bridenstine (Credit: NASA/Bill Ingalls)

by Jim Bridenstine
NASA Administrator

As we at NASA are working aggressively to meet our near-term goal of landing the first woman and next man on the Moon by 2024, our Artemis program also is focused on taking steps that will establish a safe and sustainable lunar exploration architecture.

Moreover, leveraging commercial involvement as part of Artemis will enhance our ability to safely return to the Moon in a sustainable, innovative, and affordable fashion. The President’s Executive Order on Encouraging International Support for the Recovery and Use of Space Resources clarifies Congress’ intent clarifies that it is the policy of the United States to encourage international support for the public and private recovery and use of resources in outer space, consistent with applicable law. We know a supportive policy regarding the recovery and use of space resources is important to the creation of a stable and predictable investment environment for commercial space innovators and entrepreneurs.

(more…)

Skylab Astronaut Gerald Carr Passes Away at 88

Astronaut Gerald P. Carr commanded the third and final crewed Skylab mission. (Credits: NASA)

WASHINGTON (NASA PR) — Former astronaut Gerald Carr, who commanded the last Skylab mission, passed away Aug. 26, 2020 in Albany, NY.

“NASA and the nation have lost a pioneer of long duration spaceflight,” said NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine. “We send our condolences to the family and loved ones of astronaut Gerald ‘Jerry’ Carr, whose work provided a deeper understanding of life on Earth and in space.”

As commander of the Skylab 4 mission, Carr and his all-rookie crew conducted a remarkable science program that included a wealth of biomedical investigations designed to test the effects of long duration spaceflight on the human body, Earth observations associated with the Earth Resources Experiment Package (EREP), and solar observations from instruments mounted on the Apollo Telescope Mount (ATM) revolutionized our understanding of the Sun.

(more…)

NASA Administrator to Open Space Station Research and Development Conference

Jim Bridenstine (Credit: NASA/Bill Ingalls)

WASHINGTON (NASA PR) — NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine is set to open the ninth annual International Space Station Research and Development Conference (ISSRDC) at 10 a.m. EDT Thursday, Aug. 27, as the microgravity laboratory celebrates the 20th anniversary of continuous human presence in space.

The theme of this year’s conference is “From Vision to Discovery,” focusing on how the past can better inform the future. The virtual conference will take place over three separate days starting Thursday, Aug. 27, and continuing Thursday, Sept. 17, with the final session on Thursday, Oct. 22.

(more…)

NASA Perseveres Through Pandemic, Looks Ahead in 2020, 2021

SpaceX Crew-1 astronauts Shannon Walker, Victor Glover, Michael Hopkins and Soichi Noguchi. (Credits: NASA)

WASHINGTON (NASA PR) — With 2020 more than half way through, NASA is gearing up for a busy rest of the year and 2021.

Following the recent successful launch of a Mars rover and safely bringing home astronauts from low-Earth orbit aboard a new commercial spacecraft, NASA is looking forward to more exploration firsts now through 2021.

(more…)

NASA Administrator Statement on the Passing of Mike Freilich

On Jan. 28, 2020, at NASA Headquarters in Washington, NASA and its European partners renamed the Sentinel-6A/Jason-CS satellite Michael Freilich, in honor or Mike Freilich, former director of NASA’s Earth Science Division. Sentinel-6A Michael Freilich will observe and record global sea level changes and will be joined by an identical satellite slated to launch in 2025 for a total of 10 years of targeted observations. (Credits: NASA/Aubrey Gemignani)

NASA Statement

The following is a statement from NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine on the passing of Mike Freilich, passionate explorer and former director of NASA’s Earth Science Division:

“Our planet has lost a true champion with the passing of Mike Freilich. NASA sends our condolences to his loved ones, and the entire NASA Family shares their loss.

(more…)

NASA’s SpaceX Demo-2: Teams Focus on Return Plans, Weather

The International Space Station’s two newest crew members, NASA astronauts Bob Behnken, left, and Doug Hurley, are pictured having just entered the orbiting lab shortly after arriving aboard the SpaceX Crew Dragon spacecraft. (Credit: NASA)

HOUSTON (NASA PR) — NASA astronauts Robert Behnken and Douglas Hurley are “Go” to return to Earth with a splashdown off the Florida coast on Sunday, Aug. 2, aboard the SpaceX Crew Dragon “Endeavour” spacecraft. The splashdown will wrap up NASA’s SpaceX Demo-2 mission after about two months at the  International Space Station

Teams from NASA and SpaceX met today to evaluate the plans and preparations for the return and recovery of the crew and spacecraft.

(more…)

NASA to Provide Coverage of Astronauts’ Return from Space Station on SpaceX Crew Dragon

The International Space Station’s two newest crew members, NASA astronauts Bob Behnken, left, and Doug Hurley, are pictured having just entered the orbiting lab shortly after arriving aboard the SpaceX Crew Dragon spacecraft. (Credit: NASA)

HOUSTON (NASA PR) — NASA will provide live coverage of activities leading up to, during, and following the return of the agency’s SpaceX Demo-2 test flight with the agency’s astronauts Robert Behnken and Douglas Hurley from the International Space Station.

The duo arrived at the orbiting laboratory on May 31, following a successful launch on May 30 on a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

(more…)