President Biden to Nominate Dr. Arati Prabhakar to Lead Office of Science and Technology Policy

Arati Prabhakar

Former Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency and National Institute of Standards and Technology leader would make history as the first woman, immigrant, or person of color confirmed to head OSTP

WASHINTON, June 21, 2002, (White House PR) — Today, President Biden announced his intent to nominate Dr. Arati Prabhakar to serve as Director of the Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP), and once confirmed to this position, also as Assistant to the President for Science and Technology. In this capacity, Dr. Prabhakar will be the President’s Chief Advisor for Science and Technology, a co-chair of the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology, and a member of the President’s Cabinet.

“Dr. Prabhakar is a brilliant and highly-respected engineer and applied physicist and will lead the Office of Science and Technology Policy to leverage science, technology, and innovation to expand our possibilities, solve our toughest challenges, and make the impossible possible,” said President Biden. “I share Dr. Prabhakar’s belief that America has the most powerful innovation machine the world has ever seen. As the Senate considers her nomination, I am grateful that Dr. Alondra Nelson will continue to lead OSTP and Dr. Francis Collins will continue to serve as my acting Science Advisor.”

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Roscosmos CEO Rogozin Threatens Bulgaria with Nuclear Attack

Roscosmos head Dmitry Rogozin. (Credit: A. Savin)

Sounding more unhinged by the day, Roscosmos CEO Dmitry Rogozin threatened Bulgaria with a nuclear strike as the Russian invasion of Ukraine escalated. Novinite reports:

“This is what Sarmat is good for. It will not ask for consent for the flight from the cowardly Bulgarians, the vicious Romanians and the Montenegrins who betrayed our common history. Like the other various nations like the Swedes.”

This was written on Twitter by the former Deputy Prime Minister of Russia and CEO of Roscosmos Dmitry Rogozin on the occasion of Bulgaria’s refusal to provide an air corridor for a government plane to Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov.

The RS-28 Sarmat, better known as “Satan II”, is a super-heavy intercontinental ballistic missile for carrying nuclear warheads. Its range is 18,000 kilometers.

This is the first direct threat made by the Russian authorities to Bulgaria since the beginning of the Russian invasion of Ukraine on February 24.

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President Biden: NASA to Welcome Japanese Astronaut Aboard Gateway

Artemis Gateway orbiting the moon. (Credit: NASA)

TOKYO (NASA PR) — President Joe Biden and Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida met in Tokyo Monday where they announced progress on collaboration for human and robotic lunar missions. They confirmed their commitment to include a Japanese astronaut aboard the lunar Gateway outpost and their shared ambition to see a future Japanese astronaut land on the Moon as part of NASA’s Artemis program. 

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House Science Committee Chairwoman Johnson and Ranking Member Lucas Urge Biden to Rescind Proposal to Give Authority Over Commercial Space Accidents

SpaceShipTwo fuselage. (Credit: NTSB)

WASHINGTON (House Science Committee PR) – Today, Chairwoman Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-TX) and Ranking Member Frank Lucas (R-OK) sent a letter [see below] to President Biden expressing their concerns regarding the Administration’s Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) for commercial space accident investigation that was issued by the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB).

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NASA Administrator Statement on President’s FY 2023 Budget Request

WASHINGTON (NASA PR) — The President’s fiscal year 2023 budget would allow NASA to sustain America’s global innovation leadership and keep NASA at the forefront of exploration and discovery by returning to the Moon with the Artemis program, among other efforts. This budget would enable NASA to address climate change, drive economic growth, and promote diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility.

The Biden-Harris Administration Monday submitted to Congress President Biden’s budget for fiscal year 2023. The President’s budget details his vision to expand on the historic progress our country has made over the last year and deliver the agenda he laid out in his State of the Union address – to build a better America, reduce the deficit, reduce costs for families, and grow the economy from the bottom up and middle out. 

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Firefly Aerospace Owner Max Polyakov Sells Stake to Tom Markusic

Max Polyakov

Firefly Aerospace majority stakeholder Max Polyakov announced he was selling his shares to company co-founder and CEO Tom Markusic in a bitter message on his Facebook page.

I am giving up for 1 usd consideration all my 58% stake in Firefly to my co-founder and partner Tom. Dear CFIUS, Air Force and 23 agencies of USA who betrayed me and judge me in all your actions for past 15 months . I hope now you are happy . History will judge all of you guys. Max love Ukraine and yes I have Ukrainian passport and I am Founder of Firefly !!! Bye my “bird” and at the end of the days I proud what I done for my Land soul and heritage !!!

CFIUS is the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States. Late last year, the committee required that Polyakov, who is Ukrainian, sell his stake in the company. Bloomberg reported:

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Biden Nominates Frank Calvelli to Serve as USAF Assistant Secretary for Space Acquisition

WASHINGTON (White House PR) — Today, President Joe Biden announced his intent to nominate the following individual to serve in a key role:

  • Frank Calvelli, Nominee for Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Space Acquisition, Department of Defense

Frank Calvelli, Nominee for Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Space Acquisition, Department of Defense

Frank Calvelli is a senior leader in Booz Allen Hamilton’s national security program, working on space and intelligence initiatives. Prior to joining Booz Allen Hamilton in 2021, he had a 34-year career with the Central Intelligence Agency, having spent over 30 years assigned to the National Reconnaissance Office (NRO) – a joint Intelligence Community/Department of Defense organization responsible for designing, building, launching, and maintaining America’s intelligence satellites.

From July 2012 to October 2020, he was the Principal Deputy Director of the NRO, where he provided overall day-to-day management of the organization and oversaw a large portfolio of space activities that included satellite and ground system acquisition, systems engineering, and satellite mission operations.

During his government career, Calvelli received several awards, including the Presidential Rank Award for Distinguished Service, the National Intelligence Distinguished Service Medal, the CIA Distinguished Career Intelligence Medal, and the NRO Distinguished Performance Medal.

He holds a Bachelor’s degree in computer science from the State University of New York at Potsdam, and an M.B.A. from Loyola University Maryland. He is married to Melissa Calvelli and has four children. 

SIA, AIAA Respond to National Space Council Meeting

Satellite Industry Association Applauds Inaugural Meeting of National Space Council Chaired by Vice President Harris

Washington, D.C. – The Satellite Industry Association (SIA) today applauded the inaugural meeting of the National Space Council chaired by United States Vice President Kamala Harris that took place at the U.S. Institute of Peace in Washington, DC. Earlier in the day, the White House issued a copy of the executive order authorizing the National Space Council and set forth the Council’s membership, duties and responsibilities. It also released a document titled, “United States Space Priorities Framework” which outlines the Administration’s plans to, “develop and implement national space policy and strategy going forward.”

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Vice President Kamala Harris Highlights STEM in First National Space Council Meeting

Vice President Kamala Harris delivers opening remarks at the first meeting of the National Space Council, Wednesday, Dec. 1, 2021, at the United States Institute of Peace in Washington. Chaired by Vice President Harris, the council’s role is to advise the President regarding national space policy and strategy, and ensuring the United States capitalizes on the opportunities presented by the country’s space activities. (Credits: NASA/Joel Kowsky)

WASHINGTON (NASA PR) — Vice President Kamala Harris chaired the first National Space Council meeting of the Biden-Harris Administration Wednesday, Dec. 1 at the U.S. Institute of Peace in Washington. Prior to the meeting, President Biden expanded the number of participants of the council by executive order, reflecting the Biden-Harris administration’s broad priorities and creating the largest, most diverse space council in the nation’s history.

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NASA Climate Action Plan and 2021 Sustainability Plan

WASHINGTON (NASA PR) — On January 27, 2021, President Biden signed Executive Order 14008, Tackling the Climate Crisis at Home and Abroad. The Executive Order (EO) calls for a government-wide approach to lead by example in addressing the climate crisis and directs that the Federal government’s buying power and management of real property and other assets be applied to support robust climate action.

Federal agencies are responsible for developing a Climate Action Plan (CAP) that describes their efforts to increase resilience to climate change impacts. Agency CAPs also address climate vulnerabilities, increasing climate literacy within the management workforce, and plans to achieve climate-resilient facilities and supply chains.

NASA’s CAP was reviewed by the White House Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) and released to the public in early October 2021. The CAP contains NASA’s Policy Statement for Climate Change Adaptation and Resilience. NASA’s 2021 Climate Action Plan is here.

Revitalizing Agency sustainability efforts is a critical step in achieving the goals of EO 14008. The CEQ issued instructions for preparing 2021 Sustainability Plans. (Previous EOs also required development of sustainability plans.) These plans describe an agency’s progress and future plans for meeting goals on greenhouse gas reduction, energy and water usage, performance contracting for energy conservation, waste reduction, sustainable buildings, fleet, sustainable procurement, and electronics stewardship. The Office of Management and Budget records annual sustainability progress in scorecards for each agency. NASA’s 2021 Sustainability Plan will be posted on this page when it is approved by CEQ and OMB for release to the public.

This Week in Elon: Musk Mocks Biden Amid Cooler Political Climate, Federal Investigation of Tesla

Elon Musk (Credit: SpaceX)

by Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

It seems that Elon Musk is a bit peeved that President Joe Biden didn’t congratulate SpaceX on completing the privately-funded Inspiration4 crewed mission last week and helping to raise $210 million for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.

“He’s still sleeping,” Musk wrote in response to a question from a Twitter follower about Biden’s silence. It was a clear reference to ex-President Donald Trump’s description of him as “sleepy Joe” during the campaign.

The remark set off the usual battle on social media. Musk’s legion of defenders called the omission unforgivable. Musk’s critics noted his willingness to amply praise authoritarian China where Musk’s Tesla Motors has a manufacturing plant even as he called U.S. officials “fascists” for their efforts to contain the deadly COVID-19 virus.

For his part, Jared Isaacman, the billionaire who funded and commanded the Inspiration4 flight, says Biden’s silence is no big deal.

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NASA Would Receive $4.4 Billion Under House Bill; DOE’s Radioisotope Processing Facility Funding Increased

by Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

NASA would received an additional $4.4 billion to perform repairs and upgrades on its aging infrastructure, conduct climate change research and development (R&D) and improve cybersecurity under an infrastructure spending bill now under consideration by the House of Representatives.

The funding does not include any money to fund a second human lander for NASA’s Artemis program that would likely have gone to the National Team led by Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin. The space agency awarded a single source contract to Elon Musk’s SpaceX.

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U.S., South Korea to Deepen Space Cooperation Through Artemis Accords, Satellite Navigation System

The United States will provide support for development of the satellite-based Korean Positioning System (KPS), and South Korea will sign the Artemis Accords that will guide human exploration of the moon, the White House said last week.

The announcement followed a summit in Washington between U.S. President Joe Biden and Republic of Korea (ROK) President Moon Jae-in. A White House fact sheet that described cooperative activities included the following two items:

  • Expand cooperation on space exploration facilitated by the Republic of Korea’s decision to sign the Artemis Accords, joining nine other nations focused on returning to the moon by 2024 and ultimately expand and deepen space exploration.
  • Support for the ROK’s development of its own satellite navigation system, the Korean Positioning System, and enhance its compatibility and interoperability with the Global Positioning System.

The Artemis Accords are a set of principals laying out how the United States and other signatories will go about exploring the moon as part of NASA’s Artemis program. Signatories include Australia, , Canada, Japan, Luxembourg, Italy, Ukraine, United Arab Emirates, and United Kingdom. Brazil signed a statement of intent to sign the Artemis Accords in December.

ROK’s space agency, the Korea Aerospace Research Institute (KARI), described the navigation system as follows:

The KPS Development Plan (draft) is a regional GPS center on the Korean peninsula using three geostationary navigation satellites, four oblique navigation satellites, and terrestrial systems. The goal is to prove the ultra-precision location data service in meter, sub-meter, and centimeter resolutions. The implementation of KPS can guarantee citizens’ safety by operating the national network stably without depending on foreign systems. It is also expected to accelerate the Fourth Industrial Revolution such as self-driving automobiles as well as the drone industry by acquiring accurate location information.

Biden-Harris Administration Shows Strong Support for NASA in First 100 Days

President Joe Biden stands with a model of the Ingenuity Mars Helicopter, which achieved its first flight on the Red Planet April 19. (Credits: White House/Adam Schultz)

WASHINGTON (NASA PR) — In the first 100 days of the Biden-Harris Administration, NASA has taken bold steps to expand America’s exploration and scientific frontiers, advancing the nation’s commitment to build back better through innovation, combat climate change, re-establish America’s standing abroad, and inspire the next generation.

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Biden Sends NASA CFO Nomination to Senate

WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden announced his intent to nominate the following individuals to serve:

Margaret Vo Schaus, Nominee for Chief Financial Officer, National Aeuronatics and Space Administration

Margaret Vo Schaus is a career member of the Senior Executive Service. Over the past decade, she has held numerous leadership roles with responsibility for the financial management and business operations of science and engineering organizations at the Departments of Energy and Defense. She currently serves as the Director for Business Operations in the Office of the Under Secretary Research and Engineering at the Department of Defense, where she is responsible for oversight of a multibillion dollar budget.

Schaus has been recognized with awards including the Office of the Secretary of Defense’s Exceptional Civilian Service Award, the Department of Energy’s Distinguished Career Service Award, and the Secretary of Energy’s Honor Award.  She is a first-generation Vietnamese American, born in Michigan and raised in southern California. She received a B.A. in Science, Technology, and Society as well as English from Stanford University, and a M.S. in Management Science and Engineering from Stanford University.