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.

Biden Nominates Oceanographer to Lead NOAA

Credit: Matt Wade

WASHINGTON – Today, on Earth Day, President Joe Biden announced his intent to nominate the following individuals to serve and further the Biden Administration’s commitment to a modern sustainable infrastructure and clean energy future.

Rick Spinrad, Nominee for Under Secretary for Oceans and Atmosphere and Administrator, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Department of Commerce

Dr. Rick Spinrad is a Professor of Oceanography at Oregon State University (OSU), and a member of the Ocean Studies Board of the National Academies.  In 2016 he retired as Chief Scientist of NOAA, appointed by President Obama. He was the VP for Research at OSU, and was the head of NOAA’s Research Office and the National Ocean Service. He co-led the White House Committee developing the nation’s first set of ocean research priorities.

Dr. Spinrad was a Senior Executive with the US Navy, and was awarded the Distinguished Civilian Service Award (highest Navy civilian award), has held faculty appointments at three universities, and was President of Sea Tech, Inc. He also created the National Ocean Sciences Bowl, and was the U.S. representative to the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission.

Spinrad received Presidential Rank Awards from Presidents Bush and Obama, and is a Fellow of 4 professional societies. He holds degrees from The Johns Hopkins University and OSU.

NASA Statement on Nomination of Pam Melroy for Agency Deputy Administrator

The following is a statement from Acting NASA Administrator Steve Jurczyk on Friday’s announcement of the intended nomination by President Joe Biden of former NASA astronaut Pam Melroy to serve as the agency’s deputy administrator:

“Pam’s experience as an astronaut, space shuttle commander, and U.S. Air Force test pilot would bring to NASA a unique perspective on the opportunities and challenges facing the agency. Pam is driven by a desire to solve the biggest issues here on Earth, throughout the solar system, and beyond. She is a proven leader with bold vision and, if confirmed by the Senate, I look forward to working with her and Sen. Nelson to ensure NASA’s future success.”

One of only two women to command a space shuttle, Melroy logged more than 38 days in space. All three of her missions were assembly missions to build the International Space Station. After serving more than two decades in the Air Force and as a NASA astronaut, Melroy took on a number of leadership roles, including at Lockheed Martin, the Federal Aviation Administration, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, Nova Systems Pty, Australia, and as an advisor to the Australian Space Agency. She currently is an independent consultant and a member of the National Space Council’s Users Advisory Group.

Melroy’s agency bio is available at:

https://www.nasa.gov/sites/default/files/atoms/files/melroy_pamela.pdf

For information about NASA’s missions, discoveries, and activities, visit:

https://www.nasa.gov

Biden Nominates Former Astronaut Pam Melroy as NASA Deputy Administrator

Pamela Melroy

WASHINGTON (White House PR) – Today, President Joe Biden announced his intent to nominate eight leaders to key Administration posts:

Pamela Melroy, Nominee for Deputy Administrator, National Aeronautics and Space Administration

Pam Melroy (Colonel, USAF, ret) is an aerospace executive with government and industry experience across civil, commercial, and national security space. She is a retired U.S. Air Force test pilot and former NASA astronaut and Space Shuttle commander. Melroy is a veteran of Operation Just Cause and Operation Desert Shield/Desert Storm, with over 200 combat and combat support hours. She has logged more than 6,000 hours flight time in more than 50 different aircraft. Melroy flew three missions in space: as Space Shuttle pilot during STS-92 in 2000 and STS-112 in 2002, and as Space Shuttle Commander during STS-120 in 2007. One of only two women to command the Space Shuttle, she has logged more than 38 days in space.

After NASA, Melroy served as Deputy Program Manager for the Lockheed Martin Orion Space Exploration Initiatives program. She then returned to government, overseeing commercial space licensing activities at the Office of Commercial Space Transportation at the FAA as Director of Field Operations and acting Deputy Associate Administrator. She subsequently served as Deputy Director, Tactical Technology Office at the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) where she directed a large advanced technology development portfolio. Melroy later was the Director of Space Technology and Policy for Nova Systems Pty, Australia and an advisor to the Australian Space Agency. She is an independent consultant and a member of the Users Advisory Group to the National Space Council.

NASA Joins White House National Climate Task Force

WASHINGTON (NASA PR) — As a leading agency observing and understanding environmental changes to Earth, NASA has joined the National Climate Task Force. President Joe Biden issued an executive order Jan. 27, which initially outlined details of the task force.

The administration’s climate agenda outlines putting climate at the center of the country’s foreign policy and national security and encourages a governmentwide approach to climate change.

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Biden Nominates Bill Nelson to be NASA Administrator

U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson, center, and former astronaut Chris Ferguson survey a mockup of the CST-100 spacecraft under development by The Boeing Company during a ceremony detailing Boeing’s plans to use Orbiter Processing Facility-3 as a manufacturing hub for the capsule-shaped spacecraft. (Credit: NASA/Kim Shiflett)

WASHINGTON (White House PR) – Today, President Joe Biden announced his intent to nominate Bill Nelson to serve as National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Administrator.

Bill Nelson, Nominee for National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Administrator

Senator Bill Nelson, former U. S. Senator, is a fifth generation Floridian whose family came to Florida in 1829.  He has served in public office over four decades, first in the state legislature and U. S. Congress, then as State Treasurer.  He was elected three times to the United States Senate, representing the third largest state for 18 years.  His committees included the breadth of government policy from defense, intelligence and foreign policy to finance, commerce and health care.

Nelson chaired the Space Subcommittee in the U.S. House of Representatives for 6 years and in the Senate was the Chairman or Ranking Member of the Senate Space and Science Subcommittee and Ranking Member of the Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation.  Most every piece of space and science law has had his imprint, including passing the landmark NASA bill of 2010 along with Senator Kay Bailey Hutchinson.  That law set NASA on its present dual course of both government and commercial missions. In 1986 he flew on the 24th flight of the Space Shuttle. The mission on Columbia, orbited the earth 98 times during six days.  Nelson conducted 12 medical experiments including the first American stress test in space and a cancer research experiment sponsored by university researchers.  In the Senate he was known as the go-to senator for our nation’s space program.  He now serves on the NASA Advisory Council.

DoD Inspector General to Investigate Decision to Locate US Space Command Headquarters n Huntsville

by Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

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.”
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