Committee Leaders Question Biden Administration’s Efforts to Address Space Debris Issues

The scales of the space debris problem (Credit: ESA)

WASHINGTON (Senate Commerce Committee PR) – U.S. Sens. Roger Wicker, R-Miss., and Maria Cantwell, D-Wash., ranking member and chair of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, along with Sens. Cynthia Lummis, R-Wyo., and John Hickenlooper, D-Colo., ranking member and chair of the Subcommittee on Space and Science, today sent a letter requesting that Vice President Kamala Harris prioritize space debris issues in her role as chair of the National Space Council. The Senators also sent a letter to Department of Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo to inquire about the department’s outer space-related efforts following Russia’s destructive anti-satellite test two weeks ago.    

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Vice President Harris Announces Initiatives on Space and Cybersecurity with France

Kamala Harris

PARIS (White House PR) — Following her meeting with President Emmanuel Macron of France, Vice President Kamala Harris is announcing a number of collaborative initiatives that the United States will undertake alongside France and other countries to address global issues and emerging threats. She is announcing expanded cooperation on space and support for efforts to advance international cooperation in cybersecurity.  These initiatives underscore the U.S. commitment to work with allies and partners to take on the challenges of the 21st century.
 
Space
 
For decades, the United States and France have benefited from robust cooperation in space across our respective civil, commercial, and national security sectors.  Recognizing the growing importance of space in providing benefits to humanity, from tackling climate challenges and enabling human exploration of space and scientific discovery to ensuring sustainable economic development and security, our countries acknowledge the pivotal role international cooperation plays in sustaining the outer space environment so we may maximize the benefits space offers. Based on this shared vision and over 60 years of joint space activities, the United States and France will seek greater cooperation through the following initiatives:

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Vice President Harris Visits NASA to See Vital Climate Science Work

Vice President Kamala Harris shares her enthusiasm, alongside Goddard Center Director Dennis Andrucyk and NASA Administrator Bill Nelson, for the results of current satellite missions using Goddard’s Hyperwall on Nov. 5, 2021, at the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland. The Hyperwall visualizes Earth Science data for better understanding. (Credits: NASA/Taylor Mickal)

GREENBELT, Md. (NASA PR) — The urgency of Earth science and climate studies took the spotlight Friday as Vice President Kamala Harris visited NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland. The vice president received a firsthand look at how the nation’s space program studies climate change and provides crucial information to understand our planet’s changes and their impacts on our lives.

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Vice President Harris to Visit NASA Goddard Today, Deliver Live Remarks

Editor’s Note: UPI reports that Harris will announce that the first meeting of the National Space Council under the Biden Administration will be held on Dec. 1.

GREENBELT, Md. (NASA PR) — Vice President Kamala Harris will visit NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland today, Nov. 5, to get a firsthand look at the agency’s work to combat the climate crisis and protect vulnerable communities.

The vice president will be joined by NASA Administrator Bill Nelson and leaders from the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration and the U.S. Geological Survey. The group will tour climate-oriented space activities underway at Goddard and learn about collaboration among federal agencies on space missions that are central to tackling the climate crisis and improving our scientific understanding of Earth’s systems.

Following the tour, at around 4:45 p.m. EDT, the vice president will deliver remarks that will be streamed live on NASA Television, NASA social media, the NASA app, and the agency’s website.

For more information about NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center and the missions and activities it supports, visit:

https://www.nasa.gov/goddard

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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White House Taps Chirag Parikh to Serve as National Space Council Executive Secretary

Chirag Parikh

The White House has tapped space policy expert Chirag Parikh to become executive secretary of the National Space Council. He will oversee day-to-day operations of the council, which helps to formulate, coordinate and implement space policies across the federal government. Vice President Kamala Harris chairs the council.

Parikh was director of space policy at the National Security Council from 2010-16, where he oversaw creation of the Obama Administration’s 2010 National Space Policy. The Obama Administration did not have a National Space Council; the Trump Administration revived it in 2017 after a 24-year hiatus.

Parikh left the White House in 2016 to serve as director of the Office of Source Strategies at the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency. He was responsible for worldwide imagery collection operations and adjudicated requirements for all U.S. space-based imagery intelligence systems.

Parikh became senior director of Microsoft’s Azure Space in 2020, where he focused on integrating space applications with Microsoft’s cloud computing platform.

Prior to joining the Obama White House in 2010, Parikh served as deputy national intelligence officer for science and technology at the National Intelligence Council and principle intelligence analyst for space systems at the National Air and Space Intelligence Center.

Parikh graduated from the University of Cincinnati with a bachelor of science degree in aerospace engineering.

Florida Member of House Science Committee is Severely Factually Challenged

by Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

Florida Congressman Michael Waltz is a member of the House Committee on Science, Space and Technology. In January, he completed a two-year on the Space and Aeronautics Subcommittee. So, he should know what he’s talking about on space.

Alas, he is severely factually challenged about the very thing he is supposedly an expert. Here is the assessment he gave to Fox News the other day about NASA and the U.S. space program:

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Vice President Harris Swears in NASA Administrator Sen. Bill Nelson

Bill Nelson is sworn in as NASA administrator. From left to right, Pam Melroy, current nominee for NASA deputy administrator, former NASA Administrator Charles Bolden, Bill Nelson Jr., son of Bill Nelson, Nan Ellen Nelson, daughter of Nelson, former Senator Bill Nelson, his wife, Grace Nelson, and Vice President Kamala Harris pose for a photo after Nelson was ceremonially sworn in as the 14th NASA administrator, Monday, May 3, 2021, at the Ceremonial Office in the Old Executive Office Building in Washington. A Moon rock collected by astronaut John Young during the Apollo 16 mission was also on display. (Credits: NASA/Aubrey Gemignani)

WASHINGTON (NASA PR) — Sen. Bill Nelson took office as the 14th administrator of NASA Monday, after he was given the oath of office by Vice President Kamala Harris during a ceremony at the Eisenhower Executive Office Building in Washington.

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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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Vice President Harris to Lead National Space Council

Harris will swear in former Sen. Bill Nelson as the next NASA Administrator on Monday morning (details TBA). The Senate unanimously approved his nomination on Thursday.

Nelson issued the following statement on Saturday:

“The Vice President is the perfect person to lead the federal government’s space policy, which is increasingly complex, with many nations in space.

“Vice President Lyndon Johnson was the first chair of the National Space Council when America initially ventured beyond Earth. Now, Vice President Harris will coordinate our nation’s efforts to ensure America continues to lead in space. It is an exciting time for our space program.”

The Trump Administration revived the National Space Council after a 24-year gap. The Biden Administration has announced it will keep the council’s Users’ Advisory Group, which was established by the last administration.

Video: VP Kamala Harris Calls Astronauts Shannon Walker & Kate Rubins on ISS

Video Caption: U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris placed a special phone call to Shannon Walker and Kate Rubins aboard the International Space Station to find out what it’s like to do science in space.

During the month of March, NASA celebrates and pays tribute to the many women who have played an essential role in shaping the history of the agency.

Learn more about Shannon Walker by visiting: https://www.nasa.gov/astronauts/biogr…

Learn more about Kate Rubins by visiting: https://www.nasa.gov/astronauts/biogr…

Video: Vice President Kamala Harris Calls NASA Astronaut Victor Glover on International Space Station

Video Caption: U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris placed a special phone call to space this week when she spoke with astronaut Victor Glover who is aboard the International Space Station.

Glover, a crew member of NASA’s SpaceX Crew-1 mission, is the first African American astronaut to fly on a commercial spacecraft, and the first African American to fly a long-term mission aboard the orbiting laboratory. This is his first spaceflight since being selected as a NASA astronaut in 2013.

Learn more about Glover by visiting https://www.nasa.gov/astronauts/biogr…

Download Link: https://images.nasa.gov/details-Vice%..

Biden Appoints Ellen Stofan to Lead NASA Agency Review Team

Ellen Stofan (Credit: Smithsonian Institution)
  • Former astronaut Pam Melroy and Kathryn Sullivan also named to review teams
  • Former XPRIZE vice president leads OSTP team

by Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

President-elect Joe Biden has appointed former NASA chief scientist Ellen Stofan to lead the review team assigned to the space agency.

Stofan, a planetary scientist who became the first female director of the National Air and Space Museum in 2018, leads an eight-member team that includes former NASA astronaut Pam Melroy and former NASA chief scientist Waleed Abdalati.

Biden has also appointed Kathryn Sullivan, who was part of the first group of women recruited as NASA astronauts, to serve on the agency review team for the Department of Commerce.

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