U.S. Joins the Space for Climate Observatory

SILVER SPRING, Md. (NOAA PR) — This week, the United States joined the Space for Climate Observatory (SCO) initiative, fulfilling the commitment made by Vice President Kamala Harris during her November 2021 visit to France.

Richard Spinrad, Ph.D., Under Secretary of Commerce for Oceans and Atmosphere and Administrator of the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) signed the SCO Charter as the lead agency for the United States. He was joined for the signing ceremony by Philippe Étienne, the French ambassador to the United States; Philippe Baptiste, Ph.D., Chairman and CEO of the French National Center for Space Studies (CNES), along with representatives of the White House, NOAA and the U.S. National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA).  

The Space for Climate Observatory is an initiative of the One Planet Summit under the leadership of CNES to combine satellite and in situ data with scientific research to model and track climate change and its impacts at global-to-local scales. It is also working to establish indicators and decision-support tools in a coordinated and cross-disciplinary fashion, including with social and economic sciences, to enhance the global community’s collective ability to mitigate the impacts of climate change.

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Video: Vice President Kamala Harris Congratulates Mark Vande Hei on Record-setting Spaceflight

Video Caption: Vice President Kamala Harris recently spoke to astronaut Mark Vande Hei after he returned home from spending 355 days in space — the longest single spaceflight for a NASA astronaut.

Mark’s mission and research in space helps us better understand the effects of long-duration human spaceflight as we prepare for the Artemis missions to the Moon. As head of the National Space Council, VP Harris is working on our priorities in space, including building up America’s STEM workforce, addressing the climate crisis, and promoting rules and norms that govern space.

Learn more about Celestial Immunity, space station research that may help us treat diseases: https://go.nasa.gov/3END1kY

U.S. Commits to Not Conduct Direct-ascent Anti-satellite Tests

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)

New U.S. Commitment on Destructive Direct-Ascent Anti-Satellite Missile Testing

VANDENBERG SPACE FORCE BASE, Calif. (White House PR) — Today at Vandenberg Space Force Base in California, Vice President Kamala Harris announced that the United States commits not to conduct destructive, direct-ascent anti-satellite (ASAT) missile testing, and that the United States seeks to establish this as a new international norm for responsible behavior in space. The Vice President also called on other nations to make similar commitments and to work together in establishing this as a norm, making the case that such efforts benefit all nations. 

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A Call For The United States Government To Lead International Efforts To Prohibit The Use Of Debris-Creating Anti-Satellite Weapons (ASATs)

Fig. 4: Estimated volume of space occupied by debris fragments during first day following intercept, with color depicting the relative likelihood of a fragment occupying that portion of space. (Credit: COMSPOC/CSSI volumetric analysis, with rendering by AGI, an Ansys Company.)

An open letter by Planet co-founders, Will Marshall and Robbie Schingler

For the last ten years, Planet has raised concerns about the impact destructive anti-satellite weapons (ASATs) have on a healthy space ecosystem. ASATs threaten operations in Low Earth Orbit (LEO), jeopardize astronauts’ safety, and risk destroying satellites that provide critical services to humanity. They are irresponsible. Today, we want to shed light on this important issue and urge the United States Government to lead an international effort to prohibit the use of debris-creating anti-satellite weapons (ASATs).

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2021 in Review: Highlights from NASA in Silicon Valley

Ingenuity Mars helicopter flies on the Red Planet. (Credits: NASA/JPL-Caltech/ASU/MSSS)

MOFFETT FIELD, Calif. (NASA PR) — Join us as we look back at the highlights of 2021 at NASA’s Ames Research Center in California’s Silicon Valley.

1) NASA’s water-hunting Moon rover, the Volatiles Investigating Polar Exploration Rover, made great strides this year. The VIPER team successfully completed practice runs of the full-scale assembly of the Artemis program’s lunar rover in VIPER’s new clean room. Two rounds of egress testing let rover drivers practice exiting the lander and rolling onto the rocky surface of the Moon. NASA also announced the landing site selected for the robotic rover, which will be delivered to the Nobile region of the Moon’s South Pole in late 2023 as part of the Commercial Lunar Payload Services initiative. NASA also chose eight new VIPER science team members and their proposals to expand and complement VIPER’s already existing science team and planned investigations. This year’s progress contributed to VIPER’s completion of its Critical Design Review, turning the mission’s focus toward construction of the rover beginning in late 2022.

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NASA’s 2021 Achievements Included Mars Landing, First Flight, Artemis, More

WASHINGTON (NASA PR) — In 2021, NASA completed its busiest year of development yet in low-Earth orbit, made history on Mars, continued to make progress on its Artemis plans for the Moon, tested new technologies for a supersonic aircraft, finalized launch preparations for the next-generation space telescope, and much more – all while safely operating during a pandemic and welcoming new leadership under the Biden-Harris Administration.

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Mexico Signs NASA-led Artemis Accords

  • 50 years ago, “We were spectators. Now we are going to be participants. This is a giant step for Mexico”: Ebrard 
  • Mexico joins the NASA-led space exploration project that includes commercial and international partners

MEXICO CITY (Mexican Government PR) — Mexico has joined the NASA-led Artemis Program for space exploration, which aims to establish a sustainable human presence on the Moon.

The signing of the Artemis Accords was announced today at an event led by Foreign Secretary Marcelo Ebrard and attended by the Secretary of Infrastructure, Communications and Transportation, Jorge Arganis Díaz-Leal. The initiative received the support of Mexican legislators and the National Conference of Governors (Conago), and was welcomed by the United States Government.

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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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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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