Last week, we took a look at the significant increase in NASA’s budget for FY 2019. In this story, we will examine the budget increases for the Commerce Department — which manages the nation’s weather satellites — and the Department of Transportation, which oversees commercial launches. We will also take a look how the White House’s National Space Council fared.
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)
NOAA’s satellite programs received $1,45 billion, which is an increase of $55 million over FY 2018. The bulk of the funding is designated for the GOES-R, Joint Polar Satellite System (JPSS) and Polar Follow-on (PFO) programs. The amounts include:
WASHINGTON (NASA PR) — NASA and the National Science Foundation (NSF), in partnership with other federal agencies, have committed to a White House-led effort to strengthen education in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM).
Charting a Course for Success: A Federal Strategy for STEM Education lays out the federal government’s role in furthering STEM education by working with state and local stakeholders, the education community and American employers. Its goals include building a STEM-proficient citizenry, creating a STEM-ready workforce and removing barriers to STEM careers, especially for women and underrepresented groups.
MEMORANDUM FOR THE HEADS OF EXECUTIVE DEPARTMENTS AND AGENCIES
SUBJECT: Developing a Sustainable Spectrum Strategy for America’s Future
By the authority vested in me as President by the Constitution and the laws of the United States of America, it is hereby ordered as follows:
Section 1. Policy. It is the policy of the United States to use radiofrequency spectrum (spectrum) as efficiently and effectively as possible to help meet our economic, national security, science, safety, and other Federal mission goals now and in the future. To best achieve this policy, the Nation requires a balanced, forward-looking, flexible, and sustainable approach to spectrum management.
The Senate Commerce Committee on Wednesday approved the nominations of Jim Morhard to be deputy administrator of NASA and Kelvin Droegemeier to head up the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP).
The voice votes were conducted with no dissents. The nominations now go to the full Senate for a vote.
Morhard, 62, currently serves as the Senate deputy sergeant at arms.
Droegemeier, 60, is a respected meteorologist who is vice president for research at the University of Oklahoma.
U.S. Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.), chairman of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, will convene a hearing at 10: 15 a.m. on Thursday, August 23, 2018, to consider three presidential nominees.
President Donald J. Trump has nominated Kelvin Droegemeier, who is vice president for research and regent’s professor of meteorology at the University of Oklahoma, to be the new director of the Office of Science and Technology Policy. In that position, he will serve as the president’s chief science adviser if confirmed by the Senate.
When the Apollo astronauts visited the moon nearly 50 years ago, they left behind a treasure trove of abandoned equipment and supplies on the surface ranging from the lunar module descent stage to electric cars and even uneaten food.
With both governments and private companies eyeing a return to the moon, the U.S. government is working on strategies to not only preserve these sites for historical purposes, but to use them to support the next stage of human exploration of the lunar surface, according to a new White House report.
The omnibus spending bill passed last week continues to restrict cooperation by NASA and the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) with the China.
“None of the funds made available by this Act may be used…to develop, design, plan, promulgate, implement, or execute a bilateral policy, program, order, or contract of any kind to participate, collaborate, or coordinate bilaterally in any way with China or any Chinese owned company unless such activities are specifically authorized by a law enacted after the date of enactment of this Act,” the law states.
NASA is further restricted from hosting official Chinese visitors at any of its facilities.
The law includes an exception that allows meetings to take place if NASA or OSTP can certify, in consultation with the FBI, that the activities
(1) pose no risk of resulting in the transfer of technology, data, or other information with national security or economic security implications to China or a Chinese-owned company; and
(2) will not involve knowing interactions with officials who have been determined by the United States to have direct involvement with violations of human rights.
The certification must be submitted to the House Appropriations Committee with details about the meeting at least 30 days before it takes place.
Donald Trump’s nominee to become administrator of NASA proposed a fundamental overhaul of how the space agency would be run last year.
Rep. Jim Bridenstine’s (R-OK) American Space Renaissance Act (ASRA) proposes the establishment of a 21-member board to oversee the space agency, giving the NASA administrator a five-year term, and the creation of 10- and 20-year strategic plans.
The overarching goal of these proposals is to insulate the space agency from changes in direction each time a new presidential administration takes over.
ASRA was a catch-all bill that contained proposals for broad changes to the nation’s civil, military and commercial space efforts. Bridenstine did not intend the ASRA to be passed as a single bill but as a series of individual measures. Congress has not taken up any of the NASA management reforms included in bill.
On the same day Donald Trump signed an executive order reviving the National Space Council, the last employees of the science division of the White House’s Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) left their jobs, CBS News reports.
Eleanor Celeste, the OSTP’s assistant director for biomedical and forensic sciences at the OSTP, tweeted a picture of the sign outside the division’s office before leaving the building.
All three employees were holdovers from the Obama administration. The departures from the division — one of four subdivisions within the OSTP — highlight the different commitment to scientific research under Presidents Obama and Trump.
Under Mr. Obama, the science division was staffed with nine employees who led the charge on policy issues such as STEM education, biotechnology and crisis response. It’s possible that the White House will handle these issues through staff in other divisions within the OSTP…
“All of the work that we have been doing is still being done,” a White House official familiar with the matter told CBS News, adding that 35 staffers currently work across the OSTP.
“Under the previous administration, OSTP had grown exponentially over what it had been before,” the official said. “Before the Obama administration, it had usually held 50 to 60 or so policy experts, director-level people, for all of OSTP.”
Seven Democratic members of the House Science Committee have sent a letter to President Donald Trump telling him he should not rely on fake news, debunked research and misinformation when setting science policy.
“We are concerned about the process by which you receive information,” the one-page letter begins. “According to a story reported by Politico on May 15, 2017, your Deputy National Security Advisor passed along printouts of two Time magazine cover stories — one, a previously identified and debunked Internet hoax purported to be from the 1970s warning of a coming ice age, and the other, from 2008, a special report on global warming, with the intention of undermining concern about climate change.”
NASA would receive $19.653 billion for fiscal year 2017 under an Omnibus spending bill released on Monday by Congressional appropriators, an increase of more than $600 million requested by the Obama Administration. NASA received just under $19.3 billion in FY 2016.
The bill was released seven months into the 2017 fiscal year. The government has been operating on continuing resolutions since the year began last Oct. 1.
The White House Office of Science and Technology Policy has released an exit memo highlighting the Obama Administration’s achievements in science and technology. Excerpts covering achievements in space follows. (more…)
Federal Agencies announce more than $100 million in new investments to develop small satellite systems and technology.
by Thomas Kalil Deputy Director for Policy White House Office of Science and Technology Policy
This past October, the White House announced the “Harnessing the Small Satellite Revolution” initiative. As part of the initiative, the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) and other Federal agencies identified multiple opportunities to encourage both government and private sector use of small spacecraft for a variety of applications, some of which were showcased at The White House Frontiers Conference in Pittsburgh.
WASHINGTON (House Science Committee PR) – Science, Space, and Technology Committee Chairman Lamar Smith (R-Texas) and Space Subcommittee Chairman Brian Babin (R-Texas) yesterday sent letters to four senior officials following up on requests for information about the current U.S. policy governing the export of U.S. commercial satellites for launch on Indian launch vehicles.
On July 6 Chairmen Smith and Babin wrote Director of Office of Science and Technology Policy John Holdren, Secretary of State John Kerry, United States Trade Representative Michael Froman, and U.S. Department of Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker, seeking this information.
Yesterday’s letters reiterate requests for a briefing and documentation on the current U.S. policy. The letters can be found here.