NASA DEPUTY PICK GETS SCRUTINY: James Morhard, President Donald Trump's choice to become NASA's second commander, faced a number of difficult questions in his Senate confirmation hearing on Thursday – about his qualifications and views on climate change.
"You have no space experience, you are not a space professional, you have never run a large organization, "said Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) to Morhard, the deputy sergeant of the Senate who, due to his lack of technical experience, was not the first choice of NASA administrator Jim Bridenstine.
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Morhard, who previously served as executive director of the Senate Credit Commitment, replied that in his current role, he is helping to lead an organization at the moment, which is the largest on Capitol Hill, where he handles operations. managed human resources, maintained budget discipline and struggled with legal questions.
But he also got back of Sen. Ed Markey, a Democrat of Massachusetts, on his stated doubts that man is the main driver of climate change – a skepticism that also chased Bridenstine, although the NASA boss has since changed his views dramatically. Morhard said that he absolutely could not respond when human activity is the primary cause of rising temperatures, but promised that his views would not influence NASA's research.
Morhard, who has also secured the commission that he will postpone to Bridenstine and the Command Structure & # 39 ;, repeated the administration's goal of bringing astronauts back to the moon as a stepping stone to other deep space missions. "It's all part of setting up the table for NASA and its partners and any missions to Mars and beyond," he told the panel. "The moon is a springboard."
Despite the Senators' concerns, it is expected that Morhard will soon be approved. At the Thursday hearing, he seemed to get the support of Senator Bill Nelson of the Florida's top Democrat, who told him: "Your experience of managing the complex and critical security activities in the Senate comes in handy at NASA, just as your experience in evaluating programs and negotiating budgets in the Senate Credit Committee. "The committee announced that it would vote for its nomination on 29 August.
THE RUSSIA HABIT DISCS: Vice President Mike Pence promised employees at NASA's Johnson Space Center in Houston Thursday that US astronauts will launch "very soon" from their home country and that the days of reliance on Russia to reach space – at $ 82 million per bang – "about to be over."
In a speech that promotes the top space precedence of the administration, Pence, who has become the leading outdoor space evangelist of the Trump government, praised Boeing and SpaceX's efforts to build new capsules to bring Americans to the international space station that was their first will undergo manned tasks. test flights next year.
Pence also repeated the purpose of the White House of a permanent presence around and on the surface of the moon. "This time we are not satisfied with leaving footprints," he said. And he criticized the decision of former President Barack Obama to cancel the Constellation program from NASA, which would have brought Americans back to the moon by 2020. "That decision was a mistake," Pence said. "It said to NASA, the country and the world that our country was no longer serious about the human exploration of space."
Pence was not the only official this week to visit NASA mission management in Houston, where astronauts are trained for space flights. Taiwanese president Tsai Ing-wen toured the facility on Sunday, outraged by China, which still sees the island as a part of its territory rather than a sovereign state. A Chinese spokesman claimed that Tsai & # 39; s visit was "focused on China's splitting."
WELCOME TO POLITICO SPACE, our weekly briefing on the policies and personalities that shape the new space age in Washington and beyond. E-mail us at [email protected] or [email protected] with tips, pitches and feedback, and find us on Twitter at @bryandbender and @jacqklimas. And do not forget to view the POLITICO & # 39; s space policy page here.
** A message from The Boeing Company: Experiments aboard the international space station will enable humanity to travel to the lunar surface. Survive. To thrive. These experiments reveal solutions to improve life on earth – from recycling to medicines. That is why Boeing continues to maintain the space station that helped build it. Discover more and connect with us @BoeingSpace. **
THE RISK & # 39; S AND OPPORTUNITIES OF ASTEROIDS. One destroyed the dinosaurs and overheated the planet for 100,000 years. So how likely is it that someone can strike again and destroy humanity? The simple answer is that no one has any idea, according to Danica Remy, president and CEO of the B612 Foundation, who wants to build a comprehensive map of asteroids near the Earth, she says that the inventory of some 18,000 copies with a large number of orders of magnitude that have been identified so far.
"We need an extensive, predictive map of the locations and routes of these near-earth asteroids, which would inform us well in advance of any threatening asteroid effects, giving us plenty of time to deflect that the asteroids hit the earth, "she tells us.
The so-called ADAM project of the foundation, which stands for Asteroid Decision and Mapping, has enabled Google and Space Mapping Company AGI to help. And a new telescope that will come online in the coming years will also have a huge impact. "They are seeing a large number of asteroids, really dwarfish what we know today," explains Remy.
But it is not just about preventing the extinction of man. "This map will also serve as a basis for future trade in space – both by identifying and claiming resources for space travel," says Remy, who also co-founded Asteroid Day in 2014 to increase global awareness.
"They are really our nearest cosmic neighbors, "she adds. "From the point of view of the development of space, they are most relevant, Pluto will never land on Earth, but Mars will never come here, Asteroids, they're so close, if we know all the people flying between us and the moon, we can carry out mission planning for scientific purposes or for technological demonstration purposes on a celestial body that is much easier to go to the moon or Mars. "
The potential threat of asteroids has recently attracted renewed attention. NASA issued a new preparedness strategy earlier this summer and next week the agency will give an update on his robotic mission to Bennock, Bennock on the chest, a 1,600-foot-wide asteroid crossing the earth's orbit. On Wednesday, it identified a new near-asteroid the size of the Great Pyramid of Giza. And as a recent poll of the Pew Research Center reported, Americans really care about asteroid defenses.
Read our full interview with Remy here.
LESSONS IN ACCELERATION: One start-up space for a space is the crucial aid it received from a government-backed technology accelerator when launching a three-year NASA contract.
"As an engineer you are not trained in business principles," Tom George, CEO of California-based SaraniaSat, tells us about his experiences with the Catalyst Accelerator, the brainchild of the Aircraft Research Department at the Air Force Research Laboratory in Colorado Springs. George, a 33-year-old veteran from NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, said he learned marketing, accounting and attracting investors. "I am very grateful that the incubator has picked us up."
SaraniaSat, which was founded in 2016 and uses remote sensing satellites to analyze data on intelligence and tracking environmental developments, ranging from deforestation to crop rotation, won a $ 5.1 million contract from NASA earlier this year for its applications. Validate earlier this year.
Should NASA have its own accelerator? It can certainly help upstarts like SaraniaSat. But George is doubtful. He does not think the space agency has the resources and also considers it more "conservative" than the Pentagon's way of thinking when it comes to untested technology.
"Almost every dollar in it [NASA’s] program is spoken in terms of allocation to a mission, "says George." It does not have so much discretionary money available to try new things. "
A & # 39; FALSE CHOICE & # 39; ON THE ISS? A former special assistant of the NASA administrator is on the road with a fresh look at POLITICO about why the international ISS space station should be used as a test bed for private space stations that a number of commercial companies are looking for.
"False battle lines have been signed between the ISS and a commercial space station alternative, " Jeff Waksman, a physicist who was also a member of the Trump government's NASA transition team, writes. "In reality, the problems of creating a habitable and sustainable commercial space station are so big that they can not really be achieved without the two working together."
"We should see the ISS as an opportunity to create the first real commercial market opportunities," he adds. And there are "many good ideas" – from space tourism to biomedical research, production in space and satellite support. But "why does no one fly?" He asks. "Costs and risks are high and investors remain on the sidelines."
He adds: "The ISS is not the enemy of commercial space stations, in fact it is ISS where the commercial space begins."
INDUSTRY INTEL: NASA is looking for new commercial partners. NASA is on the road with a new demand aimed at setting up public-private partnerships with commercial space companies to increase the communication relay infrastructure. "These new opportunities can help boost the growth of the commercial satellite communications relay services market (from low earth to moon and beyond) and offer benefits for future NASA missions," says Glenn's announcement. Research Center in Ohio.
INDUSTRY INTEL II: SpaceX is shown at military conference. Gwynne Shotwell, the president and chief operating officer of SpaceX, speaks on the first day of the Air, Space and Cyber Conference of the Air Force Association in National Harbor, Maryland, next month. The three-day conference will also include comments from Jeff Bezos, the founder of Blue Origin, who will participate on stage Gen. John Raymond, head of Air Force Space Command.
TOP DOC: & # 39; Disturbances & opportunities & # 39;. The non-partisan Congressional Research Service has a foreword to President Donald Trump's order to set up a new military department dedicated to space, outlining the various options, and notes that the "budgetary costs and disruptions of personnel and opportunities probably also play in space ". important ways that can take time to fully understand. "
It also raises questions about the separation of powers. So who might have the last word? Defense Minister Jim Mattis has claimed that it is the Congress that has the authority to raise and support armies and navies & # 39 ;, not the commander-in-chief. But that can depend on what space travel actually does, says CRS.
"It is unclear whether a new space force would actually perform functions in space or whether its functions would be different from those in connection with space operations that are already being carried out by the various services," it testifies. "Given this uncertainty, it is possible that a Space Unit unit would already form a land and naval force under the Constitution." It is clear that the relationship between the Space Force and the Constitution will receive more attention if the Congress weighs next year.
LOVE IN SPACE. Astronauts at the International Space Station made history this week by playing the very first tennis match in space. The microgravity duplication match, Space.com reports, "was projected live on a huge globe in Queens, New York, where a crowd of space and tennis enthusiasts gathered to view the historic event." Anyone for tennis? Would not that be nice?
QUOTE OF THE WEEK: "Jeff Bezos has so much money that he says that the only way he could spend it all is space travel." Space travel "Have you ever heard of anything like that?" "It is absolutely absurd." – Senator Bernie Sanders, (I-Vt. ), In an e-mail campaign in which he criticizes the founder of Amazon and Blue Origin for not paying employees better.
– Where is the space diplomacy of the Trump administration?
– I was an astronaut. We need a space power.
– GOP subcommittee chairman calls Space Force & # 39; ridiculous. & # 39;
– Former military lawyer warns for space weapon race.
– The Pentagon report raises questions about the space activities of the Chinese army.
– Pentagon, Brazil, sign space agreement.
– Head of new space agency outlines the agenda.
– Morgan Stanley bullish about space investments.
– The NASA veterans who want to build their own space station.
– NASA has "reason to be optimistic" Mars Opportunity Rover is back online.
– A selfie halfway to Mars.
– NASA approves "load and go" tanks for launch of SpaceX crew.
– Arizona State hosts NASA chief, market leaders.
– Charles Koch Foundation: space travel can prevent spatial history.
– How much effort does Elon Musk have?
– Paul Allen built the largest aircraft for rocket launches, but does anyone need it? Or does it have a secret purpose?
– Stratolaunch announces new line spaceships.
– Spaceport Colorado secures license – and here is the latest environmental impact report.
– New reusable spacecraft to be tested in the space zone of New Mexico.
– Is India ready to go to space?
– Trio of Russian space exec & # 39; s accused of fraud.
– The campers are designed for a road trip in space.
– More about all that water on the moon.
– New space comedy gets a star.
– 17 books that teach you everything you need to know about space.
** A message from The Boeing Company: Space is not friendly to the human body. The longer you stay, the harder it gets. So how do we prepare for return to the moon to stay? The international space station. This ground-breaking science laboratory, which Boeing helped build and maintain, is the key to understanding how people can survive long-term missions that lie outside the Earth's orbit. Water filtration and recycling processes, bone conservation and 3D printer innovations are just one example of the breakthroughs taking place on board the ISS. The best part? These discoveries are mutually beneficial for the rest of us back on earth. Read more and connect with us @BoeingSpace. **