U.S. Revives National Space Council after Quarter-Century Absence
The United States will stimulate the National Long Inactive Space Council, a group to coordinate space policy between government agencies and departments. Vice President Mike Pence, who will chair the Board, announced his reinstatement June 7 at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas.
Created for the first time in 1958, the Space Council – or some iteration – has been sporadically active, more recently, between 1989 and 1993. Since then, space policy has been virtually devoid of the Office of Science Policy and Technological White House (OSTP) and NASA.
The board’s increase will be to better coordinate the country’s space efforts, Pence said. “President Trump recognizes that the United States needs a coherent and consistent approach,” he added. The board “will ensure that the United States no longer lose our advantage in space exploration, innovation and technology.”
In theory, the US National Space Council oversees NASA’s space policy and defense agencies, intelligence and trade. In practice, however, it sometimes had little power to change entrenched practices among various agencies – especially in military affairs.
“While the return of Trump Pence and Pence decides to give much importance to their role as Space President, it is possible to make a difference,” said John Logsdon, space policy expert George Washington University (GWU) in Washington DC. In its 1989-1993 incarnation, the Board has played an important role in shaping President George H. W. Bush’s plan to send astronauts to the Moon and Mars. He also worked on space issues with Russia after the collapse of the Soviet Union.
The reinstated council will succeed if it coordinates the work of the government with that of the booming commercial space industry, said M. Logsdon. Private companies currently have a contract with NASA to deliver the cargo to the International Space Station and quickly carry the astronauts from the United States. A council could strengthen commercial space connections outside NASA.
The board could also better coordinate diplomatic relations with other countries in space, Logsdon said. “There is a full plate to eat,” he said.
The question of whether US space agencies will receive adequate funding to carry out these efforts is unclear. Speaking at the Johnson Space Center, Pence said “NASA will have the resources and support it needs to continue to make history.” However, the White House has proposed reducing the agency’s $ 19.7 billion budget from about 3% for the next fiscal year to $ 19.1 billion, a relatively modest reduction of gaps in figures of two Described for other scientific organizations.
Scott Pace, head of the Space Policy Institute GWU should be appointed head of space train staff. Extension of the governance experience includes roles in NASA and Pace OSTP during the administration of George W. Bush.
WAITING FOR THE WHITE HOUSE
Trump has said very little about NASA apart from reiterating the American leadership issues in space and jesting in recycled urine during a conversation in April with Peggy Whitson, then commander of the International Space Station. Pence hinted in March that the board would rise. Advisers campaign space policy Trump Pence called for his reinstatement in October, before Trump wins the presidency.
The new administration has not yet put its seal on the body. Trump has not named a new NASA director. Although the agency continues to develop a rocket and heavy crew capsule to take astronauts into deep space, “Journey to Mars” was pushed during the presidency of Barack Obama is no longer increasing.
It is not clear if the White House Trump will work to send astronauts to the Moon, Mars or another deep space destination. (NASA has abandoned Obama’s plan to bring an asteroid into orbit around the moon and send astronauts to visit there).
Pence made the bulletin board space at an event to present NASA’s 12 new astronaut candidates. They include scientists such as Jessica Watkins, a geologist at the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena working on Mars vehicles and Zena Cardman, a geobiologist at Pennsylvania State University at University Park.