Pence to Visit MSFC on September 25

Pence to Visit MSFC on September 25

Vice President Mike Pence will visit NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center (MSFC) in Huntsville, AL on September 25, 2017.  Pence chairs the White House National Space Council.

Vice President Mike Pence at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center, July 6, 2017. Screengrab from NASATV.

In a speech in Huntsville on Friday, President Trump said that Pence would be at MSFC on Monday to get-out-the-vote for Sen. Luther Strange (R), who is a candidate in a run-off election on Tuesday.  Trump was there to stump for Strange himself.

NASA’s press release announcing Pence’s visit is silent about the election.  It would be very surprising for a political rally to be held at a government facility.  The Hatch Act prohibits government employees other than the President, Vice President, and a few other high-ranking officials to engage in partisan political activities. Trump likely was conflating Pence’s visit to MSFC and a political rally to be held elsewhere.

While at MSFC, Pence will be briefed on the Space Launch System (SLS) and see a test with the engine section of the SLS core stage.  He will also visit the Payload Operations Integration Facility where all scientific research aboard the International Space Station is managed.

MSFC is located on the U.S. Army’s Redstone Arsenal and Pence will visit the U.S. Army Aviation and Missile Research, Development and Engineering Center facilities there, too.

The press release does not mention any coverage of Pence’s visit on NASA TV or its social media outlets, although media are invited to participate.  They must contact MSFC’s newsroom by 5:00 pm Central Time today (Sunday).

Pence has already visited Johnson Space Center and Kennedy Space Center.

Trump reestablished the White House National Space Council and designated Pence as its chairman in late June.  It has not yet held its first meeting.

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