Today’s Tidbits: October 18, 2017

Today’s Tidbits: October 18, 2017

Here are our tidbits for October 18, 2017:  Ben Roberts joins Moon Express; how satellites are helping Puerto Rico recovery efforts; Scott Kelly’s new book is out.  Be sure to check our website for feature articles and follow us on Twitter (@SpcPlcyOnline) for more news and live tweeting of events.

Ben Roberts Joins Moon Express

Illustration of the Moon Express lander MX-1E. Credit: Moon Express website.

Ben Roberts, who most recently was Assistant Director for Civil and Commercial Space at the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP), has joined Moon Express.  Roberts spent nine years in the Executive Office of the President, seven at the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) and then at OSTP, serving as “the space guy” for the last two years of the Obama Administration.  He left in March of this year.

Roberts has a B.A. in Economics from Carlton College, a M.P.P. in science and technology policy from the Harvard Kennedy School of Government, and a J.D. from the University of Michigan Law School.  He will oversee legal, policy, regulatory and compliance functions for Moon Express, which is building very small lunar landers, the first of which is expected to launch in the next few months on a Rocket Lab Electron rocket from New Zealand.  Last year it became the first company to obtain a U.S. government license to land on the Moon.

Moon Express describes its “vision” as “to collapse the cost of access to the Moon with robotic explorers and unlock its mysteries and resources for scientific and economic development.”

Satellites Helping Puerto Rico Recovery Effort

Puerto Rico has a long road to recovery ahead of it following Hurricane Maria’s devastating impact.  One piece of good news is that satellites can help.  Satellite Today published an article today reporting on how the Red Cross is using satellite technology in new ways to restore communications, especially to the most isolated parts of the island.  For example, two mobile units equipped with Very Small Aperture Terminals (VSATs) have been deployed to the most inaccessible regions to provide wi-fi services, and Red Cross volunteers are also using Iridium satellite phones. Read more at: []

Scott Kelly’s Book is Out

As we reported earlier, NASA astronaut Scott Kelly has written a book about his “year in space” mission and, really, about his life.  We  now have it in hand.  It’s a very frank book, which naturally makes it a page-turner.  Interestingly, Kelly says that what really got him interested in space was — a book.

Admitting that he was uninterested in school and therefore a poor student who didn’t read many books and was pretty directionless when he started college, Kelly writes about spotting Tom Wolfe’s The Right Stuff in his college bookstore.  He bought it and found it so compelling that it gave him the direction he needed — to become a Navy pilot and astronaut.

We haven’t gotten to the end yet, but it’s fascinating so far.

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