Nelson Swearing-In Ceremony Highlights Bipartisanship and Continuity

Nelson Swearing-In Ceremony Highlights Bipartisanship and Continuity

Vice President Kamala Harris officially swore in former Senator Bill Nelson as NASA Administrator this morning.  In attendance not only was Nelson’s wife and children, but his two predecessors in the job who served under Democratic and Republican presidents. Nelson said the point was to demonstrate that continuity and bipartisanship are needed to run the nation’s space program.

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What’s Happening in Space Policy May 2-8, 2021

What’s Happening in Space Policy May 2-8, 2021

Here is SpacePolicyOnline.com’s list of space policy events for the week of May 2-8, 2021 and any insight we can offer about them. The Senate is in recess except for pro forma sessions. The House is in a “committee work week” where committees meet virtually, but the House meets only in pro forma sessions.

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Soviet Space, Orbital Debris Expert Nick Johnson Passes Away

Soviet Space, Orbital Debris Expert Nick Johnson Passes Away

Nick Johnson, the former head of NASA’s orbital debris office and a leader in developing the IADC space debris mitigation guidelines, has passed away at the age of 71. Prior to joining NASA in the 1990s, Johnson was a renowned expert on Soviet space programs, publishing comprehensive annual reports for Teledyne Brown Engineering.

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Crew-1 Is Home — “You All Are Changing the World”

Crew-1 Is Home — “You All Are Changing the World”

The first operational flight of SpaceX’s Crew Dragon splashed down in the Gulf of Mexico at 2:56 am ET this morning after 168 days in space. It was the first nighttime splashdown since 1968, and the second Crew Dragon landing in the Gulf.

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Harris Will Chair National Space Council, Swear in Bill Nelson on Monday

Harris Will Chair National Space Council, Swear in Bill Nelson on Monday

Senior administration officials confirmed this morning that Vice President Kamala Harris will chair the National Space Council. The search for an Executive Secretary is underway. The Council will have a lot of continuity with its predecessor, but Harris will put her own stamp on it. She will also keep a Users’ Advisory Group. They also said that Harris will swear in Bill Nelson as NASA’s new Administrator on Monday.

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Ingenuity Gets a New Assignment

Ingenuity Gets a New Assignment

NASA’s Ingenuity Mars Helicopter got a new assignment today. Designed as a technology demonstrator simply to prove it could fly on Mars, NASA is so delighted with the results that now Ingenuity will move into an operational role supporting the Perseverance rover as it begins its scientific exploration of the Red Planet.

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NASA Suspends HLS Contract With SpaceX

NASA Suspends HLS Contract With SpaceX

NASA has suspended its contract with SpaceX for the landing system to take astronauts down to and back from the lunar surface.  Two other competitors for the contract, Blue Origin and Dynetics, have filed protests with the Government Accountability Office (GAO) and NASA issued the stop work order until GAO resolves the matter.

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SLS Core Stage Now at KSC

SLS Core Stage Now at KSC

The first launch of NASA’s Space Launch System (SLS) is one step closer now that the SLS core stage has arrived at Kennedy Space Center, FL. All the other elements for the first launch, Artemis-I, are already there. The pieces will be integrated and tested before the entire stack is moved out to the launch pad for an uncrewed test flight around the Moon in coming months.

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Nelson Confirmed by Senate to be NASA Administrator

Nelson Confirmed by Senate to be NASA Administrator

The Senate confirmed Bill Nelson to be the new NASA Administrator by unanimous consent today, just one day after his nomination was approved by the Senate Commerce Committee. A former Senator, he is highly regarded by his colleagues as evidenced by the swiftness of his confirmation.

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China Launches Core Module for New Space Station

China Launches Core Module for New Space Station

China launched the core module, Tianhe, of its new space station this evening.  It is the first of almost a dozen launches to create and supply a three-module China Space Station. China already launched two small stations years ago, but this is a further step in its methodical human spaceflight program.

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