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The First 2020 Election Space-Themed Campaign Commercial Flops

By Keith Cowing on June 4, 2020 8:03 PM.

Keith's note: Parts of this Trump campaign commercial look like portions of a promo for the Netflix show "Space Force" or outtakes from the end of the film "Armageddon". Statements by the President such as "Because we are Americans and the future belongs totally to us." certainly do not suggest that international cooperation is something that the campaign is promoting. The Trump producers also ripped off a logo From Disney too. Did the NASA employees openly shown in this video give their permission to be shown in a partisan political commercial? Astronaut Karen Nyberg certainly did not think so. The campaign eventually pulled the ad offline but it has started to pop up again online elsewhere.

- Trump Campaign Pulls Space Launch Ad That Violated NASA Rules
- Trump campaign removes space-themed ad amid complaints from former astronaut, others, CNN
- Trump campaign pulls 'Make Space Great Again' video that may have violated NASA regulations', Space.com
- Trump campaign pulls space-themed ad after complaints, SpaceNews
- After sparking consternation at NASA, Trump campaign pulls ad featuring SpaceX launch, Geekwire
- In Space No One Can Hear You Campaign: Trump Team Pulls Ad, Barrons

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It Is Time To Speak Up And Be Heard

By Keith Cowing on June 4, 2020 4:07 PM.

Statement from AURA President, June 2020

"AURA, as a leader in the astronomical community, believes that a diverse, equitable and inclusive workforce is our most valuable asset. We believe that a community of people of different genders and gender identities, color, ability, systemic advantage and disadvantage, and more - people from all walks of life - are essential to ensuring excellence both in our organization and in the scientific community as a whole. We remain committed to respecting and valuing each and every individual in our organization as a professional and as a person. We recognize that our success relies upon that respect and upon embracing the unique perspectives each one of you brings to work every day."

American Astronomical Society President Calls on Members to Support Black Americans

"On behalf of the AAS, I would like to express our unwavering support for those in our community who are rightfully concerned for their safety or that of their loved ones, and who have experienced or continue to experience bias and institutional racism in their personal or professional lives. "The AAS is committed to making a positive difference in the professional lives of our members. This commitment will be reaffirmed in our upcoming strategic plan, which will have diversity, equity, and inclusion at its core and woven throughout our priorities and plans as a Society."

Message from the NASA Administrator - June 1, 2020

"This is not the first time America has seen times of unrest and division, and looked to NASA for inspiration and confidence that we are capable of something magnificent. Let me be clear, NASA is a place where unity, respect, and decency are prioritized, and we will continue to promote an agency culture that aligns with these core beliefs."

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NASA Hits The Pause Button Again On The Back-To-The-Moon Thing (Update)

By Keith Cowing on June 4, 2020 10:00 AM.

NASA human spaceflight directorate reorganization on hold, Space News

"During a June 1 webinar by the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, NASA Associate Administrator Steve Jurczyk said that a reorganization of the agency's Human Exploration and Operations (HEO) Mission Directorate will be delayed until after the agency hires a successor to Doug Loverro, who left the agency May 19."

Keith's 4 June update: Bringing Mark Geyer back to NASA HQ to run HEOMD will make many people in the organization comfortable since there'd be a certain Gerstenmaier-like familiarity. But Jim Bridenstine originally replaced Bill Gerstenmaier with a new face and approach so as to refocus HEOMD to make the Artemis 2024 lunar landing feasible. Now a lot of that will be dialed back to the way it was before Doug Loverro took over. Between pandemic delays, election year uncertainties, and chronic SLS/Orion delays and cost overruns, Mark Geyer certainly has an immense challenge ahead of him.

Keith's 2 June note: When former HEOMD AA Bill Gerstenmaier was fired last summer it took NASA 6 months to replace him. During that time major aspects of Artemis and SLS were put on hold or dialed back until a replacement could be found. The new AA Doug Loverro showed up in early 2020 and did what he was told to do and the system bounced him as a result. Now NASA is searching for a replacement for Loverro who, himself, was a replacement. And once again NASA is putting things on hold - as if the pandemic-caused delays were not bad enough.

If NASA follows precedent it will take quite some time to replace Loverro. The reorganization of HEOMD was planned based on a top to bottom assessment of HEOMD - by HEOMD. One would think that the reorganization was independent of one person's opinion and that it had broad organizational buy-in. Guess not.

Now NASA will put the whole Artemis thing on hold again for months until someone takes the job and then stay on hold for a few more months more while the new person gets up to speed and takes ownership of HEOMD. There is simply no way NASA will ever meet the Moon landing deadlines it has been given if every decision has the fate/opinion of one NASA employee as a potential single point of failure. If NASA cannot come up with a fault tolerant way to manage its people on Earth then the whole Moon thing is not going to happen as planned. Just sayin'.

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ISS Crew Rings The Nasdaq Bell Amidst Troubles Back On Earth

By Keith Cowing on June 2, 2020 11:16 AM.

Keith's update: These two events happened a few hours - and a few hundred feet - apart from one another. Some people are looking up to the sky for answers while others seek some answers back on Earth.

NASA to Ring The Nasdaq Stock Market Opening Bell from the International Space Station in Honor of the First Commercial Crew Launch

"NASA will ring the Nasdaq Opening Bell remotely from the International Space Station to commemorate the first Commercial Crew launch. Jim Bridenstine, NASA Administrator, Demo - 2 Launch Crew, Robert Behken, Douglas Hurley, and ISS Commander Chris Cassidy, will ring the Opening Bell in a virtual bell ringing ceremony from the International Space Station. Tuesday, June 2, 2020 - 9:15 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. ET"

Keith's note: Its not clear what bell will actually be rung - the ISS has a ship's bell which was rung to welcome the Dragon crew yesterday. A live event "Tue., June 2, 9:20 a.m. EDT: SpaceX employee event and Class of 2020 Mosaic presentation with ISS crew" is shown on the NASA TV schedule with the ISS crew starting at 9:15 am. Watch live

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Bridenstine Speaks To Current Troubles And Future Hopes

By Keith Cowing on June 2, 2020 10:46 AM.

Message from the NASA Administrator - June 1, 2020

"NASA's SpaceX Demo-2 launch this past weekend was a tremendous accomplishment. Seeing Doug and Bob safe and sound aboard the International Space Station, after traveling there on history's first human commercial spaceflight, fills me with so much pride in what the NASA team can do when given the opportunity. Truly a new era of space exploration has begun! But this also is an example of what we can do when we come together as a nation. This is not the first time America has seen times of unrest and division, and looked to NASA for inspiration and confidence that we are capable of something magnificent. Let me be clear, NASA is a place where unity, respect, and decency are prioritized, and we will continue to promote an agency culture that aligns with these core beliefs. For a brief moment Saturday, the United States of America looked up as we once again launched humans into orbit from our home soil, recalling our nation's remarkable ability to accomplish astonishing, impressive achievements, and we demonstrated that we could bring people together peacefully for a common goal."

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The True Extent Of NASA's Reach During The Demo-2 Launch

By Keith Cowing on June 1, 2020 5:26 PM.

Keith's note: I just got some additional preliminary information from NASA PAO about their television, Internet and social media reach. Yesterday I asked (audio) Jim Bridenstine for some numbers to substantiate his glowing description of NASA's reach. Bridenstine said "I think a lot of people saw it - I think the whole world saw it - and we're very proud of that." NASA Communications Director Bettina Inclán said "Our metrics are saying that peak viewership of the May 30th joint NASA/SpaceX Launch webcast across all NASA platforms was at least 10.3 million concurrent viewers - the most watched event we've ever had ... those numbers are only for the NASA/Spacex (event). That does not count broadcast and other agencies and news outlets that were talking and promoting this incredible achievment for humanity."

Here are the new metrics from NASA PAO: During the 4 hour period surrounding the launch NASA had 50 million total viewers. That is just YouTube. NASA also had the top 1st, 2nd, and 3rd Twitter trends during that period. For a brief moment a lot of people were watching that launch.

I look forward to receiving more detailed stats from NASA on the reach that this event had - nationally and globally.

Image: A young boy in Chile wearing a NASA t-shirt explains a computer game to Pete Worden from Breakthrough Initiatives. How did he get that t-shirt? Why is he wearing it? Story

- NASA Media teleconference: Riots and Rocketships, earlier post
- That Time National Geographic Claimed Copyright On NASA Videos
- America's Excitement for #LaunchAmerica Is Not Equally Distributed, earlier post

Earlier posts on NASA's global reach

- Bridenstine: "The NASA brand is the most valuable brand America has"
- NASA's Global Branding Reach Is Often Under Appreciated, earlier post
- Understanding NASA's Global Reach, earlier post
- NASA is Still A Potent (If Underutilized) Brand, earlier post
- Using NASA's Logo: Expensive T-Shirts Or Global Soft Power?, earlier post
- NASA's Pervasive Brand Recognition, earlier post
- One Major Road Block To Bridenstine's Advertising Ideas, earlier post

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Arnie Aldrich

By Keith Cowing on June 1, 2020 11:17 AM.

Arnold Deane Aldrich

"Arnold Deane Aldrich, 83, of Vienna, VA, passed away on May 28, 2020 after a brief battle with cancer. He was born in Arlington, Massachusetts on July 7, 1936. Arnold enjoyed a 35-year career at NASA spanning all manned-mission programs including Mercury, Gemini, Apollo, and Space Shuttle. He served as Skylab deputy program manager; Apollo Spacecraft Program Office Deputy Manager during the Apollo Soyuz Test Project; and Orbiter Project Manager during development of Space Shuttles Discovery and Atlantis. Following the Challenger accident, Arnold was appointed director of the Space Shuttle Program where he led recovery and return-to-flight efforts. He then served as NASA Associate Administrator for Aeronautics and Space Technology and, later for Space Systems Development. Arnold also led initiatives with Russia leading to the incorporation of the Russian Soyuz spacecraft as the on-orbit emergency rescue vehicle for the International Space Station. Arnold joined Lockheed Missiles and Space Company in 1994 as Vice President. He retired in 2007."

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NASA Media teleconference: Riots and Rocketships

By Keith Cowing on May 31, 2020 11:07 PM.

Keith's note: At today's media telecom with Jim Bridenstine I asked if he could clarify NASA's media reach during the Demo-2 launch since he says that it topped everyone's viewing habits. I got one number "10.3 million concurrent viewers across all NASA platforms". I asked about these "heat charts" that NASA showed which seem to only show limited interest in the states where Dragon was built and flown and asked for additional viewership statistics. I don't expect to see any. I also asked how NASA can be seen as being relevant when we see split screens on TV with NASA on one side and riots on the other. How is NASA going to convince these angry and worried people who are out in the streets wearing gas masks - and not watching 2 guys take off in a rocket ship - that this is more important than problems "back here on Earth" (as this question is often couched). His response below:

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That Time National Geographic Claimed Copyright On NASA Videos

By Keith Cowing on May 31, 2020 10:02 PM.

Keith's note: Over the past several days media giants such as CNBC and National Geographic have been filing copyright takedown requests on YouTube - which have been granted - against people using their own material that they generated from the launch of DEMO-2 as well as NASA public domain material. National Geographic took this a step further by having NASA's own video taken down, asserting that National Geographic had the copyright on NASA's own footage. This has been going on for days. It is baffling that NASA PAO ever allowed this to happen - much less to continue as long as it has. At a time when global chaos has people focused on other things NASA needs every single amplifier of the value of space exploration that they can get.

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One Sided Political Recognition During Demo-2

By Keith Cowing on May 31, 2020 6:13 PM.

Remarks by President Trump at Kennedy Space Center

Keith's note: Today at a media briefing Jim Bridenstine said that there was representation "from both sides of the aisle" at the Demo-2 launch. Yet this is what the President chose to say about Congressional members present at they events:

"Also with us are many members of my Cabinet, including our great new DNI, John Ratcliffe. Thank you,John. Thank you.(Applause.) We have a great friend of mine, a special man, ran a great, great campaign: Governor of Florida, Ron DeSantis. (Applause.) Thank you, Ron. Thank you, Ron. Your Senators Rick Scott and Marco Rubio. Thank you very much. Thank you. (Applause.) Thank you. Thank you. Leader Kevin McCarthy. Kevin, thank you very much. (Applause.) Great job you do, Kevin. And Representatives Matt Gaetz, John Rutherford, Michael Waltz, Bill Posey, Gus Bilirakis, Daniel Webster, Brian Mast, Elise Stefanik, Bill Flores, Brian Babin, Rodney Davis, Roger Marshall, and Steven Palazzo. Thank you very much, fellas. Thank you. (Applause.) What a great group of people. They're warriors. They're really warriors. They helped so much get this done, and so many other things."

All of the people mentioned are Republicans. No Democrats were mentioned. Apparently they did not make any contribution to the day's events - otherwise they'd have been mentioned, right? Today at a crew conversation from JSC Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) and House Science, Space, and Technology ranking member Brian Babin (R-TX) were there. That committee's chair, Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-TX) was nowhere to be seen. "Both sides of the aisle?" Just sayin'.

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White House Post-Launch Commentary

By Keith Cowing on May 31, 2020 11:08 AM.

Remarks by President Trump at Kennedy Space Center

"Today, the groundbreaking partnership between NASA and SpaceX has given our nation the gift of an unmatched power: a state-of-the art spaceship to put our astronauts into orbit at a fraction of the cost of the Space Shuttle. And it's much better. From now on, the United States will leverage the fast-growing capabilities of our commercial sector and the finest pieces of real estate on Earth -- which you need very badly -- to send U.S. astronauts into space. Under NASA's Commercial Crew program, we will use rockets and spacecraft designed, built, owned, and launched by private American companies, at a fixed price for the American taxpayer. Today's launch makes clear the commercial space industry is the future. The modern world was built by risk-takers and renegades, fierce competitors, skilled craftsmen, captains of industry who pursued opportunities no one else saw and envisioned what no one else could ever think of seeing. The United States will harness the unrivaled creativity and speed of our private sector to stride ever further into the unknown." [larger image]

https://s3.amazonaws.com/images.spaceref.com/news/2020/30may2020pence.jpgRemarks by Vice President Pence at Kennedy Space Center Cape Canaveral, FL

"And in that spirit, today we begin a new era of human space exploration. And the credit goes to dedicated men and women all across this country, to the ingenuity and the hard work of the entire NASA team. America is proud of the men and women of NASA. (Applause.) But for the first time in our history, our astronauts have taken to the skies on a commercial rocket built by America's private sector. So join me in a vigorous round of applause for Elon Musk and the dedicated men and women of SpaceX. Job well done. (Applause.) That's great. Well deserved. (Applause.) Thanks, Elon." [larger image]

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Dragon Endeavour Has Docked With The Space Station

By Keith Cowing on May 31, 2020 10:16 AM.

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Bellicose Roscosmos Thinks Trump Is Hysterical Over Dragon

By Keith Cowing on May 31, 2020 10:15 AM.

Russian space agency calls Trump's reaction to SpaceX launch "hysteria", Reuters

"The U.S. success will potentially deprive Roscosmos, which has suffered corruption scandals and a number of malfunctions, of the lucrative fees it charged to take U.S. astronauts to the ISS. "The hysteria raised after the successful launch of the Crew Dragon spacecraft is hard to understand," Vladimir Ustimenko, spokesman for Roscosmos, wrote on Twitter after citing Trump's statement. "What has happened should have happened long ago. Now it's not only the Russians flying to the ISS, but also the Americans. Well that's wonderful!" Moscow has said previously that it is also deeply worried about what it fears are U.S. plans to deploy weapons in space. Moscow would not be sitting idly by, Ustimenko said."

Remarks by President Trump at Kennedy Space Center

"We have created the envy of the world and will soon be landing on Mars, and will soon have the greatest weapons ever imagined in history. I've already seen designs. And even I can't believe it. The United States has regained our place of prestige as the world leader. As has often been stated, you can't be number one on Earth if you are number two in space. (Applause.) And we are not going to be number two anywhere. (Applause.) Nowhere is this more true than with our military, which we have completely rebuilt. Under my administration, we have invested two and a half trillion dollars in new planes, ships, submarines, tanks, missiles, rockets -- anything you can think of. And last year, I signed the law creating the sixth branch of that already very famous United States Armed Forces: the Space Force. (Applause.)"

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A Crewed Dragon Is In Orbit

By Keith Cowing on May 30, 2020 9:43 PM.

Viewing A Dragon Launch From Orbit

"Ivan Vagner @ivan_mks63 2 minutes before the #CrewDragon launch the @Space_Station passed Cape Canaveral. Captured some pictures of LC39A from where the Falcon 9 launched. Congratulations to everyone and looking forward to seeing @Astro_Doug, @AstroBehnken"

SpaceX Launches Astronauts on Historic Mission

"For the first time in history, NASA astronauts have launched from American soil in a commercially built and operated American crew spacecraft on its way to the International Space Station. The SpaceX Crew Dragon spacecraft carrying NASA astronauts Robert Behnken and Douglas Hurley lifted off at 3:22 p.m. EDT Saturday on the company's Falcon 9 rocket from Launch Complex 39A at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida."

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Commercial Crew Started Before Trump Showed Up

By Keith Cowing on May 30, 2020 8:38 PM.

SpaceX's mission: A new chapter in space exploration -- and in humanity's age-old quest, OpEd, Sean O'Keefe, The Hill

"The Obama administration modified the strategy, slowing NASA's spacecraft development but accelerating the commercialization plan to develop new systems to competitively sustain the space station. This was the objective SpaceX has successfully pursued for the past few years, sending cargo and supplies to the space station -- the biggest, most advanced laboratory in space the world has ever conceived."

Trump Takes Credit For Space Launch That Got Its Start A Decade Ago, NPR

"Actually, it was two past presidents who put NASA on the path to this SpaceX launch, though it would be hard to know that from listening to the post-launch speeches."

- Commercial Crew Did Not Start With Trump. Just Sayin', earlier post

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