National Space Council

Summary

National Space Council meeting in 2019, at the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center in Washington D.C.

The National Space Council is a body within the Executive Office of the President of the United States created in 1989 during the George H. W. Bush administration, disbanded in 1993, and reestablished in June 2017 by the Donald Trump administration. It is a modified version of the earlier National Aeronautics and Space Council (1958–1973).

The National Space Council operates as an office of policy development and handles a portfolio of civil, commercial, national security, and international space policy matters. Composed of cabinet-level members and supported by a Users Advisory Group, the council is chaired by the Vice President of the United States.

National Aeronautics and Space Council (NASC)

1958–1973

Established by the National Aeronautics and Space Act of 1958, the NASC was chaired by the President of the United States (then Dwight Eisenhower). Other members included the Secretaries of State and Defense, the NASA Administrator, the Chairman of the Atomic Energy Commission, plus up to four additional members (one from the federal government and up to three from private industry) chosen at the President's discretion.

The Council was allowed to employ a staff to be headed by a civilian executive secretary. Eisenhower did not use the NASC extensively during the remainder of his term, and recommended at the end of his last year in office, that it be abolished. He did not fill the post of executive secretary but named an acting secretary on loan from NASA. Shortly before assuming office, President-elect John F. Kennedy announced that he wanted his Vice President, Lyndon Johnson, to become chairman of the NASC, requiring an amendment to the Space Act.[1]

Edward C. Welsh was the first executive secretary of the NASC, appointed in 1961 by President John F. Kennedy. Welsh, who as a legislative aide to Senator Stuart Symington (D-Missouri) helped draft the 1958 legislation that created NASA and the NASC, spent the 1960s as the principal advisor to the White House on space issues. He also assisted in the development of the legislation that created the Communications Satellite Corporation (COMSAT). After his retirement in 1969, he remained active as an advisor to NASA.

National Space Council

1989–1993

George H.W. Bush created the National Space Council by Executive Order 12675.[2] The Council was chaired by Vice President Dan Quayle and included the following members:

Disbanding

On February 12, 1992, friction between the largely astronaut-based management at NASA and the National Space Council led to Richard Truly, then NASA Administrator and a former astronaut, being removed from the council. Truly was forced out after Vice President Quayle and the space council's executive director, Mark J. Albrecht, enlisted the aid of Samuel K. Skinner, the White House chief of staff, in urging Pres. Bush to remove Truly. Quayle and the council staff made the move because they felt Truly would impede a new plan to restructure and streamline many aspects of the space program, including the space agency administration.[3]

In 1993, the Space Council was disbanded and its functions absorbed by the National Science and Technology Council.[4]

In August 2008, when campaigning for president, Barack Obama promised to re-establish the National Aeronautics and Space Council.[5] However, he completed two terms as president without having done so.[6]

2017 revival

Pence (center) speaks at the sixth meeting of the revived council in 2019
The second meeting took place in the high bay of the Space Station Processing Facility at KSC, Feb 2019.

In October 2016, Robert Smith Walker and Peter Navarro, two senior policy advisers to GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump, wrote in an op-ed in SpaceNews that if elected, Trump would reinstitute a national space policy council headed by the vice president.[7] In the first year of the Trump administration, Vice President Mike Pence indicated that the space council would be re-established, and would have a significant involvement in the direction of America's activities in space.[8] On June 30, 2017, President Trump signed an executive order for such a reestablishment.[9][10][11][12] The revival of the National Space Council and the drafting of the Executive Order was led by Trump senior advisor Peter J. White.[13] Following its re-institution, the council met for the first time on October 5, 2017 at the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum's Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center and Space Museum in Chantilly, Virginia.[14] On December 9, 2020 the 8th and last meeting of the White House National Space Council under the leadership of Vice President Mike Pence took place at Kennedy Space Center (KSC), FL. Major announcements were a new National Space Policy and the naming of 18 NASA astronauts on the Artemis Team.[15]

The status of this council is undetermined, however 17 industry groups are asking the White House to keep the National Space Council. [16][17]

List of meetings of the Revived National Space Council chaired by Vice President Mike Pence:

The revived National Space Council consists of the following members:[31][32]

National Space Council Users Advisory Group

On February 20, 2018, Vice President Mike Pence, Chairman of the National Space Council announced the candidates selected to serve on the National Space Council Users Advisory Group. Pending official appointment by the Administrator of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, the selected members of the Users Advisory Group will serve to fulfill President Trump's mandate to "foster close coordination, cooperation, and technology and information exchange" across our nation's space enterprise. The announcement was made on the eve of the second meeting of the National Space Council. "Moon, Mars, and Worlds Beyond: Winning the Next Frontier" includes testimonials from leaders in the civil, commercial, and national security sectors about the importance of the United States' space enterprise.[33] NSC UAG consists of six subcommittees. Details are at nasa.gov[34] With detailed reports of meetings at FederalRegister.gov.[35] and the most recent meeting agenda booklet [1]

Selection to the National Space Council Users Advisory Group:

National Space Council Fifth Meeting Summary

The fifth meeting of the National Space Council was held on March 26, 2019, where Chairman Vice President Mike Pence announced that U.S. astronauts would return to the surface of the moon by March 26, 2024. Reports from NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine and other council members were received and reviewed during the meeting. The Vice President also stated that NASA would be directed to ensure that the first woman and next man on the Moon will both be American astronauts from American soil, and that the Trump Administration and the American people are committed to achieving that goal at the Marshall Space Flight Center, located in Huntsville, Alabama. He emphasized that the National Space Council would be aiming to get to the Moon's South Pole, which holds great "scientific, economic, and strategic value".[37][38]

Afterward, there were two expert panels on human space exploration and council discussion, respectively.

Panel 1: Ready to Fly, was led by:

  • Les Lyles, Retired U.S. Air Force general and former Vice Chief of Staff of the Air Force
  • Eileen Collins former U.S. Air Force officer and NASA Astronaut
  • Sandy Magnus, former NASA Astronaut

Panel 2: Ready to Explore, was led by:

  • Dan Dumbacher, Executive Director of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics[39]
  • Jack Burns, Director and Principal Investigator of the Network for Exploration and Space Science and a Professor at the University of Colorado, Boulder[40]
  • Wanda Sigur, current aerospace consultant and former Vice President and General Manager of the Civil Space business at Lockheed Martin Space Systems[41]

Biden administration

On 29 March 2021 a spokesperson for the National Security Council announced that the National Space Council would continue under the Biden administration. In the statement the spokesperson said, “At a time of unprecedented activity and opportunity generated by America’s activities in space, the National Space Council will be renewed to assist the President in generating national space policies, strategies, and synchronizing America’s space activities.” While the makeup of the council has yet to be finalized the spokesperson stated “While we are still working details, we will tailor the Council to ensure we have representation that can address the priorities of the Administration — such as space-related science and technologies, space exploration, solutions to address climate change, ensuring economic and educational opportunities, building partnerships, cementing norms of behaviors in space, and addressing matters of national security efforts in space.” It was also announced that the councils User Advisory Group would continue. [42] On April 29, 2021, Senator Bill Nelson announced Vice President Harris was appointed chairman of the council. [43][44]

References

  1. ^ Day, Dwayne A. (June 21, 2004). "A new space council?". The Space Review. United States: Pocket Ventures, LLC. SpaceNews. Retrieved March 28, 2015.
  2. ^ http://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/ws/print.php?pid=60450
  3. ^ Leary, Warren E. (February 15, 1992). "Quayle's Influence Seen in NASA Shake-Up". The New York Times. New York City. Retrieved August 6, 2008.
  4. ^ "National Space Policy". United States Department of Commerce. Washington, D.C.: Executive Office of the President of the United States. Retrieved March 28, 2015.
  5. ^ Bruns, Aaron (August 2, 2008). "Fighting Over the Final Frontier". Fox News. New York City: Fox Entertainment Group. Archived from the original on September 9, 2008.
  6. ^ "The Obameter: Re-establish the National Aeronautics and Space Council". PolitiFact.com. United States: Tampa Bay Times. August 2, 2010. Retrieved March 28, 2015.
  7. ^ Walker, Robert S.; Navarro, Peter (October 19, 2016). "Op-ed Trump's space policy reaches for Mars and the stars". SpaceNews. Alexandria, Virginia: Pocket Ventures, LLC. Retrieved November 10, 2015.
  8. ^ Berger, Eric (June 30, 2017). "Trump to sign executive order creating a national space council". Ars Technica. United States: Condé Nast. Retrieved July 1, 2017.
  9. ^ Berger, Eric (June 30, 2017). "No space for new space at Trump's space council rollout". Ars Technica. United States: Condé Nast. Retrieved July 1, 2017.
  10. ^ Office of the Press Secretary (June 30, 2017). "Presidential Executive Order on Reviving the National Space Council". whitehouse.gov. Washington, D.C. Retrieved July 1, 2017 – via National Archives.
  11. ^ Ware, Doug C. (June 30, 2017). "Trump orders resurrection of National Space Council". UPI. Washington, D.C.: News World Communications. Retrieved July 1, 2017.
  12. ^ Space News Staff (June 30, 2017). "President Trump reestablishes National Space Council". SpaceNews. Alexandria, Virginia: Pocket Ventures, LLC. Retrieved July 1, 2017.
  13. ^ Berger, Eric (June 30, 2017). "No space for new space at Trump's space council rollout". ArsTechnica.
  14. ^ "Vice President Pence Opening and closing remarks at the National Space Council Meeting". whitehouse.gov (Press release) – via National Archives.
  15. ^ Marcia Smith (December 15, 2020). "Meeting Summaries". Event occurs at 12:21 pm ET. Retrieved February 6, 2021.
  16. ^ Feldscher, Jacqueline. "Industry asks White House to keep National Space Council". POLITICO. Retrieved February 6, 2021.
  17. ^ "Space industry executive calls on Biden to keep the National Space Council". SpaceNews. January 21, 2021. Retrieved February 6, 2021.
  18. ^ "Vice President Pence Hosts National Space Council". Retrieved September 1, 2019 – via www.youtube.com.
  19. ^ "Vice President Pence Leads the Second Meeting of the National Space Council". Retrieved September 1, 2019 – via www.youtube.com.
  20. ^ "Vice President Pence Meets with the National Space Council". Retrieved September 1, 2019 – via www.youtube.com.
  21. ^ "Vice President Mike Pence chairman of the National Space Council".
  22. ^ "National Space Council to meet to discuss exploration plans". SpaceNews.com. March 20, 2019. Retrieved March 23, 2019.
  23. ^ NASA (March 26, 2019), Fifth Meeting of the National Space Council, retrieved March 27, 2019
  24. ^ "Sixth Meeting of the National Space Council | SpaceRef". spaceref.com. Retrieved August 18, 2019.
  25. ^ "NSC Meeting Event". spacepolicyonline.com. Retrieved March 15, 2020.
  26. ^ "Update on Seventh Meeting of the National Space Council". spaceref.com. Retrieved March 15, 2020.
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  28. ^ "Seventh Meeting of the National Space Council - YouTube". www.youtube.com. Retrieved December 23, 2020.
  29. ^ https://images.nasa.gov/details-KSC-20201209-PH-KLS01_0251
  30. ^ "WATCH LIVE: Pence chairs 8th meeting of National Space Council - YouTube". www.youtube.com. Retrieved December 23, 2020.
  31. ^ "Presidential Executive Order on Reviving the National Space Council". whitehouse.gov. June 30, 2017. Retrieved July 6, 2017 – via National Archives.
  32. ^ "Amending Executive Order 13803 – Reviving the National Space Council". whitehouse.gov. February 13, 2020. Retrieved February 18, 2020 – via National Archives.
  33. ^ "Vice President Pence Announces National Space Council Users Advisory Group". whitehouse.gov. Retrieved September 1, 2019 – via National Archives.
  34. ^ Mochinski, Ron (December 12, 2017). "National Space Council Users' Advisory Group". NASA. Retrieved November 17, 2019.
  35. ^ "Document Search Results for 'National Space Council Users' Advisory Group'". Federal Register. Retrieved November 17, 2019.
  36. ^ Ellingson, Annlee (November 17, 2017). "Virgin Orbit's Vox Space lands first client". L.A. Biz.
  37. ^ Smith, Yvette. "Fifth Meeting of the National Space Council." NASA, 26 Mar. 2019, www.nasa.gov/feature/fifth-meeting-of-the-national-space-council.
  38. ^ "Remarks by Vice President Pence at the Fifth Meeting of the National Space Council | Huntsville, AL." The White House, The U.S. Space & Rocket Center, www.whitehouse.gov/briefings-statements/remarks-vice-president-pence-fifth-meeting-national-space-council-huntsville-al/.
  39. ^ Mochinski, Ron. “Daniel L. Dumbacher.” NASA, NASA, 31 Mar. 2020, www.nasa.gov/offices/nac/members/Daniel-Dumbacher-bio.
  40. ^ Jack Burns, Ph.D. (n.d.). Retrieved October 12, 2020, from
  41. ^ Board of Advisors, Wanda A. Sigur. (2020, October 07). Retrieved October 12, 2020, from https://exploredeepspace.com/about-us/board_of_advisors/board-of-advisors-wanda-sigur/
  42. ^ Bender, Bryan. "SCOOP: Biden to renew National Space Council". politico.com. Retrieved March 30, 2021.
  43. ^ Thompson, Tabatha (May 1, 2021). "Sen. Bill Nelson Statement on National Space Council". NASA. Retrieved May 2, 2021.
  44. ^ "Harris to place "personal stamp" on National Space Council". SpaceNews. May 1, 2021. Retrieved May 2, 2021.