Vice president Kamala harrisKamala HarrisJussie Smollett Convicted of Lying to Police Top Dem Party Promises Not to Let Expanded Child Tax Credit Expire at End of Month Hugh Hewitt Begs Trump Not to Support Greitens in Missouri MORE recently organized the first meeting of the National Space Council (NSC) of the Joe bidenJoe BidenJosÃ© AndrÃ©s to travel to Kentucky following devastating Sunday tornadoes preview: officials and experts respond to omicron; Biden administration sounds the alarm on Russia, China Biden says he will travel to storm-affected area: “We will overcome this together” MORE presidency, and she managed it competently and efficiently. It was very different from the VP’s recent video touting space exploration for the next generation, which featured child actors.
Senator Marc KellyMark Kelly Senate set to pass resolution to quash Biden vaccine mandate Juan Williams: GOP infighting is giveaway to Democrats Koch Industries buys solar power company from GOP Senate candidate MORE (D-Arizona), a former astronaut, introduced the vice president. Kelly, who faces a tough reelection race in 2022, looked forward to the day when “the first American woman and the first American of color” would walk on the moon. A little over a year ago, during the 2020 campaign, Kelly attacked the idea of ââreturning to the moon. The difference is that the Artemis project was the old President TrumpDonald Trump’s border protection unit used terrorist database to search for journalists: House panel report rejects claims of executive privilege by former Trump aide Navarro Trump struggles to erase the GOP field in the race for the North Carolina Senate MOREof the program in 2020. Artemis has now been fully adopted by the Biden administration. Kelly, the loyal Democratic Party man he is, stood in line.
Harris made the initial remarks, setting out the meeting’s agenda in clear terms – and could boost his approval currently abysmal note if more people saw this side of her.
The meeting of the National Space Council discussed three issues relating to space policy. The challenges were: to establish rules and regulations for space operations, how space could benefit the fight against climate change and how interest in space could encourage more young people to study in the fields. STEM fields (science, technology, engineering, mathematics).
The need to establish a system of rules and regulations for space operations was highlighted by Russia’s recent reckless ASAT test which created a cloud of space debris. The Biden administration intends to seek a diplomatic solution, possibly a treaty banning such space weapons. Interestingly, the current administration still relies on the Artemis accords of the Trump era. Harris suggested that France and Mexico could become the last signatories.
The role of space in the fight against climate change was the second topic. The Biden administration’s enthusiasm for solving the inherent problems of man-made climate change has proven to be controversial, as anyone who has seen a utility bill or filled their gas tanks can attest. The roles of NASA and its sister agency the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Agency (NOAA) in managing the phenomenon are not in question since NOAA is limited to collecting data via Earth observation satellites.
The meeting ended with a discussion on the role space plays in STEM education. The idea that space exploration can be used to inspire young people to become scientists and engineers for the benefit of the United States is as old as the space age itself. Space has a coolness factor that some believe should motivate students to study difficult STEM topics. Interestingly, the fact that the space also provides opportunities for blue collar workers, such as welders and electricians, was mentioned.
The first meeting of the Biden-era National Space Council was accompanied by the publication of a document called the United States Space Priorities Framework. With the exception of the one paragraph covering climate change, the document could have been released by the Trump administration. It is a fine example of continuity between the presidencies of two different political parties.
While the Biden administration may have had a rocky start, the NSC meeting and the space priorities document demonstrate, space policy is proving to be a beacon of hope for the current president and vice-president – although it is not well covered by the media.
Harris has had bad grades for blunders since taking office. However, if she can replicate what she did at the National Space Council meeting in other locations, she can still recover.
One issue not covered by the meeting is the underfunding by Congress of the human landing system and commercial space stations that are expected to follow the International Space Station. If Harris, a former senator, can convince Congress to allocate more money to these and other programs, she will have success that will reflect on her political stance.
Mark R. Whittington is the author of studies on space exploration âWhy is it so hard to get back to the moon? As well as “The Moon, Mars and Beyond” and “Why Is America Returning to the Moon?” He blogs at Curmudgeons Corner.