The Election And Space

Briefly, I don’t think a Biden win is great news, particularly given that Bridenstine has stated that he won’t serve in a Biden administration even if asked. But someone asked me on Twitter what it means for the Artemis Accords, and that will at least partially depend on who the new Secretary of State will be. I’ve heard rumors that Romney might be up for the job, as someone who would be easy to get confirmed, but that would be bad news indeed, given his opinions about space. I wrote about it during the 2012 campaign, and thought that my readers might find it of interest.

As far as a new administrator, an obvious choice would be Lori Garver, but I don’t think she’s confirmable, regardless of how the Senate ends up, just because of enmity from the space porkers like Shelby. Whether she becomes administrator or not, we can be sure that there will be a much bigger emphasis on climate for NASA.

[Afternoon update]

The transition team has been announced. Pam Melroy is the point person for NASA. If she ends up being administrator, we could do a lot worse, and have.

25 thoughts on “The Election And Space”

  1. I don’t think a Biden Administration would hurt NASA’s budget, but I don’t think it will help them regain focus and accomplish anything. Their biggest achievement in the last 8 years is returning Astronauts to space from US soil; and that happened despite a heavy thumb on the scales for Boeing rather than SpaceX. The real question is how long does it delay SLS? $22 Billion for 10 years of development without operations. What’s another a year delay if you still get $2 Billion? Or might some of that money shift away from JSC and Marshall to Langley, JPL, and Wallops?

  2. If Biden was somehow made the President, I would think someone young, someone with vision, would be put in charge of NASA.

    My expectation for the short list would be

    Corey Booker (NASA has been too white).
    Julian Castro (NASA has been too white).
    Andrew Yang (NASA has been too white).
    Pete Buttigieg (NASA has been too straight).
    Jay Inslee (NASA must focus all of its resources on saving whales so the Earth doesn’t get destroyed by an alien probe in 2286 CE).

        1. Well, that would make sense, particularly given that she’s looking for a job. It would be kind of ironic to replace Bridenstine with another (former) representative from Oklahoma. It would be terrible for NASA’s prospects of getting back to the moon a la Artemis, but they weren’t all that high even with Bridenstine.

          1. Losing her House reelction race last week might actually help her cause, since selecting her would not put a red state swing district in play for a special election.

            But I share your view that it would be bad news. She’s a big fan of Boeing, and a big fan of cost-plus.

    1. “Not with her current climate change kick.”

      It was reported that Biden wants to shift NASA’s focus to fighting gullible warming.

  3. Pam would already be Administrator if Hillary had won. In fact, I offered to talk to Bob Walker on her behalf during the Trump transition, even though she’s of the “wrong party” for President Trump. She would be a solid choice under any administration, in my opinion (she declined; so I sympathize with Bridenstine). Definitely, though, under a Democrat administration.

    1. My worry is that under a Biden Administration, NASA would be tasked to develop a sub-orbital vehicle that could do point-to-point high-speed delivery of fake ballots on a moment’s notice. In some cases it took till 4 or 5 AM Nov 4th to get the unmarked vans to deliver pallets of ballots to the counting centers. Such transport delays are unacceptable when you’re rigging an election.

    1. The commenters believe that President Trump is consolidating his military support in anticipation of a military coup in his favor. That’s b***shit. The non-stop spouting of “Trump is a Nazi, racist, anti-Semitic dictator” are accompanied by exactly zero examples or facts. It’s the fact that he loves this country, as founded, they hate.

    2. Esper and his staff are gone? How often is a defense secretary changed but their aides left in place?

      The tweet mentions 4 people, not really meriting the freak out but then again, Democrats have criminalized Trump using his constitutionally granted powers to conduct foreign policy and manage his staff. Same people who defended going after Flynn are celebrating Biden being a good global citizen and talking to world leaders.

  4. According to Keith at NASAWatch, it will be Ellen Stofan who will be lead of the NASA transition team for Biden. Melroy, it seems, is merely on member of the transition team.

  5. By the way, I’ll be announcing my choice for NASA administrator in the Washington Examiner tomorrow.

  6. … rumors that Romney might be up for the job, as someone who would be easy to get confirmed….

    The Hill: “Romney shoots down serving in Biden Cabinet.”

  7. Rand says: “Briefly, I don’t think a Biden win is great news, particularly given that Bridenstine has stated that he won’t serve in a Biden administration even if asked.”

    According to GAO, NASA’s performance on cost and schedule has deteriorated on Bridenstine’s watch. Between that and the fact that you don’t think much of Artemis, why would you be sorry to see him go?

    1. “According to GAO, NASA’s performance on cost and schedule has deteriorated on Bridenstine’s watch.”

      The buck stops on Jim’s desk and all that, but it’s left less clear just why this deterioration (which apparently is chiefly shaped by SLS issues) is specifically the result of the administrator’s action or inaction; or for that matter, why the marginally better performance under Bolden was due to his action or inaction. As opposed to the particular point in the development cycle that SLS, Orion, JWST etc. happened to be at, or other factors outside the administrator’s ready control.

  8. Artemis is likely dead but the goal of landing a woman on the Moon might live on under a different name. Hopefully, all the smaller missions planned will continue on as they are relatively inexpensive and might escape notice.

  9. “It looks like a lot of people here are suffering from normalcy bias.”

    Whatever happened to “normality”?

  10. Hello Rand,

    If you’re still checking this thread…

    So Eric Berger has run a new story amping up his story that Trump would have sacked Bridenstine in a second term. Eric claims he has “multiple sources,” and I don’t doubt that he does, but given who and what he is, I tend to doubt that they are the sources who would really be first-hand privy to this information. *I* have heard nothing here in DC, though I am not well connected to the WH, so…have *you* heard anything to this effect?

      1. Possible.

        But hard to say.

        It would be a shame, whether it’s your explanation, or Berger’s, because Bridenstine has done a remarkable job in difficul circumstances. Any effort to go anywhere that has to rely on the Space Launch System is crippled out of the gate. But Bridenstine got fierce enough pushback when he tried to sideline SLS to figure out that he really was stuck with it.

        Bridenstine’s appointment was one of the greatest successes of Trump’s administration, whether he recognizes it or not.

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