Archive for February, 2018

Curiosity Front Hazcam Left B image acquired on Sol 1972, February 22, 2018.
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

NASA’s Curiosity Mars rover is now in Sol 1977.

“After a successful drill preload test, Curiosity was primed to drill for the first time in about a year,” reports Christopher Edwards, a planetary geologist at Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff.

“Unfortunately, due to a light downlink from the Mars Odyssey spacecraft, we didn’t get all the images down needed to safely carry out the drill activity in this weekend’s plan,” Edwards added. “Instead, we’ll push the drill activity out until we get the needed images down to help ensure it will complete successfully! Until then the view of the arm preload activity provides tantalizing hints of great things to come.”

Curiosity Mastcam Left photo taken on Sol 1974, February 24, 2018.
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS

Backup science plans

Edwards pointed out that just because researchers couldn’t carry out the drill activity as planned, that doesn’t mean the team would let the rover sit idle. “In fact, quite the opposite,” he said.

The science operations team started planning backup science activities. The team decided to carry out activities on two contact science targets with the Mars Hand Lens Imager (MAHLI) as well as carry out Alpha Particle X-Ray Spectrometer (APXS) chemistry.

The targets — dubbed “Rockall” and “Benbecula” — will continue to help Mars scientists characterize the composition and fine-scale textures of the bedrock around the rover’s upcoming drill location.

Curiosity ChemCam Remote Micro-Imager photo taken on Sol 1971, February 21, 2018.
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/LANL



Bedrock variability

“These activities will provide valuable geologic context to the drill and help assess the variability of the bedrock in this area,” Edwards explains. A slew of Chemistry & Camera (ChemCam) and rover Mastcam images are also being acquired to further this goal.

Mars Hand Lens Imager (MAHLI), located on the turret at the end of the rover’s robotic arm, produced this image on Sol 1974, February 24, 2018.
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS

“It won’t be long until the other instruments inside the rover body get to sample the fantastic geology of the Vera Rubin Ridge,” Edwards concludes. “Stay tuned this coming week for the results of the drill activities. The science team can’t wait!”

Credit: CSPS

Two new space policy papers have been released by the Center for Space Policy and Strategy (CSPS) under the rubric of The Aerospace Corporation.

Reconfigurable space fleets

The first paper, On-Orbit Assembly of Space Assets: A Path to Affordable and Adaptable Space Infrastructure, surveys the new on-orbit assembly paradigm and provides a roadmap toward reconfigurable space fleets. The authors discuss how the ability to build and reconfigure spacecraft on-orbit could overcome key limits imposed by building spacecraft on the ground and then launching them to orbit.

Credit: CSPS



Insurance market

The second paper, Assurance through Insurance and On-orbit Servicing, examines the interplay between on-orbit servicing and the satellite insurance market. This paper analyzes how repairing and upgrading components via on-orbit servicing could potentially revolutionize how satellites operate in space.

Credit: CSPS















To read these informative papers, go to

The new reports were briefed during the first meeting of a newly formed Senior Advisory Council for The Aerospace Corporation’s Center for Space Policy and Strategy.

Credit: CSPS

Handpicked members

Explained Steve Isakowitz, Aerospace president and CEO, the new Council’s support and guidance will prove vital in efforts to shape the future of the space enterprise.

The newly established council works as strategic advisers to the CSPS research agenda and reviews individual projects. The current members are:

Vice Adm. Manson Brown, USCG (Ret.)

Carissa Bryce Christensen

The Honorable Madelyn Creedon

Adm. Cecil Haney, USN (Ret.)

Lt. Gen. Larry James, USAF (Ret.)

Maj. Gen. Susan Mashiko, USAF (Ret.)

Col. Pamela Melroy, USAF (Ret.)

“We’re honored to have these luminaries supporting CSPS, who were each handpicked to offer us insights across the spectrum of space activity,” said Jamie Morin, the executive director of the Center in a press statement.

To read other publications that explore the technology, policy, and economic aspects of current developments in space, go to:


Credit: International UFO Congress

An exclusive interview of Luis Elizondo, the former head of a secret Pentagon project to investigate Unidentified Flying Objects (UFOs), provides more detail about the work of the Advanced Aerial Threat Identification Program (AATIP).

Elizondo’s video was aired at the recently held 2018 International UFO Congress in Scottsdale, Arizona. The International UFO Congress was established in 1991 and is held annually.

To The Stars Academy filmed the interview.

Controversy and debate

In a press statement, International UFO Congress organizer Alejandro Rojas said: “We’re delighted that Luis Elizondo agreed to give us this exclusive interview, answering numerous questions that have been submitted by UFO researchers, and shining a light on matters that were previously hidden from the public. I think this interview will generate huge interest, controversy, and debate.”

“This is a story that will keep on giving,” Rojas told Inside Outer Space. “UFO researchers, and writers like myself have discovered that the U.S. government still takes this issue seriously, despite claiming otherwise. Now that it has been revealed that there is an ongoing project to investigate these unidentified objects, we know where to look for files regarding their investigation,” he said.

Luis Elizondo, the former intelligence officer who ran the secretive Advanced Aviation Threat Identification Program speaks out on earlier CNN interview.
Credit: CNN/screen grab

Notion of aliens

Rojas said that this is a topic that fascinates the public, and apparently, government officials as well.

“Hopefully, this can help make the topic be taken more seriously, which Elizondo has said is his goal, and we can tackle the challenge these cases pose by conducting serious investigations,” Rojas added. “Even if these cases prove to be misidentifications, we can get past the notion that there is something silly about investigating unidentified craft in our skies just because we are uncomfortable with the notion of aliens.”


For background on this story, go to my story:

UFO Legacy: What Impact Will Revelation of Secret Government Program Have?

To view the Elizondo video, go to:

If the Moon has enough water, and if it’s reasonably convenient to access, future explorers might be able to use it as a resource.

The Earth’s Moon may offer more water than previously thought – a resource that is widely distributed across the surface and is not confined to a particular region or type of terrain.

Tapping that lunar water could help sustain future Moon explorers, using it as drinking water or processing the water into hydrogen and oxygen for rocket fuel or oxygen to breathe.

Orbiter data

Remote-sensing data from lunar orbiters have revealed spectral features consistent with the presence of OH or H2O on the lunar surface.

“We find that it doesn’t matter what time of day or which latitude we look at, the signal indicating water always seems to be present,” said Joshua Bandfield, a senior research scientist with the Space Science Institute in Boulder, Colorado, and lead author of the new study published in Nature Geoscience. “The presence of water doesn’t appear to depend on the composition of the surface,” he explains, “and the water sticks around.”

NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO)..
Credit: NASA/Goddard Science Visualization Studio (SVS)

Bandfield and colleagues came up with a new way to incorporate temperature information, creating a detailed model from measurements made by the Diviner instrument on NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter, or LRO.

The team applied this temperature model to data gathered earlier by the Moon Mineralogy Mapper (M3), a U.S.-supplied visible and infrared spectrometer that flew on India’s Chandrayaan-1 lunar orbiter.

Scientific instruments

Chandrayaan-1 in Sanskrit (language of Ancient India) means “Moon Craft.” It was India’s first mission to Moon, launched on October 22, 2008 and carried 11 scientific instruments built in India, USA, UK, Germany, Sweden and Bulgaria. The satellite made more than 3400 orbits around the moon and the mission was concluded when the communication with the spacecraft was lost on August 29, 2009.

Moon Mineralogy Mapper (M3), a U.S.-supplied visible and infrared spectrometer that flew on India’s Chandrayaan-1 lunar orbiter.
Credit: NASA/JPL

The Diviner Lunar Radiometer Experiment is one of seven instruments aboard NASA’s still operating LRO which was launched on June 18, 2009. It is the first instrument to create detailed day and night surface temperature maps of the Moon.

Reactive relative

Regardless of the specific composition or formation mechanism, the researchers have concluded that OH/H2O can be present on the Moon under thermal conditions “more wide-ranging than previously recognized.”

According to a NASA statement: “The new finding of widespread and relatively immobile water suggests that it may be present primarily as OH, a more reactive relative of H2O that is made of one oxygen atom and one hydrogen atom. OH, also called hydroxyl, doesn’t stay on its own for long, preferring to attack molecules or attach itself chemically to them. Hydroxyl would therefore have to be extracted from minerals in order to be used.”

The water appears to be present day and night, though it’s not necessarily easily accessible.

Access to the Moon’s resources could help sustain future human exploration.
Credit: ESA – AOES Medialab

What’s the source?

Remaining a head scratcher is what the findings suggest about the source of the Moon’s water. The new results point toward OH and/or H2O being created by solar wind hitting the lunar surface.

However, the research team doesn’t rule out that OH and/or H2O could come from the Moon itself, slowly released from deep inside minerals where it has been locked since the Moon was formed.




The paper in Nature Geoscience is available at:

Credit: NASA

NASA has begun shaping its return to the Moon strategy – a Lunar Discovery and Exploration program. Among key elements of the plan is to stage sample return missions, as well as dot the Moon with mobile rovers and stationary landers.

Viewing the Moon as a resource-rich, readily accessible target for future United States efforts, space agency planners want to encourage industry participation to expand the economic sphere to cis-lunar space, as well as leverage investments in commercial lunar landers.

NASA’s evolving lunar ambitions were outlined during last week’s Planetary Science Advisory Committee Meeting, held February 21-23 at the space agency’s headquarters in Washington, D.C.

Credit: NASA

Robust but credible capability

From a scientific view three important new concepts are being eyed as part of a new phase of lunar exploration. These are:

  • The Lunar Volatile Cycle
  • The Origin of the Moon
  • Lunar Tectonism and Seismicity

The Lunar Exploration Analysis Group (LEAG) has been central in formulating a Moon manifesto of sorts. LEAG was established in 2004 to support NASA in providing analysis of scientific, technical, commercial, and operational issues in support of lunar exploration objectives and of their implications for lunar architecture planning and activity prioritization.

Credit: NASA

Credit: NASA

To address new and a myriad of other questions regarding the Moon requires a robust lunar exploration program, LEAG points out, a credible capability that takes advantages of new technologies and commercial paradigms to produce a regular cadence of landed missions – and profound new discoveries.

Private sector Moon rover.
Credit: Carnegie Mellon/Mark Maxwell

Cis-lunar gateway

As part of the fiscal year 2019 budget proposal, NASA is planning to build the Lunar Orbital Platform-Gateway in the 2020s. The power and propulsion element is the initial component of the gateway, and is targeted to launch in 2022.

Under Next Space Technologies for Exploration Partnerships, or NextSTEP, five companies are completing four-month studies on affordable ways to develop the power and propulsion element.

Early concept of Deep Space Gateway, now called the Lunar Orbital Platform-Gateway 
Credit: NASA

“The Lunar Orbital Platform-Gateway will give us a strategic presence in cislunar space. It will drive our activity with commercial and international partners and help us explore the Moon and its resources,” said William Gerstenmaier, associate administrator, Human Exploration and Operations Mission Directorate, at NASA Headquarters in Washington. “We will ultimately translate that experience toward human missions to Mars,” he explained in a recent NASA statement on the rationale behind the gateway.

Artist’s view of Tiangong space lab
Credit: CMSE

The European Space Agency (ESA) has issued a new reentry window forecast for China’s Tiangong-1 space lab.

The current estimated reentry of the 8.5 ton spacecraft is now roughly March 24 to roughly April 19, noting that this prediction is highly variable.

Map showing the area between 42.8 degrees North and 42.8 degrees South latitude (in green), over which Tiangong-1 could reenter. Graph at left shows population density.
Credit: ESA CC BY-SA IGO 3.0

According to the Space Debris Office at ESA’s European Space Operations Center (ESOC) in Darmstadt, Germany: “Reentry will take place anywhere between 43ºN and 43ºS (e.g. Spain, France, Portugal, Greece, etc.). Areas outside of these latitudes can be excluded. At no time will a precise time/location prediction from ESA be possible.”

Credit: ESA

Due to the orbital inclination of the Tiangong-1, approximately 42.8 degrees, and the likely uncontrolled nature of the reentry, the final impact point can be anywhere on Earth between 42.8 degrees North and 42.8 degrees South in latitude.

Credit: ESA

Tiangong-1 is the first space station built by China and lofted in late September 2011.




The first Chinese orbital docking occurred between Tiangong-1 and an unpiloted Shenzhou spacecraft on November 2, 2011. Two piloted missions were completed to visit Tiangong-1: Shenzhou 9 and Shenzhou 10.


Curiosity Front Hazcam Right B image acquired on Sol 1972, February 22, 2018.
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

Now in Sol 1973, NASA’s Mars Curiosity rover has been given a go for restart of drilling operations.

“Curiosity is officially go for drilling the ‘Lake Orcadie’ target! After more than a year’s wait for the drill to come back online, the rover planners and engineers are confident and ready to proceed with a test of a new drilling method in the coming days,” reports Mark Salvatore, a planetary geologist at the University of Michigan in Dearborn.

Because there is only so much data volume and rover power to go around, Salvatore adds, performing drill activities must temporarily come at the expense of scientific investigations. “Although you’d be pressed to find a disappointed science team member this week,” he explains, “as the drilling campaign will bring loads of new scientific data!”

Revised drilling operations

As a result, with the exception of some environmental observations by the Rover Environmental Monitoring Station (REMS) instrument, the plan underway does not include any targeted scientific observations.

Instead work is moving forward dedicated to drill preload activities and imaging for engineering and rover planning purposes in preparation for a full test of the revised drilling operations.

Curiosity Rear Hazcam Left B image taken on Sol 1972, February 22, 2018.
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

History of Gale crater

“The name ‘Lake Orcadie’ refers to an ancient lake that was once located in Scotland and is now a series of sedimentary deposits preserved in the geologic record,” Salvatore explains. “The Lake Orcadie sediments in Scotland helped geologists to reconstruct the environmental history of the Devonian period on Earth, when fish began to diversify.”

Considering this target will be the first drill location on Vera Rubin Ridge, Salvatore concludes, “perhaps these new data will help inform us as to what sort of geologic and environmental conditions were present during this time in the history of Gale crater.”

Curiosity Mastcam Right image acquired on Sol 1969, February 19, 2018.
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS

Off-loaded sand

In a previous report, Abigail Fraeman, a planetary geologist at NASA/Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, spotlighted observations on the “Ogunquit Beach” sand sample that was off-loaded from the rover over last weekend.

Curiosity had dumped two piles of the Ogunquit Beach sample – a pre-sieved and post-sieved portion – on the ground in front of the Mars machinery. The plan at that time called for blasting that pile via the robot’s laser as part of Chemistry and Camera (ChemCam) observations.


Credit: BSO


Bigelow Aerospace has launched Bigelow Space Operations (BSO), a new commercial space company that is the sales, operational and customer service company that manages and operates space stations developed by Bigelow Aerospace.

In a press statement, BSO notes that the two launches of B330-1 and B330-2 space facilities are expected in 2021.

“These single structures that house humans on a permanent basis will be the largest, most complex structures ever known as stations for human use in space,” notes BSO

Diverse set of customers

The customers that B330 will seek to accommodate will be very diverse.

One Spacecraft Serving Many Missions:
An entire space station and human space program in a single launch. Two B330’s ready for launch in 2021. Dimensions: 6.7 meters width; 16.8 meters length; mass of 50,000 pounds; six crew capacity.
Credit: BSO

BSO has a mission to market and operate these and other space stations including future generations developed by Bigelow Aerospace “that are so capable, so diverse and so large that they can accommodate virtually unlimited use almost anywhere,” explains the press statement.

BSO’s plan for this year is to quantify in detail the global, national and corporate commercial space market for orbiting stations. “This subject has had ambiguity for many years. BSO will be spending millions of dollars this year to establish concrete answers,” the company statement explains.

As a new company, Bigelow Space Operations is preparing to do the following:

— Conduct diverse space operations for multiple stations in LEO and beyond
— Reliably and safely service customers requirements to encourage successful results
— Provide a centralized service at the lowest possible cost for all space operations needs

Pressurized volume

Over time, Bigelow Aerospace will manufacture a single station, launched on a single rocket that will contain over 2.4 times the pressurized volume of the entire International Space Station, “and we intend for BSO to market and operate these also.”

Alpha Station: A commercially operated platform with 660 cubic meters of total volume.
Credit: BSO




A new manufacturing facility for these giant stations would have to be built in Florida, Alabama or some other suitable location, explains the newly formed group.




For more information on Bigelow Space Operations visit:

China’s medium-size space station for the 2020’s is depicted in this artwork.
Credit: CNSA

Worth a read: Written Remarks before the National Space Council on February 21, 2018 by Jeffrey Manber. CEO, NanoRacks:

For 30 years, I have worked to make space ‘just another place to do business.’ I was inspired, Secretary Ross, by one of your predecessors, Ronald Reagan’s Commerce Secretary Malcom Baldridge.He passionately believed, as do I, that we can, and we should, unleash the imagination of the American private sector as part of our national space exploration efforts. This vision of American-style business in space has motivated me throughout a career thathas focused on commercial use of space stations.

I started my company, NanoRacks, 8 years ago. We were the first company to own and market our own research hardware on the International Space Station. The first to sell space station services. The first to commercially deploy small satellites. As of today, we have launched over 600 payloads to ISS, with over 200 satellites deployed, from customers in over 30 countries. Our customers range from NASA and the US Government, to a new generation of small satellite operators to hundreds of schools from all across America, Israel, Germany, China, and many more. We deployed the first Lithuanian satellites from the ISS, which catalyzed the students behind this project to start their own company, now backed by ESA funding. We keep Spire’s constellation of global ship tracking CubeSats replenished in orbit. We’ve launched over 300 student experiments with our educational partner, DreamUp – and, Mr. Vice President, we’re proud to have launched four high school experiments from Crown Point and Highland, Indiana.

All of our customers are commercial. From schools doing bake sales to the USG procuring our services, we’re a normal business, which justhappens to be onboard the International Space Station.

NanoRacks Chief Executive Officer, Jeffrey Manber (right) signs contract to fly Chinese experiment onboard the International Space Station.
Credit: BIT


Now, please allow me several observations:

  • First, kudos to the Administration for beginning the debate today on the transition from ISS to the era of private space stations. The debate has been skewed in headlines, but I believe you are raising the correct questions: How can NASA most effectively leverage the taxpayer investment in ISS? Can commercial industry safely and cost-effectively operate the ISS and other commercial platforms? It’s not a black and white end to US government support of ISS, it’s about the role of direct and indirect NASA support and how the government will no longer serve as a landlord, but instead as a tenant.
  • Next, NASA today is supportive of commercial space companies and private initiatives, but there are ways we can improve. Above all else, imaginative non-solicited ideas from the private sector to NASA should not have to be competed! That defeats the motivation, does it not? However, more and more NASA’s key personnel are leading the transition to a more commercial way of doing business. Two of the key leaders are Jason Crusan with NASA’s Advanced Exploration Systems Directorate – leading the NextSTEPs program, and Marybeth Edeen, one of our strongest advocates for greater private sector involvement in the public-private partnerships, out of the International Space Station Program Office.
  • Third, commercial space must be, and is more than, simply taking government seed-money. NASA, the Department of Defense and the Air Force in particular, should begin a serious analysisfor better leveraging the innovative, fast-paced, and cost-friendly private sector capabilities.
  • Fourth, and very importantly, as we look overseas, others are emulating America’s drive to a space-based marketplace in low-earth orbit. Others, including China. The United States cannot simply ignore China’s commercial space ambitions. China is quietly developing a robust commercial space industry. I say quietly because Americans are blinded by our own regulations from participation. So we barely see what is happening.


Mary Murphy, NanoRacks senior Internal Payloads Manager (and the manager of the Beijing Institute of Technology (BIT) project) with Chinese space research team. The BIT NanoLab was officially checked out and handed over for launch at the Space Life Science Lab (SLSL) in Cape Canaveral Florida. This handover occurred on the morning of May 31, 2017, prior to the June 3 SpaceX CRS-11 Dragon supply ship launch.
Credit: NanoRacks



Large Chinese companies are creating entrepreneurial launch efforts, while young Chinese engineers are raising funds all the way from Silicon Valley to Hong Kong. On a governmental level, the European Space Agency has astronauts training to visit the planned Chinese space station. But the United States is barred. There are so many regulations, not to mention our mindset, barring business in space with Chinese companies and for cooperating between our civil space programs. NanoRacks and others are limited what we can sell in this marketplace.

Avoiding this emerging marketplace, albeit due to justified concerns over technology transfer and other legitimate challenges, is not the American global leadership that we strive to achieve.

For two years I worked to bring a Chinese university experiment to the space station as a customer of NanoRacks. Why? I want us “in the room” of this new commercial marketplace. With Administration and Congressional concurrence, I was able to enter into a commercial contract with the Beijing Institute of Technology for a fascinating DNA mutation experiment. The project met the concerns of many in Congress opposed to working with China in space. We ensured no technology transfer, that the results would be published in Western journals, and that there was no direct connection to the People’s Liberation Army. It was a commercial program, and my company was paid.

Now, while my time today is brief, I want to emphasize the need for reforms allowing American companies to be leaders in this billion dollar market. Let’s start fresh, negotiate a stern but fair agreement with China, and allow U.S. businesses to do what we do best: innovate and compete better than anyone else.

Mr. Vice President, and the entire Space Council, I am thrilled that the Administration is turning a focus on commercial space and American leadership. We’re at the tipping point of figuring out just how NASA will transition low-Earth orbit into commercial hands, and I, along with NanoRacks, look forward to being a leader in this seamless handover. We will continue to inspire the next generation of space explorers, so that one day soon, those students in Crown Point, Indiana will be presenting to the nextSpace Council discussing how the United States commercial lunar base is just another place to do business.

  • Jeffrey Manber

Vice President Pence Leads the Second Meeting of the National Space Council, “Moon, Mars, & Worlds Beyond: Winning the Next Frontier”
Credit: Inside Outer Space/Screen Grab



The National Space Council held its second meeting today, orchestrated at the NASA Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

To view the full video of the event, go to:

Vice President Pence Leads the Second Meeting of the National Space Council, “Moon, Mars, & Worlds Beyond: Winning the Next Frontier”


Policy recommendations

The White House released today policy recommendations from the National Space Council to President Trump to streamline the regulatory environment for commercial space companies.

At the second National Space Council Meeting, the council agreed on the following four recommendations to reform the commercial space regulatory frameworks at the Departments of Transportation and Commerce:

RECOMMENDATION 1: The Secretary of Transportation should work to transform the launch and re-entry licensing regime.

The Department of Transportation would require a single license for all types of launch and re-entry vehicle operations and transform the launch and re-entry regulatory process from one of prescriptive requirements to a performance based licensing regime.

Revision of the licensing regime would be in coordination with members of the National Space Council.

This action should be completed no later than March 1, 2019.

RECOMMENDATION 2: The Secretary of Commerce should consolidate its space commerce responsibilities, other than launch and reentry, in the Office of the Secretary of Commerce.

The Department of Commerce should develop a legislative proposal to create an Under Secretary of Space Commerce, who would be responsible for all commercial space regulatory functions.

The Secretary of Commerce would also coordinate with the Secretary of State, the Secretary of Defense, and as appropriate the Federal Communications Commission and the NASA Administrator to streamline the existing commercial remote sensing operation licensing regime, and address new issues such as radio frequency spectrum surveys, rendezvous and proximity operations and docking maneuvers.

The Secretary would propose legislative changes that would further enable the rapid, efficient, and predictable permitting of commercial remote sensing activities.

This legislation proposal would be completed no later than July 1, 2018.

RECOMMENDATION 3: The National Telecommunication and Information Administration should coordinate with the Federal Communications Commission to ensure the protection and stewardship of radio frequency spectrum necessary for commercial space activities.

The protection of radio frequency spectrum necessary for commercial space activity should not adversely affect national security or public safety.

The Department of Commerce would take an active role in working with U.S. Industry and members of the National Space Council to develop and advocate, and to the extent possible, implement spectrum management policies that make U.S. space-related industries more competitive globally.

RECOMMENDATION 4: The Executive Secretary of the National Space Council, in coordination with members of the National Space Council, should initiate a policy review of the current export licensing regulations affecting commercial space activity.

The recommendations of the policy review should be completed and presented to the National Space Council by January 1, 2019.

Users advisory group

Lastly, the White House has issued a list of selectees for the National Space Council’s Users Advisory Group. They are:

Buzz Aldrin, Apollo 11 Astronaut

Tory Bruno, President and CEO of United Launch Alliance

Wes Bush, CEO of Northrop Grumman

Dean Cheng, Scholar at the Heritage Foundation

Eileen Collins, 4-time Shuttle astronaut, first female shuttle commander

Steve Crisafulli, Former Speaker of the Florida House of Representatives

Mary Lynne Dittmar, President and CEO of The Coalition for Deep Space Exploration

Adm. Jim Ellis, Retired 4-star Admiral, former head of STRATCOM, and member of the Space Foundation Board of Directors

Tim Ellis, CEO of Relativity Space

Newt Gingrich, Author, former Speaker of the House

Marillyn Hewson, CEO of Lockheed Martin Corporation

Homer Hickam, Author of the book “Rocket Boys” and former NASA Marshall Spaceflight Center engineer

Governor Kay Ivey, Governor of Alabama

Fred Klipsch, Founder and Chairman of Hoosiers for Quality Education

Les Lyles, Retired 4-star Air Force General and member of the NASA Advisory Council

Pam Melroy, 3-time Shuttle astronaut and former Deputy Director of the Tactical Technology Office at the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency

Dennis Muilenburg, CEO of the Boeing Company

Fatih Ozmen, CEO of the Sierra Nevada Corporation

G.P. Bud Peterson, President of the Georgia Institute of Technology

Jack Schmitt, Apollo 17 Astronaut and former Senator

Gwynne Shotwell, President and COO of SpaceX

Bob Smith, CEO of Blue Origin

Eric Stallmer, President of the Commercial Spaceflight Federation

David Thompson, Founder and CEO of Orbital ATK

Pamela Vaughan, Board Certified Science Teacher

Mandy Vaughn, President of VOX Launch Company

Stu Witt, Founder of Mojave Air and Spaceport, former Navy pilot, former Chairman of the Commercial Spaceflight Federation

David Wolf, 4-time Shuttle astronaut and physician

Pete Worden, Former Air Force General and NASA Ames Center Director

For the White House release on this advisory group, go to:

For the prepared statement by Vice President Pence in opening the second meeting of the National Space Council, go to: