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Beam her up: Harris to chair the National Space Council

In a tweet on SaturdayHarris said she was “honored” by the new concert, adding, “In America, when we shoot for the moon, we plant our flag on it.”

The council was created by order in council by President George HW Bush and requires that the vice president be the president. After Bush, the council was essentially dissolved until it was brought down by another executive order from President Donald Trump in 2017. It was then chaired by Vice President Mike Pence.

The board chaired by Harris will operate in the same order, but that could change. An official said they “had not really made a decision on whether to change this decree.”

A senior Harris assistant told POLITICO: “We are reviewing the composition and procedures of the Council to ensure that it is best positioned to support the policies of the Biden-Harris administration. So far, no decision has been taken, but this does not delay the progress of the work. “

Operating out of the White House, the council has in the past orchestrated a series of new and far-reaching policy decisions, ranging from returning astronauts to the moon by 2024 as part of Project Artemis – a goal the teams are aiming to achieve. de Biden say they want to stick – to tackle the growing problem of orbital debris, or space debris, and reform regulations to help free the burgeoning private space industry.

The council also helped lay the groundwork for the launch of the US Space Force.

POLITICO first reported in March that the Biden administration planned to keep the council in place. At the time, the administration said that “the unprecedented activity and opportunity generated by US space activities, the National Space Council will be renewed to help the president develop national space policies and strategies. and synchronize US space activities. ”

Harris’ new role comes as administrative priorities continue to be added to his plate: from his role as leader in diplomatic relations with Mexico and the Northern Triangle countries to stem border migration, to efforts to hesitation over the Covid-19 vaccine, the impact of the recession on Black-owned businesses, reintegrating women into the workforce and chairing the recently announced pro-union task force. And during his joint session in Congress, President Joe Biden announced that Harris would lead efforts to increase high-speed Internet access across the country.

Harris will also swear to former Florida Democratic Senator Bill Nelson in his new post as NASA’s 14th administrator on Monday. Nelson was unanimously confirmed by the Senate on Thursday.

So far, the new administration’s approach to space has generally received bipartisan praise. “Leading the vice president keeps him at the right level,” former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, a space enthusiast who has advised Trump and is also a member of the United Nations Advisory Group, said on Saturday. board users. “I am delighted so far with the way they have handled the space. They are based on having a dominant position again in space. “

Space insiders also said they have high expectations for Harris, who is not widely known as a space enthusiast, but who represents a large segment of the space industry as a California Senator. .

Retaining the board and handing over the responsibility to Harris is “great news,” said Peter Garretson, a retired Air Force officer and space strategist who is now a senior defense studies researcher at the American. Foreign Policy Council.

“This shows the first real continuity of our space program in decades of cross-jurisdictional change,” Garretson said. “This highlights the inescapable nature of the importance of paying attention to space for international legitimacy and competition.”

“Space technology can solve the problem of climate change and is at the heart of the current struggle for global leadership between the United States and China,” added Garretson. “The National Space Council is essential in mobilizing the United States to be competitive.”

“The vice president should chair the National Space Council because the space industry should always have a friend in the White House,” said Homer Hickam, a former NASA engineer who trained Japanese astronauts and is currently member of the National Space Council User Advisory Group. .

“There is extremely important work to be done in space,” Hickam added, “not only by NASA, but also by other interested departments within the federal government as well as by commercial entities, and large decisions remain to be made.

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