Trump Pick for NASA Head Controversial as Orion Development Continues

Trump Pick for NASA Head
"7-13-17 U.S. Coast Guard - Galveston Marine Base | ICEE-HOT, is being conducted by the Orion and Ground Systems Development and Operations programs along with the U.S. Department of Defense, to evaluate procedures being developed to get astronauts out of the Orion crew module upon returning to Earth. Astronauts involved in the testing include: Dan Burbank, Victor Glover, Mike Fincke and Stan Love. " | Josh Valcarcel | NASA

NASA has been evaluating how astronauts would get out of the Orion spacecraft capsule in the most efficient and safe way possible after returning to Earth.

When NASA astronauts return from space missions on the new Orion Spacecraft, they will splash into the Pacific Ocean inside a capsule. Then, U.S. Navy personnel will arrive to assist the crew in escaping from the floating spacecraft.

Equipped with a raft and some survival supplies like water and signal mirrors, the Orion is designed to sustain a crew on the ocean for up to 24 hours.

NASA conducts crew egress tests in the ocean.Click To Tweet

However, crew members may find themselves on their own and so must also be prepared to leave the capsule without assistance.

NASA has been testing astronauts’ recovery methods to determine the best exit procedures in each possible case.

NASA Conducts Crew Egress Tests in the Ocean

After splashing in the ocean, astronauts will have to leave the capsule and return to the mainland, and NASA wants exit procedures to go smoothly and safely.

Between July 10th and 14th of this year, a team from Orion and the Ground Systems Development and Operations programs tested exit methods for various scenarios in the waters off of Galveston, Texas.

The joint team, aided by the U.S. Coast Guard, Air Force, and Navy, evaluated how the crew will exit the capsule with or without assistance.

“… we want to make sure the last part of [astronauts] journey goes smoothly no matter what kind of conditions they land in,” said Tom Walker, rescue and recovery lead for Orion at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston. “Our testing in the Gulf of Mexico gives us an opportunity to practice and evaluate our plans and hardware for how to get crew out of Orion as safely and efficiently as possible.

Even though NASA is hard at work getting the Orion spacecraft up and running, developing techniques that make space journeys run smoothly there and back, it may have to rethink its whole strategy.


The First Politician to run NASA

President Donald Trump has tapped Jim Bridenstine as the next administrator of NASA.

Jim Bridenstine
Oklahoma Senator Jim Bridenstine |

After the Senate confirmation, Jim Bridenstine, former Navy pilot and Oklahoma congressman, will serve as the 13th administrator, and will be the first politician ever to lead NASA, a privilege usually reserved for former astronauts and scientists.

Of course, politicians have their ways and weigh things differently. Perhaps the fresh perspective will be good for NASA.

In fact, Bridenstine recently published a post on his blog explaining, “Why the Moon Matters,” indicating that we may rejuvenate our lunar goals sooner rather than later.

This choice for new blood has sparked mixed reactions, and it may mean new priorities for the U.S. space agency.

Despite a clear enthusiasm for space exploration, Bridenstine is a climate change denier and, as a result, has attracted the ire of many reputable scientists.

NASA is a leading climate change research center in the world, but may soon be headed by an official that had once accused former President Barack Obama of spending “30 times as much money” on climate research than on weather forecasting, something that has been reported to be “mostly false.

However, many politicians and space technology organizations applaud Trump’s pick.

Commercial Spaceflight Federation board chair Alan Stern said, “NASA needs dedicated and inspired leadership, and Representative Bridenstine is an outstanding choice to provide precisely that. The Commercial Spaceflight Federation applauds this strong choice for NASA administrator and a bright American future in space.

Bridenstine seems to be a choice in line with rejuvenating NASA’s future. As a member of the House Science, Space, and Technology Committee, Bridenstine focused on support for NASA with the American Space Renaissance Act.

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