White House Gets Serious About Space Junk

And you thought your house was messy: Hundreds of thousands of pieces of space debris are currently flying through the cosmos, endangering satellites and shuttles. The U.S. government has a plan, though.

Trump administration pick to run NASA to finally get a vote

COLORADO SPRINGS ‘ After more than a year of languishing in the Senate, Trump’s nomination of Rep. Jim Bridenstine to run NASA looks as though’it will finally get a vote as early as this week.

The’signal by the Senate to move forward with the nomination of the conservative Republican from Oklahoma who had sparked controversy with comments about climate change, implies that the chamber’s leadership believes it has enough votes to approve him.

The space agency has gone without a permanent leader for 15 months, since Charles Bolden resigned as Trump took office. During that time, Robert Lightfoot, a NASA veteran, has been running the agency. But he recently announced that he was retiring from the agency at the end of this month.

In an interview here, Lightfoot said that the ‘period of uncertainty is hard’ and that ‘it’s always better when the president’s appointees are running the agencies.’

But he stressed that even though he was in the job on an acting basis, ‘I have had zero problems with getting access to the White House.’ And he has been praised by members of the administration and the White House for leading the agency while Bridenstine’s nomination was on hold.

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Trump administration pick to run NASA appears he will finally get a vote

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – After more than a year of languishing in the Senate, Trump’s nominee to run NASA appears that he will finally get a vote as early as this week.

The move by the Senate to move forward with the nomination of Jim Bridenstine, a conservative Republican congressman from Oklahoma who had sparked controversy with past comments about climate change, signals that the chamber’s leadership believes it has enough votes to approve him.

The space agency has gone without a permanent leader for 15 months, ever since Charles Bolden resigned as Trump took office. During that time, Robert Lightfoot, a NASA veteran, has been running the agency on a temporary basis. But he recently announced that he was retiring from the agency at the end of this month.

In an interview here, Lightfoot said that the “period of uncertainty is hard” and that “it’s always better when the president’s appointees are running the agencies.”

On January 20, 2017, Donald Trump became president of the United States, marking the start of one of the most unusual years in American political history. What has Trump done this year and how does it compare to what he promised?

  • Publisher: SFGate
  • Date: 2018-04-17 15:10:38
  • Author: Christian Davenport, The Washington Post
  • Twitter: @SFGate
  • Citation: Web link

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What to do if this Chinese space station crashes into your house this weekend

A Chinese space station is tumbling uncontrollably toward Earth, and no one will know where its pieces will land until hours before it gets here.

Though its name means ‘heavenly palace,’ the space station, named Tiangong-1, lasted only five years before malfunctioning. It launched in 2011 with a two-year mission. The last astronauts departed the 10-ton station in June 2013, and Chinese officials put the space station into sleep mode, expecting it would remain operational until they could facilitate a controlled re-entry. But in March 2016, Tiangong-1 unexpectedly stopped working, according to a letter filed to the United Nations.

Since then, the school bus-sized station has tumbled through space, gradually slowing and falling out of orbit due to atmospheric drag. Though our atmosphere becomes thinner as you increase altitude, its upper limit is 6,200 miles above sea level. In low-Earth orbit, the air is still thick enough to create drag and bring down the wayward station.

While your chances of being hit by a piece of Tiangong-1 are tiny ‘ 10 million times less than your chances of being hit by lightning this year ‘ the risk will be impossible to calculate until its final descent begins. And the risk encompasses more than just being struck by space debris, due to the hazardous materials potentially inside the space station. If the Tiangong-1 spreads these materials over thousands of miles, the risks of injury and environmental damage are still high.

This map show locations where space debris from Tiangong-1 could collide, namely anywhere between latitudes 42.8 North and 42.8 South. Map by Marco Langbroek

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  • Publisher: PBS NewsHour
  • Date: 2018-03-30T17:44:07-04:00
  • Twitter: @newshour
  • Citation: Web link

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