In the first few days of August, the arrival of NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine ushered in a whirlwind of activity that included the Agency Honor Awards and Commercial Crew Program flight assignments
. Also on the administrator’s agenda was a Town Hall with the Johnson Space Center team, where he laid out his vision for the agency after a lighthearted introduction from Mark Geyer, Johnson’s director.
Below are the six key takeaways from that important first Town Hall with Johnson team members.
1. We’re going to the moon sustainably.
“This time when we go, we’re going to stay,” Bridenstine said. To do that, he emphasized that all the space architecture required for the moon needs to be reusable.
“We want the Gateway to be in lunar orbit for a very long time,” Bridenstine said. “It doesn’t mean we’re necessarily going to have a permanent human presence on the moon. It doesn’t even mean we’re going to have humans permanently in the Gateway. But, at the end of the day, we want rovers on the surface of the moon. We want landers on the surface of the moon. We want to prospect.”
2. Get familiar with the Space Policy Directives.
“A lot of people say, ‘What is the direction you’re taking NASA?’ I’ll tell you, my direction comes from the president of the United States,” Bridenstine said.
That direction comes to NASA in the form of Space Policy Directives, which lay out the president’s plans for the agency’s continued legacy in low-Earth orbit, into deep space.
Learn more about Space Policy Directive-1
, Space Policy Directive-2
and Space Policy Directive-3
3. Partners will take us further.
“If commercial industry does well, NASA has the ability to do more than we’ve ever done before,” Bridenstine said.
Geyer also echoed those sentiments in his own note to the Johnson team.
“The Commercial Crew team deserves high praise. They have successfully collaborated with our commercial partners to establish a new way of doing business to send humans to low-Earth orbit.
“With the increased launch capacity, the International Space Station Program can continue its ground-breaking research necessary to improve life here on Earth and prepare for the challenges of deep-space exploration.”
4. There’s so much we don’t know.
We may have been to the moon before, but we are going forward
to the moon (“not back
,” Bridenstine said) because there’s still so much to learn.
“We need to be able to go to more parts of the moon,” Bridenstine said. “All of those [Apollo] missions were in that equatorial region. We need to know more about the moon from a scientific perspective. Are there resources there that don’t include water that would be valuable to humanity?”
Bridenstine also laid out how the Gateway could lead to areas beyond lunar territory.
“The first Gateway is a demonstrator of technology around the moon,” Bridestine said. The second one would be a deep-space transporter.
“We want flexibility,” Bridenstine said. “If we use the second Gateway as a deep-space transport, that’s the path to Mars.”
5. Space is relevant now more than ever, and the United States is leading the way.
NASA’s achievements, past and present, have many people rooting for the stars and stripes in a resurgence of patriotism—and for good reason.
“Space has transformed the American way of life,” Bridenstine noted during the following day’s commercial crew announcement. “The way we navigate, the way we communicate, the way we produce food, the way we produce energy, the way we do disaster relief and national security, the way we predict weather, the way we understand the climate. And, certainly, even the way we do banking in the United States of America. It all depends on space, and all of these capabilities were blazed by a trail that was NASA.”
With the coming upswing in activity from commercial partner launches in concert with Orion’s fast-tracked timeline, NASA is entering a new and exciting era.
“For the first time since 2011, we are on the brink of launching American astronauts, on American rockets, from American soil,” Bridenstine said.
6. Let everyone know how important space is to our everyday lives.
Bridenstine stressed that we must all be salespeople when it comes to spreading how NASA benefits so many while only taking up a seemingly miniscule portion of the nation’s budget.
“That tiny investment has blazed a trail for capabilities that have changed the way we live,” Bridenstine said. “These technologies have changed and transformed the human condition for the better.”
NASA already enjoys bipartisan support in Congress. However, Bridenstine put the onus on everyone to share NASA’s story so that the agency can continue its daring missions forward to the moon … and beyond.
JSC strives to promote a culture that is inclusive of all abilities. If assistance is required for your to access this video in an alternative format due to a medical condition or disability, please contact the Section 508 Coordinator at 281-483-4263. http://ird.jsc.nasa.gov/PolicyPlanning/508/default.aspx
Catherine Ragin Williams
NASA Johnson Space Center
NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine addresses the Johnson Space Center team for the first time, in person, on Aug. 2. Image Credit: NASA/James Blair
The Town Hall was well attended by JSC team members. Image Credit: NASA/James Blair
During the Town Hall, Bridenstine referenced the three Space Policy Directives that were driving NASA's direction into the future. Image Credit: NASA/James Blair