Deputy Secretary of Defense Robert Work will remain on the job after the inauguration for a limited time. Work confirmed that he will stay at the Pentagon “just a little bit longer” to provide continuity for the incoming administration. Work has been deeply involved with a number of military space issues, including the development of the Joint Interagency Combined Space Operations Center (JICSpOC) and a reorganization of space leadership within the Defense Department.
(From SpaceNews/ By Jeff Foust) — NASA is considering a Boeing proposal to purchase additional Soyuz seats for ISS missions. NASA said in a procurement filing Tuesday it has received an offer from Boeing to buy seats on Soyuz flights in the fall of 2017 and spring of 2018, as well as an option for three seats in 2019. Boeing obtained the seats from Energia as part of a settlement between the two companies involving Sea Launch. The seats in 2017 and 2018, freed up by Russian plans to reduce the size of its crew from three to two, would provide NASA with an additional ISS crewmember to perform research. The three seats in 2019 could serve as insurance should Boeing and SpaceX’s commercial crew efforts encounter delays, or instead augment the station’s crew. Boeing expects to start negotiating a deal with NASA after a Jan. 27 deadline for responses to the procurement filing.
The head of Middle Eastern satellite operator Yahsat is optimistic about business prospects in Brazil, despite economic problems there. In an interview, Yahsat CEO Masood M. Sharif Mahmood said that although Brazil, a key market for its upcoming Al Yah 3 satellite, went into recession after the satellite was ordered in 2014, he sees “green shoots of recovery” there, with 20-25 percent of the satellite’s capacity already acquired by several companies. Part of Al Yah 3’s capacity will also be used by Eutelsat to provide broadband access in Africa, replacing the Amos-6 satellite lost in a pre-launch pad accident last year. Al Yah 3 is scheduled to launch this year on an Ariane 5.
The man set to become NASA acting administrator said some members of the “landing team” at the agency will remain there after the inauguration. In a speech Tuesday, NASA Associate Administrator Robert Lightfoot said some people who came to the agency after the election as part of the incoming Trump administration’s review team will remain as a “beachhead team” of presidential appointees after the landing team is formally disbanded Friday. Lightfoot said he’s had good discussions with the landing team, hinting that they have “lots of good ideas” for the agency.
Several people are in the running to become the head of NOAA. Three people have emerged as frontrunners to lead the agency whose responsibilities include operating weather satellites: Scott Rayder, senior adviser for development and partnerships at the University Corporation for Atmospheric Research and a member of the Commerce Department landing team; Barry Myers, CEO of AccuWeather; and Jonathan White, president and chief executive of the Consortium for Ocean Leadership. There’s no timeline for when the Trump administration is expected to nominate one of those individuals for the position.
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