Rep. Jim Bridenstine says he’s still “in the mix” to be the next NASA administrator.
The Oklahoma Republican told a Tulsa TV station that he was recently interviewed again by the White House for the job, but doesn’t know when the administration will make a decision on the position.
“I don’t know what the end result is, but I keep interviewing, which is an indicator that maybe I’m still in the mix for it,” he said. [KOTV Tulsa]
An Atlas 5 is set to roll out to the pad today for a Tuesday launch of a cargo spacecraft to the International Space Station. Managers gave their approval Sunday to proceed with preparations for the launch of the Cygnus cargo spacecraft Tuesday at 11:11 a.m. Eastern on a mission designated OA-7. The Orbital ATK cargo spacecraft, is carrying more than 3,400 kilograms of supplies, experiments and other hardware for the ISS. [Florida Today]
President Trump has nominated two former congressman to fill vacancies on the board of the Ex-Im Bank. The White House announced late Friday that the president nominated former Reps. Scott Garrett (R-N.J.) and Spencer T. Bachus III (R-Ala.) to fill two of the three vacancies on the board, with Garrett serving as president. Garrett, while in Congress, was a staunch opponent of the bank, dubbing its lending practices “crony capitalism,” while Bachus was a supporter of the bank. Ex-Im currently lacks a quorum on its five-member board, which prevents it from approving large deals, such as financing for commercial satellites and launches. [SpaceNews]
A letter signed by 20 members of Congress asks the Pentagon not to change its current plans to support development of new launch systems. The letter, sent to Secretary of Defense James Mattis last week, called on him to maintain the current program that is supporting development of complete launch systems, rather than focus on components such as engines. The bipartisan letter’s signatories include Rep. Adam Smith (D-Wash.), ranking member of the House Armed Services Committee. The letter comes after some leading members of the committee suggested that the Air Force should have a say in what engine United Launch Alliance chooses for its Vulcan vehicle, views that they have since backed away from. [SpaceNews]
A leading Air Force official says the service needs more people working in space intelligence roles. At a breakfast Friday, Lt. Gen. David Buck, commander of the 14th Air Force and leader of the Joint Functional Component Command for Space under U.S. Strategic Command, says space units in the Air Force have far fewer intelligence specialists than those under the Air Combat Command. Buck said discussions are already underway within the Air Force about getting more intelligence personnel into space units. [SpaceNews]
The general in command of Cape Canaveral Air Force Station says he’s been asked to stay on the job an extra year. Air Force Brig. Gen. Wayne Monteith was expected to complete a two-year tour of duty this summer as commander of the 45th Space Wing. However, he said he’s been asked by Gen. Jay Raymond, the head of Air Force Space Command, to remain as commander for an additional year. Monteith said he will use the additional time to continue initiatives to streamline operations, including the ability to support two launches within one day. [Florida Today]
Raytheon says its ground control system for GPS is back on track after serious cost and schedule problems. A company executive in charge of the OCX program said the program has hit every milestone since implementing a series of “corrective actions” after those problems, which attracted attention, and criticism, from both Air Force leadership and members of Congress. The Defense Department declared a Nunn-McCurdy breach for OCX last June, putting it at risk of cancellation, but approved plans in October to correct its problems. [SpaceNews]
United Launch Alliance is planning to lay off 48 workers at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California. A Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification, or WARN, report released by a state agency last week said the layoffs would take effect June 1. The layoffs are part of a broader effort by ULA to reduce jobs, primarily through voluntary departures. [Lompoc (Calif.) Record]
Britain’s role in several major space projects will be part of the negotiations about the country’s departure from the European Union. Elżbieta Bieńkowska, the senior space official for the European Commission, said earlier this month that the commission will seek to keep the majority of the work on the Galileo and Copernicus satellite programs within member nations, which could affect British companies currently involved in those programs. The U.K.’s decision to leave the E.U., known as Brexit, does not affect its work on European Space Agency programs, as Britain remains a member of ESA. [Spaceflight Now]