Harris says National Space Council will develop ‘global framework’ for space priorities


WASHINGTON – In her first space address since taking office, Vice President Kamala Harris said she would call on the National Space Council to develop a “comprehensive framework” for national space priorities, with a focus on climate change.

In a November 5 speech at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, Harris, as scheduled, announced that as chair of the space council, she would hold the first meeting of the interagency body on December 1.

“As chair of the National Space Council, I will be calling leaders from across our administration for an inaugural council meeting on December 1,” she said. “At this meeting, we will define a global framework for our country’s space priorities. This included civil and national security space activities as well as education and the “emerging space economy”.

Harris did not discuss further details of this framework, but emphasized the need to use space capabilities for the benefit of society at large. “While space exploration has defined the 20th century, I believe the opportunity of space will define the 21st century,” she said. “Today our nation is more active than ever in space and there are more ways than ever before that space can benefit humanity.”

This includes the fight against the climate crisis. “Climate change is an existential threat and we must take immediate action to address it,” she said, including using satellites to monitor climate change. “I truly believe that space activity is climate action.”

Climate change was a theme of Harris’ visit to Goddard, including seeing the first images from the Landsat 9 earth observation satellite launched on September 27. NASA also announced shortly before its speech that it had selected a smallsat mission to study the development of storms, called Investigation of Convective Updrafts, or INCUS, as part of its Earth Venture Missions program for launch in 2027.

NASA Administrator Bill Nelson accompanied Harris on the Goddard Tour. “We are known at NASA as the world’s first space agency. But we are also at the forefront of climate change, ”he said in remarks preceding Harris. “We are the main climate agency.

Nelson said the agency was “exploring the idea of ​​climate mission control” which he compared to mission controls for launches, but did not specify exactly what that mission control would do in regards to climate data or analysis.

“Exploring the skies will always be at the heart of NASA’s mission, but so will the challenges here on Earth,” he said. “The fight against climate change is imperative. “

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