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- Page 2: Vice President Pence’s opening remarks
- Page 3: Panel 1
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- Page 6: General McMaster’s remarks and Vice President Pence’s closing remarks
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- Marillyn Hewson: Chairwoman, president, and CEO, Lockheed-Martin
- Dennis Muilenburg: Chairman, president, and CEO, The Boeing Company
- David Thompson: President and CEO, Orbital-ATK
2. VICE PRESIDENT PENCE [19:38]: As our guests take their seats, allow me to welcome them, as I’ll do momentarily, but, also, I want to recognize all of the distinguished members of the National Space Council and all of the distinguished Americans who’ve gathered (with) us for this first meeting. If you would hold your applause, I’ll get through the whole list, but I want to make sure that you know all the members of this council.
Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson, is here; Depute Secretary of Defense, Patrick Shanahan; our Secretary of Commerce, Wilbur Ross; Secretary of Transportation, Elaine Chao; Acting Secretary of Homeland Security, Elaine Duke; Director of National Intelligence, Dan Coats; Director of the Office and Management and Budget, Mick Mulvaney; Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs, General H.R. McMaster; the (acting) Administrator of NASA, Robert Lightfoot; Deputy Chief Technology Officer for the United States, Michael Kratsios; Assistant to the President for Homeland Security, Tom Bossert; and, the Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Paul Selva. Would you join me in thanking all of the members of the panel who are joining us here today.
With that, this first meeting of the National Space Council is called to order. I want to thank all the distinguished guests who are with us today for presentations on this first panel. As I said in my opening remarks, today’s meeting is an opportunity for us to hear from leaders in our space community. We have a great line up today and I’m eager to hear their thoughts as our entire council is.
Our first panel is focused on the civil space program and deep-space exploration efforts. You just received a proper introduction onto the stage, so let me begin with the chairman, president, and CEO of Lockheed-Martin, Marillyn Hewson.
3. MARILLYN HEWSON [21:32]: Thank you, Mr. Vice President. Mr. Vice President and distinguished members of the National Space Council, it is an honor to appear before you today; to contribute to a bold new vision for U.S. leadership in space.
This is an exciting time for our nation. The reestablishment of the National Space Council comes as a new generation of young Americans looks to the Moon, Mars and beyond with optimism, energy, and wonder. Space has always been a frontier worthy of the American spirit. It demands our ingenuity and daring and it drives us to visionary research and long-term collaboration. And throughout history, we have proven that U.S. ventures in space lead to broad societal benefits that lift our national economy and strengthen us as one people.
For decades, out technological leadership in space has strengthened our national security so that Americans can live, work, and trade in peace. And just this past month, we once again saw the tremendous value of our space infrastructure as our nation was hit by three hurricanes of extraordinary power. Because of our investments in space, our satellites helped government leaders plan for the worst. They helped millions of citizens prepare and evacuate key areas and, in the process, countless lives were saved.
At Lockheed-Martin, we have been proud to invest and support our nation’s ventures in space from interplanetary exploration to national security. And among our many partnerships today, we are honored to be building the Orion deep-space exploration vehicle for NASA which will soon take American astronauts back to the Moon and farther than we’ve ever gone before.
As we look to the challenges of the 21st century, it is clear that the pace of technological change is accelerating and that it is imperative our nation act. At Lockheed-Martin, we see three keys to securing American leadership in space. Our nation will need clear and strong government leadership, visionary programs, and stable, sustained investment. By taking these positive actions, we will enable industry to plan, invest, and innovate over the long-term, and, in turn, our nation will foster a robust U.S. supply chain with advanced manufacturers, high-quality jobs, and transformative technologies. Nothing better represents America’s optimism about the future than space. And nothing is more inspiring to the next generation of science, technology, engineering, and math students than an America resolved to explore and unlock the mysteries of the universe together.
Thank you, and I look forward to your questions.
5. DENNIS MUILENBURG [24:47]: Thank you. Good morning, Mr. Vice President, distinguished guests, industry colleagues, and fellow panelists.
I want to begin by thanking you, Mr. Vice President, for reconstituting the National Space Council. It’s a big step for our country and an important one. And I believe through this forum, government, industry, and academia can discuss how to co-author the next chapter of American leadership in space.
Boeing employees around the globe strive every day to deliver on our inspirational purpose and mission to connect, protect, explore, and inspire the world through aerospace innovation. Our aim is to lead the world in space exploration and to be a global champion for robust funding, advocacy, talent, and execution in both the civilian and military space arenas. We are drawn to exploring the unknown and unraveling the universe’s greatest mysteries. It is this innate fascination with what comes next that has inspired us to join with NASA and international partners in a shared mission that has, over the course of decades, celebrated lunar footsteps, space shuttle launches, and the assembly of the International Space Station, to name a few.
While proud of our past, we are focused on the future. We continue to innovate and lead in every aspect of civil space operations. For example, NASA’s Space Launch System, built by Boeing and our teammates, will be largest and most powerful rocket ever built; propelling the Orion capsule and humanity further into the solar system than ever before. And our CST-100 Starliner, launched on the 100 percent mission successful United Launch Alliance Atlas 5 rocket, will return American astronauts to space on an American-built capsule in the not too distant future. While others may dream, we actually do. And we do with the resources and expertise to deliver on our commitments.
Working together, we will help humankind explore deep space and play a leadership role in America’s journey to Mars, as well as revolutionize launch and space access through pioneering work on programs like the X-37B and the XS-1 Phantom Express with our United States Air Force and DARPA customers.
We also are delivering advanced military space solutions such as our wide-band global sitcom satellites that provide critical anywhere, anytime communications for troops around the globe, including those deployed in combat.
But our collective success on this unprecedented journey is not guaranteed. Everyone in this room, government and industry alike, must commit to fighting for American leadership in space. We believe the aerospace industry has an important role to play in partnering with the government to enact policies that not only will advance our efforts in space but also grow the economy, support American jobs, with an emphasis on restoring U.S. manufacturing. That’s why I continue to engage on behalf of Boeing, in arenas like this, as well as chairman of the Aerospace Industries Association, a trade group representing U.S. aerospace and defense industry, where we are engaged on Capitol Hill, with the administration, and internationally.
As America’s largest manufacturing exporter, we’re a big part of the $80 billion dollar-a-year favorable trade balance that the U.S. aerospace sector injects into the nation’s economy. In addition to the roughly 140,000 employees who work directly for The Boeing Company across the country, our supply chain of thousands of medium and small businesses in all 50 states support an additional 1.3 million American jobs. Consider the tremendous ripple effect that our industry has on the nation, boosting economies, and spurring innovation in new technologies.
As a company and an industry, we remain committed to investing in our future from driving innovation to supporting quality jobs and capital investments, and working with the administration to advance policies such as comprehensive tax reform that will enable it.
Continued space exploration will take resources and cooperation. We must commit to an uninterrupted human presence in orbit and accelerate our momentum towards deep space. All too often, when America withdraws, other nations fill the void. We want the United States to retain its leadership position, build on the progress and substantial investments that have been made in recent years.
I am inspired by the boundless opportunity we have before us. Space has a near universal ability to capture our imagination unlike anything else to energize dreamers and doers alike. Achievements in space can unite a nation and it’s a proud reminder that we can accomplish amazing things as a country when we work together.
In that spirit, I call upon the National Space Council to set a bold national space agenda with clear, actionable objectives and resources to match that will help the United States maintain its technological edge, engage and grow future talent critical to our competitive advantage, and it will excite and inspire generations of Americans to come.
In closing, Robert Gilruth, the first director of NASA’s Manned Spacecraft Center, said that one fundamental requirement for mission success was employing, and I quote, “the kind of people who will not permit it to fail.”
Vice President Pence and members of the National Space Council, we are those people. And you have our full commitment as the Boeing Company and our teammates to ensure we will succeed in this important endeavor. Boeing will be there leading every step of the way.
Thank you and I look forward to your questions.
6. VICE PRESIDENT PENCE: Great. Thank you, Dennis. Thank you for those words. We look forward to a dialogue. Before we get to questions, David Thompson, who is president and CEO of Orbital ATK. Welcome.
7. DAVID THOMPSON [31:15]: Mr. Vice President, members of the National Space Council, ladies and gentlemen, good morning. Thank you for inviting me to participate in this important and timely discussion of our country’s civil space programs. With strong leadership from the National Space Council, there are many exciting opportunities available to this administration for near-term space achievements. I would like to highlight three areas that I believe hold great promise for future accomplishments by NASA and other space related enterprises in the next five years.
First, human voyages to cislunar space. Today, NASA is on the threshold of completing the development and, in about two years, conducting the initial flight of America’s first deep-space transportation system since the Apollo-Saturn vehicles of the late 1960s and early 1970s. The Space Launch System rocket and its companion Orion spacecraft will give our country the capability of returning astronauts to the vicinity of the Moon, both to further explore the lunar environment and to test the technologies and operations required for future expeditions to Mars.
Now, with renewed sense of purpose and urgency, NASA and its industrial partners should be challenged to substantially accelerate the use and to fully exploit the capabilities of the SLS Orion system. Backed by this administration’s financial and moral support, U.S. astronauts can carry out several cislunar voyages during the next five years; including flights to the Moon, to in-place and activate the first elements of a lunar orbit station, which NASA calls the deep-space gateway.
Second, international and commercial partnerships. The International Space Station program has been a remarkably successful collaboration of 16 countries, led by the United States, but facilitated and enhanced by the technological, operational, and financial contributions of many of our closest allies in Europe, North and South America, and Asia. As we extend the reach of human activity to the lunar domain, we should seek to establish new, long-term partnerships with those countries who share similar goals and who can contribute important elements of a deep-space infrastructure. Similarly, over the past several decades, NASA has pioneered an array of successful public-private partnerships that have resulted in accelerated innovation and new, more affordable space capabilities for both government missions and commercial applications.
As the space agency plans and implements our return to cislunar space, it should aggressively engage with U.S. commercial enterprises that are willing to privately develop and operate systems that can provide a range of in-space utilities, logistics, and related services. It should also encourage commercial use of the lunar orbit outposts for surface activities with scientific and economic potential. By doing so, NASA can leverage its limited budgets with the cost efficiencies of commercial development and operational approaches and through access to the resources of our private capital markets.
And, third, space-based science missions. NASA’s robotic spacecraft in Earth orbit and throughout the solar system have revolutionized the fields of astrophysics, solar physics, planetary exploration, and earth science. During the last few decades, space missions to the planets have revealed their wonders and charted humankind’s path to the solar system. Other NASA missions have observed the universe with unprecedented resolution, displaying its vastness and majesty and beginning the search for life elsewhere. Still other missions have monitored Earth and provided us with essential information to be better stewards of our planet.
To assure U.S. leadership in space science and robotic exploration for the next decade and beyond, it will be critical for the Space Council to advocate for continued robust funding of these programs. Beyond its major programs, NASA can also be a leader in developing the needed technologies to enable the use of a new generation of small satellites for scientific purposes.
In conclusion, the years immediately ahead offer America the chance to lead the world in a new golden age of space achievement if we are bold in our aspirations and resolute in our actions. Under your leadership, Mr. Vice President, the National Space Council can orchestrate the combined creativity, energies, and skills of NASA, other space-related agencies, and the U.S. private sector to benefit our country’s domestic economy, scientific and technological progress, and international standing.
Thank you for this opportunity to present my views on this important topic. I’ll be happy to respond to your questions.
8. VICE PRESIDENT PENCE [36:36]: That’s great. Thank you. Thank you, David Thompson. Thank you for those thoughtful comments.
The chair will begin with a brief question. I (was) struck by your testimony this morning. Each of you—Marilyn, you spoke about the imperative of American action; Dennis, you spoke about the commitment to uninterrupted space that you caution about when America withdraws; and, David, you spoke about the need to accelerate. My question is: can you can you favor us with—how do you view America’s role in space today? Have we fallen behind, as we believe? Is that your judgment from the outside? And how quickly can we seize American leadership again in a broad range of areas in space? And, maybe, just briefly on that and, then, I’ll go to the rest of the panel. Marilyn, and, then, maybe others.
9. MARILLYN HEWSON [37:41]: Thank you, Mr. Vice President.
I would say, first of all, that it is very important today that it is an imperative. In my view, national security, economic growth, as well as being able to help with education and understanding of our world is imperative around space. It has been for many, many years, It’s even more so today.
To your question about being behind, I think as you hear from the national security panel, you’ll hear more insight to this. But I do think that we have to be vigilant on that front as you’ve outlined in your remarks.
From an economic security standpoint and from an economic growth standpoint, space is an inspirational area for us as a nation, not just because it’s a new frontier but because it makes our lives better. We can look at so many technologies that we have gained through our exploration of space. And I think getting our young people, the next generation as well as Americans today, focused on that will bring more jobs, will bring more inspiration, and will help us to continue to lead as a nation.
11. DENNIS MUILENBURG [38:56]: Sir, I think we can get there quickly if we have focus and commitment and resourcing. I share the sense of urgency here. We see countries around the world investing in space to gain competitive advantage. We know that investing in space is important from the national security and economic standpoint. We have the resources available. We have the talent available. We have the right programs in place now. It is important that we have long-term stability on funding, a clear commitment, and clear actionable objectives. And, with that, I think we can rally the whole country. There is nothing more inspiring than the country’s space program in terms of rallying today’s industrial-government partnerships and building the next generation of talent. So, I think we can do it quickly and I think it’s measured in a matter of a handful of years and we can make clear progress right out of the gates.
12. VICE PRESIDENT PENCE: David, you were talking about the ability to do cislunar space, multiple missions within the next five years. You share the belief how quickly we can get back in the forefront?
13. DAVID THOMPSON [40:05]: Yes sir, Mr. Vice President, I do. I think NASA has done a fantastic job of building the basic infrastructure that will allow us, within a period of five years or less, to return American astronauts to the vicinity of the Moon and, shortly thereafter if we so choose, to return both astronauts and their robotic helpers to the surface of the Moon. So, I believe this is feasible within a period of time of approximately five years.
15. SECRETARY TILLERSON [40:42]: Thank all of you for being with us this morning. And I think an important point that has been made in terms of the real value delivery of undertaking a robust and vigorous deep-space exploration program you touched on, is the inspiration that it provides to so many young boys, young girls, young men and women to enter fields of science, technology, engineering, and math study and, then, take that on to their careers. That was the case for me. Neil Armstrong’s landing on the moon inspired me to want to go into the lifelong career of engineering. And so, it is a broad impact not just for our space program, but it is how we create the ability of our nation to have a very robust innovative spirit which is so fundamental to the broader economic competitiveness of the U.S., so I really share strongly the views that this is going to deliver enormous value far beyond just our accomplishments in deep space exploration.
And, with that, I had a couple of questions. One is—as we think about deep space exploration and we have in our space programs of the past, we’ve had very successful international consortium–cooperation, partnerships, basically, think about deep space exploration, what’s the proper, in your view, what is the proper architecture around an international effort to put humans into deep space exploration programs? Are there areas that we should reserve to ourselves? Are their areas that really lend themselves to international consortium? And, then, as you think about that, what are the particular countries in your experience that we should be developing this relationship and this architecture with in particular? Where should we be focusing?
16. DENNIS MUILENBURG [42:22]: Mr. Secretary, if I could take a first cut at that. I think a good model is the work we’ve done together on the International Space Station over the last many years. That has been a very successful endeavor for our country with a number of industrial partnerships and partnerships with other countries.
The key to success, however, is American leadership. So, collaboration works. It can make sense, but it requires American leadership and America architecting the system. I think there are similar opportunities for deep space exploration. But, again, I think America needs to lead with the technology, lead with the architecture, lead in terms of building an infrastructure that will allow international collaboration. There are certain elements of technology and innovation, too, that I think are appropriate for the United States to keep for itself, and that has to be part of architecting such a program. But, I think the opportunity to bring in additional resources, talents with many of our global partners, our allies, finding intersections between national security and economic security are very viable and those are the places where I would look for partnerships.
17. MARILLYN HEWSON [43:30]: I would add on the deep space exploration side, Orion is a good example of that. Today, we have the European Space Agency that is building the service module for that. This is going to be, you know, it’s a proven technology. It’s a capsule that we are moving forward with with NASA and we’re very pleased with where it is in its progress. So, it’s working today. I think where we also would look is at other countries is involved with the infrastructure that we put in place in space. But, I would also think an important area that we should keep in front of us, as a government, is that in space we need to have an international framework—regulatory framework—because there are over 70 countries that have missions in space today. A variety of different things that they’re doing and, so, the U.S. should lead on helping to get in place that regulatory framework that’s so important for those international partnerships and for just operating in that domain.
18. DAVID THOMPSON [44:26]: Mr. Secretary, I would agree. I think the discussions have started at a preliminary level between NASA and the European Space Agency and I would recommend that Space Council encourage those discussions. I think NASA and ESA have been good partners on a variety of human and robotic space initiatives in the past and could form the core international coalition to see humans move into deep space in the near term.
19. VICE PRESIDENT PENCE [45:07]: Thank you, Mr. Secretary. If you have no other questions, I’ll take a moment to remind you that Neil Armstrong was a Purdue University engineer. That would be Purdue University in Indiana. Appreciate very thoughtful comments and appreciate the Secretary’s presence here today and his engagement on this council. Acting NASA administrator Robert Lightfoot is recognized.
20. ADMINISTRATOR LIGHTFOOT [45:35]: Thank you, (Mr.) Vice President. I think that the question I would have I’m going to kind of direct it to David, but I’ll let the other two jump in if you get a chance. Clearly, we’ve advanced a lot since the last time we went to the Moon and there’s a lot of advancements that are out there. I’d be very interested in your thoughts on the role of robotics or other technologies as we look on going into lunar operations. Specifically, for you David, you guys are working a lot in satellite servicing and your Cygnus cargo vehicle, that you’re flying to International Space Station today, you’re looking at autonomous operations there. How do you see that as an enabler as we move forward into this area or other technologies if you want to speak on that.
21. DAVID THOMPSON [46:14]: Thank you very much, Robert. I see the near future activities in the vicinity of the Moon differing in several important respects from our last human flights to the Moon almost 45 years ago. First, I believe these upcoming missions will ultimately be of longer duration. The longest period of time that humans have ever been in the vicinity of the Moon is less than five days. And as we go back, I think we’ll quickly amass the experience of weeks or months of operations in lunar orbit and on the surface of the Moon with human-tended platforms and reusable systems that can be left behind to be serviced by many subsequent crews.
With respect to robotics and other autonomous systems, there have been enormous advances, in some cases spearheaded by NASA and other cases by the private sector or the military. In these technologies over the intervening four decades, NASA has done quite a bit of this on its own with its robotic emissaries to explore the solar system and, now, in low orbit private companies are also deploying robotic systems of quite an advanced nature. So, I would envision human activities on the Moon and near the Moon being substantially enabled, made more productive, and made much safer due to the presence of robotics and other autonomous systems that could operate together with our men and women that would be there representing our country. Thank you.
22. DENNIS MUILENBURG [48:06]: Robert, if I could just add a complimentary point to David’s. We see the opportunity for robotics in space and collaboration between humans and robots as an important technology step. It does come in the form of vehicles. Another example being the X-37B, the Phantom Express rapid launch capabilities. We also see a future with automation and robotics and space in areas like space manufacturing. And we see the opportunity for zero gravity/low gravity manufacturing being a viable commercial practice in space at some point. That could either be in low Earth orbit or lunar. And, as we’re doing on Earth, with combinations of humans and robots working in our factories, robotic application to space manufacturing I think is another leading-edge technology area. It’s an important place for America to lead.
24. DEPUTY SECRETARY SHANAHAN [49:10]: Hey, good afternoon. Or, I guess, good morning. You know, one of the themes, that each of you mentioned in your remarks, was stable, consistent funding. And, you know, the question is as you look across the three different domains—civil, commercial, military—what’s the synergy we should try to exploit? How do you think about really leveraging some of those common missions or doings?
25. DENNIS MUILENBURG [49:38]: Well, first of all, I think your point of matching up and creating synergy across commercial and defense sectors is very important. It’s important to the talent base; it’s important to the techniques and processes. And, frankly, that combination can help create some stability and funding and programmatic profiles.
I think it’s also important that from a policy standpoint. If we look at the national budget, not only the defense budget but all of the elements that fuel innovation, year-to-year stability and alternatives to the budget cap approach that we have in place today—sequestration—we need an alternative that’s good for the U.S. government, it’s good for the economy, it’s good for industry, so we can do long-term planning together. Without that long-term view and long-term stability and funding, it’s difficult to build a supply chain; it’s difficult to make the investments that create long-term space infrastructure. I think that’s one of the most important things we can do as a country.
26. MARILLYN HEWSON [50:39]: I would answer that. To your point, there is complimentary. When you take the national security activities that we do, they do flow over into commercial opportunities and civil opportunities as well, so the money that we’re spending, the investments that we’re making as a nation on national security or on our civil space programs, it’s complimentary across and we can get the full bang for the buck. But to Dennis’s point, we have been faced with a very challenging budget environment in the space arena as well as in other areas of our government and, so, that is a message to you, as a Space Council, that we really do need to make sure that we have stable funding, that we are, that we have aspirational programs that we’re investing in so that we can continue to be a leader in space.
27. VICE PRESIDENT PENCE [51:25]: Very good. David, anything? Thank you. Well, if there’s no other questions from the panel, we’ll allow this very distinguished panel to step away, but I hope everyone in attendance will join me in thanking Marilyn Hewson, David Muhlenberg, and David Thompson for just outstanding presentations. Thank you very much.
As our next panel begins to make their way, I would call everyone on the Space Council’s attention to your packets today. There’s a recommendation to the President for a new policy on deep-space human exploration. It meets the President’s vision for America to lead in space again. The recommendation is: the National Space Council policy be amended, as is transcribed there, that we shall lead an innovative and sustainable program of exploration with commercial, international partners to enable human expansion across the solar system, to bring new knowledge and opportunities beginning with missions beyond low earth orbit. The United States will lead and return humans to the Moon for long-term exploration followed by human missions to Mars and other destinations. Unless anyone on the council has an objection, I would direct the executive secretary of the Council to prepare a decision memo to the President with this recommendation for the Council. Hearing none, so moved. With that, Secretary Ross, do you have a comment.
29. VICE PRESIDENT PENCE [53:09]: Good. Thank you. Saw your light on there, Wilbur. I’m always ready to recognize you. With that, let me let me turn to the Acting Administrator Robert Lightfoot. You’ve got a big job ahead of you. Council’s going to need the whole team at NASA to work with the Office of Management and Budget to provide the President with a recommended plan to fulfill that policy. We’ll need you and your team at NASA, present and future, to be prepared to do just that. And it certainly reinforces what we heard today about the importance of urgency but also a sustainable commitment of the United States to consistent presence in space. So, with that, welcome to your comments.
30. ADMINSTRATOR LIGHTFOOT [53:54]: Thank you, Mr. Vice President. I think you know as we sit here today, Mark Vande Hei and Randy Bresnik are doing a spacewalk at the International Space Station. So, they’re outside the station above us—200 some odd miles above us today—and I am confident and excited about the opportunity to bring a plan back to the President that allows future astronauts like that to do the same kind of work further and further into space. So, it’s an exciting time for us, a good opportunity for us to do this, and I look forward work with the council, OMB, as we go forward. So, we’re ready to do it.
31. VICE PRESIDENT PENCE [54:24]: Great. Thanks, Robert. Thanks for your leadership as our Acting Administrator at NASA and thank you all.
We’re going to begin to turn our attention to the next panel. This panel is focused on the entrepreneurial side of space, which (is) commonly called commercial space. Before I do that, I did want to recognize a couple of folks who are in the audience, today, as we talk about a sustainable commitment to space. I don’t want to fail to recognize members of Congress who are present with us today. We’re grateful for their presence. Congressman Dana Rohrabacher, Congressman Steve Palazzo, and Congressman Jim Bridenstine is with us today. Would you all join me in welcoming their presence today.
Also, let me—a point of personal privilege—two people that have been great champions of American leadership in space throughout their long and storied careers; the former chairman of the House Science Committee, Bob Walker, is here and the former Speaker of the House, Newt Gingrich, is with us today. Thank you both for being with us.
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- Page 2: Vice President Pence’s opening remarks
- Page 3: Panel 1
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- Page 6: General McMaster’s remarks and Vice President Pence’s closing remarks