Trump & Thiel Empower Commercial Space. Bob Zimmerman, BehindtheBlack.com

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12-20-2016

(Photo: Peter Thiel: We're Voting Trump Because 'We Judge the Leadership of Our Country to Have Failed')

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Trump & Thiel Empower Commercial Space. Bob Zimmerman, BehindtheBlack.com

Pressure on Trump to shift NASA transistion team towards private space. December 20, 2016 at 1:49 pm Robert Zimmerman

The competition heats up: Several of Trump’s most listened-to advisers are trying to convince him to put more commercial space advocates on his NASA transition team.

The appointments, which are expected to be announced shortly, partly reflect Mr. Thiel’s influence, the people said. The billionaire investor, who is Mr. Trump’s most prominent Silicon Valley supporter, is among more than two dozen people on the executive council overseeing the government-wide transition.

Along with former House Speaker Newt Gingrich and former Republican Congressman Robert Walker—two other champions of commercial space endeavors—Mr. Thiel has argued forcefully inside the transition that the original team sent to the National Aeronautics and Space Administration was skewed toward appointees closely identified with legacy space projects run by Boeing Co. and Lockheed Martin Corp., the people said.

This is good news. While my previous post, The squealing of pigs, focused on Trump’s environmental policy at NASA and elsewhere, his approach to commercial space remains unclear. These changes will help move his administration away from the pork of SLS and toward the competitive commercial space sector.

Let me add that this story reaffirms my belief that the best way to get Trump to shift to the right is to surround him with conservatives. Interestingly, it appears that Trump himself has chosen to do this. His first instincts might not be conservative, but he apparently is quite willing to take the advice of those who instincts are.

“…Transition leaders are poised to tap Alan Stern, chairman of the Commercial Spaceflight Federation, a leading trade group, and Alan Lindenmoyer, a former head of NASA’s commercial space taxi program, to serve on the agency’s so-called landing team, according to people familiar with the matter.

Consultant Charles Miller, another ex-NASA official who championed commercial space programs over the years, also is slated to be appointed to the same panel, they said. All the new appointees favor the type of private-public partnerships exemplified by Elon Musk ’s Space Exploration Technologies Corp.

The additional appointments, which are expected to be announced shortly, partly reflect Mr. Thiel’s influence, the people said. The billionaire investor, Mr. Trump’s most prominent Silicon Valley supporter, is among more than two dozen people on the executive council overseeing the governmentwide transition.

Along with former House Speaker Newt Gingrich and former Republican Congressman Robert Walker —two other champions of commercial-space endeavors—Mr. Thiel has argued forcefully inside the transition that the original team sent to the National Aeronautics and Space Administration was skewed toward appointees closely identified with legacy space projects run by Boeing Co. and Lockheed Martin Corp. , the people said.

Most of the existing appointees support projects in Alabama championed by Sen. Jeff Sessions (R., Ala.), Mr. Trump’s pick for attorney general, according to industry officials. Mr. Sessions has played an outsize role shaping the president-elect’s transition effort when it comes to space programs. Transition officials declined to comment on that issue.

To a large extent, Mr. Thiel was passing on similar complaints he received from prominent space entrepreneurs including Mr. Musk and Amazon.com Inc. founder and Chief Executive Jeff Bezos, who also heads the commercial space venture Blue Origin LLC, people familiar with the matter said. Some of the grousing made its way to Vice Presid...

Dec 21, 2016, 06:44 AM
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