Vice President Harris Prioritizes National Security, Climate Change & Education at First National Space Council Meeting

Vice President Kamala Harris convened the Biden-Harris administration’s first National Space Council meeting yesterday. During the meeting, the vice president laid out the administration’s space policy and strategy, focusing on protecting our national security, combating climate change, and supporting STEM education. 

Vice President Harris also condemned Russia’s anti-satellite test last month, which resulted in more than 1,500 pieces of debris being generated, endangering other nations’ satellites and the lives of astronauts aboard the International Space Station.

Here’s a roundup of some of the coverage from yesterday’s event:

CNBC: White House unveils ‘Space Priorities Framework’ as VP Kamala Harris leads first space council meeting

By Michael Sheetz, 12/01/2021

The first National Space Council of the Biden administration is meeting on Wednesday, with Vice President Kamala Harris set to outline the White House’s approach to space policy…

With Harris leading Wednesday’s meeting, the White House released a document called the “United States Space Priorities Framework,” which gives an overview of how the Biden administration plans “to develop and implement national space policy and strategy going forward.”

Wired: The US National Space Council Is Back and Focused on Security

By Ramin Skibba, 12/01/2021

On Wednesday morning, US vice president Kamala Harris led the Biden administration’s inaugural National Space Council meeting, at which she and other political leaders outlined their priorities for the future of civil, commercial, and military space activities. She’s the first woman and first person of color to run such a meeting, which has traditionally been led by the vice president. While Harris has considerable foreign policy experience, this is her first major foray into space politics. 

“While our space exploration takes us to the moon, Mars, and the edge of our solar system, I believe we also have the responsibility to look to our home planet,” Harris said at the meeting…

“Without clear norms for the responsible use of space, we stand the real risk of threats to our national and global security,” Harris said. She referred to Russia’s anti-satellite missile test two weeks ago as an “irresponsible act;” it generated some 1,500 pieces of orbital debris, delaying astronauts aboard the International Space Station from doing a planned spacewalk on Tuesday

E&E News: Biden adds climate objective to National Space Council

By Timothy Cama, 12/01/2021

The Biden administration is tasking the federal government’s National Space Council with a new focus on climate change.

Vice President Kamala Harris, who chairs the council, published a new framework of priorities for the body ahead of a major meeting today, her first as the council’s leader…

Under Harris’ new framework, climate is named as a priority specifically for the use of satellites.

“The United States will advance the development and use of space-based Earth observation capabilities that support action on climate change,” the framework reads.

“The United States, through collaboration between the public, private, and philanthropic sectors, will accelerate the development and use of Earth observation to support climate change mitigation and adaptation,” it says. “Open dissemination of Earth observation data will support both domestic and international efforts to address the climate crisis.”

CNN: Harris condemns Russian test of anti-satellite weapon at Biden administration’s first space council meeting

By Kristin Fisher, 12/01/2021

“Without clear norms for the responsible use of space, we face real threats to our national and global security,” said Vice President Kamala Harris, who serves as the head of the National Space Council. “By blasting debris across space, this irresponsible act endangered the satellites of other nations as well as the astronauts on the International Space Station.”

In addition to promoting the rapid development of rules and norms to govern space, the United States Space Priorities Framework is focused on utilizing space to combat climate change and enhancing STEM education.

Those final two priorities are far more prominent for the Biden administration than the previous one, and they were reflected in an executive order signed Wednesday by President Joe Biden. The order added five members to the National Space Council: the secretaries of education, labor, agriculture and interior, as well as the national climate adviser.

Axios: Harris says Russia’s anti-satellite test was “irresponsible”

By Jacob Knutson, 12/01/2021

Russia’s destructive test of an anti-satellite missile last month that created at least 1,500 pieces of space debris was “irresponsible” Vice President Kamala Harris said at the annual National Space Council meeting Wednesday…

Harris stressed that the test and its aftermath showed why new international behavioral norms and regulations are needed to help maintain space as a relatively safe environment…

What they’re saying: “Over the past weeks and months, I’ve spoken with heads of state and governments about our priorities in space. In these conversations, the opportunity for space as been clear, as has the risk,” Harris said during an opening speech for the meeting.

WESH: Vice President Harris talks security, space opportunities during National Space Council meeting

By Scott Heidler, 12/01/2021

In her first time chairing the National Space Council, Vice President Kamala Harris outlined the Biden administration’s plan for space seen as rich in economic and environmental opportunities. But also a growing need for better rules and transparency…

According to Dale Ketcham of Space Florida, space is a subject that is truly bipartisan…

It’s good news for the Space Coast, as it’s expected that the launch total for the year will be more than 40.

Politico: Harris calls for new international rules for space after Russia blows up satellite

By Bryan Bender, 12/01/2021

Vice President Kamala Harris on Wednesday said Russia’s “irresponsible act” last month of blowing up one of its satellites demands a more robust global effort to adopt rules of behavior in orbit to protect national security and defend growing commerce.

“By blasting debris across space, this irresponsible act endangered the satellites of other nations, as well as astronauts in the International Space Station,” Harris said in convening the inaugural meeting of the National Space Council under her leadership.