Bring Your Ideas to NASA@WORK

Over the past few weeks, I’ve heard from employees across the agency who want to help the nation through this unprecedented time. These comments exemplify the prevailing, can-do spirit of NASA people and our willingness to take on any challenge.

As the nation comes together to confront this crisis, we must look at every opportunity for NASA to lend a hand and increase our contribution to America’s response. We have unique capabilities—several of which are already being used to help combat COVID-19. We also have talented people and decades of experience finding solutions to complex problems.

NASA will continue to support the Administration and local response efforts by our field centers. Starting today, we’re also asking the NASA workforce for ideas of how the agency can leverage its expertise and capabilities to provide additional support. Using our internal crowdsourcing platform NASA@WORK, you can submit ideas for solutions relevant to COVID-19. Multiple ideas may be selected for follow-up and potential action.

For this initial call, NASA leadership, working with the White House and other government agencies, determined three focus areas around personal protective equipment, ventilation devices, and monitoring and forecasting the spread and impacts of the virus. Other creative ideas are welcome, and as COVID-19 evolves, we may introduce additional topic areas to address the needs of the country.

You can find more information about the NASA@WORK opportunity below and online. I encourage anyone with an idea to submit it within the next two weeks, as it could propel meaningful contributions to the COVID-19 response.

Thank you all in advance for bringing your ingenuity to the table and helping with something so important. And thank you to the Space Technology Mission Directorate for spearheading this effort on behalf of the agency and for the benefit of the nation.

Ad astra,


A 21st Century Budget for 21st Century Space Exploration

President Donald Trump’s Fiscal Year 2021 Budget for NASA is worthy of 21st-century exploration and discovery. The President’s budget invests more than $25 billion in NASA to fortify our innovative human space exploration program while maintaining strong support for our agency’s full suite of science, aeronautics, and technology work.

The budget proposed represents a 12 percent increase and makes this one of the strongest budgets in NASA history. The reinforced support from the President comes at a critical time as we lay the foundations for landing the first woman and the next man on the South Pole of the Moon by 2024. This budget keeps us firmly on that path.

We are preparing to achieve pivotal milestones this year in development of the Space Launch System rocket, Orion spacecraft, and the Gateway. These make up the backbone of our Artemis program and are fully supported by this budget. They constitute our ability to build a sustainable lunar presence and eventually send human missions to Mars.

Most noteworthy, is the President’s direct funding of $3.3 billion for the development of a human landing system. This is the first time we have had direct funding for a human lander since the Apollo Program. We are serious about our 2024 goals, and the President’s budget supports our efforts to get the job done.

We will soon launch American astronauts on American rockets from American soil for the first time in nearly a decade. This recaptured ability will not only allow us to do more science and more exploration than ever before, but will also broaden commercial activity in low-Earth orbit to support ever greater private partnerships.

As we prepare to celebrate 20 years of continuous human presence aboard the International Space Station this year, we will continue to look for ways to partner with private enterprise and give more people access to the unique environment microgravity offers. Similarly, when we go to the Moon in the next four years, we are interested in taking the world with us. This includes those involved in our Commercial Lunar Payload Services initiative and the international relationships we have forged over the decades.

The FY 2021 budget positions NASA to spearhead a new era of human space exploration without focusing funds on one program at the expense of others. This all-of-NASA approach to the future will help us take advantage of all the exciting, new horizons emerging in science, aeronautics, and technology.

The decadal survey priorities are strongly supported by this budget, including history’s first Mars sample return mission, the Europa Clipper, and development of a host of new trailblazing Earth observation missions. In aeronautics, the budget backs all our cutting-edge research on commercial use of supersonic aircraft, all-electric airplanes, and development of an unmanned aerial system that will make flying small drones safer and more efficient in the 21st century.

NASA is on the cusp of embarking on era-defining exploration. The civilization-changing technology we develop will deepen humanity’s scientific knowledge of the universe and how to take care of our ever-changing world.

I am confident the FY 2021 budget’s proper investment in our agency’s priorities, coupled with NASA’s unmatched talents and expertise, will strengthen our national posture for continued space preeminence and, as President Trump said during his State of the Union speech last week, help our nation embrace the next frontier.

To learn more about our budget, please visit:

Day of Remembrance – January 30, 2020

Each year at this time, the NASA community pauses on this Day of Remembrance to honor the brave women and men who lost their lives for the most noble of goals: the pursuit of truth and greater understanding. Today, we remember the crews of Apollo 1, Challenger and Columbia, as well as those who surrendered all in support of missions of exploration and discovery. Our expressions of gratitude for their sacrifice cannot retract the overwhelming pain of their loss, but perhaps our efforts can further propel forward the purpose for which they gave their lives.

NASA’s Day of Remembrance gives all of us an opportunity to thoughtfully reflect on the lessons of the past and on the lives of those who dared slip the bonds of Earth and reach for greater heights. Space exploration holds many rewards as well as countless unforgiving dangers. Unfortunately, NASA has learned through sad experience the high price spaceflight demands for mistakes and failures. Each of these tragedies have changed NASA. The lessons we learned from them influence everything we do today, ensuring the sacrifices of the fallen will never be forgotten.

Shortly after the Apollo 1 accident that catastrophically killed all three crew members, flight director Gene Kranz addressed his team at mission control. “Spaceflight will never tolerate carelessness, incapacity and neglect,” he said. “Somewhere, somehow, we screwed up [and] we should have caught it.” Kranz insisted that from that moment on his team would be known for two words: “tough and competent.” This renewed sense of personal accountability marked the transformation of a slapdash engineering culture into one with a relentless pursuit of perfection. This culture of excellence has persisted and permeated throughout all of NASA. Similarly, the Challenger and Columbia investigative reports have further perfected and cemented our unrelenting determination to keep our astronauts safe.

Taps is played by a member of The Old Guard after NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine laid a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknowns as part of NASA’s Day of Remembrance, Thursday, Feb. 7, 2019, at Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, Va. The wreaths were laid in memory of those men and women who lost their lives in the quest for space exploration. Photo Credit: (NASA/Aubrey Gemignani)

This year the lessons of the past are ever at the forefront of our minds as we prepare to return human spaceflight to our nation. In the very near future, we will once again launch American astronauts on American rockets from American soil – something not done since the end of the Shuttle program in 2011, and a capability our nation must never lose again. NASA’s close partnerships with American businesses will revolutionize spaceflight as commercial spacecraft pave the way to an era of greater human spaceflight opportunities than ever before. These commercial partners know that our standards of safety are uncompromising and are informed by the heart-wrenching loss of heroes we will forever honor on this Day of Remembrance.

The daring pioneer spirit of our men and women throughout the years as they take their seats aboard our spacecraft is remarkable. There is nothing inevitable about scientific discovery nor is there a predetermined path of cutting-edge innovation. Long hours of arduous study and courageous experimentation are required merely to glimpse a flicker of enlightenment that can lead to greater heights of human achievement. Our fallen heroes knew this and it is why they risked their lives. To expand our knowledge of the cosmos is to pursue a better life on Earth for our children, and future generations to come. Much of the technological triumphs and success we enjoy today and the scientific advancements awaiting humanity on the horizon of this new, dynamic era of 21st-century spaceflight are the very gifts they wished to bestow. Our efforts today in pursuing the objectives of the Artemis Program and others honor our heroes for the foundations they laid that make our success possible.

Today on NASA’s Day of Remembrance, I encourage all to reflect on the legacy and memory of our friends and colleagues who lost their lives to advance humanity to new frontiers. Let us give gratitude not only in words but through our actions by redoubling our efforts in honor of their selfless sacrifice.



NASA Authorization Bill Update

I would like to thank the Committee for producing a comprehensive NASA authorization bill. I am particularly encouraged that the bill is proceeding on a bipartisan basis, reflecting a consensus on a Moon to Mars approach. Maintaining a bipartisan, consensus approach is critical to constancy of purpose and supporting a long-term national commitment to the human exploration of the Moon and Mars. The bill envisions a destination of Mars while supporting missions to the Moon as the most effective strategy to achieve that critical, shared goal. NASA would appreciate the opportunity to work with the Committee in a bipartisan way, as we did with the Senate Commerce Committee, on some modifications.

I am concerned that the bill imposes some significant constraints on our approach to lunar exploration. As you know, NASA has successfully fostered the development of a rapidly expanding commercial economy for access to space. We would like to continue building on this success as we develop the most efficient mission architectures and partnership approaches to accomplish our shared goals.

NASA seeks to expand the sphere of economic activity deeper into space by conducting space exploration and development with commercial and international partners. Without the dynamic participation of commercial partners, our chances of creating a sustainable exploration program are significantly diminished. In particular, we are concerned that the bill’s approach to developing a human lander system as fully government-owned and directed would be ineffective. The approach established by the bill would inhibit our ability to develop a flexible architecture that takes advantage of the full array of national capabilities – government and private sector – to accomplish national goals. NASA would appreciate the opportunity to work with the Committee to develop language that would support a broader national and international effort that would maximize progress toward our shared exploration goals through the efficient application of our available resources.

NASA is fully committed to a lunar exploration program that supports and enables human missions to Mars. The Committee should be aware that the exploration of Mars is a very challenging goal both technically and from a resource perspective. If we are going to accomplish this goal, we will need the flexibility to rapidly develop technical expertise using the Moon and to fully engage commercial and international partners. We do think that the bill’s concerns for limiting activities on the Moon could be counterproductive. If we are going to explore Mars in a safe and sustainable way, we will require a strong in situ resource utilization capability and significant technology development using the surface of the Moon. NASA would appreciate more flexibility in defining lunar surface activities that may contribute directly to Mars exploration.

NASA subject matter experts are now closely reviewing the available bill text to identify issues and concerns of a more technical, detailed nature, and we would appreciate an opportunity to share the results of this review with the Committee at the appropriate time.

We would welcome an opportunity to work with the Committee on a bill that would accommodate a broader partnership approach. I appreciate the Committee’s bipartisan efforts and congratulate you on producing this bipartisan consensus in favor of a Moon to Mars exploration program.

Readout: International Astronautical Congress (Day 4)

Building on the growing international support for NASA’s Artemis program, agency leaders continued their bilateral discussions with world leaders on the fourth day of the 70th International Astronautical Conference in Washington.

NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine began Thursday with a meeting with President Jean-Yves Le Gall of France’s space agency the Centre National d’Études Spatiales (CNES) to discuss French support for bilateral and European cooperation in human and robotic exploration of the Moon and Mars.

Following their meeting, Bridenstine and Le Gall signed an update to an agreement for cooperation between the agencies on the U.S.-France Surface Water Ocean Topography (SWOT) mission. SWOT will create the first global survey of Earth’s surface water, which will help us better understand our freshwater resources. Set to launch in 2021, SWOT is the latest in a series of ocean altimetry missions resulting from U.S.-France cooperation.

Jean-Yves Le Gall, president of the Centre National d’Études Spatiales (CNES), left, shakes hands with NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine after signing an amendment to the Surface Water and Ocean Topography Mission agreement at the 70th International Astronautical Congress Oct. 24, 2019, in Washington. Photo Credit: (NASA/Bill Ingalls)

Bridenstine also met with Israel Space Agency Director Avigdor Blasberger to discuss areas of mutual cooperation and future exploration plans. Israel, together with the German Aerospace Center, is developing a vest for human exploration. The vests will be flight-tested on NASA’s Artemis 1 mission.

Israel Space Agency Director Avi Blasberger, second from right, meets with NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine, second from left, during the 70th International Astronautical Congress Oct. 24, 2019, in Washington. Photo Credit: (NASA/Bill Ingalls)

The Polish Space Agency (POLSA) also expressed its support for the Artemis program by signing a joint statement with Bridenstine focused on strengthening cooperation between the United States and Poland. Through ESA (European Space Agency), Poland has been involved in plans for elements of the lunar Gateway.

Michal Szaniawski, president of the Polish Space Agency (POLSA), left, and NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine shake hands after signing a joint statement expressing their intent to discuss opportunities for cooperation, including sustainable activities around and on the Moon in connection with NASA’s Artemis program, Oct. 24, 2019, during the 70th International Astronautical Congress in Washington. Photo Credit: (NASA/Bill Ingalls)

Bridenstine held a media availability in the late morning at the NASA exhibit, where he took questions from national and international reporters. The administrator answered questions on a wide range of topics including future robotic missions to the Moon and Mars, to the selection of Artemis astronauts.

NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine answers questions during a media availability at the 70th International Astronautical Congress Oct. 24, 2019, in Washington. Photo Credit: (NASA/Bill Ingalls)

Representatives from the United Arab Emirates Space Agency (UAESA), which recently sent its first astronaut to the International Space Station, met with Bridenstine to discuss possible opportunities for UAE astronauts to train in the United States, as well as commercial industry activity in low-Earth orbit, the space between Earth and the Moon, and on Mars.

NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine, left, meets with United Arab Emirates Space Agency Director General Mohamed Al Ahbabi, right, during the 70th International Astronautical Congress Oct. 24, 2019, in Washington. Photo Credit: (NASA/Bill Ingalls)

In the afternoon, Bridenstine spoke at the Manfred Lachs Space Law Moot Court Competition finals, hosted by the International Institute of Space Law, where law students – with support from NASA’s Office of General Counsel and Office of STEM Engagement – participate in a hypothetical legal case.

NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine gives remarks during the International Institute of Space Law (IISL), Manfred Lachs Space Law Moot Court Competition finals Oct. 24, 2019, at NASA Headquarters in Washington. Photo Credit: (NASA/Bill Ingalls)

Readout: International Astronautical Congress (Day 3)

For the first time in almost two decades, IAC was held in the United States, providing a great opportunity for NASA employees from all over the country to showcase the agency’s impact on science and discovery.

On the third day of IAC, hundreds of NASA employees wearing NASA blue gathered for a group photo to kick off the day. The theme of NASA’s involvement this year focuses on Artemis and working with our international partners to achieve our goals.

NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine speaks to agency employees as they gather for a group picture at the 70th International Astronautical Congress Oct. 23, 2019, at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center in Washington. Photo Credit: (NASA/Joel Kowsky)

At a meeting with the Canadian Space Agency (CSA), Bridenstine discussed Canada’s commitment to the lunar Gateway with CSA President Sylvain Laporte and senior Canadian officials. Canada was the first international partner to commit to the Gateway and has been coordinating with NASA to provide external robotics.

NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine, Deputy Administrator Jim Morhard, and Ken Bowersox, acting associate administrator for NASA’s Human Exploration and Operations Mission Directorate, meet with Sylvain Laporte, president of the Canadian Space Agency, at the 70th International Astronautical Congress Oct. 23, 2019, in Washington. Photo Credit: (NASA/Joel Kowsky)

Bridenstine also participated in the Young Professionals Town Hall, which brought together early career space professionals from around the world. The administrator discussed NASA’s plans and priorities, and how young people can become involved in Artemis, and answered questions from the crowd. 

NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine is seen during the Global Networking Forum Young Professionals Town Hall at the 70th International Astronautical Congress Oct. 23, 2019, at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center in Washington. Photo Credit: (NASA/Joel Kowsky)

The German Aerospace Center (DLR) is an important international partner for NASA, and in a meeting today, leaders of the agencies had a lengthy discussion on ongoing and future cooperation in aeronautics and science. They also talked about potential DLR contributions to the Artemis program bilaterally and through ESA (European Space Agency) and noted the critical importance of the European Service Modules for Orion, which are being developed in Germany.

NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine, right, is seen during a meeting with Sylvain Laporte, president of the Canadian Space Agency, at the 70th International Astronautical Congress Oct. 23, 2019, in Washington. Photo Credit: (NASA/Joel Kowsky)

Italian Space Agency (ASI) President Giorgio Saccoccia signed a joint statement with Bridenstine that acknowledged the strong mutual cooperation between the agencies and identifies areas of potential future cooperation for the Artemis program. The NASA-ASI partnership provides potential for industry cooperation in support of Artemis. 

Giorgio Saccoccia, head of the Italian Space Agency (ASI), left, and NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine shake hands after signing a joint statement acknowledging the strong ongoing cooperation between the agencies, and identifying areas of potential future cooperation on and around the Moon as part of NASA’s Artemis program at the 70th International Astronautical Congress Oct. 23, 2019, in Washington. Photo Credit: (NASA/Joel Kowsky)

NASA’s Office of STEM Engagement hosted a live broadcast entitled “STEM and Space: Where Do You Fit In?” The goal of the event was to bring IAC to students in the United States and around the globe who are pursuing undergraduate and graduate STEM studies and interested in learning about opportunities in the space sector. Bridenstine participated alongside NASA astronauts Doug Wheelock and Jeanette Epps, former NASA astronaut Sandy Magnus, and other senior NASA officials.


Readout: International Astronautical Congress (Day 2)

For Administrator Bridenstine’s second day at the 70th International Astronautical Congress focused on continuing to broaden our international partnerships. Many space agencies and nations are represented at IAC, and NASA is maximizing the opportunity to meet with those space agencies who have an interest in partnering with us on the Artemis program and our journey to Mars.

In the morning, Bridenstine and a delegation of NASA officials met with Thomas Jarzombek, federal government coordinator of German aerospace policy at the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy, and senior officials from ESA (European Space Agency). The meeting focused on German support for NASA-ESA collaboration on the International Space Station, European service modules and lunar Gateway.

NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine, left, poses for a photo with Thomas Jarzombek, federal government coordinator of German aerospace policy at the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy, during the 70th International Astronautical Congress Oct. 22, 2019, in Washington. Photo Credit: (NASA/Aubrey Gemignani)

A meeting was also held with ESA (European Space Agency) Director General Johann-Dietrich Wörner to solidify support for Artemis and contributions from Europe. Topics such as the significance of Europe’s human exploration plans and support for the upcoming ESA ministerial meeting were on the agenda. 

NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine, third from right, and Deputy Administrator Jim Morhard, fourth from right, speak with Professor Johann-Dietrich Worner, Director General of ESA (European Space Agency), fourth from left, during the 70th International Astronautical Congress Oct. 22, 2019, in Washington. Photo Credit: (NASA/Aubrey Gemignani)

The administrator also convened a meeting of senior leaders from more than 25 international space agencies to discuss the future of human exploration, during which NASA presented a vision and plans for Artemis and missions to Mars.

NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine speaks during a multilateral meeting of the heads of space agencies at the 70th International Astronautical Congress, Tuesday, Oct. 22, 2019 in Washington. Photo Credit: (NASA/Aubrey Gemignani)

Bridenstine and leaders from the Luxembourg Space Agency (LSA) signed a joint statement that highlights areas of mutual interest, such as lunar exploration and calls for the establishment of a new framework agreement between the two agencies. Marc Serres, chief executive officer of LSA, led the meeting with Bridenstine, focusing on the International Space Station, Orion, Gateway, and Mars sample return. 

NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine, right, and Dr. Marc Serres, chief executive officer, Luxembourg Space Agency (LSA), left, shake hands after signing an agreement while the Honorable James Randolph Evans, Ambassador to the Grant Duchy of Luxembourg, back right, and Etienne Schneider, Deputy Prime Minister, back left, observed at the 70th International Astronautical Congress Oct. 22, 2019 in Washington. Photo Credit: (NASA/Aubrey Gemignani)


What is the Artemis Generation?

It’s hard to believe it was only six months ago that NASA was called to accelerate our plans to land astronauts on the Moon by 2024, and establish sustainable lunar exploration by 2028. In doing so, we also accelerated our plans for our next giant leap – sending astronauts to Mars.

We committed to making these goals a reality, and soon after, I announced the name for our efforts: the Artemis program.

Artemis is the twin sister of Apollo, and a goddess of the Moon. And she now personifies our path forward in more ways than one. With the Artemis program, we will land the first woman and next man on the Moon. Many have asked why we’re focused on sending the first woman. And I often say because it is about time! Our astronauts represent the best of us, and to do so, we must be able to see ourselves among them.

Today, our astronaut corps is diverse. Based on education and professional experience, millions of American women and men are eligible to apply to be NASA astronauts. Only a handful though are selected from each application class. In addition to pilots, astronauts today have a variety of backgrounds in STEM – they are doctors, geologists, biologists and more.

As the father of a young girl, it’s important my daughter can look to the stars and see herself in the face of the first woman to go the Moon. Whether or not she grows up to be a doctor and ultimately an astronaut, she needs to see that it is possible. I believe our astronaut corps today gives her that confidence. Like me and you, she is a part of the Artemis generation.

Not since Apollo has there been this much momentum to return to the lunar surface. Many other nations are interested in the Moon so this time, we’re not going alone. With Artemis, we will go forward to explore the Moon and beyond with innovative commercial and international partners.

And we will go to the Moon this time using modern technology and systems in ways that will allow us to return time and time again. This too is different with the Artemis generation – we will see long-term robotic and human exploration of our nearest neighbor. Then we will take what we learn at the Moon, and head to Mars.


In the coming weeks, we will highlight more of our Artemis plans. We’re starting with the basics – answering questions such as Why are we going back to the Moon? How do we get there? And finally, who is going with us?

We’ll address these questions and more with a fun, new digital series called #AskNASA. If you have a question about the Moon and Mars, or really, anything you want to know about our agency, send it our way. Submit questions on Twitter using the hashtag #AskNASA or online using our webform.

We look forward to answering your questions. In doing so, we’re hoping to inform and inspire you…the Artemis generation.

Statement on Israel’s Beresheet Lunar Lander

While NASA regrets the end of the SpaceIL mission without a successful lunar landing of the Beresheet lander, we congratulate SpaceIL, the Israel Aerospace Industries and the state of Israel on the incredible accomplishment of sending the first privately funded mission into lunar orbit. Every attempt to reach new milestones holds opportunities for us to learn, adjust and progress. I have no doubt that Israel and SpaceIL will continue to explore and I look forward to celebrating their future achievements.