Transformers: Space

On October 23, The Washington Post hosted “Transformers: Space” featuring Vice President Mike Pence, chairman of the National Space Council. Vice President Pence spoke one-on-one with National Political Reporter Robert Costa about the Trump administration’s plan to establish a “Space Force” as the sixth branch of the U.S. military. The program also featured prominent speakers in the fields of space science and policy, including NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine, Planetary Society CEO Bill Nye and astronauts Chris Ferguson and Victor Glover, who discussed the future of human spaceflight. This wide-ranging conversation covered the factors shaping American leadership in space, the new “space race,” and the future of space exploration that could lead to a future beyond Earth.
The New Space Age
Speakers discuss the most important issues on the country’s space agenda including the future of the International Space Station, America’s plans to return to the Moon, and the search for life in the cosmos.

Transformers Space: The new space age

NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine, Executive Vice President of the Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy Heidi Hammel and The Planetary Society CEO Bill Nye discuss the most important issues on the country’s space agenda, including the future of the International Space Station, America’s plans to return to the Moon and the search for life in the cosmos.

These are Bill Nye’s top two fundamental questions about space

Bill Nye, CEO of The Planetary Society, says that when it comes to thinking about space exploration he always asks two fundamental questions: ‘Where did we come from and are we alone in the universe?’

NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine: ‘This administration is very focused on space’

NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine discusses working with The White House and National Space Council on space policies moving forward.

Bill Nye on political partisanship in space exploration: ‘It’s bigger than I am’

Bill Nye, CEO of The Planetary Society, addresses partisanship surrounding space exploration and science. Nye, who was criticized for joining Jim Bridenstine as his guest at the State of the Union address said, ‘space brings out the best in us.’

NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine on using ‘dispassionate science’ when researching climate change

NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine discusses his thoughts on climate change and how NASA is working to better understand and research the impact that climate change has on the earth.
Jim Bridenstine

Administrator, NASA

Jim Bridenstine was nominated by President Donald Trump, confirmed by the U.S. Senate, and sworn in as NASA’s 13th administrator on April 23, 2018. His career in federal service began in the U.S. Navy, flying the E-2C Hawkeye off the USS Abraham Lincoln aircraft carrier. It was there that he flew combat missions in Iraq and Afghanistan and accrued most of his 1,900 flight hours and 333 carrier-arrested landings. He later moved to the F-18 Hornet and flew at the Naval Strike and Air Warfare Center.
Heidi Hammel

Executive Vice President, Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy

Dr. Hammel received her undergraduate degree from MIT and a Ph.D. in physics and astronomy from the University of Hawaii. After a post-doctoral position at JPL, where she was a member of the Imaging Science Team for the Voyager 2 Neptune Encounter, Hammel returned to MIT as a Principal Research Scientist in the Department of Earth, Atmospheric, and Planetary Sciences. She also spent many years with the Space Science Institute in Boulder, CO. She is an Interdisciplinary Scientist for the James Webb Space Telescope and Vice President of the Board of Directors of the Planetary Society.
Bill Nye

CEO, The Planetary Society

Bill Nye, popularly known as Bill Nye the Science Guy, is an American science educator, television presenter, and mechanical engineer. Scientist, comedian, teacher, and author, Bill Nye is best known as the host of the PBS children's science show “Bill Nye the Science Guy” (1993–1998), and for his many subsequent appearances in popular media as a science educator. Currently, Nye is The Planetary Society’s CEO. It’s the world’s largest non-profit space interest group with members in 130 countries.
Moderated by Chris Mooney

The Washington Post

Chris Mooney is a climate change, energy, and environment reporter for The Washington Post.
American Leadership in Space
On the verge of a new era in space exploration, science and policy experts examine the factors shaping U.S. space policy and governance.

Transformers Space: American leadership in space

On the verge of a new era in space exploration, Rep. Don Beyer (D-Va.), AstroPlanetview’s Sandra Magnus and Director of the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum Ellen Stofan examine the factors shaping U.S. space policy and governance.

Ellen Stofan: ‘An investment in NASA is an investment in the future’

Ellen Stofan, Director of the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum, and Rep. Don Beyer (D-Va.), discuss government spending and investment of the federal budget on space exploration.

Sandra Magnus: ‘We need to have our own launch capability’ from U.S. soil

American astronauts have not launched from U.S. soil since 2011 and since then, NASA has been using rides on Russia’s Soyuz rockets. Retired astronaut Sandra Magnus says that U.S. launch capability is crucial for American leadership in space.

Retired astronaut Sandra Magnus describes the human experience in space exploration

Sandra Magnus, Principal at AstroPlanetview and former NASA astronaut, describes what humans would experience on commercial flights to space.
Rep. Don Beyer (D-Va.)

Vice Ranking Member, Committee on Science, Space, and Technology; Member, Planetary Science Caucus, U.S. House of Representatives

Congressman Don Beyer is serving his second term as the U.S. Representative from Virginia’s 8th District. He serves on the Joint Economic Committee, the House Committee on Natural Resources, is Vice Ranking Member of the Science Space and Technology Committee, Ranking Member on the Oversight Subcommittee, and a member of the New Democrat Coalition. He was the Lieutenant Governor of Virginia from 1990 to 1998, and was Ambassador to Switzerland and Liechtenstein under President Obama.
Sandra Magnus

Principal, AstroPlanetview, LLC; NASA Astronaut, Retired

Sandra Magnus is a principal with AstroPlanetview. Formerly she was the executive director of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics. Selected to the NASA Astronaut Corps in April 1996, Dr. Magnus flew in space on the STS-112 space shuttle mission in 2002 and on the final space shuttle flight, STS-135, in 2011. In addition, she flew to the International Space Station (ISS) on STS-126 in November 2008, served as flight engineer and science officer on Expedition 18, and returned home on STS-119 after 4½ months on board. Following her assignment on the ISS, Dr. Magnus served at NASA Headquarters in the Exploration Systems Mission Directorate.
Ellen Stofan

Director, Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum

Ellen Stofan joined the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum as the John and Adrienne Mars Director in April 2018. Previously, she was chief scientist at NASA (2013–2016), serving as the principal adviser to former Administrator Charles Bolden on NASA’s strategic planning and programs. She helped guide the development of a long-range plan to get humans to Mars, and worked on strategies for NASA to support commercial activity in low Earth orbit as it transitions from the International Space Station (ISS) to sending humans to the Moon and Mars in the mid-2020s.
Moderated by Mary Jordan

The Washington Post

Mary Jordan is a national political correspondent for The Washington Post.
Spearheading the Space Force
Vice President Mike Pence outlines the administration’s plans to create a new branch of the U.S. military that will defend American interests in space.

Vice President Mike Pence's full interview with The Washington Post

Vice President Mike Pence discussed the Space Force, the midterm elections and the death of journalist Jamal Khashoggi with The Washington Post's Robert Costa on Oct. 23.

Vice President Mike Pence says Trump has not politicized Space Force

In an interview with The Washington Post on Oct. 23, Vice President Mike Pence said there is “bipartisan support for a Space Force.”

Vice President Mike Pence: ‘Inconceivable’ Middle Easterners not in migrant caravan

‘It’s inconceivable that there are not people of Middle Eastern descent” in the migrant caravan approaching the southern border of the United States, Vice President Mike Pence said in an Oct. 23 interview with The Washington Post.

Vice President Mike Pence calls space ‘a war fighting domain’

“In a very real sense, space is a war fighting domain,” Vice President Mike Pence said in an Oct. 23 interview with The Washington Post.

Vice President Pence: ‘In the interest of every nation’ to maintain ban on nuclear weapons in space’

Vice President Mike Pence on Oct. 23 said the Trump administration has no plans to amend the 1967 Outer Space Treaty, which banned nuclear and other weapons of mass destruction in space.

Vice President Pence: American military must remain ‘as dominant in outer space’ as we are on Earth

Vice President Mike Pence on Oct. 23 said the goal of the Space Force is “to secure our vital national interests in space.”

Vice President Pence: ‘Brutal murder’ of Jamal Khashoggi will not go without an American response'

In an interview with The Washington Post on Oct. 23, Vice President Mike Pence called the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi “an assault on a free and independent press.”
Vice President Mike Pence

Vice President

Mike Pence is the 48th and current Vice President of the United States. During this program, Pence will talk one-on-one with national political reporter Robert Costa about his role as chairman of The National Space Council and about the Trump administration’s plan to establish a “Space Force” as the sixth branch of the U.S. military.
Interviewed by Robert Costa

The Washington Post

Robert Costa is a national political reporter for The Washington Post.
The Future of Human Spaceflight
With the first flights to space from U.S. soil since 2011 on the horizon, current and former astronauts look ahead to this new era of space travel.

Transformers Space: The Future of human spaceflight

With the first flights to space from U.S. soil since 2011 on the horizon, current astronauts Chris Ferguson and Victor Glover along with former astronauts Leland Melvin and Nicole Stott, look ahead to this new era of space travel.

Astronaut Victor Glover describes process of becoming an astronaut

NASA Astronaut Victor Glover describes his preparation for being among the first to fly on a commercial SpaceX mission.

Chris Ferguson: ‘It’s wonderful’ to have the opportunity to go back to space

Chris Ferguson, Director of Starliner Crew and Mission Systems at Boeing discusses training and preparation for the upcoming first flight of Boeing’s commercial craft.

Chris Ferguson urges next generation astronauts to have a ‘passion in life’ outside of space

Chris Ferguson, Director of Starliner Crew and Mission Systems at Boeing, describes why having interests outside of science and technology is important for becoming a successful astronaut.

Watch astronauts answer questions about space from kids around the world

Current and former astronauts respond to questions submitted by children from around the world.
Chris Ferguson

Director of the Starliner Crew and Mission Systems, Boeing

As Boeing's first commercial test pilot astronaut, Christopher J. Ferguson will be among the first to fly to space aboard the CST-100 Starliner – a system that is on a course to open up space to more people than ever before. Ferguson is uniquely qualified to pilot the Starliner on its maiden flight to the International Space Station, having led the development of the spacecraft's mission systems and crew interfaces.
Victor J. Glover

Astronaut, NASA

Victor J. Glover, Jr. was selected as an astronaut in 2013 while serving as a Legislative Fellow in the United States Senate. He is currently training for Crew-1, the first post-certification mission of SpaceX’s Crew Dragon spacecraft – the second crewed flight for that vehicle – and a long duration mission aboard the International Space Station. Glover and his crewmates are working closely with SpaceX to develop their new spacecraft systems, which will provide roundtrip crew transportation services to the International Space Station and, along with Boeing’s Starliner, return the ability to launch humans into space from United States soil.
Leland Melvin

NASA Astronaut, Retired

Leland Melvin is a former astronaut and former NFL player for the Detroit Lions. A veteran of two space flights, STS-122 in 2008, and STS-129 in 2009, Melvin has logged over 565 hours in space. In October 2010, Melvin was named as associate administrator for the Office of Education where he developed and implemented NASA’s education programs that inspire interest in science and technology and raise public awareness about NASA goals and missions. He retired from NASA in February 2014.
Nicole Stott

NASA Astronaut, Retired

Nicole Stott is a veteran NASA Astronaut. Her experience includes two spaceflights and 104 days living and working in space on both the Space Shuttle and the International Space Station (ISS). She performed one spacewalk, was the first person to fly the robotic arm to capture the free flying HTV cargo vehicle, she was the last crew member to fly to and from their ISS mission on a Space Shuttle, and she was a member of the crew of the final flight of the Space Shuttle Discovery, STS-133. A personal highlight of Stott's spaceflight was painting the first watercolor in space.
Moderated by Anna Rothschild

The Washington Post

Anna Rothschild is an on-air science host and editor for The Washington Post.
Companies in the Cosmos
A look at the role private companies are playing in the new “space race,” and how they are working with the public sector to make space more accessible to civilians.

Transformers Space: Companies in the cosmos

Virgin Galactic CEO George Whitesides takes a look at the role private companies are playing in the new “space race” and how they are working with the public sector to make space more accessible to civilians.

Virgin Galactic CEO George Whitesides on $250,000 ticket price to get to space

Virgin Galactic CEO George Whitesides comments on the $250,000 ticket price to get a seat on Virgin Galactic's flight to space, but says that "the long term goal" is to bring the cost down.

Virgin Galactic CEO George Whitesides: ‘Competition is what moves America forward’

Virgin Galactic CEO George Whitesides discusses the ‘space race’ among private companies acknowledging that ‘competition is what moves America forward and it’s what moves innovation forward.’

Why Virgin Galactic’s George Whitesides thinks space tourism is important

Virgin Galactic CEO George Whitesides explains why he thinks human space exploration will have a ‘profound impact’ on people of Earth.

Virgin Galactic’s George Whitesides: We're 'getting really close' to commercial, human space flight

Virgin Galactic CEO George Whitesides says that Virgin Galactic is about to move on to its next phase of test flight as they head into the final phases of conducting commercial service of human spaceflight.
George T. Whitesides

CEO, Virgin Galactic

George T. Whitesides is the CEO of Virgin Galactic. Prior to Virgin Galactic, George served as Chief of Staff for NASA. Upon departure from the American space agency, he received the Distinguished Service Medal, the highest award the agency confers. Whitesides also serves as co-Chair of the World Economic Forum’s Global Future Council on Space Technologies. He is a member of Caltech’s Space Innovation Council, Vice Chair of Commercial Spaceflight Federation, Director on the Antelope Valley Board of Trade and Princeton University’s Advisory Council for Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering.
Moderated by Christian Davenport

The Washington Post

Christian Davenport is a space and defense industries reporter for The Washington Post.
Content from Boeing

Content from Boeing: Sponsor Remarks

Tim Keating, executive vice president of Government Operations for Boeing, delivers opening remarks ahead of The Washington Post’s ‘Transformers: Space’ event.
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