NASA to be Part of President Obama’s Inaugural Activities Jan. 18–21

NASA is poised to played an integral role in President Obama's  upcoming inaugural festivities. Photo Credit: AmericaSpace / Julian Leek
NASA is poised to play an integral role in President Obama’s upcoming inaugural festivities. Photo Credit: Julian Leek / AmericaSpace

NASA is preparing to be part of President Barack Obama’s inaugural festivities that are slated to occur from Jan. 1821. Several events are planned to take place during this period, including an open house of NASA Headquarters, a star party, and a NASA Social.

The inauguration will provide the public with an opportunity to meet astronauts and members of the space agency’s Mars Science Laboratory team, who is responsible for the Curiosity rover currently trundling across the surface of the Red Planet.

NASA will be hosting one of their popular Socials, a Star Party and numerous other events during the president's upcoming inaugural activities. Photo Credit: Julian Leek / AmericaSpace
NASA will be hosting one of their popular Socials, a Star Party, and numerous other events during the president’s upcoming inaugural activities. Photo Credit: Julian Leek / AmericaSpace

During Obama’s first inaugural activities, NASA was the final participant—even falling behind the “Lawn Rangers,” a precision lawn mower drill team. According to the schedule of events, it appears that the space agency has been given higher billing at the first inaugural parade.

The breakdown of the events that are scheduled to take place during this period are as follows:

Jan. 18: NASA Headquarters at 300 E St. SW in Washington will be open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. EST. Two panel discussions will be held that the public can participate in at the James Webb Auditorium. These will take place at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m., and will detail NASA’s plans for future human space missions, the importance of developing new and advanced technologies, what science is being conducted on the International Space Station, and NASA’s future plans for Mars exploration. For those planning to attend, you must enter through the Headquarters’ West Lobby, which is located near the intersection of 4th and E streets SW.

Jan. 19: NASA will participate with other federal agencies as part of the National Day of Service on the National Mall in Washington D.C. from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. The public will also have the chance to meet astronauts and to directly interact with NASA representatives to learn more about what the space agency is doing. Guests that would like to visit NASA’s tent can find it on the Mall between 14th St. and the 12th St. expressway underpass, in the Education Section. That evening the Star Party will be held at the Arlington Planetarium in Arlington, Va., from 5:309:30 p.m. Telescopes will be made available for the public to star gaze and professional astronomers, NASA astronauts, and other experts will be on hand to inform the public more about what they are seeing. The Star Party is free and open to the public, and will be held at the David M. Brown Planetarium, located at 1426 North Quincy Street, Arlington (next to Washington Lee High School). The planetarium is named for one of the astronauts that died on space shuttle Columbia’s last mission, STS-107.

President Barack Obama greets former shuttle astronaut Winston Scott in this AmericaSpace stock photo. Photo Credit: Julian Leek / AmericaSpace
President Barack Obama greets former shuttle astronaut Winston Scott in this AmericaSpace stock photo. Photo Credit: Julian Leek / AmericaSpace

Jan. 21: Two full-sized models of NASA’s current flagship manned and unmanned missions will appear during the Inaugural Parade—the Mars Science Laboratory rover Curiosity and the Orion Spacecraft (an unmanned test flight slated for September 2014). Escorting Curiosity will be members of the rover’s team, who have traveled from NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory located in Pasadena, Calif. Several astronauts will also be participating in the parade. Leland Melvin, NASA’s associate administrator for Education, and John Grunsfeld, NASA’s associate administrator for Science, both former astronauts, as well as Alvin Drew, Serena Aunon, Kate Rubins, Mike Massimino, Lee Morin, and Kjell Lindgren are scheduled to be a part of the parade.

For the space agency, participating in the inaugural festivities is all about letting the public that funds their efforts know more about what NASA is doing on their behalf.

“We are excited that NASA’s missions and projects will be represented throughout the inauguration weekend. This is America’s space program and everyone should be proud of what we’ve accomplished so far, and we want them to be excited about the ambitious program we have ahead—that’s what will be reflected in our presentations this historic weekend,” said NASA’s Deputy Associate Administrator for Communications Robert Jacobs.

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  1. No mention of NASA’s most promising programs, COTS and CiCCap whereas SLS, Orion, just jobs programs, never likely to fly given the project costs. Curiosity was just that, a curiosity and again, budgets will probably preclude a similar mission. Just saying.

    • Neil,
      You’re “just saying” something that is factually inaccurate. Curiosity is far more than just a curiosity. I see all your pro-NewSpace posts. That’s great, however if we are going to be a true spacefaring species we need much more than a few companies with no business model to develop the programs that will propel us beyond LEO. Of COTS & CCiCap – only a single company has actually launched anything – SpaceX. Orbital can’t get even get their fairings to separate! This has caused the demise of not one – but two spacecraft. One could argue that Orbital’s SNC’s and heck, even Boeing’s commercial offering aren’t “likely” to fly either. Why is it whenever someone who supports NewSpace posts a comment all they’re capable of is disrespecting others? Here’s a novel idea, try embracing the combination of NewSpace & Established firms. Could you imagine what the space program could be capable of if it had the experience of established firms with the drive of the NewSpace firms? No, of course you can’t because, like so many on both sides, you only view things in absolutes. It’s all my way – or nothing at all and it’s the reason why we are in the state that we are in.
      Sincerely, Jason Rhian – Editor, AmericaSpace

      • Jason, I couldn’t have said it better myself! Why can’t people realise this plain fact, that the right combination of Government/NewSpace would be dynamite? Why does it always have to be either/or? Why can’t it be ‘the best of both worlds’?

        • We see small steps towards that direction with the recent NASA/Bigelow agreement. A NewSpace firm doing business with a ‘bureaucratic’, ‘dinosauric’ and ‘pork-ridden’ government space agency, utilising a government construction like the ISS. What a better way to aid and propel private firms into the spotlight? Having done business with NASA on the ISS or elsewhere wouldn’t hurt any private firms’s resume. ISS is in the unique position of being utilised as a testbed for many novel private space plans and ideas. Best of both worlds IMHO.

          • Leonidas,
            Exactly, if NASA is “in the way” as so many proponents of the movement try to suggest then how do they explain all of the efforts to form relationships with NewSpace firms? I think what it is – is some of these people are bitter & living in the past & they’re ignoring all of the positive efforts that NASA has done to empower them. They need to stop ragging on NASA, if not for NASA – their precious movement wouldn’t have its lead customer & they would be out of business.

            NASA didn’t treat you or your proposal the way you wanted? Tough! Get over it! This is what the “haters” in the NewSpace movement desperately need to do. Their rage-fueled comments are not just built on incorrect, false & misleading information – they’re counterproductive & childish. Want to show that you care about spaceflight? Then stop acting like children & biting the hand that feeds you. Show some appreciation & respect for the space agency & its accomplishments. The establishment needs NewSpace – but not their attitude problems.
            Sincerely, Jason Rhian – Editor, AmericaSpace

            • Jason, exactly! The whole anti-NASA NewSpace rhetoric is rather silly anyway. Private companies have been at the forefront doing business with NASA since the beginning of the manned space program. What is changing today, is the way of doing this business between government and private industry, and the fact that today the technology has matured to the point where every private firm can give it a try and test its feet on rocketry and spaceflight. Everyone can join the challenge and natural selection can run its course! Back in the 60’s spaceflight was such a big unknown, but today we’ve answered a lot of the unknowns to the point where SpaceX can do in LEO what only NASA could 50 years ago. Ain’t that wonderful? So take the NASA experience and expertise, combine it with the NewSpace motivation and create a whole new chapter on spaceflight.

              That’s a big win-win for everyone.

    • As for no mention to the programs you personally feel are “most promising” – that’s because they weren’t included in the inaugural itinerary. Which begs the question, if President Obama is such a big NewSpace fan – why weren’t they? Hmmmm…

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