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Trump campaign pulls ad featuring SpaceX launch

NASA astronauts Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken say farewell to their families before heading to the launch pad for a SpaceX launch to the International Space Station on May 30. (NASA via YouTube)

An online advertisement that plays off last weekend’s historic crewed SpaceX launch to boost President Donald Trump’s re-election campaign drew a protest from the wife of one of the astronauts today — and soon afterward, the campaign deleted its version of the ad.

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Trump hails SpaceX launch after seeing it firsthand

Donald Trump in VAB
President Donald Trump delivers remarks in Kennedy Space Center’s Vehicle Assembly Building with a mockup of SpaceX’s Crew Dragon capsule in the background. (GeekWire Photo / Kevin Lisota)

President Donald Trump held up America’s space effort as a unifying endeavor for a divided nation after becoming only the third sitting president to witness the launch of American astronauts in person.

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Trump says he’s taking pills to dodge COVID-19

President Donald Trump said today that he’s taking hydroxychloroquine, an antimalarial drug that’s being tested as a COVID-19 treatment at the University of Washington and  dozens of other sites across the country.

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Trump tweets support for Elon Musk and Tesla

Tesla car factory
Tesla’s factory in Fremont, Calif., became the focus of a coronavirus conflict. (Tesla Photo)

Tesla CEO Elon Musk’s dispute with county authorities over the reopening of the company’s California car factory was injected into President Donald Trump’s Twitterstream today.

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Donald Trump pays tangled tribute to Elon Musk

President Donald Trump is said to be closely watching the impeachment proceedings on Capitol Hill, but he’s also watching what billionaire techie Elon Musk is doing at SpaceX and Tesla — and he likes what he sees.

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Trump signs the Space Force into existence

Trump signs bill into law
President Donald Trump signs the National Defense Authorization Act as VIPs including First Lady Melania Trump, Vice President Mike Pence and Karen Pence look on. (White House via YouTube)

Amid military fanfare, President Donald Trump signed a defense authorization bill into law to create the U.S. Space Force as a sixth branch of the armed forces.

“This is a very big and important moment,” Trump told hundreds of military personnel and VIPs who gathered at Joint Base Andrews in Maryland for today’s signing ceremony.

The Space Force is intended to bring together military resources focusing on the high frontier, including potential threats from GPS jammers, anti-satellite weapons, space-based weapons and hypersonic attack vehicles.

Trump said the creation of the Space Force recognizes that the final frontier has evolved into a distinct warfighting domain.

“American superiority in space is absolutely vital,” he said. “We’re leading, but we’re not leading by enough. But very shortly, we’ll be leading by a lot.”

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Trump kicks off Space Command; Space Force next?

Space Command ceremony
The official flag of the newly revived U.S. Space Command is unfurled at a White House Rose Garden ceremony, with Air Force Gen. Jay Raymond, President Donald Trump, Vice President Mike Pence and Defense Secretary Mark Esper looking on. (White House Photo / Tia Dufour)

President Donald Trump today hailed the revival of the U.S. Space Command to protect America’s technological assets on the final frontier, and put in another pitch for the establishment of a U.S. Space Force as the sixth branch of the armed forces.

“This is a landmark day — one that recognizes the centrality of space to America’s national security and defense,” the president said.

“As the newest combatant command, SPACECOM will defend America’s vital interests in space — the next warfighting domain. And I think that’s pretty obvious to everybody. It’s all about space,” Trump declared during a White House Rose Garden ceremony that was also attended by Vice President Mike Pence, Defense Secretary Mark Esper and other officials.

“This is a landmark day — one that recognizes the centrality of space to America’s national security and defense,” the president said.

After Trump spoke, Esper signed the documents establishing the Space Command.

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A tweet from Trump stirs tumult over moon plan

Donald Trump signs NASA bill
President Donald Trump shows off a flight jacket he was given after signing a NASA authorization bill into law in 2017. (NASA Photo / Bill Ingalls)

President Donald Trump put the space community on edge today with a tweet that downplayed NASA’s plans to send astronauts to the moon by 2024 as the first step toward a sustainable lunar presence.

Instead, Trump framed the moon program — unveiled by Vice President Mike Pence amid much fanfare less than three months ago — as being merely part of a bigger push to Mars.

At least that’s what he meant to say. The way the tweet was phrased left itself open to all sorts of interpretations, including an obviously misintended claim that the moon was part of the Red Planet.

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Donald Trump gives 737 MAX advice to … Boeing?

Boeing 737 MAX 9
A photographer takes a picture of the first Boeing 737 MAX 9 jet during its assembly at the company’s Renton plant in 2017. (GeekWire Photo / Alan Boyle)

In addition to praising Tiger Woods and pillorying Democrats, President Donald Trump had some words of advice on Twitter for Boeing, which is dealing with federal investigations in the wake of two catastrophic 737 MAX crashes.

“What do I know about branding, maybe nothing (but I did become President),” Trump tweeted today, “but if I were Boeing, I would FIX the Boeing 737 MAX, add some additional great features, & REBRAND the plane with a new name. No product has suffered like this one. But again, what the hell do I know?”

What, indeed?

In 1988, Trump acquired 17 Boeing 727s and landing rights at airports in New York, Boston and Washington, D.C., from Eastern Air Lines’ shuttle operation. He added some additional features to the plane and rebranded the operation as the “Trump Shuttle.” Trump turned the no-frills service into a luxury experience, right down to the gold-colored bathroom fixtures — but never turned a profit.

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MIT trolls Donald Trump over airplane tweets

Donald Trump and Air Force One
President Donald Trump steps off Air Force One during a visit to Key West, Fla., in 2018. (White House Photo)

In the wake of March 10’s fatal Boeing 737 MAX airplane crash in Ethiopia, President Donald Trump took computer scientists to task today for making airplanes “too complex to fly.” And the computer scientists struck back.

It all took place on Twitter, of course.

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