Retired NASA astronaut Karen Nyberg, whose husband is currently in space on a joint NASA SpaceX flight, has said on Twitter that she disagrees with the use of her and her son’s image in a campaign video recently released by President Donald Trump. She referred to the use of her image as “political propaganda” in her tweet.
She Tweeted That the Use of Her & Her Son’s Image in the Ad Was ‘Disturbing’
Nyberg spoke out about the use of her image in a Trump ad. She wrote: “I find it disturbing that a video image of me and my son is being used in political propaganda without my knowledge or consent. That is wrong.”
The video, titled Make Space Great Again, is below.
The video was released by Donald J. Trump for President, Inc. and was approved by Donald J. Trump. Trump’s YouTube account posted the video on June 3.
Nyberg just retired from NASA in March 2020.
Nyberg’s Husband, Doug Hurley, Is One of Two Astronauts on a Joint SpaceX-NASA Flight
Nyberg’s husband, Doug Hurley, is also a NASA astronaut. He is one of two astronauts on the Crew Dragon for the historic NASA SpaceX spaceflight.
Doug Hurley is the spacecraft commander for Demo-2. He’s completed two spaceflights after being selected as an astronaut in 2002, NASA shared. He was a pilot and lead robotics operator for STS-127 and STS-135, the last space shuttle mission, in 2011. He was a fighter pilot and test pilot in the Marines before joining NASA.
The SpaceX Crew Dragon lifted off on a Falcon 9 rocket from Launch Complex 39A in Florida for a stay at the International Space Station for the Demo-2 mission. This was the final test flight for SpaceX and the first time NASA astronauts tested the system in orbit.
This flight was the final step before NASA certified the Crew Dragon for long-duration missions to the space station.
On a 2013 NASA Flight, She Made a Stuffed Animal for Her Son That May Be the First Handcrafted in Space
Karen Nyberg served as an astronaut for 20 years before retiring, and had been in space for 180 days on two missions: one in 2008 with Discovery and one in 2013. In 2013, she was a flight engineer on ISS Expedition 36 and 37, spending 166 days in orbit. On the 50th anniversary of the first spaceshot by a woman, she was one of the only two women in space.
Nyberg is believed to have made the first stuffed animal that was handcrafted in space in 2013, Space.com reported. She had made the stuffed dinosaur for her son, Jack. She shared photos of the stuffed dinosaur on Pinterest and said she had scavenged material for the stuffed dinosaur from things on the orbital, including a used T-shirt and fabric that lines Russian food containers.
Space.com shared that while she was in space in 2013, she sent videos to Jack every day, while Hurley sent her back photos and videos of Jack.
Nyberg told CBS News just before the SpaceX flight that Jack was 18 months old when Hurley was on the Atlantis and he was 3 on her last flight. Now he’s 10 and understands better.
A Change.org Petition Was Started Over the Ad
So many people were upset by the ad that a petition was started on Change.org. So far, 3,793 people have signed as of the time of this article’s publication. The petition’s headline reads: “Stop Donald Trump politicizing SpaceX and NASA accomplishments.”
NASA officials were surprised by the ad, Space.com reported. The video shows footage from the recent SpaceX launch, scenes with Hurley and Bob Behnken, who was also an astronaut on the historic flight, and clips of Elon Musk at the launch, and unrelated clips of a SpaceX Falcon Heavy launch that wasn’t connected to NASA.
A Trump spokesperson said the video used publicly available clips, Bloomberg News reported.
NASA’s advertising guidelines may prohibit the ad, Space.com reported. The guidelines read, in part:
As a government agency, NASA will not promote or endorse or appear to promote or endorse a commercial product, service or activity. Therefore, there are strict limits placed on the use of any of the NASA identities and emblem imagery in advertisements.
NASA does not permit use of the NASA Insignia and other NASA indicia in advertisements. Any use of the NASA identity on spacesuits or spacecraft is generally not permitted unless authorized by the Office of Communications at NASA Headquarters in Washington.
Many NASA images and selections of film and video footage produced and publicly released by NASA may be used for advertising purposes. However, there are rules regarding the appearance of NASA astronauts’ or NASA employees’ names, likenesses or other personality traits in advertising materials. Astronauts or employees who are currently employed by NASA cannot have their names, likenesses or other personality traits displayed in any advertisements or marketing material. Former NASA Astronauts or employees who no longer work for the U.S. Government can grant permission for the use of their names, likenesses or other personality traits in their discretion, but their former affiliation with NASA may not be used to promote any product, service or activity…
… The NASA Insignia cannot appear on websites that contain open advertising unless approved by the Associate Administrator for Communications or designee…”
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