After sparking consternation at NASA, 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.
The ad, titled “Make Space Great Again,” was paid for by the Trump campaign with the president’s approval. It interlaced video clips from past space missions and from the mission to send NASA astronauts Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken to the International Space Station with quotes from Trump about America’s space aspirations.
One scene showed the astronauts’ families bidding farewell before the launch. “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,” Karen Nyberg, who is a NASA astronaut as well as Hurley’s wife, wrote in a tweet flagged for the space agency and its administrator, Jim Bridenstine.
NASA generally makes its imagery freely available to the public, but it forbids the use of the names or likenesses of astronauts currently employed at the space agency in advertising or marketing materials. The Trump campaign deleted its version of the video on YouTube, Twitter and Facebook; nevertheless, it persisted elsewhere on the internet because … well, because it’s the internet.
Update for 5:30 p.m. PT: We’ve updated this report with the Trump campaign’s attempts to delete the ad.