The Trump campaign removed a ‘make space great again’ video ad after former NASA astronaut Karen Nyberg called it ‘political propaganda’ for using images of her family

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NASA astronaut Karen Nyberg looks down on Earth through the windows of the cupola inside the International Space Station (ISS). NASA
  • A video President Donald Trump’s presidential campaign called “make space great again” was removed from YouTube on Thursday.
  • The video featured images from the historic NASA and SpaceX launch last week.
  • Karen Nyberg, an astronaut and the wife of Doug Hurley, one of the two astronauts sent into space on Saturday, May 30,publicly denounced the use of pictures of her and her son in the video and called it “political propaganda.”
  • A campaign was also launched to have the video removed because it politicized the “accomplishments earned through many years of hard work by the NASA and SpaceX teams.”
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Karen Nyberg, a former astronaut and the wife of Doug Hurley, one of the two men sent into space last week as part of the historic NASA and SpaceX launch, called the use of images of her and her son that were apart of President Donald Trump’s “make space great again” ad as “political propaganda.”

“I find it disturbing that a video image of me and my son is being used in political propaganda without my knowledge or consent,” Nyberg wrote on Twitter. “That is wrong.”

The video begins with President John F. Kennedy’s 1962 speech declaring that America would go to the moon and then flashed to several recent pictures of Hurley and Bob Behnken, who were the two NASA astronauts to be sent into space last week.

Nyberg and her son Jack, who’s now 11, travelled to Florida to show support for Hurley.

The video was no longer on the campaign’s YouTube account on Thursday night and was also removed from other social media sites. According to Bloomberg, the Trump campaign pulled the video, ostensibly because it violated NASA’s advertisement guidelines by featuring the federal agency’s astronauts.

However, other users apparently downloaded the political advertisement before its removal and have reuploaded it to their own YouTube channels.

Donald Trump Campaign Advert 2020 MAKE SPACE GREAT AGAIN
An image from the Trump reelection campaign’s ‘make space great again’ political video advertisement that was pulled from YouTube. YouTube

The space agency doesn’t allow astronauts to have their “names, likenesses, or other personality traits in advertising materials.”

NASA was “unaware of the video production before it was posted,” Bob Jacobs, a spokesperson for the space agency, told Business Insider in an email.

“NASA is apolitical and others may offer opinions,” Jacobs said when asked about NASA policy regarding active astronauts and their appearance in advertisements. “We appreciate the support shown by the President and a bipartisan Congress in space exploration.”

On Wednesday, a petition was also created to have the video removed.

Over 6,900 have signed the petition as of Friday morning. The petition claims that the video politicizes the “accomplishments earned through many years of hard work by the NASA and SpaceX teams. “

“This campaign video, created on June 3rd, implies that the return of crewed launch on US soil is solely to the credit of his Administration. This implication is untrue; the NASA Commercial Crew Program has been around since the Obama Administration (started in 2011) in its current form, and its roots go back to the Bush Administration,” the petition said.

Spacex falcon 9 rocket launch crew dragon spaceship endeavour demo2 demo 2 bob robert behnken doug hurley launch complex 39a kennedy space centre ksc EZT05CjXYAExgn2
SpaceX’s Demo-2 mission, launched with a Falcon 9 rocket, lifts off with NASA astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley inside a Crew Dragon spaceship. SpaceX

One of SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rockets launched into space with NASA astronauts Hurley and Behnken on Saturday, May 30. This was the first time astronauts headed to space on a commercial spaceship. It was also the first crewed space launch from American soil since July 2011.

“It is absolutely an honour to be part of this huge effort to get the United States back in the launch business,” Hurley said, minutes before liftoff.

Elon Musk founded SpaceX in 2002. Musk expressed his enthusiasm during the first launch attempt last Wednesday: “This is a dream come true for me and everyone else at SpaceX.”

According to Business Insider, while the crew has many challenges ahead if everything goes well with the Demo-2 mission, “experts believe the mission could represent a bold new era for human spaceflight.”

The White House, the Trump campaign, and SpaceX did not immediately respond to Business Insider’s requests for comment.

This story has been updated with new information. It was originally published on June 4, 2020.