Congress passes NASA workforce bill

The House passed on Wednesday a bill that would give NASA additional powers to hire and retain people. The NASA Work Force Flexibility Act of 2003 (HR1085 and S.610) gives NASA the ability to give better pay and other benefits to critical employees and also create a “scholarship for service” program to financial aid to [...]

Upcoming House hearing on space tourism policy

The Wall Street Journal reported Thursday (subscription required) that the House Science Committee will hold a hearing next week on legislation for regulations covering commercial human spaceflight—space tourism. The hearing, most likely to take place Wednesday—although there is nothing yet about on the committee’s web site—will cover legislation designed to amend existing law on commercial [...]

Lampson named ranking member of space subcommittee

Congressman Nick Lampson (D-TX) has been named the ranking minority member of the House Science Committee’s Subcommittee on Space and Aeronautics. Lampson succeeds Rep. Bart Gordon (D-TN), who became ranking minority member of the full committee after Texas Congressman Ralph Hall switched from the Democratic to the Republican party. Lampson, whose district includes JSC, is [...]

Maryland gets behind Hubble

First it was Sen. Mukulski, now it’s the rest of the state’s Congressional representatives. The AP reports that all ten members of the state’s Congressional delegation—Mukulski, fellow senator Paul Sarbanes, and all eight House members—have signed a letter sent to NASA administrator Sean O’Keefe asking him to reconsider his decision to cancel the SM4 Hubble [...]

Let the Congressional hearings begin

The first, but certainly not the last, hearing on the president’s new space initiative is scheduled for Wednesday morning, when the full Senate Commerce Committee will hold a hearing on “National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s (NASA) Future Space Mission”. The usual cast of characters will be present: besides NASA administrator Sean O’Keefe, a separate panel [...]

Politicians never miss an Opportunity

As has been widely noted, California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger and his wife, Maria Shriver, were in the control room at JPL during the landing of Opportunity. (We trust that controllers followed the advice of a recent Opus cartoon and made sure the governor stayed away from the controls.) Also present were former Vice-President Al Gore [...]

John Edwards crosses over

Presidential candidate John Edwards offered perhaps the strongest Democratic endorsement of Bush’s space initiative on Sunday. During an interview on CNN Late Edition (scroll about one-third the way down the page), Wolf Blitzer asked Edwards about the plan:

BLITZER: Do you support the president’s decision to send a person back to the moon and perhaps [...]

Another pessimistic poll

Sunday’s Albany Times-Union published an article based on a poll of people who live in the “Capital Region” of New York state. That poll showed considerable skepticism about Bush’s space initiative: 48% oppose the plan compared to 40% in favor. Moreover, 52% said that Bush was pushing this new plan primarily for political reasons; 21% [...]

Rooting for rover failure?

After reading this CounterPunch.org article, you have to wonder if some people are actually hoping Spirit won’t be revived, for no reason other than blunt the president’s new space initiative…

Hubble politics

NASA’s decision last Friday to scrap the last shuttle mission to the Hubble Space Telescope has generated its fair share of controversy, and now a degree of political attention. On Wednesday Sen. Barbara Mikulski (D-MD) sent a letter to NASA Administrator Sean O’Keefe, asking him to appoint an independent panel to review his decision to [...]