Franken, Mars, and the State of the Union

Al Franken is the latest to comment on the omission of the new space exploration plan from the Presidentís State of the Union address, in a commentary in Wednesday’s Los Angeles Times. “Unveiling a mission to Mars and then not mentioning it less than a week later in the State of the Union address suggests a certain casualness in our president’s approach to governing the world’s only remaining superpower,” he claims. He also thinks the media hasn’t taken Bush to task for the silence since then, arguing that if a Democratic President had done the same thing, he would have been constantly ridiculed by the “right-wing media”. It’s an interesting suggestion, but the President has been criticized to some degree for his silence regarding the plan since he announced it in mid-January. The lack of a greater furor in the media likely has more to do with the relative importance of space versus the economy, terrorism, Iraq, and the like. Those other topics will provide far more fodder for Franken’s radio show on the new Air America network—which Franken plugs in the second half of the commentary&#8212than space ever will.

Brownback on the future of the shuttle

The Orlando Sentinel reported Tuesday that Sen. Sam Brownback (R-KS), chairman of the space subcommittee of the Senate Commerce Committee, wants to hold a hearing in the near future regarding whether the shuttle should be phased out earlier than the currently scheduled date of 2010. An earlier retirement of the shuttle, he argues, would save money that could then be used by the exploration initiative, including accelerating development of the Crew Exploration Vehicle. This hearing would take place in the next couple months outside Washington, “in a community where the shuttle is a part of the local economy.” The article is based on a statement issued Monday by Brownback’s office, although that statement is not available on his web site (indeed, there has no press releases added to his site since early March, and itís difficult to imagine any politician staying quiet that long&#8230)

Aldridge Commission sets location for next public hearing

The President’s Commission on Moon, Mars, and Beyond (better known as the Aldridge Commission) has announced that its next public hearing, scheduled for April 15-16 in San Francisco, will take place at a local high school, the Galileo Academy of Science and Technology. The list of speakers or topics for the hearing haven’t been announced […]

House hearing on lunar science

The space subcommittee of the House Science Committee has scheduled a hearing for Thursday, April 1, at 1 pm to discuss “Lunar Science and Resources: Future Options”. The witnesses for the hearing haven’t been formally announced by the committee on its web site, but according to a University of Arizona press release the current list […]

Senate hearing on NASA budget (no fooling!)

This Thursday—April 1, April Fool’s Day—the space subcommittee of the Senate Commerce Committee is scheduled to hold a hearing on NASA’s proposed FY2005 budget. NASA Administrator Sean O’Keefe is the only announced witness. Given that Sen. Sam Brownback (R-KS), who chairs the subcommittee, is also a co-sponsor of the Senate version of the Hubble resolution […]

Karen Hughes and the State of the Union

Much has been made of the omission of the President’s new space initiative from his State of the Union address in January. On at least one occasion NASA Administrator Sean O’Keefe defended the omission because the President had devoted an entire speech to the plan less than a week earlier and because the address is […]

Space policy luncheon

The National Capital Section of the AIAA has scheduled a luncheon on April 22 with Bill Adkins, staff director of the House Science Committee’s space subcommittee, as the speaker. Adkins will “share his views on the Nation’s space exploration vision, and discuss the Committee’s plans for a NASA authorization bill this year,” according to the […]

Senate Hubble resolution now available

The Senate resolution calling for an independent study of the SM4 cancellation decision, introduced Thursday afternoon, is now available as S. Res. 324. A quick comparison of it with the House version, H. Res. 550, shows what appear to be, primarily, only cosmetic differences. One interesting difference is that clause two of the Senate version […]

Hubble resolution introduced in Senate

SPACE.com reported late Thursday that two Senators have introduced a resolution in the Senate that calls for an independent review of the SM4 Hubble servicing mission cancellation. The resolution was introduced Thursday afternoon by Sens. Barbara Mikulski (D-MD) and Sam Brownback (R-KS). The article doesn’t provide any specific details about the resolution (which is not […]

Roundtable on private sector opportunities in space exploration

The Marshall Institute is organizing a roundtable discussion about the role the private sector could play in the new space initiative. Right now the only speaker listed is Pete Worden, the retired Air Force general currently working for Sen. Sam Brownback (R-KS), chair of the space subcommittee of the Senate Commerce Committee. Brownback has been […]