Centennial Challenges update

Lost in all the discussion this week about that whole, well, bunnysuit thing, was this Space News article about renewed efforts to get funding for NASA’s Centennial Challenges program this fiscal year. An earlier effort to reprogram $2 million from the FY04 budget to permit an initial series of small-scale prizes was rebuffed by the [...]

Glenn’s convention speech

At the Democratic National Convention last night John Glenn was one of the speakers. His short speech mentioned space a number of times, but only in terms of past accomplishments or in a broader reference to the need to promote education and scientific research:

I am concerned about the erosion of America’s commitment to the [...]

Your evening bunnysuitgate update

I’m sorry, but each time I thought I’ve said enough about this whole fiasco, something else keeps dragging me back into it. It appears that, hours after deleting all the Kerry photos from their web servers, NASA has restored some of them. Searching the KSC Multimedia Gallery for “Kerry” now turns up eight photos. These [...]

Oh no, another bunnysuit post

In the comments to a previous post, an anonymous reader cites an article at Media Matters for America, a fairly new organization devoted to identifying perceived [right-wing] biases in media reports. According to that article, one of the more, ah, embarrassing images from Kerry’s KSC visit, where the senator is in a bunnysuit on all [...]

Kerry space policy in the works?

On the kerryspace mailing list today there was a message that suggests that the Kerry campaign is drafting a position paper on space issues. Some highlights:

The effort is being led by Lori Garver, a former NASA associate administrator for policy and plans and former executive director of the NSS. The policy seems to focus [...]

Teresa Heinz Kerry and space

In her speech at the Democratic National Convention last night, Teresa Heinz Kerry managed to work a little space imagery into her talk:

Americans believed that they could know all there is to know, build all there is to build, break down any barrier, tear down any wall. We sent men to the moon. And when that was not far enough, we sent Galileo to Jupiter, we sent Cassini to Saturn, and Hubble to touch the very edges of the universe in the very dawn of time.

(APPLAUSE)

Americans showed the world what can happen when people believe in amazing possibilities. And that, for me, is the spirit of America, the America you and I are working for in this election.

I suspect that will be as close as we get to any mention of space during the convention. The language didn’t go over well, though, with CNN’s Tucker Carlson, who wanted something more along the lines of the infamous “shove it” rebuke:

I wanted to hear her talk like that. Instead she went off about Jupiter and Galileo and totally lost me. I didn’t get it at all.

One other space-related convention note: we hear that the Space Foundation and the NSS organized a reception Tuesday night at Boston’s Museum of Science titled “A Salute to the Space Leaders of the Democratic Party.” (To preempt the inevitable comments, yes, there are a few, although I don’t know if any attended.) The reception was sponsored by a number of aerospace companies. A similar reception is planned next month for the Republican National Convention in New York.

Obligatory Kerry bunnysuit post

I’ve been informed that federal campaign law requires me to post an opinion about that whole silly controversy over the Kerry “bunnysuit” photos taken during his visit Monday at KSC. (Actually, the law doesn’t require it, but sometimes it seems that way.) My use of the word “silly” above should plainly describe how empty an [...]

JFK visits JFKSC

Last week, space advocates lamented that President Bush said nothing about the Vision for Space Exploration when he had a golden opportunity: the visit by the Apollo 11 crew to the White House on the 35th anniversary of their flight. This week those advocates have something else to sigh about: Democratic Presidential candidate John F. Kerry visited the Kennedy Space Center and said virtually nothing about space, choosing instead to talk primarily about health care. (Perhaps it will be a goal of a Kerry Administration to make health care plans no more complicated than, say, the space shuttle.)

The AP found that Kerry “didn’t once mention NASA”, although he certainly invoked the history of the space program in his talk, saying that Cape Canaveral was no better place to launch something, even, it appears, a health care plan. As Florida Today notes, Kerry and his entourage, including Sen. Bill Nelson of Florida and former Sen. John Glenn, got a behind-the-scenes tour of KSC by center director Jim Kennedy. (Although I doubt you’ll see photos like this and this show up in Kerry campaign materials in the future.) The Houston Chronicle reported that Kerry’s speech was a “far-ranging but sometimes listless riff on the keywords of his campaign: strength, respect abroad, health care and jobs.” He also talked about energy independence, the Philadelphia Inquirer noted, saying, “The great mission to the moon of today is to make America secure by becoming energy independent – alternative and renewable fuels.” (This should sound familiar to regular readers.)

The oddest comment of the whole day actually came from a Republican, Rep. Tom Feeney, who criticized Kerry for voting against the space station (apparently ignoring the fact that Kerry changed his position at some point in the mid-1990s and started voting to support the station in 1997 and 1998.) He then said, according to WESH-TV in Orlando, that those votes against the station “have harmed Florida’s economy.” Sadly, the station doesn’t pursue this point to trace the (il)logic Feeney used to reach that conclusion.

NASA authorization bill status

Lost in all the discussion about the NASA budget in the House last week was the Senate’s effort to press ahead with a NASA authorization bill. The full Senate Commerce Committee was scheduled to consider the bill during a markup session last Thursday (the same day that the House Appropriations Committee was meeting on the [...]

The Democratic Party platform and space

One of the things delegates to the Democratic National Convention will do during their stay in Boston this week is approve the party platform. The report of the platform committee is available, and a search of it turns up nothing about space policy in its 37 pages. The closest reference to space in the document [...]