Kerry to visit KSC

Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry is scheduled to appear at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida on Monday. The stop is part of Kerry’s “Freedom Trail to Boston”, a series of campaign stops leading up to his arrival this week at the Democratic National Convention in Boston. The stops are in “cities and towns that […]

Fighting for TRMM

The Washington Post reported Saturday that two members of the House Science Committee have asked the Bush Administration to find funding to keep the Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission (TRMM) spacecraft operating. Committee chairman Sherwood Boehlert (R-NY) and space subcommittee ranking member Nick Lampson (D-TX) wrote separate letters—Boehlert to science advisor John Marburger and Lampson to […]

Space transportation policy

The Wall Street Journal reported Thursday that the Bush Administration is considering a new policy that would require the Air Force to settle on one of two EELV launch services providers—Boeing or Lockheed Martin—in the next several years. The Air Force has insisted that it needs both to provide “assured access to space” in the […]

A NASA budget veto threat?

SPACE.com reports that the White House has threatened to consider vetoing the NASA budget bill unless the agency’s requested funding levels are restored. Specifically, Josh Bolten, director of the Office of Management and Budget, wrote to House Appropriations Committee chairman Rep. C. W. Bill Young (R-FL), telling him the cuts made earlier in the week […]

A compromise on HR 3752?

MSNBC’s Alan Boyle reports that a compromise has finally been reached on HR 3752, ending a deadlock that had blocked passage of the bill for months. There had been concerns by Rocketplane Ltd. that the definition of suborbital vehicles in the bill, which refers to a rocket-propelled vehicle, might exclude their vehicle, which uses both […]

Apollo 11, the President, and Barney

While many people were anticipating some sort of statement by the President this week to coincide with the 35th anniversary of the Apollo 11 landing, Unfortunately, no such statement was released. Bush did meet privately Wednesday morning with the Apollo 11 crew (who had been feted the night before at the National Air and Space […]

House Appropriations update

The full House Appropriations Committee approved the VA-HUD spending bill on Thursday. According to the press release issued late Thursday, it appears the full committee accepted the cuts in NASA’s budget made by the VA-HUD subcommittee on Tuesday without any changes: the numbers quoted look unchanged from what was announced Tuesday.

On Thursday NASA issued […]

More on the House budget cuts

An article in this morning’s Washington Post has some more details about the NASA budget cuts approved by the VA-HUD subcommittee of the House Appropriations Committee on Tuesday. The Post obtained a copy of the committee’s “as-yet-unpublished report” on the spending measure and found that the committee is not opposed to the exploration vision, only […]

Senate hearings Thursday

The full Senate Commerce committee is scheduled to meet Thursday morning to handle a number of bills and nominations. Included in the list is S.2541, the NASA authorization bill introduced last month. Not listed is HR 3752, so I assume that bill is still tied up in a debate over definitions.

Thursday afternoon the space […]

Not happy, not (too) surprised

As expected, the House Appropriations Committee subcommittee for VA, HUD, and independent agencies cut NASA’s FY2005 budget request during a markup session Tuesday. Perhaps the only surprise is the depth of the cut: the subcommittee cut the $16.2-billion budget by $1.1 billion, $229 million below the agency’s FY04 budget. The cuts came from “the elimination of funding for new initiatives”, as the committee put it in a press release: $100 million was cut by accelerating the end of the Space Launch Initiative, $438 million was cut by delaying the start of the Crew Exploration Vehicle program, and $230 million was cut from Project Prometheus. The ISS budget was also cut by $100 million, according to the AP. Overall exploration programs got just $372 million of the $910 million requested. The shuttle and Mars exploration programs, though, were fully funded.

Before panicking, remember that this is just the first step of a long, arduous budget process, and a lot can, and usually does, happen. (If you remember back five years ago, House appropriators approved some significant cuts in NASA’s budget that then-administrator Dan Goldin called “devastating”; those funds were restored later in the budgetary process.) House Majority Leader Tom DeLay, who previously hinted that the appropriators might cut NASA’s proposed budget, called these cuts “unacceptable” and hinted he might block consideration of the full bill on the House floor unless changes are made. This is just the beginning…