Oberstar strikes back

You might remember during the frenzied effort last fall to pass HR 5382, the Commercial Space Launch Amendments Act, opposition to the bill from some members of Congress who thought the legislation didn’t do enough to protect the safety of passengers. Their effort to insert new language into the bill, or simply block its passage, [...]

House appropriations changes

As expected, the House Appropriations Committee announced Wednesday a proposed change to its subcommittee structure that would eliminate three subcommittees, including the VA-HUD subcommittee that currently includes NASA. The proposed restructuring is somewhat different than what was previously reported: NASA (along with NSF) will not be moved to the Energy subcommittee but instead to the [...]

Udall to lead space subcommittee Democrats

Bart Gordon, the ranking Democrat on the House Science Committee, has tapped Rep. Mark Udall (D-CO) as the new ranking minority member of the space subcommittee. Udall succeeds Nick Lampson, who lost his bid for reelection in November. Udall was one of the leaders last year of Congressional efforts to restore some kind of Hubble [...]

O’Keefe’s goodbye

Sean O’Keefe’s time at NASA is just about up. O’Keefe, who announced his resignation in December, said he would stay on until shortly after the FY06 budget proposal was released. The budget came out Monday, and according to this summary of a White House “press gaggle” Wednesday, O’Keefe will be leaving on Friday. In his [...]

Hutchison and the shuttle

Tuesday Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison made it official, issuing a press release stating that she had been named to chair the science and space subcommittee of the Senate Commerce Committee. The press release included an interesting (if not entirely surprising) quote: “I strongly believe in the value of the manned space program and I am [...]

NASA budget reaction

The media’s reaction to the FY06 NASA budget proposal can best be summarized in the headline of this Dallas Morning News article: “Budget signals death warrant for Hubble: Moon, Mars plans trump rescue mission for 15-year-old telescope.” (A runner-up is from the Baltimore Sun: “Manned-flight programs to gain at other NASA efforts’ expense”.) Even though [...]

Milspace budget news

While most of the media attention on the space-related aspects of the FY06 budget proposal has been on NASA, there are also some significant military space developments. According to the Washington Post, the ’06 defense budget includes $864 million—an increase of $340 million—to support the two EELV contractors, Boeing and Lockheed Martin. The money will [...]

House hearing on commercial space transportation

The aviation subcommittee of the House Transportation Committee will hold a hearing Wednesday afternoon on “Commercial Space Transportation: Beyond The X Prize”. The list of witnesses scheduled to testify features:

Honorable Marion C. Blakey, Administrator, Federal Aviation Administration
John Douglass, President and CEO, Aerospace Industries Association
Michael Kelly, Chairman, Reusable Launch Vehicle Working Group, Commercial Space Transportation Advisory Committee (COMSTAC)
Lou Gomez, Program Manager, Southwest Regional Spaceport, New Mexico
Will Whitehorn, President, Virgin Galactic

The hearing is scheduled for 2pm in 2167 Rayburn, and will be webcast on the committee’s web site.

This is notable for a couple reasons. First, the hearing is being held not by the House Science Committee, which has hosted previous hearings on commercial space transportation, but in the Transportation committee. (Many commercial space advocates will argue that this makes perfect sense: this is about commercial transportation, not rocket science.) Second, the ranking minority member of the transportation committee is Rep. James Oberstar (D-MN), who many may remember as one of the staunch opponents last November of HR 5382. As an ex officio member of the aviation subcommittee, it will be worth noting if he attends the hearing and participates.

FY06 budget out

The Bush Administration released its proposed FY2006 budget this morning, and for those following the reports and rumors floating around in recent weeks, there are few surprises for the NASA budget. Space News has perhaps the most detailed article, noting in particular that there is no funding for a Hubble repair mission (human or robotic), [...]

House appropriations uncertainty

When the Congress takes up the FY 2006 budget proposal due to be released today, it’s still uncertain what subcommittee of the House Appropriations Committee will deal with NASA’s budget. As previously noted, the House is considering a proposal, backed by majority leader Tom DeLay, that would eliminate three of the existing 13 appropriations subcommittees, [...]