JWST gets Congressional attention

The Baltimore Sun reports today that the billion-dollar cost overrun for NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope has gained the attention of Sen. Barbara Mikulski (D-MD). She told the Sun that she was “shocked” with the news earlier this month about the cost increase. “There should be no disruption to the program, the science or the [...]

European space policy update

Every other spring, including this spring, I say to myself, “Wouldn’t it be cool to go to the Paris Air Show?” Then I realize that I have no time and no budget for such a trip (and the current lousy dollar-euro exchange rate doesn’t help matters.) So I’ll have to be content staying on this [...]

Science roadmaps released

Remember the on-again, off-again, sorta-on-sorta-off strategic roadmapping process? A reader notes that some of the fruits of this effort have been released: some of the science roadmap reports have been published on NASA HQ’s web site. These cover topics like Mars exploration, planetary science, astronomy, and the like. Missing, it appears, is the lunar exploration [...]

House subcommittee supports NASA, but…

The good news for supporters of NASA is that the Science, State, Justice, and Commerce subcommittee of the House Appropriations Committee provided effectively full funding for NASA when it approved a FY2006 appropriations bill Tuesday. In fact, it added $15 million to the President’s request, a far cry from the sharp cuts the subcommittee proposed [...]

Milspace reality vs. fantasy

After last week’s New York Times report that the US Air Force and the Bush Administration were considering policy changes that would permit the deployment of weapons in space, the issue is still reverberating among columnists. A prime example is a syndicated column by Ann McFeatters, the Washington bureau chief for two newspapers. She believes [...]

ISS priorities

The International Space Station is facing a number of key policy issues: how to maintain US access to Soyuz spacecraft in spite of the Iran Non-proliferation Act, managing an assembly schedule that has to wrap up when the shuttle retires in 2010, finding the best alternatives—commercial or otherwise—for cargo access to ISS, and so on. [...]

Problems for JWST

The James Webb Space Telescope (JWST), widely billed as the successor to the Hubble Space Telescope, is facing some serious problems that could lead to scaling back or even canceling the mission. Denver’s Rocky Mountain News and Sky & Telescope magazine both report that JWST is facing potential cost overruns of up to $1 billion, [...]

Legislative action

Earlier this week the House Science Committee approved several bills, including a couple of minor bills with implications for NASA. One bill, HR 426, would authorize $15 million a year from FY2006 through 2010 for NASA to fund “pilot projects that use government and commercial remote sensing capabilities and other sources of geospatial information to [...]

Lightning hearing

You know how some of those old game shows would have a “lightning round” where contestants would have to answer as many questions as they could in a minute or so? Yesterday’s Senate hearing on the shuttle and the future of human spaceflight was something along those lines. The hearing started about 15 minutes late [...]

More on space weaponization policy

As you might expect, the New York Times report yesterday that the Bush Administration was considering a space policy revision that would permit the deployment of weapons in space got some traction in the media. The White House offered some clarification on that policy revision yesterday, saying that the proposal was still in an interagency [...]