Unnecessary plane flights

The AP reports that the Government Accountability Office will release a report today finding that NASA often flew its personnel on its own aircraft instead of utilizing commercial flights, spending an extra $20 million in the process in fiscal years 2003 and 2004. Current NASA administrator Mike Griffin has promised to reform NASA’s travel policies [...]

Senate passes NASA authorization bill

The Senate approved, by unanimous consent, its version of a NASA authorization bill on Wednesday. As you may recall, one of the provisions of S.1281 is that “the Administrator may not retire the Space Shuttle orbiter until a replacement human-rated spacecraft system has demonstrated that it can take humans into Earth orbit and return them [...]

Bad news for DeLay, NASA

The AP is reporting that a Texas grand jury has indicted House Majority Leader Tom DeLay on a criminal conspiracy charge. While it’s a long way from an indictment to a conviction, this will at the very least prove to be a major distraction for DeLay, arguably the biggest supporter of NASA in Congress; he [...]

Milspace budget woes

It’s not very surprising, but a Senate subcommittee voted earlier this week to cut money from several high-profile, troubled military space programs. The cuts, made by the defense subcommittee of the Senate Appropriations Committee, include $250 million from the T-Sat program, $125 million from Space Radar, and $100 million from SBIRS. The House had already [...]

Waving the red flag

Congressman Ken Calvert (R-CA), chair of the space subcommittee of the House Science Committee, is unsatisfied with one component of the new NASA lunar exploration plan: he thinks a manned landing on 2018 will be too late. Too late for what? He tells Aerospace Daily that he believes that China will land humans on the [...]

The ultimate reason for supporting the lunar exploration plan

The New York Daily News noted today that New York magazine asked 60 Minutes anchor Morley Safer what he thought of NASA’s new lunar exploration plans. His response? “It’s the only way, short of murder, of getting rid of Donald Trump. And it’s worth every penny.” Hadn’t thought of that rationale, but, hey, whatever it [...]

Early retirement unlikely?

There have been reports in recent days that the Office of Management and Budget has been studying the possibility of retiring the shuttle before 2010, in an apparent bid to save money for other agency programs, or to quiet fiscal conservatives. Florida Today reports that such a plan is—surprise!—unlikely to win support from some key [...]

Recycling ICBMs

SPACE.com reported yesterday that some members of Congress may seek to find ways to convert ballistic missiles earmarked for destruction under arms reduction treaties into small launch vehicles. Rep. Dennis Rehberg (R-MT), speaking at a space policy conference in Montana last weekend, said he felt it made more sense to use retired Peacekeeper missiles as [...]

Commercial commitment

One aspect of Monday’s ESAS announcement that hasn’t gotten a lot of attention is NASA’s continued push to seek commercial cargo and crew services options for the ISS. That’s not new, of course—Mike Griffin made comments along those lines this summer, as did Chris Shank at the Return to the Moon Conference in Las Vegas [...]

More on Operation Offset

The Republican Study Committee (RSC) formally introduced yesterday “Operation Offset”, its proposed collection of budget cuts and related measures designed to pay for hurricane relief without increasing taxes or running up the budget deficit. As previously reported, the proposal calls for cutting “NASA’s New Moon/Mars Initiative”. The program is just one of dozens that the [...]