Subtle partisan differences in space policy

One bit of conventional wisdom about public support for NASA is that the agency has broad bipartisan support. A USA Today/Gallup Poll released today confirms that notion to first order, although does show some slight differences. Respondents were asked to rate how well NASA was performing (excellent, good, “only fair”, poor, no opinion), what should [...]

“Mars mission” survives in the House

NASA’s budget easily survived three attempts to either transfer funds from it or prevent it from being spent on its intended projects during floor debate on the HR 5672 appropriations bill Wednesday:

Rep. Wayne Gilchrest (R-MD), introduced an amendment that would transfer $783M from “various accounts” within NASA to NOAA. Gilchrest brought forward the amendment [...]

Setback for CEV tax credit in California

The Los Angeles Daily News reported that an effort to win a tax credit for companies that perform Crew Exploration Vehicle work in California failed to make it through the state legislature. The bill, AB 2033, would extend an existing tax credit for Joint Strike Fighter work in the state and expand it to include [...]

A move against “Mars mission funding”

The full House is currently debating HR 5672, the Science, State, Justice, and Commerce appropriations bill, although they have not yet debated any of the NASA provisions of the bill. However, the AP reports this morning that some members will attempt as early as today to cut exploration program funding from NASA and distribute it [...]

This won’t help US-China space cooperation

Aviation Week reports in its latest issue that earlier this month the Treasury Department moved to freeze the assets under US jurisdiction of four Chinese companies, including China Great Wall Industry Corporation (CGWIC), the principal Chinese commercial space company, and its US subsidiary, G.W. Aerospace, Inc. The companies allegedly provided support to Iran for the [...]

Congress stirs on shuttle

I noted last week that members of Congress had been quiet, at lease in public, about NASA’s decision to proceed with the STS-121 launch despite no-go recommendations from two key officials. Now, after Monday’s surprise reassignment of astronaut and JSC engineering director Charlie Camarda (which now appears to be associated with “management style” rather than [...]

VP Cheney coming to STS-121 launch

The Orlando Sentinel and Florida Today reported late Tuesday that Vice President Dick Cheney plans to attend the STS-121 launch scheduled for Saturday. He’s not making a special trip to the launch: assuming the launch goes off as scheduled Saturday afternoon, he’ll head up to Daytona for the Pepsi 400 race there Saturday night. (One [...]

Ken Calvert on C-SPAN Wednesday morning

Congressman Ken Calvert (R-CA), chairman of the space subcommittee of the House Science Committee, will appear on C-SPAN’s “Washington Journal” call-in show Wednesday morning at 7:30 to 8 am. Given that C-SPAN is billing him as “Space Subcmte Chairman”, expect some questions about the upcoming shuttle mission and other NASA issues—or ask your own, or [...]

When in doubt, blame NASA budget cuts

An article by Technology Review magazine covers what is familiar ground for most readers here: the cutbacks in NASA’s science budget and the resulting cancellations and delays in various programs. However, in its zeal to cover all the programs—big and small, high priority and low—affected by the cuts, the article goes a little too far:

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Doomsday in space? Maybe not.

A NewScientist.com summary of Wednesday’s House Armed Services Committee strategic forces subcommittee hearing on “space and U.S. national power” plays up the worst-case scenario of an attack on US civil and military satellites:

If the US does not protect its Earth-orbiting satellites, the equivalent of a car bomb in space could take the economy back [...]