Centennial Challenges funding

I’ve received a couple of email queries about this subject recently, so it’s worth a brief post. While the House included some money for Centennial Challenges in its FY2007 appropriations bill (the exact amount I don’t have at my fingertips at the moment), the Senate has not included any funding for the program in its [...]

Aldrin campaigns for Lampson

Robert Pearlman, the Houston-based editor of the space memorabilia site collectSPACE, reports that he got “a recorded campaign call with a familiar voice” this morning: Apollo 11 astronaut Buzz Aldrin stumping for Nick Lampson, the Democrat and former Congressman running for the House seat formerly held by Tom DeLay. “Return Nick to Congress and he [...]

Reacting to the space policy reaction

The national space policy quietly introduced by the Bush Administration early this month generated—eventually—a strong reaction in many editorials, which criticized the White House for appearing to endorse the weaponization of space as well as making it national policy to deny space to any future adversaries. An example of such an editorial is one that [...]

Do we need another space policy?

The national space policy released earlier this month marked the culmination of years of work on various space policy issues. Over the last few years the Bush Administration has released statements on various space-related topics, including remote sensing, exploration, transportation, and navigation. That should cover just about everything, right?

Not necessarily. In his presentation at [...]

GAO on FAA/AST and space tourism regulations

The Government Accountability Office (GAO) issued a report yesterday titled “Commercial Space Launches: FAA Needs Continued Planning and Monitoring to Oversee the Safety of the Emerging Space Tourism Industry”. The report is a review of how the FAA’s Office of Commercial Space Transportation (AST) oversees the safety of commercial launches, and how the office is [...]

Gore on space policy and commercialization

Last Thursday in Las Cruces, New Mexico the X Prize Foundation held an invitation-only “executive summit” to discuss issues associated with the emerging space tourism industry. The luncheon speaker was a very high-profile individual and a bit of an unusual choice: former vice president Al Gore. The entire event was supposed to be off the [...]

Monopoly? No problem!

[Sorry about the long gap between posts: I was tied up by a trip to New Mexico and other work.]

The attitude in the headline is essentially that expressed by Rep. Bud Cramer (D-AL) during a visit to Boeing’s launch vehicle manufacturing facility in Decatur, which will become the United Launch Alliance’s key facility once the ULA merger is finalized. A key excerpt from a Decatur Daily article about the visit:

“We’ve got other countries around the world who are not as careful as we are about competition,” said Cramer, including Russia and China. “We’ve got to have an active launch business, and there’s not enough on the commercial side to support” two separate manufacturers.

He said national security demands that we have a robust satellite system, which means we need to protect our launch industry.

“I want the rest of the country aware of how important the launch industry is to national security,” Cramer said.

The article adds that the FTC’s initial approval of the ULA is in the middle of a 30-day public comment period, after which the agency will issue its final ruling; no comments had been filed as of late last week, although such comments typically come at the end of the period. “We’re almost there,” Cramer said, “but we’d better be careful.” Careful, one must ask, of what?

Some media attention for the national space policy

It only took a week and a half, but the new national space policy quietly released on the eve of Columbus Day weekend has finally received some heavyweight mainstream media attention, in the form of a front-page article in today’s Washington Post. The article is a fairly basic review of the policy, with a not-unexpected [...]

Galileo military debate

A proposal by European officials to allow military use of the Galileo satellite navigation system has could cause new friction with the US and cost it one international partner. According to an article from the British newspaper The Independent (via the Belfast Telegraph), European transport commissioner Jacques Barrot has suggested that military users of Galileo [...]

Defending Chinese space expenditures

It’s not uncommon in the US for NASA officials to defend, either to members of Congress or the general public, the sums of money that are spent on the space program. However, it’s a bit surprising to see a Chinese official in the same situation. According to a Reuters report, China National Space Administration head [...]