A quick, but imperfect, end to the FY07 budget process

Just before Congress adjourned last week, both houses passed a stopgap funding bill to keep most federal agencies, including NASA, funded at 2006 levels through February 15, leaving it to the next Congress to pass the pile of appropriations bills that the 109th Congress did not complete. Now the incoming chairmen of the House and [...]

Boehlert’s farewell request

The 109th Congress has adjourned, and in less than a month Congressman Sherwood Boehlert, the outgoing chairman of the House Science Committee, will be retired. However, he’s not completely done with his work on the Hill. On Monday he released a letter he sent last week to OMB Director Rob Portman with some requests for funding for science programs in the FY 2008 budget proposal, due to be released in a little under two months. In particular, he said that NASA science programs need additional funding:

Most important, NASA’s science programs, which are its most successful and beneficial programs, must continue to thrive. The earth science program in particular is in danger of atrophying. At the very, very least, NASA’s Science Mission Directorate must receive at least as much as was projected in the runout in the fiscal 2007 budget. Moreover, the “bread and butter” funding for NASA science, known as Research and Analysis, must be the top priority for funding.

Overall, he said, “NASA needs additional funding if it is to move ahead with both the Vision for Space Exploration and the space science, earth science and aeronautics research required by the NASA Authorization Act of 2005.” However, he added that there’s no need to accelerate development of Orion, something that NASA has already concluded was unlikely. Expects others on Capitol Hill, though, to continue to raise concerns about the “gap” between the 2010 shuttle retirement and the 2014 introduction of Orion.

Boehlert also added that two NOAA satellite programs, NPOESS and GOES-R, need both “adequate funding” and “rigorous oversight”. NPOESS, as you may recall, got a lot of attention from Boehlert and others in Congress because of huge cost increases and schedule delays. “NPOESS still needs close monitoring as it tries to get back on track, and GOES-R needs to be managed in a way that ensures that it will not follow in NPOESS’ footsteps.”

TPS is still sending out an SOS

In his blog at wired.com, noted sci-fi “cyperpunk” author Bruce Sterling reprints an email alert he apparently received earlier this week from The Planetary Society. “NASA Science Situation More Dire Than We Thought!” reads the subject line of the message, which begins with this statement: “The disastrous anti-science, anti-exploration agenda being foisted on NASA and [...]

Official comments on the national space policy

More than two months after the Bush Administration released the new national space policy, an administration official will give an on-the-record speech about the policy. Robert Joseph, Under Secretary for Arms Control and International Security at the State Department, will speak about the policy at a Marshall Institute event Wednesday afternoon. Joseph “will discuss the [...]

Griffin: Blame Nixon

Remember when NASA administrator Mike Griffin got into a bit of hot water when he told USA Today that the shuttle program had not put NASA on “the right path”? Griffin, apparently chastened to some degree by the reaction, clarified his remarks in a memo a short time later. However, in today’s New York Times [...]

Congress punts the budget

Both houses of Congress passed a continuing budget resolution late last night to keep much of the federal budget, including NASA, funded through February 15. (A Reuters article in particular noted NASA as one of the many agencies included in the stopgap measure; a NASA spokesman said that even without the bill’s passage “The poor [...]

Gordon, Hall take top Science Committee posts

As expected, House Democrats have named Congressman Bart Gordon (D-TN) chairman of the House Science Committee for the 100th Congress, starting in January. Gordon had been the ranking Democrat on the committee the last three years and was all but assumed to be chairman when the Democrats won a majority of the House in the [...]

Moon base policy commentary

I have to admit that I was a little surprised at the level of media attention NASA’s lunar exploration announcement Monday received, since it had been clear since the beginning of the Vision that part of the overall plan included establishing a base of some kind on the Moon. That coverage included front-page articles by [...]

SpaceAdvocate.com goes live

Last month I noted here that the Coalition for Space Exploration had created a web site to help support the political activities of space supporters. It turns out the site had not yet been officially opened for business (although it was being shown to the public at the X Prize Cup in New Mexico in [...]

Yet another review of the national space policy

It’s been almost exactly two months since the Bush Administration released the new national space policy, and people are still commenting on it. Yesterday the Council on Foreign Relations published a short synopsis on the idea of American “space supremacy” many see at the core of the new policy. The piece is primarily a review [...]