McCain, Obama, and NASA’s 50th

It’s debatable whether Tuesday marked the 50th anniversary of NASA: it was actually the anniversary of the signing of the National Aeronautics and Space Act by President Eisenhower, and NASA didn’t formally enter into existence until October 1. Nonetheless, the anniversary offered a hook for both major presidential campaigns to talk about space policy, if [...]

Pushing for COTS D

In this week’s issue of The Space Review, I write about concerns by many about the direction of COTS, specifically its current emphasis exclusively on cargo missions rather than cargo and crew. That concern is rooted in the belief that cargo-only solutions would have only a single customer—NASA resupply of ISS—while a crewed vehicle could [...]

NASA 50th anniversary hearing

Next week marks the 50th anniversary of the enactment of the National Aeronautics and Space Act, the legislation that created NASA (which itself was formally established on October 1, 1958). To mark that anniversary the House Science and Technology Committee is holding a hearing: “NASA at 50: Past Accomplishments and Future Opportunities and Challenges” on [...]

Much ado about, well, not much

Sunday’s Orlando Sentinel published an editorial about a NASA/KSC proposal to develop a new commercial launch site on space center property and the outcry it created. Early this year KSC held some public hearings about the proposal as part of an environmental study, and got nearly unanimous criticism from everyone from environmentalists concerned about placing [...]

More criticism, more studies

Yet another critic of NASA’s exploration architecture has emerged: Apollo 11 astronaut Buzz Aldrin. The Orlando Sentinel reports today that Aldrin wants to convene a “panel of experts” to study whether Constellation is the right approach to implementing the Vision for Space Exploration. “We need to stick with the mission but rethink some of the [...]

Editorial trifecta

It’s rare to see a major newspaper devote editorial space to, well, space. However, on Wednesday two of the nation’s largest newspapers (as well as one smaller paper that more frequently covers space issues) took on the topic in editorials and op-eds:

Leading off, the Los Angeles Times examines the proposed space policies of presidential [...]

Backing off

Remember the minor kerfuffle that Congressman John Culberson set off last week when he said that “NASA wastes a vast amount of money”? Last night Culberson apologized for those comments, the Houston Chronicle reported. Culberson, speaking in the latest in his series of online video town hall meetings, said “I let my temper get a [...]

NASA authorization bill progress

On a panel about COTS at the NewSpace 2008 conference last Friday, Jeff Bingham, a staffer on the space subcommittee of the Senate Commerce Committee, said that the House and Senate had recently completed “pre-conferencing” of the NASA authorization legislation to speed its passage. “We had to do what is a six-week process in four [...]

What’s in a name?

One of the first panels Thursday at the Space Frontier Foundation’s NewSpace 2008 conference was titled “VSE: The Beginning of the End or the End of the Beginning?” The VSE, of course, referred to the Vision for Space Exploration, the national space exploration policy introduced in January 2004. Except that, earlier this year, the policy [...]

A coalition for CATS

At the Space Frontier Foundation’s NewSpace 2008 conference in Crystal City, Virginia on Thursday, a group of over a dozen organizations announced the formation of a National Coalition for Cheap and reliable Access To Space (CATS). The purpose of the coalition is to “put cheap access to space back on the national agenda,” in the [...]