Congress, NASA

Updates on Bolden’s nomination, Augustine’s panel, and more

A few minor notes on recent events and miscellaneous items:

Sen. Bill Nelson told the Orlando Sentinel that he wants to get Charles Bolden confirmed “quickly”, and that he was already making arrangements for a confirmation hearing. No word, though on when that hearing would take place. Nelson added that Bolden and President Obama “really clicked” in their White House meeting last week.

I talked briefly with Rep. Suzanne Kosmas (D-FL) after she gave the closing speech at the Space Investment Summit in Orlando yesterday. She said that she had not had a chance to speak with Bolden since the nomination was announced, but assumed that Nelson had. She said she felt “way optimistic” about the nomination.

I also asked her about Norm Augustine’s review panel. She said she hadn’t been in touch with him since a telecon between him and members of Congress some time after the panel was announced three weeks ago. “We wanted to be sure that at the end of the review period that the budgetary aspects would be revisited,” she said, referring to potential fiscal impacts to NASA should the remaining shuttle flights slip past the end of 2010, “and he assured me that that would be the case.”

In an interviews with Aerospace Daily, Augustine said that the panel’s membership would not include any “zealots”. “By zealot I mean somebody who’s made up their mind and is just interested in selling their position, because that’s not our role. Our role is to listen and weigh,” he said. The report said the panel’s membership could be named “as early as May 27″, although yesterday came and went without an announcement.

And among the earmarks requested by Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-LA) for FY2010 appropriations bills is $87.5 million to allow the Michoud Assembly Facility “move seamlessly” from shuttle to Constellation work; how that money would be used for that task wasn’t explained.

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