It had been widely assumed for some time that Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-TX) would resign from the Senate later this year to devote herself full-time to running against incumbent Gov. Rick Perry in the Texas GOP gubernatorial primary next year. Yesterday Hutchison confirmed those plans, saying that she would step down in the “October, November” timeframe, several months before the March 2010 primary. Her resignation will mean the loss of one of the stauncher NASA advocates in the Senate, where, among other things, she worked with Sen. Barbara Mikulski (D-MD) in recent years to add an additional $1 billion to NASA’s budget. She also serves as the ranking member of the Senate Commerce Committee, which has oversight of NASA.