A question of safety

Yesterday Sen. Richard Shelby (R-AL) spoke on the Senate floor about the impending release of the Augustine committee report and its discussion of safety—or, rather, the lack of it, in his view. An excerpt:

The Chairman of the Review of U.S. Human Space Flight Plans Committee, Norm Augustine, announced that safety would be paramount. […]

Senate hearing on “The Case for Space”

Apologies for the short notice, but the Senate Commerce Committee’s space subcommittee is holding a hearing this afternoon titled “The Case for Space: Examining the Value”. The only details about the hearing available is the list of speakers, although that, coupled with the title, give you the gist of what the hearing will be about:


House passes launch indemnification extension

A little-known provision in federal law provides indemnification for commercial launch providers in the unlikely event that a launch accident caused third-party damaged above the maximum probable loss that providers ave to insure against. That indemnification, though, needs to be renewed by Congress on a regular basis or it will sunset: currently, the indemnification provision […]

Bolden reaches out to the entrepreneurial space community

NASA administrator Charles Bolden gave a speech Tuesday morning to the National Association of Investment Companies in which he strongly endorsed the idea of entrepreneurial space ventures as key to keeping people—students in particular—interested in space for the benefit of the nation as large. An excerpt:

What if you did not have to choose […]

Lyles on Constellation, commercialization, and organization

At a joint WSBR-WIA luncheon Tuesday, Retired Air Force General Lester Lyles, one of the members of the Augustine committee, noted that he couldn’t go into much detail about the final report since it doesn’t come out until Thursday afternoon. “I don’t want to preempt some of the things that Norm [Augustine] and Ed [Crawley] […]

House hearing on NASA technology development

One of the findings in the Augustine committee summary report was the importance of technology development efforts to support human space exploration and commercialization: “Investment in a well-designed and adequately funded space technology program is critical to enable progress in exploration.” As it turns out, just a few hours before the committee releases its final […]

Augustine committee final report due out Thursday

NASA announced this afternoon that the Review of US Human Space Flight Plans Committee (aka the Augustine committee) will release its final report Thursday at 1 pm at a press conference in Washington. Committee chairman Norm Augustine will be present, along with Ed Crawley. For those unable to attend the event in person (like myself; […]

NASA contractor job cuts coming? Not yet.

The Houston Chronicle reported Thursday that NASA was looking to cut its employee costs by as much as 20 percent to create a “down payment” on the additional money the agency would need to perform human exploration beyond LEO. According to the report, deputy administrator Lori Garver told NASA contractors those cuts, involving NASA personnel […]

Report: White House considering NASA budget increase

The Augustine committee’s final report is now expected out next week (something the committee confirmed in a Twitter posting Friday morning) but a draft version of that report is already at NASA and the White House, Space News reported. The article, citing “sources both within the administration and close to it”, states that the administration […]

The White House, Sudan, and a meteorite

Just over a year ago astronomers discovered a tiny asteroid headed for the Earth. The asteroid, thought to be no more than a few meters across, entered the Earth’s atmosphere over northern Sudan and burned up, causing no damage but creating a shower of tony fragments, some of which have been recovered by scientists.

However, […]