HR 3819 signed into law

According to THOMAS, HR 3819, the commercial launch indemnification regime extension, was signed into law by the president on Monday. The Senate approved the bill by unanimous consent last week, two months after the House passed the legislation. The bill extends the current system, where the federal government indemnifies commercial launch providers for any third-party [...]

An early Christmas present for the commercial launch industry

Late Wednesday evening the Senate took a break from the health care reform debate long enough to approve by unanimous consent HR 3819, legislation that extends the commercial launch indemnification regime by three years, to the end of 2012. The non-controversial legislation was quickly disposed of near the end of Wednesday’s session, as the Congressional [...]

Griffith changes parties

POLITICO is reporting today that Congressman Parker Griffith of Alabama will switch party affiliations from Democrat to Republican. As the article notes, while the timing of the announcement may be a surprise, Griffith has been one of the most conservative members of the Democratic caucus and critical of his party on issues ranging from health [...]

NASA versus the deficit

A likely battle in Congress in 2010 will revolve around the budget deficit and attempts to reduce it, given the massive deficit accumulated in FY2009. At the same time it appears that Congressional space supporters, and perhaps the White House, will be seeking additional funding for NASA in FY2011. Are these two efforts on a [...]

House space supporters respond to Pelosi

When Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi suggested that she wasn’t a “big fan” of human spaceflight and that any additional spending proposed for NASA would have to be compared to alternative projects “in terms of job creation”, it’s not surprising it didn’t sit well with space supporters, particularly in places where NASA does provide [...]

On the same page

The White House and NASA reacted Friday to reports, such as the Science blog post late Thursday, that decisions had made about NASA’s future during Wednesday’s meeting between NASA administration Bolden and President Obama. Both organizations were clearly reading from the same script:

“The meeting with Bolden was informational, not decisional,” White House spokesman Nick [...]

A CFIUS problem for Virgin?

In July Virgin Galactic announced that it had sold 32 percent of the company to Aabar Investments, an Abu Dhabi-based fund, for $280 million; Aabar would also provide an additional $100 million for the development of a smallsat launch system. Aabar would get exclusive regional rights to host Virgin Galactic flights. The press release included [...]

More policy developments

The White House might be waiting for weeks—up until the FY11 budget proposal release in early February—to formally announce it plans for NASA’s future, but details are starting to leak out. Science magazine reports on its ScienceInsider blog this evening that the administration favors scrapping Ares 1 and 5 and instead developing a “simpler” heavy-lift [...]

An extra billion for NASA in FY11?

An Orlando Sentinel report about yesterday’s Bolden-Obama meeting includes some new details about separate meetings the NASA administrator had on Capitol Hill earlier yesterday. Bolden reportedly told members and staffers that the White House was “favoring” including a $1 billion increase in the agency’s budget in the FY2011 budget proposal to be released early next [...]

Launch indemnification bill moves out of Senate committee

The Senate Commerce Committee, as expected, reported out of committee a bill extending commercial launch indemnification, according to a committee press release. HR 3819 would extend the existing regime, which indemnifies commercial launch providers for third-party damages that exceed a “maximum probable loss” level that they have to insure against, for three years, to the [...]