In defense of commercial spaceflight

One of the now-standard criticisms of NASA’s change in direction is that the agency is relying far too much on a commercial space transportation sector that, in the eyes of critics, isn’t up to the task, while at the same time abandoning existing, largely government-owned and -operated capabilities and the thousands of jobs that sustain [...]

Notes: Beware of those Alabama pigs

Florida Governor Charlie Crist, who is also running for the US Senate, issued his views on NASA that he tied into the president’s call to the ISS yesterday. “[P]hone calls do not make up for the President’s disappointing decision to end NASA’s Constellation program,” Crist said in the statement. “By cutting this program, President Obama [...]

Planetary Society webcast about the new NASA plan

If you’re curious to learn more about why The Planetary Society is supporting NASA’s new direction, the society is planning an interactive webcast on Thursday at 2pm EST featuring executive director Lou Friedman and vice president Bill Nye. From a press release about the upcoming webcast: “The Planetary Society believes that the new NASA plan [...]

Obama: “my commitment to NASA is unwavering”

A conversation between the president (and some schoolchildren) in the White House and astronauts on the International Space Station isn’t the ideal forum for discussing space policy. But President Obama did make some brief references to the agency’s new direction in Wednesday’s call to the ISS crew, the first things resembling a public comment by [...]

Mikulski: NASA should be “mission driven”

One of the ongoing debates about the White House’s new plan for NASA is whether the agency’s human spaceflight plans be focused on going to specific destinations (Moon, Mars, etc.), often by a certain deadline, or instead developing the capabilities and infrastructure needed for future exploration without a specific destination or schedule in mind. The [...]

Upcoming hearings and other criticism of NASA

The House Science and Technology Committee has a pair of hearing scheduled next week that will feature, in part or in whole, discussion of NASA’s FY11 budget request and its change in direction. Presidential science advisor John Holdren will appear before the committee on the morning of February 24th to discuss the overall FY11 R&D [...]

Lampson claims he would have stopped Constellation termination

An article in today’s Houston Chronicle reviews the “uphill battle” by freshman Republican Rep. Pete Olson to win support for Constellation, particularly given his “zero clout” with the White House and Democratic leadership in the House. What’s interesting are comments by the man Olson beat in the 2008 election, Nick Lampson:

Former Rep. Nick [...]

Augustine: new plan’s means meet the ends

In some of his first public comments since the release of the NASA budget proposal two weeks ago, Norm Augustine, chairman of the Review of US Human Spaceflight Plans Committee (aka the Augustine Committee), largely endorsed the agency’s new direction, but offered some caveats and concerns, primarily about funding.

Speaking Monday morning at the [...]

Where the advocates stand

Although last week’s “Snowmageddon” forced the Space Frontier Foundation to cancel its lobbying event, “Take Back Space 2010″ (a wise move given the blizzard that hit a few days later), other lobbying efforts are still on track for the coming weeks. The Space Exploration Alliance is hosting its 2010 Legislative Blitz next week, with training [...]

Breaking the law?

That’s the allegation made in a letter to NASA administrator Charles Bolden by 27 members of the House, primarily, but not entirely, from Alabama, Florida, Texas, and Utah. They are concerned about apparent efforts by NASA to wind down elements of Constellation during the current fiscal year, despite this provision in the appropriations bill that [...]