GAO clears NASA’s use of study teams

Today wraps up the two-day NASA Exploration Enterprise Workshop in Galveston, where yesterday NASA teams briefed attendees on studies the agency has undertaken on various aspects of the proposed new plan for NASA, ranging from robotic precursor missions to commercial crew. NASA also got some good news: those efforts are not considered illegal.

In an [...]

Hearings and other upcoming events

It’s a little quiet on the policy front right now, although that will change tomorrow when the House Science and Technology Committee holds a hearing on NASA’s proposed human spaceflight plans. The hearing is very similar to the Senate Commerce Committee hearing on the topic earlier this month, including repeat appearances by Charles Bolden, Neil [...]

SEA, the next generation?

Nearly six years ago, several months after President Bush announced the Vision for Space Exploration, a group of space organizations announced the formation of the Space Exploration Alliance (SEA), a loose federation designed to drum up support for NASA’s new space exploration mandate. The SEA is best known for running a series of legislative “blitzes” [...]

Bolden and Nelson disagree on additional Ares 1 tests

Sen. Bill Nelson (D-FL) has made it clear, including last week at KSC, that he would like to see additional tests of the Ares 1 (or at least of an Ares 1-like rocket) to demonstrate its technologies as well as preserve jobs at KSC. Yesterday NASA administrator Charles Bolden made it clear he doesn’t agree [...]

For other purposes, indeed

Last week Sen. Russ Feingold (D-WI) introduced S. 3356, which the bill’s description describes as “to increase the maximum age for children eligible for medical care under the CHAMPVA program, and for other purposes.” The first section of the bill alters the maximum age, and the second section (of two) does, well, “other purposes”:

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Will COMSTAC take a stand on commercial crew?

Today is the semiannual meeting of the Commercial Space Transportation Advisory Committee (COMSTAC), an industry group that provides advice to the FAA’s Office of Commercial Space Transportation. The meeting, in Washington and open to the public, features NASA administrator Charles Bolden as the keynote speaker, likely discussing the role the commercial sector will play in [...]

Conservative conundrum

One of the most documented ironies of the new plan for NASA unveiled by the White House in February is the clash of ideologies: a president widely regarded as a liberal (or even by some as a socialist) is supporting a plan to turn over to the private sector one aspect of NASA—transport of astronauts [...]

Commercial vs. Ares?

Sen. Bill Nelson (D-FL) attended Friday’s launch of the space shuttle Atlantis on what is currently scheduled to be its final mission, and made the rounds of the press site before and after liftoff. He slipped into the post-launch press conference there and, afterwards, could be seen talking with NASA officials, including shuttle launch director [...]

Mikulski unhappy about NASA contact termination plans

Sen. Barbara Mikulski (D-MD) is the latest member of Congress to raise issues about NASA’s approach to dealing with the potential termination of Constellation contracts. In a May 10 letter to OMB director Peter Orszag (reported by Space News and also independently received here from a third party), Mikulski said she was “deeply troubled” by [...]

Compromises, rallies, and more

Aviation Week sees signs of a developing compromise between the White House and Congress on NASA’s future, based on its interpretation of this week’s Senate Commerce Committee hearing. That assessment is based in part on comments at the hearing by Sens. Bill Nelson (D-FL) and John D. Rockefeller (D-WV), the latter stating that he believes [...]