Congress reacts to NASA Constellation announcement

When the Orlando Sentinel noted in its article about NASA’s memo about cutting back work on Constellation that the announcement “caps a bitter, three-month behind-the-scenes battle”, the first thought that ran through my mind on how Congress would react was a line from Animal House: “Over? Did you say ‘over’? Nothing is over until we [...]

Briefly: Feinstein, ESA, and the search for compromise

Sen. Dianne Feinstein, who doesn’t speak out much about space issues, issued a press release Wednesday congratulating SpaceX for last Friday’s successful launch of the first Falcon 9. Calling the launch “an enormous success” and “a glimpse of the future of space transportation”, she said it was a sign that “California will continue to lead [...]

CAIB members clash on safety and Constellation

This week Rep. Pete Olson (R-TX) distributed a “Dear Colleague” letter to fellow members that included a copy of a letter he received last month from Roger Tetrault, who served on the Columbia Accident Investigation Board (CAIB). In the letter (published by the Huntsville Times) Tetrault argues that for crew vehicles “safety must be the [...]

The latest round in the antideficiency battle

Few people would have predicted about four months ago, when the White House released its FY2011 budget proposal, that a major battle about the future of Constellation would revolve around a fairly obscure contracting provision. Yet that’s what has taken place as NASA and Congress have sparred about contract termination liability and the Antideficiency Act, [...]

What NASA programs could be vulnerable to a budget cut?

NASA has been relatively sheltered from the freeze on most discretionary spending the White House imposed in its FY2011 budget proposal: the agency got a $6-billion increase over five years in the budget proposal released in February. However, the agency might be asked to cut some future spending in a very targeted fashion, according to [...]

Praise, payback, and people

SpaceX picked up Monday some congressional kudos for its successful inaugural Falcon 9 launch. The Republican caucus of the House Science and Technology Committee congratulated SpaceX on the launch in a statement. “I wish SpaceX continued success as they prepare for next month’s first-in-a-series of flight demonstrations for NASA’s Commercial Orbital Transportation System (COTS) program,” [...]

Briefly noted: task force meeting, SpaceX support, and bringing in da noise for Constellation

The same day that SpaceX was launching its first Falcon 9 from Cape Canaveral, the Presidential Task Force on Space Industry Work Force and Economic Development held a public session a short distance to the west, in Orlando, with the task force’s co-chairs, NASA Administrator Charles Bolden and Commerce Secretary Gary Locke, in attendance. Little [...]

Congressional reaction to Falcon 9 launch

It appears that the inaugural launch of the Falcon 9 was a success, in that it appeared to place its demonstration payload into orbit. (SpaceX hasn’t released full details about the 2:45 pm EDT launch yet, so we’ll have to wait until later to get confirmation the Dragon mockup is in orbit, and if so, [...]

Falcon 9 and commercial space policy

Later today SpaceX is scheduled to launch its first Falcon 9 rocket, technical issues and weather conditions permitting, from Cape Canaveral. The last hurdle to the launch, certification by the Air Force of a flight termination system for the rocket, was overcome Thursday. Successfully launching a new rocket is a challenge in and of itself, [...]

Briefly noted: JSC and Griffith

Yesterday’s announcement of a $15-million Dept. of Labor grant for displaced KSC shuttle workers has a few people riled up around the Johnson Space Center, the Houston Chronicle reports. “This is a political statement by the White House and an attempt by this administration to divide the states,” said Bob Mitchell, head of the Bay [...]