Congress, Lobbying, NASA

More lobbying against House NASA bill

With the House set to return from an extended summer recess next week, and presumably try to pick up where they left off on issues such as HR 5781, its version of a NASA authorization bill, opponents of the legislation are stepping up their efforts. The Space Access Society, which had not been actively involved in legislative efforts for quite some time, is now supporting efforts to keep the bill from reaching the House floor. In a bulletin released this afternoon the organization asked people to contact their representatives within the next 24 hours. The message: the representatives should contact House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (if they’re Democrats) or Minority Whip Eric Cantor (if they’re Republicans) and ask that HR 5781 not be brought to the floor for a vote; instead, have a vote on the Senate’s version (S. 3729) or nothing at all. The reason for the urgent request: Hoyer will decide by the end of the week which bills will be placed on the calenda for consideration by the full House between next week and the planned recess in early October before the November elections.

In addition, another web site has emerged to express opposition to the House bill. Yes We Can (Even in Space) is focused on the liberal/progressive community. “Generally liberals, progressives, and Democrats have been ignored, taken for granted, or even scapegoated when it comes to NASA and our space program,” the site claims. Its focus is on stopping HR 5781 because the bill “seeks to preserve all or part of Constellation”, which is inconsistent with their mission: “rejecting the failed Bush Constellation program, or any watered-down Constellation derivatives, and embracing the Obama space plan.” Unlike Reform Space Now, whose creators remain cloaked in anonymity, this site has named some of its supportes, including Steven Andrew, chief science blogger over at Dailykos, and Bruce Bullin, formerly with Scientists and Engineers for Change.

Update 9/10 5 am: A couple more organizations have added their voices to the effort to stop HR 5781. The Space Studies Institute released a letter late Thursday signed by the organization’s leadership, including president Freeman Dyson, asking Congress to defeat the bill. “The present House bill will delay the time when space can make a greater contribution to our national welfare” by not adequately funding commercial crew development and technology programs, it claims. The Space Frontier Foundation also put out a call for “urgent action” to block the bill and instead support the Senate version. “The Senate version isn’t perfect either, but the House version is a disaster,” the Foundation’s executive director, Will Watson, said in the statement.

10 comments to More lobbying against House NASA bill

  • Entirely off-topic, but perhaps a welcome diversion from the political wars on this site.

    My wife and I took a free tour Wednesday of Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, where we saw a lot of primordial NASA history. The blog with photos is at:

    The same tour with the KSC Visitor Complex is $62. It’s free if you go through the 45th Space Wing, but they only run one tour a month.

    And now we return you to your regularly scheduled food fight …

  • Robert G. Oler

    Stephen. nicely documented. Bravo Zulu

    Robert G. Oler

  • Ben Russell-Gough

    It’s beginning to look that, at least from a political perspective, orthodox Constellation is as much anathema as the Obama Plan. Given comments seen by various individuals in various places, a drive is underway to get the Senate budget bill with the minimum changes approved by the House before they break up for the election, thus avoiding a CR which only the uber-pro-CxP wing now regards as desirable.

    Will they sneak under the wire? Will will have to wait and see.

  • Stephen. One of my favorite places. I used to go over to the “Cape Side” as often as possible when I worked at KSC. A lot of the history is still there, although sometimes it takes some imagination to see it. John Glenn’s launch site is now a conference center. They removed the Erector for the Gemini Titan flights while I worked there (they were going to restore the “white room”, anyone know if they did. It was Aluminum and in pretty good shape unlike the steel Erector).

    A bit of additional history they don’t point out, when I was there you could still see the burn marks from the Delta that blew up right off the pad, taking out a bunch of the launch crew’s cars (who weren’t supposed to park there) but fortunately doing only minor damage to the rocket park exhibits.

  • Robert G. Oler wrote:

    Bravo Zulu.

    The Zulus had nothing to do with it … :-)

    rich kolker wrote:

    Glenn’s launch site is now a conference center.

    The bus drove past Complex 14 but didn’t go in. They told us about the blockhouse being converted to a conference center which is used for VIP events.

    … you could still see the burn marks from the Delta that blew up right off the pad, taking out a bunch of the launch crew’s cars (who weren’t supposed to park there) but fortunately doing only minor damage to the rocket park exhibits.

    They mentioned that story too … The tour is usually done by someone with the Foundation who worked out there during the 1960s, so you get a lot of stories. I’ve submitted an application to work as a docent, but obviously I don’t have their background. My concern is their generation will soon pass on, and if we as the next generation don’t step up to learn those stories, they’ll be lost to history.


    Stephen C. Smith wrote @ September 9th, 2010 at 8:44 pm <- Nothing is 'free.' The taxpayers paid for the AFB tour, albeit once a month. The KSC tour is contracted out to a 'private enterprised' firm.


    rich kolker wrote @ September 10th, 2010 at 3:29 am <- Interesting. During a visit to KSC one of the more interesting sites we saw were a few huge Saturn V rocket farings 'disgarded' out laying in some reed-filled land near the press site in the era when a full Saturn V was still out in the open, exposed to the elements there. A business contact involved in the production of 'From The Earth To The Moon' related a tale from several years back during pre-production. They'd gone down to KSC to acquire use of a swing arm and 'white room' that was abandoned for restoration and use in the series. While there she asked about accessing additional information from archives on site while they were down there from Los Angeles. NASA officials directed them to a semi-truck trailer left out to the elements in a field. When the trailer was opened, inside were dozens of old-styled metal filing cabinets, many rusted shut. Using a crowbar, they pryed open many of them and discovered a treasure trove of documents, photos and paperwork on the early missions. When asking why these old documents were just abandoned out on a lot in a truck, she was told they simply didn't have the funding to store, archive, catalog and manage that kind of material so they just boxed it all up in a truck and 'stored' it out in the weeds.

  • Ben Russell-Gough

    @ DCSCA,

    Reminds me of the stories about how priceless data from the Vikings and early Mars and Lunar probes had been lost because it had been stored on magnetic tape and never backed up before the tape began to decay.

  • Hey wow, DCSCA said something worth talking about. It’s off-topic but it’s remotely interesting.

    What I find funny is that NASA doesn’t seem to think about doing things *without* funding. I’m sure there’s plenty of people who would be willing to *volunteer* to digitize these documents. They have all this widespread public support and they never utilize any of it.


    Ben Russell-Gough wrote @ September 10th, 2010 at 6:01 pm <– Yes. Heard similar stories regarding the master color tapes made of the moonwalks. The 'color saturation' on segments of the videotapes has been lost so you get images with white, maroon and green U.S. flags… that sort of thing. The kinnescope films of the video feed are a little better. So really, the best archived materials are with the television networks.

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