In a letter to President Obama, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) asks the president to follow the guidance of last year’s NASA authorization act when requesting funding the space agency. “As we approach the rollout of your FY 2012 budget request, I look forward to a plan that is consistent with the NASA Authorization Act of 2010,” Reid wrote in the five-paragraph letter, dated February 4 and devoted entirely to space policy. “I also hope that the Administration and Congress will work together to remove any obstacles to ensure the full and timely implementation of the law.” He warned earlier in the letter, “Any digression from the hard fought compromise would likely result in another year of turmoil for an already battered community.”
The Senate will take up today an amendment to an FAA authorization bill that affects NASA, The Hill reports. The amendment would eliminate a provision in the bill that would create “an advisory committee to examine whether or not NASA should continue research and development on civilian aircraft.” The amendment was introduced by Sen. Bill Nelson (D-FL) with bipartisan support.
Secretary of Defense Robert Gates and his French counterpart, Alain Juppe, will sign an agreement to share information on tracking satellites and debris in a meeting today at the Pentagon. The ceremony comes just days after the release of the National Security Space Strategy, which states that the Defense Department will work with other nations and companies “to maintain and improve space object databases, pursue common international data standards and data integrity measures, and provide services and disseminate orbital tracking information, including predictions of space object conjunction, to enhance spaceflight safety for all parties.”
Ohio’s congressional delegation, meanwhile, is stepping up efforts to secure a shuttle orbiter once the fleet is retired, reports the Dayton Daily News. The letter, by Rep. Mike Turner (R-OH) and Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) to NASA administrator Charles Bolden, states that the National Museum of the Air Force in Dayton is “a premier venue” for an orbiter. The letter, to be sent today, is also signed by nearly every member of the state’s delegation, with the exception of Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-OH), who may sign it today, and House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH). Boehner’s omission is apparently due to plans to minimize participation in such “delegation letters” while serving as speaker, but a spokesman tells the paper that Boehner supports the effort and “has made clear to NASA the benefits of locating an orbiter” at the Dayton museum.