Strategies for space settlement and NASA’s survival

One of the more compelling speeches at the National Space Society’s International Space Development Conference (ISDC) in Huntsville, Alabama, earlier this month was by Jeff Greason, president of XCOR Aerospace and a member of 2009′s Augustine Committee that reviewed NASA’s human spaceflight plans. Greason’s speech, the video of which is now available online, focused on [...]

Commercial cargo skepticism and support

Thursday’s hearing of the House Science, Space, and Technology Committee’s space subcommittee on NASA’s commercial cargo efforts did not yield much of the way of new insights or surprises about the program. It did, though, provide an opportunity for some members to express their concern about, if not skepticism regarding, the ability of Orbital Sciences [...]

Commercial cargo hearing today

The space subcommittee of the House Science, Space, and Technology Committee is holding a hearing this morning on NASA’s commercial ISS cargo program. The hearing will feature executives from Orbital Sciences and SpaceX, the two companies developing cargo vehicles to transport cargo to and from the station, as well as a Government Accountability Office (GAO) [...]

Did three astronauts miss the point?

Yesterday, the 50th anniversary of John F. Kennedy’s famous speech calling for a human mission to the Moon by the end of the 1960s, was an opportunity for a variety of retrospectives, not to mention comparisons to the current era of human spaceflight. One particular example of the latter was an op-ed in USA Today [...]

A brief export control debate on the House floor

The House is debating this evening amendments to HR 1540, the fiscal year 2012 defense authorization act. Tucked away in the list of over 150 amendments under consideration is one submitted by Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA) to provide for export control reform for satellites. The amendment, similar to standalone legislation introduced earlier this month by [...]

Congressional support for NASA’s MPCV decision

The “key decision” that NASA announced Tuesday regarding the agency’s space exploration plans was not too surprising, and perhaps a bit underwhelming: NASA is transitioning its existing work on the Orion spacecraft to the Multi-Purpose Crew Vehicle (MPCV). In the NASA statement and media teleconference later that day, NASA indicated there would be effectively no [...]

Technical and other challenges in designing the SLS

On Monday NASA issued a brief release stating that it will hold a briefing Tuesday afternoon “discuss an agency decision that will define the next transportation system to carry humans into deep space”. That’s led to some speculation that NASA has reached a decision on the architecture of the Space Launch System (SLS) heavy-lift vehicle. [...]

The big picture of how space policy gets done – or doesn’t get done

The 2011 International Space Development Conference (ISDC) kicked off in Huntsville, Alabama, yesterday with a panel titled “How Space Gets Done” featuring a number of current and former officials and experts. The title was perhaps a bit unintentionally ironic, since panelists described just how inefficiently space policy is getting done in Washington today.

“Where we [...]

Senators press NASA for details on implementing authorization act

I have not had a chance to review yesterday’s Senate Commerce Committee hearing on “Contributions of Space to National Imperatives” (I’m on travel this week at the International Space Development Conference in Huntsville). However, there is at least one newsworthy item of interest to come out of the hearing. In his opening testimony, committee chairman [...]

Brief updates: Congress and shuttle, Eisele’s election, and China commentary

Another member of Congress has added his voice to the limited Congressional reaction to Endeavour’s launch on Monday. Rep. Chaka Fattah (D-PA), the ranking member of the appropriations subcommittee with oversight of NASA, issed a statement Tuesday cheering NASA on the successful launch. Fattah noted that he and Philadelphia mayor Michael Nutter called NASA administrator [...]