Briefly: debt debate, elan for Elon, hitting the reset button

As the debate grinds on in Washington about a deal to raise the debt ceiling, there have been questions about what will happen should an agreement not be reached by the current deadline of Tuesday. On Friday NASA administrator Charles Bolden sent out message to the agency’s workforce, effectively telling them it will be business [...]

John Marburger and his space legacy

Former presidential science advisor John H. Marburger III passed away Thursday at the age of 70. Marburger headed the Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) for the full eight years of the George W. Bush Administration, which put him in the middle of many key changes in the nation’s space policy during that time.

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CCDev contracting and funding concerns

Last week NASA officials raised alarm in some corners of the space industry about its proposal to shift from a pure Space Act Agreement (SAA) for the next Commercial Crew Development (CCDev) round towards a hybrid approach that incorporates elements of both an SAA and a traditional contract. Not surprisingly, this topic came up again [...]

The roles of NASA and the private sector in space

At some point a “prepared for delivery” version of NASA deputy administrator Lori Garver’s speech Thursday might show up on the NASA web site, but it will likely be different from the speech she actually gave to kick off the Space Frontier Foundation’s NewSpace 2011 Conference at NASA Ames Research Center in California. Garver instead [...]

Senate carries out its subpoena threat

For weeks now the Senate Commerce Committee has been threatening to subpoena NASA to obtain documents related to the agency’s exploration plans, citing the frustration in not getting documents from NASA about its plans despite numerous requests. Now, finally, it appears that the Senate reached its breaking point. NASA Watch reports that the committee has [...]

SLS report and another poll

NASASpaceFlight.com reported late Wednesday on a draft manifest for the Space Launch System (SLS) under a “budget restricted” scenario. According to that document, the first SLS launch would take place in 2017 and send an uncrewed Orion Multi-Purpose Crew Vehicle (MPCV) on a circumlunar trajectory. The next SLS mission would not take place until 2021, [...]

Briefly: optimism, pessimism, and export control

There’s a bit of a lull in space policy now, after the shuttle has landed and with Congress and the administration preoccupied with much bigger, pressing issues. A few items of interest:

In the post-shuttle era, NASA administrator Charles Bolden is optimistic, reiterating that the end of the shuttle doesn’t mean the end of NASA [...]

Polls suggest support for space exploration but not bigger budgets

The end of the shuttle program, in addition to prompting its share of political reactions, was also a cue for pollsters, who used the occasion to seek out the public’s views on a variety of space issues. The responses suggest the public, while generally supporting NASA, is reluctant to let the shuttle go and also [...]

Olson promising new plan for space exploration

Rep. Pete Olson (R-TX) kept his statement Thursday about the end of the final shuttle mission largely apolitical, thanking those who worked on the program and promising that it is “by no means the end of human space flight”. However, in an op-ed published Friday in POLITICO and co-authored by former astronaut Walt Cunningham, he [...]

Taking the high road, with a little hitchhiking

Yesterday’s successful landing of Atlantis at the Kennedy Space Center marked the end of the 30-year space shuttle program and the beginning of a period of some uncertainty for NASA’s human spaceflight program. That milestone would appear to be another opportunity for critics of the Obama Administration’s space policy in Congress and elsewhere to voice [...]