House appropriators tell FAA to focus more on air than space

Earlier this month the transportation subcommittee of the House Appropriations Committee passed a 2012 appropriations bill that included only $13 million for the FAA’s OFfice of Commercial Space Transportation (AST), less than half the administration’s request of $26.6 million and below the FY11 level of $15 million. The report accompanying the appropriations bill has recently [...]

President Obama on human spaceflight and saving Florida jobs

On Thursday a reporter for Orlando television station WESH interviewed President Obama on a variety of topics, including space flight. In the interview, the president didn’t break any new ground on space policy, emphasizing that this is a “period of transition” for NASA that requires the development of new technologies. He also indicated, responding to [...]

How do you pay for JWST?

The cost increases and schedule delays associated with the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) have become a major concern in the scientific community and beyond, as best illustrated when the House Appropriations Committee offered no funding for the program in its FY2012 appropriations bill, which is currently pending consideration by the full House. Although the [...]

Rohrabacher calls for release of NASA depot study

Skeptical about NASA’s plans—mandated by last year’s authorization act—to develop the heavy-lift Space Launch System (SLS), Congressman Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA) is demanding to find out details about alternative architectures that use smaller rockets coupled with propellant depots. In a press release this week, Rohrabacher is calling on NASA to release a study about propellant depots [...]

Congressman files GAO complaint about SLS plans

NASA’s plan to sole-source most elements of the Space Launch System (SLS) heavy-lift rocket has led one member of Congress to complain to the Government Accountability Office (GAO). “I have serious concerns with NASA’s attempt to avoid holding a full and open competition to acquire the SLS,” Congressman Tom McClintock (R-CA) wrote in a September [...]

House hearing on polar weather satellites

A day after the full House Science, Space, and Technology Committee tackled the issue of NASA’s human spaceflight program, two of its subcommittees will take on today another key topic: the nation’s polar weather satellite programs. The Investigations and Oversight subcommittee is joining with the Energy and Environment subcommittee for a hearing titled “From NPOESS [...]

Did yesterday’s sound and fury signify anything?

Yesterday morning the House Science, Space, and Technology Committee hosted a hearing on the past, present, and (especially) future of human spaceflight, and attendees heard their fair share of complaints about the nation’s current space policy. Witnesses, in particular former astronauts Neil Armstrong and Gene Cernan and former NASA administrator Mike Griffin, criticized everything from [...]

House hearing on human spaceflight today

A reminder that at 10 am EDT today, the House Science, Space, and Technology Committee will be holding a hearing titled “NASA Human Spaceflight Past, Present, and Future: Where Do We Go From Here?”, which will be webcast on the committee’s site. The witnesses include former astronauts Neil Armstrong and Gene Cernan, as well as [...]

Fundmental differences and an underlying similarity in space policy

For over a year and a half the space community has debated what the future of NASA’s human spaceflight program should be, after the Obama Administration announced plans to cancel Constellation and focus more on technology development and commercial crew and cargo development. The outcome has turned out to be something of a hybrid: some [...]

Briefly: SLS commentary, Garn on commercial spaceflight

In a followup to the reaction to last week’s SLS announcement, four members of Houston’s congressional delegation portrayed the decision as a “new era of space exploration” in an op-ed Tuesday in the Houston Chronicle. (As of this writing, the op-ed is illustrated with a photo of Paul Krugman. Go figure.) The members, Democrats Al [...]