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 former NASA administrator Mike Griffin; late last week the committee added another witness, MIT planetary sciences professor Maria Zuber, the principal investigator of NASA’s recently-launched GRAIL lunar orbiter mission.
On the eve of today’s hearing, the student space advocacy group Students for the Exploration and Development of Space (SEDS) said it send a letter to Armstrong, asking him to “carry with you some of the messages” that SEDS members articulated in a letter earlier this year. That earlier letter strongly supported commercial spaceflight, saying that “NASA and the nation both benefit greatly from investing in commercial spaceflight programs that will allow astronauts to fly on commercial vehicles,” and playing up the educational and workforce development benefits of such efforts. Given that Armstong (along with Cernan and Griffin) have been critics of the administration’s space policy, which has put an emphasis on commercial crew vehicle development, it’s not clear the students’ message will resonate with the legendary astronaut.