The other December 2012 countdown

Last week some people noted that we are now less than a year away from a prophesied end of the world, which, according to some (mis)interpretations of the Mayan calendar, will be on December 21, 2012. Fortunately this is little more than the inspiration for a bad Roland Emmerich movie, but last week also marked [...]

Putting space policy in perspective in the 2012 campaign

Despite all the chatter in recent weeks about lunar colonies and space mirrors and whether or not candidates think the current administration’s space policy is a “stupid move”, it’s worth keeping in mind that space policy is, in the grand scheme of things, a very low priority in this campaign, as it has been in [...]

Did Gingrich call the administration’s human spaceflight policy “a stupid move”?

In an op-ed Wednesday in the Orlando Sentinel, former White House and Pentagon official Douglas MacKinnon argued that former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich was the only Republican presidential candidate with a “passion” for the space program. Gingrich, he said, “does want the United States to once again become the pre-eminent nation in space”. [...]

Former NASA head O’Keefe skeptical about sequestration

Earlier this month NASA administrator Charles Bolden expressed optimism that “sequestration”, the term given to the across-the-bord budget cuts currently in place for fiscal year 2013 after the failure of the supercommittee to come up with a long-term deficit reduction plan, could be avoided by Congressional action in the coming year. “I don’t think it’s [...]

Senate rejects budget rescission

On Thursday, it appeared that NASA and other non-defense discretionary spending would be trimmed to pay for a $8.1-billion disaster relief bill. The House had proposed a 1.83-percent cut to such spending, which NASA confirmed to Space News on Friday would result in a $325-million cut it the agency’s FY2012 budget. Other non-defense agencies, including [...]

Mixed reaction to NASA’s commercial crew shift

NASA’s decision to shift from a fixed-price contract for the next phase of its commercial crew development effort back to a Space Act Agreement (SAA), like that used in the first two rounds of the program, has resulted in a range of reactions. Much of the industry either directly involved in the program or otherwise [...]

NASA shifts back to Space Act Agreements for commercial crew program

In an about face blamed on a “dynamic budget environment”, NASA is switching back to Space Act Agreements (SAAs) for the next phase of its Commercial Crew program, the agency announced Thursday. NASA had planned to issue this coming Monday a request for proposals (RFP) for what was called the Integrated Design Phase of the [...]

Briefly: omnibus, rescission, and more on Gingrich

The House released last night its draft of an omnibus spending bill that covers most federal agencies, excluding those, like NASA, included in last month’s “minibus” appropriations bill. One minor note of interest: Division B of the omnibus, which covers energy and water, does not call out any funding for the Department of Energy to [...]

Gingrich: NASA sits around and thinks space

Even as the space and political intelligensia was digesting the weekend’s comments by GOP presidential candidates Newt Gingrich and Mitt Romney on lunar colonies, space mirrors, and other space issues, Gingrich spoke out again on space on Monday. In a rather collegial Lincoln-Douglas debate on national security and foreign policy issues with fellow presidential candidate [...]

More on Romney, Gingrich, and lunar colonies

It turns out Saturday night’s debate was not the first time that former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney has invoked former House Speaker Newt Gingrich’s reported interest in lunar colonies. In an interview with the editorial board of the Des Moines Register on Friday, Romney brought up the subject when asked about how he differs with [...]