California legislators asked to support state’s space industry

For the last several years there has been a flurry of activity at the state level in the form of legislation and other initiatives to support commercial space ventures: tax policies, liability indemnification, support for spaceport projects, and so on. This year, for example, the Florida legislature is working on legislation to support spaceport efforts […]

House Science Committee schedules NASA budget hearing

The House Science Committee has now scheduled its usual hearing on the administration’s budget proposal for NASA. The hearing is scheduled for 2 pm on Wednesday, March 7. NASA administrator Charles Bolden is the sole scheduled witness. While members got soe opportunities to pose questions (or raise concerns) about the NASA budget earlier this month […]

Putting a price on Gingrich’s lunar plans

After presidential candidate Newt Gingrich’s speech that featured the goal of a permanent base on the Moon by 2020, he was criticized by some of his fellow Republican candidates, among others, for proposing what they believe to be an expensive venture. Mitt Romney’s campaign issued a statement criticizing the plan, which it argued could cost […]

Romney is in no rush to go back to the Moon

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney was speaking at a town hall in Kalamazoo, Michigan, on Friday when he was asked—unexpectedly, perhaps, given the locale—about NASA planetary exploration efforts. Romney, according to CNN’s account of the event, “said he would study different options”, a response along the lines of the space policy he laid out nearly […]

The Mars skirmishes continue

It’s been two weeks after the release of a NASA budget proposal that proposed major cuts and radical changes to the agency’s planetary science programs, particularly its Mars exploration program. While congressional action on that budget proposal is still months in the future, proponents of the program are continuing to rally their opposition to those […]

Hoping to make space a campaign issue

“Obama campaign could trip over space policy” reads the headline of a Houston Chronicle article today that sounds almost hopeful that space policy—specifically, continued US reliance on Russian vehicles to transport astronauts to and from the International Space Station—will become an issue during this year’s presidential campaign. The article tries to make the case that […]

The role of NASA in commercial crew safety

How active NASA should be in ensuring, or even regulating, the safety of commercial crew vehicles is an issue that has been debated for some time, but a couple of events in the last week demonstrate that the issue is still on the minds of people on Capitol Hill.

At last Friday’s hearing about the […]

Advocates and professionals push back against proposed planetary cuts

The Mars Society released a statement over the weekend where, not surprisingly, it expressed strong opposition to the proposed cuts to NASA’s Mars exploration program contained in the agency’s fiscal year 2013 budget proposal. “America’s planetary exploration program, in particular that involving the Red Planet, is one of the greatest chapters in the history of […]

House Science Committee members complain about NASA budget

In the first opportunity for members of Congress to publicly question the administration on details of its fiscal year 2013 budget request for NASA, members of the House Science, Space, and Technology Committee expressed concern Friday about proposed cuts to NASA’s Mars program and its exploration program.

“NASA seems to have been singled out for […]

Nelson vows to fight for commercial crew funding in Congress

In a speech Thursday, Sen. Bill Nelson (D-FL), chairman of the Senate Commerce Committee’s space subcommittee, said he would work to get NASA’s commercial crew program funded at the level requested in the administration’s fiscal year 2013 budget proposal this week, while insisting that the president himself is a “fan” of the space agency.