House members have concerns about ISS commercial cargo and CASIS

Wednesday’s hearing of the full House Science Committee on the utilization of the International Space Station (ISS) was relatively lightly attended, with only a handful of members of the committee (including its newest member, Rep. Suzanne Bonamici (D-OR)) questioning the assembled witnesses. The committee’s concerns focused on two issues: whether commercial cargo providers will enter [...]

In the Senate, more criticism of commercial crew

Wednesday afternoon’s hearing by the Commerce, Justice, and Science subcommittee of the Senate Appropriations Committee revealed few new insights about NASA’s fiscal year 2013 budget proposal or Congress’s reaction to it. However, it did emphasize that commercial crew, and the amount of funding NASA is requesting for the program, is one of the most sensitive [...]

Examining ISS utilization

At last week’s House appropriations hearing, subcommittee chairman Rep. Frank Wolf (R-VA) questioned NASA administrator Charles Bolden about utilization of the International Space Station (ISS). In particular, he asked about issues with the Center for the Advancement of Science in Space (CASIS), the organization selected last year to manage research on the US segment of [...]

Doubting indemnification

It’s become a tradition for the commercial launch industry in the US: every several years they ask Congress to extend the current regime for launch indemnification. This system requires launch providers to take financial responsibility (usually through insurance) for any third-party damages from a commercial launch up to a “maximum probable loss” determined as part [...]

Senate appropriators to review NASA budget this week

Last week a House appropriations subcommittee questioned NASA administrator Charles Bolden about the agency’s fiscal year 2013 budget proposal; this week it’s the Senate’s turn. The Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies subcommittee of the Senate Appropriations Committee will hold a hearing on the NASA budget proposal this Wednesday, March 28, at 2 pm. As [...]

Planetary scientists seek unity as they gear up for a budget fight

While NASA administrator Charles Bolden was defending the administration’s budget request before House appropriators earlier this week, other NASA officials were left to explain the consequences of those cuts to an audience even less pleased with the proposal: the planetary sciences community.

“I wish I had a good succinct answer” for why NASA’s planetary science [...]

House appropriators question Bolden on Mars, commercial crew, and… shuttles

NASA administrator Charles Bolden’s two-and-a-half-hour appearance before the Commerce, Justice, and Science subcommittee of the House Appropriations Committee covered some expected ground, including some heated discussions about the agency’s planetary science program as well as questions about its commercial crew program. But a hearing that long also allowed members to delve into other topics, from [...]

New space transportation policy “hopefully” out by fall

Last May the White House started development of an updated national space transportation policy as part of a review of “sectoral” policies after the mid-2010 release of the broader National Space Policy. At the time officials said they hoped to complete the review of the policy in four to five months, but cautioned that timeline [...]

India prioritizes Mars over human spaceflight

For several years Indian officials have talked up the development of an indigenous human spaceflight capability that could be ready by the middle of this decade, with some even suggesting a human mission to the Moon by 2020. While the latter goal has generally been treated with a heavy dose of skepticism, India’s plans for [...]

AIAA members to lobby for human spaceflight and other issues this week

This Tuesday and Wednesday the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) will be holding its annual Congressional Visits Day, where members meet with various congressional offices to discuss aerospace-related issues. Those topics are listed in its Key Issues document, and include “Facilitating Assured, Cost-Effective Human Access to Space” alongside others ranging from air traffic [...]