The Senate Commerce Committee is holding a hearing this morning at 10 am EDT on “The International Space Station: A Platform for Research, Collaboration, and Discovery”. The purpose of the hearing, according to the brief description, is to “examine research progress, the potential for scientific breakthroughs, and any impediments to maximizing the utilization of this orbiting national laboratory.” That’s likely to include a review of the status of the Center for the Advancement of Science in Space (CASIS), the nonprofit organization selected by NASA a year ago to manage the portion of the ISS designated a US national lab. CASIS has attracted criticism for moving too slowly in the eyes of some, including members of Congress.
James Royston, the interim executive director of CASIS, will be among the witnesses testifying at the hearing. Also appearing are Bill Gerstenmaier of NASA, Thomas Reiter of ESA, and NASA astronaut Don Pettit, who recently returned from six months on the ISS.