Amendments to defense authorization bill cover export control and NASA policy

The Senate is debating this week S. 3254, its version of the fiscal year 2013 defense authorization bill, including handling a mountain of proposed amendments to the bill: more than 360 as of this writing. A couple have space policy implications, as Space News reported yesterday. One amendment deals with export control, while the other [...]

A first astronaut makes a small step towards becoming a prime minister

Marc Garneau’s place in Canadian history books is already assured: in 1984 he became the first Canadian in space. Garneau flew on three Space Shuttle missions and, after retiring as an astronaut, went on to become head of the Canadian Space Agency. He left the CSA to pursue a career in politics, winning election to [...]

Is Bolden’s number up?

On Wednesday, NASA administrator Charles Bolden visited the United Launch Alliance (ULA) factory in Decatur, Alabama, where the company assembles Atlas and Delta rockets. During his visit, local media quizzed him on a variety of topics, from the looming threat of sequestration to rumored discoveries by the Mars Science Laboratory Rover to even whether he [...]

Smith to chair the House Science Committee in the next Congress

It must have been the tie.

The House Republican Steering Committee, a group of 34 GOP members of the House that includes the party’s leadership there, selected Tuesday a slate of candidates for committee chairmanships in the next Congress, starting in January. Included in that list is Rep. Lamar Smith (R-TX) as chairman of the [...]

Defense Department quietly releases a new space policy

The Defense Department, with very little fanfare, issued a new space policy last month. The memo about the space policy, dated October 18, is signed by deputy secretary of defense Ashton Carter. The memo, though, has received little coverage beyond an article Wednesday by the American Forces Press Service, including no formal press releases or [...]

Europe plots its space future this week

It’s a quiet week for space policy in the US because of the Thanksgiving holiday, but across the Atlantic it’s a very big week for space. Today and tomorrow ministers from ESA’s member states (now 20 with the accession of Poland this week) are meeting in Naples to make decisions on the future of the [...]

Handicapping the race for House Science Committee chairman

It’s been just over a week since the race for the chairmanship of the House Science Committee got into gear, but a frontrunner has already emerged. Earlier this week Space News reported that Rep. Lamar Smith (R-TX) is the “odds-on favorite,” in the words of one source, to lead the committee in the next Congress. [...]

Still waiting on a Senate defense authorization bill (and export control reform)

The Senate was scheduled to start debate this week on its version of a defense authorization bill, several months after the House passed its version of the legislation. However, it looks like that won’t happen, with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) blaming Republicans for slowing the process, even after agreeing to an “open” amendment [...]

What can $300 million a year buy for NASA’s planetary program?

In its continued quest to restore $300 million to NASA’s planetary science program, The Planetary Society described in a blog post this week what that restored funding could provide. According to “newly-formed internal budget numbers” provide to the organization from unnamed “sources within the planetary science community,” that additional funding could, in the long term, [...]

House easily approves launch indemnification, but with a cautionary note about reform

As expected, the House of Representatives approved Wednesday HR 6586, legislation to extend the commercial launch indemnification system by two years, to the end of 2014. The legislation, considered under suspension of the rules, passed by a voice vote after a brief debate, during which no one rose in opposition to the bill. Among those [...]