Launch indemnification extension goes down to the wire

The federal commercial launch indemnification regime—which protects commercial launch operators against third-party losses that exceed levels they must insure against—expires tomorrow, with no sign that an extension will make it through Congress in time. In November, the House passed legislation that extended the indemnification regime by two years, to December 31, 2014. However, the Senate [...]

In bold new fiscal era, space advocates need to be more effective

The so-called “fiscal cliff” and its across-the-board spending cuts are set to take effect on Wednesday, and the last week has seen little progress to a resolution to at least delay those cuts. Even if there is a breakthrough in the next few days, we’re likely heading into an era of constrained budgets. Is the [...]

Space policy stocking stuffers

A few items of interest related to space policy over the last few days, to tide you over the holiday celebrations:

The passing last week of Sen. Daniel Inouye (D-HI), who chaired the Senate Appropriations Committee, set off a chain reaction of events that led to Sen. Barbara Mikulski (D-MD) being selected to replace Inouye [...]

More details about, and reaction to, export control reform milestone

The text of the National Defense Authorization Act conference report is available online; the export control reform provisions are contained in sections 1261 through 1267, starting on page 986 of the document. The language here is different from what was included in the House version, but with the same aim: restoring to the president the [...]

A long-awaited big win for export control reform

After fighting for over a decade to reform an export control regime that they felt was hurting the ability of American companies to compete in an increasingly global market, the space industry got a major victory today as reform language was included in the final version of the defense authorization bill by House and Senate [...]

Briefly: budget updates, NDAA conferencing, Senate appropriations changes

There are signs that the White House and Congress are approaching a deal to fend off the so-called “fiscal cliff”, including the automatic across-the-board spending cuts known as sequestration. The two sides have exchanged proposals for a combination of tax increases and spending cuts to both discretionary programs and entitlements. According to the New York [...]

Former astronaut says accessing space resources is essential to NASA’s future

The last few weeks have seen a variety of views about the future of NASA, in particular its human spaceflight programs. There is little consensus in these opinions, beyond a belief that the agency’s current direction, in particular the goal laid out by President Obama of a human mission to a near Earth asteroid by [...]

AIA measures the impact of sequestration on the space industry

An unlikely sequestration scenario. This illustration was included in an AIA press release Thursday about its study on the economic impact of sequestration-triggered budgets cuts at NASA.

We’re now only two and a half weeks away from the dreaded “fiscal cliff,” which includes significant budget cuts (aka “sequestration”) for NASA and other federal agencies. [...]

New and familiar faces joining the House Science Committee

Rep. Lamar Smith (R-TX), the incoming chairman of the House Science, Space, and Technology Committee, announced yesterday the list of Republican members who will serve on the committee in the next Congress. The list includes many returning members, including former chairmen Ralph Hall (R-TX) and JAmes Sensenbrenner (R-WI). Among the others coming back are space [...]

House panel agrees on lack of NASA strategic direction, but disagrees on what it should be

In the search for consensus for the future of NASA, there was some consensus during a hearing Wednesday by the House Science, Space, and Technology Committee: members are, by and large, not particularly supportive of the agency’s current direction. However, there were far fewer signs of consensus of what alternative approach NASA should pursue.

After [...]