Scientists and advocates once again seek restoration of NASA planetary funding

The Planetary Society released this week a statement prepared “in collaboration” with the planetary sciences divisions of the American Astronomical Society (AAS) and American Geophysical Union (AGU) about the current state of NASA’s planetary sciences program. The organizations support NASA’s decision announced nearly two months ago to develop a Mars rover based on Curiosity for [...]

Shelby vows to protect the SLS

Responding to what is at least a somewhat manufactured controversy, a key senator said Tuesday that he will continue to support NASA’s Space Launch System (SLS) heavy-lift launch vehicle. Sen. Richard Shelby (R-AL) told the Huntsville Times that he will “continue to fight hard to ensure that taxpayer dollars are invested wisely in SLS so [...]

NASA nets $15 million in Sandy relief bill

The Senate passed on Monday HR 152, a $50.5 billion appropriations bill to cover damage caused by Hurricane Sandy last October. The House passed the bill earlier this month after a previous disaster relief bill died in the previous Congress. Included in the bill is $15 million for NASA’s “Construction and Environmental Compliance and Restoration” [...]

WSJ op-ed calls on the President to kill the SLS

In an essay in Monday’s issue of the Wall Street Journal, Robert Walker and Charles Miller make a pitch to President Obama: complete the job he started in his first term in handing over space transportation entirely in the private sector. “Just as the government does not design or build automobiles, ships, trains or airplanes, [...]

In the search for a “definitive” national space policy, no definitive answers

Thursday evening the Baker Institute for Public Policy at Rice University hosted a panel titled “Lost in Space: The Need for a Definitive U.S. Space Policy.” (The event was webcast, and the video of the event is on the institute’s website.) The panel was predicated on the belief that the US doesn’t currently have a [...]

House Science Committee organizes for the new Congress

The House Science Committee held a brief organizational meeting Wednesday to formally confirm its membership, rules, and subcommittee assignments. The Subcommittee on Space (as it is now simply known; all the committee’s subcommittees now have one-word names) is the committee’s largest subcommittee, with 12 Republican and 9 Democrats:

Republicans Democrats Chairman Steven Palazzo (Mississippi) Ralph [...]

Deal reached for New Mexico spaceflight liability legislation

That didn’t take long. Last week the New Mexico Legislature began its 2013 session, with a revision to the state’s existing commercial spaceflight liability indemnification legislation a top priority. Backers of the state’s $209-million commercial spaceport, Spaceport America, were concerned that without a revision of the law, expanding it to include suppliers and other companies [...]

The future of Spaceport America may be in the hands of the New Mexico Legislature

On Tuesday, the New Mexico Legislature convened for its 2013 session, and one of the key issues it will be dealing with, albeit indirectly, is the future of Spaceport America, the commercial spaceport in the southern part of the state. The $209-million facility’s major elements are nearly complete and its anchor tenant, suborbital spaceflight company [...]

ASAP report focuses on commercial crew funding and contracting risk

Late last week NASA released the annual report by the Aerospace Safety Advisory Panel (ASAP), highlighting the key safety-related issues the independent panel sees with the space agency’s programs. This year’s report highlights in particular NASA’s commercial crew efforts, worrying that a lack of funding and non-traditional contracting mechanisms could increase risks to crews that [...]

Canadian Space Agency president to resign

In a move that took many by surprise, Steve MacLean, the president of the Canadian Space Agency, announced Tuesday he would resign at the end of the month to take a position at a new research institute. MacLean is leaving the CSA to take a position in a new venture in Waterloo, Ontatrio, created by [...]