Briefly: HR 6586 signed, budget delays, and petitions

Yesterday, President Obama signed into law HR 6586, one of a number of bills from the end of the last Congress he signed. The bill started out as a simple two-year extension of commercial launch indemnification but was transformed in the Senate into the “Space Exploration Sustainability Act,” with a one-year indemnification extension. The additional […]

Mars 2020 or bust

When NASA announced last month that it had selected a rover similar to Curiosity for a mission slated for launch in 2020, it raised some concerns among planetary scientists that exploration of the rest of the solar system was getting shortchanged in favor of what they perceived as an overemphasis on Mars. The head of […]

A tale of two congresspeople

On Wednesday evening, the American Astronomical Society (AAS) hosted a “Space Science and Public Policy” event as part of its conference this week in Long Beach, California. The featured speakers were two members of Congress: Reps. Judy Chu (D-CA) and Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA). Their comments on policy issues for space science and related issues were […]

Palazzo to remain space subcommittee chair; Shelby to be top Republican in Senate Appropriations

Rep. Steven Palazzo (R-MS) will return as chairman of the space and aeronautics subcommittee of the House Science, Space, and Technology Committee, the full committee announced Tuesday. Palazzo chaired the subcommittee in the last Congress as well. Rep. Mo Brooks (R-AL) will serve as the vice-chair of the subcommittee. On the full committee, Rep. Dana […]

Astronomers grapple with budgetary uncertainty

This week, about 3,000 astronomers are gathered in Long Beach, California, for the 221st meeting of the American Astronomical Society. Just one day into the four-day meeting, there have already been major announcements, ranging from a new set of potential extrasolar planets found by Kepler to some of the first results from the NuSTAR x-ray […]

Code of conduct and other space issues in the defense authorization bill

Earlier this week President Obama formally signed into law the fiscal year 2013 defense authorization act. This means that the satellite export control reform provisions included in the bill are now law, much to the relief of the satellite industry and other proponents of reform. However, it was not the only—or even, necessarily, the most […]

Hutchison “delighted” with passage of amended launch indemnification act

Just hours before her final term in the Senate ended, Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-TX) congratulated the House for passing the amended version of HR 6586 that includes an extension of commercial launch indemnification as well as additional provisions extending NASA’s INKSNA waiver and a resolution calling for balanced development of both government and commercial […]

Bill to rename NASA Dryden after Neil Armstrong dies in Senate

The Senate did not consider on Wednesday HR 6612, a bill to rename NASA’s Dryden Flight Research Center after Neil Armstrong. The House passed the bill 404-0 on Monday, but the Senate did not bring the bill up for a vote, or passage by unanimous consent, on either Tuesday or Wednesday. With the Senate adjourned […]

House passes Senate-amended launch indemnification bill

The House today agreed by unanimous consent to the Senate-amended version of HR 6586, a bill originally intended to provide a two-year extension to commercial launch indemnification. As noted yesterday, the Senate effectively replaced the House bill with a scaled back version of the Space Exploration Sustainability Act that Sens. Bill Nelson (D-FL) and Kay […]

House approves bill to rename NASA Dryden after Neil Armstrong

While the Senate dealt with the fiscal cliff (and launch indemnification), the House took up a number of other bills, including HR 6612, legislation to rename NASA’s Dryden Flight Research Center after Neil Armstrong. (The Dryden name would instead be attached to the Western Aeronautical Test Range used by the center.) The bill, taken up […]