Polls raise new questions about interest in Mars exploration—and the polls themselves

A report released two months ago concluded there was no national consensus on NASA’s strategic direction, including a lack of agreement on a long-term destination for human space exploration. Two polls released this week, each with their own issues, appear to have inadvertently confirmed that assessment.

A “preliminary snapshot report” of a poll commissioned by […]

Senate committees get organized; Nelson and Cruz control space subcommittee

Two key Senate committees, Appropriations and Commerce, formally organized their subcommittees this week. As expected, the chair and ranking member of the full Senate Appropriations Committee, Sens. Barbara Mikulski (D-MD) and Richard Shelby (R-AL), respectively, will also serve in the same positions on the Commerce, Justice, and Science Subcommittee, whose jurisdiction includes NASA and NOAA, […]

The World Series of export control reform is yet to come

When Congress passed in December a defense authorization bill containing a long-sought satellite export control provision, the space industry understandably reacted with glee. However, as one leading proponent of such reform noted last week, the work in actually removing satellites and related components off the US Munitions List (USML), and thus no longer under the […]

Congress planning an update to commercial launch legislation this year

While a planned reauthorization of NASA this year is attracting headlines, another space-related priority for members of Congress this year is a reauthorization of the FAA’s Office of Commercial Space Transportation (AST) and an update of the Commercial Space Launch Act. At FAA/AST’s annual conference last week, members of Congress and their staffs outlined several […]

NASA reauthorization not likely to make major policy changes

Key members of Congress and their staffs indicated this week that reauthorization of NASA is one of their priorities for the coming year. However, in comments at FAA’s annual Commercial Space Transportation Conference in Washington, they indicated that these efforts would be more along the lines of adjustments to existing policies than major revisions of […]

National space transportation policy still “in work”

While the Obama Administration issued a new national space policy fairly quickly, releasing it in late June of 2010, it has been slower to develop more specific space policies, such as in the area of space transportation. While there were indications last year that the policy could be done by the fall, no policy has […]

House Science Committee pledges bipartisan cooperation

The full House Science Committee, which will be devoting attention this year to NASA and commercial space transportation among other topics, emerged from a closed-door retreat on Tuesday with plans to work across party lines on key issues. “Newspaper headlines insist that Capitol Hill is hopelessly gridlocked. I want the Science, Space, and Technology Committee […]

Worrying about sequestration again

It was a missed deadline that was hardly noticed. Monday was the day that, under federal law, the White House was supposed to release its fiscal year 2014 budget proposal. But the Obama Administration did not release its budget proposal on the first Monday in February, as was the case last year. Officials with the […]

On a day of remembrance, looking to the future

Friday was the 10th anniversary of the Columbia accident, and a few members of Congress—but only a few—as well as President Obama marked the occasions with columns or other statements about the accident. Those comments shared solemn sentiments about anniversary, but offered a spectrum of views about the future.

In his statement about NASA’s Day […]

Ten (and three) years later…

Today marks the tenth anniversary of the loss of the space shuttle Columbia and its seven person crew. A lot has been, and will be, said about the accident itself and its aftermath. The accident, though, also ushered in an era of uncertainty in space policy, particularly in regards to human spaceflight, that arguably still […]