Nelson quashes speculation on a gubernatorial run

The speculation was at least fun while it lasted. On Thursday, Roll Call reported that Sen. Bill Nelson (D-FL), one of the few senators who shows a strong interest in space, was mulling a run for governor of Florida in 2014. Nelson was reelected to the Senate in 2012 and thus would not have to [...]

Not-so-news about JWST

At yesterday’s House Science Committee space subcommittee hearing on the NASA budget, NASA administrator Charles Bolden was grilled on NASA’s asteroid mission plans, funding for the Space Launch System and Orion, commercial crew, and changes to NASA’s education program. He was also asked, though, about a program that has faded from view recently: the James [...]

Concerns about planetary funding in 2013 and 2014

While much of the attention in the upcoming hearings this afternoon and tomorrow morning on NASA’s proposed fiscal year 2014 budget will be on items like the agency’s new asteroid initiative, SLS and Orion, and commercial crew, one other topic that may get some notice is the agency’s planetary science budget. Congress moved to partially [...]

A busy week of NASA hearings

Several hearings this week by House and Senate committees will examine NASA’s 2014 budget request and its overall space exploration plans. The hearings start this afternoon with one on “Challenges and Opportunities for Human Space Exploration” by the Senate Commerce Committee’s space subcommittee. Scheduled to testify are NASA associate administrator for human exploration and operations [...]

White House, members of Congress respond to Antares launch

Sunday afternoon Orbital Sciences Corporation successfully launched its Antares rocket on its inaugural flight, a test mission carrying a demonstration payload and several smallsats. Company officials said the launch, one of the final milestones in the company’s Commercial Orbital Transportation Services (COTS) award from NASA, went well, paying the way for a launch this summer [...]

Smith’s continued skepticism about NASA’s asteroid mission

When the administration released its fiscal year 2014 budget proposal last week, Rep. Lamar Smith, chairman of the House Science Committee, expressed some skepticism about NASA’s new asteroid initiative contained in it, including plans to redirect a small near Earth object to lunar orbit to be visited by astronauts. “Seemingly out of the blue, this [...]

Garver: role for private sector in NASA’s asteroid mission plans

NASA deputy administrator Lori Garver made a surprise appearance yesterday morning at the opening session of the Planetary Defense Conference 2013 in Flagstaff, Arizona (she said she had planned to attend months ago, but her appearance was only formalized relatively late and not included in the agenda for the session.) She provided an overview of [...]

Congressional tensions between SLS and commercial crew, FY2014 edition

NASA’s commercial crew program and the Space Launch System (SLS) and Orion programs have been sources of heated debate on Capitol Hill that last couple of years. But, as both efforts make progress, could the tensions that often pit the two programs against one another be easing? Not necessarily, based on comments from a couple [...]

People re-DSCOVR an existing program

While a proposed asteroid retrieval mission got the bulk of the attention in NASA’s 2014 budget proposal, another mission also got an outsized share of attention compared to its budget. A number of media reports played up the inclusion in the budget of funding for the Deep Space Climate Observatory, or DSCOVR. This spacecraft’s long, [...]

Reaction to the NASA budget proposal

The fiscal year 2014 budget proposal for NASA is, as previously noted, fairly similar to the agency’s 2013 proposal, with the notable exceptions of the new asteroid initiative and changes to NASA’s education programs as part of the administration’s broader STEM education consolidation. That may be why the budget has, so far, not gotten a [...]