More asteroid outreach, digital and analog

With NASA’s plans for an asteroid retrieval mission not currently winning widespread approval, particularly in Congress, as seen as a recent House Science Committee hearing, the space agency and the administration appear to be stepping up their efforts to build support for the mission.

The Office of Science and Technology Policy announced this week plans [...]

Draft export control lists released

Last week, a Commerce Department official said that the administration’s long-awaited revisions to Category XV of the US Munitions List, which covers satellites and related components, would be published in draft form soon for public review. Those lists appeared as planned: Friday’s Federal Register includes both the draft revised Category XV list as well as [...]

Moon versus asteroids on the path to Mars

The space subcommittee of the House Science Committee is holding a hearing at 2 pm EDT today on “Next Steps in Human Exploration to Mars and Beyond”. The focus of the hearing, based on the hearing charter, will be whether NASA’s plans to redirect a near Earth asteroid into lunar orbit, to be then visited [...]

Differing perspectives on commercial crew

Speaking at the meeting Wednesday of the FAA’s Commercial Space Transportation Advisory Committee (COMSTAC) in Washington, NASA administrator Charles Bolden made another pitch—this time to a rather sympathetic audience—for the agency’s commercial crew program.

“If NASA had received the president’s requested funding for this program then,” Bolden said, referring to the rollout of the [...]

NASA operating plan may reverse Congressional increase in planetary science

NASA’s operating plan for fiscal year 2013 will reportedly reverse the increases awarded to the agency’s planetary science program by Congress, according to a report. The Planetary Exploration Newsletter (PEN) reported Wednesday that the operating plan, which details any tweaks NASA plans to make to the final FY13 appropriations passed in March, will return planetary [...]

Hearings: commercial space today, Mars next week

Later today the space subcommittee of the Senate Commerce Committee will hold a hearing on “Partnerships to Advance the Business of Space”. The hearing’s lineup of witnesses include some key people who have been involved in supporting commercial spaceflight in one manner or another, including former shuttle program manager Wayne Hale, former FAA associate administrator [...]

Revisions to export control lists due out soon

Late last year, when Congress passed a defense authorization bill with export control reform language included, advocates of such reform noted that this legislative provision was not the end of their efforts. The language in the bill simply returned to the President the authority to move satellites and related components off the US Munitions List [...]

Space policy viewed through an exoplanetary lens

On Thursday, the space and research subcommittees of the House Science Committee held a joint hearing on “Exoplanet Discoveries: Have We Found Other Earths?”. Exoplanet research, as you might imagine, is not particularly controversial, and seems far removed from big issues facing NASA today on Capitol Hill. Yet, during the brief (less than one hour) [...]

Buzz Aldrin wants NASA to go to Mars, not grab an asteroid

Apollo 11 astronaut Buzz Aldrin has no shortage of opinions of what the US should be doing in space, and how. In a speech Wednesday at the Humans to Mars Summit in Washington, he emphasized his belief that NASA should be focused on sending people to Mars—to stay—and shouldn’t be distracted by other options, including [...]

Bolden: the path to Mars requires commercial crew and SLS, but not the Moon

In a keynote address Monday at the Humans to Mars Summit in Washington, NASA administrator Charles Bolden made the case that, if NASA is to achieve the president’s goal of sending humans to at least the vicinity of Mars by the 2030s, it has to follow the approach NASA is currently using, including development of [...]