Congress, NASA

House appropriations approve spending bill as NASA, industry complain

The House Appropriations Committee, as expected, approved a Commerce, Justice, and Science (CJS) appropriations bill Wednesday, sending the legislation on to the full House on a voice vote. The committee accepted a few amendments during the full committee markup, none of which affected NASA, leaving the funding levels in the earlier version of the bill and accompanying report unchanged. “They’ve been treated very, very fair,” Rep. Frank Wolf (R-VA), chairman of the CJS subcommittee, said of NASA in comments to Florida Today after the markup.

NASA, though, would beg to differ. “While we appreciate the support of the Committee, we are deeply concerned that the bill under consideration would set our funding level significantly below the President’s request,” the agency said in a statement released just before the markup by NASA associate administrator for communications David Weaver. “We are especially concerned the bill cuts funding for space technology – the ‘seed corn’ that allows the nation to conduct ever more capable and affordable space missions – and the innovative and cost-effective commercial crew program.”

Those commercial crew and space technology cuts are also worrying to the Commercial Spaceflight Federation (CSF), an industry group. “Less funding for the commercial crew program simply equates to prolonged dependence on foreign launch providers,” said CSF president Michael Lopez-Alegria in a statement. CSF executive director Alex Saltman added that the organization hopes to work with appropriators to increase funding for those programs in later stages of the appropriations process.

8 comments to House appropriations approve spending bill as NASA, industry complain

  • Coastal Ron

    NASA associate administrator for communications David Weaver. “We are especially concerned the bill cuts funding for space technology – the ‘seed corn’ that allows the nation to conduct ever more capable and affordable space missions…

    NASA has been very public about the fact that NASA’s “technology cupboard” is bare.

    Instead of spending a decade (likely more) building a rocket with nothing to launch but an oversized, overweight and pretty much useless capsule, NASA had wanted to be spending it’s meager budget creating the technology and techniques needed for human space exploration beyond LEO.

    Apparently this continues to confirm that Congress could care less about human space exploration beyond LEO.

    That’s not a surprise to me, but I just wanted to make sure that SLS supporters understood that, since the SLS is useless without anything to put on top of it.

    • Guest

      Ron, all boosters that self destruct moments after finishing their missions are useless, especially with nothing on top of them, or with missions that accomplish nothing, but also even when launching the most valuable DoD mission ever. Useless.

      That is about to change. You need to get with the program.

      • Coastal Ron

        Guest said:

        …all boosters that self destruct moments after finishing their missions are useless…

        There is a difference between boosters (Atlas V, Delta IV, Falcon 9, etc.) that have a steady stream of customers that require their services, and a booster (i.e. the SLS) that has no known need, and is so expensive NASA can’t fly it at a safe operational tempo.

        That is about to change.

        Given your history of promoting the SLS over commercial launchers, I don’t think you understand what the upcoming changes are, and why they will or won’t succeed.

        You need to get with the program.

        You need to get a clue…

    • James

      Coastal Ron
      $1B of space technology is very difficult for the congressional porkers to steer to a large corporation that will then spend monies lobbying congress and lining their re election coffers. In other words technology monies can be spread thin. Too thin for porkers

      $1B of big rocket money can be steered to a large corporation. And hence lobbyist paid, coffers filled, and porkers can wallow in their phony interest of serving the American public

      Oink oink

      • Coastal Ron

        James said:

        $1B of big rocket money can be steered to a large corporation. And hence lobbyist paid, coffers filled, and porkers can wallow in their phony interest of serving the American public

        Yep. And unfortunately the amount we’re talking about is far larger than $1B.

        In terms of ROI for NASA programs (i.e. what we as a nation gain for the money we as a nation put in), the SLS program is probably the worst in recent memory…

  • Guest

    I don’t think you understand what the upcoming changes are, and why they will or won’t succeed.

    Last time I checked they were called landing legs, landing trajectories and landing engines, your mileage may vary.

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