Cygnus success generates a few reactions

Perhaps because of the preoccupation in Washington with the impending (less than one hour from now, as of publication of this post) federal government shutdown, there have only been a handful of reactions to Sunday’s successful berthing of Orbital Sciences Corporation’s Cygnus spacecraft to the International Space Station. Shortly after the berthing, NASA did issue [...]

NASA lays out its shutdown plans

With no sign of a deal between the House and Senate on a continuing resolution (CR) to keep the government funded beyond Monday—the Senate passed a CR Friday that did not contain the controversial provisions of the House version—NASA and other federal agencies are laying out their plans should a government shutdown go into effect [...]

A week until the new fiscal year—and the threat of a shutdown

A week from today is October 1, New Year’s Day for those who live on the federal government fiscal year calendar. And, for many of them, it could become an unintended, and unwanted, holiday. With no appropriations bills for fiscal year 2014 passed to date, Congress needs to approve a continuing resolution to keep the [...]

A minor kerfuffle over LC-39A letters

On Friday morning, the space subcommittee of the House Science Committee held a hearing on NASA infrastructure. One of the topics that came up in the hearing was NASA’s plans to transfer control of Launch Complex 39A to a commercial entity, a process that has raised concerns among some in Congress about allowing a single [...]

Reaction to the Cygnus launch

Sen. Barbara Mikulski wishes Antares and Cygnus luck as she watches the launch from her office, in this photo provided by her office.

The Antares rocket that lifted off Wednesday carrying Orbital’s first Cygnus cargo spacecraft to the ISS might be the biggest booster to launch from Virginia’s Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport, but arguably the [...]

The battle for Launch Complex 39A

In May, NASA’s Kennedy Space Center issued an announcement for proposals regarding Launch Complex 39A, a Space Shuttle launch pad no longer needed by NASA (which plans to use neighboring pad 39B for future Space Launch System launches). The agency hoped to attract a commercial user who could take over use and maintenance of the [...]

This week: hearings on weather satellites and NASA infrastructure, and NOAA confirmation

On Thursday morning, the House Science Committee subcommittees on oversight and the environment will be holding a joint hearing titled “Dysfunction in Management of Weather and Climate Satellites”. Officials from the GAO, NOAA, and NASA are slated to testify on what the committee believes to be the poor state of development of weather satellites.

Interestingly, [...]

On the importance of a NASA authorization bill

While Congress is back in session this month, few observers expect they will spend much, if any, time on the topic of a new NASA authorization bill. There are too many other issues for members to deal with, from foreign policy to a continuing resolution to keep the government funded; moreover, the differences between the [...]

Even passing a CR is hard these days

Yesterday, as part of a broader piece on budget uncertainty, we noted here that the chairman of the House Appropriations Committee had introduced continuing resolution legislation to continue funding the government at post-sequester 2013 levels through December 15, or the first two and a half months of fiscal year 2014. The bill includes juts a [...]

Budget uncertainty weighs on NASA and space industry

“How many of you know what your budget is going to be next year? Raise your hand,” said Larry James, a retired Air Force lieutenant general and the new deputy director of JPL, in introductory comments at Tuesday morning’s plenary session of the AIAA Space 2013 conference in San Diego. As you might expect, effectively [...]