The Planetary Society offers a stronger endorsement of ARM

Last year, The Planetary Society announced a “conditional” endorsement of NASA’s Asteroid Redirect Mission (AMR), calling it an “intriguing idea” but arguing that it needed to know more details about the concept. “The Planetary Society is concerned that the detailed goals, costs, and implementation plan for this asteroid mission are not yet well defined,” it [...]

As House debates spending bill, administration calls for more commercial crew and space technology funding

The House of Representatives started deliberation Wednesday evening of the fiscal year 2015 Commerce, Justice, and Science (CJS) appropriations bill, HR 4660. So far, that debate has not led to any changes in provisions of the bill funding NASA; an amendment to cut NASA exploration spending by $10 million and transfer $8 million of it [...]

Texas runoffs: Hall loses, Babin wins

Texas held several primary runoff elections on Tuesday, and two of the results had some space policy implications. In the 4th district, former House Science Committee chairman Ralph Hall lost a Republican party runoff to former US Attorney John Ratcliffe, 53 to 47 percent. Hall was chairman of the committee in 2011–2012, and served as [...]

Senate defense bill offers mixed messages on RD-180 replacement, EELV competition

The Senate Armed Services Committee completed work this week in closed sessions on its version of the fiscal year 2015 National Defense Authorization Bill. While the full text of the bill is not yet available, members of the committee have provided some news about its contents, including provisions regarding development of a new large rocket [...]

RD-180 report recommends development of domestic replacement engine

Despite comments made last week by Russian deputy prime minister Dmitry Rogozin that Russia would ban the use of the RD-180 engine to launch US military payloads, an Atlas V 401 rocket, powered by such an engine, lifted off Thursday morning from Cape Canaveral carrying a classified payload for the National Reconnaissance Office. That doesn’t [...]

House and Senate making progress on NASA, commercial space bills

This week, the full House is taking up its version of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), which includes some space-related provisions, such as authorizing funding for a domestic rocket engine to replace the RD-180. The Senate Armed Services Committee, meanwhile, is working on its own version of the NDAA this week in closed sessions. [...]

Shelton: time for “pause” in RD-180 debate

A week after Russian deputy prime minister Dmitry Rogozin ignited a firestorm with a claim that Russia would ban the use of RD-180 engines for launching American military payloads, the head of Air Force Space Command said that operations were proceeding as usual and urged a “pause” in the debate.

“There have been no official [...]

European Mars mission caught in US-Russia tensions

Since the start of the Ukraine criss, the United States and Russia have exchanged space-related sanctions and other measures in recent weeks. Canada, meanwhile, pulled several small satellites that were scheduled to launch in June on a Soyuz. (Russia has subsequently delayed the overall launch for “organizational reasons.”)

Europe has not followed, though, in part [...]

Senior review could spell the end for a Great Observatory

Late Thursday, NASA released the final report of the latest “senior review” of ongoing astrophysics missions, a study done every two years to ensure that missions that have completed their primary missions are still performing science that justifies the expense of their continued operations. This review had been watched closely because of NASA’s constrained budget [...]

House members press NASA for information on Russia crisis effects on ISS

In a letter to NASA administrator Charles Bolden today, three key members of the House Science Committee asked for information on how threats by Russian deputy prime minister Dmitry Rogozin regarding the future of the ISS would affect the agency’s plans.

In their letter, House Science Committee chairman Lamar Smith (R-TX), space subcommittee chairman Steven [...]