Commercial space advocates rally against Senate report language

Next week, the Senate is expected to take up the Commerce, Justice, and Science (CJS) appropriations bill that the Senate Appropriations Committee approved earlier this month. The CJS bill may be combined with two other appropriations bills in a “minibus” on the Senate floor.

What has attracted the most attention about the bill is not […]

Air Force official says RD-180 replacement not a “done deal”

A top Air Force official said Friday that the Defense Department is implementing the near-term recommendations of a recent study regarding the availability of the RD-180 engine used by the Atlas V, but would not yet commit to that study’s long-term recommendation of developing a domestic replacement.

“I think it’s in the mix, but it’s […]

As KSC maps out its future plans, Rubio worries about commercial competitiveness

NASA’s Kennedy Space Center is embarking on a long-range master plan that, over the next two decades, foresees major changes to the center as it evolves from one that primarily supported the Space Shuttle to one that is a “multi-user” spaceport. The master plan includes, among other features, a proposed second runway and as many […]

NASA emphasizes near-term exploration systems progress, but long-term questions remain

At a Capitol Hill luncheon Wednesday, NASA officials provided a standing room only audience with an update on the development of key elements of the agency’s exploration plans: the Orion spacecraft, Space Launch System (SLS) heavy-lift rocket, and ground systems to support those vehicles. And while officials gave the message that development of all three […]

Commercial remote sensing industry wins change to resolution limits

In recent years, the commercial remote sensing industry has been lobbying the federal government to change rules that prevented companies from selling imagery with resolutions sharper than 50 centimeters per pixel. DigitalGlobe in particular argued that its current and planned satellites could already provide imagery with better resolutions than that, and that the capabilities of […]

House approves NASA authorization bill

A NASA authorization bill that sailed through the House Science Committee in April passed the full House Monday by nearly a unanimous vote. After a brief floor debate where no members expressed opposition, the House passed HR 4412 on a 401-2 vote, far above the two-thirds threshold needed for passage under suspension of the rules. […]

SOFIA feeling “very hopeful” about future

Three months after the White House’s budget proposal appeared to spell doom for NASA’s Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy (SOFIA)—a funding cut that would have likely required mothballing the telescope in 2015—project officials are optimistic enough about the observatory’s future that they are moving ahead with plans for future observation cycles and maintenance of the […]

Examining the Senate’s NASA funding bill

As expected, the NASA funding levels in the Senate’s Commerce, Justice, and Science funding bill are broadly similar, but not identical, to those in the bill the House passed last week. From the report accompanying the bill, here’s how the Senate’s funding levels compare to those in the House and the President’s budget request (PBR):


Palazzo survives primary challenge, Knight advances in California

In the Republican primary for Mississippi’s fourth Congressional district earlier this week, Rep. Steven Palazzo survived a close race that nearly required a runoff. Palazzo, chairman of the House Science Committee’s space subcommittee, ended up with 50.5% of the vote in the GOP primary, just above the threshold to avoid a runoff election. He faced […]

NASA and Congress like the NRC report, for very different reasons

Wednesday morning’s briefing on the Committee on Human Spaceflight’s report largely followed the key points laid out in the report and discussed here. That included the decision to make Mars the “horizon goal” for human space exploration, a discussion of some of the exploration architectures included in the report, and other issues about public sentiment […]