Bolden and Holdren reaffirm support for asteroid mission as the next step to Mars

The head of NASA and the President’s science advisor told the NASA Advisory Council (NAC) this week that the agency’s Asteroid Redirect Mission (ARM) remained the next logical step of a long-term strategy to eventually send people to Mars, despite the protestations of some in Congress as well as “outside fan clubs.”

“The FY15 budget [...]

Senate committee approves commercial launch license/permit bill

Largely overlooked last week in the hubbub about hearings on the NASA budget proposal, a new NASA authorization bill, and relations with Russia was a move by a Senate committee on Wednesday to approve legislation to adjust the commercial launch licensing system for reusable suborbital vehicles.

S. 2140, introduced last month by Sen. Martin Heinrich [...]

The substance, or lack thereof, of NASA’s ban on Russian cooperation

The news last week that NASA was cutting off cooperation with the Russian government—with the very large exception of International Space Station (ISS) operations—attracted a lot of attention in the space industry and the general public, which continues to the present. “NASA is cutting ties with Russia. But it’s not that simple,” reads the headline [...]

Subcommittee quickly approves amended NASA authorization bill

The House Science Committee’s space subcommittee quickly approved an amended version of HR 4412 during a markup session this morning that lasted less than half an hour. Instead of the bill text as filed, the subcommittee adopted an amendment in the nature of a substitute with several changes to the bill introduced earlier this week.

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New NASA authorization bill makes only minor changes to last year’s version

At 9 am today, the space subcommittee of the House Science Committee will mark up a new version of a NASA authorization bill, formally introduced earlier this week. The new bill, HR 4412, is very similar to the bill the Science Committee marked up last summer, HR 2687, a bill that generated unusually strong partisan [...]

Bolden and House appropriators spar on various issues

NASA administrator Charles Bolden appeared before the Commerce, Justice, and Science (CJS) subcommittee of the House Appropriations Committee in a hearing about NASA’s fiscal year 2015 budget request Tuesday morning—and into the afternoon as well, as the hearing, which started at 9:30 am, didn’t wrap up until about 1 pm. The first part of the [...]

Mikulski wants to up the new budget to flat

While the White House proposed a fiscal year 2015 budget that cut NASA by about one percent over 2014, the chairwoman of the Senate Appropriations Committee said Monday she will try to change that.

“My goal for NASA is to make sure we’re at least at the 2014 level,” said Sen. Barbara Mikulski (D-MD) in [...]

A full schedule of hearings next week

The week of April 7 is shaping up to be an unusually busy one for space policy, with no fewer than four hearings on various aspects of civil and commercial space, including markups of two bills.

On Tuesday, April 8, the House Appropriations Committee’s Commerce, Justice, and Science (CJS) subcommittee is holding a hearing on [...]

Bolden, Smith clash over Mars 2021 and ARM

The crisis in US-Russian space relations may be the current top story in space policy, but it’s not preventing debates about over topics, notably, where humans should go beyond Earth orbit.

That debate flared up Thursday when NASA administrator Charles Bolden appeared before a joint meeting of the Space Studies Board (SSB) and Aeronautics and [...]

Congressional skepticism of NASA’s asteroid plans remains

Nearly a year ago, NASA announced its plans to redirect an asteroid into lunar orbit to be visited by astronauts, a concept originally called the Asteroid Retrieval Mission and now known as the Asteroid Redirect Mission (ARM). In the months that followed, the proposed mission received a chilly reception on Capitol Hill, particularly in the [...]