Bipartisan House letter calls for “vision and timeline” for space exploration

A letter to President Obama signed by 30 members of the House of Representatives calls on the White House to provide more details, and support, for human space exploration. The letter, dated March 21 and released Monday, expresses concern about “shifting priorities for NASA and the resulting mixed signals this sends relative to the United [...]

Pentagon confirms study into reliance on RD-180 engine underway

As the Obama Administration levied new sanctions on Russia Thursday for that nation’s actions in the ongoing Ukraine crisis, a Pentagon spokesman confirmed that the Air Force was studying its reliance on the Russian-manufactured RD-180 rocket engine used by the Atlas V.

At a news briefing Thursday, Defense Department spokesman Rear Adm. John Kirby said [...]

Mixed messages on the future of ORS

The Defense Department’s Operationally Responsive Space (ORS) program has been on thin ice for some time: the Air Force has in the past attempted to kill funding for the ORS Office, arguing that the experience the office has built up developing low-cost, responsive space systems can be utilized by other Air Force organizations. And that’s [...]

Nelson plays down risks to US-Russia space relations

Echoing previous comments by agency officials, a key US senator said Tuesday he doesn’t believe that the current crisis involving Ukraine will jeopardize US-Russian relations in space.

“I think you will not see a hitch in the American and the Russian space program that we share with a lot of other nations as well,” Sen. [...]

Nelson argues for commercial crew, Brooks and Shelby seek more money for SLS

As relations between the United States and Russia continue to be strained by the crisis in Crimea, Congress is being briefed on its potential implications for space activities, a key member of Congress said late Monday.

“NASA officials have been briefing some members of Congress over the last few days on U.S. plans and options [...]

Hagel: Defense Department plans “review” of dependence on RD-180

The Defense Department will perform some kind of review of the dependence of the US on the Russian-manufactured RD-180 engine, Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel told a House committee on Thursday.

Late in a hearing by the defense subcommittee of the House Appropriations Committee on the Defense Department’s proposed fiscal year 2015 budget, Rep. Robert [...]

Russian tensions add a sharper edge to EELV hearing

Wednesday’s hearing by the Senate Appropriations Committee’s defense subcommittee on “National Security Space Launch Programs” unfolded, as many expected, as a debate between United Launch Alliance (ULA) and SpaceX. ULA defended its work as the only company currently in the Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle (EELV) program, noting its commitment to mission success and its efforts [...]

Mixed reactions to NASA budget proposal

The release of NASA’s fiscal year 2015 budget proposal on Tuesday didn’t generate many strong reactions, either positive or negative. “I’m mixed,” writes The Planetary Society’s Casey Dreier in a blog post summarizing the budget. He was pleased there was a small amount of money to begin pre-formulation work on a Europa mission, but worried [...]

Two key Texas races heading to runoffs

The Republican nomination for the Congressional district that includes NASA’s Johnson Space Center (JSC) is headed to a runoff election after Tuesday’s primary, while elsewhere in the state, a longtime member and former chairman of the House Science Committee is also headed to a runoff.

In the 36th Congressional District, which just barely includes JSC, [...]

What to look for on budget day

Today’s the day the Obama Administration releases its fiscal year 2015 budget proposal. The Office of Management and Budget will release the overall budget documents likely by mid-morning, and NASA will release its detailed budget proposal at 1 pm EST in advance of a 2 pm briefing. (That briefing was originally, and curiously, slated to [...]