Space lobbying today in Washington and Tallahassee

Two organizations will be meeting with national and state legislators today in separate events to convince them of the importance of key space issues. In Washington, the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) will be holding its annual Congressional Visits Day, as members meet with congressional staff members and others to raise “awareness of [...]

As Europa looks more inviting, one group presses NASA for a mission there

On Thursday, NASA announced a significant discovery about Europa, the large icy moon of Jupiter: astronomers spotted evidence for geysers of water erupting from the moon’s southern polar regions. The discovery may be further proof that the moon has a subsurface ocean of liquid water that could, potentially, harbor life. Moreover, it comes a day [...]

As budget endgame approaches, scientists make another lobbying push

With a week to go, House and Senate budget negotiators are approaching a deal to set spending levels for fiscal year 2014 and avoid another round of sequestration. POLITICO reported Thursday night that the lead negotiatiors, Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) and Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA), are only “a few billion dollars apart” on a deal, [...]

Planetary scientists lobby to restore funding

Last last week, NASA announced that it was ending production of the Advanced Sterling Radioisotope Generator (ASRG), a replacement for existing radioisotope thermoelectric generators (RTGs) that make more efficient use of plutonium fuel. As I reported for Space News, NASA justified the decision by noting the existing stockpile of plutonium-238, which will grow as production [...]

Tweaking the proposed export control reforms for hosted payloads and suborbital vehicles

Last month, as previously noted here, the Obama Administration released a draft version of the revised Category XV of the US Munitions List (USML), which covers satellites and related components. The release of the draft version started a comment period that lasts until early July, after which officials will review the comments before making any [...]

NASA operating plan may reverse Congressional increase in planetary science

NASA’s operating plan for fiscal year 2013 will reportedly reverse the increases awarded to the agency’s planetary science program by Congress, according to a report. The Planetary Exploration Newsletter (PEN) reported Wednesday that the operating plan, which details any tweaks NASA plans to make to the final FY13 appropriations passed in March, will return planetary [...]

Astronomers warn about NASA planetary funding cuts

When President Obama spoke Monday at the National Academy of Sciences in Washington, to mark that institution’s sesquicentennial, space got only the briefest of cameos in his address, and even that managed to rub some scientists and space activists the wrong way. “Today, all around the country, scientists like you are developing therapies to regenerate [...]

Reaction to the NASA budget proposal

The fiscal year 2014 budget proposal for NASA is, as previously noted, fairly similar to the agency’s 2013 proposal, with the notable exceptions of the new asteroid initiative and changes to NASA’s education programs as part of the administration’s broader STEM education consolidation. That may be why the budget has, so far, not gotten a [...]

Petitions, full of sound and fury, signifying…

Back in December I noted the space advocacy community’s continued, if perhaps misguided, fascination with White House petitions. Petitions have been the tool of first resort—and sometimes the tool of only resort—to demand funding increases for NASA or other policy changes. The problem is that they often fail to reach the necessarily threshold (recently increased [...]

Tweeting a solution to sequestration? Probably not.

With just two weeks before the across-the-board budget cuts known as sequestration are now scheduled to take effect (two months later than originally planned), organizations concerned about what those cuts could do to various agencies are stepping up their outreach and lobbying. The American Astronomical Society (AAS) is urging its members to reach out to [...]