Improving SOFIA

Although a final resolution may not come until late this year, when Congress finally approves a fiscal year 2015 appropriations bill, it appears that NASA’s Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy (SOFIA) program has survived its near-death experience. While the administration’s 2015 budget request slashed SOFIA’s funding and recommended it be placed in storage should NASA [...]

Orion manager warns he’s “challenged” to make December 2017 launch

In two separate public appearances last week, the manager of NASA’s Orion spacecraft warned that he is “challenged” to keep Orion on track for the first Space Launch System (SLS) mission in late 2017.

Mark Geyer spoke at the Mars Society’s annual conference in Houston on Saturday, one day after SLS program manager Todd May [...]

SLS manager says program still on track

NASA’s Space Launch System (SLS) heavy-lift rocket remains on track for a first launch in December 2017 despite warnings in a recent Government Accountability Office (GAO) about cost and schedule problems, the program’s manager said Friday.

Speaking at the 17th Annual International Mars Society Convention in Houston, SLS program manager Todd May said the program [...]

Asteroid scientists vent their concerns about ARM

At first glance, planetary scientists who study asteroids might seem to be obvious supporters of NASA’s Asteroid Redirect Mission (ARM) plans. It would, after all, redirect a small near Earth asteroid (NEA) into lunar orbit, where astronauts would visit it and return perhaps many kilograms of samples. In fact, though, many planetary scientists have expressed [...]

Edwards more optimistic about NASA authorization, less so about other legislation

While NASA administrator Charles Bolden expressed skepticism earlier this week that a NASA authorization bill would make it through Congress this year, a leading member of the House Science Committee said in a recent interview she is more optimistic about the bill’s prospects, but less so about two other pieces of space-related legislation.

“I feel [...]

Bolden skeptical about prospects for NASA authorization bill this year

NASA Administrator Charles Bolden said Wednesday he is not optimistic that Congress will pass a NASA authorization bill this year, and expects to start the 2015 fiscal year on a continuing resolution (CR).

Bolden, speaking at a meeting of the NASA Advisory Council (NAC) at the Langley Research Center in Virginia, said he was more [...]

GAO report warns of cost and schedule risks to SLS

In contrast to NASA and industry claims that work on the Space Launch System (SLS) is on track, a report by the Government Accountability Office (GAO) released Wednesday warned that tight schedules and budgets could delay the first launch of that heavy-lift rocket.

The report, requested by Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK), warned that the flat [...]

White House and Congress mark the 45th anniversary of Apollo 11

On Tuesday, the White House hosted a private event with the two surviving members of the Apollo 11 crew, Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins, along with Neil Armstrong’s widow, Carol, and NASA administrator Charles Bolden. The White House has traditionally hosted the Apollo 11 crew on five-year anniversaries like this; previously, President Obama met with [...]

Planetary science review to be released soon

The long-awaited—apprehensively, in some quarters—senior review of NASA planetary science missions is effectively complete and will be publicly released in the next week or two, a NASA official said Monday.

“The planetary senior review, from a scientific report standpoint, has just been completed,” said Jim Green, director of NASA’s planetary science division, in a presentation [...]

At Future Space, members of Congress discuss future of space legislation

On Thursday, the Future Space Leaders Foundation held Future Space 2014, a conference oriented primarily to students and young professionals to discuss “cross-cutting issues” in space. The event included talks by four members of House, who discussed a range of issues about civil, commercial, and military space policy.

Rep. Steven Palazzo (R-MS), chairman of the [...]