White House, Washington Times both criticize Senate commercial crew language

It’s rare to get the Obama Administration and the conservative editorial page of the Washington Times in agreement on something. Yet, both have spoken out in opposition to report language in the Senate’s Commerce, Justice, and Science (CJS) appropriations bill—due to be considered by the full Senate this week—regarding cost and pricing data for commercial [...]

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 [...]

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 [...]

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):

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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 [...]

National Academies’ report endorses Mars goal for human spaceflight, but says more funding is needed

A report being released today by a committee of the National Research Council endorses Mars as a long-term “horizon” goal of NASA’s human spaceflight efforts, but suggests that more funding, and perhaps a human return to the Moon, are necessary to achieve that goal.

The report, by the Committee on Human Spaceflight, is being released [...]

Senate appropriations for NASA closely tracks the House

In a brief markup session Tuesday morning, a Senate Appropriations Committee subcommittee approved a funding bill that would give NASA $17.9 billion in fiscal year 2015, including boosting funding for science and the Space Launch System.

“We were very disappointed in the President’s request,” Sen. Barbara Mikulski (D-MD), chairwoman of both the full appropriations committee [...]