House Science Committee to examine “necessary updates” to commercial launch law

When Congress passed a three-year extension of the third-party commercial launch indemnification regime earlier this month (the pending legislation was used as the “legislative vehicle” for the omnibus fiscal year 2014 spending), industry celebrated the move, but some wondered if the extension would take pressure off Congress to take a broader look at commercial launch [...]

Is now the time to start working on space property rights?

Given the current range of space policy issues under discussion and debate, the concept of space property rights can seem a little, well, out there. Lunar bases and asteroid prospecting are still likely years in the future: can’t this issue wait? Not in the eyes of some legal experts and space advocates.

In an op-ed [...]

ASAP warns on commercial crew funding (again), gets philosophical about risk

Late last week, the Aerospace Safety Advisory Panel (ASAP) released its annual report on safety issues at NASA. As in recent years, one concern it highlighted in the report and accompanying cover letter is the level of funding for NASA’s Commercial Crew Program (CCP). ASAP remains worried that shortfalls in funding appropriated for the program [...]

A forgotten anniversary

Most of the space community spent this past Tuesday, January 14, examining the details of the omnibus spending bill for fiscal year 2014 that funds NASA at ann overall level of $17.65 billion. Overlooked in that analysis, though, was another event: Tuesday marked the tenth anniversary of the speech by President George W. Bush at [...]

Commercial space industry celebrates launch indemnification extension in omnibus spending bill

While most of the space-related discussion about the omnibus spending bill for fiscal year 2014 passed by Congress this week focused on the relatively favorable spending levels for NASA in the bill, the legislation also included another benefit for the commercial launch industry. The legislative vehicle used for the omnibus spending package was HR 3547, [...]

How other space-related items fared in the FY14 spending bill

While NASA did relatively well in the omnibus spending bill, at least at the overall spending level, some other space-related programs did not fare as well. Space News reports some key military space programs got less than what they requested for fiscal year 2014. The Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle (EELV) program received $1.5 billion, $367 [...]

ISS extension plan wins domestic support, but international uncertainty

After word broke that the White House had backed plans to extend the life of the International Space Station to at least 2024, the administration scrambled to make the news official, holding a midday media telecon Wednesday to discuss the extension. Late in the day, NASA administrator Charles Bolden and presidential science advisor John Holdren [...]

Astronomers’ bold visions clash with limited budgets

This week, thousands of astronomers will gather outside Washington, DC, for the 223rd meeting of the American Astronomical Society (AAS). During the meeting, astronomers will share the latest results on everything from exoplanets to cosmology. However, there will also be plenty of discussion about future ground- and space-based observatories, as plans for ambitious future missions [...]

Nye: NASA’s asteroid mission concept won’t happen

Bill Nye, the CEO of The Planetary Society, is the subject of a rather positive profile by Mother Jones magazine published Thursday. In it, Nye identifies his top three “political passions”: “Climate change, raise the standard of women around the world through education, [and] asteroids.” The article describes his interest in search for, and finding [...]

Poll reveals gender, racial, and other gaps in support for funding NASA

Earlier this month, the polling group YouGov released the results of a recent poll on space issues. The poll covered a hodgepodge of topics, from reasons for supporting NASA to whether the poll respondent would be interested in flying in space “free of costs.” One question of interest was on NASA funding: “The National Aeronautics [...]