NASA authorization bill clears Science Committee, but with a few changes

The outcome was never really in doubt: the House Science Committee approved HR 2687, the NASA Authorization Act of 2013, on a straight party-line vote. All 22 Republican members voted for the legislation, and all but one Democrat voted against it (Rep. Frederica Wilson of Florida did not vote.) The vote came after Democrats proposed [...]

NASA budget: asteroid mission efforts, funding commercial crew, and restructuring education

At first glance, the administration’s fiscal year 2014 budget proposal doesn’t look that different from the agency’s 2013 proposal: both request nearly the same amount of money ($17.715 billion in FY14 versus $17.711B in FY13) with only modest variations amount the key accounts. (OF course, NASA ended up with considerably less than it requested: about [...]

Senate Commerce Committee to revisit commercial spaceflight next week

Last month’s successful test flight by SpaceX to the International Space Station was a major milestone for commercial spaceflight, and also for public and political perceptions of the industry. The Senate Commerce Committee will reexamine the industry in a hearing Wednesday, June 20, titled “Risks, Opportunities, and Oversight of Commercial Space”. The hearing, according to [...]

Could a contracting change jeopardize commercial crew?

[Based on a longer post at NewSpace Journal]

NASA’s Commercial Crew Development, or CCDev, program has so far relied on Space Act Agreements (SAAs), giving both the agency and participating companies greater flexibility to make progress on those systems. However, NASA officials indicated Wednesday that in future CCDev rounds they may shift to a somewhat [...]

Bill Nelson and a third shuttle mission

In comments yesterday, Sen. Bill Nelson (D-FL) suggested that NASA might have to forego the additional shuttle mission included in the NASA authorization bill because of problems with the external tank currently mated to the shuttle Discovery. “They do have an extra tank, because they always have that third shuttle flight that we have authorized [...]

Op-eds say the darndest things

Homer Hickam claims he knows how to fix NASA in three easy steps, as he describes in a Wall Street Journal op-ed. First, he says, “suck it up and fund SpaceX” and other companies to take over access to low Earth orbit. Second, “convince the president to install new management at NASA.” Why? Hickam believes [...]

Senate hearing on implementation of NASA authorization act today

The Senate Commerce Committee is moving ahead with plans for a hearing this morning titled “Transition and Implementation: The NASA Authorization Act of 2010″. Presidential science advisor John Holdren is scheduled to testify initially, followed by a panel featuring NASA CFO Beth Robinson and GAO’s Cristina Chaplain and Susan A. Poling. The committee hasn’t released [...]

NASA authorization bill postponed, and other reaction

Space News reported late this morning that a vote on the NASA authorization bill by the full House now appears unlikely before the August recess. While individual lobbying may have helped play a role, other factors also contributed, including a letter by 13 House members from California–all Democrats–to science committee chairman Rep. Bart Gordon that [...]

SpaceX, suborbital advocates fight NASA authorization bill

This morning SpaceX sent out a message to those subscribed to the company’s email updates asking for help to block the NASA authorization legislation the House is set to consider as soon as this week. The key portion of the email, signed by “–Elon–”:

Your Help Urgently Needed to Save the Future of Human [...]

What NASA programs could be vulnerable to a budget cut?

NASA has been relatively sheltered from the freeze on most discretionary spending the White House imposed in its FY2011 budget proposal: the agency got a $6-billion increase over five years in the budget proposal released in February. However, the agency might be asked to cut some future spending in a very targeted fashion, according to [...]