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 [...]

Administration opposes funding RD-180 replacement in defense bill

As the House of Representatives prepares to debate the fiscal year 2015 defense appropriations bill this week, the White House has come out in opposition to one of the bill’s space-related provisions: $220 million to start development of a large rocket engine to replace the Russian-built RD-180.

“The Administration objects to the unrequested $220 million [...]

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 [...]

As House debates spending bill, administration calls for more commercial crew and space technology funding

The House of Representatives started deliberation Wednesday evening of the fiscal year 2015 Commerce, Justice, and Science (CJS) appropriations bill, HR 4660. So far, that debate has not led to any changes in provisions of the bill funding NASA; an amendment to cut NASA exploration spending by $10 million and transfer $8 million of it [...]

RD-180 report recommends development of domestic replacement engine

Despite comments made last week by Russian deputy prime minister Dmitry Rogozin that Russia would ban the use of the RD-180 engine to launch US military payloads, an Atlas V 401 rocket, powered by such an engine, lifted off Thursday morning from Cape Canaveral carrying a classified payload for the National Reconnaissance Office. That doesn’t [...]

Will new Russia sanctions block satellite exports?

On Monday, the State Department announced a new round of sanctions against Russia to protest its actions in the ongoing Ukraine crisis. Specifically, the State Department’s Directorate of Defense Trade Controls (DDTC) “will deny pending applications for export or re-export of any high technology defense articles or services regulated under the U.S. Munitions List to [...]

Bolden and Holdren reaffirm support for asteroid mission as the next step to Mars

The head of NASA and the President’s science advisor told the NASA Advisory Council (NAC) this week that the agency’s Asteroid Redirect Mission (ARM) remained the next logical step of a long-term strategy to eventually send people to Mars, despite the protestations of some in Congress as well as “outside fan clubs.”

“The FY15 budget [...]

Intel community willing to allow higher resolution commercial imagery

For the last few years, commercial satellite remote sensing company DigitalGlobe (and, before its merger with DigitalGlobe, GeoEye) has been lobbying the government to allow it to sell sharper satellite imagery that it’s currently allowed. DigitalGlobe is currently restricted to selling imagery with resolution no sharper than 0.5 meters per pixel, but has been pushing [...]

Sorting out NASA’s ban on non-ISS activities with Russia

More than a day after NASA announced its suspension of “the majority” of its cooperative activities with Russia, excluding the ISS, many in the space community were still not clear exactly what that ban covered, and also how it originated. Comments by NASA and other administration officials Thursday didn’t necessarily make things clearer.

“What’s the [...]

Bipartisan House letter calls for “vision and timeline” for space exploration

A letter to President Obama signed by 30 members of the House of Representatives calls on the White House to provide more details, and support, for human space exploration. The letter, dated March 21 and released Monday, expresses concern about “shifting priorities for NASA and the resulting mixed signals this sends relative to the United [...]