New national space transportation policy makes modest, not major, changes

After many months of delays, the Obama Administration quietly released Thursday afternoon a new National Space Transportation Policy. This is an update to the former space transportation policy developed during the Bush Administration and completed in late 2004. Both documents outline policy in regards of civil, national security, and commercial launch activities in the United [...]

Cygnus success generates a few reactions

Perhaps because of the preoccupation in Washington with the impending (less than one hour from now, as of publication of this post) federal government shutdown, there have only been a handful of reactions to Sunday’s successful berthing of Orbital Sciences Corporation’s Cygnus spacecraft to the International Space Station. Shortly after the berthing, NASA did issue [...]

On the importance of a NASA authorization bill

While Congress is back in session this month, few observers expect they will spend much, if any, time on the topic of a new NASA authorization bill. There are too many other issues for members to deal with, from foreign policy to a continuing resolution to keep the government funded; moreover, the differences between the [...]

Bolden’s “flaky” explanation of NASA’s asteroid redirection mission

The Washington Post published an interview yesterday with NASA administrator Charles Bolden, primarily discussing leadership issues Bolden has faced in his four years at the top of the agency. Towards the end, though, the Post asks Bolden about NASA’s plans to direct an asteroid, in particular asking if that plan meets the goal established by [...]

Asteroid mitigation, malaise, and property rights

As previously noted here, Friday’s relatively close (cosmically speaking) flyby of asteroid 1998 QE2 provided NASA and the Obama Administration an opportunity to promote the agency’s asteroid initiative, including plans for an asteroid retrieval mission. That outreach did achieve one benchmark of effectiveness: the asteroid flyby made it into Friday’s White House press briefing, when [...]

More asteroid outreach, digital and analog

With NASA’s plans for an asteroid retrieval mission not currently winning widespread approval, particularly in Congress, as seen as a recent House Science Committee hearing, the space agency and the administration appear to be stepping up their efforts to build support for the mission.

The Office of Science and Technology Policy announced this week plans [...]

Revisions to export control lists due out soon

Late last year, when Congress passed a defense authorization bill with export control reform language included, advocates of such reform noted that this legislative provision was not the end of their efforts. The language in the bill simply returned to the President the authority to move satellites and related components off the US Munitions List [...]

Astronomers warn about NASA planetary funding cuts

When President Obama spoke Monday at the National Academy of Sciences in Washington, to mark that institution’s sesquicentennial, space got only the briefest of cameos in his address, and even that managed to rub some scientists and space activists the wrong way. “Today, all around the country, scientists like you are developing therapies to regenerate [...]

White House, members of Congress respond to Antares launch

Sunday afternoon Orbital Sciences Corporation successfully launched its Antares rocket on its inaugural flight, a test mission carrying a demonstration payload and several smallsats. Company officials said the launch, one of the final milestones in the company’s Commercial Orbital Transportation Services (COTS) award from NASA, went well, paying the way for a launch this summer [...]

Quick look at NASA FY14 budget proposal

The White House has released its documents for the FY14 budget proposal, including a fact sheet for NASA. The administration is seeking approximately $17.7 billion for NASA, about the same as its FY13 proposal. The proposal, as expected, includes funding to begin work “on a mission to rendezvous with—and then move—a small asteroid.” There’s also [...]