Congressional support for NASA?s MPCV decision

The “key decision” that NASA announced Tuesday regarding the agency’s space exploration plans was not too surprising, and perhaps a bit underwhelming: NASA is transitioning its existing work on the Orion spacecraft to the Multi-Purpose Crew Vehicle (MPCV). In the NASA statement and media teleconference later that day, NASA indicated there would be effectively no […]

A brief export control debate on the House floor

The House is debating this evening amendments to HR 1540, the fiscal year 2012 defense authorization act. Tucked away in the list of over 150 amendments under consideration is one submitted by Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA) to provide for export control reform for satellites. The amendment, similar to standalone legislation introduced earlier this month by […]

Did three astronauts miss the point?

Yesterday, the 50th anniversary of John F. Kennedy’s famous speech calling for a human mission to the Moon by the end of the 1960s, was an opportunity for a variety of retrospectives, not to mention comparisons to the current era of human spaceflight. One particular example of the latter was an op-ed in USA Today […]

Commercial cargo hearing today

The space subcommittee of the House Science, Space, and Technology Committee is holding a hearing this morning on NASA’s commercial ISS cargo program. The hearing will feature executives from Orbital Sciences and SpaceX, the two companies developing cargo vehicles to transport cargo to and from the station, as well as a Government Accountability Office (GAO) […]

Commercial cargo skepticism and support

Thursday’s hearing of the House Science, Space, and Technology Committee’s space subcommittee on NASA’s commercial cargo efforts did not yield much of the way of new insights or surprises about the program. It did, though, provide an opportunity for some members to express their concern about, if not skepticism regarding, the ability of Orbital Sciences […]

Strategies for space settlement and NASA?s survival

One of the more compelling speeches at the National Space Society’s International Space Development Conference (ISDC) in Huntsville, Alabama, earlier this month was by Jeff Greason, president of XCOR Aerospace and a member of 2009′s Augustine Committee that reviewed NASA’s human spaceflight plans. Greason’s speech, the video of which is now available online, focused on […]

Competing heavy lift

As first reported by Space News last Thursday, California’s two senators have asked NASA to hold an open competition for the development of the Space Launch System (SLS), the heavy-lift vehicle Congress directed NASA to develop in the 2010 NASA authorization act. In their letter to NASA administrator Charles Bolden, Sens. Barbara Boxer (D-CA) and […]

Briefs: strange space bedfellows, human spaceflight poll, Mars mission budget squeeze

Here’s something you don’t see every day: a Tea Party group saying it’s in agreement with a pair of Democratic senators. Florida-based TEA Party in Space (TPIS), part of the larger Tea Party Patriots coalition, announced Monday that it has “publicly praised” a letter from Sens. Barbara Boxer (D-CA) and Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) to NASA […]

President Obama: ?I believe in the space program?

Earlier this weekend reporter Leon Bibb of Cleveland’s WEWS-TV briefly interviewed President Obama at the White House. About halfway through the wide-ranging ten-minute interview, Bibb asked Obama about the future of NASA, with a particular emphasis on the future of the agency’s Glenn Research Center in Cleveland. “With the space shuttle program cutting back now, […]

A ?pretty bleak picture? for a weather satellite program

Later this morning a Delta 2 rocket is scheduled to lift off from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California, carrying the Aquarius/SAC-D earth sciences satellite to orbit. That mission, designed to study ocean salinity and its effect on global climate, has not been immune to the delays that affect many satellite programs: it was originally […]