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 […]

Gingrich and Pawlenty debate space policy in New Hampshire

Space policy made a cameo appearance in Monday night’s Republican presidential debate in New Hampshire, with former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich arguing for greater privatization of the space program while former Minnesota governor Tim Pawlenty said that the space program should be “refocused” but not eliminated. The discussion was kicked off by a […]

Is Huntsville?s ?best friend? for NASA a freshman Democrat?

On Friday Huntsville’s “Second to None” task force, a group of local officials who lobby on space and defense issues, met with a member of Congress. Not the area’s own representative, Mo Brooks (R-AL), but with Rep. Terri Sewell (D-AL) from Birmingham. And afterwards local officials declared her their newest ally in supporting NASA, and […]

Another push for Pu-238 funding

Plutonium 238 (Pu-238), the radioactive isotope used in the radioisotope thermoelectric generators (RTGs), is essential to a number of spacecraft missions, particularly those bound for the outer solar system. However, getting the relatively modest funding (no more than a few tens of millions of dollars a year) needed to restart Pu-238 production in the US […]

Shelby calls for SLS competition

What does Sen. Richard Shelby (R-AL) have in common with California’s two Democratic senators? He, like Sens. Barbara Boxer and Dianne Feinstein, is now calling on NASA to hold an open competition for the development of the Space Launch System (SLS). In a letter to NASA administrator Charles Bolden last Friday, Shelby said that while […]

A (partial) SLS competition in the works?

Reports on Thursday indicated that NASA has settled on a design for the Space Launch System (SLS) heavy-lift booster that would be largely shuttle-derived, but would offer some room for competition. According to Aviation Week and NASASpaceFlight.com, the SLS design will be only slightly different from the reference design released in an interim report to […]

Albrecht?s policy prescription for NASA

In this week’s issue of The Space Review, I reviewed the new book Falling Back to Earth by Mark Albrecht, who was the executive secretary of the National Space Council during the George H.W. Bush administration and, later, president of International Launch Services. Much of the book, as I note in the review, talks about […]

LightSquared, problems squared

It’s tough enough to raise the billions of dollars needed to build out a nationwide hybrid satellite/terrestrial wireless network, as LightSquared has found. But when that system may interfere with one of the most crucial satellite systems anywhere, those problems are, well, squared, something that Congress will be looking into during a hearing today. Scrutiny […]

Senators push NASA for documents

Members of the Senate Commerce Committee, and their staff, have made it clear for months that they have been frustrated with the lack of information they have received from NASA about its plans to implement provisions of the 2010 NASA authorization act, particularly regarding the Space Launch System (SLS) heavy-lift rocket. Last month they formally […]

Huntsman: space policy to come

Jon Huntsman, the former Utah governor and ambassador to China who formally announced his candidacy for president earlier this week, opened his national campaign headquarters yesterday in Orlando. Being in central Florida, so close to the Space Coast, it’s not surpring someone asked him about his space policy views. His answer, in essence, was to […]