Future of spaceflight? NASA is outsourcing the job

How America gets people and stuff into orbit is about to be outsourced in an out-of-this-world way. With the space shuttle’s retirement Thursday, no longer will flying people and cargo up to the International Space Station be a government program where costs balloon.

Obama: ?pushing NASA to revamp its vision?

Yesterday the White House hosted a “Twitter Town Hall”, where President Obama answered questions directed to him though Twitter. (Unlike the questions, the president’s answers were not restricted to 140 characters.) While much of the forum dealt with economic issues, one of the questions–perhaps not surprisingly, given that the final shuttle mission is set to […]

Initial reactions to the House NASA budget proposal

The draft Commerce, Justice, and Science (CJS) appropriations bill released Wednesday by the House Appropriations Committee attracted considerable attention in the space community because of its plan to terminate funding for NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope, part of nearly $2 billion in overall cuts from the administration’s request. Astronomers in particular have been particularly outspoken […]

Members of Congress on the end of the Space Shuttle

I’m at the Kennedy Space Center this morning, where in a couple of hours, if weather permits (a big if right now!) and there are no technical issues, the shuttle Atlantis will lift off on STS-135, the final shuttle mission. In the last few days several members of Congress have spoken about the shuttle’s end […]

President?s statement on the launch of Atlantis

For the second time this week, President Obama has spoken publicly about space issues. In a “Twitter Town Hall” on Wednesday he described how he was pushing NASA to “revamp its vision”. This afternoon, a few hours after the successful launch of the shuttle Atlantis on the final mission of the program, he released a […]

More concerns about the House NASA budget

As the details about the House Appropriations Committee’s proposed FY2012 NASA budget sink in, more individuals and organizations are raising concerns about the budget. The one item that has received the most attention has been the committee’s plan to terminate funding for the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST), effectively ending the program. The American Astronomical […]

Still waiting on an SLS decision

For some time NASA officials, including administrator Charles Bolden, have said that a decision on the design of the Space Launch System (SLS) would come “soon”. For example, in Bolden’s speech at the National Press Club on July 1, he said NASA was nearing a decision on the SLS “and will announce that soon.” Four […]

Details about the House?s proposed NASA budget

In advance of this morning’s markup by the full House Appropriations Committee of its Commerce, Justice, and Science (CJS) appropriations bill, the committee released yesterday its report about the bill, which includes some additional funding details and other items about the bill. Some highlights: On perhaps the bill’s biggest issue, the proposed termination of the […]

The SLS debate continues

Tuesday’s House Science Committee hearing about NASA’s Space Launch System was, to some degree, predictable. Members of the committee expressed the concern, if not outright frustration, about the lack of a decision or other information from NASA about its SLS plans. NASA administrator Charles Bolden, the committee’s sole witness, reiterated that NASA was making progress […]

Coburn?s curious cuts

On Monday Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK) released his own deficit reduction plan that he says will cut federal budget deficits by $9 trillion over the next decade. He provides an agency-by-agency breakdown of his proposed cuts, including a section about NASA. And his proposed cuts are, well, interesting. Coburn’s plan would, according to the document, […]