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, […]

Briefly: Lamenting the shuttle?s end and NASA?s future

Barring a weather delay, the space shuttle Atlantis will land at the Kennedy Space Center in less than 24 hours, marking the end of an era of human spaceflight. That means a variety of commentary on the shuttle, space policy, and future of human spaceflight for NASA and the nation. One comment that has attracted […]

Could a contracting change jeopardize commercial crew?

[Based on a longer post at NewSpace Journal] NASA’s Commercial Crew Development, or CCDev, program has so far relied on Space Act Agreements (SAAs), giving both the agency and participating companies greater flexibility to make progress on those systems. However, NASA officials indicated Wednesday that in future CCDev rounds they may shift to a somewhat […]

Taking the high road, with a little hitchhiking

Yesterday’s successful landing of Atlantis at the Kennedy Space Center marked the end of the 30-year space shuttle program and the beginning of a period of some uncertainty for NASA’s human spaceflight program. That milestone would appear to be another opportunity for critics of the Obama Administration’s space policy in Congress and elsewhere to voice […]

Olson promising new plan for space exploration

Rep. Pete Olson (R-TX) kept his statement Thursday about the end of the final shuttle mission largely apolitical, thanking those who worked on the program and promising that it is “by no means the end of human space flight”. However, in an op-ed published Friday in POLITICO and co-authored by former astronaut Walt Cunningham, he […]

Polls suggest support for space exploration but not bigger budgets

The end of the shuttle program, in addition to prompting its share of political reactions, was also a cue for pollsters, who used the occasion to seek out the public’s views on a variety of space issues. The responses suggest the public, while generally supporting NASA, is reluctant to let the shuttle go and also […]

Briefly: optimism, pessimism, and export control

There’s a bit of a lull in space policy now, after the shuttle has landed and with Congress and the administration preoccupied with much bigger, pressing issues. A few items of interest: In the post-shuttle era, NASA administrator Charles Bolden is optimistic, reiterating that the end of the shuttle doesn’t mean the end of NASA […]

SLS report and another poll

NASASpaceFlight.com reported late Wednesday on a draft manifest for the Space Launch System (SLS) under a “budget restricted” scenario. According to that document, the first SLS launch would take place in 2017 and send an uncrewed Orion Multi-Purpose Crew Vehicle (MPCV) on a circumlunar trajectory. The next SLS mission would not take place until 2021, […]

Senate carries out its subpoena threat

For weeks now the Senate Commerce Committee has been threatening to subpoena NASA to obtain documents related to the agency’s exploration plans, citing the frustration in not getting documents from NASA about its plans despite numerous requests. Now, finally, it appears that the Senate reached its breaking point. NASA Watch reports that the committee has […]