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 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 […]

The roles of NASA and the private sector in space

At some point a “prepared for delivery” version of NASA deputy administrator Lori Garver’s speech Thursday might show up on the NASA web site, but it will likely be different from the speech she actually gave to kick off the Space Frontier Foundation’s NewSpace 2011 Conference at NASA Ames Research Center in California. Garver instead […]

CCDev contracting and funding concerns

Last week NASA officials raised alarm in some corners of the space industry about its proposal to shift from a pure Space Act Agreement (SAA) for the next Commercial Crew Development (CCDev) round towards a hybrid approach that incorporates elements of both an SAA and a traditional contract. Not surprisingly, this topic came up again […]

John Marburger and his space legacy

Former presidential science advisor John H. Marburger III passed away Thursday at the age of 70. Marburger headed the Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) for the full eight years of the George W. Bush Administration, which put him in the middle of many key changes in the nation’s space policy during that time. […]

Briefly: debt debate, elan for Elon, hitting the reset button

As the debate grinds on in Washington about a deal to raise the debt ceiling, there have been questions about what will happen should an agreement not be reached by the current deadline of Tuesday. On Friday NASA administrator Charles Bolden sent out message to the agency’s workforce, effectively telling them it will be business […]

Summer limbo

With work on the debt ceiling legislation complete, both the House and the Senate have now recessed for their traditional August break, and won’t return until after Labor Day. That means that work on appropriations legislation, among other items, is on hold until then. The House Appropriations Committee passed its version of an appropriations bill […]

Briefly: Adams?s legislation, Wu?s resignation

Congress may be on summer recess now, but it’s not entirely devoid of activity. Yesterday Rep. Sandy Adams (R-FL) announced Wednesday she has introduced legislation to support a local economy facing thousands of layoffs with the retirement of the Space Shuttle. The “Shuttle Workforce Revitalization Act of 2011″, HR 2712, would designate all of Brevard […]

Report estimates SLS/MPCV cost at up to $38 billion through 2021

The Orlando Sentinel reported late today that NASA estimates the cost of its new heavy-lift launch vehicle and crew spacecraft could be as much as $38 billion through 2021. The estimate, from an internal NASA report obtained by the Sentinel, pegged the cost of developing the Space Launch System (SLS) rocket and Orion Multi-Purpose Crew […]