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The House Has Its Version of a NASA Compromise Bill, and Budget Squeeze Possible

The Huntsville Times has two good updates on the budget situation. One deals with the release of the House version of a compromise NASA Bill. It makes some big steps towards looking like the Senate’s. The text is on line but it’s a lot to read, so Spacepolitics.com summarizes it very well. There is also some noise about politics getting in the way of NASA’s budget increase going around.

Here’s tonight’s reading list-

-House moves closer to Senate on NASA budget; Constellation hopes fade (Huntsville Times)

-NASA won’t get any new money in funding resolution, senator says (Huntsville Times)

-House Committee Releases Compromise NASA Bill (Florida Today)

-House releases compromise NASA authorization bill (Spacepolitics)

-Bart Gordon’s Compromise Language for NASA Authorization Act (Nasawatch)

- A Pledge to America = Flatline for NASA? (Nasawatch)

- FY2011 Senate and House (Compromise) Thread (2) – Sept. 23 onwards (Nasaspaceflight.com forum)

If you get through all that, you will know a lot, but you still won’t know if the Senate and House will actually get something passed this month, or what will happen with the “clean CR,” or when it gets passed. A clean CR would mean NASA works to the program of record (CxP) IF funds are actually released.

CxP (excluding Orion and solid boosters) is basically stood down and wrapped. If funds get released to centers, what will they work on while Congress decides? No one wants to see more layoffs. They have been confirmed at JSC, and MSFC’s are still rumors, but until a CR is passed with language that allows NASA to get to work on the next program, or a bill is passed, people will just be sharpening pencils and sending out resumes.


13 Responses to “The House Has Its Version of a NASA Compromise Bill, and Budget Squeeze Possible”

  • Democrats in the House would be absolute fools if they allow their fellow Democrats in Florida and Texas to go into the November elections without passing a budget for NASA. California Democrats should also be concerned since the state of California is second only to Texas in funding received from NASA.

    This is not only about our technological future. Its about creating and sustaining high tech jobs!

  • Ferris Valyn:

    Its not a compromise – Its just trying to keep Constellation going. It is so far from being a compromise that its really an insult.

    Bart Gordon & Giffords & Olson have NO F***ing shame

  • Alan:

    The budget axe is coming, no longer can this country afford to support a labor-intensive “pork-rated” government launch vehicle.

    Forget the 19B$ budget and get used to a 17B$ (or less) budget.
    Out of the MSF portion, ISS is going to use a significant slice (including the Cargo Deliveries), that doesn’t leave much for development of an HLV.

    So why not work with ULA to build the Delta IV Super Heavy? It would help benefit DoD payloads in addition to supporting NASA heavy payloads.

  • Alan:

    The substitute authorizes “a scalable capability of lifting payloads of at least 130 metric tons into low-Earth orbit on a single launch vehicle with an upper stage in preparation for transit for missions beyond low-Earth orbit.”

    Sounds like Delta IV Super Heavy . . . it’s “safer, simpler and sooner” than a SD-HLV. Delta IV Growth Options (see the first chart)


    The existing SLC-37 infrastructure can support using a 6.5m fairing and six GEM-60s (so ATK can take the lessons learned from the 5-seg SRM experiment to upgrade the GEM-60) which will get 50 tons to LEO.

    The growth path to the 8m CBC and ACES upgrades to Centaur will get us to 150-170 tons to LEO. It would require rebuilding SLC-37, so the better option would be for the Delta IV Super Heavy to be assembled in the VAB and launched from clean pads at SLC-39.

    That’s a more “affordable” HLV. We still have the basic problem, no payloads exist that are 150+ tons (let alone greater than 70 tons).

  • Space:


    From the Spacenews report-

    “The revised bill also directs NASA to begin planning a new space launch system for exploration beyond low Earth orbit that by the end of 2016 can provide “assured government back-up access” to the international space station should commercial cargo or crew services be unavailable. However, the new language would prevent the government-owned capability from competing with commercial space providers for routine cargo and crew delivery services.”

    That doesn’t sound like CxP at all, and CxP is stood down already anyway.

    It looks like they are just hooking up LM and ATK the same way the Senate does, but its not CxP.

  • John:


    It means NASA is required to build and maintain a safe and reliable crew vehicle without competing with commercial or private entities. Time to push ATK out of the way.

  • Ferris Valyn:


    If I may borrow a comment from Stephen Metschan, who should be regarded as one of the ultimate Direct fanboys

    By dropping any entry level lift requirement (ie the Senate Bill has 70mT) the House enables the Ares-1 to continue, and by increasing the “minimum” upper end requirement to over 130mT they set the upper bar to the Ares-V. Bottom-line Ares-1 is not precluded and the Ares-V is required.

    The House is trying to keep Ares I, and kill Commercial.

    Further evidence – it cut the Commercial budget by 51% of what Obama asked for, which is 33% less than the Senates bill. And it combined the Crew budget with the Cargo budget, which could result in Commercial Crew getting a cut of 80% over the outyears.

    They have no shame

  • Space:

    So you want the government to pay private companies to do commerce so the government can’t compete with them?


  • Ferris Valyn:

    So you want the government to pay private companies to do commerce so the government can’t compete with them?

    Isn’t that the of commerce? You pay someone to do something you don’t want to do?

  • .

    it’s a suicide for NASA and the future of the US spaceflight

    all the proposed space plans (Constellation, Augustine, Obama, House and Senate) are 70% to 90% WRONG and the ONLY guys happy for these delays and (bad) choices are those that sell the Soyuz and Progress…

    the “commercial space” CAN’T replace the Space Shuttle and can put the $200 billion ISS under the serious risk to DIE soon!!!


    some people are pro-Shuttle, others are against it, but ALL know the DETAILED Space Shuttle data

    some people are pro-Ares1/5, others are against them, but ALL know the DETAILED Ares1/5 NASA studies

    some people are pro-EELVs, others are against them, but ALL know the DETAILED Delta/Atlas/Ariane/etc. data and launches

    well, now, some people are pro “commercial space”, others are against it, but HOW they/we can be PRO or AGAINST it, if they/we STILL don’t know the EXACT data and info of the “commercial” vehicles??????????

    well, SpaceX hasn’t given yet any detailed info and data about the Dragon

    the specs available in the .pdf published on the SpaceX site aren’t so clear

    so, it’s hard to evaluate this vehicle to know what it really can or can’t do

    these are the exact data we need to know from SpaceX about the Dragon:

    - payload adapter mass ________

    - empty service module mass ________

    - service module propellants mass ________

    - empty capsule mass ________

    - ejected nose cone mass ________

    - max ISS pressurized cargo mass ________

    - max ISS unpressurized cargo mass ________

    - max returned cargo mass ________

    - cargo Dragon GLOW ________

    - crewed Dragon GLOW ________

    - Dragon LAS mass ________

    - max crew life support mass ________

    - max crew+seats+spacesuits mass ________

    - max mission autonomy (days) ________

    - max Falcon-9 “dumb” payload to ISS orbit ________

    all data should be in kg. or mT (1000 kg.)

    the data of the crewed Dragon should be for a full, seven astronauts, mission

    could the “commercial” SpaceX give CLEAR data and answers to the space community, the american taxpayers (that will pay $2 billions to SpaceX…) and the (potential) investors?

    remember that NASA and USA should RELY (mainly or only) on the Falcon-9 and Dragon for the next TEN+ years!!!

    just read this article about the NASA “future”:



  • Alan:

    So you want the government to pay private companies to do commerce so the government can’t compete with them?

    That’s called the government buying services in the open market.
    There’s also money being provided to meet government-defined requirements (ex. light-weight, in-flight, EMP-resistant coffee makers for the USAF [don't laugh, this is an actual DoD item], etc.) in the commercial product/design.

  • Space:

    Another word for it is “externalization-” get someone else to pay for things that cost money, and just keep the part that brings in revenue.

    Everyone likes money, no big surprise.

  • Nothing wrong with the government buying essential services from private industry at the lowest price. But the $3 billion a year ISS program is not an essential public service. The ISS is just a hyper expensive $5 billion a year (ISS plus shuttle) government make work program for NASA astronauts (so that the politicians can pretend like we have a real pioneering space program). Now private industry wants its share of the tax payer dollars going to this extremely wasteful make work program. I don’t blame them!

    But there’s no way we’re getting $5 billion a year worth of great science out the ISS program . No way!

    But if that $5 billion a year were spent on a lunar base program learning to exploit the Moon’s natural resources while enhancing the human ability to survive and be self sustaining on another world then that would have tremendous scientific, economic, and social value far exceeding the annual investment!

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