The deadlock in Congress over President Obama’s plan for NASA’s future could be coming to an end with a compromise bill that faces a key committee vote Thursday.
The measure, crafted by Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Orlando, has bipartisan support and might finally provide a clearer picture of where the program is headed.
As such, it holds promise for Kennedy Space Center in keeping NASA in the rocket-development game, but could pose the danger of slowing the commercial rocket push and causing problems that some say could derail efforts to diversify the Brevard County and Central Florida space industry.
From Space Politics-
The Houston Chronicle has obtained and posted a draft of the NASA authorization legislation that the Senate Commerce Committee will markup Thursday morning. A quick review of the legislation finds a number of changes from the White House’s proposed budget, some of which have been reported in varying details in recent days.
Perhaps the biggest difference is the legislation’s provisions for the development of a “Space Launch System”, which it defines as “the follow-on government-owned civil launch system developed, managed, and operated by NASA to serve as a key component to expand human presence beyond low-Earth orbit.”
From Behind the Black-
From what I can tell by a quick scan through the actual proposed legislation [pdf], the Senate will give the administration most of the money it wants for commercial space, but also demand that it start work on a heavy-lift replacement of the shuttle immediately, including the full size version of the Orion capsule. However, the language requiring this latter action is very vague (“as soon as possible after the date of the enactment of this act”) and leaves the administration a great deal of wiggle room. From my experience, this means that Congress is trying to create the illusion that it has done something, but is basically leaving the decisions to the administration.
From The Houston Chronicle-
“Senate bill rejects Obama’s JSC plans”
A draft budget bill for NASA released by the Senate on Tuesday suggests Congress will not accept President Barack Obama’s proposed revision of the space agency without a fight.
The Senate bill seeks to extend the life of the space shuttle program by a year, accelerate development of a heavy-lift rocket and preserve elements of the Houston-based Constellation Program.
“The proposed bill as it stands transitions NASA’s skilled work force to an executable long-term mission, and it preserves and utilizes our $100 billion investment in the International Space Station,” said Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison, R-Texas.
From Parabolic Arc-
The Obama Administration’s effort to refocus NASA on technology development would take a major hit under a proposed budget being circulated in the Senate. The proposal slashes about $1 billion from a planned R&D budget while requiring NASA to begin immediate work on building a heavy-lift vehicle.
The Senate budget has mixed news for proponents of commercial space. It funds development of commercial rockets and spacecraft, although at a slower rate than the Obama Administration wants.The proposal also fully funds the Orion capsule.
The stupidest update comes from the Space Rhetoric Foundation with “D-Day for NewSpace-”
I urge American citizens interested in the affordable utilization and eventual settlement of space to take action against the attack on NASA’s new Commercial Crew Program by pork-hungry legislators… This is your chance to make history in space policy and wake Congress from the Constellation Hallucination!…
Full story… Honestly, this site needs to find a writer that doesn’t sound like a pissed off college kid that drank too many Red Bulls!Share