Budget: March 2010 Archives

Posey Highlights Space in Upcoming Local Events

"Congressman Bill Posey (R-Rockledge) has announced a schedule of events he will be attending focusing on space related issues. Below is a list of events, with indication of events that are open to the media. In addition to the events listed below, Congressman Posey will meet with the Space Union Leaders to discuss jobs and the issues currently facing the space industry. He will also meet with Colonel Ed Wilson, the new Commander of the 45th Space Wing."

NASA chief on new space strategy, Achenblog, Washington Post

"Q. Is Obama going to offer any sweeteners when he goes to central Florida [for April 15 space conference]? The fact that the President is taking time to visit Florida to discuss the future of America's space program demonstrates his commitment to NASA, and our robust exploration vision. I think people will see firsthand what I see - his passionate commitment to a bold future in space which is at the heart of the decision to add an additional $6 billion to NASA's budget."

Unused NASA tower epitomizes brewing fight over space budget, The Hill

"Our greatest accomplishment in human space flight were gained because President Kennedy said we will land a man on the moon and return him safely to earth by the end of this decade," Sen. David Vitter (R-La.) said in February. "President Kennedy didn't say, 'We're going to spend a few billion dollars on some really unique research and development.'"

Imagination may be casualty of loss of space program, Deseret News

"Five years ago, I wrote in favor of privatizing the space program, mainly because of costs. I was wrong. The race to the moon never was a competition to see whether capitalism or communism was superior. The U.S. space program was just as dependent on the public treasury as was the Soviets'. It was, rather, a matter of pride and national security. Maybe we've lost that vision because our chief enemies these days, fanatical Middle Eastern terrorists, don't have a space program. But the price of becoming "a second-rate space country" is just as unthinkable as it was 40 years ago."

In Case You Missed It. .. Who is behind the cancellation of the Constellation program?, Rep. Rob Bishop

According to Rep. Bishop's website: "Last night on the Floor of the House of Representatives, Congressman Rob Bishop (UT-01) voiced concerns over statements made by NASA Deputy Administrator Lori Garver, who is apparently the leading voice in the proposal to cancel the Constellation Program, NASA's tested replacement for the retiring Space Shuttle."

Keith's note: Excuse me Rep. Bishop - but are you suggesting that "NASA's tested replacement" is the Ares 1-X launch last year? You know, the one-off rocket built out of left-over parts, another launch vehicle's guidance system, and dummy upper stages? That's right - the same one that flew a strange profile after staging and had parachute failures. Just checking. I am not certain that this one test flight can be exagerated to imply (as you clearly do) that the Constellation program has been "tested". As for your off the wall conspiracy mongering with regard to Lori Garver's imaginary cabals to undermine human spaceflight until the end of time, I guess there's always one empty seat on the bus to crazy town - right next to Sen. Vitter.

Sen. Vitter Has Been Drinking the Koolaid, earlier post

Keith's note: As is usually the case at times like this rumors abound in and around NASA. Many are of the sort that spread because you hope that they are true. Having the ring of logic helps too. In this case, the rumor or viral meme that I keep encountering is that the President will visit KSC - not just to try and woo people with his prose mixed with logic and compassion - but rather that he will augment his comments with the announcement of a compromise of sorts. He'd announce it after describing the problem and discussing the options he has available to him.

The question lingering in the minds of folks inside and outside NASA - as well as inside and outside the Beltway is why political strategists in the White House would knowingly send their boss into the proverbial lion's den with nothing but words as a defense. There are a lot of angry people at KSC who will be unemployed through no fault of their own in a short period of time - in a region where there is not another space program to go work for. As such, whether it is an anguished and angry outburst in a town hall meeting or pickets along the road, folks down there have little to lose - and their elected officials are almost as desperate. Opinions will be brutal and frank. Lots of potential YouTube moments.

Keith's note: The NASA-related hearing scheduled for today at 10 a.m. in 192 Dirksen Bldg. Has been postponed. The intent was to discuss the FY 2011 Commerce-Justice-Science Appropriations. Scheduled witnesses:Charles Bolden; Paul K. Martin, inspector general, NASA; and John Frost, member, Aerospace Safety Advisory Panel. Word has it that the new target date is 22 April.

Bolden defends decision to cancel Constellation program, SaceflightNow

"The Wall Street Journal reported Tuesday that NASA is "scrambling" to come up with a new plan to satisfy vocal critics in Congress, but Bolden vigorously defended the strategy outlined in the agency's budget proposal released Feb. 1. "I wish I could say it was a singular problem of funding [affecting Constellation]," Bolden said. "Funding was the principal driver in causing the Constellation program to be unsustainable. But the Constellation program had degraded to a lunar program without a lander. Those decisions, while they had to be made because of insufficient funding, put us in a situation where we almost could not recover."

NASA to Devise New Spending Plan to Placate Congress, Wall Street Journal

"The National Aeronautics and Space Administration is scrambling to come up with a new budget proposal to placate congressional critics as senior members of the House Appropriations Committee say that White House's plan for the agency won't fly on Capitol Hill. The Obama administration had initially proposed to allocate $6 billion over five years for a program that eventually would outsource manned space missions to private companies. Members of the appropriations subcommittee, including Rep. Frank Wolf of Virginia, its ranking Republican, have told NASA in recent weeks that they won't support the White House's proposed budget."

Mitchel: 'You give up space, you lose', The Bay Area Citizen

"[BAHEP President Bob Mitchell] Think about this: It was no coincidence that it took seven months to appoint a NASA administrator because the transition team of Lori Garver and her three people from OMB put this plan together, and at the end of seven months when we were all wondering what the heck is going on, they were busy hatching their plan to take NASA dollars and spend them with entrepreneurs of commercial space."

Keith's note: Hilarious. Hey Bob: please name the "three people from OMB" on the transition team at NASA. Remember - you claim that they are (were) from "OMB".

Mayor Parker urges Obama to save Constellation, KTRK

"Houston Mayor Annise Parker this week invited President Barack Obama to come to Houston during her trip to Washington, D.C. to ask for help and to fight for NASA. ... Mayor Parker did meet with NASA Administrator Charles Bolden during her time in D.C. this week. She asked him to consider a Plan B to keep Constellation alive and, if not that, then some sort of soft landing for Johnson Space Center. That way Houston doesn't lose all those jobs overnight after the last shuttle flight in September."

AL and FL Lawmakers begin push to Stop NASA from canceling Constellation, WAFF

"U.S. Senators George LeMieux (R-FL) and Jeff Sessions (R-AL) launched an effort to prohibit the termination of the Constellation Program, NASA's program to replace the soon-to-be-retired space shuttle Thursday. The amendment to the FAA Reauthorization bill reiterates federal law prohibiting NASA from using funds in FY2010 to cancel Constellation contracts. Joining LeMieux and Sessions in the effort are Sens. Roger Wicker (R-MS), Richard Shelby (R-AL), Orrin Hatch (R-UT), and Bob Bennett (R-UT)."

Where Will Space Summit Be Held?

"I anticipate it will be a very staged and scripted event where protestors will not be on camera," [Chirs] Muro said. "I would assume it would be at the Kennedy Space Center, invite only." According to NASA public affairs at KSC, they haven't been given any direction so far from the White House as to the event on their property."

My Word by Buzz Aldrin: Let shuttle do heavy lifting, Orlando Sentinel

"I have proposed that the heavy-lift rocket, which nearly everyone involved in space policy agrees we will need, be based upon the existing space-shuttle architecture. That means the heavy lifter uses the four-segment solid-fuel boosters, external tank and shuttle main engines, existing shuttle facilities, and, equally as important, the existing shuttle work force. Only the winged orbiter is replaced with a payload canister with the three engines mounted at its base."

NASA Needs a Clear Destination for Space Exploration, Experts Say, space.com

"I think we need to consider the attention span of the public, and the term limit of people in Congress that want to get reelected," said Aldrin, the second man to walk on the moon. "We want to keep activity going that is inspirational for the young people, that is something that happens within term limits."

Why We Should Keep Flying the Space Shuttle, Buzz Aldrin, Huffington Post

"America has invested 30 years in the Shuttle system. Instead of retiring it and beginning with a new "clean sheet of paper" approach that will take extra time and money, I propose we follow the Russian example and make the basic Shuttle the foundation of a space program that can take us literally to Mars. Use the boosters, engines and big tank as the backbone of a new heavy lift rocket. Fly that rocket from the same facilities as the current Shuttles use. Keep much of the existing workforce working, because the only thing you will change is older designs and engines, making way for a heavy lift launcher derived from the Shuttle basics and capable of carrying large new spacecraft to the station or destinations beyond."

"Headed to Oval Office for meeting with the president about America's space program. Lots of folks unhappy with newly released plan for NASA", SenBillNelson on Twitter

Nelson sees NASA gains after talk with Obama, Florida Today

"We'll see the fruits of that conversation when the president visits on April 15," Nelson told journalists after his Oval Office meeting. Nelson, D-Orlando, met with Obama and Vice President Joe Biden to discuss the space program and, more briefly, health care reform legislation. "Excellent conversation," Nelson said of the talk. But he wouldn't comment on whether Obama supports his push for an extra shuttle flight or for pushing ahead with plans to develop a heavy-lift rocket, saying only, "To be determined."

Remarks by Charles Bolden at the Washington Space Business Roundtable, Satellite 2010 Conference

"Commercial providers have long carried our most valuable payloads to space for the nation and have been integral to every human spaceflight mission since the beginning. My guess is that the American workers who have successfully built and launched the Atlas V 20 times in a row would disagree that US commercial spaceflight is untried or untested."

NASA Chief Bolden Sees Opportunities for Industry, Reuters

"NASA Administrator Charles Bolden defended the U.S. space agency's budget on Tuesday and said its focus on commercial space transportation would provide "incredible opportunities" for U.S. companies. "This budget is good for NASA because it sets the agency on a sustainable path that is tightly linked to our nation's interests," Bolden told space industry executives at the Satellite 2010 conference. One of few agencies to get a top-line budget increase, NASA's funding is due to increase by $6 billion over the next five years, Bolden said."

Utahns in Congress all against cuts to NASA, Salt Lake Tribune

"Such a course will come back to haunt us in the future," said Sen. Orrin Hatch. "Canceling the project now, in a time of high unemployment and after our nation has already invested heavily in the technology, is penny wise and pound foolish." Hatch signed the letter to President Barack Obama along with Republican Sen. Bob Bennett, Reps. Rob Bishop and Jason Chaffetz and Democratic Rep. Jim Matheson."

NASA: Ending Constellation Will Cost More, Aviation Week

"The $2.5 billion in NASA's Fiscal 2011 budget request to terminate the Constellation Program is probably "oversubscribed," and will not cover all of the expenses expected to grow from shutting down the shuttle-follow-on effort."

Crist, lawmakers wring hands over NASA job losses, Orlando Sentinel

"Gov. Charlie Crist huddled with Florida lawmakers Tuesday to figure out ways the state could stop a White House plan for NASA that cancels the agency's moon rocket program and its future jobs at Kennedy Space Center. But his Capitol Hill tour generated little more than sound bites. The only concrete strategy came from U.S. Rep. Ron Klein, D-Boca Raton, who suggested that Crist work with other governors to create a united resistance to the new NASA plan."

Parker heads to D.C. to talk up NASA, light rail, Houston Chronicle

"Parker is scheduled to meet with senior Obama adviser Valerie Jarrett, NASA Administrator Charles Bolden, Transportation Secretary Roy LaHood, Housing and Urban Development Secretary Shaun Donovan and members of the local congressional delegation in a two-day blitz. Shortly after she was elected, the administration had invited her to "open dialogue" on certain key issues in Washington, and today's trip marks her first opportunity to take the president up on the offer, Parker said."

Parker to Rally Support for NASA in Washington D.C., Fox Houston

"From a conference room at city hall, Houston Mayor Annise Parker set her sights on Washington D.C. And a recent decision by the Obama administration to cancel funding for a program that could result in nearly 7,000 lost jobs at Johnson Space Center."

Aderholt Asks GAO To Investigate NASA's Constellation Activities for Possible Illegal Activity

"Congressman Robert Aderholt (R-AL) on Friday wrote a letter to the Government Accountability Office (GAO) asking for an investigation into whether NASA's actions regarding the Constellation program, as well as the extent to which it is working on a new, unauthorized plan, violates law. On February 1, 2010, the President Obama Administration announced its FY2011 Budget, which proposes to eliminate the NASA Constellation program. Since that time, NASA has cancelled or put on hold numerous contracts which were a part of the regular, FY10 work for the Constellation program, despite the fact that Congress must first approve its termination before it becomes final policy."

Top of the Ticket, LA Times

"OK. "Boldest aspirations in space." "New journey of innovation and discovery." "Forward thinking." "Foundational element." "Targeted set of inter-related technologies and capabilities." In English this translates to Obama's new budget would cancel for now the return of NASA astronauts to the moon to explore and possibly colonize. The ex-senator wants new space directions with emphasis on milking more years out of the International Space Station and developing technologies to go somewhere else maybe someday who knows. And to accomplish that he's prepared over the next five years to spend an additional $6 billion. To put that once-enormous sum in perspective, "Avatar" fans have already spent a third as much on movie tickets to watch blue creatures. Not to mention money the patrons dished out for overpriced popcorn and Twizzlers. All of which makes this space reform seem less like bold aspirations and more like a cheap short subject."

Keith's note: While commentary over the past few weeks has been spirited, it has been more or less civil. However, in the past few days I have had readers try to post comments with "Uncle Tom" and "Charlie Bolden" in the same sentence, make comparisons of President Obama and Hitler, and post pointless crude comments about Lori Garver as a woman. Such comments will not be tolerated and people who attempt to post such things will simply be banned - without warning. If I see too much more of this I will simply shut comments on NASA Watch off. I know its hard times right now. I went through this during Space Station Freedom. Been there, done that. Losing a job you love sucks big time - I know. I really loved my job - and it was taken away from me for reasons that had absolutely nothing to do with me or how I did my job. As such, as you comment, try and be constructive folks. But if you are going to go straight for the gutter, I will close the party down. Look at the pretty picture. Think about how we get there from here.

Houston mayor plans visit with NASA chief, Bay Area Citizen

"Houston Mayor Annise Parker will take the community's fight to save the Constellation program straight to NASA Administrator Charlie Bolden next week, while a group of Clear Lake area businessmen will make a similar trip to Washington March 22. Parker's trip to the nation's capital comes as Bay Area Houston Economic Partnership President Bob Mitchell, who will head the Clear Lake delegation, works to rally Texans to save America's manned space flight program."

'NASA-enabled' is new mantra, Huntsville Times

"Late last week, reports said NASA Administrator Charles Bolden was working on a "Plan B" in the face of bipartisan congressional opposition to the Obama plan, but Bolden denied it. Meanwhile, U.S. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchinson, R-Texas, has introduced legislation that would keep the space shuttle flying to 2015 and keep parts of Constellation, specifically the Orion crew module and the heavy-lift rocket needed for exploration beyond Earth orbit."

Following criticism, Obama to host NASA forum on 'next steps', The Hill

"While the White House did propose an additional $8 billion for NASA as part of its new budget, some lawmakers are apoplectic that the boost comes at the expense of NASA's Constellation program -- a project commissioned in 2005 by former President George W. Bush, who tasked the agency with plotting a second trip to the Moon."

Show Us The Money

Garver: Battle Over Obama Plan Imperils NASABudget Growth, Space News

"Think of it this way: If you are focused on getting the Constellation budget continued in the future -- and I harbor no ill will against those of you who do ... but if Constellation is put back in the budget without that $5 billion-a-year increase, where will we cut the budget?" she asked."

Maintaining America's lead role in space (Rep. Bill Posey), The Hill

"Providing sufficient funding for Constellation will ensure that we do not abandon the investments already made. To that end, we should work to see that America's lead role in human space exploration is maintained, not surrendered to Russia and China."

Sen. Hutchison pitches sizable expansion to proposed NASA budget, The Hill

"The space program's proposed 2011 budget would see a $1.3-billion boost under a new bill proposed by Texas Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison (R). Her legislation, unveiled Thursday, would also postpone indefinitely the retirement of NASA's manned-spaceflight program, and establish an independent commission to assess the agency's shuttle system."

NASA Internal memo: Message from the Administrator - March 5, 2010

"During a Strategic Management Council meeting on Tuesday, I asked JSC Director Mike Coats and MSFC Director Robert Lightfoot to put together a very small team to help me develop an accelerated plan for research and development on a heavy lift launch vehicle for future exploration, in support of that element of the President's FY11 NASA budget. Regrettably, this was subsequently reported by the news media as a request for a "Plan B" alternative to the President's budget."

Florida Fires Back

Florida legislators blast new NASA plan, Orlando Sentinel

"Aides to U.S. Rep. Bill Posey, the Rockledge Republican who organized the letter campaign, said every Florida lawmaker now has agreed to sign it."

Florida Congressional Delegation Letter to President Obama Regarding NASA FY 2011 Budget

"Dear Mr. President: As members of the Florida congressional delegation, we write to express deep concerns with the Administration's FY 2011 budget request as it relates to the future of America's space program. While the budget request was presented to Members of Congress and staff as a game-changing strategy to move America's human space program beyond activities in Low Earth Orbit (LEO) serious questions remain regarding its goals, milestones, inherent cost and schedule risks, and severe disruptions to the workforce at our nation's premier spaceport."



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