Budget: May 2010 Archives

NASA's mission to nowhere: Big, fat, pointless and expensive describes plan to twiddle our fingers, Paul Spudis and Bob Zubrin, Washington Times

"Although we are known for holding different opinions on the order and importance of specific objectives in space, we are united in our concern over this move to turn away from the Vision for Space Exploration (hereafter referred to as Vision). Vision gave NASA's human spaceflight program a clear direction: to reach the moon and Mars. Congressional authorization bills in 2005 (under Republican leadership) and 2008 (under Democratic leadership) endorsed this goal."

Keep the shuttle flying, editorial, Houston Chronicle

"The demise of the shuttle is reminiscent of the last time the U.S. space program reached a technological pinnacle with the Apollo spacecraft and its launch rocket, the Saturn V. Having created the mightiest rocket in history, budgetary considerations brought on by the Vietnam War led to the termination of the moon missions, scattering its work force. The Johnson Space Center wound up with a Saturn for public display, much like various facilities are now vying for one of the decommissioned shuttles."

NASA future still a vast unknown, editorial, Huntsville Times

"Hundreds of jobs could be at stake in Huntsville, and many more nationwide, depending on the outcome. Before the administration can proceed along that track, Congress must formally approve scrapping Constellation, for which $9 billion has already been spent in the early development of Constellation's Ares rocket. Alabama's congressional delegation and congressional representatives from other NASA states are fighting to protect Constellation along with pushing for a more focused space policy."

NASA Langley's building plan in doubt, Daiy Press

"NASA Langley Research Center started modernizing its aging campus, but there's no guarantee it'll finish the job. In fact, a retired Langley administrator said the odds are "pretty darn grim" given the recession and political infighting surrounding President Barack Obama's plan to scrap NASA's return mission to the moon. The plan, dubbed New Town, is a 10-year, $200 million building project that would centralize the campus by replacing sprawling World War II-era structures with a cluster of environmentally friendly offices and laboratories."

KSC role in launches not required in draft plan, Florida Today

"Private companies flying astronauts to the International Space Station won't be required to launch from Kennedy Space Center, NASA said Tuesday. "It's basically up to commercial entities to define what makes sense for them," said Doug Cooke, the associate administrator in charge of exploration programs. Unless one of those companies chooses to fly from KSC, the center's traditional role as the launching point for U.S. missions could be dramatically reduced for years after the shuttle program's retirement."

Letter from Apollo Astronaut Russell Schweickart to Sen. Bill Nelson Regarding President Obama's Proposed NASA Budget

"I write this letter, as an Apollo astronaut, to state my strong support for the proposed NASA space program as modified by President Obama in his April 15, 2010 speech in Florida. I, like many of my fellow astronauts, am greatly concerned that our nation's historic leadership in space exploration is eroding to the point where we will shortly lose that title. We Apollo-era people gave the United States everything we had to regain leadership in space from the Soviet Union back in the 60s and we hate like hell to see it drift away from us now.

With what I believe to be the coming loss of US leadership in human space exploration in mind, the question of how best to regain that leadership breaks into two fundamental elements; our current situation and our direction going forward. In terms of relative importance I weigh these at 80% and 20% respectively.

Our current situation is akin to being on a dead end road. Instead of being on a path toward the goal we all seek, i.e. to regain our leadership position in human space exploration, we must recognize that we are (and have been) on a path to nowhere. We are confronted with arguments to ignore the clear signs of this sad situation and even encouraged to accelerate along this futile path.

The alternative to this is support for the President's proposed plan. It recognizes and eliminates the waste of precious resources in the current program and heads us in a productive direction toward our desired destination. In other words, when you recognize you are on a dead end road, stop, turn around, and head in a direction more useful to your goal."

Shelby adds Constellation-saving measure to emergency war bill, Huntsville Times

"U.S. Sen. Richard Shelby, R-Tuscaloosa, has raised the stakes in the fight over NASA's Constellation program by attaching a measure to protect it to an emergency war funding bill that must pass Congress this year. The amendment "clarifies and reinforces" current law, Shelby's staff said, which already requires congressional approval before ending Constellation."

NASA's Constellation gets big boost in Senate, Houston Chronicle

"The maneuver was pushed by Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison of Dallas and proposed by Sen. Robert Bennett, R-Utah. By including the language in a $58.8 billion budget supplemental to underwrite the costs of combat, Hutchison and her allies virtually assured that the restriction will be adopted by the full Senate and House and signed by Obama -- because the costs of the Afghanistan war must be funded."

Mikulski 'Troubled' by Approach to Constellation Termination, Space News

"I am advised that NASA has undertaken a series of steps to direct industry to retain certain funds made available in fiscal year 2010 to cover prospective termination costs so as not to potentially violate the terms of the Antideficiency Act," Mikulski wrote in a May 10 letter to White House budget chief Peter Orszag. Mikulski, who chairs the Senate Appropriations subcommittee that oversees NASA spending, gave Orszag until May 25 to review NASA's contract termination liability practices and develop a detailed plan to implement and pay for a new standard "to deal fairly with industry."

"John P. Holdren, the President's Science Advisor and Director of the U.S. Office of Science and Technology Policy was asked to clarify the Administration's space-science priorities during the AAAS Forum on Science and Technology Policy. The question related in particular to sending humans back to the moon. His response was offered 13 May 2010."

Mollohan loses in West Virginia, Politico

"Rep. Alan Mollohan, a 14-term incumbent, has been defeated by state Sen. Mike Oliverio in West Virginia's Democratic primary, according to the Associated Press. With 76 percent of the vote in, Oliverio led Mollohan 56 percent to 44 percent."

Oliverio and Mollohan Duel in 1st District Democrat Race, Wheeling News Register

"In the current Congress, Mollohan is a member of the House Appropriations Committee and serves as the chairman of the Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, Science and Related Agencies. The subcommittee funds the departments of Justice and Commerce, as well as NASA and the National Science Foundation, among other agencies."

Obey Won't Run for Re-election, NY Times

"Representative David Obey of Wisconsin, chairman of the Appropriations Committee and one of the most powerful and longest-serving Democrats in Congress, announced today that he will not seek re-election and will step down after 41 years."

Letter from Lester Lyles, Raymond Colladay, and Len Fisk To Rep. Frank Wolf Regarding NASA FY 2011 Budget

"It makes no more sense to have a NASA with an under-emphasis on human spaceflight than it did to have a NASA with an over-emphasis. The strategic leadership of the United States in a rapidly evolving globalized world, the economic well-being of our people, and the sense in our society that our future is promising, all require a NASA that has breadth in science and technology, and accomplishments in both robotic and human spaceflight. The burden of proof thus now lies with Congress and NASA to define and to develop a human spaceflight program that does not re-inflict damage on the breadth of NASA's activities and that serves the nation well. It is possible to do this."

NASA Managers Push Plan In Congress, Academia, Aviation Week

"So far it does not appear the Obama administration's plan is winning many hearts and minds. A session with a range of space organizations produced a few tidbits, like word that the Exploration Systems Mission Directorate plans to release a bunch of requests for information in the next couple of weeks to get industry input as a Houston-based NASA study panel prepares road maps for human space exploration. Those would replace the Constellation Program, which refuses to lie down and die on Capitol Hill even though President Barack Obama wants to kill it. Deputy Administrator Lori Garver and other agency officials asked a gathering of mostly academic space organizations for help with the plan in Congress, after barring reporters from the meeting. But the groups decided not to form a coalition for that purpose, and as of the end of last week were still hammering out details of a joint statement that will endorse some -- but not all -- of the space policy changes embodied in NASA's Fiscal 2011 budget request."

NASA Ames Stimulates Economy with Jobs, Innovation

"NASA's Ames Research Center generated 5,300 jobs and $877 million in total annual economic activity in the nine-county San Francisco Bay Area in 2009, according to a new economic benefits study. The study found that nationally, NASA Ames supports more than 8,400 jobs and generates $1.3 billion in annual economic activity. Coordinated by the NASA Research Park Office and prepared by Emeryville-based Bay Area Economics (BAE) in association with Architecture, Engineering, Consulting, Operations and Management's San Francisco office, the study also reported that NASA Ames produced 5,900 jobs and contributed $932 million to California's economy in 2009. The study also forecast that NASA Ames' total economic impacts will grow significantly as its NASA Research Park (NRP) is completed."

Keith's 5:50 pm EDT note: Weird. ARC PAO sent this out at 3:38 pm EDT and they haven't even bothered to get it on their website. You'd think they'd be crowing about this information.

Keith's 10 May 6:20 pm EDT update: It took more than 2 hours but ARC PAO finally got this important press release online. Alas, still no mention of it on the Ames Research Park website yet even though it is prominently mentioned in the release. No one out in the real world seems to have these PR and web server issues - just NASA.

Keith's 11 May 4:30 pm EDT update: There is a link to the report associated with this news on the Ames Research Park. Someday, perhaps ARC PAO will learn how to coordinate things like this a little better.

Former NASA chief calls Obama space policy proposals "drivel", Examiner.com

"Former NASA administrator Michael Griffin takes strong exception to most of President Obama's proposed space exploration policy, disagreeing with the major points and calling much of it "drivel." Griffin spoke in Seattle Tuesday evening at the Museum of Flight. .. Griffin also rapped the President's proposal to nix Moon missions, and concentrate on heavy lifting and Mars. "There was considerable other drivel in the president's proposals, which were supposedly based on the Augustine Commission," he said."

US must remain the global leader in exploring space, Rep. Pete Olson, The Hill

"The president does not outline any path for the United States to get out of low earth orbit. A major component, the revised "Orion-lite" proposal, is little more than an opportunity to delay the inevitable layoffs of highly skilled workers across America and does not further our ability as a nation to explore the heavens or get us to the moon, Mars and beyond. It has also been reported as a mechanism to prevent the government from having to pay out costly Constellation cancellation contracts. This is not a strategy for success in human space flight. It turns the capsule designed to be our spacecraft for journeys to the moon into a lifeboat on the International Space Station."

Crisis of purpose for America's space program, Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, The Hill

"As conscientious stewards of the American taxpayers dollars, Congress demanded more. In response, the president took the stage last month at Kennedy Space Center and, showing a clear passion for space and a will to compromise, unveiled a new plan. Unfortunately this new plan creates more questions than answers and seems unworkable within the budget without crippling NASAs other missions. We cannot continue to argue between the president's plan and the status quo. There must be a third way."

How space exploration helps us on Earth

"The international space station's research capabilities are now available after years of construction and $100 billion of investment. It offers opportunities to conduct research in an environment unavailable on Earth and it must be sustained, but not just for the sake of science. One problem in the president's proposal is that it does not address the risk to the station that will result from retiring the space shuttle and canceling the Constellation replacement program at the same time. A healthy and viable space station is critical to the emergence of the commercial space industry that the president's proposal relies on. If the space station is lost, the primary reason to send humans into space in the next decade will be lost."

Bipartisanship key for the future of space program

"While we are encouraged the president showed a willingness to make some changes to his proposal for NASA during his visit to Florida, members of Congress from both parties still have concerns. These concerns include the readiness of the commercial space industry to fill the role the president envisions, and how to minimize the risk to the International Space Station, which after more than a decade of construction and $100 billion in investment is about to realize its full research potential."

New White House task force on NASA to focus on job loss, The Hill

"President Barack Obama is commissioning a new task force to address any job loss caused by the White House's proposed end to NASA's manned space-flight program. In a memo released late Monday, the president appointed Commerce Secretary Gary Locke and NASA Administrator Charles Bolden as co-chairs of the Task Force on Space Industry Workforce and Economic Development."

Rep. Posey's Statement on Space Workforce Transition Memo

"In his memo, the President blames the previous Administration for eliminating thousands of high skilled jobs and outsourcing them to Russia, but makes no mention of his decision to cancel Constellation after $9 billion in investments and a successful test launch. At some point the President needs to take responsibility for his own Administration's decision to widen the space gap and cede America's leadership in space, which is the modern day military high ground. I am disappointed to see the memo repeat the disingenuous claim we keep hearing that NASA will get a $6 billion increase, when in reality the Administration's own budget numbers would gut the Exploration account by $5.7 billion, which is where the money needs to be spent for human space flight."

Obama Proposal Likely Unresolved This Year, Aviation Week

"Continuing opposition in Congress to the "game-changing" policy shift is making it more likely that NASA funding will be handled as a "continuing resolution" this year, instead of an appropriations bill reflecting the changes Obama wants. That would add to the confusion, because it would leave NASA to continue working on the Constellation Program that is killed in the agency's Fiscal 2011 budget request."



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This page is an archive of entries in the Budget category from May 2010.

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