Congress: 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."

Dear Colleague Letter: NASA Cuts Threaten National Defense - Invitation to Important Defense Staff Briefing Next Week, Rep. Rob Bishop

"With the industry already reeling from the cumulative impacts of these large SRM program cuts and terminations, NASA has now made an ill-advised and drastic decision to propose total cancellation of the Constellation manned space flight program, which would also include termination of the Ares 1 rocket, leaving our nation without a single large-scale SRM program in full production for the first time in 50 years! That will leave the U.S. to rely solely on the Navy's D-5 missile Life Extension program, with a production rate of only one booster stack per month, as the bedrock in sustaining our nation's ability to produce large scale solid rocket motors. .... This important staff briefing will be conducted by representatives from SRM producer, ATK, as well as their suppliers and aerospace industry teammates, followed by lots of time for Q&A."

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

"Bishop, whose district include Alliant Techsystems, which produces solid rocket motors and employs 3,500 people, said that Obama's budget on NASA doesn't save any money and that it would actually cost $2.5 billion to end the Constellation program. Moreover, Bishop says Obama's move hurts the country's ability to enhance its missile defenses."

Keith's note: I find it to be a little strange that the other major U.S. manufacturer of SRMs, Aerojet, is not being invited to participate in this presentation. If Rep. Bishop truly intended this event to be a discussion about national capabilities, one would assume that he'd try and get a representative set of presentations - not just one company's - the one he represents in Congress. Truth be known, this is really all about ATK and the fear of lost business in Utah - with the arm waving about national issues used as a smoke screen. As for DoD concerns, there is clearly no consensus on this issue - either way. As for the D-5, its first stage stage (a SRM) is 24 feet long whereas Aerojet's SRMs on the Atlas V are 67 feet long - so clearly someone other than ATK can make large SRMs.

Pentagon Not Yet Concerned Over NASA Changes, Aviation Week

"[Navy Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff] did mention, however, that he and other defense officials have had longstanding concerns over the space industrial base, much the same way they do for shipbuilding. Like with warships, the admiral said there is consensus that the Defense Department is paying too much for old systems when it comes to space assets."

Sen. Says Solid Rocket Motor Costs Will Double, Navy Disagrees, Defense News

"During a Senate Armed Services strategic forces subcommittee hearing, Rear Adm. Stephen Johnson, said he expects solid rocket motor prices to rise 10 to 20 percent. He assured Vitter that 100 percent price growth is not likely. Johnson heads Navy strategic systems programs."

New NASA Policy = Higher USAF Launch Costs?, earlier post

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.

House panel vows to save Constellation, Orlando Sentinel

"To emphasize its doubt, the subcommittee asked Thomas Young, a former Lockheed Martin executive, to testify. He flatly told the committee that the White House plan was untenable and said that NASA should not rely on commercial rockets to transport astronauts. "In my view, this is a risk too high and not a responsible course. The commercial crew option should not be approved," he said, adding that the best policy would continue a longstanding partnership between NASA and the aerospace industry because the U.S. needs NASA's space expertise."

Keith's note: As I Twittered yesterday: "Tom Young has his gaze firmly affixed on the past not the future and thinks of ways of how not to do things rather than how to do them. FAIL"

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.

- House Science and Technology Cmte Space and Aeronautics Subcmte Hearing: Proposed Changes to NASA's Exploration Program, 24 March: ESMD AA Douglas Cooke and Tom Young testify at 2 pm EST.

- Hearing Charter
- live webcast
- Presentation by Doug Cooke
- Testimony by Tom Young

- Opening Statement By Chairwoman Gabrielle Giffords, Hearing on NASA's FY 2011 Budget Request and Exploration

"Over the past few months we have held many hearings to address safety concerns for human spaceflight, the competition of international space programs, and the impact of NASA's programs on the skilled aerospace workforce and industrial base. We have also heard from the Government Accountability Office and NASA's Inspector General. And just last month NASA Administrator, General Charlie Bolden testified on the FY2011 budget request. Unfortunately, the NASA Administrator was unable to satisfy many of the members of this committee. Today we are going to continue to take a closer look at the elements of the proposed plan and try to get additional information--to the extent that such information exists."

- STA Lunch, 26 March: Gary Payton, Deputy Under Secretary of the Air Force for Space Programs will speak

- An Update on Space Exploration Policy and Programs, 30 March: ESMD Deputy AA Laurie Leshin will speak

Sen. Nelson Floats Alternate Use for NASA Commercial Crew Money, Space News

"As the Senate Commerce Committee begins work on a 2010 NASA authorization bill, science and space subcommittee chairman Sen. Bill Nelson (D-Fla.) is questioning whether $6 billion the U.S. space agency is seeking for developing a commercial crew taxis might be better spent on a heavy-lift rocket that could take humans beyond low Earth orbit."

Fla. Senator Says Obama 'Restructuring' NASA Plans, WESH

"A new word is creeping into the conversation: spacecraft -- as in, Billow said, a replacement for the shuttle. Florida's senior senator, after talking to the president, said U.S. astronauts could wind up launching in an American-built spacecraft after all. It would mean developing a giant rocket based on space shuttle engines, tanks and boosters to go with a new spacecraft, Billow said, perhaps the very one NASA was designing anyway."

Nelson: Senate will order super-sized rocket, Florida Today

"U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson told a space forum co-hosted by FLORIDA TODAY that the Senate also is drafting legislation that would push commercial companies with contracts to fly cargo or crews to the International Space Station to hire people from the Space Coast work force, Nelson said" ... "The president made a mistake," said Nelson, who added that Obama is a strong supporter of the space program. "The president is going to have to prove that when he comes here on April 15 because. . . the perception is that he killed the space program."

FAA, NASA Vie for Authority Over Commercial Space Safety, WS Journal

"Congress hasn't yet voted on White House proposals to outsource manned space flights to private enterprise, but the concept already is prompting a bureaucratic tussle over which federal agency should be responsible for ensuring the safety of such flights. The Federal Aviation Administration believes it should be the agency in charge, while National Aeronautics and Space Administration believes the flights fall under its jurisdiction. The dispute came into public view Thursday during a hearing of a Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation subcommittee. The panel's chairman, Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson of Florida, home to thousands of NASA jobs, indicated that he views the space agency as the final arbiter of astronaut safety."

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."

Republicans Will Force Vote on Slaughter Rule, Human Events

"Most interesting rumor from the Hill yesterday: Rep. Bart Gordon (D-Tenn.) who announced his retirement from Congress has been promised the job of NASA administrator in exchange for his vote, and Rep. John Tanner (D-Tenn.), another retiring Democrat, has been promised an appointment as U.S. Ambassador to NATO in exchange for his vote."

Keith's note: White House Press Secretary Gibbs squashed this silly rumor flat.

"Q The Republicans put something out saying that Bart Gordon and John Tanner have been promised cushy government positions in exchange for their votes.

MR. GIBBS: And what were those positions?

Q Those positions are NASA administrator and U.S. ambassador to NATO. (Laughter.)

MR. GIBBS: Well, that's --

Q At some point.

MR. GIBBS: I think those are -- I think those jobs are currently filled, but -- and I'm not sure that anybody would think -- certainly the current occupants -- that those are otherwise cushy jobs. So that's just not true."

Rep. Gordon dismisses rumor he traded healthcare vote for NASA job, The Hill

"If it was offered to me, I would not accept," Gordon told the chamber, praising current NASA Administrator Charles Bolden and stressing his decision to support Democrats' healthcare bill, which he announced Thursday, was his own. But Gordon also took a shot at Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) on Friday, to whom Gordon sourced the rumor that he had traded his healthcare vote for a NASA sweetener. He repeatedly pressed Chaffetz to explain "why he said what he did and where he got that information."

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."

Air Force warns of increased launch costs, AIr Force Times

"Gary Payton, deputy undersecretary of the Air Force for space programs, told members of Congress on Wednesday that the Obama administration had not asked the Air Force to examine the effects of canceling NASA's Constellation program before the Feb. 1 announcement. The military and intelligence community rely on the same manufacturers as NASA to build the rockets that launch their satellites, but the White House plans to turn to commercially owned rockets to launch astronauts following retirement of the shuttle later this year. Early information shows the price of rocket propulsion systems for the military and NRO "might double" as a result, Payton said."

Keith's note: FYI Gary Payton was Mike Griffin's Deputy at SDIO back in the 1990s. It is somewhat strange that someone in a very senior position such as Payton is being this public with their overt criticism of the President's space policy and how it was formulated. Stay tuned ...

Keith's update: Looks like we'll be able to ask Payton all about this on 26 March: STA Lunch with Gary Payton, Deputy Under Secretary of the Air Force for Space Programs

Sen. Says Solid Rocket Motor Costs Will Double, Navy Disagrees, Defense News

"The Navy, which has studied the matter, says prices will probably rise, but they won't double. During a Senate Armed Services strategic forces subcommittee hearing, Rear Adm. Stephen Johnson, said he expects solid rocket motor prices to rise 10 to 20 percent. He assured Vitter that 100 percent price growth is not likely. Johnson heads Navy strategic systems programs."

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."

Obama's plans for NASA changes met with harsh criticism, Washington Post

"Congress must approve NASA's strategic change. Lawmakers in Florida, Alabama and Texas, states rich in space jobs, have sharply criticized the Obama plan as a job-killer. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-Tex.) says that under Obama's strategy "America's decades-long dominance of space will finally come to an end."

Introduction of S. 3068 by Sen. Hutchison, Congressional Record 3 March 2010

"The legislation I am introducing today would ensure that a final decision on the timing of the space shuttle retirement, or even the number of missions it might still be required to fly, would not be made until the issues involved are fully considered and resolved and we are fully convinced that the shuttle's capability is no longer needed. In particular, we must answer the question of how we support, maintain, and fully utilize the ISS, not just in 5 or more years, when any new commercially-developed vehicle might be available, but right now, as we are about to cut the ribbon on it as a finally completed research facility."

Keith's note: In this post by Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation staffer Jeff Bingham (51D Mascot) on he notes that "The Hutchison Bill, by its very structure, is written so as to be the "core" of a broader NASA Authorization Bill, and it is fully planned and expected, going in, that it will likely be "absorbed" into that larger NASA Authorization Bill, which will likely be reported by the Commerce Committee, once it is satisfied with it, and it goes through the process known as "mark-up" (amendment and endorsement by the Committee) as a new and separate bill."

Kosmas and Posey Introduce Bill to Minimize Human Spaceflight Gap

"Today, Congresswoman Suzanne Kosmas (FL-24) and Congressman Bill Posey (FL-15) introduced legislation to maintain a robust human spaceflight program, minimize the spaceflight gap, and protect Space Coast jobs. The Human Spaceflight Capability Assurance and Protection Act would extend use of the International Space Station (ISS) through 2020, allow NASA to continue flying the Space Shuttle, and push to accelerate a next-generation NASA-developed space vehicle. A companion bill has been introduced by Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-TX) in the U.S. Senate."

Which track for NASA?, Huntsville Times

"President Barack Obama plans to affirm his administration's commitment to space exploration and NASA next month in Florida, the White House said Monday, but the space agency plan cancels the 5-year-old Marshall Space Flight Center-managed Ares rocket program. And Obama's plans are at odds with Alabama's senior senator on Capitol Hill - Sen. Richard Shelby, R-Tuscaloosa."

Analysts point to politics over Obama's NASA conference, Houston Chronicle

"Nelson took to the Senate floor late Monday to welcome Obama's April 15 visit and praise his plans to seize leadership of the space program, even as he went on to excoriate unnamed presidential aides and "the budget boys from OMB" for allowing the chief executive to create "the perception that the president had killed the manned space program." Nelson added pointedly: "There is outright hostility (in Florida) toward President Obama and his proposals for the nation's human space program."

Nelson hopes Obama clarifies space vision, Florida Today

"Despite a commitment to extend the life of the International Space Station to 2020 and increase NASA funding by $6 billion over five years, Nelson said last month's poor rollout of the administration's new direction for NASA allowed critics to frame it as the end of U.S. human spaceflight. "He's got to clear that up," Nelson said. "That is one of the misconceptions that the president is going to have to correct."

Obama Plans Florida Forum to Discuss NASA's Future, NY Times

"The president's upcoming space meeting here in Florida provides a chance for meaningful progress," said Representative Suzanne M. Kosmas, whose district includes the Kennedy Space Center. She requested a meeting when she and others in the state Congressional delegation met last month with Rahm Emanuel, the White House chief of staff, and John P. Holdren, Mr. Obama's science adviser."

Texas' NASA fight soars even as state's clout fades, Houston Chronicle

"And although thousands of Houston-area jobs are at stake, Texans in 2008 did nothing to help usher Barack Obama into the White House. Furthermore, history shows previous lobbying efforts to salvage massive NASA projects have never succeeded. "There's not a single case where a major cancellation in the space program has been overturned by external lobbying," says space historian John Logsdon, former director of George Washington University's Space Policy Institute. "Congress defers to presidents on space because you can't run a space program from Capitol Hill."

Preserving space jobs big focus for Shelby, Huntsville Times

"Shelby has accused the Obama administration of beginning "the death march for NASA" and has told Bolden he is "out of step with Congress." Shelby described last Thursday's meeting with Bolden as "to the point." "I believe some of us have fundamental disagreements on how the administration wants to go," Shelby said. Shelby has vowed to fight the changes, he said."

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."

Shelby has frank discussion with NASA Administrator, WAFF

"A frank discussion took place on Capitol Hill Thursday between Senator Richard Shelby and NASA administrator Charlie Bolden. It took place behind closed doors in Senator Shelby's office. Bolden and Shelby are very far apart on NASA's vision and therefore NASA's budget. In fact, many in Congress don't even see a vision for the space agency if there is no government owned and operated human space flight program , namely Constellation, once the shuttle retires."

A Strategic Retreat From Leadership, Rep. Mike Coffman, Huffington Post

"Seeking to put his stamp on America's storied adventures in rocketry and robotics, the president could have gone boldly in new directions, using past achievements as a springboard to new destinations. But his proposed budget for space exploration describes an approach that is both reckless and nave."

New NASA plans developing in Congress and, reportedly, inside NASA itself, Huntsville Times

"Bolden said in a statement later Thursday that NASA isn't undercutting the White House plan. "The president's budget for NASA is my budget. I strongly support the priorities and the direction for NASA that he has put forward," Bolden said. "I'm open to hearing ideas from any member of the NASA team, but I did not ask anybody for an alternative to the president's plan and budget."

Aderholt "Extremely Pleased" NASA May Be Planning Alternatives To Ending Constellation

"I am extremely pleased that NASA may be considering a Plan B option to the President's proposal to cancel human space flight. Since the President announced his Budget last month, I and many of my Republican and Democrat colleagues have expressed our disapproval of the plan, along with our desire in continuing with Constellation. But the fight is not over. I will continue to work on this because I believe that human spaceflight and exploration beyond earth is the very reason for NASA's existence."

Massive Fight Under Way To Keep Shuttle Program, WESH

"On Thursday, NASA Administrator Charlie Bolden said he still supports the president's plan to end U.S. human spaceflight. However, when he meets with members of Congress, he is expected to at least discuss Plan B."

New hope for Ares, ATK / NASA may be considering compromise,

"Bishop, R-Utah, cited a news story in the Wall Street Journal that says a memo by a member of Bolden's staff is telling NASA officials to plan out "what a potential compromise might look like" to satisfy Obama administration critics of the Constellation program. Bishop said Thursday that congressional delegations from Utah, Alabama, Florida and Texas are joining forces to work with NASA to keep Constellation alive. He said the memo is a hint that NASA is starting to listen."

NASA Administrator Reaffirms Support for 2011 Budget, NASA

"I'm open to hearing ideas from any member of the NASA team, but I did not ask anybody for an alternative to the President's plan and budget."

Hutchison Introduces Bill to Close Gap in U.S. Spaceflight

"Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-Texas), Ranking Member on the Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee, today introduced legislation to close the gap in U.S. human space flight that will occur if the space shuttle is retired before the next generation of space vehicle is developed. Senator Hutchison's bill would allow the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) to extend the shuttle's service as work continues on the next generation of American space vehicle. Companion legislation is expected to be introduced in the House of Representatives next week by Reps. Suzanne Kosmas (D-Florida) and Bill Posey (R-Florida)."

Kosmas Presses Budget Committee to Continue Shuttle Funding

"There is only one existing vehicle with the capability to deliver certain pieces of hardware that will enable a longer lifespan of the ISS, maintain continued U.S. independent access to space, and ensure the station's research mission is maximized to fullest extent possible - and that is the Space Shuttle," Congresswoman Kosmas said to the committee. "I believe that as we debate long-term future of our human space program, it is prudent to take steps to ensure the Space Shuttles can continue to operate in order to fully support and service the ISS."

- Shuttle flights would continue under new proposal, Orlando Sentinel
- Reprieve Sought for Space Shuttles, NY Times



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