Congress: April 2010 Archives

Chamber on an Ares mission, Huntsville Times

"At a reception Sunday evening, U.S. Sen. Richard Shelby - ranking Republican on the Senate Appropriations subcommittee that determines funding for NASA - said he is doing everything he can to save Constellation, in which the government has already invested $9 billion to establish human presence on the moon and beyond. "If (Republicans) were in control of the Senate, I would tell you exactly what we'd be doing to save Constellation," Shelby said Sunday evening. "If Obama's plan goes through, I'm afraid it's a death march for NASA."

NASA plan: 'Cosmic bridge to nowhere', Huntsville Times

"Brian Hendricks is a staffer for U.S. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison, R-Texas, who also has substantial NASA interests in her state. Hendricks said Hutchison and Shelby have worked together to try to save Constellation and prevent other NASA changes, but thus far a fix hasn't been found. He expressed "profound anger" at Obama's decision, and he said the ability of the commercial world to achieve what NASA has achieved is "circumspect." "Spaceflight can't be a faith-based initiative," he said, adding that there is no support in Congress to abandon Constellation, which has "a lot of equity in it."

SpaceX's Elon Musk, Sen. Richard Shelby spar over Obama space policy, Huntsville Times

"The CEO of a company seeking to carry American astronauts into space says U.S. Sen. Richard Shelby, R-Tuscaloosa, is fighting a new national space plan that would bring billions into North Alabama. "I just don't understand what his beef is," Elon Musk, CEO of Space Exploration Technologies Inc. (SpaceX) said in a telephone interview Friday night. "I don't really understand why Sen. Shelby is so opposed to commercial crew," Musk said, "given that Atlas and Delta are right there in Alabama, because no one's going to be a bigger winner in commercial crew than United Launch Alliance." Musk referred to the Boeing-Lockheed joint venture that builds Delta and Atlas rockets in Decatur for NASA, the military and commercial satellite customers. ULA and SpaceX are among the commercial companies wanting NASA contracts to ferry astronauts to the International Space Station if President Obama's space program is approved by Congress. "For ULA it's a certainty," Musk said of winning contracts. "For SpaceX it's much more a question mark."

- Shelby Goes Personal on Bolden
- Shelby: Obama Plan Would Destroy U.S. Space Supremacy
- Shelby: Gov't Spending is Bad - Except for Spending on NASA, earlier post
- Shelby Was For The Private Sector Before He Was Against It, earlier post
- Alabama Political Donations Go National, earlier post

Letter from IFPTE to Senators Mikulski and Shelby Regarding NASA's Proposed FY 2011 Budget

"The greatest strength of the President's budget is that it is honest and forward-looking; in February, President Obama asked NASA to deliver $19 billion worth of work for $19 billion in funding and invested the necessary attention back into long-term R&T so that America can someday lead a crewed mission into deep space. To those in Congress who argue passionately and cogently that NASA should do more and move faster, we say "show me the money". IFPTE would support an increase in NASA's workload as long as it is linked to an appropriate increase in funding. Never again should NASA be asked to deliver $22 billion worth of work for $19 billion in funds as this is a formula for failure."

Obama should rethink NASA's space program, editorial, Washington Post

"... with the cancellation of Ares I, the administration wants to rely on private companies to develop vehicles to get passengers to low-Earth orbit. These "space taxis" would stretch current capabilities, but the private sector could play an important, and potentially cost-effective, role. It is odd for those who accuse this administration of wanting to take over the private sector to blast this initiative."

Shuttle backers say space station needs safety net

"[Senator] Hutchison's scenario "says you have to protect against something that's extremely unlikely," said John Logsdon, a space historian and former director of the Space Policy Institute at George Washington University. "I think it is trying to make an argument in support of a relatively parochial position of keeping the shuttle flying." Retirement of the shuttle fleet would have no impact on crew safety, said former shuttle astronaut John Grunsfeld. "We don't rely on the shuttle as a rescue vehicle in the event of a problem on space station -- that's exactly why we have Soyuz that are docked up there all the time," he said."

Congress 1; Bolden 0

Obama plan to end much of Constellation program angers Republican senators, Washington Post

"In scrapping large parts of the Constellation program, however, Obama has outraged lawmakers from Gulf Coast states and Utah, where contracts and jobs may be lost. In a meeting Thursday of the Senate Appropriations subcommittee that oversees NASA, Sen. Richard C. Shelby (R-Ala.) accused Administrator Charles F. Bolden Jr. and NASA on Thursday of ceding space exploration to the "Russians, the Chinese and even the Indians," and he accused the administration of setting up a "welfare program for commercial space industry."

Lawmakers Question NASA's Plan for Private Rockets, Wall Street Journal

"But it's the panel headed by Sen. Mikulski, who has been wooed by the White House in recent weeks, that could play the leading role in shaping NASA's future. Unbtil Thursday, Sen. Mikulski hadn't expressed her views publicly. At this point, however, many veteran lawmakers predict Congress will adopt a continuing resolution for the agency, which wouldn't resolve the controversial issues this year."

Key Democratic Senator Barbara Mikulski reluctant to endorse Obama's NASA plan, Orlando Sentinel

"Right now I feel like a deep-space probe; I'm in reconnaissance," said Mikulski, after a Thursday hearing of the commerce, justice and science appropriations subcommittee. A key issue, she said, was whether commercial companies would be held to the same safety standards as NASA. "We're not sending cases of Tang into space. We're sending our astronauts and the astronauts from other countries that they provide to us," she said. "

NASA has escape plan for space station astronauts, LA Times

"The president's plan has drawn criticism from Democratic and Republican lawmakers in states with NASA operations. Last week, Obama announced that part of the Constellation program, the Orion capsule, was being revived to provide astronauts an emergency escape from the station and reduce U.S. reliance on Russian Soyuz vehicles when the space shuttle program ends this year."

GOP senator warns NASA budget cuts will help China overtake U.S. in space, The Hill

"Shelby then took aim at NASA Administrator Charles Bolden, whose approach Shelby said "only ensures members cannot trust you." He added that Bolden was "creating an atmosphere in which you and your leadership are becoming a major impediment for moving forward." "No matter how many ... press releases and summits you conduct, hope is not a strategy," continued Shelby, whose state houses a key NASA base. "This budget is not a proposal for space exploration worthy of this great nation."

- Shelby: Gov't Spending is Bad - Except for Spending on NASA, earlier post
- Shelby Was For The Private Sector Before He Was Against It, earlier post
- Alabama Political Donations Go National, earlier post

House Appropriations: Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies

Planetary Society Teleconference

"Today, board members of the Planetary Society will be joined by former NASA astronauts and other space community leaders on a teleconference for the media. This expert panel will provide comments and take questions on President Obama's recent speech at NASA's Kennedy Space Center on April 15, as well as discuss the results of today's hearing chaired by U.S. Senator Barbara Mikulski."

Sense of the Senate

Keith's note: What's the sense of the Senate with regard to the President's space policy? Well, according to Jeff Bingham, minority staffer on the Senate Commerce Science and Transportation Committee's Subcommittee on Science and Space posting on as "Mascot 51D": "In addition, of course, the authorizers--often referred to as "policy and oversight committees" have the power to direct NASA policies and programs, and can point NASA in directions different than those recommended by the President, if they can pass their bills doing so and over-ride any presidential veto. This year, the exercise of that power will be especially interesting to watch, as there is still a considerable difference between many Members of Congress' views on the proposed NASA budget and the new direction proposed by the President."

Congressional Reaction

Sen. Nelson - Obama's KSC trip, speech show President listening and backs robust space program

"Based on information released this week by the White House, Nelson said the president is moving in the right direction. But, "as with most presidential proposals, Congress will not just rubber stamp it," he said. "So we'll take what he's saying to our committee, and then we'll change some things."

Chairman Rockefeller's Statement on President Obama's Space Policy Address

"For me, one thing is clear: science-based innovation drives economic growth and helps America compete in the global economy. Past exploration has greatly contributed to America's economic strength and competitiveness. I am pleased the president's plan retains its focus on innovation, research and technology development - the drivers of our economy."

Rep. Hall Remains Skeptical of Obama Space Flight plan

"I agree with Neil Armstrong, Apollo astronauts and many other supporters of our space program who believe that the President's proposal would be devastating for the future of NASA. Our space program is a national priority and source of pride. More than 30,000 jobs are at stake all across the nation, and we are on the brink of losing a highly skilled workforce."

Olson Statement on President Obama NASA Speech

"Our nation does not lack the resources, the capabilities, the infrastructure, or the workforce to maintain a robust space program to reach destinations in space. What we lack is a commitment to get there. "Today's announced proposals continue that trend. The Administration has downgraded the Orion capsule, failing to realize its true potential if fully utilized as designed."

Rep. Rohrabacher Supports Obama's New Space Plan, Agrees with Ending Constellation Program

"President Obama reiterated the nation's long-term space goal - America, and American astronauts, exploring the solar system. This remains the right goal," said Rohrabacher. "We as a nation must remain committed to the goal - not just on particular methods to get there."

Rep. Posey's Statement on the President's Space Speech at KSC

"I am very concerned about the impact this plan will have not just on the workforce at KSC, but also the adverse impact on our nation's military industrial base and America's economic competitiveness. Let's remember the benefits of space extend far beyond the direct actions related to launching rockets."

Kosmas' Statement on President Obama's NASA Address

"However, as I have said all along, without working towards a specific vehicle and without having American access to the International Space Station, we risk losing our supremacy in space. I have introduced legislation that would maintain a robust NASA-led human spaceflight program by allowing for Shuttle extension and by establishing a next-generation NASA-led vehicle, and I will continue fighting to make sure these ideas are fully explored."

Utah lawmakers oppose NASA plan, Salt Lake Tribune

"I would say the administration's plan is laughable, but I can't find much humor in it when the consequences to space exploration and American workers during tough economic times are so dire," said Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah.

Colo. officials happy that space capsule is spared, Business Week

Colorado senators and congressmen welcomed President Barack Obama's decision to save a version of the Orion space capsule being developed in Colorado.

"The president's announcement is terrific news for Colorado, for all the workers on Orion," said Democratic Sen. Mark Udall."

Missouri Congressman Mistakenly Refers To 'Soviet Union' In Anti-Obama Space Policy Press Release, Huffngton Post

"In a statement the Missouri Republican said the move would leave the United States "reliant upon the Soviet Union" for future low-earth orbit access."

Flip Flopping in TX-7

Culberson: NASA Decision A "Surrender", Hotline OnCall

"The Constellation program is billions of dollars over budget and years behind schedule. Obama's proposed budget, released in Feb., would cancel funding for the program. Without it, Culberson said, the U.S. will have no manned space flight capabilities in the future. "He's shut down the whole thing. He's proposing to cancel America's manned space program, which is typical of this administration's pattern of apologizing for America's success, kowtowing to our enemies, bowing to foreign dictators and their obsession with trying to make terrorists like us," Culberson said."

Keith's note: This has got to be one of the most inherently contradictory positions I have yet to see any member of Congress take. For years Rep. Culbertson has railed away at every possible form of government spending as being inherently bad. But in the case of the Obama proposal to stop a program that has been wasting those precious taxpayer dollars and, instead, enhance private sector participation, well ... Rep. Culbertson promptly flips the polarity on his long-standing views because all of the rules are different inside his congressional district.

As for the gratuitous arm waving about "dictators and terrorists", hoping on the off-topic train to crazy town is also a trademark tactic.

NASA Internal memo: "You are invited to join Administrator Charlie Bolden and Deputy Administrator Lori Garver in the James E. Webb Memorial Auditorium at Headquarters for a special NASA Update today at 1 p.m. EDT. The program will be carried internally on NASA Television on Headquarters channel 76. The program also will be streamed internally over the Web to NASA Headquarters employees at:

Administrator Bolden and Deputy Administrator Garver will outline the next steps in implementing the new exploration strategy outlined in the 2011 fiscal year budget proposal. Please join them for this important announcement."

NASA Work Assignments Topic of Media Telecon on Thursday, April 8

"NASA Administrator Charles Bolden and Deputy Administrator Lori Garver will brief reporters on Thursday, April 8, about the next steps in implementing the agency's new exploration initiatives outlined in the new fiscal year 2011 budget."

Information is now online here.

- NASA Johnson Space Center Director Michael Coats Avaialable Thursday to Discuss Center's Roles in 2011
- NASA Kennedy Center Director Holds Media Briefing on April 8
- NASA to Hold New Exploration Strategy Briefing; Marshall Center Director Robert Lightfoot to Speak with Media
- Media Invited to Dial In for NASA Langley Assignment News

Keith's note: Relibable sources also note that a conference call is being arranged for today between the Vice President's office and key members of Congress involved in the space policy and budget debate.

NASA Contractors: abandoning the Constellation moon program? , Orlando Sentinel

"Recently rocket engine manufacturer Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne have told other contractors -- namely Lockheed Martin, Boeing, ATK and the United Space Alliance -- that it will no longer support their lobbying efforts to keep Constellation alive.Their departure from the elite lobbying effort -- confirmed by very reliable sources and PWR officials -- is a blow to the effort to keep the moon program going over the objections of the President."

Rep. Kosmas on future of NASA, Fox Orlando

"We have made some propositions and proposals that we are hoping that the President will use to fill in the blanks that we thought were missing from his budget proposal. So I'm hoping, um, that it won't be a sales pitch and that it will actually be an opportunity for us to come together and find some common ground that will help us to mitigate job loss on the space coast."

Obama's plan to transform NASA in spotlight as Florida trip looms, Orlando Sentinel

"Lawmakers are threatening to file a congressional resolution in favor of Constellation, and several senators --- including George LeMieux, R-Fla. -- filed a bill last week aimed at preventing Obama from shutting down the program. While congressional critics have issues with the entire plan, it's the $429 million requested for KSC in 2011 that appears to be especially vulnerable. Members of Congress privately complain that nobody at NASA or in the White House has been able to explain to them exactly what the money will be used for. KSC Director Bob Cabana has said repeatedly that Kennedy is a 1960s facility badly in need of modernization. But he has also said that NASA is still studying what a 21st-century launch center should look like and how to coordinate changes with the Air Force, which now runs commercial launches at the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station outside the gates of KSC. That, he said, takes time. Lawmakers are unimpressed, with some claiming that the funds are nothing but a political payoff to Florida in an election year. They have been telling members of the aerospace industry in Florida not to hold out hopes for the money."

Posey's Fight To Save Space Jobs Continues,

"Posey points back to when Obama was a presidential candidate and the promise he made during a campaign speech in Titusville in the fall of 2008. "You said you would close the gap between the space shuttle and Constellation," Posey said. "And you would assure America would stay first in space. Right now he's doing neither, and I'm hoping that's going to change soon." Posey said he will be at the April 15 summit whether he's invited or not. "We have not received any notice at all from the president about the meeting," Posey said. "We've written him. We've asked to be invited."

Keith's 31 March update: Someone sent another fraudulent email under my name to my Congressman, Rep. Moran (apparently and incorrectly) expressing my supposed disagreement with the new space policy. One NASA Watch reader noted today that

"[Rep.] Anna Eshoo has been getting about 1 email per week "from me" and when I got them to send me the text of the email, I Googled it and found it to be from Go Boldly, but it was from a Facebook page attributed to them."

Sending emails out under someone else's name without their permission is actionable fraud, plain and simple. What goes around comes around, folks. These tactics are bound to backfire. It certainly looks like the JSC pro-Constellation/Anti-Obama Space policy Go Boldy folks have a broken system in place. They need to fix this ASAP.

The domain for this organization is registered to Gary McNeel. According to this video and a phone call to me, Nick Gardner is one of the leaders of this effort.

I *DO NOT* like people sending emails using my name - and I will respond accordingly.

Earlier posts and text of the emails I have gotten are below.



Monthly Archives

About this Archive

This page is an archive of entries in the Congress category from April 2010.

Congress: March 2010 is the previous archive.

Congress: May 2010 is the next archive.

Find recent content on the main index or look in the archives to find all content.