Congress: May 2013 Archives

"Where, Why and How?" - Concerns of the House Subcommittee on Space, Paul Spudis

"I found that there is confusion and even some anger on the Hill over President Obama's decision to abandon the Moon as the near-term goal of human spaceflight. Additionally, there is widespread puzzlement about the newly minted, asteroid retrieval concept - whether it will accomplish any scientific benefits, if it will prepare us for human missions beyond LEO, and what societal value it may or may not have. The question before the committee was how we might best move forward in space. As the discussion proceeded, it was patently clear that we desperately need a guiding vision with a strategic direction, one that constantly, incrementally and cost effectively creates and extends our space capabilities. It requires a plan with abundant milestones, intermediate in time and money, which will move humans beyond low Earth orbit."

Where Do We Go Next In Space?, Earlier post

Subcommittee Examines Next Steps for U.S. Human Space Exploration

"A human mission to Mars is not attainable without significant scientific, technological, and operational progress and preparation. One or more interim destinations have often been suggested as the logical path for developing and demonstrating those capabilities needed in advance of the more distant and risky venture of sending humans to Mars. An interim destination could also serve as an important focal point and organizing mechanism for the human exploration program, as well as providing a vision and inspiring goal for the nation's future in space. Over past Administrations and the current Administration, the goal for an interim destination has changed."

Witnesses Debate Strategic Stepping Stones to Mars
"There are several compelling reasons for using the Moon as a training ground to prepare for more complex missions. Landing on the Moon would develop technical capabilities for landing on and launching from a large celestial body, something NASA has not done for more than four decades. Establishing a semi-permanent or permanent presence on the Moon would give astronauts an opportunity to work and live in an environment radically different from Earth."

Prepared statements: Witnesses: Douglas Cooke, Steven Squyres, Paul Spudis, Louis Friedman

Prepared statements: members: Rep. Steven Palazzo,
Rep. Lamar Smith, Rep. Donna Edwards, Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnsons

Prepared Statement by Wayne Hale

"Poised on the cusp of these new systems, we run the risk of being penny wise and pound foolish as we make the same mistake that doomed the space shuttle to much higher cost operations: starving a spacecraft development program in the name of saving a few pennies for today's budget bottom line resulting in the compromised systems that, if they fly at all, will not be cheap enough to enable business in space."

- Prepared Statement by Steven Collicott
- Prepared Statement by Patti Grace Smith
- Prepared Statement by Michael Lopez-Alegria

Job Security at NASA

Is NASA about jobs, or actually accomplishing something?, Houston Chronicle

"The diversity of these centers, including sites in populous states like Texas, California, Florida and Ohio, ensures political clout for the agency in both houses of Congress. At the same time, NASA has to continually spread work around all of these centers and keep senators and representatives from the homes of each of the 10 happy. Which is to say, first and foremost, saving jobs."

Federal budget cuts threaten NASA's space travel plans, KTRK

"... All that costs money, and Bolden says NASA's $16.8 billion budget request gets chopped to just $16.1 billion if the seqester is not rectified. "At the $16.1 billion level, there is no way in the world they can continue to operate a center like JSC at the level of employment that we have right now," Bolden said. Bolden laments this would mean cutbacks at all NASA centers, primarily contractors. But furloughs for civil servants, he confides, could also become necessary."

NASA Operating Plan for FY 2013 to Target Planetary Overall, Cuts Research and Completed Missions, Planetary Exploration Newsletter

"In his FY13 budget request, President Obama proposed the NASA Planetary budget be cut by more than 20% from its FY12 level (From $1.5B to less than $1.2B). Under the initial Continuing Resolutions covering the first half of the fiscal year, the Administration chose to operate NASA Planetary at this reduced level. Congress restored more than $222M of the President's cut in its FY13 appropriation passed on March 21 and signed into law by the President. Congress's action is now being reversed by NASA and others in the Administration through the preferential application of rescission and sequestration cuts of more than 15% to the NASA Planetary Science budget."

AIP FYI: Eighteen Former NSF Assistant Directors Criticize House Science Committee Bill and Inquiry

"The draft bill mandates a certification process for NSF awards that frankly requires the Director to accurately predict the future. The history of scientific discovery suggests this is just not feasible and we, as former federal science and technology executives, would suggest many basic research projects in every field supported by the NSF would likely not qualify for certification under this bill. This would be shortsighted, in our opinion since some of our greatest discoveries and innovations were unexpectedly born from basic research."

Injecting Partisan Politics into Scientific Peer Review, earlier post

Lawmakers urge NASA to be mindful of budget constraints, The Hill

"Lawmakers on Thursday urged NASA to be more realistic about developing space technology in light of budget constraints. Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-Calif.) chided NASA for not making the cost of projects clear to Congress and warned the agency that it risked having them axed entirely. Noting the recent exoplanet discoveries by NASA's $591 million Kepler telescope, Rohrabacher noted that Congress nearly shut down a similar telescope due to a lack of funding. "The [National Science Foundation's] Arecibo telescope was actually the first observatory to find evidence of this exoplanet, and we almost closed that down due to lack of funds. And that telescope remains a very important part of the projects that we are talking about," Rohrabacher said."

Continued Sequestration Will Short-Circuit SLS, Aviation Week

"Mikulski and Shelby consider that budget request inadequate, particularly in the funding for the heavy-lift Space Launch System (SLS) that is intended to take humans beyond low Earth orbit. NASA wants $820 million to keep at least two competitors in the running for a commercial route to the International Space Station, but many lawmakers would like to see $300 million of that transferred into the $1.385 billion SLS request for fiscal 2014."

Hearing charter

"The purpose of the hearing is to review the recent discovery of three super-Earth sized planets by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration's (NASA) Kepler space telescope. The hearing will also assess the state of exoplanet surveying, characterization, and research; NASA's Exoplanet Exploration Program; National Science Foundation's (NSF) Division of Astronomical Science; as well as coordination within the government and with external partners. NASA and NSF both contribute to the search for exoplanets."

Prepared Statements

- James Ulvestad, NSF
- John Grunsfeld, NASA
- Laurance Doyle, SETI Institute
- Rep. Steven Palazzo
- Rep. Larry Bucshon
- Rep. Lamar Smith

Keith's note: You might want to listen to this audio file from today's STA luncheon where Charlie Bolden answers a question about huge cuts to NASA education. Bolden doesn't seem to have any problems with the huge cuts that are being made in NASA's education and public outrach budgets in the proposed FY2014 budget. Indeed, he seems to think this is just wonderful. So, all of you NASA educators, you might as well give up and find other areas to channel your energies. Charlie Bolden thinks that you need less money.

Details on The Gutting of NASA Education, earlier post

Keith's note: After a month and a half NTRS is apparently no closer to being online. But the paranoia is spreading. Now, when you go to the NASA Image Exchange, you get the same notice that greets frustrated NTRS users:

"The NASA technical reports server will be unavailable for public access while the agency conducts a review of the site's content to ensure that it does not contain technical information that is subject to U.S. export control laws and regulations and that the appropriate reviews were performed. The site will return to service when the review is complete. We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause."

Given the unclassified porn that was on Bo Jiang's laptop I guess NASA is now looking to see if there is porn - especially the classified and ITAR-sensitive variety - on their servers. Yes, I am being silly. But this makes no sense. Why is NASA taking servers with old NASA PAO photos offline in response to Jiang's laptop contents? NASA has known what was (and was not) on Bo Jiang's laptop for quite some time - well before this image server was taken offline. To be certain, using government computers to download porn is wrong and violators need to be dealt with. Were large NASA servers taken offline when previous cases arose concerning NASA personnel? No. Why now?

- NASA Technical Reports Server Mysteriously Taken Offline, earlier post
- NASA Blocks Everyone From Access To Everything on NTRS, earlier post

American Astronomical Society Statement on President Obama's Proposed FY 2014 Budget

"The AAS is deeply concerned about the Administration's renewed proposal to cut NASA's Planetary Science Division, this time by $200 million compared to the 2013 level enacted by Congress and signed by the President last month. At this level, the budget precludes a major mission to any planet other than Mars after 2017, and precludes exploration of Europa, a high priority for the planetary science community. The request also threatens the cadence of Discovery and New Frontiers missions, which are a cornerstone of the Planetary Sciences Decadal Survey to ensure balance among mission classes. The U.S. planetary exploration program has a storied history and a compelling plan for the future. The AAS urges the Administration and the Congress to find a path forward that maintains U.S. leadership in planetary science, rather than ceding future exploration of our solar system to other nations."



Monthly Archives

About this Archive

This page is an archive of entries in the Congress category from May 2013.

Congress: April 2013 is the previous archive.

Congress: June 2013 is the next archive.

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