Policy: September 2009 Archives

NASA may push Ares I as demonstration project instead

"Officials say that in a teleconference last week, Bolden told senior agency managers that he was considering recommending to President Barack Obama that NASA keep working on its controversial AresI rocket as a "technology demonstrator" -- a development project -- for the more powerful Ares V rocket still on the drawing board. Bolden's remarks followed a presentation by NASA managers that showed how, with some changes, its Constellation program of Ares I and Ares V rockets could appear to fit in with findings of a 10-member presidential committee that recently reviewed the agency's plans for human exploration. But one high-ranking NASA official who listened in to the meeting -- but wasn't authorized to talk about it -- said the conversation was "unfortunately caught up in the fantasy" that NASA would be getting an annual $3billion increase to its current $18billion budget -- a hike that administration officials say is highly unlikely. Senior administration officials also cautioned against reading too much into Bolden's comments, saying the NASA chief is still trying on ideas and weighing options."

A Green Future for NASA?

NASA to Push Environmental Goals, WS Journal

"NASA's No. 2 official on Wednesday vowed to provide taxpayers "better value" by focusing on environmental goals and promoting science education. In her most detailed explanation yet of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration's priorities, Deputy Administrator Lori Garver said the Obama administration wants to highlight "how much NASA is making things better on Earth." From providing satellite images to tracking global climate change and natural disasters to spurring greater student interest in science and math, Ms. Garver indicated NASA wants to deliver concrete benefits to taxpayers. Her remarks to an aerospace conference here marked a new approach focused on selling NASA as a catalyst for educational and environmental change."

Obama to focus on innovation in New York speech, Reuters

"President Barack Obama travels to New York on Monday to promote his strategy to improve the U.S. economy by spending on education and innovation, as he shifts his focus from healthcare reform to a week of diplomacy and international economic issues."

Marc's note: In case you weren't aware of it the Senate Hearing on Options and Issues for NASA's Human Space Flight Program is on at this time and available on NASA TV.

Augustine Commission and Space Exploration: Objectives Before Architectures - Strategies Before Tactics, Paul Spudis

"The release of the long-awaited report from the Augustine Commission has generated much discussion in space policy circles. Much of this discussion is congruent with a lot of the debate within the space community in that it focuses primarily on means rather than ends. A more pressing issue is why are we going into space with people and what will we do there. What are we trying to accomplish? We first need to look at our objectives, not the architecture. We need to develop a strategy to achieve our objectives; the tactics are the ways of implementing a strategy. In other words, once again, we are putting the cart before the horse."

Thinking About Augustine

Which way for NASA? A step-by-step path, Jim Oberg, MSNBC

"As a retired rocket scientist and avid space historian and strategist, I've been watching the debate over NASA's future in human spaceflight with great interest. I've been quite impressed by the questions coming from the independent panel charged with laying out the options for that future. Now that the panel's members have released a report summarizing the options available to the White House, I have even more respect for their analysis."

Augustine on the Hill This Week

Augustine Taking Findings to Capitol Hill, Aviation Week

"Senators and representatives will get a chance to respond to the recommendations of the Review of U.S. Human Space Flight Plans Committee this week, with back-to-back hearings on the panel's findings. Chief among them is the conclusion that NASA won't be able to get human beings out of low Earth orbit without about $3 billion a year more than it's getting for exploration, and even then it probably won't be able to meet the ambitious back-to-the-Moon goals of its current program."

NASA Needs More Money to Meet Space Goals, Panel Finds, Washington Post

"Don't try to put astronauts on Mars yet -- too hard, too costly. Go to the moon -- maybe. Or build rockets that could zip around the inner solar system, visiting asteroids, maybe a Martian moon. Keep the International Space Station going until 2020 rather than crash it into the Pacific in 2016. Help underwrite commercial space flight the same way the United States gave the airline business a boost in the 1920s with air mail."

Report on NASA's Future Backs Use of Private Contractors, WS Journal

"A blue-ribbon study group is urging the Obama administration to rely on private enterprise to reduce costs and accelerate broad access to low Earth orbit, comparing budding entrepreneurial space efforts to the 1920s, when air-mail contracts sparked a boom in U.S. commercial aviation."

Augustine panel tells White House NASA needs a new plan -- and more money, Orlando Sentinel

"A presidential panel told the White House today that NASA is on an "unsustainable trajectory" and to preserve a "meaningful" human spaceflight program, NASA needs an additional $3 billion annually and a mandate to work closely with other countries and private companies."

Obama space panel says moon return plan is a no-go, AP

"A White House panel of independent space experts says NASA's return-to-the-moon plan just won't fly. The problem is money. The expert panel estimates it would cost about $3 billion a year beyond NASA's current $18 billion annual budget. "Under the budget that was proposed, exploration beyond Earth is not viable," panel member Edward Crawley, a professor of aeronautics at MIT, told The Associated Press Tuesday."

Augustine Commission member says NASA needs more money for any future mission, Huntsville Times

"It's pretty clear NASA needs more money," said Dr. Ed Crawley, panel member. "We basically said human exploration beyond low Earth orbit is not obtainable within the fiscal year 2010 budget. We did not find a credible plan that would fit within the budget."

Panel: No moon or beyond for NASA without new funds, Houston Chronicle

"NASA has not been given resources matched to the tasks it has been asked to undertake, said Rep. Bart Gordon, D-Tenn., chairman of the Committee on Science and Technology. "That has to change." That message was echoed by Rep. Pete Olson, R-Sugar Land, the ranking Republican on the House panel that has jurisdiction over NASA. "The benefits of human spaceflight to our nation are innumerable, and as such our financial commitment to NASA and to the aerospace industry should not waiver and in fact should be increased to meet these worthy objectives, Olson said."

Panel: Space goals need $3 billion more a year, USA Today

"I'm very curious about what the administration is going to do with a report like this," said Marcia Smith, a former space expert for the Congressional Research Service and founder of spacepolicyonline.com. The "committee has made a stark case. They're saying it's $3 billion if you want to do almost anything."

Panel Calls Program of NASA Unfeasible, NY Times

"A blue-ribbon panel said Tuesday that a lack of financing has left NASA's current space program on an "unsustainable trajectory" and that the Obama administration should consider using private companies to launch people into low-Earth orbit."

Augustine: A Sanity Check

Augustine Review: October summit set to reveal NASA's forward path, NASAspaceflight.com

"The strategic direction of NASA is set to be announced in the first week of October, when new administrator Charlie Bolden and Human Space Flight Review panel chairman Norm Augustine conduct a NASA Executive Summit for all Senior Executive Service employees."

Keith's note: First of all some clarification: this article originally said that the meeting was 5-6 October and yet later in the article it also said it was to be held on 6-7 October. Then the article was changed to say 6-7 October. The earlier version is making the rounds via email. There is indeed an "2009 NASA Executive Summit" being held at the Reagan Building on 6-7 October, not on 5-6 October. Second of all Norm Augustine is not on the draft agenda and is not going to "conduct" any part of this meeting. Ed Crawley has been "invited" (but not confirmed) to speak. OSTP Director John Holdren has also been invited (but also not confirmed) to speak.



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This page is an archive of entries in the Policy category from September 2009.

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