Policy: July 2010 Archives

Space Exploration Technologies (SpaceX) announced this week that they would shoot for a September launch for the next flight of their Falcon 9 rocket. Space Florida announced it had signed an agreement with a United Kingdom group to help further international commercial space cooperation. Over at OPF-3, Discovery was being readied for what could be her final flight. This week also marks the anniversary of rockets exploring the heavens from Cape Canaveral.

Frank Sietzen Jr.: Last week, the Senate Commerce, Science and Space Committee marked up a draft of a proposed FY2011 Authorization bill for NASA. That bill maintains the Obama administration's top line budget for the civil space agency, but otherwise it contains virtually none of the individual funding areas for human spaceflight that the administration had sought.

But it's my contention that the bill, whether or not it ever gets passed into law, is an historic development in legislative space affairs. Back in 2004, in our book "New Moon Rising", Keith Cowing and I used the phrase "opening a hinge of history" to describe how the Columbia Space Shuttle disaster provided an opening for an historic new direction in space policy. We initially perceived that direction as being the first era of human spaceflight since 1972 that was not to be dominated by the Shuttle program. But what really emerged would eventually become the so-called "Vision for Space Exploration".

Diplomacy: Nothing new about NASA outreach, editorial, Houston Chronicle

"Bolden's comments are a reminder of what we could do, what we could be and how we could continue to help create a better world. He could make it happen if he had the political backing of national will. That his comments ring hollow and make him appear nearly foolish to many shows the tragedy of having an American president who thinks we are unexceptional, arrogant to assume we can lead and too poor to tell our children there is more to see, to do and to learn. What he said was, "Yes, we can!" What he did was, no, we can't. So, it makes me sad for my friend Charlie. And, it makes me sad for my country."

NASA Needs Integrated Strategy to Control Mission Costs, NRC

"NASA should develop a broad, integrated strategy to contain costs and maintain schedules as earth and space science missions are planned and designed, says a new report by the National Research Council. The report also calls on NASA, Congress, and the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) to consistently use the same method to quantify and track costs."

Letter from Former Columbia Accident Investigation Board Members Regarding Crew Safety

"As former board members of the Columbia Accident Investigation Board (CAIB), we agree with your view that assuring crew safety is an essential element in the discussion of future U.S. crew transportation systems. As members of the CAIB, we have also noted with interest recent space policy discussions where our report has been cited. In particular, we have been somewhat surprised to learn that some people, both within and outside of the Congress, have interpreted the new White House strategy for space which gives a greater role to the commercial sector in providing crew transportation services to the International Space Station, as being not in line with the findings and recommendations of the CAIB report. Our view is that NASA's new direction can be a) just as safe, if not more safe, than government-controlled alternatives b) will achieve higher safety than that of the Space Shuttle, and c) is directly in line with the recommendations of the CAIB."

Obama chooses path of submission, opinion, news-journal.com

"NASA is now primarily tasked with making people feel good about math and science, and in particular the Muslim world. No longer is it concerned with manned space flight, no longer is it charged with increasing our knowledge of the universe. It is charged with making everyone in the world and in particular Muslims feel good. The excellent news about that is it should not take nearly as much money to do this. We will no longer need to invest in rockets or spaceships. It is all about feelings. Perhaps, NASA can be combined into the Department of Education or the State Department."

Obama's Spaced-Out Mission, opinion, Richmond Times Dispatch

"Nowhere in the act was NASA assigned the responsibility to expand international relationships or reach out to "the Muslim world and engage much more with dominantly Muslim nations to help them feel good about their historic contribution to science and engineering." However, according to a recent interview NASA Director Charles Bolden gave to AlJazeera, that is exactly what President Obama informed him the space agency's foremost mission was to be."

Lost in space: Obama's NASA program, Daily Caller

"When did it become the NASA administrator's top job to "reach out" to the Muslim world and make them "feel good?" In the past, NASA administrators were busy managing their agencies, but not Mr. Bolden. He is our ambassador to the Muslim world, speaking for President Obama. In the interview, Bolden sounded more like a politician or a diplomat than a NASA administrator."

Debating NASA's mission, Letters, Houston Chronicle

"So President Obama has charged NASA chief Charles Bolden with the crucial mission of finding a way to reach out to the Muslim world to help them feel good about their historic contribution to science, math and engineering ("NASA's crucial missions hijacked by liberal agenda," Page B9, Thursday). How condescending. I have read that Arab schools stress these achievements and rightly so. They don't need the U.S. to tell them to be proud of their heritage. Let's let NASA get on with the mission for which it was created."

Obama's NASA Chief: Muslim Outreach is My Foremost Mission, Rush Limbaugh

"RUSH: That's right. That's precisely why it's wrong. Obama is the new chief executive and all of America's wrong. The original mission statement of America is wrong. That's the Constitution, and that's under assault, too. Not just the initial mission statement of NASA. If he's going to run around and say that NASA's purpose now is to spread science and math understanding to Muslim countries and to recognize their contributions to math and science, then you can imagine what this bunch thinks of the Constitution."

NASA's new mission -- make Muslim countries 'feel good', Glenn Beck

"GLENN: But imagine how condescending that is to say that NASA's going to go over and say, look who's been smart in the past, look what you've done. Who can take an abacus and turn it upside down? You can. I mean, that is the most condescending thing I've ever heard. Make them feel good about their history. And isn't that so very progressive. Make them feel good. That's the charge of NASA? That's what we're doing with NASA money?"

Does the 'S' In NASA Suddenly Stand for 'Stupid'?, Opinion, Fox News

"So don't fault Bolden, fault his commander in chief. Every time conservatives underscore the idea that Obama is not a Muslim, he does everything within his power to cozy up to the very powers that hate our guts and dominate the Muslim world."

State Department Daily Press Briefing, NASA Excerpts, 6 July 2010

"QUESTION: Can you speak to why the NASA administrator was doing outreach to the Muslim community? There was an article over the weekend.

MR. TONER: It's an excellent question. I do not have an answer for you on that. I can try to - or I encourage you to talk to our NASA colleagues. I mean, obviously, the new space policy has a more international approach, and we unveiled that, I believe, from the White House last week or a week ago - yeah, a week ago Monday, today. Today's Tuesday.

QUESTION: Isn't that the role of the State Department and not the space agency, obviously?

MR. TONER: Well, I mean, I think it's an interagency cooperative effort. And so obviously - but I - as to specific comments today, I think I saw it on TV, I didn't listen to them closely enough to have any response for you. I can just say that part of the new approach to space - this Administration's new approach to space is to engage in international partners and that would - obviously, that would include in the Muslim world."

Keith's note: Gee, of all places, why would anyone ask the State Department about a recent visit by a senior Administration official to several mideast countries - at the request of the White House?

State Department Officials Afraid To Use Real Names When Talking About Space Policy, earlier post

This week at Cape Canaveral saw the red, white and blue honored by one of the most historic of American traditions. It also saw local leaders both working to improve the economic future of the Space Coast region and acknowledging the benefits of the shuttle era extending into another year.

Obama space policy: Share the sandbox, Nature

"The most striking emphasis to me is something that is not at all new: a continued push to get the government out of the rocket business. Commercial space has been a clear focus of the new NASA ever since the presidential budget was released in February. But what's not clear is if it will end up happening, given Congressional intransigence."

White House Space Policy: Good News For Greens, Time

"NASA junkies continue to howl at the Obama administration's plans for human space exploration, and with good reason: there's just no there there."

Obama reverses Bush's policy on space, NY Times

"The Obama administration Monday unveiled a space policy that renounces the unilateral stance of the Bush administration and instead emphasizes international cooperation, including the possibility of an arms-control treaty that would limit the development of space weapons."

Obama Backs Away from Intergalactic Domination, Wired

"Space: to President Obama, it's an opportunity for nations to join gloved hands and perform a glorious multinational spacewalk, all for the good of science. But he's not ready to rule it out as a potential battlefield, either." W.H. releases National Space Policy, Politico

"NASA was not part of the press conference. Pavel said the space agency was just one of "a couple of dozen departments around the table," including the State Department, the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the Department of Energy, meeting to develop a policy that "reflected the president's priorities."

Commercial Spaceflight Federation Welcomes Newly Released National Space Policy

"Bretton Alexander, President of the Commercial Spaceflight Federation, stated, "The National Space Policy reinforces the President's new plan for NASA, particularly the use of commercial providers for transport of crew and cargo to the International Space Station. The National Space Policy recognizes the benefits of a robust commercial space industry and lays down a series of clear policies to enable further growth of this sector."


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