Policy: October 2010 Archives

NASA Administrator Thanks President Obama and Congress for Agency's New Direction Support

"We will foster a growing commercial space transportation industry that will allow NASA to focus our efforts on executing direction in the act to start work on a heavy-lift architecture to take astronauts beyond low-Earth orbit and to develop a multipurpose crew vehicle for use with our new space launch systems."

Coalition applauds President Obama for signing into enactment, the NASA Authorization Bill

"The passage of this legislation is a testament to our Congressional system," said Glenn Mahone, chairman of the Coalition. "Those who championed this bill obtained unprecedented, unanimous support in the Senate and advanced it through the House. With the President's signature, we enter a new chapter in 21st-century space exploration."

Keith's 6 Oct. note: NASA Watch sources report that this upcoming trip to China and then Indonesia is Charlie Bolden's idea first and foremost. The White House did not ask him to go to either country - nor do they want him to go. But he is going anyway. The trip to Saudi Arabia was similarly unrequested and unsanctioned as far as the White House was concerned. This begs the question in the White House and elsewhere as to why Bolden is focusing his energy on foreign trips at a time when NASA's domestic support is sagging. Moreover, there is growing concern within the White House as to why Bolden is not getting the message that the White House has been sending to him. Bolden's recent gaffs in the Middle East and ethics issues with Marathon Oil haven't exactly helped his relationship with the White House. Stay tuned.

Human Spaceflight on Agenda for Bolden's China Trip, Space News

"But it remains unclear whether Bolden is making his trip at the behest of the White House or on his own initiative. White House spokesman Nicholas Shapiro declined to comment on Bolden's China visit and referred media queries to NASA. When asked about Bolden's trip NASA spokesman Michael Cabbage referred to last November's joint U.S.-China communique that calls for expanded discussions on human spaceflight cooperation. Cabbage said the trip "is being coordinated with all appropriate government agencies," even as a senior Republican lawmaker requested a security briefing on the visit before it happens."

U.S. Lawmaker Balks at NASA Chief's China Visit, space.com

"In an Oct. 5 letter to the NASA chief, Rep. Frank Wolf (R-Va.) said he strongly opposes any partnership with Beijing that involves human spaceflight, including efforts to involve China in the international space station. "I need not remind you that no such planning or coordination has been approved by the Congress," wrote Wolf, the ranking member on the House Appropriations commerce, justice, science subcommittee that oversees NASA spending. "In fact, several recent NASA authorization bills have explicitly sought to place strict limitations on coordination with China."

Keith's 9 Oct. update: That's rather odd. The White House is normaly much more forthcoming on commenting on matters such as this given that a senior government official such as Bolden is going to China (and Indonesia and Viet Nam). Unless, of course, as is the case with this trip, this is not their idea and they'd rather that he not go on the trip in the first place. Relations between the U.S. and China are rather frosty right now. As such, you don't really want someone prone to public gaffs making a highly visible trip with media dogging him the entire time. Stay tuned.

ChasingAugustine, Wayne Hale

"A couple of months later I was notified that I would receive a Group Achievement Award for helping with the [Augustine] committee. I told them I did not want the award and would not accept it. They didn't know how to handle that request. I boycotted the awards presentation but they still sent me the certificate in the mail. My first impulse was to burn it. I still may. A fair question to ask is what about the committee's work so thoroughly upset me? There were a number of factors, far more than I can explore in one short post. So I will deal with the #1 reason: the committee was snookered by OMB."

Obama Space Adviser Leaves White House, Space News

"Peter Marquez, director of space policy for the White House National Security Council, stepped down Sept. 27 to pursue new opportunities. Marquez, who was appointed to the post in 2007 by then-National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice, played a central role in shaping U.S. President Barack Obama's new national space policy issued by the White House in June."

Back to the Past

Back to the Past, editorial, NY Times

"President Obama's call for sweeping changes in the space program got mugged by lobbyists and pork-minded legislators. An authorization bill for NASA -- the National Aeronautics and Space Administration -- that cleared Congress will leave the agency mired in past technologies. ... A primary goal of those who drafted the legislation was to provide money and save jobs at existing NASA centers and their contractors. At a time of high unemployment, it's hard to argue with that impulse. But the result will be to postpone -- possibly for decades -- the development of the new technologies that could revolutionize long-distance space travel."


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