Policy: November 2013 Archives

2013 National Space Transportation Policy

"The United States has long been a leader in space, and President Obama remains committed to maintaining America's competitiveness in the aerospace sector. The National Space Transportation Policy the President signed today will ensure that the United States stays on the cutting edge by maintaining space transportation capabilities that are innovative, reliable, efficient, competitive, and affordable, and that support U.S. interests."

- President Obama's National Space Transportation Policy: A Bold Vision for Space, NASA
- Boeing Statement on President's National Space Transportation Policy, Boeing
- New National Space Transportation Policy Reaffirms that Investment in Space is a Good Investment for the Future of Our Nation, Coalition for Space Exploration
- Committee Democrats Comment on the National Space Transportation Policy, House Science Committee

Lots of Meetings But No Unified Message on Future Space Exploration, SpacePolicyOnline (Marcia Smith)

"Four meetings in Washington, D.C. over this past week addressed the future of space exploration, but no unified message emerged. There was a focus on the role of the entrepreneurial NewSpace private sector and public-private partnerships, but also on the traditional model of government contracting with major aerospace companies. Integrating what all of the prominent individuals involved in these events wanted the public and policymakers to hear is challenging. That is not to imply that the organizers - a potpourri of government and non-government institutions -- intended there to be an integrated message from four separate events, but in an era when a cohesive rationale for and approach to space exploration is needed, such an outcome would have been helpful. Instead, it was more of a scattershot experience. Four events featuring a variety of new and established players arguing in favor of space exploration from various viewpoints. Here's a quick rundown."

NASA has broad political support, and therein lies one of its biggest problems, Houston Chronicle

"By spreading its funds across the country, and having 10 field centers, NASA can count on a broad political base. But by having so many fiefdoms (the NASA centers), and feeling compelled to spread contracts across the country, the space agency ends up being horribly inefficient and accomplishing significantly less than it could. I'm not sure there's the political will to fix a problem that's been evident for four decades any time soon."

Notice of renewal and amendment of the charter of the NASA Advisory Council

"Pursuant to sections 14(b)(1) and 9(c) of the Federal Advisory Committee Act (Pub. L. 92-463), and after consultation with the Committee Management Secretariat, General Services Administration, the NASA Administrator has determined that renewal and amendment of the charter of the NASA Advisory Council is in the public interest in connection with the performance of duties imposed on NASA by law. The renewed charter is for a two-year period ending October 24, 2015. It is identical to the previous charter in all respects except with regard to information pertaining to annual operating costs and number of meetings per year."

Keith's note: This item appeared in yesterday's Federal Register. I asked the NAC and NASA PAO:

- Has the cost of the NAC gone up or down? How much does the NAC cost NASA per year?  

ANSWER:  The annual operating cost for NAC has gone down.  In the 2011 NAC Charter, the cost was estimated at $1.8M and in the 2013 NAC Charter, the cost is estimated at $1.1M.

- How many NAC meetings will there be under the new charter? What is the rationale for changing the number of meetings?

ANSWER:  Under the 2013 NAC Charter, the number of NAC meetings per year is approximately three.  Under the 2011 NAC Charter, it was approximately four.  The decision to reduce the number of NAC meetings per year was driven by budget considerations.

- Can you send me the full text of the new charter - as amended?  

ANSWER:  A PDF of the 2013 NAC Charter is attached.

NASA Wants You To Nominate New Advisors For It To Ignore, earlier post

Keith's note: The NAS Space Studies Board is meeting today. Here is the webex Link that the NAS doesn't want you to know about. Their PR office told me several weeks ago that they would be letting media know about webcasting in advance of their meetings. They never sent me anything despite their pledge to do so. You have to know which internal NASA webpage to go to in order to download an agenda that has the links on them. Alas when you dial in the audio is so faint that you can't really hear what people are saying. Here are the presentations (not that there is anything interesting)

- Space Studies Board is (Not Really) Interested In What You Think, earlier post

Out of this world: Why Gingrich wants to go to space and says GOP turmoil is healthy, Yahoo

"Newt Gingrich was famously ridiculed during his 2012 presidential campaign for declaring that he would work toward establishing a colony on the moon if he were elected president. But the former Republican presidential candidate and Speaker of House is still dreaming about space exploration and told "Top Line" he would like to travel to space, "if I get the chance." "This is a good example of what's wrong with the current political system," Gingrich said. "I gave a serious speech in Florida at the Space Coast outlining a very bold strategy. ... I got savaged by two of my competitors, Romney and Santorum, who deliberately distorted the speech. I got ridiculed by 'Saturday Night Live.'" Gingrich, who now hosts a show on CNN, writes in his newest book "Breakout" that Washington is a city full of "prison guards of the past," who are slowing the pace of innovation in fields like space exploration."

- Different Takes on Newt Gingrich's Space Ideas, earlier post
- Gingrich Talks About Space Policy in Florida (Update), earlier post
- Other posts on Newt Gingrich

Spending debate puts NASA's mission up in air, Hearst

"What is sad to me is that NASA has always been above politics," says Nelson, who flew aboard Shuttle Columbia for six days as a payload specialist in 1986. "Now it's gotten to be a partisan issue and that is a sad day for the country."

Keith's note: Politics? Senator Nelson laments the appearance of politics in space policy?! Stunning news. But wait:

A. How did Nelson get to ride on the Space Shuttle?
B. Who forced the White House to pick Charlie Bolden?
C. Who forced the Administration's hand on SLS aka "the big rocket"?

- and so on. What a hypocrite.


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