We’ve been busy putting together our next Space Access conference (April 12-14 in Phoenix, latest details at space-access.org/updates/sa12info.html) and our comprehensive Update on this year’s new government space-funding politics season has been on hold.
The real world, as usual, didn’t wait – your first opportunity to push Congress to support a couple of genuinely useful space programs starts now, and runs through this coming Monday March 19th.
NASA’s Commercial Crew and Space Technology programs both got useful increases in the initial White House FY’13 budget request. That initial request is only the start of the FY’13 budget-making process, however. Now it goes to Congress for a months-long process of chopping and changing.
Early signs are that both Commercial Crew and Space Technology are being targeted by people who’d rather spend that money elsewhere, and in the case of Commercial Crew, who actively oppose its goals as a threat to their pet pork projects.
A key stop on the Congressional funding process is the House Appropriations Committee. This key funding committee has a procedure that allows House members in general to recommend programs for Committee action – full funding, defunding, or anything in between. Those recommendations from House members in general – from *your* Congressman, your Representative in the House – need to be made by early next week.
Your Congressman is a lot more likely to recommend to the Appropriators full funding for NASA Commercial Crew and Space Technology if you (and preferably a bunch of your fellow local constituents, AKA “voters”) contact them and ask them to.
Some of our colleagues who stayed more on top of this thing than us already have a letter out, describing the process in detail, including step-by-step instructions on how you can go about making the contact. You’ll find a copy at Rand Simberg’s site, http://www.transterrestrial.co
We strongly recommend that you follow that link, read the letter, then follow through by making the contact it asks. This country spends a large amount on space. Help us see that at least a modest fraction of those billions is spent in ways that actually support cheaper space access.