The Commercial Spaceflight Federation has been rather busy of late, welcoming the new House Space Subcommittee chairman to his new job, congratulating Blue Origin on a flight test, praising legislators for passing the SPACE Act, and reflecting on the fifth anniversary of President Barack Obama’s speech at the Kennedy Space Center.
While the Federation even found time to praise the House’s totally inadequate $250,000 increase in FAA AST’s budget (the office requested $1.5 million to keep up with its workload), it has not issued a single public statement about that august body’s $244 MILLION reduction in the Administration’s budget request for NASA’s Commercial Crew Program.
It has been left to Henry Vanderbilt at the Space Access Society to try to rally public support for full funding of the program to avoid additional delays in sending American astronauts to ISS on U.S.-build spacecraft and avoid sending more funds to the Russian space program.
Yesterday, a Senate subcommittee cut the request even more to a mere $900 million. This follows a pattern in Congress of underfunding the program year after year.
I find the Federation’s public silence disturbing. I sincerely hope officials are active behind the scenes in fighting against these inadequate funding levels. If the Commercial Spaceflight Federation can’t be counted on the support the Commercial Crew Program, then what is the point of having it.