New Course for Space Exploration Promotes Private Firms Wall Street Journal
The Obama administration appears set to chart a new course for U.S. space exploration by promoting the use of private companies to ferry astronauts into orbit, according to people familiar with the matter.
Exclusive:Obama Backs New Launcher and Bigger NASA Budget ScienceInsider
President Barack Obama willÂ ask Congress next year to fund a new heavy-lift launcher to take humans to the Moon, asteroids, and the moons of Mars, ScienceInsider has learned. The president choseÂ the new direction for the U.S. human space flight program Wednesday at a White House meeting with NASA Administrator Charles Bolden, according to officials familiar with the discussion. NASA would receive an additional $1 billion in 2011 both to get the new launcher on track and to bolster the agencyâ€™s fleet of robotic Earth-monitoring spacecraft.
Today, Congresswoman Suzanne Kosmas (D-FL-24) and Congressman Ken Calvert (R-CA-44) sent a bipartisan letter to President Obama signed by 81 members of the U.S. House of Representatives from across the country calling for additional funding for NASAâ€™s human spaceflight program. The large number of cosigners is an indication of the strong national support for human spaceflight and its many benefits.
Sources close to the administration say a presidential decision based on the Augustine panelâ€™s options is not expected before Christmas. Meanwhile, language contained in the Senate version of the bill could complicate the administrationâ€™s efforts to change direction and pursue an alternate architecture by requiring the president to submit proposed changes to the spending plan in the form of a 2010 budget amendment.
Meanwhile, budget maneuvers continue on Capitol Hill. Last week, the Senate passed a $18.7 billion budget for NASA. However, the bill must be reconciled with a House bill that cut $670 million out of the space agency’s human spaceflight program. The reduction was made due to uncertainty over the Obama Administration’s direction on human spaceflight.
Texas Delegation Seeks More Stimulus Money for NASA Space News
The Texas congressional delegation is urging U.S. President Barack Obama to redirect $3 billion in unspent stimulus money to NASA, a cash infusion the group said is needed to support a robust human spaceflight program and save jobs in Texas and around the country.
The Orlando Sentinel has a report on efforts by Florida officials to press President Barack Obama to stem job losses:
With the space-shuttle program about to end, and no clear sign when NASA’s next rocket will take its place, Space Coast political and aerospace officials agreed Monday that Florida must press President Barack Obama to keep his campaign promise to fund an “ambitious” space program and protect workers at Kennedy Space Center. (more…)
White House Seeks to Restore Human Spaceflight Funding Space News
The White House has asked congressional appropriators to restore $670 million cut from NASAâ€™s nearly $4 billion budget request for human space exploration in a version of the 2010 Commerce, Justice, Science appropriations bill the House passed in June, according to congressional and administration sources.
Obama Taps White House Budget Official for Top NASA Financial Job Space News
The White House said Sept. 16 it intends to send one of its senior budget officials to NASA to manage the U.S. space agencyâ€™s perennially troubled finances.
President Barack Obamaâ€™s nominee for the NASA chief financial officer post, Elizabeth â€œBethâ€ Robinson, is currently director for budget at the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB), overseeing the development, enactment and execution of the presidentâ€™s annual budget request.
If the U.S. Senate approves Robinsonâ€™s nomination, she will replace Ronald Spoehel, a former vice president of investment banking at the now-defunct Lehman Brothers and NASAâ€™s top accountant since September 2007. Robinson, like Spoehel, stands to inherit an office that last received a clean independent audit in 2002.
John Kelly: Reality check on Obama space promises Florida Today
“Let me be clear,” the president said, “we cannot cede our leadership in space. That’s why I am going to close the gap, ensure that our space program doesn’t suffer when the shuttle goes out of service.”
His goal was “making sure that all of those who work in the space industry in Florida do not lose their jobs when the space shuttle is retired because we cannot afford to lose their expertise.”
OUR VIEWS Bolden’s right: America must lead or lose in exploration of space Florida Today
The most telling moment in former astronaut Charlie Boldenâ€™s confirmation hearing Wednesday as NASAâ€™s next boss came in response to a question about how he planned to reinvigorate the agency.
The two-time shuttle commander and retired Marine Corps major general told this story:
When heâ€™d go into a classroom in 1980 and ask students how many of them wanted to be astronauts, every hand went up. But today, he said, â€œI may see three hands. All of them want to go into business.â€
NASAâ€™s inability to inspire a new generation of Americans â€” along with an inability to gain sustained political support for its efforts in Washington â€” shows the enormous challenges that Bolden will face when he takes the agencyâ€™s helm.