Analysis of NASA’s Budget Situation and Commercial Space Prospects

The latest update from Space Access Society Founder Henry Vanderbilt in which he discusses NASA’s budget status, prospects for the future, and what the NewSpace community should do about it.

Space Access Update #121  2/16/11
Copyright 2011 by Space Access Society

This week, the House of Representatives is debating a new Continuing Resolution (CR) that will appropriate funds for the Federal Government for the rest of federal fiscal year 2011 (FY’11, October 1 2010 through September 30 2011.)  (Background: The entire US government is currently funded by a Continuing Resolution, a stopgap budget bill that continues funding at the previous year’s levels when Congress, as they did last year,  fails to pass normal budget appropriations.  The existing CR runs out this March 4th.)  And Monday, the White House released its proposed FY’12 federal budget.

Space Access Society Gears Up for Annual Conference

A note from Space Access Society’s Henry Vanderbilt:

Space Access ’11, our next annual conference is coming up in two months. SA’11 will once again be a small, intensive, informal conference, focused closely on the business, technology, and politics of radically cheaper space transportation. We’ve been running these Space Access conferences since the early nineties, and the audience tends to contain a high proportion of people working in the field on the entrepreneurial startup company end of things.  (To a considerable extent, our conference has been an incubator of that entrepreneurial end of things.)

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Vanderbilt: It Ain’t Over ‘Til We Can Stop Quoting Yogi Berra

Space Access Society Bulletin – Alert Followup
Monday 9/27/10

Today saw one extremely promising development: Representative Bart Gordon, Chairman of the House Science Committee and leading spokesman for the HR.5781 House version NASA Authorization, has conceded that the only practical way of “..providing certainty, stability, and clarity to the NASA workforce and larger space community…” is to allow the Senate NASA Authorization, S.3729, to come up for a vote in the House this week. In this morning’s House Science committee press release at http://science.house.gov/press/PRArticle.aspx?NewsID=2926, he says he “anticipate(s) that the House will consider the Senate version of the NASA reauthorization on Wednesday.”

But the Senate version still needs to win a 2/3rds House vote, on the near-certain assumption it will only be considered under “suspension of the rules” fast-track procedures. That 2/3rds vote is no sure thing. We need one last big push on this.

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The Battle Over NASA’s Budget Rages On

Ares I-X lifts off from the Cape.

Status Report on the NASA Funding Battle
by Henry Vanderbilt
Space Access Society

We hand-edited a brief status update onto the top of our main webpage last Monday 9/13; our apologies to anyone who may have missed it because we couldn’t mail it out as well.  We were on the road and without our usual web and mail tools.  (That report is now archived as http://www.space-access.org/updates/bulletin091310.html.)

A week later, the news is basically the same:  For the second week in a row, HR.5781 is not on the House calendar for the week (see the September 20th  “Weekly Leader” posted at http://www.majorityleader.gov/calendar/.)  We understand that, at least in part due to a significant number of constituent calls, the House leadership is aware that a lot of people don’t like HR.5781, and probably (no guarantees, of course) won’t put the bill in its current form up for a vote this session.  Press reports indicate that negotiations between House and Senate NASA Authorizers continue, with the outcome (if any) now more likely to be based on the Senate bill.  So, we’ve made progress – to everyone who made a call, thanks!
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Vanderbilt: Time to Call Your Congressman to Support NewSpace

Boeing's proposed commercial capsule.
Artist's conception of Boeing's commercial crew module. (Credit: Boeing)

Space Access Society Update
by Henry Vanderbilt

The proposed new NASA space exploration policy looks as promising as anything we’ve seen come from those quarters for a long time. These reforms pass responsibility for basic space access to the US commercial sector, while refocusing NASA away from their ruinously inefficient in-house rocket development bureaucracy and back toward developing new technologies for future transportation and deep-space exploration. The new policy has potential to radically reduce the costs of basic orbital access, of routine space operations, and of deeper exploration too, vastly expanding our space development and future exploration possibilities.

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This Week on The Space Show

The Space Show schedule for this week:

Monday, March 15, 2010: 2-3:30 PM PDT We welcome Henry Vanderbilt to update us about the coming Space Access conference.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010, 7-8:30 PM PDT: We welcome Michael Heartsong of Promethean Enterprises regarding mining on the Moon and in space.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010: Col. (RES), Yoram Ilan-Lipovsky from Israel. He started the Israeli space program in the Israeli Air Force.

Friday, March 19, 2010: 9:30-11:30 AM PDT: We welcome Peter K. Homer of FLAGSUIT LLC to the show. He is the developer of pressure capable gloves and suits for private spaceflight, industrial and medical uses. His company is FLAGSUIT LLC.

Vanderbilt: New Space Policy Promising

Henry Vanderbilt of the Space Access Society is encouraged by what he is hearing out of Washington these days:

The new White House NASA space exploration policy looks as promising as anything we’ve seen come from those quarters for a long time. Passing responsibility for basic space access to the US commercial sector while refocusing NASA on developing the technology for future deep-space exploration has potential to radically reduce the costs of both basic access and deep exploration, vastly expanding our future exploration and development possibilities.

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Space Access ’10 Set for Phoenix in April

An update on planning for the Space Access ’10 Conference:

It’s been eight months since Space Access ’09 was a (successful) wrap, and it’s well past time we got back to work. We now have a signed hotel contract for Space Access ‘010, for Thursday afternoon April 8th through Saturday evening April 10th 2010, at the Best Western Grace Inn in Phoenix Arizona.

Space Access ‘010, our next annual conference on the technology, politics, and business of radically cheaper access to space, will feature a cross-section of leading players in the field, and will once again be the place to hear the latest on the fast-moving entrepreneurial new-space industry. Space Access conferences are designed to let people who are serious about low-cost space transportation get together, trade information, make deals, and learn useful things. No rubber-chicken banquets, just an intensive single-track presentations schedule, with relaxed on-your-own meal breaks in a setting with plenty of comfortable places nearby to go off and talk.

More details are available on the Space Access Society website.

Greetings from Phoenix

Hey everyone.

I’ve been busy at the Space Access ’09 conference in Phoenix over the last two days. Some really interesting sessions and talks with the people here. Very cool. There’s also a barbershop quartet convention at the hotel here. It’s strange to walk directly out of a session full of complex geek speak to be serenaded with simple love songs in perfect four-part harmony . 

I’ve been busy absorbing a lot of information. I’ve also been dealing with a somewhat bulky laptop and some server problems. Expect some more posts today and on Sunday.

Space Access Society to Hold Annual Conference in April

Space Access ’09 Conference
April 2-4, Phoenix Arizona
Press Release

Space Access ’09, our upcoming annual conference on the technology, politics, and business of radically cheaper access to space, featuring a cross-section of leading players in the field, will once again be the place to hear the latest on the fast-moving entrepreneurial new-space industry.

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