WASHINGTON (NASA PR) — NASA and Bigelow Aerospace of Las Vegas are holding a media availability at 1:30 p.m. EDT, Thursday, May 23, to discuss the agency’s Space Act Agreement with the company for its insight on collaborating with commercial industry on exploration beyond Earth orbit. Journalists can participate in-person or by teleconference.
Sen. Bill Nelson (D-FL) and Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-TX) have introduced legislation that would give NASA the long-term goal of creating a permanent human presence beyond low-Earth orbit space and the responsibility of submitting a plan to do so next year.
The bill is being opposed by NASA’s largest federal employee union, the International Federation of Professional Engineers (IFPTE). In a letter to Senators, the union says the measure is “a flawed and unbalanced effort to improperly prioritize a few outsourced and offshored activities, while neglecting NASA’s internal core capabilities and other critical needs.”
Peter Kokh has some interesting speculation over on the Moon Society Blog about how railroads, which helped to open up the American West, could serve as a vital transportation system on the moon and Mars. The author says that rail lines could be very useful in transporting many items, including habitat modules.
“Rails…will provide a smooth low-friction ride to a prepared siding complex where they can be dropped off and docked with one another to provide an instant starter outpost,” Kokh writes. “Such new ‘town starters’ might even be called ‘sidingments’ or ‘sidlings’ instead of settlements. Every new train could bring another module or two including ready to plug in ‘container factories.'”