NASA, Air Force & Others Weigh in on SpaceX Falcon 9 Accident

Falcon 9 explodes on the launch pad. (Credit: USLaunchReport.com)
Falcon 9 explodes on the launch pad. (Credit: USLaunchReport.com)

NASA

“We remain confident in our commercial partners and firmly stand behind the successful 21st century launch complex that NASA, other federal agencies, and U.S. commercial companies are building on Florida’s Space Coast. Today’s incident — while it was not a NASA launch — is a reminder that spaceflight is an incredible challenge, but our partners learn from each success and setback.

(more…)

House Science Committee Wades into Clinton Email Controversy

Lamar Smith
Lamar Smith

The House Committee on Science, Technology and Space has waded into the Hillary Clinton email controversy, issuing subpoenas to three companies that provided software and services on a private email server to the presidential candidate during her time as Secretary of State (see press release below).

Apparently this matter comes within the purview of the Science Committee because the body wants to determine whether the “cybersecurity standards and measures used to protect information stored on Secretary Clinton’s private server were in accord with NIST standards.”

OK. Maybe. Or maybe not.

(more…)

House Space Subcommittee Holds Hearing on Astronaut Health Care

Working outside the International Space Station on the second spacewalk of Expedition 45, Nov. 6, 2015. (Credits: NASA)
Working outside the International Space Station on the second spacewalk of Expedition 45, Nov. 6, 2015. (Credits: NASA)

WASHINGTON (House Space Subcommittee PRs) — On Wednesday, the House Subcommittee on Space  on held a hearing titled Human Spaceflight Ethics and Obligations: Options for Monitoring, Diagnosing, and Treating Former Astronauts. The hearing examined NASA’s existing health care program for current and former astronauts.

(more…)

Smith, Babin Question NOAA Delay on DigitalGlobe License

DigitalGlobe_logoWASHINGTON (House Science Committee PR) — Science, Space, and Technology Committee Chairman Lamar Smith and Space Subcommittee Chairman Brian Babin (R-Texas) today sent a letter to U.S. Department of Commerce Secretary Pritzker on the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) lack of decision on granting DigitalGlobe a license to operate a space-based remote sensing system.

The Land Remote Sensing Policy Act of 1992 requires Secretary Pritzker to review and make a determination on any space-based remote sensing system license applications or inform the applicant of any pending issues.

(more…)

Why the Space Leadership Preservation Act is Necessary

Capitol Building
By House Science Committee Republicans

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The House Science, Space, and Technology Committee today held a hearing on The Space Leadership Preservation Act and the need for stability at NASA. The hearing featured input from former astronaut and first female Space Shuttle pilot and commander, Eileen Collins, former NASA Administrator Michael Griffin, and Rep. John Culberson, author of the Space Leadership Preservation Act.

(more…)

Lamar Smith on Obama’s Budget: I HATE It!

Lamar Smith
Lamar Smith

“This administration cannot continue to tout plans to send astronauts to Mars while strangling the programs that will take us there. President Obama’s FY17 budget proposal shrinks our deep space exploration programs by more than $800 million. And the administration once more proposes cuts of more than $100 million to the Planetary Science accounts, which have previously funded missions like this past year’s Pluto flyby. At the same time this proposal shrinks space exploration priorities within NASA’s budget, it disproportionately increases Earth Science accounts to more than $2 billion – a seventy percent increase since 2007. This imbalanced proposal continues to tie our astronauts’ feet to the ground and makes a Mars mission all but impossible. This is not the proposal of an administration that is serious about maintaining America’s leadership in space.”

— Rep. Lamar Smith (R-TX)
Chairman, House Committee on Science, Space & Technology

Smith’s statement is reproduced in full after the link.
(more…)

House Members Want NASA to Develop Human Space Exploration Roadmap

Artists concept of NASA’s Asteroid Redirect Robotic Mission capturing an asteroid boulder before redirecting it to an astronaut-accessible orbit around Earth's moon. (Credit: NASA)
Artists concept of NASA’s Asteroid Redirect Robotic Mission capturing an asteroid boulder before redirecting it to an astronaut-accessible orbit around Earth’s moon. (Credit: NASA)

WASHINGTON, D.C. (House Science Committee PR) – On Wednesday, the House Subcommittee on Space held a hearing titled,Charting a Course: Expert Perspectives on NASA’s Human Exploration Proposals.” Witnesses shared their viewpoints on NASA’s human space exploration plans – including a human mission to Mars – and the challenge of keeping programs on track through changing presidential administrations.

(more…)

Praise for NASA’s Commercial Cargo Contract Awards

CSF_logo2Commercial Spaceflight Federation

NASA announced three cargo contract awards to ensure robust and affordable transportation of critical supplies, scientific experiments and commercial payloads to and from the International Space Station (ISS) through at least 2024. NASA selected Orbital ATK, Sierra Nevada Corporation, and SpaceX to continue and expand upon its successful public-private partnerships with American companies to obtain reliable cargo resupply services for the ISS.

(more…)

Smith, Babin Praise Successful Reusable Rocket Test in Texas

Lamar Smith
Lamar Smith

Washington, D.C. (House Science PR) – House Science, Space, and Technology Committee Chairman Lamar Smith (R-Texas), and Space Subcommittee Chairman Brian Babin (R-Texas) today praised a private space company’s successful test of a reusable rocket at a test facility in West Texas. The company, Blue Origin, was the first ever to successfully launch and vertically land a rocket, which enables reuse.

Chairman Lamar Smith: “We are living in historic and exciting times. Congratulations to Blue Origin on the successful launch and landing of the New Shepard rocket yesterday in West Texas. Reusable rockets could revolutionize the space industry and promise to make future space exploration more affordable.  This is one of many firsts for American space innovators and it is the reason why the SPACE Act that Congress recently passed is so important. Texas continues to play a leading role in America’s space story, just as we have for the last 50 years.”

Space Subcommittee Chairman Brian Babin: “Blue Origin’s successful flight is a significant step in making space tourism a reality in Texas and the United States.  Congratulations to the entire team for their vision, ingenuity and tireless efforts in ensuring the United States is the home of commercial space.”

The test comes on the heels of passage of the SPACE Act, landmark bipartisan legislation that encourages private American space companies to continue investing in crucial research, development, and testing without the threat of new and overbearing government regulations. Chairman Smith partnered with House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), lead sponsor of the bill, to see it through to final passage in the House and Senate. It now awaits the president’s signature.

House Praise for Space Measure Passage

Capitol Building
WASHINGTON, D.C. (House Leadership PR) –
House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) and House Science, Space, and Technology Committee Chairman Lamar Smith (R-Texas) today praised Senate passage of a bicameral, bipartisan agreement on H.R. 2262, the U.S. Commercial Space Launch Competitiveness Act. The bill consolidates language from the House-passed Spurring Private Aerospace Competitiveness and Entrepreneurship Act of 2015 or SPACE Act with provisions from S.1297, the Senate’s commercial space legislation. It provides much-needed guidance and regulatory certainty for America’s private space industry partners.
(more…)

Smith Explodes as NASA Delays First Crewed Orion Flight

NASA's Orion with the European Service Module (Credit: ESA–D. Ducros)
NASA’s Orion with the European Service Module (Credit: ESA–D. Ducros)

NASA announced this week the first crewed flight of the Space Launch System (SLS) and Orion deep space crew module would slip from 2021 to no later than April 2023. The decision followed the completion of a “rigorous technical and programmatic review.”

“The commitment is consistent with funding levels in the president’s budget request,” the space agency said n a press release. “Conservative cost and schedule commitments outlined in the KDP-C align the Orion Program with program management best practices that account for potential technical risks and budgetary uncertainty beyond the program’s control.”

The announcement caused House Science, Space, and Technology Committee Chairman Lamar Smith (R-Texas) to blow a gasket.

“Once again, the Obama administration is choosing to delay deep space exploration priorities such as Orion and the Space Launch System that will take U.S. astronauts to the Moon, Mars, and beyond,” Smith said in a press release. “While this administration has consistently cut funding for these programs and delayed their development, Congress has consistently restored funding as part of our commitment to maintaining American leadership in space. We must chart a compelling course for our nation’s space program so that we can continue to inspire future generations of scientists, engineers and explorers.  I urge this administration to follow the lead of the House Science, Space, and Technology Committee’s NASA Authorization Act to fully fund NASA’s exploration programs.”

Read More

Congressmen Concerned About SpaceX Failure Investigation

Dragon capsule separated from Falcon 9 launch vehicle.
Dragon capsule separated from Falcon 9 launch vehicle.

Congress has weighed in on the investigation into the loss of a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket in June, accusing NASA of giving the company special treatment and calling upon the U.S. Air Force to take an active role in the probe.

(more…)

House Republicans Praise SPACE Act Passage

Rep. Kevin McCarthy
Rep. Kevin McCarthy

WASHINGTON, D.C. (House Science Commnittee Leadeship) – House Science, Space, and Technology Committee Chairman Lamar Smith (R-Texas) today joined House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) in praising passage of H.R. 2262, the Spurring Private Aerospace Competitiveness and Entrepreneurship Act of 2015 or SPACE Act. Almost 50 Democrats joined Republicans to pass the bill with broad bipartisan support, 284-133.

House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy: “America has always led because it’s in our nature to lead. We crossed over the mountains of the Appalachians and into the Great Plains. We climbed the Rockies to the golden coast of California and beyond, creating a nation in this land that has far surpassed all others in truth, hope, and liberty. We are a beacon of freedom and human dignity to every person that longs for the right to choose their own future. And we are a force for good unlike anything this world has ever known.

“And yet, in space, we are losing our ability to lead. We once stood up to the challenge of the Soviet’s Sputnik and made it to the moon, but today, our astronauts use Russian rockets and other nations are working to put people on Mars and beyond.

“But we must go beyond. We must face the great unknown with that American spirit of adventure and hope.  To paraphrase President Kennedy, we must lead mankind into space not because it is easy, but because it is hard and because that goal brings out the very best of our nation. …

(more…)

House Science Committee Explanation for Slashing NASA Science Budget

Capitol Building
WASHINGTON, D.C. (House Science Committee PR) –
House Science, Space, and Technology Committee Chairman Lamar Smith (R-Texas) today announced the Committee will mark up the NASA Authorization Act for 2016 and 2017 on Thursday of next week. The legislation reaffirms Congress’s commitment to NASA and restores much-needed balance to the nation’s only agency responsible for space exploration. It also supports NASA’s role as a multi-mission agency with programs in science, aeronautics, exploration, and human spaceflight, and makes clear that Mars should be NASA’s primary goal.

“For more than 50 years, the U.S. has led the world in space exploration,” stated Chairman Lamar Smith. “We must ensure that the U.S. continues to lead in space for the next 50 years.

(more…)