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FYI focuses on the programs and missions sponsored by the Science Mission Directorate, including in the Astrophysics, Planetary Science, Heliophysics, and Earth Science Divisions. FYI also covers science-related missions supported by other directorates, including the International Space Station.

9 Jul 2010

A recent Government Accountability Office (GAO) report requested by the  House Committee on Science and Technology’s Subcommittee on Investigations and  Oversight sheds light on years of technical delays, administrative mismanagement,  and the spiraling cost of the National Polar-orbiting Operational Environmental  Satellite System (NPOESS).

30 Jun 2010

Yesterday evening the House Commerce, Justice, Science Appropriations Subcommittee approved its version of their FY 2011 funding bill.  Rejecting on a party-line vote a Republican amendment to freeze funding at last year’s adjusted level, the bill approves the President’s request for the National Science Foundation and NASA, and while increasing overall funding for NIST, reduces it from the President’s request.

Chairman Alan Mollohan (D-WV) highlighted science, technology and STEM education in his opening statement:

29 Jun 2010

“The National Space Policy expresses the President’s direction for the Nation’s space activities” explains the White House Fact Sheet accompanying yesterday’s release of  “National Space Policy of the United States of America.”  This fourteen-page document with the seal of the President of the United States has a wide focus, encompassing many more topics than the proposed use of commercial flight services to the International Space Station.

15 Jun 2010

The Obama Administration’s proposal to terminate the Constellation Program and for NASA to contract with commercial services to transport American astronauts to the space station took a large step forward yesterday.  Senator Bill Nelson (D-FL), a key Member of Congress in shaping NASA’s programs and budgets, sent a letter to Senator Barbara Mikulski (D-MD), chair of the all-important Commerce, Justice, Science Appropriations Subcommittee.  In his June 14 letter, Nelson outlines some of the major provisions of a NASA reauthorization bill that he will bring before his subcommittee.  This bill

9 Jun 2010

There is little apparent change in the level of congressional opposition to the Administration’s proposed space policy.  Senate and House hearings by authorizing committees found minimal overt support for the new policy, and demonstrated wide-ranging and continuing opposition to the proposed termination of  the Constellation Program.

26 Apr 2010

Senate Commerce, Justice, Science Appropriations Subcommittee Chair Barbara Mikulski (D-MD) and Ranking Minority Member Richard Shelby (R-AL) expressed great interest in the testimony of John Frost at last week’s hearing  on the Obama Administration’s new space exploration policy.  Frost is a member of NASA’s Aerospace Safety Advisory Panel (ASAP.)  Senators at this hearing spoke repeatedly of the high priority they gave to astronaut safety issues.  “When it comes to the space program, we are a bipartisan group” said Mikulski.

23 Apr 2010

“I need to know more,” was as supportive as Senate Commerce, Justice, Science Appropriations Subcommittee Chair Barbara Mikulski (D-MD) could be about the Administration’s new space exploration policy at yesterday’s hearing on the FY 2011 NASA  request.  Other senators on the panel were far more definitive, expressing outright hostility to the Administration’s new policy.

20 Apr 2010

“This is a pivotal time.” - Norman Augustine

Following President Obama’s address last Thursday at the Kennedy Space Center describing the Administration’s new space exploration policy, NASA Administrator Charles Bolden, OSTP Director John Holdren, and Norman Augustine spoke to a gathering of government, private, and academic leaders.

26 Mar 2010

The reception NASA Administrator Charles Bolden received when testifying before the House Commerce, Justice, Science Appropriations Subcommittee this week was strikingly different from that given to OSTP Director John Holdren last month.  While both described NASA’s proposed space policy in essentially the same terms, committee members were not as overtly hostile to the Administration’s plan to cancel the Constellation Program at Tuesday’s hearing.

5 Mar 2010

Four hours of congressional hearings during the last two weeks found little support for the Obama Administration’s decision to cancel NASA’s Constellation program.  Although the tone of the Senate and House hearings was less strident than that of an earlier House appropriations subcommittee hearing that OSTP Director John Holdren testified at, it is clear that opposition to this plan is both deep and bipartisan on both sides of the Capitol.