NASA Authorization Bill Passed by House September 30, 2010Posted by Nick Azer in : Commercial Crew Development [CCDev], Constellation, NASA, National Space Policy, Obama, Space Shuttle , add a comment
The Senate version of the NASA Authorization Bill has been passed by the House!
The bill, approved late Wednesday, gives NASA clearer ‘marching orders’ (as Rick Tumlinson put it on the Huffington Post) going forward, and allows Congress its own modifications on (while finalizing) Obama’s new direction for the space program.
- $60 billion over three years for NASA
- An official end to Constellation
- $1.9 billion towards initial development of a new heavy lift vehicle, as a replacement to the cancelled Ares rockets. The rocket will begin development in 2011, four years earlier than the 2015 originally slated.
- One additional shuttle flight in 2011, while officially extending NASA involvement with the ISS to 2020
- $1.3 billion towards a new deep space capsule
- $312 million for commercial crew craft (private space)—versus the $500 million mentioned in the original White House 2011 budget plan
It’s good to see a bill passed that doesn’t dramatically alter Obama’s vision, and it is nice to see that new heavy lift moved up four years—even if it potentially is reusing parts of the Shuttle and Ares systems. With the new plan basically bypassing the Moon (as private companies lodge it in their sights), moving up the rocket four years could mean any NASA involvement on (or benefit from) the Moon could happen that much sooner.
A Stimulating Development?: NASA Assigns $50 Million in Stimulus Funds for Commercial Orbital Passenger Service August 10, 2009Posted by Nick Azer in : economy, Obama, Paragon, private sector, Space Shuttle, SpaceX , 1 comment so far
In an interesting economic development, NASA said today that $50 million in economic stimulus funds will be going towards developing commercial passenger service to orbit (to replace the retired Space Shuttle and to avoid pricey seats on the Russian Soyuz).
Private company SpaceX won one of two cargo contracts for the ISS back in January, and the Dragon craft they are using is designed to be modifiable to a human-passenger mode. NASA is holding a workshop this Thursday for SpaceX and other interested firms (quoted by the Reuters article as Ball Aerospace, Airborne Systems, Boeing, Tether Applications, Retro Aerospace, Emergent Space Technologies, Davidson Technologies, and Paragon Space Development Corp., many of whom appear specialized for certain systems).
Obama’s campaign space plan had hinted at this in the past—the idea of private U.S. space industry as stimulus. Frontiers do have a way of pushing economies along, so this could to be a road to developments much like the railroad projects of old. Considering the potential, Obama’s campaign plan, and certain past Obama decisions, there could be a lot more of this to come, and soon…Bush, Current News, NASA, Obama, Orion (craft), Soyuz, Space Shuttle , add a comment
The act authorizes $20.2 billion for NASA, including funding for an additional space shuttle flight , originally planned for retirement in 2010.
The gap between the shuttle’s retirement and the first flights of the Orion craft in 2014-2015 has created some concern, with the Russian Soyuz being the main stopgap option; recently, a measure was passed in Congress to allow NASA to purchase Soyuz craft (instead of having to piggyback); an interesting side note is that the Soyuz purchase waiver was something that Barack Obama discussed and then became involved with, with his running mate Joe Biden being the sponsor of the waiver. NASA’s future is clearly attracting some high-profile attention lately.
The new authorization act also calls for $1 billion in additional funding to accelerate the Orion program.
NASA Chief Mike Griffin's Interesting 50th Anniversary Comments October 8, 2008Posted by Nick Azer in : Apollo, Constellation, cooperation, Fusion Power, Helium-3, McCain, NASA, Obama, Space Shuttle , add a comment
Recently, Michael Griffin (Administrator, a.k.a the chief, of NASA) made some interesting comments to the Agency France-Presse (AFP) when discussing the 50th anniversary of NASA and NASA’s current state:
(Note: I think that 8.8mb portrait from NASA of Mr. Griffin is one of the largest images I have ever seen uploaded to the internet.)
NASA abandons accelerated Orion 2013 plan (News) August 12, 2008Posted by Nick Azer in : Altair, Ares I, Ares V, Constellation, Current News, NASA, Orion (craft), Space Shuttle , add a comment
Picture of the Week: What's in a Name? May 24, 2008Posted by Nick Azer in : Ares I, Ares V, Mythology, Orion (craft), Space Shuttle , add a comment
That is the vessel with which NASA’s Constellation astronauts will launching efforts towards the Moon, and eventually, Mars. The Ares rocket, with Ares I carrying the crew and Ares V carrying the cargo, is the first replacement for the Space Shuttle (which launched both cargo and crew at once). The Ares is the launch vehicle, with the spacecraft per se being the Orion.
Ares, the god, interestingly is (as Wikipedia puts it): “…more accurately the god of savage warfare, or bloodlust, or slaughter personified”. Lovely. I perhaps might have chosen a, ah…more diplomatic name for the vehicle launching our space efforts, though the choice technically comes from Ares’ Roman alter ego/incarnation: Mars, the warrior god, a form in which he was more honored in society (second only to Jupiter, in fact). Fun fact: the month of March is named after Mars.