Astronomers Gravely Concerned About Proposed WFIRST Cancellation

Astronomers Gravely Concerned About Proposed WFIRST Cancellation

The American Astronomical Society (AAS) is expressing “grave concern” about the Trump Administration’s proposed termination of the Wide-Field Infrared Survey Telescope (WFIRST).  The concern is not only about the telescope itself, but the consensus-based Decadal Survey process that recommended it.  The astronomy and astrophysics communities have used Decadal Surveys to prioritize ground- and space-based astronomy research since the early 1960s.  AAS says it will defend the Decadal Survey process and fight the proposed termination of WFIRST and a 10 percent cut to NASA’s astrophysics budget.

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Today’s Tidbits: February 15, 2018

Today’s Tidbits: February 15, 2018

Here are our tidbits for February 15, 2018:  Mike Griffin confirmed as USD/R&E and other nominations progress; Chris Shank joins Van Scoyoc Associates; intelligence community warns on antisatellite (ASAT) weapons.  Be sure to check our website for feature stories and follow us on Twitter (@SpcPlcyOnline) for more news and live tweeting of events.

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Today’s Tidbits: February 13, 2018

Today’s Tidbits: February 13, 2018

Here are our tidbits for February 13, 2018:  second time’s a charm for Progress MS-08; a SpaceX-ULA space race with hat eating as the bet;  SpaceX President Gwynne Shotwell is Satellite Executive of the Year. Be sure to check our website for feature stories and follow us on Twitter (@SpcPlcyOnline) for more news and live tweeting of events.

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NOAA Proposes Modest Space Weather Follow-On Program (Updated)

NOAA Proposes Modest Space Weather Follow-On Program (Updated)

Concern about the damaging effects of “space weather” on satellites and Earth infrastructure like the electric grid has been growing in recent years.  At the same time, spacecraft positioned between the Earth and the Sun to warn of such events are aging.  NOAA’s FY2019 budget request proposes a Space Weather Follow-On (SWFO) program to replace some of those capabilities, but it is quite modest compared to what the agency was planning two years ago.

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Trump Administration Refocuses NASA on Human Exploration, WFIRST is a Casualty

Trump Administration Refocuses NASA on Human Exploration, WFIRST is a Casualty

The Trump Administration released its FY2019 budget request today.  At first glance, it looks like good news for NASA — $19.9 billion.  At second glance, however, the projections for the next four years show a reduction to $19.6 billion and flat funding thereafter without an increase even for inflation.  In addition, it proposes killing the next large space telescope, WFIRST, because the money is needed to implement plans for future human exploration of the Moon and Mars.  Reaction from key congressional Democrats so far is not favorable.

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What’s Happening in Space Policy February 12-16, 2018

What’s Happening in Space Policy February 12-16, 2018

Here is our list of space policy events for the week of February 12-16, 2018 and any insight we can offer about them.  The House and Senate are in session for all or part of this week.

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NASA Wants “Seamless” Transition to Whatever Comes Next After ISS

NASA Wants “Seamless” Transition to Whatever Comes Next After ISS

NASA wants a “seamless” transition from the International Space Station (ISS) to whatever comes next in low Earth orbit (LEO).  An internal NASA document explains that the proposal to end direct government support for ISS in 2025 does not imply it will be deorbited then, but a goal to move to a new model where NASA is one customer of a commercial LEO enterprise.  The FY2019 budget request that will be submitted to Congress tomorrow will include funding to help commercial alternatives be ready in time, perhaps using parts of the ISS.  Congressional opposition to the idea is already building, however.

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Another Launch Hiccup for Roscosmos — Progress MS-08 Still on Pad (UPDATE)

Another Launch Hiccup for Roscosmos — Progress MS-08 Still on Pad (UPDATE)

Russia’s attempt to launch a cargo spacecraft on a Soyuz 2.1a rocket to the International Space Station (ISS) went awry this morning.  The Progress MS-08 spacecraft and its Soyuz 2.1a rocket are still on the launch pad.  Russia’s Roscosmos space state corporation said it will try again on February 13.  The cause is under investigation, but the incident bears resemblance to an October 12, 2017 scrub of Progress MS-07.[UPDATE: Progress MS-08 was successfully launched on February 13.]

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Today’s Tidbits: February 8, 2018

Today’s Tidbits: February 8, 2018

Here are our tidits for February 8, 2018:  government shutdown imminent, but hopefully short lived; Musk’s Starman not headed to asteroid belt after all; Bill Gerstenmaier and Jeff Bezos elected to NAE.  Be sure to check our website for feature stories and follow us on Twitter (@SpcPlcyOnline) for more news and live tweeting of events.

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Today’s Tidbits: February 7, 2018

Today’s Tidbits: February 7, 2018

Here are our tidbits for February 7, 2018:  Congress getting closer to a budget deal; next Space Council meeting February 21 in Florida; Sierra Nevada gets go ahead for Dream Chaser cargo mission to ISS.  Be sure to check our website for feature stories and follow us on Twitter (@SpcPlcyOnline) for more news and live tweeting of events.

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