Today’s Tidbits: January 18, 2018

Today’s Tidbits: January 18, 2018

Here are our tidbits for January 18, 2018:  shutdown update; Mike Griffin’s confirmation hearing for USD/R&E.  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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Bridenstine, Myers Nominations Again Clear Committee on Party-Line Votes

Bridenstine, Myers Nominations Again Clear Committee on Party-Line Votes

The Senate Commerce Committee voted again today on the nominations of Rep. Jim Bridenstine (R-Oklahoma) to be NASA Administrator and AccuWeather CEO Barry Myers to be NOAA Administrator.  Like last year, they were approved on party-line votes, 14-13.  The next step is for the full Senate to consider the nominations.  That did not happen last year because both are controversial, which is why President Trump had to renominate them, necessitating today’s committee action.

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SpaceX Reiterates Falcon 9 Performed as Planned for Zuma Launch

SpaceX Reiterates Falcon 9 Performed as Planned for Zuma Launch

At a hearing today on NASA’s commercial crew program, committee members could not resist asking SpaceX’s representative about the super secret Zuma mission that apparently failed earlier this month.  SpaceX’s Hans Koenigsmann reiterated that the Falcon 9 performed as planned and took issue with statements made in a recent Loren Thompson commentary critical of SpaceX.

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NASA “Brainstorming” Options if Commercial Crew Not Ready Before End of 2019

NASA “Brainstorming” Options if Commercial Crew Not Ready Before End of 2019

The Boeing and SpaceX commercial crew systems are not likely to be certified until late 2019 or early 2020 according to testimony to Congress today from the Government Accountability Office (GAO).  That could imperil U.S. access to the International Space Station (ISS) since NASA has purchased seats to fly on Russian Soyuz spacecraft only through 2019.  NASA said it is “brainstorming” ideas on what to do if the contracted Soyuz flights end before the commercial crew systems are ready.   Everyone at the hearing agreed that safety, not schedule, should drive the program, however.

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Today’s Tidbits: January 16, 2018

Today’s Tidbits: January 16, 2018

Here are our tidbits for January 16, 2018:  will Congress pass a new CR to avoid a government shutdown?;  Falcon Heavy update; NASA tests SLS engine.  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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What’s Happening in Space Policy January 15-19, 2018 – UPDATE

What’s Happening in Space Policy January 15-19, 2018 – UPDATE

Here is our list of space policy events for the week of January 15-19, 2018 and any insight we can offer about them.  The House and Senate will be in session beginning Tuesday. [Updated January 15.]

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SpaceX Commercial Crew Flight Tests Slip

SpaceX Commercial Crew Flight Tests Slip

In advance of a congressional hearing next week on the status of the commercial crew program, NASA’s Commercial Crew Program (CCP)  has released new dates for when Boeing and SpaceX will conduct flight tests of their CST-100 Starliner and Crew Dragon spacecraft.  All the tests will still take place this year according to the new schedule, but SpaceX’s have slipped several months.

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Today’s Tidbits: January 11, 2018

Today’s Tidbits: January 11, 2018

Here are our tidbits for January 11, 2018:  NASA IG concludes CASIS is underperforming;  successful glide flight test of SpaceShipTwo VSS Unity; update on China’s Chang’e-4 lunar far-side lander. 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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NASA Safety Panel Reiterates Need for Constancy of Purpose, Attention to Human Spaceflight Systems

NASA Safety Panel Reiterates Need for Constancy of Purpose, Attention to Human Spaceflight Systems

NASA’s Aerospace Safety Advisory Panel (ASAP) issued its annual report today.  NASA is at a critical juncture in human space flight development, it says, repeating a warning from previous years that “constancy of purpose” at NASA is essential in order to avoid negative impacts on cost, schedule, performance, morale, process discipline, and safety.

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Today’s Tidbits: January 10, 2018

Today’s Tidbits: January 10, 2018

Here are our tidbits for January 10, 2018:  Japanese astronaut apologizes — did not grow 3.5 inches after all; JWST optical system passes tests; NASA’s SWIFT telescope renamed in honor of Neil Gehrels.  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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