Today’s Tidbits: September 19, 2017

Today’s Tidbits: September 19, 2017

Here are our tidbits for today, September 19, 2017.  Enjoy!

Senate to House:  No Space Corps

As published in the July 27, 2017 Congressional Record, p. S4805.

The Senate Armed Services Committee confirmed to today that the Nelson/Cotton “no-Space Corps” amendment was adopted in the Senate’s version of  the FY2018 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) that passed yesterday (several media sources reported the news yesterday, but we couldn’t find it in the Congressional Record so wanted to be 100% sure).  The amendment (SA 730) states that no funds authorized by the NDAA “or otherwise available” may be used to establish “a military department or corps separate from or subordinate to the current military departments, including a Space Corps in the Department of the Air Force…”  It is certain to set up a fight with the House during negotiations over a final version of the bill. House Armed Services Committee (HASC) Chairman Mac Thornberry (R-TX) and the bipartisan leadership of its Strategic Forces Subcommittee, Rep. Mike Rogers (R-AL) and Jim Cooper (D-TN), are adamant that a Space Corps be created within the Air Force to better focus attention and resources on management of Air Force space programs, though not everyone on HASC shares that sentiment. The Air Force and the White House strongly oppose the idea.

Senate NDAA Authorizes $700 Billion for Defense

Overall, the Senate version of the NDAA authorizes $700 billion for defense in FY2018:  $640 billion for its base programs ($37 million more than requested) and $60 million for Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO), the wars in Afghanistan and elsewhere. That’s a significant increase from last year ($619 billion).  The NDAA is an authorization bill, not appropriations, so it does not actually provide any money to DOD. That’s the task for appropriators. The Senate Appropriations Committee has not yet approved its defense bill.  DOD and the rest of the government will be operating under a Continuing Resolution (CR) at last year’s level through at least December 8, 2017.

The Search for Life — a Workshop Report

The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine today released the report of a workshop “Searching for Life Across Space and Time.”

Applications Open for Brooke Owens Fellowships

Applications opened today for the next round of Brooke Owens fellowships for undergraduate women pursuing careers in aviation or aerospace.  The submission deadline is December 5, 2017.  The program was created in memory of Dawn Brooke Owens (1980-2016) and matches 36 “extraordinary women per year with purpose-driven, paid internships at leading aviation and space companies and organizations and with senior and executive level mentors.”  More information and application instructions are at [].

Northern Lights from ISS

The International Space Station astronauts get to see Earth like few of us ever do — from terrifying hurricanes like Maria to stupendous views of aurora.  We decided to end today’s Tidbits with stupendous, not terrifying, though our thoughts are with everyone already affected by Maria and in its path.

The Northern Lights (aurora borealis) over Canada as seen from ISS September 15, 2017. Photo credit: NASA.

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