Bezos Unveils His Blue Moon Lunar Lander

Bezos Unveils His Blue Moon Lunar Lander

Jeff Bezos pulled out all the stops today in unveiling his Blue Moon lunar lander.  In a ballroom at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center in Washington, D.C. bedecked in illuminated wall coverings to simulate the night sky, Bezos stood in front of a huge blue curtain decorated with a feather and expounded upon his vision for the future of humanity.  It all begins now by building infrastructure in space to harness the solar system’s vast resources to preserve life on Earth, and the surface of the Moon is the place to start.

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Today’s Tidbits: May 8, 2019

Today’s Tidbits: May 8, 2019

Here are SpacePolicyOnline.com’s tidbits for May 8, 2019:  Senate committee hears about commercial launches and the National Airspace, ExIm Bank nominees confirmed, SIA issues new satellite report. 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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CBO’s Cost Estimate for Space Force Much Higher than DOD’s

CBO’s Cost Estimate for Space Force Much Higher than DOD’s

The non-partisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) issued its own estimates of the costs of the proposed Space Force and other new space organizations today.  They are much higher than DOD’s estimates, although it is not clear if they are based on the same assumptions.  In any case, CBO concludes that the United States Space Force (USSF) as a service within the Air Force would cost $820 million to $1.34 billion annually, plus a start-up cost of $1.1-$3.0 billion.  The Space Development Agency (SDA) and the U.S. Space Command (USSPACECOM) are on top of that.

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Horn: “We’re Flying Blind” on Moon 2024 Proposal

Horn: “We’re Flying Blind” on Moon 2024 Proposal

NASA missed another opportunity today to reveal how much the Trump Administration’s proposal to return astronauts to the lunar surface by 2024 will cost.  At a House Science, Space, and Technology subcommittee hearing, NASA witnesses said the agency has provided preliminary estimates to the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB), but OMB has not cleared them yet.  Until it does, it cannot share any information with Congress or the public.

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Today’s Tidbits: May 6, 2019

Today’s Tidbits: May 6, 2019

Here are SpacePolicyOnline.com’s tidbits for May 6, 2019:  no news from Pence today, Robert Lightfoot joins Lockheed Martin, DOD’s new China military power report. 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 May 5-11, 2019

What’s Happening in Space Policy May 5-11, 2019

Here is SpacePolicyOnline.com’s list of space policy events for the week of May 5-11, 2019 and any insight we can offer about them.  The House and Senate are in session this week.

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SpaceX Confirms Crew Dragon Capsule Destroyed During Test

SpaceX Confirms Crew Dragon Capsule Destroyed During Test

SpaceX confirmed today that the Crew Dragon Demo-1 capsule was destroyed in the April 20 test “anomaly” at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station.  It was the first official statement on the capsule’s status although it was widely rumored in space circles and Sen. Richard Shelby (R-AL) said it at a congressional hearing yesterday.  The company is still investigating what happened, but is confident that the cargo version of the capsule is unaffected.  A cargo launch, SpaceX CRS-17, is scheduled overnight, at 3:11 am ET, weather permitting.

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Senate Intelligence Leaders Oppose NRO As Part of Space Force, Welcome Scolese Nomination

Senate Intelligence Leaders Oppose NRO As Part of Space Force, Welcome Scolese Nomination

The Republican and Democratic leaders of the Senate Intelligence Committee left no doubt today that they strongly oppose the idea of merging the National Reconnaissance Office (NRO) into the Space Force.  That is not part of the current Space Force proposal, but apparently is still under consideration for the future.  The comments came today at a hearing to consider the nomination of Chris Scolese to be the next NRO Director. The nomination was well received.

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Bridenstine: No Cost Estimate for Moon 2024 Yet, But Won’t Be $8 Billion Per Year

Bridenstine: No Cost Estimate for Moon 2024 Yet, But Won’t Be $8 Billion Per Year

NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine acknowledged at a congressional hearing today that the Trump Administration still does not have a cost estimate for achieving the Moon 2024 goal.  However, he disputed a news report that it will require an increase of $8 billion per year, insisting it will not be even close to that.  He also continued to stress that sustainability and partnerships are key elements of this latest attempt to return astronauts to the surface of the Moon.

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Bridenstine Embraces Planetary Defense, Endorses NEOCam

Bridenstine Embraces Planetary Defense, Endorses NEOCam

NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine showed his support for planetary defense today by giving the keynote address at the Planetary Defense Conference (PDC).  Protecting the Earth from asteroids and comets is not “Hollywood” and he wants to dispel any “giggle factor” the topic may evoke.  In addition to existing ground-based facilities to identify and track these Near Earth Objects (NEOs), he agreed a dedicated spacecraft is needed and said NASA is committed to building NEOCam, a program that has struggled to win support against competing priorities.

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