NASA Community Honors Fallen Heroes on 2020 Day of Remembrance

NASA Community Honors Fallen Heroes on 2020 Day of Remembrance

The NASA community honored its fallen heroes today in the annual Day of Remembrance.  NASA officials presided over a ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery, while NASA centers around the country held their own observances. NASA sets aside a day each year around this time, which marks the anniversaries of three fatal missions:  Apollo 1 on January 27, 1967; Space Shuttle Challenger on January 28, 1986; and Space Shuttle Columbia on February 1, 2003.

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GAO Worries About Commercial Crew Contingency Plans as Boeing Takes Pre-Tax Charge for Potential OFT Reflight

GAO Worries About Commercial Crew Contingency Plans as Boeing Takes Pre-Tax Charge for Potential OFT Reflight

The Government Accountability Office (GAO) issued its latest review of NASA’s commercial crew program today.  As it has in the past, it urged NASA to develop a contingency plan for keeping U.S. astronauts aboard the International Space Station (ISS) if the commercial crew systems are further delayed.  Meanwhile, Boeing told investors today it is taking a $410 million pre-tax charge in case NASA requires a second uncrewed Starliner Orbital Flight Test (OFT).

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House Subcommittee Clears NASA Authorization Bill, But It’s Just the Beginning

House Subcommittee Clears NASA Authorization Bill, But It’s Just the Beginning

The theme of today’s markup of a new NASA authorization bill by a House subcommittee can best be described as “calm down.”  The bill, introduced just days ago, provoked strong reactions from many quarters including NASA and industry. Key committee members spent the time this afternoon reassuring stakeholders that this is just a first step and there are opportunities to modify it.  Only a few non-controversial amendments were adopted today, but bigger changes can be expected in two weeks when the full committee considers it.

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GAO: Only Slim Chance James Webb Space Telescope Will Launch in March 2021

GAO: Only Slim Chance James Webb Space Telescope Will Launch in March 2021

The Government Accountability Office (GAO) released its annual review of NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) program today.  It reported that according to NASA’s own analysis, the considerably over-budget telescope, already years late, has only a 12 percent chance of meeting its current launch date of March 2021.

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NASA Picks Axiom Space for Commercial LEO Module

NASA Picks Axiom Space for Commercial LEO Module

NASA selected Axiom Space to build a commercial module for the International Space Station (ISS) today.  It is a step towards NASA’s goal of commercializing low Earth orbit (LEO) by facilitating companies like Axiom to build their own space facilities so in the future NASA can lease services rather than own and operate LEO infrastructure.

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Industry Reactions to New NASA Authorization Bill Vary Widely

Industry Reactions to New NASA Authorization Bill Vary Widely

Space industry groups reacted quite differently to the 2020 NASA authorization bill that will be marked up by a House subcommittee later this week.  The Commercial Spaceflight Federation (CSF) rebuked those who crafted the bill and called for it to be withdrawn. By contrast, the Coalition for Deep Space Exploration (CDSE) said the bill’s focus on Mars, not the Moon, should come as no surprise and credited it for sparking a “robust exchange” of views. The Aerospace Industries Association (AIA) also was upbeat. The statements from each are reproduced herein.

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Bridenstine Politely Responds to House Committee’s 2020 NASA Authorization Bill

Bridenstine Politely Responds to House Committee’s 2020 NASA Authorization Bill

NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine is politely asking the bipartisan leadership of the House Science, Space, and Technology Committee to work together and modify its recently introduced 2020 NASA authorization bill.  The bill, released Friday, will be marked up at subcommittee level on Wednesday.  It takes a completely different approach to the future of human space exploration than what NASA and the White House are proposing as the Artemis program.

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Bipartisan House NASA Authorizers Reject Artemis Moon-by-2024 Plan, Wants Focus on Mars Instead

Bipartisan House NASA Authorizers Reject Artemis Moon-by-2024 Plan, Wants Focus on Mars Instead

The top Democrats and Republicans on the House committee that authorizes NASA activities introduced a bill today rejecting the White House’s plan to accelerate a human return to the Moon by 2024.  The bill focuses on human exploration of Mars. The Moon is consigned to a limited role for precursor activities and astronauts back on the surface in 2028 as NASA originally planned, not the amped up 2024 schedule announced by Vice President Pence last year and later named the Artemis program.

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Pérez-Davis New Head of Glenn Research Center

Pérez-Davis New Head of Glenn Research Center

NASA announced today that Marla Pérez-Davis has been appointed Director of Glenn Research Center in Cleveland, Ohio. With her appointment, and that of Dennis Andrucyk to head Goddard Space Flight Center, all the NASA centers now have permanent leaders.

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