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Paul Dembling, a highly respected lawyer renowned for his role in helping to craft the 1958 National Aeronautics and Space Act (NASA Act), passed away on May 16 according to NASA.
Mr. Dembling was the general counsel to NASA's predecessor agency, the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA), and along with other experts, including Eilene Galloway at Congress's Legislative Reference Service (now the Congressional Research Service), drafted the law that created NASA. He served in several capacities at NASA -- as general counsel, head of Legislative Affairs, and Deputy Associate Administrator.
Next week, a House subcommittee will hold a hearing on whether the companies that intend to provide commercial cargo services for the International Space Station will be ready to fulfill that role.
On May 26, the Space and Aeronautics Subcommittee of the House Science, Space and Technology Committee will hear from NASA, GAO, and the two companies that plan to offer commercial cargo services, SpaceX and Orbital Sciences. The topic is "NASA's Commercial Cargo Providers: Are They Ready to Supply the Space Station in the Post-Shuttle Era?" Bill Gerstenmaier, NASA's Associate Administrator for Space Flight, will represent the agency. Gwynne Shotwell and Frank Culbertson will be there on behalf of SpaceX and Orbital, respectively. Cristina Chaplain will testify for the Government Accountability Office (GAO).
Secretary of the Treasury Tim Geithner announced this morning that the United States has reached the legal limit of how much debt it can incur. Just weeks ago, the imminent breach of the $14.3 trillion debt ceiling was the source of political angst in Washington, but Geithner is keeping the government solvent until August 2 by not contributing the government's share to certain government retirement accounts.
In a letter to Congress, Geithner notified the congressional leadership that Treasury will not "invest fully" in the Civil Service Retirement and Disability Fund or the Government Securities Investment Fund (the "G" Fund) of the Federal Employees' Retirement System. He said those accounts would be "made whole once the debt limit is increased."
The following events may be of interest in the week ahead. For more information, check our calendar on the right menu or click the links below. Times, dates and witnesses for congressional hearings are subject to change; check the committee's website for up to date information. The House is in recess this week; the Senate is in session.
Monday, May 16
Tuesday, May 17
Wednesday, May 18
Wednesday-Friday, May 18-20
Wednesday-Sunday, May 18-22
Friday, May 20
The STS-134 mission is underway. Space Shuttle Endeavour lifted off on schedule at 8:56 am EDT and is now in orbit. A post-launch press conference is scheduled for no earlier than 10:00 am EDT. It can be watched on NASA TV.
NASA's press conference about the Endeavour launch is just starting. Watch on NASA TV.
Space Shuttle Endeavour remains on schedule for launch at 8:56 am EDT tomorrow, Monday, May 16. The STS-134 mission is Endeavour's last. Its April 29 scheduled launch was delayed because of technical problems that have been resolved.
The 16-day mission will take the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer science instrument and other equipment and supplies to the International Space Station (ISS).
The House passed the FY2011 intelligence authorization bill (H.R. 754) today by a vote of 392-15.
House approval came despite objections by the White House in a Statement of Administraiton Policy (SAP) issued Wednesday. Among other complaints, the SAP states that the bill includes a "signification reduction of funds below the current funding level ... from a technical collection program [that] will negatively impact an acquisition that is successfully achieving acquisition milestones. This action comes at a time when the [Intelligence Community] is conducting a Congressionally-requested assessment of an alternative to the Administration's program. Until that assessment is complete, a significant reduction or redirection of funds is unwarranted and will likely jeopardize the scheduled operational capability of this critical national security collection system."
Rep. Frank Wolf (R-VA), chairman of the House appropriations subcomittee that funds NASA, restated his well known opposition to U.S. space cooperation with China at a hearing of the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission today.
The commission was created by Congress in 2000 to report on the national security implications of the trade and economic relationships between the two countries. It held a hearing today about the implications of China's military and civil space activities. Witnesses included DOD's Greg Schulte and Rep. Wolf as well as two panels of experts. Rep. Wolf's statement was circulated by his staff. He began by expressing disappointment that NASA declined to participate in the hearing and that it was "reflective of this administration's abysmal record on American leadership in space."
May 16 it is! NASA has announced that space shuttle Endeavour will launch on May 16 at 8:56 am EDT. This is the final launch of Endeavour on its STS-124 mission.
Events of Interest