Latest News

Rep. Vern Ehlers to Retire

Marcia S. Smith
Posted: 10-Feb-2010 (Updated: 05-Dec-2011 06:16 PM)

Representative Vern Ehlers (R-Mich) announced today that he will not seek re-election. One of the few scientists in Congress, Rep. Ehlers is an influential and well-respected voice on the House Science and Technology Committee.

Rep. Ehlers has a doctorate in nuclear physics from the University of California-Berkeley and after 6 years of research and teaching there, moved back home to Grand Rapids, MI to teach physics at Calvin College (where he had started his undergraduate studies). He served in the Michigan legislature, and was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1993. The 76-year-old Congressman said he wanted to spend more time with his family. Media reports say that his wife suffered a heart attack last week. They also note that another Republican has decided to challenge him in the primary.

New York Times Has Mixed Review for NASA's New Plan

Marcia S. Smith
Posted: 09-Feb-2010 (Updated: 05-Dec-2011 06:15 PM)

The New York Times editorial page commented on NASA's new plan today. Bottom line: "If done right, the president's strategy could pay off handsomely. If not, it could be the start of a long, slow decline from the nation's pre-eminent position as a space-faring power."

Feb. 12 "State of the Agency" Seminar at NASA Postponed

Marcia S. Smith
Posted: 09-Feb-2010 (Updated: 05-Dec-2011 06:13 PM)

Another victim of the Washington snowstorms: organizers have decided to postpone the day-long "State of the Agency" seminar at NASA that had been scheduled for Friday, Feb. 12. A new date will be announced in due course.

Congressional Hearings Postponed Due to Snow

Marcia S. Smith
Posted: 09-Feb-2010 (Updated: 05-Dec-2011 06:13 PM)

The remarkable winter storms hitting Washington, DC have led to postponment of much of Congress' work this week. The House and Senate Armed Services Committees, House Appropriations Committee, and House Science and Technology Committee have postponed or cancelled their planned hearings this week.

Arlington, VA, home of, got 25 inches of snow on Friday and Saturday. Roads are barely passable today (Tuesday). Another 10-20 inches of snow are forecast for this afternoon through tomorrow night.

UPDATE 2: Events of Interest: Week of February 8-12, 2010

Marcia S. Smith
Posted: 08-Feb-2010 (Updated: 05-Dec-2011 06:17 PM)

UPDATE 2: The February 12 "State of the Agency" meeting has been postponed. The FAA Commercial Space Transportation conference is still a "go" according to the AIAA website.

UPDATE: All of the congressional hearings listed below have been postponed or cancelled because of the snowstorms hitting Washington, DC.

ORIGINAL STORY: The following events may be of interest in the coming week. For more details, see our calendar on the right menu or click on the links below. Note that times, dates and witnesses for congressional hearings are subject to change. Check with the relevant committee's website for up to date information. All times are EST. All locations are Washington, DC unless otherwise noted.

Monday, February 8

  • Rescheduled launch of Space Shuttle Endeavour, 4:14 am, Kennedy Space Center, FL

Tuesday, February 9

  • POSTPONED: Senate Armed Services Committee hearing on the FY2011 budget request for the Air Force, 9:30 am, Room G-50 Dirksen Senate Office Building.
  • POSTPONED: House Rules Committee meets to formulate a rule on H.R. 2701, the Intelligence Authorization Act of 2010, 5:00 pm, H-313 Capitol. The deadline for submitting amendments was revised to February 10, so it is obvious that the meeting will not take place today even though it is still listed on the committee's website.

Wednesday, February 10

Wednesday-Thursday, February 10-11

Thursday, February 11

Friday, February 12

  • POSTPONED: "State of the Agency" all day seminar on NASA's FY2011 budget request, sponsored by the NASA Alumni League, WIA, and AAS, NASA Headquarters Auditorium. RSVP required.

Space Shuttle Endeavour Lifts Off

Marcia S. Smith
Posted: 08-Feb-2010 (Updated: 05-Dec-2011 06:17 PM)

UPDATE: The main engines have burned out, the External Tank has separated, and Endeavour is in orbit!

ORIGINAL STORY: The space shuttle Endeavour lifted off on its STS-130 mission at 4:14 am on February 8. The shuttle is taking the Tranquility module and the Cupola to the International Space Station (ISS).

Rep. John Murtha Dies

Marcia S. Smith
Posted: 08-Feb-2010 (Updated: 05-Dec-2011 06:16 PM)

Representative John Murtha (D-PA), the powerful chairman of the Defense Subcommittee of the House Appropriations Committee, has died according to the Associated Press. He had been hospitalized because of complications following gall bladder surgery.

UPDATE: Shuttle Launch Scrubbed for Today; NASA Will Try Again Tomorrow

Marcia S. Smith
Posted: 07-Feb-2010 (Updated: 05-Dec-2011 06:18 PM)

UPDATE: NASA will try again tomorrow (Monday) morning at 4:14 am to launch Endeavour.


The launch of space shuttle Endeavour (STS-130) was scrubbed this morning because of weather. The next opportunity to launch is 4:14 am EST tomorrow according to, but a new launch time has not yet been announced by NASA..

Bolden Apologizes for Poor Roll Out of NASA's New Plan

Marcia S. Smith
Posted: 07-Feb-2010 (Updated: 05-Dec-2011 06:12 PM)

NASA Administrator Charlie Bolden held a press conference yesterday (Saturday) at Cape Canaveral in advance of the shuttle Endeavour launch (now rescheduled for tomorrow morning at 4:14 am). General Bolden apologized to the NASA workforce and members of Congress on Capitol Hill for not better preparing them for the dramatic changes announced in the NASA FY2011 budget. He said it was "screwed up" because he did not listen to his advisers about how to roll out the news, and consequently he learned a hard lesson. In answer to a question, he said that his hope is to have a heavy lift launch vehicle in the next couple of decades, preferably in the 2020-2030 time frame. A video of the press conference is available on NASA's YouTube channel.

NPR's Science Friday on NASA's New Plan

Marcia S. Smith
Posted: 06-Feb-2010 (Updated: 05-Dec-2011 06:16 PM)

National Public Radio's Science Friday had a segment on NASA's new plan for human space flight today. First was a segment on other aspects of the science budget. The NASA part begins at about minute 30:00.

Host: Ira Flatow


  • Marcia Smith,
  • Andrew Chaikin, author, A Man on the Moon: The Voyage of Apollo Astronauts

Events of Interest  

Full calendar of future events (with filters)-click here »


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