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The following events may be of interest next week. For more information, see our calendar on the right menu or click on the links below. Congressional schedules are subject to change; check the websites of the House, Senate, or the relevant committee for up to date information.
During the Week
As Congress enters the last month of the year and the end of the 1st session of the 111th Congress, seven of the 12 appropriations bills still have not been sent to the President: Commerce-Justice-Science (which includes NASA, NOAA and NSF); Defense; Financial Services; Labor-HHS-Education; Military Construction-Veterans; State-Foreign Operations; and Transportation-HUD. Strategies are being discussed on how to bundle the bills into one or more "omnibus" or "consolidated" measures. For detailed information on the status of the appropriations bills, visit the Library of Congress' Thomas website.
Wednesday-Thursday, December 2-3
Wednesday, December 2
Thursday, December 3
STS-129 is scheduled to land at Kennedy Space Center, Florida on Friday at 9:44 am EST. A second landing opportunity is at 11:19 am EST.
The National Research Council (NRC) has selected Dr. Michael Moloney as the new Director of the Space Studies Board (SSB) and the Aeronautics and Space Engineering Board (ASEB). Dr. Moloney is a veteran NRC staff member and is currently serving as the Associate Director of the NRC's Board on Physics and Astronomy. He is the lead staff member on the Astro2010 Decadal Survey on Astronomy and Astrophysics. The NRC said that Dr. Moloney would phase into his new position as Director of SSB and ASEB as Astro2010 winds down over the next several months. An official starting date will be announced later.
At a joint press conference with President Obama today, Indian Prime Minister Singh announced that "We have decided to give a fresh impetus to collaboration in the fields of education, agriculture, and health. We will deepen our ongoing cooperation in frontier areas of science and technology, nuclear power, and space. This will open new opportunities for our universities and laboratories, and create human capital to meet the global needs of the future."
In a televised media conference today, the 12 crew members onboard the International Space Station (ISS) and space shuttle Atlantis answered questions from reporters around the world and described their experience together very positively. STS-129 Shuttle crew members will part today from their colleagues in preparation for undocking tomorrow, after a successful mission delivering and storing space parts on the exterior of the station, crucial for its long-term operation. Frank De Winne, the first European commander of the ISS, said that "this is just the beginning of co-habiting in space" and "there is still a lot of work to do" for future space missions that he hoped would involve utilizing the ISS for 15 or 20 years more. De Winne will depart the station on a Soyuz on November 30, handing over the command of Expedition 22 to NASA astronaut Jeff Williams.
Representatives Suzanne Kosmas (D-FL) and Ken Calvert (R-CA) took the lead in sending a bipartisan letter to President Obama yesterday arguing for a $3 billion per year funding increase for NASA. The letter was signed by 81 Members of Congress from across the country.
Secretary of Defense Robert Gates and Director of National Intelligence Dennis Blair will formally agree to a new "statement of principles" for the National Reconnaissance Office (NRO) next week, reports Colin Clark at DODBuzz.com.
NRO builds and operates U.S. reconnaissance satellites and has been under strong criticism for several years as programs have spiraled out of control. A panel chaired by Trey Obering, former director of DOD's Missile Defense Agency, was set up by Blair to make recommendations on a new charter for NRO. The panel reported its findings earlier this fall. Rumors about the panel's findings ran the gamut: NRO would significantly lose power and influence, NRO would significantly gain power and influence, or the situation would remain about the same.
The just-released witness list for December 3rd's House Science and Technology hearing on "Independent Audit of NASA" lists Acting NASA Inspector General (IG) Thomas Howard as one of the witnesses, but by then the new NASA IG should be on board -- if only for a few days.
Martin replaces Robert Cobb, whose controversial tenure included strongly negative reports about his conduct from the Integrity Committee of the President's Council on Integrity and Efficiency in 2007 and about his office's lack of effectiveness from the Governmental Accountability Office (GAO) in 2008. Calls for his resignation -- including from influential Members of Congress-- went unheeded during the George W. Bush Administration, but Cobb finally left after President Obama took office.
This week is dead quiet for space policy-related events due to the Thanksgiving holiday -- Happy Thanksgiving everyone!
On Wednesday, December 2, the Space and Aeronautics subcommittee will hold a hearing on "Ensuring the Safety of Human Space Flight" at 10:00 am in 2318 Rayburn House Office Building. Witnesses are Brett Alexander of the Commercial Space Flight Federation; Joseph Fragola, Valador, Inc; Jeff Hanley, Program Manager of NASA's Constellation Program; Bryan O'Connor, former shuttle astronaut and NASA's Chief of Safety and Mission Assurance; and former Apollo astronaut and retired Lt. Gen. Tom Stafford. Gen. Stafford is a legend in the space business, especially on human space flight safety issues.
At an event on Capitol Hill this week, the Space Foundation released a white paper on "Solutions from Space: Space Applications for International Development." Citing communications satellites and remote sensing satellites in particular, the paper connects satellites with meeting the needs of developing countries.
Events of Interest