SpacePolicyOnline.com Latest News

New NRO Director to be Named

Marcia S. Smith
Posted: 28-May-2009 (Updated: 05-Dec-2011 06:15 PM)

DODBuzz.com reports that General Bruce Carlson (Air Force, retired) is likely to be named as the new director of the National Reconnaissance Office (NRO), which builds and operates the nation's spy satellites. He would replace Scott Large, who resigned in January. Carlson is the former commander of Air Force Materiel Command.

Events of Interest Next Week (June 1-5)

Marcia S. Smith
Posted: 28-May-2009 (Updated: 05-Dec-2011 06:13 PM)

Next week (June 1-5, 2009) no space-related congressional hearings have been publicly announced as of yet. The Write Stuff blog reports that Senator Nelson is trying to expedite the nomination process for Charlie Bolden and Lori Garver, however, so a nomination hearing could be scheduled at any time after the nomination is formally submitted to the Senate.

George Washington University's Space Policy Institute will hold a day-long seminar on Aligning Priorities and Budgets on June 2.

Augustine Panel Members to be Announced Soon

Marcia S. Smith
Posted: 28-May-2009 (Updated: 05-Dec-2011 06:12 PM)

Aerospace Daily reports that the members of the Augustine panel to assess options for NASA's human space flight program will be named imminently. According to the report, Mr. Augustine wants members who are open-minded.

While the charter to the group from the White House Office of Science and Technology is fairly clear, not all members of the space community agree on what limits, if any, should bound the panel. Differences were aired at the May 13 meeting of the NRC's Space Studies Board and Aeronautics and Space Engineering Board, and last week Senators Bill Nelson and David Vitter said the panel should not be constrained by current budget assumptions.

Soyuz Launch Ushers in New Era for the International Space Station

Marcia S. Smith
Posted: 27-May-2009 (Updated: 05-Dec-2011 06:17 PM)

The long-awaited expansion of the permanent crew size of the International Space Station (ISS) to six is about to become a reality. The result should be a substantial increase in the amount of scientific research that can be conducted aboard the orbiting complex.

A Russian Soyuz spacecraft was launched this morning from the Baikonur launch site in Kazakhstan with three crew members -- one each from Canada, Belgium and Russia. They are scheduled to dock with the ISS on Friday and will join the three current ISS crew - one each from the United States, Russia and Japan. The makeup of the crew highlights the international character of the ISS endeavor. The ISS is being built by a partnership composed of the United States, Russia, 11 members of the European Space Agency, Japan, and Canada.

While it is common to have six crew members aboard the ISS for about a week during crew changeovers, and larger complements while the space shuttle is docked, those are temporary. The "six person crew" milestone indicates that six people will be aboard the ISS permanently. Like the 2- and 3-person permanent crews that have been the norm since the first crew arrived in November 2000, the individuals who comprise the crew will change on a regular basis. Regular tours of duty are 4-6 months for any one person.

Routine operation and maintenance of the ISS complex is estimated to consume essentially full time for two to two and a half members of the crew. Consequently, when only three permanent crew are aboard, little time is available for scientific research, which was one of the basic rationales for building the ISS. The increased crew size should mean increased scientific research which may help build support for continued ISS operations. Currently, NASA expects to discontinue its support of the ISS after 2016, although discussions are ongoing among NASA and the other partners about whether that date should be extended.

Soyuz Launch Ushers in New Era for International Space Station

Marcia S. Smith
Posted: 27-May-2009 (Updated: 05-Dec-2011 06:17 PM)

The long-awaited expansion of the permanent crew size of the International Space Station (ISS) to six is about to become a reality. The result should be a substantial increase in the amount of scientific research that can be conducted aboard the orbiting complex.

A Russian Soyuz spacecraft was launched this morning from the Baikonur launch site in Kazakhstan with three crew members -- one each from Canada, Belgium and Russia. They are scheduled to dock with the ISS on Friday and will join the three current ISS crew - one each from the United States, Russia and Japan. The makeup of the crew highlights the international character of the ISS endeavor. The ISS is being built by a partnership composed of the United States, Russia, 11 members of the European Space Agency, Japan, and Canada.

While it is common to have six crew members aboard the ISS for about a week during crew changeovers, and larger complements while the space shuttle is docked, those are temporary. The "six person crew" milestone indicates that six people will be aboard the ISS permanently. Like the 2- and 3-person permanent crews that have been the norm since the first crew arrived in November 2000, the individuals who comprise the crew will change on a regular basis. Regular tours of duty are 4-6 months for any one person.

Routine operation and maintenance of the ISS complex is estimated to consume essentially full time for two to two and a half members of the crew. Consequently, when only three permanent crew are aboard, little time is available for scientific research, which was one of the basic rationales for building the ISS. The increased crew size should mean increased scientific research which may help build support for continued ISS operations. Currently, NASA expects to discontinue its support of the ISS after 2016, although discussions are ongoing among NASA and the other partners about whether that date should be extended

Charlie Bolden and Lori Garver Being Nominated to Lead NASA

Marcia S. Smith
Posted: 23-May-2009 (Updated: 05-Dec-2011 06:12 PM)

President Obama has finally announced officially that Charlie Bolden is being nominated to serve as the next NASA Administrator. Lori Garver is being nominated as his deputy. Both posts require Senate confirmation.

Maj. Gen. Bolden (USMC, Ret.) and Ms. Garver, who served as head of the Obama transition team for NASA, long had been rumored as the choices for those posts. Both have previously served at NASA Headquarters. A Naval Academy graduate, Bolden is a four-time shuttle astronaut and a decorated marine aviator. In a video on YouTube, Senator Bill Nelson (D-FL), Bolden's chief advocate and chairman of the Senate Commerce Committee's Subcommittee on Science and Space, discusses Bolden's qualifications. Bolden and Nelson flew together on the space shuttle in 1986. Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison, the top Republican on the full Senate Commerce Committee, released a statement praising the nomination, as did House Science and Technology Committee Chairman Bart Gordon and Space and Aeronautics Subcommittee chair Gabrielle Giffords.

Garver's career has included serving as executive director of the National Space Society, a grass roots space advocacy organization; serving as NASA's Associate Administrator for Policy and Plans under Dan Goldin; and a space consultant. She underwent training in Russia to fly in space aboard a Russian Soyuz spacecraft as a "space tourist" in a much publicized "friendly competition" with singer Lance Bass, but neither was ultimately able to raise the funding required. She was a space adviser to Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign, and moved over to the Obama campaign after he won the Democratic nomination.

Space Program on Display at New Capitol Visitor Center

Marcia S. Smith
Posted: 22-May-2009 (Updated: 05-Dec-2011 06:17 PM)

Thanks to Brendan Curry of the Space Foundation for the following info about the space exhibit at the new Capitol Visitor Center on Capitol Hill. Perhaps a place to visit this Memorial Day weekend!

"The new Capitol Visitors Center is a museum about Congress and what its duties are etc. One large marble exhibit touts Congress' power to promote science. Under it is the sole heading 'exploration'.

There are 2 glass cases. One is a series of official records from the Lewis and Clarke expedition. The other, I'm so proud to say, is about space.

In the glass enclosure about space are 3 items:

#1 The final edited draft message to Congress from which JFK gave his famous moon speech.

#2 There is the USAF lunar reference mosaic that helped NASA pick landing locations.

#3 Finally a manuscript of the comms b/w Apollo 11 and mission control during the successful touchdown on the lunar surface.

It was pretty cool to see space singled out as such a notable endeavor that it was worthy of special attention in the CVC."

Recent GAO Reports on National Security Space Programs

Marcia S. Smith
Posted: 22-May-2009 (Updated: 05-Dec-2011 06:16 PM)

Space Acquisitions: Challenges in Commercializing Technologies Developed Under the Small Business Innovation Research Program. GAO-11-21. November 2010. (41 pages)

Global Positioning System: Challenges in Sustaining and Upgrading Capabilities Persist. GAO-10-636, September 2010. (68 pages)

Space Acquisitions: DOD Poised to Enhance Space Capabilities, but Persistent Challenges Remain in Developing Space Systems, Testimony by Cristina Chaplain, director, acquisition and sourcing management, before the Subcommittee on Strategic Forces, Senate Committee on Armed Services. GAO-10-447T, March 10, 2010.

Status of GAO Recommendations to the Department of Defense (Fiscal Years 2001-2008). GAO-10-211R, December 16, 2009. (44 pages)

Defense Acquisitions: Challenges in Aligning Space System Components. GAO-10-55, October 29, 2009. (43 pages)

Polar-Orbiting Environmental Satellites: With Costs Increasing and Data Continuity at Risk, Improvements Needed in Tri-agency Decision Making. GAO-09-564, June 17, 2009. (52 pages)

Polar-Orbiting Satellites: With Costs Increasing and Data Continuity at Risk, Improvements Needed in Tri-agency Decision Making, TestImony by David A. Powner, director, information technology management issues before the Subcommittee on Investigations and Oversight, House Committee on Science and Technology. GAO-09-772T, June 17, 2009. (10 pages)

Space Acquisitions: DOD Faces Substantial Challenges in Developing New Space Systems Testimony by Cristina Chaplain, director, acquisition and sourcing management, before the Subcommittee on Strategic Forces, Senate Armed Services Committee. GAO-09-705T, May 20, 2009 (20 pages)

Global Positioning System: Significant Challenges in Sustaining and Upgrading Widely Used Capabilities. GAO-09-670T, May 7, 2009. Testimony by Cristina Chaplain, director, acquisition and sourcing management, before the Subcommittee on National Security and Foreign Affairs, House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform. (15 pages)

Global Positioning System: Significant Challenges in Sustaining and Upgrading Widely Used Capabilities. GAO-09-325, April 30, 2009 (61 pages)

Space Acquisitions: Government and Industry Partners Face Substantial Challenges in Developing New DOD Space Systems. Testimony by Cristina Chaplain, director, acquisition and sourcing management, before the Subcommittee on Strategic Forces, House Committee on Armed Services. GAO-09-648T, April 30, 2009.

Defense Acquisitions: Assessments of Selected Weapon Programs GAO-09-326SP, March 30, 2009
(190 pages)

Includes assessments of the following DOD space programs: Advanced Extremely High Frequency (AEHF) communications satellites, Space Tracking and Surveillance System (STSS), Global Positioning System (GPS) Block IIIA, National Polar-orbiting Operational Environmental Satellite System (NPOESS), Global Positioning System (GPS) Block IIF, Space Based Infrared System (SBIRS) High, Space-Based Space Surveillance Block 10, and the Transformational Satellite Communications System (TSAT).

Space Acquisitions: DOD's Goals for Resolving Space Based Infrared System Software Problems Are Ambitious GAO-08-1073 September 30, 2008 (30 pages)

Space Acquisitions: Uncertainties in the Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle Program Pose Management and Oversight Challenges GAO-08-1039 September 26, 2008 (45 pages)

Defense Space Activities: DOD Needs to Further Clarify the Operationally Responsive Space Concept and Plan to Integrate and Support Future Satellites GAO-08-831 July 11, 2008 (32 pages)

Environmental Satellites: Polar-orbiting Satellite Acquisition Faces Delays; Decisions Needed on Whether and How to Ensure Climate Data Continuity GAO-08-899T June 19, 2008 (34 pages)

Environmental Satellites: Polar-orbiting Satellite Acquisition Faces Delays; Decisions Needed on Whether and How to Ensure Climate Data Continuity GAO-08-518 May 16, 2008 (53 pages)

Space Acquisitions: DOD Is Making Progress to Rapidly Deliver Low Cost Space Capabilities, but Challenges Remain GAO-08-516 April 25, 2008 (21 pages)

Defense Space Activities: National Security Space Strategy Needed to Guide Future DOD Space Efforts GAO-08-431R March 27, 2008 (15 pages)

Space Acquisitions: Major Space Programs Still at Risk for Cost and Schedule Increases
GAO-08-552T March 4, 2008 (21 pages)

It's Law! President Signs Weapons Systems Acquisition Reform Act

Marcia S. Smith
Posted: 22-May-2009 (Updated: 05-Dec-2011 06:14 PM)

President Obama wasted no time signing into law the Weapons Systems Acquisition Reform Act of 2009 (S. 454). Less than 24 hours after the bill received final approval in Congress, the President signed the measure on May 22, 2009 at a ceremony in the Rose Garden. Read the President's remarks.

See our previous stories on May 21 and May 20.

Aligning Policies and Budgets: June 2 Symposium at GWU

Marcia S. Smith
Posted: 22-May-2009 (Updated: 05-Dec-2011 06:12 PM)

George Washington University's Space Policy Institute will hold a day-long symposium on Aligning Policies and Budgets on June 2, 2009. The event is free, but an RSVP is required at http://www.gwu.edu/~spi/.

Keynoters include Acting NASA Administrator Christopher Scolese; NOAA Administrator Janet Lubchenco (invited); Gen. James Cartwright, Chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff; and Alden Munson, Deputy Director National Intelligence for Future Capabilities. Four panels will discuss Civil Space Programs and Budgets; View from Congress - Civil Space; National Security Space Challenges; and Governance and Implementation.

View Agenda

Events of Interest

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

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