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Our Civil Hearing Summaries

Joint Senate Commerce and SASC Hearing on RD-180 Engines and SpaceX Certification, July 16, 2014

Marcia S. Smith
Posted: 17-Jul-2014 (Updated: 17-Jul-2014 08:41 AM)
A joint hearing was held on July 16, 2014 between the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee and the Strategic Forces Subcommittee of the Senate Armed Services Committee (SASC).  The hearing, Options for Assuring Domestic Space Access, was co-chaired by Sen. Bill Nelson (D-FL) from Commerce and Sen, Mark Udall (D-CO) from SASC.  Two main themes were how to cope with the possibility that Russian RD-180 engines might no longer be available because of strained U.S.-Russian relationships over Ukraine and SpaceX's effort to be certified by the Air Force to be awarded launch contracts.  Space PolicyOnline.com published a summary of the hearing on July 16.

Appropriations Hearings on Department of Commerce FY2015 Budget Request, April 2014

Marcia S. Smith
Posted: 14-Apr-2014 (Updated: 15-Apr-2014 02:56 PM)
The House and Senate Commerce-Justice-Science (CJS) appropriations subcommittees held hearings on the FY2015 budget request for the Department of Commerce on April 9 and April 10, 2014, respectively.   Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker testified about the full range of Commerce responsibilities, including satellite programs at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).  Satellites were not a major topic at the House hearing, but in the Senate, questions were raised about whether two of those programs -- COSMIC-2 and SIDAR -- were needed.   SpacePolicyOnline.com published a summary of both hearings on April 14, 2014.

House Hearing on Draft 2013 NASA Authorization Bill, June 2013

Marcia S. Smith
Posted: 20-Jun-2013 (Updated: 22-Jun-2013 07:23 AM)
On June 19, 2013, the Space Subcommittee of the House Science, Space and Technology Committee held a hearing on a draft version of a 2013 NASA Authorization Act.   Witnesses were NASA Advisory Council Chairman Steve Squyres and retired industry executive Tom Young.  SpacePolicyOnline.com published a summary of the hearing on June 19.

House Hearing on Exoplanet Discoveries, May 2013

Marcia S. Smith
Posted: 09-May-2013 (Updated: 09-May-2013 05:48 PM)
Two subcommittees of the House Science, Space and Technology Committee held a hearing on May 9, 2013 on "ExoPlanet Discoveries:  Have We Found Other Earths? "    Witnesses were Laurance Doyle of the SETI Institute, John Grunsfeld, NASA Associate Administrator for Science Mission Directorate, and Jim Ulvestad, National Science Foundation Director of Division of Astronomical Sciences.   SpacePolicyOnline.com published a summary of the hearing on May 9, 2013.

Senate Appropriations Hearing on NASA's FY2014 Budget Request

Marcia S. Smith
Posted: 25-Apr-2013 (Updated: 25-Apr-2013 04:49 PM)
The Commerce-Justice-Science subcommittee of the Senate Appropriations Committee held a hearing on NASA's FY2014 budget request on April 25, 2013.  The hearing was quite short, just 45 minutes, because of a briefing Senators needed to attend.  In that short time, the questions posed to NASA Administrator Charlie Bolden focused on funding for the Space Launch System versus commercial crew, the consequences for NASA if sequestration remains in place beyond FY2013, and the status of the James Webb Space Telescope.   Bolden said that if the sequester remains in force in FY2014, he would probably have to furlough civil servants and "all bets are off" for NASA's programs.  SpacePolicyOnline.com published a summary of the hearing on April 25.

House SS&T Hearing on NASA's FY2014 Budget Request

Marcia S. Smith
Posted: 25-Apr-2013 (Updated: 25-Apr-2013 03:53 PM)

The Space Subcommittee of the House Science, Space and Technology Committee held a hearing on NASA's FY2014 budget request on April 24, 2013.  NASA Administrator Charlie Bolden was the witness.  SpacePolicyOnline.com published a summary of the hearing on April 24.  Major topics discussed were

  • NASA's new proposal for an asteroid retrieval mission;
  • concerns about funding for the Space Launch System versus commercial crew;
  • whether NASA will be given sufficient resources to pay for new responsibilities it has been assigned for building climate sensors, for operating a plutonium-238 production facility that for decades has been operated by the Department of Energy, and for initiating a new program to build a follow-on Landsat satellite that the Obama Administration had hoped to assign to the U.S. Geological Survey instead of NASA; and
  • the proposed government-wide restructuring of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) programs that will see NASA's role in these programs sharply diminished.

House Hearing on the FY2014 Budget Request for Federal Research and Development

Marcia S. Smith
Posted: 21-Apr-2013 (Updated: 21-Apr-2013 10:07 AM)
The House Science, Space and Technology Committee held a hearing on April 17, 2013 on the FY2014 budget request for federal research and development.  The witness was John Holdren, the President's Science Adviser and the Director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy.   On April 18, 2013, SpacePolicyOnline.com published a summary of the portions of the hearing that discussed NASA as well as separate comments by committee chairman Rep. Lamar Smith (R-TX) the next day in an op-ed in the Houston Chronicle.

House Hearing on Space Leadership Preservation Act

Marcia S. Smith
Posted: 02-Mar-2013 (Updated: 02-Mar-2013 07:17 PM)
On February 27, 2013, the Space Subcommittee of the House Science, Space and Technology Committee held a hearing on the Space Leadership Preservation Act introduced by Rep. John Culberson (R-TX) and Rep. Frank Wolf (R-VA) in the 113th Congress (H.R. 823).   It is a revised version of legislation they introduced last Congress.   Both Congressmen testified at the hearing, as did A. Thomas (Tom) Young, Lockheed Martin (retired) and Elliot Pulham, CEO of The Space Foundation.   SpacePolicyOnline.com published a summary of the hearing on March 1, 2013.

House Hearing on NASA's Strategic Direction

Marcia S. Smith
Posted: 30-Dec-2012 (Updated: 30-Dec-2012 01:31 PM)

The House Science, Space and Technology Committee held a hearing on December 12, 2012 on NASA's future.  SpacePolicyOnline.com published a summary of the hearing on December 14, 2012.  The hearing included testimony by Ron Sega, who was vice-chair of a National Research Council (NRC) report on NASA's Strategic Direction that was released the week prior to the hearing.   The full list of witnesses include the following:

  • Honorable Robert Walker, Wexler and Walker (former chairman of the House Science Committee)
  • Maj. Gen. (Ret.) Ron Sega, former astronaut, currently University of Colorado and vice-chair of the National Research Council (NRC) Committee on NASA's Strategic Direction
  • Marion Blakey, President, Aerospace Industries Association
  • Dr. Thomas Zurbuchen, University of Michigan Space Physics Laboratory
  • Dr. Scott Pace, George Washington University

House Appropriations Hearing on Financial Misconduct at National Weather Service

Laura M. Delgado
Posted: 16-Sep-2012 (Updated: 16-Sep-2012 11:19 AM)

The House Approrpriations Committee's Subcommittee on Commerce-Justice-Science (CJS) held a hearing on June 21, 2012 on financial misconduct at the National Weather Service, a part of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) that uses data from the nation's weather satellites.  SpacePolicyOnline.com published an article summarizing the hearing on June 25, 2012, with an update on June 28 adding information on subsequent action by the CJS subcommittee.   The witnesses were:

  • NOAA Administrator Jane Lubchenco
  • NOAA Deputy Administrator Kathryn Sullivan