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FYI focuses on the programs and missions sponsored by the Science Mission Directorate, including in the Astrophysics, Planetary Science, Heliophysics, and Earth Science Divisions. FYI also covers science-related missions supported by other directorates, including the International Space Station.

11 Mar 2014

House Science, Space and Technology Committee Chairman Lamar Smith (R-TX) and House Commerce, Justice, Science Appropriations Subcommittee Chairman Frank Wolf (R-VA) have sent a letter to NASA Administrator Charles Bolden asking his agency to “develop a clear, well-planned technical implementation plan for the future of human spaceflight over the next few months.”  As part of this effort, NASA is to examine the feasibility of a Mars human flyby mission in 2021, a subject that was also discussed at a Science Committee hearing.

7 Mar 2014

The Obama Administration has requested $17,460.6 million for NASA for FY 2015.  Under this request the agency’s budget would decline 1.1 percent.  Funding for Science would decline 3.5 percent.

NASA has not released its full budget, but did prepare a 30-page summary providing information about its FY 2015 request.    Additional information about the request will be posted here in coming days.

21 Feb 2014

Senator Barbara Mikulski (D-MD) is one of the most powerful Members of Congress in the annual appropriations process.  She chairs the Senate Appropriations Committee as well as its subcommittee having jurisdiction over NASA.  Mikulski gave an upbeat report to NASA employees earlier this month about funding for the agency and the James Webb Space Telescope.

14 Feb 2014

The House Science, Space, and Technology Committee’s Subcommittee on Space held a February 4 hearing to discuss potential updates to the Commercial Space Launch Act.  Challenges faced by the commercial space industry include compliance with potentially outdated federal laws and regulations, federal export regimes, and international competition.  The hearing demonstrated bi-partisan interest in helping the development of the United States Commercial space sector. 

31 Jan 2014

“We are pleased to announce that the Obama Administration has approved an extension of the International Space Station (ISS) until at least 2024,” wrote Office of Science and Technology Policy Director John Holdren and NASA Administrator Charles Bolden earlier this month.  This announcement extends the station for four additional years beyond its previous schedule. 

16 Jan 2014

The FY 2014 appropriations cycle is coming to a close.  On Monday evening the text of an almost 1,600 page bill was released that was the product of intense negotiations between the House and Senate Appropriations Committees since a budget agreement was announced in December.  The omnibus bill, consisting of twelve separate appropriations bills, was passed by the House yesterday by a wide margin, is now being considered by Senate, and will be sent to President Obama within the next few days.

29 Jan 2013

Earlier this month the NASA Aerospace Safety Advisory Panel issued its 2012 Annual Report. Looking for hazards across the space agency’s wide-ranging portfolio of on-going and proposed operations and facilities, the panel assessed six issues and concerns. Only one of the six in the three-color-coded graphic was red: the continuing issue of funding uncertainty. “NASA’s budget is the ‘elephant in the room’ both for commercial space and for longer term exploration” the panel warned.

28 Jan 2013

“While NASA’s programs are funded as part of the Federal domestic discretionary budget, we should not forget that those programs are long-term [research and development] undertakings, and they can’t just be turned on and off whenever we have a short-term fiscal issue needing attention—not if we want them to be successful, and not if we want to maintain our commitment to the dedicated workforce that is trying to bring them to fruition. That is a challenge we are going to face in the coming months and years as we work to put the nation’s financial house in order.

25 Jan 2013

In 2011, Congress directed the National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s (NASA) Office of Inspector General to assess NASA’s goals, objectives, and strategies that were set forth in the 2011 NASA Strategic Plan. NASA requested that this assessment be conducted by the National Research Council (NRC). The NRC Committee on NASA’s Strategic Direction was formed and was asked to address the relevance of NASA’s strategic direction as it relates to achieving national priorities, to examine the viability of these plans given the current economic conditions, and provide insight on the appropri