NASA Gets Good News

Senate passes NASA budget By Hayley Kappes

The Daily News Published August 7, 2010 The U.S. Senate late Thursday approved a NASA authorization bill that strikes a compromise between President Barack Obama’s commercial space flight goals and plans for a NASA-controlled heavy-lift rocket and crew capsule. The Senate bill rejects Obama’s plan to rely on commercial development of a vehicle to take astronauts and cargo to the International Space Station. The bill cuts Obama’s proposed money for commercial development by two-thirds. Companies would have to pass strict safety studies based on new human rating requirements before a commercial vehicle launches a manned mission no earlier than 2012. The bill retains Constellation program plans for a heavy-lift rocket and crew capsule, which Obama’s proposal would have nixed. Obama’s budget proposal would have cut up to 7,000 jobs associated with the Johnson Space Center, but the Senate’s bill would save 85 percent of anticipated job losses, Bay Area Houston Economic Partnership President Bob Mitchell said. The bill extends financial commitment to the space station up to 2020 and authorizes an additional shuttle mission after the final scheduled flight in February. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison, R-Texas, co-authored the legislation that continues American space flight while investing in commercial capabilities. “Senate passage of this comprehensive legislation is a critical milestone that will boost America’s human spaceflight program,” Hutchison said. “By embracing this bipartisan vision for the future of NASA, the Senate has spoken with a unified voice.”

Excert from the Galveston County Daily News/ Online