Thursday, February 28, 2008

NASA Administrator on KSC Job Cuts, COTS Expansion

Michael Griffin has told the the space subcommittee of the Senate Commerce Committee that KSC will endure substantial job loss as the shuttle is retired at 2010.

Subcommittee Chairman Bill Nelson suggested that the COTS program, which currently is contracting SpaceX and Orbital Sciences to develop commercial crew and cargo transportation to the space station, be accelerated to somehow help with the workforce situation at KSC. It is unclear how this could work, but Griffin promised to return and report back on the prospect.

COTS expansion would be a very good thing, and senators getting interested in COTS expansion would be an important step in promoting a sustainable space exploration program.

Florida Considers Suborbital Indemnification Bill

The Florida legislature is considering a bill that would remove liability for death to participants with companies operating sub-orbital space flights from Florida. This is to compete with Virginia after they passed a similar bill last year.

Read Florida's bill and encourage your state legislators to pass similar legislation.

If you live in Florida, contact your local representative and let them know how important it is that they vote for this legislation.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Florida's KSC Slated to be Energy Research Hub

As another NASA related spinoff application, a local bill in Florida would make the KSC a research center for an "Advanced Combustion Energy Center." This program would partner the center with local industry and academia to perform the research.

COTS on the Moon

The Hyperbola blog reports from the NASA/AIAA 3rd space exploration conference that NASA is considering extending the COTS program to the surface of the moon. This has not been incorporated yet into NASA's budgetary plan. Contact your congressman and tell them why COTS is a valuable program and why they need to grant NASA a larger budget with an expanded COTS program to ensure our nations success in returning to the moon.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

NASA Posts New Spinoff Web Feature

NASA's website now includes an interactive feature that identifies many spin-offs in our cities and in our homes. Check it out and keep these things in mind next time you send a letter or speak with your congressman. Aside from household items, NASA highlights spin-offs in air travel, automotive, sports and recreation, public safety, medical, manufacturing, grocery, and coastal applications.

Go to the site, pick what you are most passionate about, and then let your congressman know why investment in space technology has a return on investment worth the cost.

If you want even more detail, then search for a specific spin-off application.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Canada's Nova Scotia Space Industry Decision

Liberal Leader Stephen McNeil of Nova Scotia has charged the government there to throw their weight behind securing the presence of failed COTS bidder PlanetSpace to launch from their shores.

Canadian residents of the region should throw their weight in with Stephen McNeil to the leaders of the government there.

PlanetSpace seeks to develop point to point space travel as well as parcel delivery as it prepares to bid for services in COTS phase 2 when it comes up in 2010

Public Meeting Today about Commercial Launch Complex

At 6 p.m. today NASA will hold a public meeting regarding constructing commercial launch facilities at Cape Canaveral in the Titusville City Council chambers, and again at 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. Feb. 28 at New Smyrna Beach Public Library.

Clinton Pledges Support for Orion, Obama still Wishy-Washy

In Houston on Saturday night, Hillary again pledged to fund the "next generation of spacecraft." Whether or not this includes Ares 5 is unknown. Barack has also said "I want to support the next generation of spacecraft for a robust human spaceflight program." and accompanied it with the caveat of saying that he does "not just assume that human space exploration, actually sending bodies into space, is always the best investment."

While these two statements, along with the others stated on their websites and in previous messages, give the basic message of their feelings on space exploration, they leave much to be desired by way of details.

Get them both out the the "science debate 2008" so that they are put under the gun with direct questions regarding their stance on space exploration

Friday, February 22, 2008

Ulysses Ends Fantastic Mission

The Ulysses polar solar orbiter is finally succumbing after 17 years of service. Richard Marsden, the mission manager, said "We will squeeze the very last drops of science out of it that we can, Ulysses is a terrific old workhorse. It has produced great science and lasted much longer than we ever thought it would."

A joint collaboration of ESA and NASA, the mission has made incredible discoveries including "
taking the first direct measurements of interstellar dust particles and interstellar helium atoms in the solar system and the discovery that the magnetic field leaving the sun is balanced across latitudes."

The spacecraft, launched from the Space Shuttle in 1990, has lasted 4 times longer than it was originally designed for.

Similar to the Mars Rover and other missions, this investment in space exploration is paying much higher dividends than initially expected. Contact your congressmen, tell them what a great success this mission was, and ask them why there are not more exploration missions on the table fort the future.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Bush Blasted for Weak Science Budget

President Bush was blasted by both sides of the isle for his lack luster 2009 science federal budget spending request. His budget was compared with the COMPETES act that he passed for the 110th Congress

Roscoe Bartlett, Republican from Maryland in the house, said "nothing you have mentioned in energy research is cutting-edge."

Bart Gordon, Democratic chair of the House Committee on Science and Technology said "What you've heard today from both sides of the aisle is that more of the same is not getting the job done."

Earlier responses from members on the Subcommittee on Space was similar.

Join your voice with those on the committee by emailing, faxing, calling, and visiting your Congressmen to demand they give president bush a 2009 budget to sign with a much higher budget for space exploration.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Talk To Your Senator

I wrote senator here in Washington, Patty Murry, about why I thought that she should ensure the radio telescope Arecibo's funding. Arecibo just discovered a rare asteroid with orbiting moons. Continued funding for the observatory is threatened. She wrote back to me:

"Dear Mr. Benac:

Thank you for contacting my office. Your thoughtful comments regarding the Arecibo Observatory were very informative. I will certainly keep your thoughts in mind as they are greatly appreciated.

Representing the state of Washington in the United States Senate is a solemn responsibility, and matters which come before this body must be decided not in haste, but through thoughtful deliberation. I believe that one of the most cherished aspects of this process is the regular exchange of hopes, thoughts, ideas and dreams between elected officials and their constituents. These relationships of participatory democracy make up the best parts and are often the fondest memories of a public servant's career. Please be assured that I will keep your views in mind.

Again, thank you for your comments. I hope you will stay in touch.

I hope all is well in Renton."

This is but a small example of how an exchange between a constituent and a representative brings space policy to the mind of your legislator. Be sure that you do your part to impact American policy for good.

Dont just read the news. Do something about it.

Email, Fax, Call, and Visit your Congressmen about the 2009 NASA Budget, the COTS program, The Space Prize act, or any number of other vital programs with uncertain futures.

Ron Paul's Congressional Seat Position Weakens

Ron Paul currently represents a large area of South Texas in Congress, including many NASA and aerospace employees. With Chris Peden opposing him on a Pro-NASA platform, the congressional race has relevance for space advocacy. Paul is in a conundrum: Stay in the presidential race and cut off access to his presidential campaign contributions for the congressional race, or drop out of the race (and lose the ability to give a speech at the national convention) and work towards securing his congressional seat for a tenth year.

The major 3rd party website supporting Ron Paul, is shifting gears from presidential campaign fund raising to congressional campaign fund raising.

Become informed and put your weight behind the candidate that you believe in.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

COTS Award to Orbital Sciences

NASA has selected Orbital Sciences as a winner of a $170 Million contract to provide commercial cargo and crew transportation to the space station. The announcement was made this afternoon.

Some significant details regarding this win include:

  • Launch would likely not be from Florida, but Virginia, which has many perturbed
  • NASA will invest $170 million
  • Orbital will build a maneuvering spacecraft called Cygnus
  • Orbital will build a Taurus II rocket to launch the Cygnus and modular pressurized and unpressurized cargo

Contact your congressman to call their attention to this historically significant event and urge them to provide more funding to the COTS program.

Barack in Houston

"Barack Obama is in Texas, where he holds a roundtable discussion and a town hall meeting in San Antonio, and attends a campaign rally in Houston."

Stand for Change Town Hall with Barack Obama

La Plaza De Guadalupe
1327 Guadalupe Street
San Antonio, TX 78207

Tuesday, February 19, 2008
Doors Open: 12:00 p.m.

Stand for Change Rally with Barack Obama

Toyota Center
1510 Polk Street
Houston, TX

Tuesday, February 19, 2008
Doors Open: 6:00 p.m.

Barack's space policy would have a material negative impact on the city of Houston. Get out to the town hall in San Antonio and tell him why he is wrong. Go to the ralley and make you voice heard.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Public meetings on Commercial Launch Complex at KSC

NASA is holding 4 public hearing as preparation on a decision to build a private launch complex at the Kennedy Space Center.

In it's hay day, Cape Canaveral had multiple launches per year. Recently they are hard pressed to have one a year.

They are considering building these facilities in conjunction with their efforts with COTS and the retirement of the space shuttle. SpaceX is already planning on launches from the cape. Mario Busacca, at KSC, said "
Here's the bottom line: In order for NASA to make a good decision, we need the public input, we need to understand what their issues are and how any decision we make is going to affect the public."

Building the complex would cost half a billion dollars. "NASA would provide the real estate, but the state or commercial companies would have to pay to build and operate the complex."

Go to the meetings. Tell them what you think.

"Public hearings are scheduled at 1 p.m. and 6 p.m. Feb. 25 in Titusville City Council chambers, and at 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. Feb. 28 at New Smyrna Beach Public Library."

For direct questions, contact Mario Busacca at 321-867-8456. You can send him an email, too

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Barack Disses Human Spaceflight

In a phone interview with the Houston Chronicle, Obama "said, the next president needs to have 'a practical sense of what investments deliver the most scientific and technological spin-offs — and not just assume that human space exploration, actually sending bodies into space, is always the best investment.'"

Hillary Clinton, on the other hand, said "I intend to pursue an ambitious agenda in both space exploration and earth sciences. . . I want to support the next generation of spacecraft for a robust human spaceflight program."

Barack does not support a balanced program of human and robotice exploration. Email, Fax, and call Obama at (866) 675-2008 to tell him why "sending bodies into space" is a good investment.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Zero-G Flights From Ames

NASA has announced that the commercial "Vomit Comet" company Zero-G will use NASA runways and provide commercial services to the Ames Research Center. "'We're delighted to have signed this historic agreement with ZERO-G,' said Ames Director S. Pete Worden. 'This will further NASA's goal of pursuing mutually beneficial partnerships with the emerging commercial space sector.'... The agreement also calls for NASA and ZERO-G to develop research collaborations starting this fall."
This is a prime example of how a symbiotic relationship can exist between the public and private spaceflight industries, and that the legislation of our nation should promote both.

Email, Fax, Call, and Visit your Congressmen and tell them what is happening in California with Zero-G, and why they should pass some of the upcoming pro-space legislation.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Stanford Space Panel: Send Astronauts to Mars and Beyond

A conference that has drawn flack from Michael Griffin has come to some conclusions that the NASA administrator would probably agree with:

  • It is time to go beyond LEO with people as explorers. The purpose of sustained human exploration is to go to Mars and beyond. The significance of the Moon and other intermediate destinations is to serve as steppingstones on the path to that goal.
  • Bringing together scientists, astronauts, engineers, policy analysts, and industry executives in a single conversation created an environment where insights across traditional boundaries occurred.
  • Human space exploration is undertaken to serve national and international interests. It provides important opportunities to advance science, but science is not the primary motivation.
  • Sustained human exploration requires enhanced international collaboration and offers the United States an opportunity for global leadership.
  • NASA has not received the budget increases to support the mandated human exploration program as well as other vital parts of the NASA portfolio, including space science, aeronautics, technology requirements, and especially Earth observations, given the urgency of global climate change.
Use the links to the left to contact the President, Congress and presidential candidates to call their attention to the budget shortfall and the opportunity that the USA has to explore space if our nation chooses to. Tell them that you believe that we should.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

House Subcommittee Evaluates NASA Budget: Not Enough Money

The House Science and Technology reviewed NASA's 2009 budget today and listened to Administrator Michael Griffin's comments. The following quotes are some excerpts from his testimony. On purchasing Soyuz flights from the Russians after shuttle retirement:

"NASA needs this legislative authorization in 2008, because the Russians require 36 months lead-time to fabricate and build new Soyuz vehicles, and thus we will need to finalize contractual agreements late this year."
"The past several appropriations cycles have resulted in funding reductions for Exploration in favor of other priorities."

"American taxpayers are today paying Russian aerospace engineers to do work that should be done by Americans."

"NASA satellites supply more global climate change data than those of any other organization in the world"

"I believe the greatest challenge we face is to maintain a unified sense of purpose throughout the difficult transition from Shuttle to Constellation systems."
Ranking member Bart Gordon said:
"I believe that the Administration has to date failed to provide resources to NASA that are adequate for what it has asked NASA to do and what it agreed to in the Authorization Act."
and member Mark Udall said:
"The Administration has chosen not to request any additional funding for the Constellation program in this latest budget request, despite congressional encouragement from both sides of the aisle to do so. . . I intend to work hard this year to develop legislation to reauthorize NASA"
Florida Today's Eun Kim reports "Griffin also dismissed the idea of extending the life of the aging Shuttle, citing findings by the Columbia Accident Investigation Board that advised against it. . .'It is in the nation's interest to replace the shuttle as soon as possible,' Griffin said."

The presidents 09 Budget is to small for NASA. Congress can increase NASAs budget above what the president has requested.

The Senate committee on Science will review NASA's 2009 budget on February 27th.

Email, Fax, Call, and Visit your Congressmen and tell them exactly how much and for what they should increase NASA's 2009 budget. Then tell the president that he had better not resist Congresses efforts to increase NASA's budget when they return the budget for him to sign.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

SpaceX Passes Design Review

SpaceX has completed a preliminary design review for using its' Dragon space capsule for use on the international space station. If SpaceX can close the Shuttle/Orion gap, it will have a profound and game changing impact on space exploration in America. Dragon will accomplish what Orion is suppose to do, but it will have done it faster and cheaper than Orion. It will mean that we do not have to purchase services from the Russians or the Europeans, it will enable Bigelow Aerospace to populate their space stations, and it could enable as yet unimagined orbital endeavors.

SpaceX is participating in NASAs COTS program, which initially awarded half a billion dollars to private companies to develop these capabilities. Contact your congressmen and tell them that COTS is a fantastic program and it should be expanded.

Email, Fax, Call, and Visit your Congressmen to tell them that this is a good program. Tell them to give NASA more money to fund this program or programs like it.

Space Legislative Blitz Update

This update from the Space Exploration Alliance 2008 Legislative Blitz came from a member of SpaceGeneration:

"We met with many staffers (probably on the order of 50 or 60 meetings). Including Boxer, Pelosi, Hutchison, Nelson, etc. We also dropped off materials with Obama and McCains offices. Focus is on funding the presidents request, communicating the importance of human spaceflight, COTS, balanced program etc."
and from the National Space Society:
"126 meetings total, we can send you a copy of the blitz points later.
Meetings with Pelosi, Gordon, Wasserman-Schultz, and many more.
Focused on supporting space exploration, closing gap in human spaceflight, overall NASA funding, entrepreneurial activity, key science missions, and relevance of NASA to climate change / climate science."
And Finally some pictures of training at NSS headquarters

Find out how you can contribute by calling 202.429.1600

Monday, February 11, 2008

Science Debate Invites Sent out

"Dear Candidates for President of the United States: We invite you to participate in Science Debate 2008, a presidential candidates debate about issues in science and technology policy that are vital to the future of America. . ."

This invitation was sent out to Hillary Clinton, Mike Huckabee, John McCain, and Barack Obama. It was accompanied with a petition with many thousands of signers of individuals and institutions who supported the debates.

Now it is time to ask the candidates to accept this call.

  • Email, Fax, and call Obama at (866) 675-2008 and tell him to participate
  • Email, Fax, and call Huckabee at (800) 871-6320 and tell him to participate
  • Email, Fax, and call McCain at (703) 418-2800 and tell him to participate
  • Email, Fax, and call Clinton at (703) 469-2008 and tell her to participate
  • DC Space Legsilative Blitz Underway

    I received this message from Tim Bailey regarding the 2008 SEA Legislative Blitz.

    "We have people here participating from groups including NSS, Mars Society, Space Generation, Planetary Society, SEDS, NSBE, NASA Academy Alumni Association. We did several hours of training yesterday at the NSS offices before going to dinner. This morning teams have already visited dozens of offices for 10-20 min meetings with staffers. We also have more than 10 face-to-face meetings with Congresspersons during the 2-day event."
    If you are remotely close, be sure to call 202.429.1600 and get in on the action! The Blitz goes on most of this week. Personal visits is much more effective than other methods of activism.

    Weldon Successor Comes Into Focus

    At 11 AM, Jim Greer, the Florida Republican Chairman, endorsed Bill Posey's bid for Weldon's spot in the House of Representatives. He also "authorized national fundraising groups to support Posey -- even in a primary. The decision effectively ends any chance of GOP infighting in the Space Coast district."

    The Democratic contenders are Nancy Higgs, and Steve Blythe.

    Steve Blyth on NASA:

    "We need to look at NASA's priorities to strengthen NASA for the future. NASA needs to get back to its' core mission; life science research utilizing the International Space Station and deep space research such as that carried out by the Hubble Telescope and Chandra radio telescope. The goals of a manned station on the moon and manned flights to Mars are distractions and far too expensive given our crumbling bridges and the huge budget deficits the Bush administration is leaving us."
    Nancy Higgs has no defined space policy.

    Saturday, February 9, 2008

    Politico Gives Us The Bait Again

    Spaceports picked up on Politico soliciting questions again for two interviews with Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton. The questions are to be asked in personal interviews to be aired before the Maryland and Virginia primaries.

    While I was deeply disappointed with the previous politico question debacle, I still submitted questions for Politico to ask each of the candidates. I did this because it barely took any time at all, and while it might not have the impact that we hope, It surely can't hurt. Especially if space gets a little more attention during the Houston debate.

    I encourage everyone to submit questions about space to ask the candidates during these interviews.

    Ron Paul Retreats, is Challenged on Space

    Ron Paul is toning down his presidential bid, and bolstering his efforts for securing his seat in the congress once again. His opponent in that contest, Chris Peden, highlights some of their differences, stating he supports the VSE whereas Ron Paul Does not.

    "I support fully funding NASA's budget and the Vision for Space Exploration; the incumbent does not."

    The Hill quotes "Ron Paul consistently opposes taxpayer funding for NASA and wants to eliminate the agency"

    New Bill Could Provides Tax Incentives for People Investing in Space Companies

    Yesterday, Representative Dana Rohrabacher of California (Co-Sponsored by Representative Weldon) introduced H.R. 5310: To amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to provide tax incentives for investing in companies involved in space-related activities.

    He has introduced similar legislation under the name "Zero Gravity, Zero Tax Act" for the past 3 congresses, but they all have failed. With a broader name and the support and feedback from space advocates across the internet, lets get the bill passed this time!

    It has been referred to the house committee on Ways and Means

    Contact the member on the committee from your area and demand that they pass this bill along for debate and eventual vote in the house.

    Charles B. Rangel, NY Chairman
    Fortney Pete Stark, CA
    Sander M. Levin, MI
    Jim McDermott, WA
    John Lewis, GA
    Richard E. Neal, MA
    Michael R. McNulty, NY
    John S. Tanner, TN
    Xavier Becerra, CA
    Lloyd Doggett, TX
    Earl Pomeroy, ND
    Stephanie Tubbs Jones, OH
    Mike Thompson, CA
    John B. Larson, CT
    Rahm Emanuel, IL
    Earl Blumenauer, OR
    Ron Kind, WI
    Bill Pascrell Jr. , NJ
    Shelley Berkley, NV
    Joseph Crowley, NY
    Chris Van Hollen, MD
    Kendrick B. Meek, FL
    Allyson Y. Schwartz, PA
    Artur Davis, AL

    Jim McCrery, LA
    Wally Herger, CA
    Dave Camp, MI
    Jim Ramstad, MN
    Sam Johnson, TX
    Phil English, PA
    Jerry Weller, IL
    Kenny C. Hulshof, MO
    Ron Lewis, KY
    Kevin Brady, TX
    Thomas M. Reynolds, NY
    Paul Ryan, WI
    Eric Cantor, VA
    John Linder, GA
    Devin Nunes, CA
    Pat Tiberi, OH
    Jon Porter, NV

    Make a statement of your support!

    Friday, February 8, 2008

    Obama, Clinton face off in Houston

    The Houston Chronicle reports that Obama has accepted the invitation to debate in Houston with Clinton.

    Tim Russert and Brian Williams "have promised to moderate the debate the Greater Houston Partnership has been trying to organize in Houston. NBC's cable network MSNBC has committed to airing the Houston forum. 'We're committing to the concept of doing a debate in Texas before the primary,' said Josh Earnest, a spokesman for the Obama campaign."

    As Houston is the home of the Johnson Space Center, the debate might contain questions concerning their human space policy.

    Email Tim Russert and Brian Williams at MSNBC and tell them not to drop the ball like politico and CNN did in their Los Angeles debates. Tell them to ask Barack and Hillary about their contradicting space policies, rather than simply ask them to restate the positions that they already have in common.

    I Told Hillary to "Send Astronauts to Mars"

    Let me preface this post by saying that does not endorse or deride any candidate for president. simply wants to get space on the mind of the candidates.

    I was close. Check out the security guard right in front of me.

    This is how close we were when I shouted at the top of my voice using a Hillary sign as a megaphone. This is not zoomed in, folks!

    Last night, Michael Laine and I went to see Hillary campaign along the Seattle waterfront in a cruise line terminal. I squeezed underneath some bleachers to get to the VIP area and wiggled my way right up next to the disabled people and seniors. Then, when she was in the middle of her speech, I shouted: "Send Astronauts to Mars!" using a Hillary sign as a megaphone. She faltered, and then continued talking about technology and innovation. I expected someone to come and drag me off, but no one did. Ten minutes later, I did it again. At this point I figured I was pushing my luck, so I receded into the crowd to meet up with Michael. All in all, it was a great experience. Michael got her autograph on a notepad that had "Fund Space Exploration" written on it. I went up and got her autograph on the Hillary sign that I had used to shout my message through. I recommend that all readers do the same at campaign events in their locations.

    Some might be offended that I pushed a human mars mission. I figured that shouting- "Send astronauts to Mars!" was more intelligible than- "Give more funding to COTS!" and had broader appeal than- "Make NASA more efficient!" or "Give NASA more money!"

    Go Hillary! Ra, Ra, Ra!
    (*please don't throw me out, security*)

    And then she signed the very instrument that I used to shout with.

    Thursday, February 7, 2008

    Congressional Commitees to Review 2009 NASA Budget

    Space Politics reports that both the House and Senate committees have scheduled hearings on February 13th and 27th, respectively, to review NASA's 2009 budget. Beyond contacting the House committee on the current legislation up for debate, contact members of both committees from your area and tell them your opinions on the 2009 budget.

    For the House:

    BART GORDON (Tennessee), Chairman
    RALPH M. HALL (Texas), Ranking Republican Member

    and the Senate:

    Democrats Republicans

    Chairman Daniel K. Inouye (HI)
    John D. Rockefeller, IV (WV)
    John F. Kerry (MA)
    Byron L. Dorgan (ND)
    Barbara Boxer (CA)
    Bill Nelson (FL)
    Maria Cantwell (WA)
    Frank R. Lautenberg (NJ)
    Mark Pryor (AR)
    Thomas Carper (DE)
    Claire McCaskill (MO)
    Amy Klobuchar (MN)
    Vice Chairman Ted Stevens (AK)
    John McCain (AZ)
    Kay Bailey Hutchison (TX)
    Olympia J. Snowe (ME)
    Gordon H. Smith (OR)
    John Ensign (NV)
    John E. Sununu (NH)
    Jim DeMint (SC)
    David Vitter (LA)
    John Thune (SD)
    Roger Wicker (MS)

    Let them know that it matters to you!

    Wednesday, February 6, 2008

    Virgina State Senator Pushing Awesome Legislation

    Jake Kennedy at spaceports reports:

    "State Senator William C. Wampler, Jr. (R-Bristol) and State Seantor Phillip Puckett (D-Russell County) advanced the so-called Virginia 'Zero-G, Zero-Tax bill [SB 286] from the Senate Finance Committee on a 16-to-0 vote. The measure is now poised for a Senate floor vote this week or next.

    "Senator Wampler and Senator Puckett were the point-of-the-spear" in advancing the ZeroG, ZeroTax measure forward and out of the all important Senate Finance Committee," noted space advocate Jack Kennedy. "I am quite grateful to the Senate Finance Committee's faith and wisdom."

    Meanwhile, the five House 'Zero-G, Zero-Tax' bills have been merged into House Bill 238 carried by State Delegate John Cosgrove (R-Chesapeake) after being held-up in a House Finance subcommittee with the possibility of being held over until next year. . . "
    If you live in Virginia, pressure your legislators on this bill. It should be coming up for vote really soon! If you do not live in Virginia, complain to your legislators that nothing like this is happening in your state.

    With Super Tuesday Split, Opportunities for Speaking With the Candidates Continue

    Gear up, space advocates. The primaries aren't over, and the candidates are all over the map the next few days. With the Super Tuesday primaries so close on the democratic side, and Huckabee not giving up, the campaigns roll on. Check the following list to see where you can get to a candidate and tell them what you think about space exploration and the national need to engage in it!

    February 7th:
    Clinton in Arlington, VA and Seattle, WA
    McCain in Baltimore, MD
    Obama in New Orleans, LA and Omaha, NB

    February 8th:
    Clinton and Obama in Washington (Seattle, Spokane, and Tacoma)

    Tuesday, February 5, 2008

    Weldon Endorses a Human Spaceflight Supporter to Take his Place

    Representative Weldon of Florida has endorsed state Sen. Bill Posey to take his place. "In a letter to supporters, Weldon cited Posey's 'tremendous faith in God,' conservative business sense and commitment to the manned space flight program."

    Learn More about Bill Posey and take action on weather or not you support him.

    Houston Debate: Clinton on Board, Barack not.

    Hillary Clinton has agreed to participate in a debate in Houston on February 28th before the Texas democratic primaries. Barack Obama has not agreed. This is another fantastic chance to get them talking about their space policies, as the differ on their plans and Houston would be particularly impacted.

    Email, fax, visit, and call Obama at (866) 675-2008 and tell him how important it is to you, and your vote, that he participate.

    Action on Space Legislation Before the Congress

    The Aeronautics and Space Prize Act (H.R.4916), NASA Innovation Fund and Sponsorship Act (H.R.4308), NEO Preparedness Act (H.R.4917), and SPACE Act (H.R.4837) have all been referred from the House Committee on Science and Technology to the Subcommittee on Space and Aeronautics. Read the bills and contact the members on the committee and tell them your thoughts on the bills. Use the list below to contact those who represent your area, or just contact them all to tell them why they should or should not support the bills. Showing them your interest in the destiny of the space efforts of this nation will make a positive impact!

    COMMITTEE MEMBERS in the 110th Congress
    BART GORDON (Tennessee), Chairman
    RALPH M. HALL (Texas), Ranking Republican Member

    Monday, February 4, 2008

    Crunchtime for ScienceDebate2008

    The following is the text of an email that I received tonight about Science Debate 2008. If you do nothing else, sign the petition stating your support for the presidential candidates to participate in a debate centered on science in America. If your support is thicker than that, bring the resolution to your local caucus and present it. The email is as follows:

    Dear John,

    On Friday PBS NewsHour ran this story on us.

    Then today, the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, and the Institute of Medicine joined AAAS and the Council on Competitiveness as official cosponsors of Science Debate 2008. Together we now comprise a large portion of the American science and technology community. 64 leading universities and big-name organizations have also officially signed on.

    We now have an exceptionally attractive location and date and we hope to be inviting the candidates late this week.

    We need your help to make that invitation as compelling as possible:

    • Please recruit every prominent leader you know to join this important initiative in the next two days.
    • Please recruit every institution, corporation or organization you can get to join this important initiative in the next two days. Have them mention it is an organizational endorsement.
    • Keep track of our growing list of signers here and here.

    This is it, folks. We need you. Thanks for being a part of this historic and important initiative. Finally, please consider making an online donation here.

    The team at

    PS: if you live in a state that caucuses this Tuesday, please consider presenting this nonpartisan resolution calling for the debate.

    Update: First Look at Proposed 2009 NASA Budget

    President Bush has sent to Congress an initial version of the 2009 Budget including NASA funding. Read it and contact your legislators to tell them that they need to at least grant as much funding as is asked for here and possibly more. The budget includes money for robotic lunar landers, constellation components, COTS, and other items.

    Update: NASA deputy administrator Shana Dale's remarks and charts on the budget

    California Prepares Point Paper for Presidential Candidates

    The California Space Authority has written a short paper to advise presidential candidates on the issues relevant to the space industry in California. Read it and then tell the candidates what you think and why they should pay attention to this paper. Urge them to act on issues such as export controls, homeland security issues, and the space enterprise workforce.