NASA appropriations draft; Space law roundup
Draft appropriations legislation roughly follows the NASA authorization bill: Draft Spending Bill Increases NASAs Budget by $186M over 2010 – SpaceNews.com.
However, there is $50M less for commercial crew ($250M rather than $300M). The COTS “augmentation” of $300M is included (in yesterday’s news conference, NASA insisted that this would pay for additional requirements rather than for overruns on the original requirements). There’s also less for space technology and exploration research and development ($559M vs $600M).
There is an extra $100M for Orion and $200m more for the HLV. The bill bizarrely lays out even more demands on the HLV project:
> In addition, while the authorization act would allow NASA to gradually evolve a heavy-lift capability from initially delivering 70-100 metric tons beyond low Earth orbit to eventually launching a minimum of 130 metric tons, the draft continuing resolution would tell NASA to waste no time building the more robust capability. Specifically, it directs that “the initial lift capability for the heavy lift launch vehicle system shall be not less than 130 tons” and that “the upper stage and other core elements shall be simultaneously developed.”
With about $10B in funding there is as much of a chance of seeing a NASA-designed 130 ton HLV on the pad in 2016 as there is of seeing Richard Shelby dancing the lead in Swan Lake.
Of course, Congress’s primary goal is to maintain employment and not to gain improved access to space. The HLV will serve that goal well and Shelby will dance all day to that tune. === A Res Communis collection of space law, regulation and policy links: Library: A Round-up of Reading – Res Communis