October 11 News Items

Dennis Kucinich Supports Increase in Budget for NASA (Source: Cleveland Sun)
U.S. Rep. Dennis Kucinich, D-Ohio, wants an extra $3 billion awarded to NASA for human space flight. Kucinich said the resultant $22 billion for the 2012 budget would restore research "so badly damaged" under the Bush administration. Kucinich sent supportive letters Sept. 25 to John Holdren, the director of science and technology policy at the White House, and to NASA Administrator Charles Bolden Jr. Kucinich complained that NASA needed to keep its in-house research and development programs. "Healthy aeronautics and space R&D programs must once again be the cornerstone" of NASA, Kucinich said. He said he feared an expansion of commercial space ventures would lead to more privatization of government functions and loss of civil-service technical jobs. (10/10)

Hukill Drops Bid for Kosmas' Seat, Aims to Keep State Legislative Office (Source: Daytona Beach News-Journal)
State Rep. Dorothy Hukill, a supporter of space industry issues in Tallahassee, said Friday she has dropped her bid for a congressional seat and will run again in 2010 for the Florida House. Hukill, R-Port Orange, announced this summer she would try to unseat Democratic U.S. Rep. Suzanne Kosmas in Congressional District 24, which includes Kennedy Space Center. But Hukill said she expects to receive a leadership post in the state House after next year's elections. Rep. Dean Cannon, a Winter Park Republican who is slated to become House speaker, said in the statement that Hukill will be a "key member of my leadership team." (10/11)

Commercial Spaceflight Investment on the Rise (Source: Space News)
U.S. firms seeking to open space to private citizens saw a modest 6 percent growth in 2008 with over a quarter of a billion dollars in total collective revenue last year, though investment in the emerging personal spaceflight industry rose more than 20 percent since January 2008, according to highlights of an annual report commissioned by the Commercial Spaceflight Federation. The findings were based on interviews with 22 U.S. commercial spaceflight companies, including most members firms of the Commercial Spaceflight Federation. Federation President Brett Alexander said the report shows a dramatic change in the industry over the past several years. (10/11)

Bolden Talk Yields Insights More Personal than Political (Source: Space News)
In a speech delivered to U.S. lawmakers and aerospace industry representatives Oct. 8, NASA Administrator Charles Bolden revealed little about the space agency’s future but spoke volumes about his current state of mind. The retired Marine Corps general and former astronaut admitted he is averse to Washington’s political climate, implied he does not trust Beltway insiders and insisted he never wanted to be NASA’s top official.

“When the president asked me to take this job, I told him I didn’t want this job,” he said. Nodding to his nearby chief of staff, George Whitesides, Bolden said the top aide “gets upset” when he relates the anecdote. “I really don’t care what signal it sends. I did not want this job.” After meeting with Obama in May and hearing his inspiring tale of watching Apollo astronauts splash down in the Pacific near his childhood home, Bolden was compelled to take the post. Now, nearly three months into a tenure he acknowledged might be brief, he says he is uneasy with Washington power brokering.

“I am not going to get used to this culture,” he said. “I don’t want to get used to this culture. But if you will allow me to do the job that you asked me to do, I will do it. And I will do it well.” Bolden said his distaste for Beltway politics stems from an eight-month stint in the early 1990s during which he served as NASA assistant deputy administrator. “It was the worst eight months of my life,” he said, recalling a narrowly won effort to garner congressional support for the international space station. “And that was one of the reasons that I didn’t want to come back to Washington, was because it was a horrible experience.” (10/11)

Bolden Team Moving Toward Recommendation (Source: Space News)
"I’ve had conversations with all of you in the House and I know your concerns,” Bolden said. “And I’ve had conversations with the Senate, and I know their concerns. And I think I can make a difference. But, I can’t do anything if we don’t change the way we operate.” Having reviewed the Augustine Panel's summary report, Bolden said he and his senior management team have been “migrating” toward a recommendation to the president. But Bolden said the decision is Obama’s call.

“I would love to tell you where we’re going, but it’s not my prerogative,” he said. “That’s the president’s prerogative.” Bolden said he meets regularly with senior managers — about nine hours a week — to discuss the Augustine Panel findings. He said an agency position is beginning to take shape, but took issue with the Augustine panel’s approach, suggesting that NASA’s recommendation will be based only in part on the panel’s options. (10/11)

Russia Says It Will Bear Brunt of Space Station Missions (Source: Reuters)
Russia expects to extend the life of the International Space Station beyond 2015, although Moscow must bear the brunt of flights after the United States retires its shuttles, officials said. Space agency heads will meet in March 2010, probably in Japan, to discuss the future of the International Space Station (ISS). "The main question to be raised is whether to extend the life of the ISS beyond 2015. I believe the issue will be approved," Alexei Krasnov said at Mission Control outside of Moscow. Should it proceed, however, the retirement of U.S. shuttles would increase the burden on Russia for manning the ISS. (10/11)

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