Legislation Aims to Restructure Space Florida Board (Source: SPACErePORT)
State legislation sponsored by Rep. Crisafulli (R-Merritt Island) has passed the full House of Representatives and is awaiting an Apr. 20 hearing in the Senate for a companion bill sponsored by Sen. Constantine (R-Altamonte Springs). The bills would restructure Space Florida's board of directors. Current board members would see their terms come to an end 90 days after the bill is signed. The new board would have designated seats for representatives of human spaceflight companies, commercial spaceflight companies, a DOD space contractor, an alternative energy enterprise, other companies working under federal space-related contracts, and a member from organized labor. The bills would eliminate the board's current university representation. Click here to see a copy. (4/16)

Space Bills Advance in Tallahassee (Source: SPACErePORT)
Ten space-related initiatives are working their way through the legislative process in Tallahassee. Only one has thus far been passed by both the House and Senate, but others are widely expected to follow this week. Included are bills that will provide tens of millions of dollars for space-related economic development, workforce development and research. Here's a list of the House versions of the bills: HB-969, HB-1509, HB-7201, HB-1389, HB-451, HB-1539, HB-133, HB-1391, HB-121, HB-607, HB-253, and HB-1199. You can look up the status of these bills here. (4/16)

To Boldly Go to a Commercial Space Age (Source: Guardian)
The space exploration paradigm has moved on since the days of Apollo. To make progress, NASA must embrace private industry. It's not surprising that people are all bent out of shape over Obama's plans for NASA and its human space flight program. Axing Constellation means job losses and the abandonment of long pursued programs of science and engineering; for some people it is the end of their exploration dreams. Among the disgruntled is Neil Armstrong. In his view Obama's plans risk ceding the United States's pre-eminence in space exploration to emerging superpowers and display a fatal lack of vision.

But the space exploration paradigm has moved on since the days of Apollo. Nasa's budget, as a fraction of the country's GDP, is an order of magnitude less than it was around the time of those missions. Gone are the days when things could move so quickly or command such resource. From Kennedy's utterance of the words "before this decade is out" to Armstrong's historic small step, took eight years. No NASA program of recent times has proved anything like as agile or successful.

Armstrong's message is that if you have a vision you've got to stick with it, believe in it and resource it properly. True; but it's the resource that is the forcing issue here. In embracing the commercial sector Nasa looks to solve the problem of sustainability. (4/16)

Walker, Levin Comment on Obama's Vision (Source: Space Politics)
Former Congressman Bob Walker and Lon Levin appeared to like the new plan. Walker said the speech will cause the political establishment to “take a deep breath” and reexamine their interest in or opposition to the plan, while Levin called it a good speech that recognized the need to match goals and resources. Walker noted a problem with the original rollout of the plan in February was that it was done as a budget proposal. Members of Congress scrutinize them to see what they would lose, rather than what we can gain.

Moving forward in Congress, Walker said that while the most logical path for building support would be in the space subcommittee of the House Science Committee, that committee has a number of members with NASA centers in their districts and thus may not be as receptive. A better alternative may be the Senate Appropriations Committee, through Sen. Mikulski (and her subcommittee is holding a hearing on the NASA budget next week.) One concern Walker had is that he believes NASA will operate under a continuing resolution for several months because the appropriations bill would not be done in time. Such a move would restrict NASA’s ability to start new programs or wind down Constellation. (4/16)

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