Astronaut investigates the boulder captured from an asteroid. Shown is an astronaut, anchored to a foot restraint, preparing to investigate the asteroid boulder. Credit: NASA

Astronaut investigates the boulder captured from an asteroid. Shown is an astronaut, anchored to a foot restraint, preparing to investigate the asteroid boulder.
Credit: NASA

 

The highly informative SpacePolicyOnline.com has a suite of new postings that are headline eye-catchers:

House Appropriators Urge FAA to Facilitate Private Lunar Development

House Appropriators Reject Asteroid Redirect Mission, Want Astronauts on Moon

House Appropriators Have Big Plans for NASA

Long distance interstellar sailing. Credit: UCSB/Adrian Mann

Long distance interstellar sailing.
Credit: UCSB/Adrian Mann

 

 

Lunar, asteroid, Europa, interstellar

Marcia Smith, founder and editor of SpacePolicyOnline.com, notes:

— Moon Development: The House Appropriations Committee encourages the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to enhance its processes to provide “security and predictability” to companies planning lunar development. It also urges the FAA to define “non-interference” in the context of such private sector activities. At the same time, it denies half of the requested increase for the FAA’s Office of Commercial Space Transportation (AST) to hire more staff.

— Dis-ARMing: The House Appropriations Committee is recommending that no funds be provided for planning robotic or crewed missions to asteroids as envisioned by President Obama’s Asteroid Redirect Mission (ARM). Also under the heading “Mission to Mars,” the committee states that while there may be technological benefits to “asteroid redirect and retrieval missions” — an apparent reference to ARM, whose name has varied over the years — they do not “appreciably contribute” to the overall goal of sending humans to Mars.

This artist's rendering shows NASA's Europa mission spacecraft, which is being developed for a launch sometime in the 2020s. This view shows the spacecraft configuration, which could change before launch, as of early 2016. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

This artist’s rendering shows NASA’s Europa mission spacecraft, which is being developed for a launch sometime in the 2020s. This view shows the spacecraft configuration, which could change before launch, as of early 2016.
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

Europa Orbiter/Lander Missions: the House committee continues support for a robotic mission to Jupiter’s moon Europa — an orbiter to be launched in 2022 and a lander in 2024 — both launched by the Space Launch System (SLS). This committee has insisted that NASA proceed with a Europa mission even though NASA was not planning to build it because of budget constraints.

— Star Probe Propulsion: The House Appropriations Committee not only wants NASA to replace the Asteroid Redirect Mission with a focus on returning humans to the lunar surface, but it has other big plans for the agency. One is to develop interstellar propulsion to enable a probe to be sent to Alpha Centauri at one tenth the speed of light in 2069. The committee also directs NASA to submit a plan for developing interstellar propulsion to enable a scientific probe to be sent to Alpha Centauri at a cruising velocity of 0.1c (one tenth the speed of light) in 2069, the 100th anniversary of the Apollo 11 landing on the Moon.

U.S.-China cooperation

Smith also notes that the committee continues to prohibit NASA and the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) from engaging in bilateral space activities with China unless certain conditions are met.

“One of those now is that the FBI must certify (in addition to NASA or OSTP) that no technology transfer will occur or that the activity involves knowing interactions with the officials involved in human rights violations,” Smith explains.

For more on these issues, all the dollar details, and attached documents, go to:

http://www.spacepolicyonline.com/

 

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