S/SW blog philosophy -

I credit favorite writers and public opinion makers.

A lifelong Democrat, my comments on Congress, the judiciary and the presidency are regular features.

My observations and commentary are on people and events in politics that affect the USA or the rest of the world, and stand for the interests of peace, security and justice.

Monday, June 16, 2008

NASA and Congress

NASA shuttle Discovery landed safely Saturday in Florida after completing its mission STS-124, according to NASA. The crew had been gone almost two weeks and had traveled 5.7 million miles. STS-124 launched the main segment of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency's – or JAXA’s – station laboratory. Kibo’s Japanese Pressurized Module, or JPM, is so big that it barely fit inside Discovery's payload bay. The bus-sized module is the station’s largest laboratory.
Hubble updating is next -- Kibo, Japan's "hope" for a space science presence is the last big component to be added to the International Space Station. As building the ISS has almost come to a close, NASA's next efforts will focus on transitioning out of using shuttles towards the development of the next generation of rockets and spacecraft to go to the moon and Mars. reports that:
the stage is set for NASA's next flight: the final visit to the Hubble Space Telescope.

. . . Discovery's return to Earth clears the way for the planned Oct. 8 launch of its sister ship Atlantis, which is set to fly one last mission to overhaul the Hubble Space Telescope before NASA turns its full attention to completing the space station by 2010 and retiring its three-orbiter fleet.

But first, NASA has to fix blast damage to its prime shuttle launch site — Pad 39A — after Discovery's liftoff ripped some 5,300 heat-resistant bricks from their concrete moorings at the 1960s-era pad.

. . . In the meantime, NASA plans to make the most of the months between now and the next shuttle flight to the space station, a logistics flight currently slated to lift off on Nov. 10 aboard the Endeavour orbiter.

William Gerstenmaier, NASA's associate administrator of space operations, said he expects U.S. astronaut Gregory Chamitoff and his two Russian crewmates aboard the station to take advantage of the shuttle lull to perform science in the station's new Kibo laboratory and Europe's Columbus lab, which was delivered earlier this year. Chamitoff arrived at the station last week aboard Discovery and replaced U.S. astronaut Garrett Reisman as an Expedition 17 flight engineer.
Not enough money for staying in Iraq and staying with a robust space presence, says Bush. NASA's budget for fiscal year 2009 is currently making its way through the legislative process on Capitol Hill. The House debated HR 6063 last week. It has not yet come to a vote. The bill mandates three more shuttle flights than NASA had planned. Congress and the White House are currently "squabbling over NASA's mission," explains New Scientist Space Blog in an excellent post on 6/13/08. (OCP) our current president strongly opposes the bill, according to the Orlando Sentinal. Congress is resisting budget cuts that will retire the shuttles before it is prudent or necessary, according to many space advocates. To quote:
In particular, the White House opposed a directive in the bill that orders NASA to launch another space shuttle flight to carry a scientific experiment to the International Space Station.

. . . To help accommodate the extra flights, the measure authorizes a NASA budget in 2009 that is $2.6 billion more than the $17.6 billion proposed by Bush. The White House objected to this increase, which it defined as “inconsistent with the Administration’s fiscal policies.”
It continues to break my heart that so much of the treasure of the United States has been squandered in Iraq for war. I would so much rather those dollars had been spent in the peaceful use of space by the international community.
I will be traveling soon to visit my family of origin in Wyoming. Therefore blog posting may be much more sporadic. But I will be tuned in to the web as much as possible, given technology and circumstances.
Today in History -- Constitutional Convention, June 16, 1787: Convention heard arguments on both the N.J. and Va. plans.
View my current slide show about the Bush years -- "Millennium" -- at the bottom of this column.
(Cross-posted at The Reaction.)
My “creativity and dreaming” post today is at Making Good Mondays.
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The Future Was Yesterday said...

I'll miss you....tremendously!!

Carol Gee said...

Thanks, my friend. Email follows.