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Saturday’s CSExtra offers the latest on Congressional efforts to pass NASA policy and spending measures. Lawmakers will adjourn until mid-September without finishing either. Also, the six-year-old Spirit Martian Exploration Rover may not awaken from its winter hibernation, NASA cautions. In Japan, crowds flock to a museum to look at the Hayabusa spacecraft that returned to Earth from a difficult journey to an asteroid.
1. From Space News: Opposition to a reduced commercial space transportation provision prevents the full House from considering a NASA authorization bill before a six-week Aug. 2 recess. The House measure contains far less for commercial transportation services than a Senate authorization bill. Both versions are much less than the White House proposed, nearly $6 billion over five years. Space News reports some changes in the measure produced by the House Science and Technology Committee also raised concerns. A provision calling for $300 million in guaranteed loans for commercial space development was changed to $300 million in grants over three years. That came in response to the Congressional Budget Office, which expressed concerns over the long term cost of the loan provision. House appropriators have fenced off human space flight spending until they have an authorization bill signed by the President.
A. From Spacepolitics.com: One factor in the House in-action on an authorization bill was opposition from California Democrats, who want more spending to foster commercial space transportation development. California lawmakers see that as a factor in future state employment.
B. From Politico.com: Lawmakers from Ohio as well as California with concerns over the commercial space transportation provision, rallied to prevent House action before a six-week legislative recess.
C. From MSNBC and Cosmic Log: Though the debate in Congress over NASA’s future appears far from over, the Senate version of the NASA authorization bill appears to have more support. The Senate measure offers more finances for commercial space transportation than does the House version.
2. From Space.com: NASA’s Spirit Mars Exploration Rover, in electronic hibernation since March, may not survive the Martian winter, NASA cautions.
3. From the Mainichi Daily News of Japan: Crowds flock to a museum to see the Hayabusa spacecraft’s containment capsule. The capsule returned to Earth on June 13, following an obstacle-filled mission to an asteroid.
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