H.R. 810, more commonly known as the NASA Authorization Act, passed in the House last Tuesday by a voice vote. Rep. Donna Edwards (D-MD) has championed the bill as laying the groundwork necessary for future multi-year allocations to NASA. This will aid the agency in planning for future missions as many NASA activities tend to span multiple fiscal years and election cycles.
Space leaders, executives, and students will be gathering in Washington, D.C. to the invite-only Pioneering Space National Summit in order to “agree upon a shared Vision and set a basic national agenda for US human space activities beyond Low Earth Orbit leading to permanent, thriving and expanding human communities on the Moon, Mars and Free Space.” Among the founders of the summit is the Space Frontier Foundation’s own co-founder, Rick Tumlinson. The NewSpace agenda will most definitely be the basis for plans being made.
SpaceX was projected to have the certification to launch US national security payloads by the end of 2014. Delays have extended this prediction out to a new deadline issued by the Air Force of summer 2015. However, US Air Force Secretary Deborah Lee James believes that the first steps will be taken in March. Senator John McCain (R-AZ) still remains an avid supporter of SpaceX as he continued to reference them
as a solution to wasteful Pentagon spending.
With the rise of NewSpace companies and activity, the FAA’s Office of Commercial Space Transportation has reached a point where expansion is necessary to keep up with the industry. Requests will be made to increase the FAA’s current allocation by nine-percent ($1.5 million). This would result in the office growing from 25 employees to 106.