The chairman of the House appropriations subcommittee that funds NASA said he remains unconvinced of the need to accelerate NASA’s plans to return humans to the moon because of its uncertain cost.
Members of a House committee expressed skepticism about NASA’s reliance on commercial launch vehicles to carry out human lunar landings by 2024 rather than an upgraded version of the Space Launch System.
A House version of a stopgap spending bill does not include any special provisions for NASA, which threatens to delay work on lunar landers needed for the agency to achieve its goal of returning astronauts to the moon by 2024.
The chairman of the House appropriations subcommittee that funds NASA said July 24 he’s not yet convinced of the need to accelerate a human return to the moon, citing the cost of doing so.
NASA’s leadership offered few details July 11 about the sudden reassignment of two top officials in its human spaceflight program the day before, a move that drew criticism from leading House members.
The full House is unlikely to make major changes in NASA funding when it takes up an appropriations bill this week, but members will seek changes for two other agencies involved in space issues.
Scientists and the chair of a key House committee expressed concern at a June 11 hearing that NASA could raid science programs to pay for its accelerated return to the moon.
House appropriators criticized NASA for seeking to cancel “legacy” science and education programs in favor of new exploration efforts, moving money back to those missions while remaining silent on the administration’s accelerated lunar return.
Thornberry is proposing legislation that would make it easier for startups like Capella Space to continue to get private funding and compete for DoD small business awards.
A House appropriations subcommittee approved a spending bill May 17 that provides NASA with more than $22.3 billion but largely ignores an administration request for an additional $1.6 billion to support plans for a 2024 human return to the moon.
The House Appropriations Committee released a spending bill May 16 that adds more than $1 billion to NASA’s original request but offers little in the way of additional funding for exploration priorities included in the agency’s recent budget amendment.
NASA officials said May 8 the administration is still one to two weeks away from delivering a revised budget proposal to land humans on the moon by 2024, amid growing frustration from members of Congress.
NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine faced criticism from some House members at an April 2 hearing who questioned the urgency of the administration’s plans to accelerate a human return to the moon and sought details about how much it will cost.
The new chair of the House space subcommittee says she’s looking forward to working with the commercial space industry on a number of issues, including oversight of non-traditional space activities.
A commercial space bill that fell just short of passage last year will be reintroduced this year to serve as the starting point for further discussions, a key senator said Jan. 15.