Jul 7, 2009 | 1
President Obama's nominees for NASA's top two slots will begin the confirmation process tomorrow with a hearing before the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation. Both Charles Bolden [seated at right, meeting with Obama, in top photo], picked for the long-vacant administrator post, and Lori Garver [below], nominated for the number-two deputy administrator role, are expected to be confirmed by the full Senate in the coming days.
May 26, 2009 | 1
President Barack Obama nominated former astronaut and retired Marine Corps general, Charles Bolden, to lead NASA, confirming speculation that began before Obama took office. Bolden, 62, served more than three decades in the military and flew on four space shuttle missions, including the 1990 flight that put the Hubble Space Telescope in orbit.
Obama also nominated Lori Garver, a former NASA official and a member of the president's transition team, to be second in command of the space agency as deputy administrator.
Apr 16, 2009 | 3
Is NASA flying blind? Former NASA administrator Michael Griffin, who served under President George W. Bush and resigned when President Barack Obama took office, has taken a professorship at the University of Alabama in Huntsville. Griffin will teach mechanical and aerospace engineering in Huntsville, a hub of aerospace activity that is home to NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center. Meanwhile the space agency remains leaderless nearly three months after Griffin's resignation, with associate administrator Christopher Scolese acting as agency chief in an interim capacity.
In an editorial last week, the Orlando Sentinel called for the White House to appoint an administrator for the space agency. "NASA badly needs a leader and a plan," the op-ed said. "The future of the U.S. space program, billions of dollars, and thousands of jobs, depend on it."
Jan 5, 2009 | 6
President-elect Barack Obama may put NASA to work with the Defense Department to better compete in space.
Unidentified sources tell Bloomberg News that Obama may tap Defense rockets for space travel because they may be cheaper and available before NASA's new Orion crew capsule and boosters, which won't be ready until 2015. The current shuttle fleet is scheduled to be retired next year, though some, such as the Center for American Progress (CAP), have advocated extending their use until a replacement is ready.
Obama has alluded to using Defense money for the space program, and has said he would like to close the five-year gap between the current fleet's retirement and the completion of Orion. Pentagon boosters have been suggested as a way to speed up the Orion program to more quickly replace the shuttle — and possibly avoid the cost of developing a new booster.
Dec 12, 2008 | 7
NASA Administrator Michael Griffin yesterday denied a newspaper report that he had stonewalled members of President-elect Barack Obama's transition team seeking info on operations at his agency. The Orlando Sentinel, quoting anonymous sources, reported Wednesday that Griffin had failed to cooperate with Obama aides and had instructed civilian space contractors to support the agency's current direction and refrain from discussing other options when contacted by the transition team. Griffin in a written statement said that he was "appalled by any accusations of intimidation" and that he encourages "a free and open exchange of information with the contractor community."
At issue is the future of the planned upgrade to the space shuttle, the Constellation program, which Griffin has been shepherding toward its scheduled 2015 debut. The problem is that the space shuttle is due to be retired in 2010, leaving at least a five-year gap in the U.S.'s ability to independently send astronauts into space, a prospect that some lawmakers, including Republican Texas Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison (who represents Houston, a hub for the space industry), find unacceptable.
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