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Space Watch

Day-by-Day Update on D.C. Activities

Budgets, Space Shuttle Homes and Big Agenda Items

Day-by-Day Update on D.C. ActivitiesApril 11
The Senate Appropriations Commerce, Justice and Science Subcommittee held a hearing on NASA's FY 2012 budget request. NASA Administrator Charles Bolden told lawmakers that, in the current tough fiscal environment, the space agency would have to push back the launch date of several missions. For example, the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) had been planned to launch in June 2014, but without an injection of new funds, that date will slip to 2018.

April 12
NASA announced the locations for the permanent public display of the four Space Shuttle orbiters. The Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum in Washington, D.C., will receive Space Shuttle Discovery. Space Shuttle Endeavour will go to the California Science Center in Los Angeles, Calif. Space Shuttle Atlantis will go to the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex in Cape Canaveral, Fla., and Space Shuttle Enterprise will be sent to Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum in New York City.

April 13
The Senate Commerce Oceans, Atmosphere and Fisheries Subcommittee held a hearing on the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) FY 2012 budget request. NOAA Administrator Jane Lubchenco warned lawmakers that any significant decrease in funding requested by NOAA to develop the Joint Polar Satellite System (JPSS) would delay the scheduled launch date and likely increase the total program costs.

April 14
Congress passed H.R. 1473 to fund the remaining six months of Fiscal Year 2011.

April 15
President Barack Obama signed H.R. 1473 into Public Law 112-10, which funds the U.S. government for Fiscal Year 2011 at $38 billion less in than Fiscal Year 2010. P.L. 112-10 provides $18.485 billion for NASA, or about 1.3 percent less than the $18.724 billion it was funded for in Fiscal Year 2010. The law increased funding for the Department of Defense by $4.9 billion or 1 percent above Fiscal Year 2010 levels.

Rep. Bill Posey (R-FL), Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX), Rep. Frank Wolf (R-VA), Rep. Rob Bishop (R-UT) and Rep. Pete Olson (R-TX) introduced H.R. 1641, Reasserting American Leadership in Space Act. The bill directs NASA to plan to return to the Moon and develop a sustained human presence there. H.R. 1641 has been referred to the House Committee on Science, Space and Technology where it awaits further action.

April 18
NASA announced four NASA Space Act Agreement awards in the second round of its Commercial Crew Development (CCDev) program. The goal of CCDev 2 is to accelerate the availability of U.S. commercial crew transportation capabilities and reduce the gap in American human spaceflight capabilities. The winners for CCDev 2 are:

April 28
President Barack Obama nominated Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) Director Leon Panetta to replace Secretary of Defense Robert Gates after he retires later this year. GEN David Petraeus, USA has been nominated to replace Leon Panetta as director of the CIA.

Pictured: The Space Shuttle Endeavour will be sent to the California Science Center in Los Angeles, Calif., following its final flight (the illustration is a portion of the Endeavour artwork being sold by the Space Foundation to benefit education programs, for details, click here)

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