Report from Washington
In June, the Space Foundation hosted a Space Foundation Correspondent's Group event in Washington, D.C., with Dr. Richard Gilbrech, NASA Associate Administrator for Exploration Systems. Gilbrech outlined the status of the Constellation program and its various components including the J2-X engine, the launch abort system, and the Orion capsule.
Meanwhile, Congress continues its work on the annual authorization and appropriations bills for the federal government for the upcoming fiscal year. Both the House and the Senate are also working independently on the annual intelligence authorization bill. The House passed the defense authorization and legislation reauthorizing NASA and waits for the Senate to take up its versions of those bills. The Senate Appropriations Committee sent the legislation for Commerce, Justice, and Science, and related agencies to the floor in mid-June, with NASA and NOAA receiving slight increases over the requested budget levels. NASA and NOAA would receive similar increases under the House version of the legislation, which remains at the committee level.