Wednesday, March 02, 2011

Bolden testifying before House on NASA budget

NASA Administrator Charlie Bolden this morning is testifying about NASA's 2012 budget request before the U.S. House Committee on Science, Space and Technology.

Click on the link to watch a Webcast or here for the same on NASA TV's media channel. Here's some background material on the proposed budget.

Committee chairman Rep. Ralph Hall, R-Texas, immediately criticized NASA's plan to increase proposed funding for commercial crew initiatives, whose safety he questioned, while spending less than authorized on a heavy-lift system for exploration.

"We're exasperated that NASA is not listening to our message," said Hall.

Before the hearing, a group of more than 50 space industry leaders, former NASA astronauts and executives and commercial advocates released a letter saying the commercial crew program was "critical to the health of the Nation's human spaceflight efforts."

Read the letter here.

Bolden reiterated that Atlantis will fly a third and final shuttle mission this summer unless Congress approves drastic cuts in 2011 funding.

"If you take drastic action and significantly reduce the amount of money I get whenever I get a 2011 budget, that could change things," he said.

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