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Capitol Hill News

Mollohan in Tough Primary Race Today

May 11th, 2010

Rep. Alan Mollohan (D-WV) is in a tight primary race today.   With anti-incumbent fervor shaping political races this year, Rep. Mollohan’s close to 30 years in the House may work against him rather than for him as would be typically true.   He chairs the House Appropriations subcommittee that funds NASA.   How a loss today would affect the congressional debate over NASA’s new plan for human spaceflight is unknown.  Even if he wins today, he faces Republican opposition in November.   His opponent today, state Senator Mike Oliverio, is quoted as saying that “Congress is broken” and “we need to clean House.”    Stay tuned.

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Capitol Hill News

Mollohan Loses Primary

May 11th, 2010

UPDATE:  Rep. Mollohan lost the primary.  He will remain in Congress for the rest of this year, of course, but the extent to which his lame duck status affects the outcome of the debate on NASA’s FY2011 funding and the Obama plan for human space flight is an unknown at this point.

ORIGINAL STORY:  Rep. Alan Mollohan (D-WV) is in a tight primary race today.   With anti-incumbent fervor shaping political races this year, Rep. Mollohan’s close to 30 years in the House may work against him rather than for him as would be typically true.   He chairs the House Appropriations subcommittee that funds NASA.   How a loss today would affect the congressional debate over NASA’s new plan for human spaceflight is unknown.  Even if he wins today, he faces Republican opposition in November.   His opponent today, state Senator Mike Oliverio, is quoted as saying that “Congress is broken” and “we need to clean House.”    Stay tuned.

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Who’s Who of Space to Testify At Senate Commerce Hearing

May 10th, 2010

In a rare public appearance to talk about the future of the human spaceflight program, Neil Armstrong, the first man to set foot on the Moon, will testify to the Senate Commerce committee on Wednesday.   Mr. Armstrong will be joined by fellow Apollo astronaut Gene Cernan — the last man to walk on the Moon.  Armstrong landed on the Moon along with Buzz Aldrin on Apollo 11 in 1969.   Cernan and Harrison (Jack) Schmitt (later a U.S. Senator) visited the Moon on Apollo 17 in 1972.  Also testifying  Wednesday will be Presidential Science Adviser John Holdren, NASA Administrator Charlie Bolden, and Norm Augustine who chaired the 2009 Augustine Committee that provided options to the Obama Administration on the future of the human space flight program..

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Lyles, Fisk and Colladay: Pendulum Has Swung Too Far The Other Way

May 10th, 2010

The chair and vice-chairs of the 2009 National Research Council (NRC) study “America’s Future in Space:  Aligning the Civil Space Program With National Needs” think the Obama plan for NASA makes the NASA program just as unbalanced as its predecessor.   “This time the pendulum has swung the other way,” write Gen. Lester Lyles (Ret), Dr. Lennard Fisk and Dr. Raymond Colladay in a joint letter to Representative Frank Wolf (R-VA), ranking member of the House Appropriations Commerce-Justice-Science subcommittee.  Rep. Wolf’s office is making the letter public.

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Events of Interest: Week of May 10-14, 2010

May 8th, 2010

The following events may be of interest in the coming week.  For more details, see our calendar on the right menu or click the links below.   Times, dates and witnesses for congressional  hearings and markups are subject to change; check the relevant committee’s website for up to date information.   All times are EDT.

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APL’s Faulconer Starts New Consulting Business

May 7th, 2010

J. Walter (“Walt”) Faulconer, the Applied Physics Laboratory’s (APL’s) business area executive for civilian space, is leaving May 14 to start a consulting business, Strategic Space Solutions, with his wife, Cindy.   After 26 years at Lockheed Martin, Mr. Faulconer joined APL five years ago to take charge of APL’s work for NASA and NOAA.  He successfully led APL’s civil space business through somewhat tumultuous times. Today, the civil space business area has a host of missions on the books, including Solar Probe Plus.  The Faulconers’ new company will focus on effective strategic planning, business development, systems engineering and management.

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