Friday, October 21, 2011

Commercial Space Will Finally Testify

After several hearings with witnesses stacked in favor of protecting the status quo, the House Committee on Science, Space and Technology will finally invite representatives of commercial space to present their side of the story.

The committee on September 22 invited former astronauts Neil Armstrong and Gene Cernan, and former NASA Administrator Michael Griffin, to bash the Obama administration's space policy.

Armstrong and Cernan, along with former astronaut James Lovell, published an editorial last May attacking Obama.

And in May 2010, Armstrong and Cernan testified before the Senate Commerce Committee. Armstrong claimed that the administration's space policy "presents no challenges, has no focus, and in fact is a blueprint for a mission to nowhere." He claimed the policy "was likely contrived by a very small group in secret." reports that commercial space will finally have an opportunity to respond on October 26.

The House Science, Space and Technology Committee today released the witness list for its hearing next week on commercial crew.

The October 26 hearing is entitled NASA's Commercial Crew Development Program: Accomplishments and Challenges and will begin at 10:00 am in 2318 Rayburn House Office Building. The witnesses are:

Panel One

Mr. John Elbon, Vice President and General Manger, Space Exploration Division, The Boeing Company
Mr. Steve Lindsey, Director, Space Exploration, Sierra Nevada Space Systems
Mr. Elon Musk, CEO and CTO, Space Exploration Technologies
Mr. Charles Precourt, Vice President and General Manager, ATK Space Launch Systems
Mr. George Sowers, Vice President, Business Development and Advanced Programs, United Launch Alliance

Panel Two

Mr. Bill Gerstenmaier, Associate Administrator, Human Exploration and Operations Mission Directorate, NASA

In a December 2010 Dallas Morning News article, committee chair Ralph Hall (R-TX) claimed that commercial companies were "so dangerous" and "so subject to failure," and said "I want to be assured that they're not going to run out of money."

The article quoted Hall as saying that SpaceX CEO Elon Musk "would be asked to testify before his committee," but Hall failed to keep that promise until now.

Space Coast Rep. Sandy Adams, whose district includes Kennedy Space Center, is a member of the committee.

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