Wednesday, October 26, 2011

House Committee Hearing Today on Commercial Space

A reminder that today is the House Science, Space and Technology Committee hearing on commercial space.

It will be webcast live 10 AM - 12 PM EDT.

Click here to access the webcast page.

Click here to access the hearing charter.

The event has two panels:

First Panel

  • Mr. John Elbon, Vice President and General Manager for Space Exploration, The Boeing Company, Houston, TX
  • Mr. Steve Lindsey, Director of Space Exploration, Sierra Nevada Space Systems, Louisville, CO
  • Mr. Elon Musk, CEO and Chief Technology Officer, Space Exploration Technologies Corp., Hawthorne, CA
  • Mr. Charlie Precourt, Vice President, ATK Launch Systems Group, Brigham City, UT
  • Dr. George Sowers, Vice President, United Launch Alliance, Englewood, CO

Second Panel

  • The Hon. Paul Martin, Inspector General, National Aeronautics and Space Administration
  • Mr. William H. Gerstenmaier, Associate Administrator, Human Exploration and Operations Mission Directorate, National Aeronautics and Space Administration

Although this might be fun for we policy wonks to watch, keep in mind this is pretty much a show. It's unlikely to persuade those on the committee to change their minds. Most have shown a predilection for a government space monopoly to assure that pork continues to flow to their districts.

Committee chair Ralph Hall was quoted by Aviation Week last March as saying about the current year's fiscal priorities:

“Commercial crew was not ignored, but to be perfectly clear, it was not — and is not — Congress’s first priority,” says Rep. Ralph Hall (R-Texas), the committee chairman. “Our first priority is to continue with the development of the Space Launch System and Multi-Purpose Crew Vehicle.”

In December 2010, Hall told the Dallas Morning News he distrusted commercial space launchers:

Hall remains protective of the International Space Station, which is controlled from Houston, and skeptical of the private companies that will ferry astronauts and cargo there in future years.

"I do have [concerns] because it's so important and it's so dangerous and it's so subject to failure," Hall said. "I want to be assured that they're not going to run out of money."

Space Coast representative Sandy Adams is also on the committee.

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