Readers!
 

Please consider donating to Behind the Black, by giving either a one-time contribution or a regular subscription, as outlined in the tip jar below. Your support will allow me to continue covering science and culture as I have for the past twenty years, independent and free from any outside influence.


 

Regular readers can support Behind The Black with a contribution via paypal:
 


 

Or with a subscription with regular donations from your Paypal or credit card account:


 

If Paypal doesn't work for you, you can support Behind The Black directly by sending your donation by check, payable to Robert Zimmerman, to
 

Behind The Black
c/o Robert Zimmerman
P.O.Box 1262
Cortaro, AZ 85652


Congressman Frank Wolf (R-Virginia) has backed down and modified the language he had inserted in the NASA budget bill that would have limited the number of commercial space companies NASA could subsidize.

Good news: Congressman Frank Wolf (R-Virginia) has backed down and modified the language he had inserted in the NASA budget bill that would have limited the number of commercial space companies NASA could subsidize.

From Clark Lindsey:

Rep. Frank Wolf (R-VA) , who is Chairman on the Commerce-Justice-Science subcommittee of the House Appropriations committee, put language into the recent House budget for NASA that requiree NASA to down-select immediately to one primary contractor in the commercial crew program. This would obviously eliminate competition on price and rule out redundancy in case one system is grounded. He has now relented and is willing to allow for “2.5 (two full and one partial) CCiCAP awards”.

As I wrote earlier, the success of Dragon is putting strong political pressure on Congress to support the independent commercial space companies over the NASA-built and very expensive Space Launch System (SLS) that Congress had mandated. Expect to see more elected officials back down in the coming year, with the eventually elimination of SLS from the budget.

Pioneer cover

From the press release: From the moment he is handed a possibility of making the first alien contact, Saunders Maxwell decides he will do it, even if doing so takes him through hell and back.

 
Unfortunately, that is exactly where that journey takes him.

The vision that Zimmerman paints of vibrant human colonies on the Moon, Mars, the asteroids, and beyond, indomitably fighting the harsh lifeless environment of space to build new societies, captures perfectly the emerging space race we see today.

He also captures in Pioneer the heart of the human spirit, willing to push forward no matter the odds, no matter the cost. It is that spirit that will make the exploration of the heavens possible, forever, into the never-ending future.

Available everywhere for $3.99 (before discount) at amazon, Barnes & Noble, all ebook vendors, or direct from the ebook publisher, ebookit. And if you buy it from ebookit you don't support the big tech companies and I get a bigger cut much sooner.

5 comments

  • Joe

    As I understand it the Administration’s intent was originally to select at least 2 competitors (that is the number could be anywhere from 2 to infinity – most likely continuing with 4).

    That assumed that the Commercial Crew budget would be $830 Million. By the agreement apparently reached the budget will be somewhere between the $500 Million House figure and the $525 Million Senate figure (60% to 63% of the originally requested amount).

    The intent of Wolf’s original proposal was to bring the number of competitors into line with the available funds. Interestingly 61.5% (the median of the above percentage range) of 4 is 2.46 (rounded up to 2.5).

    You can call that Wolf backing down if it makes you feel good. But in reality it looks a lot more like a compromise with the Administration doing most of the compromising.

  • Patrick

    Nasa, aka, the federal government should not be subsidizing anything.

    They should just use the cheapest, best available private contractor for the service they need at the time.

  • Kelly Starks

    Also sounds like it will starve CCDev developers out of having anything to compete with for the award.

  • Kelly Starks

    That would whip out all the CCDev bidders besides Boeing.

  • Chris Kirkendall

    Kelly, can you elaborate a bit on your two comments – I didn’t quite get what you’re saying here. Not questioning it all, just not sure I understand it – thanks…

Readers: the rules for commenting!

 

No registration is required. I welcome all opinions, even those that strongly criticize my commentary.

 

However, name-calling and obscenities will not be tolerated. First time offenders who are new to the site will be warned. Second time offenders or first time offenders who have been here awhile will be suspended for a week. After that, I will ban you. Period.

 

Note also that first time commenters as well as any comment with more than one link will be placed in moderation for my approval. Be patient, I will get to it.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *