Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
July 6, 2015

Posts in "Space"

March 24, 2015

GAO Concerned About Unforeseen NASA Space Telescope Cost Overruns

CQ Roll Call’s Shawn Zeller has a story on NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope, reporting that agency officials said Tuesday that the long-delayed and over-budget project is now on track to meet its latest budget estimate and will be ready in 2018, but that the Government Accountability Office remains concerned that unforeseen cost overruns could emerge.

From Zeller’s story (subscription):

John Grunsfeld, associate administrator of NASA’s Science Mission Directorate, told a House Science, Space and Technology subcommittee on Tuesday that the telescope will have “truly transformational exploration capabilities” and that it remains “within budget and on track to meet the October 2018 launch date.”

However, the GAO says that the project faces challenges ahead. Cristina Chaplain, director of acquisition and sourcing management at the watchdog agency, said that Northrop Grumman, NASA’s telescope contractor, is now completing the manufacturing phase of the project and will soon begin integrating the components of the telescope and testing them.

That phase is typically fraught with unexpected problems that drive up costs, she said.

March 23, 2015

The Week Ahead: Internet of Things, Net Neutrality and More

Members of the Federal Communications Commission are back on the Hill this week, with Chairman Tom Wheeler and commissioner Ajit Pai testifying in budget and net neutrality hearings. Hearings and events on the Internet of Things are also on tap in the week ahead.

Monday

Georgetown University holds a panel discussion on discrimination and big data.

Tuesday

The Brookings Institution hosts a discussion with Craig Silliman, Verizon’s general counsel and executive vice president for public policy, on updating communications law and regulations.

An Energy and Commerce subcommittee holds a hearing on the Internet of Things.

A House Appropriations subcommittee holds an FCC budget hearing.

A House Science, Space and Technology subcommittee holds a hearing on the James Webb Space Telescope.

A Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation subcommittee holds a hearing on drones.

Wednesday

A House Judiciary subcommittee holds a hearing on abusive patent litigation.

The House Judiciary Committee holds a hearing on the FCC’s net neutrality rules.

Thursday

The FCC holds an open meeting.

A House Energy and Commerce subcommittee holds a hearing on spectrum policy.

Microsoft holds a panel discussion on the Internet of Things.

New America holds an event on mobile health data.

The Telecommunications Industry Association hosts an event on the Internet of Things.

March 16, 2015

The Week Ahead: Hearings on FCC Oversight, Cybersecurity

Members of the Federal Communications Commission testify on the Hill this week. Cybersecurity and data security and breach notification are among the topics of other congressional hearings this week.

Tuesday

A House Appropriations subcommittee holds a budget hearing on the National Science Foundation.

A House Armed Services subcommittee holds a hearing titled “Assuring Assured Access to Space.”

The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee holds a hearing titled “FCC: Process and Transparency” on the commission’s process for developing its recently adopted net neutrality rules, where FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler is scheduled to testify.

Wednesday

A House Energy and Commerce subcommittee holds a hearing on a data security and breach notification discussion draft bill.

A House Oversight and Government Reform subcommittee holds a cybersecurity hearing.

The Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee holds an FCC oversight hearing where the FCC’s five commissioners are scheduled to testify.

Thursday

The Free State Foundation holds its telecom policy conference titled “The Future of the Internet: Free Market Innovation or Government Control?”

A House Energy and Commerce subcommittee holds an FCC oversight hearing, where the panel will hear from all five FCC commissioners.

The House Intelligence Committee holds a cybersecurity hearing.

A Senate Commerce subcommittee holds a hearing on cybersecurity risk insurance.

March 9, 2015

The Week Ahead: FirstNet, Music Royalties and Data Encryption

The week ahead include hearings and events on issues including FirstNet (which is tasked with building a nationwide wireless broadband network for first responders), music royalties and data encryption.

Tuesday

A Senate Judiciary subcommittee holds a hearing titled “How Much For a Song?: The Antitrust Decrees that Govern the Market for Music.”

Wednesday

Former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley speaks at an event titled “Data-driven government: A new approach to governing” hosted by The Brookings Institution.

The Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee holds a hearing on FirstNet.

Thursday

The Advisory Committee to the Congressional Internet Caucus holds a panel event on data encryption.

The Brookings Institution hosts an event on mobile health in Africa.

The Heritage Foundation hosts an event titled “Standard Setting and Patents: Is Government Policy Harming Innovation?”

A Senate Commerce subcommittee holds a hearing on NASA’s fiscal 2016 budget proposal.

March 3, 2015

Fun Fact: ‘Supernova Mikulski’

At least a couple stories on Sen. Barbara A. Mikulski’s, D-Md., announcement of her retirement on Monday remind us that a supernova was named in her honor a few years ago.

From Reuters: “In 2012, when NASA researchers in Baltimore discovered the fleeting glimmer of an exploding star, they named it ‘Supernova Mikulski,’ after one of their chief congressional patrons.”

A 2012 story by The Associated Press reported some details about the supernova and more:

Maryland Sen. Barbara Mikulski is known for her outspoken support of space exploration.

On Thursday, she will have a supernova named after her at the Space Telescope Science Institute in Baltimore.

From a 2012 Heard on the Hill post:

The astronomers found Supernova Mikulski using the Hubble Space Telescope. About 7.4 billion light-years from Earth, it is not visible to the naked eye.

Space researchers have an affinity for Mikulski, which should come as no surprise because she’s the Senate appropriator charged with the NASA budget.

The Space Telescope Science Institute in Baltimore will also be renamed in Mikulski’s honor. Data collected by both the Hubble and Webb telescopes will be held at the institute.

Mikulski is the longest-serving woman in Congress, the first woman to helm the Senate Appropriations Committee and has been the top Democrat on the Commerce-Justice-Science subcommittee for years.

March 2, 2015

The Week Ahead: American Cable Association Summit and Budget, Cybersecurity Hearings

The American Cable Association holds its summit and congressional committees hold cybersecurity hearings as well as budget hearings on NASA, the Federal Communications Commission and the Commerce Department this week.

Monday

Greg Walden, R-Ore., chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Communications and Technology discusses net neutrality at the American Enterprise Institute.

The Center for Strategic & International Studies hosts a panel event on the Internet of Things and the transportation industry.

The German Marshall Fund of the United States hosts an event titled “Internet Freedom 2.1: Lessons from Asia’s Developing Democracies.”

Tuesday

A House Appropriations subcommittee holds a Commerce Department budget hearing.

A House Energy and Commerce subcommittee has a cybersecurity hearing.

Wednesday

The American Cable Association holds its summit, which continues on Thursday.

The Association of American Universities, the Association of Public and Land Grant Universities, the Biotechnology Industry Organization, the Innovation Alliance, the Medical Device Manufacturers Association, and the National Venture Capital Association host a patent event.

A House Appropriations subcommittee holds a NASA budget hearing.

A House Energy and Commerce subcommittee holds a hearing titled “Reauthorization of the Federal Communications Commission: The FCC’s FY 2016 Budget Request.”

A House Homeland Security subcommittee holds a hearing titled “Industry Perspectives on the President’s Cybersecurity Information Sharing Proposal.”

New America hosts an event on technology and disability.

Thursday

The House Intelligence Committee holds a cybersecurity hearing.

A Senate Appropriations subcommittee holds a hearing on NASA’s fiscal 2016 budget request.

Friday

USTelecom hosts a cybersecurity event.

February 23, 2015

The Week Ahead: FCC Vote on Net Neutrality Rules and More

It’s a big week in Washington with the Federal Communications Commission’s vote on net neutrality rules. A slew of events and congressional hearings are also on tap. Get ready for a busy, busy week, folks.

Monday 

New America hosts a day-long event titled “Cybersecurity for a New America: Big Ideas and New Voices.”

Tuesday

COMPTEL hosts a day-long policy summit.

The Georgetown Center for Business and Public Policy hosts an event on rewriting the 1934 Communications Act.

The Hudson Institute hosts an event titled “American Broadband Under Title II.”

A subcommittee of the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee holds a space exploration hearing.

The Information Technology & Innovation Foundation hosts an event on cross-border data flows.

Wednesday

A House Appropriations subcommittee holds an oversight hearing on the Justice and Commerce Departments and NASA.

A subcommittee of the House Energy and Commerce Committee holds a hearing on the net neutrality proposal before the Federal Communications Commission.

The House Homeland Security Committee holds a hearing on the President’s cybersecurity information-sharing proposal.

The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee holds a hearing titled “FCC Process: Examining the Relationship Between the FCC and the White House.”

The Information Technology & Innovation Foundation hosts a panel discussion on net neutrality and network management.

The Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee holds a hearing titled “Preserving the Multistakeholder Model of Internet Governance.”

Thursday

BakerHostetler hosts a day-long symposium on Section 5 of the Federal Trade Commission Act.

The Federal Communications Commission votes on net neutrality rules and an order addressing two municipal broadband petitions.

A House Energy and Commerce subcommittee holds a hearing on patent demand letters, which allege someone is infringing on a patent.

The House Judiciary Committee holds a hearing on the U.S. Copyright Office.

The heads of the National Science Foundation and the National Institute of Standards and Technology testify beforeHouse Science, Space and Technology subcommittee on their fiscal 2016 budget requests.

Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker testifies beforeSenate Appropriations subcommittee on the department’s fiscal 2016 budget request.

Friday

A House Science, Space and Technology subcommittee holds a hearing on NASA’s commercial crew program.

February 6, 2015

Weekly Wrapup: Net Neutrality, President’s Budget Request and That DeLorean on the Hill

The big news this week, of course, was Federal Communications Commission Chairman Tom Wheeler’s unveiling of his proposal for net neutrality rules. Technocrat’s posts this week included that big topic as well as President Barack Obama‘s fiscal 2016 budget request, why you might have seen a DeLorean around the Hill, and more.

Wheeler Announces Net Neutrality Proposal

Federal Communications Commission Chairman Tom Wheeler says he’ll circulate to fellow commissioners this week a proposal for net neutrality rules that would treat Internet providers as common carriers, using Title II of the 1934 Communications Act, the same portion of law the agency uses to regulate phone companies and other common carriers.

Q&A: AAAS’ Matt Hourihan

President Barack Obama recently released his budget proposal for fiscal year 2016, and Technocrat chatted with Matt Hourihan of the American Association for the Advancement of Sciences about some science and research issues proposed in previous budgets that have and haven’t been embraced by lawmakers.

Obama’s Budget on Cybersecurity, Digital Service Teams and Commercial Crew:

Here’s a look at some of the Obama administration’s fiscal 2016 budget proposal to Congress on the issues of cybersecurity, digital service teams and NASA’s commercial crew program…

What Was The Deal With That DeLorean You Might Have Spotted Today?

You might have spotted a DeLorean around the Hill on Thursday and if you’re wondering why, it’s part of a campaign by Americans for Tax Reform to bring attention to their call for an update to tech laws they say are outdated.

Should Computer Science Be Counted as a Foreign Language Class?

Some states have been proposing or advancing legislation to let computer science classes be counted as a foreign language either to meet high school graduation or college admissions requirements. You can add Washington to the list of states looking at this matter.

 

February 2, 2015

Obama’s Budget on Cybersecurity, Digital Service Teams and Commercial Crew

Here’s a look at some of the Obama administration’s fiscal 2016 budget proposal to Congress on the issues of cybersecurity, digital service teams and NASA’s commercial crew program:

  • CQ Roll Call’s Shawn Zeller reports that President Obama’s budget request on Monday “raises the ante” in protecting government, business and consumers from cyberattacks.

He reports (subscription): “The administration pledges $14 billion — $1 billion more than the current year — toward securing government computers, working with the private sector to protect its technological infrastructure and conducting more research on how to stop hackers from stealing information.”

  • The NASA budget proposed a very small increase for the overall agency, but a big boost for its commercial crew program. The agency proposed $1.2 billion for the commercial crew program, which would be $439 million, or 55 percent, more than the fiscal 2015 level.

In September, NASA announced contracts for Boeing and SpaceX to complete development of systems to ferry astronauts to the International Space Station. After certification, the companies will conduct between two and six crewed missions to the space station.

NASA has been relying on the Russia Soyuz vehicle to ferry astronauts to the International Space Station and the agency has been trying to aid development of U.S. private companies’ capabilities to transport the agency’s astronauts to the space station instead.

NASA Chief Financial Officer David Radzanowski told reporters on Monday that the funding level requested for commercial crew reflects contracts with those companies and milestones laid out in them. If the companies achieve them, then NASA would need $1.2 billion, he said.

 

 

January 30, 2015

Weekly Wrapup: Internet of Things, Internet Governance and NASA Budget

Among the news this week, the Federal Communications Commission changed its definition of what constitutes advanced Internet access and Google Fiber announced four more metropolitan areas where it would deploy. At Technocrat, we had posts for you on the Internet of Things, Sen. John Thune’s speech at the American Enterprise Institute and more.

  • The Federal Trade Commission released a staff report on the Internet of Things. Among the takeaways was the report’s determination that it’s “preemptive” to enact legislation specific to this area of technology.
  • If you’re lucky enough to go to the Super Bowl, the Federal Aviation Administration reminds you not to fly your drone.

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