As a result of the disastrous initial markup of the House appropriation for NASA last week, the Space Access Society, the Space Frontier Foundation, and Tea Party in Space have all put out alerts for everyone to call your Congressman (extra points if your congressman is one of the chairs of the appropriations committee or subcommittee, Hal Rogers or Frank Wolf).
Briefly, to summarize, the top line of the NASA budget has been cut back to pre-2008 levels (no shock, except to those living in denial), but the real problem is where the cuts are, and aren’t. The Webb Telescope was canceled, which was probably necessary given how out of control it was, but Commercial Crew and space technologies were severely chopped back as well, putting off further the day that we will no longer be reliant on the Russians for ISS, and that we can start moving humans beyond LEO. Instead, the Senate Launch System and Orion-by-another-name earmarks were actually increased, though there is still insufficient funds to build them in any timely manner, and no missions described or funded for them. Go follow one or more of the links, where there are useful instructions as to who to call and what to say. And as always in these matters, be firm, but polite. You have until tomorrow to make a difference.
[Update a few minutes later]
One other disastrous cut, though it’s small, is the CRuSR program. It’s only fifteen million, but it could really help jump start the suborbital industry. Given the trivial amount, it can’t really be about the money. I would guess that it’s pressure from the traditional sounding rocket people, who stand to be put out of business by low-cost reusables.