House panel agrees on lack of NASA strategic direction, but disagrees on what it should be

By Jeff Foust on 2012 December 13 at 9:37 am ET

In the search for consensus for the future of NASA, there was some consensus during a hearing Wednesday by the House Science, Space, and Technology Committee: members are, by and large, not particularly supportive of the agency’s current direction. However, there were far fewer signs of consensus of what alternative approach NASA should pursue.

After the Columbia accident nearly a decade ago “we emerged with guiding principles and goals that were overwhelmingly endorsed by both Republicans and Democrats in the House and Senate, resulting in the NASA authorization acts of 2005 and 2008,” said Rep. Ralph Hall (R-TX), the outgoing chairman of the committee, in his opening statement. The consensus in NASA’s direction outlined in those bills was broken by the Obama Administration in 2010, he claimed. “The current agreement, if it can be called that, is not a consensus as much as it is a compromise,” he said of the 2010 NASA authorization act. “It’s been clear over the last few budget cycles that there are fundamental disagreements.”

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