Commercial space advocates sound the alert

Advocacy groups, concerned about the effect of potential budget cuts in fiscal year 2012 on NASA's commercial crew and space technology programs, are rallying support for those programs on Capitol Hill this week. Late yesterday the Space Access Society (SAS) sent out an alert about these programs, asking people to contact their representatives by Friday morning "and ask that they tell the Appropriations Committee that they support full funding for the NASA Commercial Crew and Space Technology programs." The Space Frontier Foundation also sent our a similar alert last night. Their concern is rooted in the the FY12 appropriations allocations released last week that could result in significant budget cuts for NASA in the coming year. "It's going to get messy. Any item not strongly defended could be vulnerable," the SAS alert warns. The alert continues that the leadership of the Commerce, Justice, and Science appropriations subcommittee, whose jurisdiction includes NASA, has decided to ask members of Congress this week what programs they believe should have their funding increased in decreased. A push now for programs like commercial crew and technology development-potentially vulnerable to cuts-could have "a considerable impact" on what the subcommittee decides in its markup in July. Previous lobbying efforts by SAS and others may have already had an effect: the alert notes that the subcommittee "is now definitely aware there's opposition" to the Space Launch System, which the organization dismisses as an "earmark".

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