NASA chief shows solidarity over travel cuts by cutting some of his own (Updated)

by | Mar 14, 2013 | Seradata News | 0 comments

The recent “sequestration” of US government funding has led to some emergency travel funding cuts at NASA.  For while the US Congress is intent on continuing the funding of key programmes such as the Space Launch System (SLS) or that developing a commercial crew launch capability, and passing emergency legislation to that effect, the same cannot be said for other funding at NASA.   As a result, NASA Administrator, Major-General Charles Bolden has sent out an edict noting that only very necessary travel would be allowed for NASA’s managers, scientists and engineers and those of their contractors. 

For some this is a popular move.  There has long been antipathy amongst US taxpayers (and similarly in those of other nations) to funding government employees’ travel for what looked very much like “jollies” trips to conferences which includes a large element of fun at some rather nice venues and cities. Nevertheless, critics of the travel ban note that in not attending conferences, NASA and the United States of America itself, misses out on the benefits of new technological advances, sales opportunities and diplomatic advantages that such human interactions and exchanges bring. 

Travel bans are not new at NASA.  At the International Astronautical Congress in Naples last year, some of NASA’s surprisingly small contingent were embarrased to note that they were presenting papers for colleagues who had been prevented from travelling by NASA’s attendee limits which had, in turn, been imposed on NASA by the US Congress.

Nevertheless, this latest edict goes further. To the probable chagrin of some conference organisers keen to promote their own events’ importance, the pronouncement also lists out those conferences and symposia that apparently do not “make the cut” in regards to being important enough to warrant NASA attendance.  This list surprisingly includes the upcoming National Space Symposium in Colorado, to which Bolden has now banned himself and his Deputy Lori Garver from going.

Other “NASA-less conferences” will include the American Astronautical Society’s Robert H. Goddard Memorial Symposium, the IAF Spring Meeting, the Rotary International Conference;the European Geosciences Union General Assembly 2013, the Sixth European Conference on Space Debris, and the IAASS Conference. 

Until a formal announcement on their acceptability is released, other foreign space conferences will require special permission to be received for attendance.

The full travel edict as published by is here.

Update: Those going to the Lunar and Planetary Science Conference in March have permission if they are being funded via a NASA Grant. 

About Seradata

Seradata produce the renowned SpaceTrak Launch & Satellite Database. Trusted by 100 of the world’s leading Space organisations, SpaceTrak is a fully queryable database used for market analysis, failure/risk assessment, spectrum analysis and space situational awareness (SSA).

For more information go to

Related Articles

SpaceX launches Axiom AX-1 first all-commercial crew to ISS which returns to Earth late (Updated)

SpaceX launched a Falcon 9 with the first privately crewed mission to the ISS from the Kennedy Space Centre, USA, Read more

Dragon CRS-24 launch by SpaceX Falcon 9 marks final supply run of 2021

On 21 December, NASA and SpaceX successfully launched the Dragon CRS-24 (Commercial Resupply Services-24) spacecraft at 1007 GMT using a Read more

Crew Dragon – NASA Crew 2 undocks from the ISS and returns to Earth…then Crew Dragon – NASA Crew 3 is launched by Falcon 9 on way to space station

On 8 November 2021 at 1905 GMT, Crew Dragon - NASA Crew 2 Endeavour autonomously undocked from the IDA-3 /PMA-3 Read more

Blue Origin completes New Shepard sub-orbital mission carrying multiple science payloads

Blue Origin conducted its New Shepard-17 (NS-17) suborbital mission carrying 18 experiments for commercial and institutional customers inside the capsule. Read more

Blue Origin sues NASA after losing contract for Human Landing System (Updated)

Blue Origin’s disagreement with NASA over its failure to win a contract for the Human Landing System (HLS) finally reached Read more

Cygnus heads for ISS while Starliner remains grounded

Northrop Grumman launched a Cygnus resupply spacecraft on one of its Antares launch vehicles from the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport at Read more

Hubble returns to operations but is on borrowed time

NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope (HST) is back online after a month of downtime due to a malfunctioning payload computer. The Read more

US$178 million Europa Clipper launch is formally awarded to SpaceX Falcon Heavy saving NASA US$2 billion

While NASA's US$4.25 billion Europa Clipper unmanned exploration flyby mission to Jupiter's moon Europa was always mooted as going on Read more