July 22, 2011
Space shuttle Atlantis lifted off on July 8, 2011 from Cape Canaveral for a flight that lasted twelve days with four astronauts on board and made its last landing back in Florida on July 21, 2011. With this, the final flight of National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s (NASA) shuttle program, Americans and people world over are left wondering about the uncertain future of US space exploration and the Space Agency itself.
The Federal Register, FR, is a great resource on Westlaw to track the workings of various Federal Agencies including NASA. This database contains documents from the Federal Register. A document is a Rule or Regulation, a Proposed Rule, an Agenda appearing in the Unified Agenda, a Notice, an Executive Order, or a Presidential Proclamation. The Unified Agenda is a compilation of the agendas set by federal agencies that is published in April and October of each year. Each agenda includes regulations being developed for publication in the next year, regulations to be reviewed in the upcoming year, and regulatory activity completed in the past year.
To research NASA’s Unified Agendas, for example, try a search such as PR(“UNIFIED AGENDA” & N.A.S.A. “NATIONAL AERONAUTICS AND SPACE ADMINISTRATION”) in the FR database.
To particularly track what information NASA may be publishing regarding the future of space exploration or the space shuttle, create a WestClip in the Alert Center on Westlaw with a search such as PR(N.A.S.A. “NATIONAL AERONAUTICS AND SPACE ADMINISTRATION”) & (SPACE /5 EXPLOR!) SHUTTLE in the FR database.
Researchers interested in NASA regulations can find them in the Code of Federal Regulations, the CFR. You can try a search such as PR(TITLE /2 14 & CHAPTER /2 V & “NATIONAL AERONAUTICS AND SPACE ADMINISTRATION”)
On July 21, 2011, NASA Administrator Charles Bolden issued a statement about the final landing, “The future is bright for human spaceflight and for NASA. American ingenuity is alive and well. And it will fire up our economy and help us win the future, but only if we dream big and imagine endless possibilities. That future begins today.” You can view the statement at: 7/21/11 PRWIRE 10:34:00.