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FYI Number 95: July 25, 2001

Senate Appropriations Report Language on NASA

As reported in FYI #94, Senate appropriators have now marked up the FY 2002 VA/HUD funding bill. This bill recommends $14,561.4 million for NASA. This represents an increase of $276.1 million (1.9 percent) over current-year funding, and $50.0 million (0.4 percent) over President Bush's request. It is less of an increase, however, than the $14,926.4 million recommended by VA/HUD appropriators in the House (see FYI #88). The House committee report is not yet available.

OFFICE OF SPACE SCIENCE

For space science, the committee made a number of changes to the requested amount of $2,786.4 million, including several earmarks. It appears that the committee bill would decrease funding somewhat from the request. Some of the major changes to the request, with explanatory quotes from the committee report, are listed below:

Mars Surveyor (future Surveyor projects) would be reduced by $50.0 million, "subject to a detailed plan on future Mars missions beyond the proposed 2007 mission...."

"Focused research and technology for the Europa Orbiter/X-2000 program" would be decreased by $48.6 million, while an increase of $43.6 million would be provided

"for focused research and technology for a consolidated future outer planets program in which all missions, including the Europa Orbiter, are to be competed through a full and open announcement of opportunity.... NASA should proceed with the selection of Europa science instruments as planned...."

Sun-Earth connections (SEC) focused research for the Solar Probe mission would be increased by $5.0 million, with directions for NASA to "consolidate management for this mission with its existing SEC/Living With a Star program in lieu of the proposed termination." An increase of $20.0 million is recommended

"for focused research and technology for Sun-Earth connections (SEC) for the Future Living With A Star (LWS) program, restoring the program to the funding profile in the 2001 budget. The Committee believes that understanding solar variability and its effect on earth and mankind is of paramount importance as we strive to understand our galaxy."

"The Committee recommends the budget request of $92.1 million [no change] for advanced technology development related to the Next Generation Space Telescope (NGST) and expects NASA to vigorously pursue the development of the NGST...with the goal of a launch in 2007."

The bill would increase the funding for the Pluto Kuiper Express (PKE) mission by $25.0 million.

"The Committee has deferred, without prejudice, the inclusion of full funding for the PKE. It has, however, included $25,000,000 for it by eliminating the proposed $25,000,000 for the 'quick sprint to Pluto' propulsion initiative contained in the core research and technology line for solar system exploration.... [T]he Committee expects to address the issue of full funding for PKE in Conference."

FY 2001 funding for the Office of Space Science was $2,321.0 million.

OFFICE OF EARTH SCIENCE

Again, the committee made a number of changes to the requested amount of $1,515.0 million, many in the form of earmarks. It appears that funding would be increased over the request. Some of the major changes to the request are listed below with explanatory quotes from the report:

The bill would provide an increase of $31.1 million "for the EOSDIS program element." Within this element, an increase of $40.0 million is recommended for the EOSDIS Core System and funding for the EOS Federation would be reduced by $8.9 million.

The bill would provide an increase of $7.5 million

"for EOS Follow-on projects for the tropospheric (global) winds mission only, to be acquired through a commercial data purchase only. The Committee takes notable exception to NASA's refusal to abide by Congressional directive in last year's conference report directing the Agency to initiate an RFP for such a date purchase. In fact, the Committee is dismayed that NASA has allocated these funds apparently for trade studies on the subject, ignoring the compelling requirement to proceed with this mission."

The report also states,

"the Committee expects NASA to develop a long-term plan to partner with U.S. universities and industry in a variety of NASA-related science research, including research related to nanotechnology, information technology and remote sensing. These are all areas of investment that have a commercial application that will have an increasing impact on society, the economy, and quality of life."

FY 2001 funding for the Office of Earth Science was $1,484.6 million.

OFFICE OF BIOLOGICAL AND PHYSICAL RESEARCH

The FY 2002 request for this office was $360.9 million, and included the recommendation that space station research funding be transferred to this office. The bill would provide an additional $50.0 million over the request, as follows:

"The Committee has transferred the Space Station research program to the Office of Biological and Physical Research as requested by NASA and the Office of Management and Budget. In addition, the Committee has increased funding for Space Station research by $50,000,000 over the budget request for a total of $333,600,000 for Space Station research."

Total funding for this office would grow to $410.9 million.

The report continues,

"In previous years, the Committee has expressed its intent that scientific research remain one of NASA's top priorities. However, delays in the construction of the Station and NASA reliance of the Shuttle for ISS construction have significantly reduced the opportunities for life and microgravity research. Therefore, the Committee directs NASA to include as part of its study of the ISS research program, opportunities for space-based life and microgravity research earlier in the ISS program, including, but not limited to, flying research payloads on Shuttle missions to the ISS, using extended duration orbiters and building ISS research facilities."

FY 2001 funding for the Office of Biological and Physical Research was $312.9 million.

HUMAN SPACE FLIGHT, INTERNATIONAL SPACE STATION

Human Space Flight would receive $6,868.0 million, less than the FY 2002 request but more than FY 2001 funding. Within this account, $1,681.3 million would be provided for International Space Station

"development and operations. This funding level is below the President's request due to the transfer of Space Station research funds from the Human Space Flight account to [the Office of Biological and Physical Research] and a general reduction of $150,000,000 from the Space Station budget.... The Committee takes this general reduction without prejudice in light of the construction delays and uncertainty over the Space Station's final design."

The committee report contains extensive text regarding the latest projections of cost overruns to the space station and its impact on the number of crew and research capacity. This text, and similar text from the House committee report, will be highlighted in a separate FYI.

ACADEMIC PROGRAMS

Among NASA's academic programs, the National Space Grant College and Fellowship Program would receive $19.1 million, equal to the request and to current funding. NASA's EPSCoR program would receive $10.0 million, more than the request but equal to current funding. Minority university research and education activities would receive the requested level of $82.1 million, $26.2 million greater than FY 2001 funding. The committee added many earmarks to this section as well.

 

Audrey T. Leath
Public Information Division
American Institute of Physics
fyi@aip.org
(301) 209-3094


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