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FYI Number 138: November 14, 2001

VA/HUD Conference Report: NASA Funding Increased by 3.8%

In the final fiscal year 2002 VA/HUD conference report, conferees gave NASA 1.9 percent more than the President's request and 3.8 percent more than FY 2001 funding. Space Science, Earth Science, and Biological and Physical Research will all receive increases over the request. Human Space Flight will get less than requested, as will the International Space Station, amid concerns about the program's cost overruns and final configuration. While the FY 2001 budget levels are provided below, direct comparisons between FY 2002 and FY 2001 levels are not valid because NASA reorganized its accounting structure. Although total NASA funding is increased, the conference report contains many specific, detailed earmarks for how large portions of the additional money should be used. Selected quotes from the report are highlighted below, and the full text of the conference report (H. Rpt. 107-272) is available at http://thomas.loc.gov.

TOTAL NASA FUNDING will grow to $14,793.2 million for FY 2002. This is an increase of 1.9 percent, or $281.8 million, above President Bush's FY 2002 request of $14,511.4 million. It is also an increase of 3.8 percent, or $540.0 million, over the FY 2001 budget of $14,253.2 million.

SPACE SCIENCE will receive $2,848.9 million. This is 2.2 percent, or $62.5 million, over the request of $2,786.4 million. It is also $527.9 million over FY 2001 funding of $2,321.0 million, although a direct comparison cannot be made.

Within Space Science, the conference report increases Sun-Earth Connections for the Living With A Star program by $10.0 million above the request, stating, "the conferees believe that understanding solar variability and its effect on earth and mankind is of paramount importance as we strive to understand our galaxy. Increasing our knowledge of the effects of solar variability and disturbances on terrestrial climate change and being able to provide advanced warning of energetic particle events that affect the safety of humans and space flight are also of particular importance." The conferees also provide an additional $3.0 million above the request for Sun-Earth Connections program for the Solar Probe.

The conference report provides "an increase of [$30.0 million] for the Pluto Kuiper Belt (PKB) mission.... Funds provided should be used to initiate appropriate spacecraft and science instrument development as well as launch vehicle procurement. The conferees direct NASA to consolidate PKB development funds within the Outer Planets line beginning in fiscal year 2003."

The conferees provide the full budget request of $92.1 million "for advanced technology development related to the Next Generation Space Telescope (NGST) and expect NASA to vigorously pursue the development of the NGST...with the goal of a launch in 2007. If technical and budgetary constraints preclude the launch of NGST by 2007, the conferees wish to underscore their strong desire that there should be no gap between the end of the operations for the Hubble Space Telescope (HST) and the onset of operations for NGST. As part of the out-year budget plan, NASA should outline its transition plan to guarantee uninterrupted continuity between HST and NGST."

The conferees "agree to provide the full budget request for the Mars program. NASA is directed to prepare a detailed plan...on future Mars missions beyond the proposed 2007 mission."

EARTH SCIENCE will receive $1,573.4 million. This is 3.9 percent, or $58.4 million, over the request of $1,515.0 million. It is also $88.8 million over FY 2001 funding of $1,484.6 million, but again, a direct comparison between years cannot be made.

Within Earth Science, the conferees provide an increase of $6.0 million above the request "for the EOSDIS Core System to expand its data processing and distribution capacity," and an increase of $23.5 million "for the Synergy program to develop additional end uses for EOS data." An increase of $1.0 million is provided "for the Triana Science Team to continue its work in preparation for future launch.... The conferees recognize the important scientific contributions to be made by Triana," but its launch has been on hold "due to Shuttle manifest conflicts." To offset some of the many earmarked increases, a general reduction of $17.2 million from the request is to be applied to Earth Sciences.

BIOLOGICAL AND PHYSICAL RESEARCH will receive $714.4 million. This is 97.9 percent, or $353.5 million, over the request of $360.9 million. It is also $401.5 million over FY 2001 funding of $312.9 million, but not directly comparable.

The conferees "have agreed to transfer a total of [$283.6 million] from the Human Space Flight account into this program for research activities associated with the International Space Station." An additional increase of $55.0 million for space station research is provided "for the Fluids and Combustion Facility and other priority space station research and equipment."

HUMAN SPACE FLIGHT will be funded at $6,912.4 million. This is a reduction of 5.3 percent, or $383.6 million, from the request of $7,296.0 million. Although direct comparison cannot be made, it is $1,461.5 million over FY 2001 funding of $5,450.9 million.

This amount includes a general reduction of $75.0 million from the space station program. Additionally, "the conferees have not provided any additional funding for the Crew Return Vehicle.... The funding level also reflects the transfer of [$283.6 million] for ISS research from the human space flight account" to Biological and Physical Research. For the space shuttle, "the conferees direct that not less than [$207.0 million] be made available for Space Shuttle Safety Upgrades," unless NASA submits an Operating Plan adjustment.

Within Human Space Flight, funding for the INTERNATIONAL SPACE STATION will drop to "no more than" $1,963.6 million. This is a decrease of 5.9 percent, or $123.8 million, from the request of $2,087.4 million, and $149.3 million less than FY 2001 funding of $2,112.9 million. The conference report contains extensive language on the space station, which will be provided in FYI #139.

ACADEMIC PROGRAMS will grow to $230.8 million. This is a 50.2 percent, or $77.1 million, increase over the request of $153.7 million and $98.1 million over FY 2001 funding of $132.7 million.

Within this account, the National Space Grant College and Fellowship program will receive an increase of $5.0 million, and EPSCoR an increase of $5.4 million, above the request.

INTERNATIONAL TRAFFIC IN ARMS REGULATIONS (ITAR): Under the section for the Office of Science and Technology Policy, the conference report states,

"the conferees agree that the Office of Science and Technology Policy should make the clarification of the International Traffic in Arms Regulation a high priority for resolution. The conferees expect the President's Science Advisor to address and resolve the matter by February 1, 2002."

Audrey T. Leath
Media and Government Relations Division
American Institute of Physics
fyi@aip.org
(301) 209-3094

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