On July 25, the Senate Appropriations Committee approved its version
of the FY 2003 VA/HUD appropriations bill, which provides funding for
NASA and NSF among other agencies. Senate appropriators would provide
a 2 percent increase for NASA. Funding for Human Space Flight, including
the space station, would drop, while funding for the Science, Aeronautics
and Technology account would increase. Within this account, the totals
for Space Science, Earth Science, and Biological and Physical Research
are not specified.
The total NASA budget would increase 2.0 percent over FY 2002 funding,
from $14,901.6 million to $15,200.0 million. The Administration requested
$15,000.0 million for FY 2003.
The Human Space Flight budget would decrease 10.3 percent, from $6,830.1
million to $6,130.9 million, equal to the request. Within this account,
the International Space Station would receive $1,492.1 million as requested,
an approximately 25.0 percent reduction from current funding, to continue
assembly to reach the U.S. Core Complete configuration in 2004.
The Science, Aeronautics and Technology budget would increase 12.4
percent, from $8,047.8 million to $9,044.5 million. The request was
$8,844.5 million. While funding totals for Space Science, Earth Science,
and Biological and Physical Research are not provided, the committee
would restore space science funding for the Pluto-Kuiper Belt mission,
which was omitted from the Administration's FY 2003 request, and provide
the full request for the Mars Program, and the Hubble and Next Generation
Below are selected explanatory quotes from the Senate committee's report,
S. 107-222. There are numerous earmarks in the sections on Space Science,
Earth Science, and Biological and Physical Research; readers seeking
more detailed information are urged to consult the full text of the
report at http://thomas.loc.gov/.
"The Space Science Enterprise develops space observatories
and directs robotic spacecraft into the solar system and beyond to
investigate the nature of the universe.... The quest for this information,
and the answers themselves, is intended to maintain scientific leadership,
excite and inspire our society, strengthen education and scientific
literacy, develop and transfer technologies to promote U.S. competitiveness,
foster international cooperation to enhance programs and share their
benefits, and set the stage for future space ventures."
Pluto-Kuiper Belt mission: Among the changes made
to the budget request for space science, the committee added "$105,000,000
for the New Horizons Program for the Pluto-Kuiper Belt (PKB) mission
to be used for the spacecraft, instruments, project management, the
radioisotope thermoelectric generator and the launch vehicle. The
Committee has added funding to continue development work on the Pluto-Kuiper
Belt mission as the first mission in the New Horizons Program. The
Committee notes that the PKB mission meets all of the criteria for
the New Horizons Program and expects the agency to include funding
for PKB in subsequent budget submissions in order to launch the mission
NASA Administrator Sean O'Keefe had planned
to delay PKB until new power and propulsion technologies could be employed.
The committee, however, would cut $9.0 million from his proposed nuclear
power and propulsion programs intended to develop such technology:
"The Committee supports both new programs, but believes
that the necessary technology will be slow to ramp up. Moreover, the
Committee is concerned about out year budget costs of these programs,
the Space Launch Initiative and Shuttle upgrades, all program that
will need to complement each other."
Mars Program: "The Committee has provided the
full budget request for the Mars Program."
Hubble Space Telescope: "The Committee has provided
the full budget request for the Hubble Space Telescope and the Next
Generation Space Telescope.... The Committee commends the Agency for
the continued success of the Hubble Space Telescope and the extraordinary
contributions it has made to the advancement of science."
Living With A Star: "The Committee remains strongly
supportive of the Living With A Star [LWS] program because of the
critical role its missions will play in understanding the effect of
the Sun on our solar system particularly its impact on space weather
which can have a profound impact on the Earth. Therefore, the Committee
has provided the full budget request for technology development requested
for the magnetospheric multiscale mission (MMS), the Solar Dynamics
Observatory (SDO) and the Geospace Missions. Should the Agency wish
to reallocate funds within these missions, the Committee will entertain
a re-programming request in the operating plan provided that any re-programming
preserves the LWS objective of maintaining contemporaneous science."
"This pioneering program of studying global climate
change is developing many of the capabilities that will be needed
for long-term environment and climate monitoring and prediction. Governments
around the world need information based on the strongest possible
scientific understanding. The unique vantage-point of space provides
information about the Earth's land, atmosphere, ice, oceans, and biota
as a global system, which is available in no other way. In concert
with the global research community, the Earth Science Enterprise is
developing the understanding needed to support the complex environmental
policy decisions that lie ahead.... [T]he Committee is concerned about
the potential for the administration to diminish NASA's pre-eminent
role in earth science and earth science applications. As the Committee
noted during its fiscal year 2003 hearings, the Agency's development
and launch of a series of major earth science missions combined with
a successful ground system that is processing and distributing the
largest volumes of data ever received by civilian users from space
are among NASA highest technological and scientific achievements.
The Committee wishes to affirm its unequivocal support for expanding
NASA's role in earth science and earth science applications."
Applications: "Within the applications program,
the Committee believes that the Agency's approach needs more refinement
and integration of emerging programs, like Synergy, the Regional Earth
Science Applications Centers (RESACs), the Earth Science Information
Partnerships (ESIPS) and the considerable in-house scientific capability
at the NASA Centers. Such integration should not disrupt the existing
program structure in 2003, but should plan for an evolutionary approach
in fiscal year 2004. The Committee is pleased with efforts to integrate
key Federal agency requirements as objectives of the applications
program and expects a progress report on these efforts in the operating
Remote Sensing: "The Committee strongly supports
the development of remote sensing research and technology as a collaboration
and partnership between NASA, universities and the private sector.
The Committee commends both SSC and Goddard for their investment and
commitment to the commercial aspects of remote sensing research and
technology. There already have been significant advances made with
regard to remote sensing applications in agriculture, flood mapping,
environmental protection, urban planning, firefighting and land use
issues. The Committee urges both Goddard and SSC to work together
to continue to develop those remote sensing research and technology
projects that have the strongest potential for commercial applications."
BIOLOGICAL AND PHYSICAL RESEARCH:
"NASA's Biological and Physical Research (BPR) Enterprise
recognizes the essential role biology will play in the 21st century
and pursues the core of biological and physical sciences research
needed to support NASA's strategic objectives. BPR fosters and enhances
rigorous interdisciplinary research, closely linking fundamental biological
and physical sciences in order to develop leading-edge, world-class
research programs. BPR uses the unique characteristics of the space
environment to understand biological, physical, and chemical processes,
conducting science and technology research required to enable humans
to safely and effectively live and work in space, and transferring
knowledge and technologies for Earth benefits. BPR also fosters commercial
space research by the private sector toward new or improved products
and/or services on Earth, in support of the commercial use of space."
INTERNATIONAL SPACE STATION:
"The Committee has provided $1,492,100,000 for the International
Space Station (ISS), the same as the budget request. This funding
level will continue assembly missions through U.S. Core Complete (Flight
10A), currently planned for calendar year 2004, and support early
research commensurate with the build-up of on-orbit utilization capabilities."
"In previous years, the Committee has criticized NASA's
management of the ISS program. The lack of credible budget estimates,
program mismanagement and the absence of any credible oversight forced
the Committee to cut funding and impose cost caps on the program.
Despite these actions by Congress, NASA was unable to correct the
underlying problems associated with the program. In 2001, NASA announced
that the ISS would require an additional $4,800,000,000 over previous
estimates to complete the ISS, as planned.... As a result of these
cost overruns, NASA and the Office of Management and Budget (OMB)
eliminated certain program elements to reduce cost and provide additional
time to re-scope the ISS with the international partners. In addition,
NASA created an independent assessment team known as the ISS Management
and Cost Evaluation (IMCE) Task Force to evaluate program management.
The Committee supports the recommendations of the (IMCE) Task Force
and the development of a Cost Analysis Requirements Document (CARD)
to support cost estimates of the U.S. Core Complete baseline. Furthermore,
the Committee notes the agency's intention to develop an integrated
management action plan based on recommendations of the IMCE Task Force.
The Committee fully supports this approach in order to provide the
Congress with reliable cost estimates for the U.S. Core Complete and
"In addition, the Committee supports the recommendations
of the Research Maximization and Prioritization Task Force (REMAP)
as it pertains to ISS research. The Committee views the Task Force
report as the foundation upon which the OBPR [Office of Biological
and Physical Research] sets ISS research priorities and its organizational
structure. The Committee notes that a final report on the REMAP recommendations
is to be provided by the NASA Advisory Council during the third quarter
of calendar year 2002. Given the importance of the REMAP report to
the future of the ISS and the agency's overall research agenda, the
Committee directs the Administrator to report to the Committees on
Appropriations by December 1, 2001 on the implementation of the REMAP
recommendations in relation to the ISS as well as the overall structure
of the OBPR."
"The Committee remains concerned about Russia's continued
policy of selling time on the ISS for tourists, especially since the
guiding purpose for the construction of the ISS was to have a world
class microgravity research platform, a goal which is still far away.
The Committee urges NASA to strictly enforce the protocols developed
in cooperation with the international partners to ensure that any
space tourist is fully trained and physically capable of participating
as a crew member on the ISS."
"Activities conducted within academic programs capture
the interest of students in science and technology, develop talented
students at the undergraduate and graduate levels, provide research
opportunities for students and faculty members at NASA centers, and
strengthen and enhance the research capabilities of the Nation's colleges
and universities. NASA's education programs span from the elementary
through graduate levels, and are directed at students and faculty."
EPSCoR: "The Committee recommendation has included
$10,000,000 for the NASA EPSCoR Program, $5,400,000 above the budget
request and the same as the fiscal year 2002 level. The Committee
expects NASA EPSCoR to support a broad range of research areas in
each EPSCoR State, drawn from Earth science, space science, aeronautics
and space transportation technology, and human exploration and development
of space, and to distribute the awards, competitively, to the largest
number of eligible States possible."
Minority Universities: "The Committee has provided
$82,100,000 for NASA's minority university research and education
activities. This is the same as the budget request. Furthermore, the
Committee supports the continuation of a stand-alone Minority University
Research and Education Division."
TRANSFER OF SENSITIVE TECHNOLOGIES:
"The Committee remains sensitive to continuing risks
regarding the illegal transfer and theft of sensitive technologies
that can be used in the development of weapons by governments, entities
and persons who may be hostile to the United States. The Committee
commends both NASA and the NASA Inspector General (IG) for their efforts
to protect sensitive NASA-related technologies. Nevertheless, this
will remain an area of great sensitivity and concern as the development
of technological advances likely will continue to accelerate. The
Committee directs NASA and the NASA IG to report annually on these
issues, including an assessment of risk."
Audrey T. Leath
Media and Government Relations Division
American Institute of Physics