As indicated in previous FYIs, the long struggle to enact the final
FY 2003 appropriations bill has been followed by a long struggle to
interpret the over-3,000 page conference report. Budget numbers given
for various programs in the report must then be reduced by amounts described
elsewhere in the report. Even with such rescissions, it appears that
NASA's Space Science, Earth Science, and Biological and Physical Research
all received increases over FY 2002 funding. Funding for the International
Space Station account was decreased, as was funding for Academic Programs.
It is unknown at this point whether findings from the space shuttle
Columbia accident investigation, or the impact on the space station
of grounding the shuttle fleet, will result in supplemental FY 2003
funding being requested for NASA.
Below are the final FY 2003 appropriations numbers for selected NASA
programs, as calculated by the House Science Committee. They are shown
in comparison with the numbers in NASA's FY 2002 initial operating plan.
Portions of the explanatory language from the conference report, H.
Report 108-10, are also provided.
The SPACE SCIENCE budget increases $634.3 million, or 22.1 percent,
from $2867.1 million in FY 2002 to $3501.4 million in FY 2003. The report
provides $95.0 million for the Pluto-Kuiper Belt mission, which was
not funded under the request. It reduces the funding for the Nuclear
Electric Propulsion and Nuclear Power programs by $10.0 million and
$9.0 million, respectively. It increases funding for the Jupiter Icy
Moons Orbiter program, and contains numerous earmarks for other projects.
The report language commends NASA "for the continued success of
the Hubble Space Telescope [HST]," expresses concern that grounding
of the shuttle fleet may delay HST servicing, and directs NASA not to
reduce funding for development of the next generation space telescope
"to cover HST shortfalls."
The EARTH SCIENCE budget increases $82.1 million, or 5.1 percent, from
$1625.7 million in FY 2002 to $1707.8 million in FY 2003. The report
language provides a listing of earmarks.
The BIOLOGICAL AND PHYSICAL RESEARCH budget increases $43.2 million,
or 5.3 percent, from $820.0 million in FY 2002 to $863.2 million in
FY 2003. In addition to a list of earmarks, the report language provides
an $8.0 million increase "for procurement of animal and plant habitats"
for the space station, and an $11.2 million reduction from the Generations
The HUMAN SPACE FLIGHT budget decreases $686.3 million, or 10.1 percent,
from $6830.1 million in FY 2002 to $6143.8 million in FY 2003. The report
language states: "The conferees have included an additional $50,000,000
for expenses related to the investigation into the tragic loss of the
space shuttle Columbia on February 1, 2003. This funding may also be
used to correct identified deficiencies and to defray any other expenses
which are a consequence of the accident. The conferees recognize that
the cost of the investigation and any other implications of the accident
may well exceed the amount provided and will entertain operating plan
changes to accommodate necessary adjustments in the funding of the various
components of this account."
Within Human Space Flight, the budget for the INTERNATIONAL SPACE STATION
decreases $239.3 million, or 13.9 percent, from $1721.7 million in FY
2002 to $1482.4 million in FY 2003. There is substantial report language
discussing the results of the Research Maximization and Prioritization
(ReMAP) task force, "which focused on prioritizing scientific research
to be conducted on the ISS through NASA's Office of Biological and Physical
Research. The conferees agree on the need for a strategy of prioritized
research objectives across multiple disciplines, and commend NASA for
establishing the ReMAP activity."
"However," the report language continues, "the conferees
have several areas of concern related to the ReMAP process. The conferees
are aware that a number of the ReMAP task force members dissented with
the conclusions in the final report. Several task force members stated
that the ReMAP process did not allow sufficient time or resources to
do a proper job of prioritizing research programs. Concern was also
expressed by some task force members about a lack of time to review
the information reported as ReMAP conclusions. Finally, the conferees
also note NASA's acknowledgement that the task force did not address
ISS commercialization issues, nor did it consider the research needs
of the Office of Earth Science or the Office of Space Science in its
"Therefore, the conferees direct NASA to report to Congress on
its plans to establish a process by which prioritization of research
conducted on the ISS occurs on a regular basis, rather than as a one-time
effort. Furthermore, the conferees encourage that future ISS research
prioritization activities address ISS commercialization programs, as
well as the needs of the Offices of Space and Earth Science."
Report language on the space station also states addresses the recommendation
of a NASA study that a non-governmental organization (NGO) "be
adopted as the preferred management approach. Furthermore, the plan
outlines a phased approach that would initially focus on leadership
and advocacy functions and would defer a decision on the possible inclusion
of engineering and integration functions.... The conferees endorse Phase
1 (inclusion of leadership and advocacy functions), which is similar
to what has been so successfully demonstrated in the Hubble Space Telescope
Institute (HSTI) model. The conferees wish to point out, however, that
management of research for the ISS is much more complex than that of
the HSTI, and acknowledge NASA's recognition of this intricacy, demonstrated
through its proposal of a phased approach.... [T]he conferees have included
an administrative provision that limits any proposed contractual action
to that of leadership and advocacy [and] direct NASA to report on the
status of NGO implementation as well as means of determining research
priorities. The first report is due March 15, 2003."
The ACADEMIC PROGRAMS budget decreases $25.1 million, or 11.0 percent,
from $227.3 million in FY 2002 to $202.2 million in FY 2003. In addition
to a series of earmarks, the report language provides an increase of
$5.0 million for the National Space Grant College and Fellowship program,
and an increase of $5.4 million for the EPSCoR program.