The omnibus bill that contains all the remaining, unpassed FY 2004
appropriations bills (H.R. 2673) was approved by the House on December
8. The Senate, however, will not take it up until Congress returns from
the holidays on January 20. This measure incorporates the VA/HUD/Independent
Agencies appropriations bill, which funds NASA as well as other departments
and agencies. This FYI and the following one will provide details
on funding recommendations for NASA's Science, Aeronautics and Exploration
account (FYI #159) and Space Flight Capabilities account (FYI
Accompanying the omnibus spending bill is the conference report, H.
Report 108-401. Because of an across-the-board reduction applied elsewhere
in the report, the FY 2004 funding levels must be reduced by 0.59%.
Using this adjustment, it appears that total NASA funding would drop
by less than 1%, to $15,378.0 million. The Space Flight Capabilities
Account was increased over prior-year funding, while the Science, Aeronautics
and Exploration account was reduced. The report does not break out specific
funding levels for Space Science, Earth Science, and Biological and
Because of recent changes to the titles and content of NASA programs,
prior-year across-the-board reductions, and transfer of funds across
programs, it is virtually impossible to make an apples-to-apples comparison
of FY 2004 funding with the FY 2003 levels. Numbers have not always
appeared consistent from year to year, or from request to House to Senate
within the year. The adjusted FY 2004 appropriation for the Science,
Aeronautics and Exploration account is provided below, followed by selected
quotations from the FY 2004 conference report (H. Rept. 108-401). Selections
from the conference report HAVE NOT been adjusted to reflect the across-the-board
SCIENCE, AERONAUTICS AND EXPLORATION:
$7,883.1 million (adjusted). This is a $1,324.7 million (14.4%) decrease
from the FY 2003 appropriation of $9,207.7 million, and a $222.1 million
(2.9%) increase over the FY 2004 request of $7,661.0 million.
REDUCTIONS: According to the conference report, "The amount
provided includes the following reductions to the budget request: $8,000,000
from the Space Interferometer Mission; $20,000,000 from Project Prometheus;
$10,000,000 from the Beyond Einstein program; and $11,000,000 from the
Global Climate Change Research Polarimeter program."
PROJECT PROMETHEUS: "The conferees share the concern expressed
by the Senate regarding the Project Prometheus program, particularly
uncertainties in the mission design, and the dependence on the new unproven
technologies. For these reasons, the conferees direct NASA to provide
specific program milestones and funding paths for all elements of Project
Prometheus and report progress to the Committees on Appropriations of
the House and Senate on a quarterly basis."
GRADUATE FELLOWSHIPS: "The conferees are in agreement with
the House direction for NASA to evaluate the level of stipends for its
Graduate Student Research Program and the Earth System Science Fellowships
as well as the House direction for an evaluation on the merits of expanding
its use of graduate fellowships."
EARTH OBSERVING SYSTEM DATA AND INFORMATION SYSTEM: "The
conferees direct NASA to task the [Goddard Space Flight Center] EOSDIS
Project Office to develop the initial baseline architecture and information
technology blueprint for the future EOSDIS and expect this activity
to mirror the direction proposed in Senate Report 108-143. The conferees
wish to reiterate that all future earth science enterprise missions
should take full advantage of the existing EOSDIS system rather than
creating individual stove pipe' ground systems that will diminish
the integrated architecture developed over the last dozen years."
LANDSAT: "The conferees are aware that technical problems
affecting the Landsat 7 satellite threaten the nation's ability to continue
providing land remote sensing data.... To ensure that the U.S. Government
does not experience a loss of remote land sensing capabilities which
would jeopardize the nation's domestic, foreign policy and national
security interests, the conferees instruct NASA to immediately begin
developing a successor to the Landsat 7 system...[and] instruct NASA,
working in conjunction with the United States Geological Survey, to
develop a successor system that may be implemented in the near term
based on the remaining options cited in the Land Remote Sensing Policy
NATIONAL POLAR-ORBITING OPERATIONAL ENVIRONMENTAL SATELLITE SYSTEM:
"The conferees have provided an additional $8,500,000 for the NPOESS
Preparatory Project to initiate the mission's science data system through
the EOSDIS Core System at the Goddard Space Flight Center.... The conferees
believe NASA, through the GSFC-ECS, must assume responsibility for this
critical portion of the NPP to avoid significant gaps in the utilization
of the mission's data and expect NASA to subsequently budget for it
beyond fiscal year 2004."
SPACE GRANT/EPSCOR PROGRAMS: "The conferees agree, that
within the total funding provided, $25,325,000 shall be for the National
Space Grant College and Fellowship program as specified in the House
report and $10,000,000 shall be for the EPSCoR program."
The Science, Aeronautics and Exploration section of the conference
report includes 144 earmarks.