From: NASA Alumni League
Posted: Thursday, July 13, 2006
The Honorable Thad Cochran, The Honorable Robert Byrd, The Honorable Barbara Mikukski, The Honorable Kay Hutchinson
The NASA Alumni League is deeply concerned about the trends in the NASA budget and its negative implications to our country's international pre-eminence in science and technology. Recent events make clear that NASA's budget will not be sufficient to meet current and projected funding requirements for core NASA programs. This budget crisis impacts three national issues: US commercial competitiveness, our international prestige, and the state of science and technology education in our Country.
We believe that all of NASA's programs are so important to the future well being of the nation that the needed funding should be provided by Congress and the Administration beginning with FY 2007. We believe that an addition of at least $2 billion per year is required for NASA to adequately carry out all of its missions, and that NASA must take the time to fully understand what is required to return humans to the Moon and develop the capability for future Mars exploration.
However, whatever its funding level, NASA must maintain a balanced program that meets the most critical national needs in aeronautics research, science and applications, and exploration. If the required funding cannot be provided, NASA should slow the pace of space exploration in order to maintain the Nation's world-class standing and position of leadership in aeronautics, and science because these are important underpinnings of our national competitiveness, and provide the basis for our ability to wisely explore Mars.
In keeping with the above, we recommend the following priorities for NASA:
We recommend that Congress request a Comprehensive Long-range NASA Plan for Administration and Congressional consideration reflecting the priorities as outlined. Missions are to be stated and realistic estimates should be provided through mission accomplishment. Collaboration within the U.S. and with international partners must be considered in developing this overall NASA Plan.
We urge Congress to adjust the NASA FY07 budget to include the above recommended program priorities and review its overall adequacy to meet the critical NASA needs. We hope you will agree that even with the recommended reprioritization, it is greatly underfunded.
Your leadership will rekindle a vibrant NASA. In turn it will have a powerful impact on our Nation's competitiveness, help restore international prestige in science and technology, and provide strong encouragement for technical education in our country.
We would like to meet with you for detailed discussions and to address questions you might have.
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