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Remarks by Daniel S. Goldin: NASA FY 2002 Budget Briefing

Press Release From: NASA HQ
Posted: Monday, April 9, 2001

Good afternoon.

For the past nine years, I have had the honor of standing before you to present the NASA budget.

What you just watched are some of the exciting projects that the Agency is pursuing with funds provided in the fiscal 2002 budget, being issued today.

We have entered a new era in space exploration. Circling the globe this very moment are the three members of Expedition Two aboard the International Space Station.

The President's budget provides a 2 percent increase in funding for NASA at a time when many other federal agencies are getting less.

The fiscal 2002 budget includes strong support for the Space Launch Initiative - which will invest $4.5 billion over the next five years - and for improving aviation safety, Space Science programs, Earth Sciences and for Shuttle safety improvements.

The President has challenged NASA to examine its priorities to ensure that our workforce and institutions are most effectively focused on those key efforts that are most important to moving the country forward in the pursuit of science and technology discoveries.

We will support the President.

We face some difficult decisions and will take a close look at program priorities and the supporting capabilities at our NASA field installations.

We will continue to review the need for certain NASA facilities where the continuing cost of maintaining an aging infrastructure should yield to the development of newer plants more closely tied to advancing technology, like that displayed in our opening video.

Along with the funds requested comes the imperative to execute and meet our commitments. The President fully expects NASA to live within the requested funding levels, and is aware that doing so will require some difficult decisions.

We are proposing to Congress in this budget plan that some lower priority activities be eliminated to allow for a much more vigorous space and science exploration program. The 2002 budget will not propose continued funding for Congressional earmarks, as a matter of Administration policy.

We will propose that some activities - like the Rotorcraft program - be downsized or phased out, as we have accomplished many of our major goals this past decade.

However, from such cancellations comes an increased emphasis on Computational, Information and Communication Technology, 21st Century Aircraft technology, a more robust Earth Science Follow-on program, among others.

Most of you have heard about the importance of advanced information technologies, biological systems and nanotechnologies to our future. These areas are where we need to focus our efforts to expand knowledge and to inspire America's youth to promote the future economic market-driven prosperity of this Nation.

Other examples include advancing the state of the art in revolutionary new aircraft and Air Traffic Management technology, enabling future advances in space-based astronomy and new sensor and data fusion technology development for Earth remote sensing.

This budget provides the funding for research and technology advances in all these areas. Good, solid funding levels.

I want to pay tribute to the men and women at NASA Goddard and Ames in meeting the challenge of the Earth Observing System's Data Information System.

After one year of operation of the EOS satellites launched thus far, we have collected more data than in all the years before last year. We add about one terabyte of information to the archives each day.

Yes, there were occasions when I questioned whether we would solve all development issues. Now, let me just say to those who worked so diligently to solve them: Thank you.

Many of you are familiar with the discoveries rolling out from the investments made in the past to launch, maintain and improve the Hubble Space Telescope.

At the end of this year, we'll have another Shuttle servicing mission to make Hubble even more capable.

And the discoveries of the future will come not only from current spacecraft, but from a truly amazing number of missions that will be launched in the future. More than 60-new missions are funded in this budget.

Here is the profile for the Space Science budget since 1997 with the proposed growth in Space Science budgets through 2006.

Those proposed budgets enable the opportunity for the Space Science communities to do exciting, wonderful new work. There's a caution, however. This Administration has made it clear that growth in mission funding requirements will need to be offset within this budget plan. Hard decisions had… and will have… to be made.

We've had to offset development problems with the Space Infrared Telescope and Gravity Probe-B with other reductions within Space Science. We wanted the funds to mount a more aggressive Mars exploration program. We got the funds, but the offset came from canceling Pluto-Kuiper Express and Solar Probe. This is one example of the type of priority reexamination that is going on at NASA, as encouraged by the President. And, personally, I think that it's the way it ought to be.

You may recall in Earth Science, last year's budget proposals showed we would be seeing a downturn in funding. Taking a pause, as we absorb the wealth of data being returned from the first set of EOS satellites.

This year, the President is proposing more funds for the follow-on generation of spacecraft.

And, you can see, there is a significant level of funding - $1.4 billion dollars - to get the follow-on missions going.

Fulfilling the President's promise to make Government more market-based, NASA will pursue management reforms to promote innovation, open Government activities to competition, and improve the depth and quality of NASA's research and development expertise.

We continue our commitment to Space Station commercialization, with significant rack space available to support worthy commercial payloads.

We are continuing to plan for alternative Non-Government Organization, or NGO, concepts for Space Station, non-utilization opportunities that result in reduced cost to the Government and new launch services for Space Station cargo and crew needs. And we will implement planned and new Space Shuttle privatization efforts.

I would like to end by discussing our approach to ensuring a bright and talented NASA technical workforce in the future.

My concern is that there will not be enough young scientists and engineers to carry on in the pursuit of research and development. We have seen the number of newly awarded engineering degrees trail behind other disciplines.

We are engaging universities by establishing aerospace engineering centers. Those centers will be tasked with working the advanced engineering problems in the critical areas I've discussed.

In addition, we are proposing the establishment of a significant number of scholarships in science and engineering. We will link those to our current summer student and faculty programs, so the students can work at our field centers, side-by-side with our scientists and engineers.

As NASA is an Agency about the future, it's important that we make this investment in the future of science and engineering, to ensure that we can keep on pushing towards the future.

Thank you, and now, if Mal will join me, we will take your questions.

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