Press Release

AIP FYI Number 129: VA/HUD FY 2001 Conference Report: NASA

By SpaceRef Editor
October 26, 2000
Filed under

“The Congress knows that it is performance that counts, and this
budget is a tribute to NASA’s performance.” – NASA Administrator
Daniel Goldin

The House and Senate have reached agreement on final FY 2001
funding for NASA, as part of the combined Energy and Water
Development and VA/HUD appropriations conference report. Under
the conference report, which President Clinton is expected to
sign, NASA would receive a very healthy $14,285.3 million. This
is more than Clinton, the House, or the Senate had previously
proposed for the fiscal year that began on October 1. This
funding level is 5.0% ($685.0 million) greater than NASA’s FY
2000 appropriation, and 1.8% ($250.0 million) higher than the
President’s request.

Space Science, Earth Science, and Life and Microgravity Sciences
would see increases over both their FY 2000 funding and their
requests, while Human Space Flight would remain essentially flat.
NASA Administrator Daniel Goldin’s pleasure with the final
conference numbers was evident in a press release issued on
October 20. “This measure provides an excellent budget for
NASA,” Goldin said in the release. “The bill fully funds the
President’s program for NASA, including all high-priority
initiatives – the Space Launch Initiative, Shuttle Upgrades, the
International Space Station, and Living With a Star. The bill
includes funding, as proposed by NASA, for two Mars rover
missions in 2003.”

NASA’s plan for two Mars landers within its space science program
is a recent proposal by the agency, developed after several
reviews of the loss last year of the Mars Orbiter and Polar
Lander missions. The agency submitted a revised FY 2001 budget
proposal that would shift funds from other NASA programs to the
Mars effort, demonstrating the importance NASA and the
Administration place on a reinvigorated Mars program. The
conferees support this proposal, which would provide $75.0
million for the Mars program as follows: $2.0 million from
elsewhere within the space science account; $7.0 million from
life and microgravity sciences; $20.0 million from aeronautics
and space technology; $6.0 million from mission support; and
$40.0 million from human space flight.

The conference report contains numerous earmarks and detailed
language on specific reports and requirements that Congress
expects, some in agreement with House or Senate report language,
some that supersedes the previous language. (Recent language in
the Senate report takes precedence over the earlier House
language, and language in the conference report takes precedence
over both. Theoretically, if a later report makes no mention of
a certain requirement or earmark, the earlier text remains in
effect.) The complete text of the VA/HUD-Energy and Water
Development conference report can be found on THOMAS, the Library
of Congress web site, at http://thomas.loc.gov . Go to
“Committee Reports” for the 106th Congress and choose report
number 106-988; the NASA portion begins on page 151. Highlights
of selected portions of the report follow:

GENERAL PROVISIONS, R&A, EXPORT CONTROLS: NASA is directed to
report to the appropriations committees on “the status of any
program or activity that has exceeded its budget plan by 15
percent.” The conference report eliminates a House requirement
for a National Research Council study on NASA’s research and
analysis budget. Instead, the conferees “urge NASA to take
actions to ensure that research and analysis funding is
sufficient to support the goals of the various programs.” While
the House called for clarification of “overly restrictive and
inconsistent” satellite technology export controls under the
International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR), the conferees
concur instead with Senate language specifying only “that NASA
should report annually on the issue of safeguarding sensitive
technology.”

HUMAN SPACE FLIGHT: This account would remain essentially level
at $5,462.9 million, a decrease of 0.1% ($4.8 million) from the
FY 2000 level, and 0.7% ($37.0 million) less than originally
requested. This reflects NASA’s proposal to shift $40.0 million
from Human Space Flight to the Mars 2003 Lander program. The
conferees “agree that NASA should develop a 10-year plan for all
research efforts related to the International Space Station,” but
“do not agree with the Senate requirement for a blueprint plan
that identifies lead and complementary universities that will
coordinate with NASA for science disciplines that will be the
focus of research after assembly” of the station. The conferees
also, as did the House, direct NASA to submit a plan for
dedicated life and microgravity research missions on the shuttle
“until the space station reaches its full research capability.”

GENERAL REDUCTION TO SAT: The conference report calls for a
general reduction of less than one percent (0.8%, or $49.1
million) to be applied in an unspecified way to the total
Science, Aeronautics and Technology (SAT) account. All the
programs cited below (Space Science, Earth Science, Life and
Microgravity Sciences, and Academic Programs) fall within the SAT
account, as do aerospace technology and space operations. The
conference report does not specify how much is to be taken from
each of these programs, so it is unknown how they might be
affected.

SPACE SCIENCE: Space Science would receive $2,508.3 million, an
increase of 14.4% ($315.5 million) from FY 2000 funding, and 4.6%
($109.5 million) above the request. The conferees concur with
NASA’s proposal, as explained above, to provide $75.0 million
from other NASA program to the Mars 2003 Lander program. The
conferees also agree with the Senate that “applying the
recommendations of the Mars Program Independent Assessment Team
to all space science programs may lead to cost increases for
those programs,” and that NASA should therefore “provide a five-
year profile of the costs associated with implementing these
recommendations” along with its FY 2002 budget submission.

The conference report provides the full request of $20.0 million
for the Living with a Star program to study the Sun, which was
deleted by the House. Also in this section, the conferees ask
NASA for a report addressing how it plans to maintain core
competencies at its centers while increasing competitive
selection of advanced technologies, and identifying strategic
alliances with universities and industries. The conferees do not
agree with the Senate “that cost increases associated with the
Hubble Servicing Mission should be allocated to the Human Space
Flight account.”

EARTH SCIENCE: This account would receive $1,498.1 million, an
increase of 3.8% ($54.7 million) from the FY 2000 budget and 6.6%
($92.3 million) over the request. The conference report directs
NASA to provide appropriators “with a ten-year strategy and
funding profile to extend the benefits of Earth science,
technology and data results beyond the traditional scientific
community and address practical, near-term problems,” and to work
with universities and other players to develop “mechanisms
through which current public and private remote sensing and
related technologies will be made readily available to state and
local governments, public agencies and private organizations for
applications in agriculture, flood mapping, forestry,
environmental protection, urban planning and other land-use
issues.”

The conferees would provide an increase of $20.0 million above
the request for continued commercial data purchases. They would
provide $35.0 million above the request for the core system of
the Earth Observing System Data Information System (EOSDIS),
which would bring the total EOSDIS funding to $277.0 million for
FY 2001. They would also make available “the full amount
requested for the EOS follow-on.”

LIFE AND MICROGRAVITY SCIENCES: This account would receive $316.9
million, an increase of 15.4% ($42.2 million) over FY 2000 and
4.8% ($14.5 million) above the request. The amount recommended
by the conferees incorporates a $7.0 million reduction “from the
biomedical research and countermeasures program which has been
transferred to the space sciences account for the Mars 2003
Lander program.” Within the Human Space Flight section of the
report, the conferees express “dismay at the lack of dedicated
life and microgravity research missions being flown on shuttle
during station assembly. This problem is made worse by
continuing delay in station assembly, leading to a significant
backlog of critical research waiting to be flown. The conferees
believe it is prudent to plan regular life and microgravity
shuttle research missions during station assembly to protect the
shuttle flight rate and to prepare experiments for the space
station.” Thus, as reported in the Human Space Flight section,
the conference report calls for NASA to submit a plan for
dedicated life and microgravity research missions on the shuttle
during space station assembly. This language appears to
supersede the Senate provision directing NASA to “schedule an
additional annual shuttle flight for microgravity research.”

ACADEMIC PROGRAMS: The conference report would provide a total of
$134.0 million for academic programs, 34.0% greater than the
request but less than last year’s funding. The conferees
recommend $10.0 million for EPSCoR, $55.0 million for the
Minority University Research and Education program, and $19.1
million for space grant colleges.

EXPORT CONTROLS: Within the section for the White House Office of
Science and Technology Policy, the conference report contains the
following language regarding export controls under the
International Traffic in Arms Regulations: “Public Law 105 261
transferred responsibility for satellite technology export
licensing from the Department of Commerce to the Department of
State as part of the International Traffic in Arms Regulations
(ITAR). An unfortunate and unintended consequence of that move
has been that university-based fundamental science and
engineering research, widely disseminated and unclassified, has
become subject to overly restrictive and inconsistent ITAR
direction. The result has been critical delays in NASA-funded
research projects and has forced some universities to forgo
participation in such projects. Such research traditionally has
been excluded from export controls under the fundamental research
exemption. The conferees find the current situation to be
unacceptable and direct the Office of Science and Technology
Policy to work jointly with the National Security Council, in
consultation with the NASA Administrator and the Secretary of
State, to expeditiously issue clarification of ITAR that ensures
that university collaborations and personnel exchanges, which are
vital to the continued success of federally-funded research, are
allowed to continue as they had under the long-standing
fundamental research exception in the Export Administration
Regulations, which had governed export controls over this
technology when the Department of Commerce had jurisdiction over
it. The conferees expect this review to be completed within 120
days of enactment of this Act. Upon the issuance of guidance,
NASA shall ensure that university principal investigators are
fully aware of their responsibilities.” Within the NASA portion
of the report, the conferees add “that NASA should report
annually on the issue of safeguarding sensitive technology.”

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Audrey T. Leath

Public Information Division

The American Institute of Physics

fyi@aip.org

(301) 209-3094

http://www.aip.org/gov

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SpaceRef staff editor.