Press Release

ISS Budget Cut Alert from American Society for Gravitational and Space Biology (ASGSB)

By SpaceRef Editor
June 27, 2001
Filed under , ,

Dear ASGSB Members,

On June 14, 2001, Dr. Kathie Olsen, Acting Associate Administrator
for NASA’s Office of Biological and Physical Sciences (OBPR)
presented a restructured International Space Station (ISS) Research
Program option consistent with the FY 2002 President’s Budget to the
Biological and Physical Research Advisory Committee (BPRAC) chaired
by Dr. Ken Baldwin. The picture is bleak, at best.

Attached is a
“before and after” slide of the Centrifuge Accommodation Module
(CAM). Although the CAM, Centrifuge Rotor, and Life Sciences
Glovebox are to be provided by NASDA, the Japanese Space Agency, the
launch date for the CAM has been postponed from 2006 to 2008.

are many questions about the probability of even this dismal schedule
being sustained. You can see on the Fundamental Biology: FY 2002 PBS
slide that all facilities in dotted lines are “gone.” There is no
Advanced Animal Habitat. There is no Cell Culture Unit. There is no
Plant Research Unit, etc. If our International partners change their
minds, given what NASA is proposing, there will be little or no
fundamental biological research on ISS.

Although 40% of the FY 2002
ISS research budget is redirected to accommodate US core facilities,
the Biological Research Project has been cut nearly 80%. The
cancellation of the Crew Return Vehicle ensures that only 3 crew
members will live aboard ISS, with only a maximum total of 20 hours a
week available for research.

NOW IS THE TIME to contact your Members
of Congress and write to NASA Administrator Dan Goldin (NASA HQ,
Washington, DC 20546). Tell them that the plans are UNACCEPTABLE!

Currently, the House of Representatives plans to mark up the NASA
budget on July 10, and the Senate will do so on July 18. Your words
can be critical for saving the opportunity to conduct scientific
research on the ISS (and don’t forget to mention the value of
ground-based research in gravitational and space biology).

Below is
a draft statement prepared by the BPRAC for presentation to the NASA
Advisory Council. Other scientific disciplines have had projects
restored because of the out-cry from their constituent community. We
must do the same!

Best regards,

Patricia Russell

ASGSB Executive Director


The construction of the International Space Station (ISS) was, and
continues to be, driven on the premise that cutting-edge, revolutionary
(world class) research will be conducted on this platform in order to
advance NASA’s overarching science mission in the new Millennium. Research
conducted via the new Enterprise managed by the Office of Biological and
Physical Research (OBPR) was considered the under-pinning in justifying
this research initiative for ISS.

With the current budget over-runs for ISS construction amounting to ~ $4
Billion, Code M has chosen to solve its problem by eliminating funding that
amounts to 40% of the ISS research budget that must be redirected to buffer
the over-runs. This translates to a decrease of $981 Million in the
realignment of the Code U (OBPR) ISS-driven research initiative.

The Biological and Physical Research Advisory Committee (BPRAC) views this
budgeting strategy as being totally unrealistic, and, in essence, blatantly
undermines the primary rationale for constructing ISS in the first place
because, such a re-budgeting strategy guts the OBPR ISS research initiative
to the brink of extinction. The budget cuts proposed, and their impact on
the realignment of NASA’s research in biological, biomedical, and physical
sciences research on ISS translates to greater than 75% loss in the
research capability that could be conducted across the interrelated
programs comprising the OBPR research enterprise. In other words, the
enterprise of OBPR would no longer exist.

Unless alternative strategies are taken to maintain the integrated research
mission in OBPR, NASA can no longer justify to the citizens of the United
States a) the completion of space station build out, and b) the maintenance
of such a structure and its present operational facilities on its current
“house of cards” strategy.


NASA must reassess its strategy to eliminate the core of its research
mission for ISS via the cut backs that target the OBPR research facilities
and program infrastructure.

The BPRAC recommends that NASA reassert its leadership, commitment, and
sense of mission to research on ISS.

SpaceRef Related links

  • 14 June 2001: Presentations to Biological and Physical Research Advisory Committee, Dr. Kathie Olsen, Acting Associate Administrator (Powerpoint)

    “Today’s presentation will discuss the ISS Research Program FY 2001 Baseline and a restructured ISS Research Program Option that is consistent with the FY 2002 President’s Budget. This Option is for your consideration.”

  • 14 June 2001: International Space Station Status, presentation to the Biological & Physical Research Advisory Committee, W. Michael Hawes, Deputy Associate Administrator for Space Station, Office of Space Flight (Powerpoint)

    “Agency Strategy for the FY 2002 President’s Budget:

  • Redirected Funding
  • Refocus Agency work force to build ISS
  • Incorporate Management Reforms
  • Identify path to achieving increased crew
  • Seek additional Partner contributions to increase crew time and research resources
  • Prioritize science and rebalance research budgets accordingly”

  • 6 June 2001: International Partner Research Facilities, Basis of Collaboration for Biology Research on ISS, Peter Ahlf, NASA HQ (Powerpoint)

    “What is IN: ….

    What is OUT: ….”

  • SpaceRef staff editor.