Press Release

Sensenbrenner Statement on Young Report Covering NASA’s Recent Mars Mission Failures

By SpaceRef Editor
March 29, 2000
Filed under

Committee on Science

F. James Sensenbrenner, Jr., Chairman

Ralph M. Hall, Texas, Ranking Democrat

Press Contacts:

Jeff Lungren ([email protected])

Meredith Wisor ([email protected])

(202) 225-4275

WASHINGTON, D.C. – House Science Committee Chairman F. James Sensenbrenner,
Jr., (R-WI), released the following statement following his review of the
Young Report:

“I welcome the release of the Young Report as a crucial step to
understanding the ingredients in the recent Mars mission failures. During
the past few months, some have argued that NASA’s ‘faster, better, cheaper’
philosophy was the underlying cause. However, it’s important to recognize
the Young Report points not to the ‘faster, better, cheaper’ philosophy, but
rather to an overly aggressive interpretation of ‘faster, better, cheaper’.

“Given the Young Report’s finding that these Mars missions were underfunded
by 30 percent, I am concerned NASA may have misjudged the minimum resources
needed to successfully complete these missions under the ‘faster, better,
cheaper’ philosophy. This approach has resulted in some exhilarating
achievements and some incredible failures. The failures are more
exasperating because they were caused by such seemingly simple mistakes.

“Many of us in Congress have worked to ensure NASA had the space science
funds necessary to successfully complete its mission. Congress has given
NASA more money than NASA requested in four of the last six years [1995,
1998, 1999, and 2000] and provided more money for NASA’s space science
programs, which fund the Mars program, than NASA requested in five of the
last six years [1995, 1996, 1997, 1999, and 2000]. It now appears those
requests may have shortchanged the mission requirements.

“I look forward to Mr. Young’s testimony before the Science Committee at a
hearing tentatively set for April 12, 2000 and pledge my assistance so the
management problems his team identified are fixed.”

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SpaceRef staff editor.