Status Report

A Summary of Remarks made by Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison at a Space Transportation Association Breakfast 8 March 2006

By SpaceRef Editor
March 10, 2006
Filed under ,
A Summary of Remarks made by Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison at a Space Transportation Association Breakfast 8 March 2006

Editor’s note: these notes were taken/prepared by an attendee at this STA breakfast.

“The United States civil space program is at a crucial crossroads in history.”

“We now can see the beginnings of a new era, with new vehicles, new destinations, and a new Vision.”

“I applaud and support the President’s decision to set this nation on a course of exploration that takes humans beyond low-earth orbit. I believe it is the right thing to do, and in the long-term interests of the nation.”

“The Congress has formally agreed with that Vision in the enactment of my bill, S.1281, last year…the first NASA Authorization bill in five years.”

“That law provides the authorities needed for certain activities; it also establishes the basis for a necessary transition to the new era of exploration.”

“We must return the shuttle to flight and complete the international space station. We must meet our commitments to our international partners and to the scientists who have spent two decades planning and preparing to use the space station.”

“Our new NASA Authorization designates the US portion of the space station as a National Laboratory.”

“We view it as an important national asset with enormous potential for scientific research and exploration.”

“The National Laboratory entity will be in a position to focus attention–and bring new, non-NASA resources to bear–on the kind of scientific use of the space station that was always intended.”

“In addition, we have directed NASA to ensure that at least fifteen percent of its space station research budget be allocated to research that is not directly supportive of the Vision for Exploration–the kinds of research they are moving away from and terminating as they re-prioritize their space station use.”

“I am concerned that NASA is not counting ALL ISS Research in making their computation to meet the required 15% set-aside for non-Vision-related research. The figures they have provided–$14 million in FY 2006, $12.9 million in FY 07 and $12.8 million in FY 08—would mean the TOTAL ISS research budget is in the neighborhood of $85-100 million per year. That is simply not credible, in a space station annual budget of $1.7 billion in FY 06, $1.8 billion in FY 07 and $2.2 billion in FY 08.”

“Let me spend a few minutes talking about space transportation.”

“The decision to base the new Crew Exploration Vehicle and launch systems heavily upon the well understood and proven systems is the right decision. It provides the key ingredients for successful development that avoids the time, cost and risk associated with inventing new technologies, as well as ensuring a smoother transition that makes the best use of existing skills, expertise, and vehicle processing capabilities.”

“The current plan is to terminate space shuttle flights in 2010. Our legislation initially prohibited a gap between the end of shuttle flights and the start of CEV operations.”

“In the end, we compromised with a statement of policy that the US should maintain an uninterrupted capability for human space flight, and required NASA to inform the Congress, at least a year before the last scheduled shuttle flight, if a gap appeared likely and what steps they would take to fill it.”

“In my view, the options they might have at that point, if necessary, could include extending shuttle flights beyond 2010, utilizing crew launch capabilities that might be developed by the private sector, or establishing agreements for the use of international partner crew launch capabilities.”

“The NASA Authorization Act endorses and encourages the private sector involvement in space station crew and cargo support, and I am pleased to see NASA moving forward in its efforts to help spur that development.”

“The Congress should–and will–continue to take the steps necessary to encourage and enable those developments.”

“I believe we have an exciting and bright future in space exploration. We are on a course that will bring important new knowledge, and inspire new generations of scientists and explorers in ways only space exploration can do.”

“All of you will have a role to play in this national undertaking and I look forward to working with you in accomplishing the best future we can for space exploration and the enhancement of life for all of us–on the Earth and in the universe that awaits.”

SpaceRef staff editor.