Status Report

AIP FYI #117: Senate Appropriators Pass FY 2004 Funding Bill for NASA

By SpaceRef Editor
September 12, 2003
Filed under , ,

On September 4, the Senate Appropriations Committee passed its
version of the FY 2004 VA/HUD Appropriations bill. This bill, S.
1584, would fund NASA at $15,339 million, a level equal to the
current FY 2003 budget. This level is $130 million less than
President Bush requested, and $201 million less than what is
recommended in the House bill. Senate appropriators would cut the
funding for the Science, Aeronautics and Exploration account, while
increasing funding for Space Flight Capabilities by a comparable
amount. No additional funding above the request would be provided
in FY 2004 for implementation of the recommendations of the Columbia
Accident Investigation Board.

specified for Space Science, Earth Science, or Biological and
Physical Research, the entire Science, Aeronautics and Exploration
(SAE) account would be reduced by $1,417 million (15.5%) from the FY
2003 level, to $7,731 million. This is still an increase of $70
million above the FY 2004 request. The House bill would provide
$7,708 million.

SPACE FLIGHT CAPABILITIES: The budget for Space Flight Capabilities
would increase by $1,416 million (23.0%) from current funding, to
$7,582 million. This is $200 million below the requested level.
The House bill would provide $7,806 million.

It is worth noting that the House bill uses different FY 2003
funding levels than does the Senate bill, and the House bill states
that those numbers include “transfer of funds.” The Senate bill
does not appear to reflect these transfers.

The Senate Appropriations Committee report (S. Rpt. 108-143)
accompanying the bill includes extensive language regarding the
results of the Columbia Accident Investigation Board’s (CAIB)
investigation. Selected portions of the report relating to Space
Science, Earth Science, and Biological and Physical Research
follow. The next FYI will contain selections from the report
relating to the CAIB recommendations and NASA’s Space Flight
Capabilities. Readers who wish to read the entire NASA portion of
the report may find it at .

SPACE SCIENCE: “The opportunities presented under the new Project
Prometheus [nuclear power and propulsion initiative] are both
compelling and will be revolutionary to how space research is done.
The additional power resources developed through nuclear power will
provide scientists with unprecedented ability to collect data though
powerful scientific instruments. The Jupiter Icy Moons Orbiter
[JIMO] will use breakthrough nuclear propulsion and power systems to
fuel an ambitious mission to Jupiter’s icy moons…. It has been
estimated that the cost of Project Prometheus through 2012 will be
on the order of $8,000,000,000 to $9,000,000,000. This ambitious
project, and the resources it will consume, will require NASA to
make trade-offs over the next decade, but if successful, could
change the potential scientific payoff for all missions after a
successful JIMO mission.”

Among the adjustments made by the committee to the budget request
for Space Science is “A decrease of $20,000,000 for the JIMO. The
Committee notes that JIMO received $20,000,000 in unanticipated
funding in fiscal year 2003. This funding was done in advance of the
new initiative and is considered to have been used to initiate JIMO
earlier than previously planned by NASA.” The committee also would
provide an increase of $3.0 million within available funds for the
Solar Probe mission.

EARTH SCIENCE: Adjustments to the budget request include “A decrease
of $11,000,000 from Global Climate Change Research Initiative; A
decrease of $15,000,000 from Earth Science Applications; An increase
of $11,000,000 for mission formulation studies for EOS follow-on
missions; [and] An increase of $25,000,000 for EOSDIS Core System
Synergy Program.” Regarding the future EOS Data and Information
System (EOSDIS), the report states, “The Committee supports NASA’s
decision to guarantee that the future data system will be
evolutionary in nature. Such an approach must maximize the
utilization of the existing operational ground system while allowing
for the introduction of new capabilities as new technologies
develop. Utilizing the existing EOSDIS Core System, the Committee
expects NASA to develop the initial baseline architecture and
information technology blueprint for this system. The architecture
should guarantee the system’s resilience to accommodate various
flight models and schedules, as well as permit the maximum number of
end users from the scientific, educational, governmental and
commercial sectors.”

Committee has expressed its intent that scientific research remain
one of NASA’s top priorities. However, delays in the construction of
the Station and the current stand down of the Shuttle fleet have
significantly reduced the opportunities for life and microgravity
research in the near term. The Committee urges NASA to resume, as
practically as possible, scientific research in this area, as well
as to fully employ all resources currently available to further
research in this area until regular operations on the ISS are

Audrey T. Leath

Media and Government Relations Division

The American Institute of Physics

[email protected]

(301) 209-3094

SpaceRef staff editor.