Status Report

AIP FYI #91: Senate VA/HUD Bill: NASA FY 2003 Appropriations

By SpaceRef Editor
August 1, 2002
Filed under , ,

CORRECTION TO FYI #88: Funds to be transferred to the National
Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering will come from
several other institutes, not just the Office of AIDS Research.

On July 25, the Senate Appropriations Committee approved its
version of the FY 2003 VA/HUD appropriations bill, which provides
funding for NASA and NSF among other agencies. Senate
appropriators would provide a 2 percent increase for NASA.
Funding for Human Space Flight, including the space station,
would drop, while funding for the Science, Aeronautics and
Technology account would increase. Within this account, the
totals for Space Science, Earth Science, and Biological and
Physical Research are not specified.

The total NASA budget would increase 2.0 percent over FY 2002
funding, from $14,901.6 million to $15,200.0 million. The
Administration requested $15,000.0 million for FY 2003.

The Human Space Flight budget would decrease 10.3 percent, from
$6,830.1 million to $6,130.9 million, equal to the request.
Within this account, the International Space Station would
receive $1,492.1 million as requested, an approximately 25.0
percent reduction from current funding, to continue assembly to
reach the U.S. Core Complete configuration in 2004.

The Science, Aeronautics and Technology budget would increase
12.4 percent, from $8,047.8 million to $9,044.5 million. The
request was $8,844.5 million. While funding totals for Space
Science, Earth Science, and Biological and Physical Research are
not provided, the committee would restore space science funding
for the Pluto-Kuiper Belt mission, which was omitted from the
Administration’s FY 2003 request, and provide the full request
for the Mars Program, and the Hubble and Next Generation Space
Below are selected explanatory quotes from the Senate committee’s
report, S. 107-222. There are numerous earmarks in the sections
on Space Science, Earth Science, and Biological and Physical
Research; readers seeking more detailed information are urged to
consult the full text of the report at


“The Space Science Enterprise develops space observatories and
directs robotic spacecraft into the solar system and beyond to
investigate the nature of the universe…. The quest for this
information, and the answers themselves, is intended to maintain
scientific leadership, excite and inspire our society, strengthen
education and scientific literacy, develop and transfer
technologies to promote U.S. competitiveness, foster
international cooperation to enhance programs and share their
benefits, and set the stage for future space ventures.”

Pluto-Kuiper Belt mission: Among the changes made to the budget
request for space science, the committee added “$105,000,000 for
the New Horizons Program for the Pluto-Kuiper Belt (PKB) mission
to be used for the spacecraft, instruments, project management,
the radioisotope thermoelectric generator and the launch vehicle.
The Committee has added funding to continue development work on
the Pluto-Kuiper Belt mission as the first mission in the New
Horizons Program. The Committee notes that the PKB mission meets
all of the criteria for the New Horizons Program and expects the
agency to include funding for PKB in subsequent budget
submissions in order to launch the mission by 2006.” NASA
Administrator Sean O’Keefe had planned to delay PKB until new
power and propulsion technologies could be employed. The
committee, however, would cut $9.0 million from his proposed
nuclear power and propulsion programs intended to develop such
technology: “The Committee supports both new programs, but
believes that the necessary technology will be slow to ramp up.
Moreover, the Committee is concerned about out year budget costs
of these programs, the Space Launch Initiative and Shuttle
upgrades, all program that will need to complement each other.”

Mars Program: “The Committee has provided the full budget request
for the Mars Program.”

Hubble Space Telescope: “The Committee has provided the full
budget request for the Hubble Space Telescope and the Next
Generation Space Telescope…. The Committee commends the Agency
for the continued success of the Hubble Space Telescope and the
extraordinary contributions it has made to the advancement of

Living With A Star: “The Committee remains strongly supportive of
the Living With A Star [LWS] program because of the critical role
its missions will play in understanding the effect of the Sun on
our solar system particularly its impact on space weather which
can have a profound impact on the Earth. Therefore, the Committee
has provided the full budget request for technology development
requested for the magnetospheric multiscale mission (MMS), the
Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) and the Geospace Missions. Should
the Agency wish to reallocate funds within these missions, the
Committee will entertain a re-programming request in the operating
plan provided that any re-programming preserves the LWS objective
of maintaining contemporaneous science.”


“This pioneering program of studying global climate change is
developing many of the capabilities that will be needed for
long-term environment and climate monitoring and prediction.
Governments around the world need information based on the
strongest possible scientific understanding. The unique
vantage-point of space provides information about the Earth’s
land, atmosphere, ice, oceans, and biota as a global system, which
is available in no other way. In concert with the global research
community, the Earth Science Enterprise is developing the
understanding needed to support the complex environmental policy
decisions that lie ahead…. [T]he Committee is concerned about
the potential for the administration to diminish NASA’s
pre-eminent role in earth science and earth science applications.
As the Committee noted during its fiscal year 2003 hearings, the
Agency’s development and launch of a series of major earth science
missions combined with a successful ground system that is
processing and distributing the largest volumes of data ever
received by civilian users from space are among NASA highest
technological and scientific achievements. The Committee wishes to
affirm its unequivocal support for expanding NASA’s role in earth
science and earth science applications.”

Applications: “Within the applications program, the Committee
believes that the Agency’s approach needs more refinement and
integration of emerging programs, like Synergy, the Regional Earth
Science Applications Centers (RESACs), the Earth Science
Information Partnerships (ESIPS) and the considerable in-house
scientific capability at the NASA Centers. Such integration should
not disrupt the existing program structure in 2003, but should
plan for an evolutionary approach in fiscal year 2004. The
Committee is pleased with efforts to integrate key Federal agency
requirements as objectives of the applications program and expects
a progress report on these efforts in the operating plan.”

Remote Sensing: “The Committee strongly supports the development
of remote sensing research and technology as a collaboration and
partnership between NASA, universities and the private sector. The
Committee commends both SSC and Goddard for their investment and
commitment to the commercial aspects of remote sensing research
and technology. There already have been significant advances made
with regard to remote sensing applications in agriculture, flood
mapping, environmental protection, urban planning, firefighting
and land use issues. The Committee urges both Goddard and SSC to
work together to continue to develop those remote sensing research
and technology projects that have the strongest potential for
commercial applications.”


“NASA’s Biological and Physical Research (BPR) Enterprise
recognizes the essential role biology will play in the 21st
century and pursues the core of biological and physical sciences
research needed to support NASA’s strategic objectives. BPR
fosters and enhances rigorous interdisciplinary research, closely
linking fundamental biological and physical sciences in order to
develop leading-edge, world-class research programs. BPR uses the
unique characteristics of the space environment to understand
biological, physical, and chemical processes, conducting science
and technology research required to enable humans to safely and
effectively live and work in space, and transferring knowledge and
technologies for Earth benefits. BPR also fosters commercial space
research by the private sector toward new or improved products
and/or services on Earth, in support of the commercial use of


“The Committee has provided $1,492,100,000 for the International
Space Station (ISS), the same as the budget request. This funding
level will continue assembly missions through U.S. Core Complete
(Flight 10A), currently planned for calendar year 2004, and
support early research commensurate with the build-up of on-orbit
utilization capabilities.”

“In previous years, the Committee has criticized NASA’s management
of the ISS program. The lack of credible budget estimates, program
mismanagement and the absence of any credible oversight forced the
Committee to cut funding and impose cost caps on the program.
Despite these actions by Congress, NASA was unable to correct the
underlying problems associated with the program. In 2001, NASA
announced that the ISS would require an additional $4,800,000,000
over previous estimates to complete the ISS, as planned…. As a
result of these cost overruns, NASA and the Office of Management
and Budget (OMB) eliminated certain program elements to reduce
cost and provide additional time to re-scope the ISS with the
international partners. In addition, NASA created an independent
assessment team known as the ISS Management and Cost Evaluation
(IMCE) Task Force to evaluate program management. The Committee
supports the recommendations of the (IMCE) Task Force and the
development of a Cost Analysis Requirements Document (CARD) to
support cost estimates of the U.S. Core Complete baseline.
Furthermore, the Committee notes the agency’s intention to develop
an integrated management action plan based on recommendations of
the IMCE Task Force. The Committee fully supports this approach in
order to provide the Congress with reliable cost estimates for the
U.S. Core Complete and beyond.”

“In addition, the Committee supports the recommendations of the
Research Maximization and Prioritization Task Force (REMAP) as it
pertains to ISS research. The Committee views the Task Force
report as the foundation upon which the OBPR [Office of Biological
and Physical Research] sets ISS research priorities and its
organizational structure. The Committee notes that a final report
on the REMAP recommendations is to be provided by the NASA
Advisory Council during the third quarter of calendar year 2002.
Given the importance of the REMAP report to the future of the ISS
and the agency’s overall research agenda, the Committee directs
the Administrator to report to the Committees on Appropriations by
December 1, 2001 on the implementation of the REMAP
recommendations in relation to the ISS as well as the overall
structure of the OBPR.”

“The Committee remains concerned about Russia’s continued policy
of selling time on the ISS for tourists, especially since the
guiding purpose for the construction of the ISS was to have a
world class microgravity research platform, a goal which is still
far away. The Committee urges NASA to strictly enforce the
protocols developed in cooperation with the international partners
to ensure that any space tourist is fully trained and physically
capable of participating as a crew member on the ISS.”


“Activities conducted within academic programs capture the
interest of students in science and technology, develop talented
students at the undergraduate and graduate levels, provide
research opportunities for students and faculty members at NASA
centers, and strengthen and enhance the research capabilities of
the Nation’s colleges and universities. NASA’s education programs
span from the elementary through graduate levels, and are directed
at students and faculty.”

EPSCoR: “The Committee recommendation has included $10,000,000 for
the NASA EPSCoR Program, $5,400,000 above the budget request and
the same as the fiscal year 2002 level. The Committee expects NASA
EPSCoR to support a broad range of research areas in each EPSCoR
State, drawn from Earth science, space science, aeronautics and
space transportation technology, and human exploration and
development of space, and to distribute the awards, competitively,
to the largest number of eligible States possible.”

Minority Universities: “The Committee has provided $82,100,000 for
NASA’s minority university research and education activities. This
is the same as the budget request. Furthermore, the Committee
supports the continuation of a stand-alone Minority University
Research and Education Division.”


“The Committee remains sensitive to continuing risks regarding the
illegal transfer and theft of sensitive technologies that can be
used in the development of weapons by governments, entities and
persons who may be hostile to the United States. The Committee
commends both NASA and the NASA Inspector General (IG) for their
efforts to protect sensitive NASA-related technologies.
Nevertheless, this will remain an area of great sensitivity and
concern as the development of technological advances likely will
continue to accelerate. The Committee directs NASA and the NASA IG
to report annually on these issues, including an assessment of

Audrey T. Leath
Media and Government Relations Division
The American Institute of Physics
(301) 209-3094

SpaceRef staff editor.