Status Report

AIP FYI #98: House Appropriators Cut NASA Funding for FY 2005

By SpaceRef Editor
July 25, 2004
Filed under , ,

“While the Committee is supportive of the exploration aspect of
NASA’s vision, the Committee does not believe it warrants top
billing over science and aeronautics.” – House Appropriations
Committee Report on FY 2005 VA/HUD/Independent Agencies

NASA’s budget would be cut by 1.5 percent in the
VA/HUD/Independent Agencies bill approved by the House
Appropriations Committee on July 21. According to a draft of the
accompanying report, the Committee indicates that, while
supportive of President Bush’s proposal for space exploration, it
continues to give priority to NASA’s science and aeronautics
programs. It urges NASA to heed the advice of the National
Academy of Sciences, which is reviewing options for extending the
life of the Hubble Space Telescope. The Committee would also cut
the requested funding for the International Space Station as a
result of “continued delays in the shuttle return-to-flight.”

The Committee would provide a total of $15,149.4 million for NASA
in fiscal year 2005. According to the draft report, this is a
decrease of $1,094.6 million (or 6.7%) from the budget request of
$16,244.0 million, and a decrease of $228.7 million (or 1.5%)
from the FY 2004 enacted appropriation of $15,378.0 million. In
its FY 2005 budget request, NASA proposed reorganizing several of
its accounts, which makes comparisons with prior-year funding
levels difficult. As indicated below, the Committee report makes
comparisons between its recommendations and the comparable FY
2004 appropriations “as estimated in this new account structure.”


Science, Aeronautics and Exploration would receive $7,621.2
million in FY 2005 under the Committee’s bill. According to the
report, this amount is a decrease of $138.8 million (or 1.8%)
from the budget request of $7,760.0 million, and a decrease of
$209.0 million (or 2.7%) from the FY 2004 level of $7,830.2
million “as estimated in this new account structure.” The report
does not specify appropriations levels for Space Science, Earth
Science, or Biological and Physical Research, but includes
substantial language on NASA Space Science Programs.

Space Science:

“The Committee believes that the planetary exploration and space
science programs at NASA are essential to the mission and success
of the federal space program. Therefore, the Committee provides
full funding for several important NASA missions. The Committee
supports the continued robust program for the exploration of Mars
at $691 million. In addition to supporting several critical,
ongoing missions such as the Mars Exploration Rovers and the Mars
Reconnaissance Orbiter, this level will also fund major
initiatives which will usher NASA into a new generation of
discovery. In addition to Mars exploration, the Committee
provides $155.1 million for the Space Interferometry Mission,
which will determine the positions and distances of stars several
hundred times more accurately than any previous program. Project
Prometheus is supported at a reduced level, with a concentration
on basic research into the development of space power systems and
space nuclear propulsion systems.”

The report lists a number of reductions from the request for
Space Science, including the following: $12.4 million from the
Jupiter Icy Moons Orbiter mission, $70.0 million from the Lunar
Exploration mission, $5.0 million from “other research” within
the Structure and Evolution of the Universe theme, and $5.0
million from Living With a Star in the Sun-Earth Connection
theme. (Keep in mind that these are cuts from the requested
level, not the FY 2004 appropriation.)

Hubble Space Telescope Life Extension:

Also under Space Science, the report says, “The Committee notes
that the National Academy of Sciences has recently issued an
interim report on the usefulness of the Hubble Space
Telescope…. The Committee encourages NASA to heed the advice
of the Academy, including a further evaluation of the option of
using the shuttle to perform a servicing mission. The Committee
has taken no action at this time with regard to funding for the
Hubble program, but will re-evaluate the programs’ needs as they
become more defined.”


The Committee would provide $7.496.8 million for this account, a
decrease of $959.6 million (or 11.4%) from the FY 2005 request of
$8,456.4 million and a decrease of $23.9 million (or 0.3%) from
the FY 2004 level of $7,520.7 million “as estimated in this new
account structure.”

Space Exploration Initiative:

“The Committee finds the significant public support of the new
Vision for Space Exploration to be noteworthy. The Committee is
supportive of the new vision, and believes that it will serve to
preserve our nation’s leadership in space. The Committee support
includes a commitment to the safe return to flight of the space
shuttle fleet, the completion of the International Space Station
as a unique scientific research facility, the implementation of a
sustained and affordable robotic program to explore the solar
system and beyond, and extending human exploration activities
beyond low-earth orbit in a timely fashion…. The Committee
believes that a robust space exploration program will help
strengthen our nation’s economy, benefit our national security,
and stimulate the education of future generations of scientists
and engineers. At this time, the Committee does not have
sufficient resources to meet the full budget request for NASA in
fiscal year 2005. However the Committee is hopeful that if
additional resources are identified as the legislative process
moves forward, it may be possible to augment NASA funding.”

Retirement of the Space Shuttle Fleet:

“The Committee continues its support of the space shuttle program
by fully funding the budget request. While the Vision for Space
Exploration indicates that the shuttle fleet will retire in 2010,
the Committee believes this reflects an optimistic assessment of
when a replacement system could become operational and believes
NASA needs to re-evaluate this date in the context of the current
budget environment and the technical challenges associated both
with return-to-flight activities and new system development

Funding and Research Aboard the International Space Station:

“Within this enterprise, the International Space Station budget
is reduced by $120,000,000 [from the request], which represents
an estimate of the underrun associated with this program due to
continued delays in the shuttle return-to-flight. Additionally,
the Committee recommends a reduction of $70,000,000 to the budget
request for cargo/crew services…. The Committee has concerns
about the role of materials research onboard the International
Space Station [ISS]. NASA has developed a backlog of
application-oriented materials research experiments that have
undergone multiple peer-reviews. The Committee recognizes that
materials research performed in the microgravity environment
offered by this unique laboratory has the potential to play a
significant role in developing the novel and improved materials,
innovative devices, and enhanced manufacturing processes of the
future. The Committee strongly urges NASA to give full
consideration to the role of materials research in its ISS
research program.”


The report would provide increases over the requested level for
NASA Education Programs, funding the National Space Grant College
and Fellowship program at $28.2 million (compared to an FY 2004
appropriation of $25.3 million) and the EPSCoR program at $12.0
million (compared to an FY 2004 appropriation of $10.0 million).

Audrey T. Leath

Media and Government Relations Division

The American Institute of Physics

(301) 209-3094

SpaceRef staff editor.