Status Report

Memo NASA Staff: FY 2002 Budget Blueprint Overview by NASA Associate Administrator for Space Flight

By SpaceRef Editor
February 28, 2001
Filed under ,

TO: Johnson Space Center Employees and Contractors

Kennedy Space Center Employees and Contractors

Marshall Space Flight Center Employees and

Stennis Space Center Employees and Contractors

FROM: M/Associate Administrator for Space Flight

SUBJECT: FY 2002 Budget Blueprint Overview

We all should be proud of the activities that the Human Space Flight (HSF)
team has accomplished over the past year. In 2000, the world witnessed
some of the most historic and long-awaited milestones in the life of the
International Space Station (ISS). The year began with the on going
24-hour-per-day, 7-days-a-week support of the unoccupied ISS. In the past
8 months, we have launched eight missions to the ISS, an incredible
accomplishment. Today, NASA has a well functioning space station capable
of supporting three astronauts and conducting initial research.

Today, the Administration issued its Blueprint for the FY 2002 budget.
This is in advance of the formal submittal of the Presidents FY 2002
budget to Congress expected in April. The FY 2002 budget Blueprint
reflects a slight increase from the FY 2001 budget forecast from last
year. This is good news since other Federal Agencies experienced budget
reductions. Equally as important, this budget fully supports the current
civil service employment levels at all of the Office of Space Flight
Centers. In fact, as soon as the current hiring freeze is lifted, we will
continue to implement our hiring plans to relieve skill shortages and
revitalize the HSF workforce.

While the Space Station is truly growing before our eyes, this process is
not accomplished without growing pains. As described in the Blueprint,
there are budget shortfalls within the ISS program that we will have to
deal with from within the Human Space Flight budget. The initial raw
estimate of this shortfall of $4 Billion over the next five years is just
that, a raw, bottoms-up estimate, which has not yet been validated and is
undergoing review by the ISS Program Office. In addition, the Program is
evaluating options to meet our commitments to our International Partners
and Research community within the existing budgets. As a result, some
capability will be deferred; however, within the FY 2002 budget, we will
have and continue to build a productive research facility.

We are funded for six Space Shuttle flights per year over the next several
years, fully supporting the ISS assembly schedule as well as our other
flight commitments (i.e., Hubble Space Telescope servicing missions,
etc.). In addition, the Agency plans continued support of Shuttle
high-priority safety and supportability upgrades. We recognize that the
aging Space Shuttle program infrastructure also requires restoration,
placing a strain on the Space Shuttle budget and these requirements will
be prioritized within the Human Space Flight budget.

In parallel with the ISS Program budget activities, all four OSF Centers
are evaluating a number of actions that will begin the management and
process reforms for Human Space Flight Programs. As a result of these
activities, we will refocus resources within Human Space Flight from lower
priority programs to activities that meet high priority ISS and Space
Shuttle Program needs. Decisions have already been made to defer work on
technology supporting Human Exploration for at least two years and refocus
the civil service workforce to support in-line activities for the ISS and
Space Shuttle. In addition, other, non-OSF NASA centers have identified
additional ISS and Space Shuttle in-line tasks which they will perform
utilizing their technology and civil service resources to support OSF
programs during this challenging period.

In the FY 2002 budget Blueprint, the Administration has requested NASA to
continue transitioning Phase II of the Space Shuttle contracts to the
Space Flight Operations Contract (SFOC), while ensuring we do not
compromise safety. This effort originally envisioned the consolidation of
27 operations contracts into a single prime contract to allow operational
synergy and efficiency to reduce costs while maintaining our primary goal
– safety. To date, all contracts have been consolidated except the
contracts related to the Space Shuttle Main Engine, External Tank, and
Reusable Solid Rocket Motors. Continuing our efforts toward
Privatization, we will transition these contracts when proper skill level
and experience assure the maintenance of Space Shuttle safety.

I want to address the concerns you may have about the future of Human
Space Flight activities. The FY 2002 budget Blueprint also directs NASA
to continue evaluating further privatization options within the Space
Shuttle system. NASA and the Space Shuttle program contractors will
perform studies to evaluate all potential options that will allow us to
meet the President’s direction, while ensuring we don’t compromise safety
in the process of privatization.

Let me personally assure each of you that from my point of view, the HSF
workforce is outstanding, and the programs you carry out are important and
inspiring to the nation and the world. Our programs are also difficult
and challenging. Over the next few years, the ISS and the Space Shuttle
programs will continue to require a significant effort by NASA and the
contractor workforce. Refocusing the Civil Service workforce will require
deferring work on our future programs while meeting our commitments on the
ISS and Space Shuttle. I believe we should look at this as an opportunity
to provide our workforce the experience necessary to be the leaders for
our future Human Exploration and Space Flight programs.

I know that the entire HSF workforce will continue to perform at the
exceptional level that you have demonstrated over the past several years
of intense activity. I expect that all of you will continue to focus on
the activities that ensure we safely fly the Space Shuttle and continue to
operate the ISS. In closing, as management changes and budget challenges
occur, let’s focus and be proud of the history-making accomplishments we
are making on ISS and Space Shuttle. Finally, I know that we will all
continue to work together with the rest of the Agency to find new ways of
doing business, while always keeping our eyes on the future.

Original signed by

Joseph H. Rothenberg

SpaceRef staff editor.