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Short Summary of H.R. 3070 The National Aeronautics and Space Administration Authorization Act of 2005.

Press Release From:
Posted: Monday, June 27, 2005

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Overall Mission: The bill charges NASA with carrying out a balanced set of programs including programs in human space flight, aeronautics research and development, and scientific research including space and earth science. It encourages NASA to work with entrepreneurs and to involve other nations to the extent appropriate.

Vision for Space Exploration: The bill directs NASA to return Americans to the Moon no later than 2020, launch a Crew Exploration Vehicle as close to 2010 as possible, and conduct research on the impacts of space on the human body to enable long-duration space exploration. The bill directs NASA to retire the Shuttle at the end of 2010.

New Policies and Plans: The bill requires the Administration to develop policies and plans to guide NASA's efforts in missions other than human space flight and in managing its facilities and workforce:

  • The bill requires the President, through the Administrator to develop a national aeronautics policy to guide NASA's aeronautics programs. The report is due with the President's FY 2007 budget request.
  • It requires NASA to develop a policy to guide NASA's programs in space and earth science, drawing on the work of the National Academy of Sciences, and requires the agency to prioritize its scientific missions. The bill requires the policy to describe NASA's plans in regard to servicing the Hubble Space Telescope. The report is due with the President's FY 2007 budget request.
  • The bill requires NASA to develop a plan for managing its facilities, including a description of any facilities NASA intends to build or no longer to use. The report is due with the President's FY 2008 budget request.
  • The bill also requires NASA to develop a human capital strategy to ensure that it has a workforce of the appropriate size and with the appropriate skills. It limits NASA's flexibility to reduce its workforce until 60 days after the plan is submitted. The report is due with the President's FY 2007 budget request.

Transparency in Program Management: The bill provides incentives for good program management by requiring annual reporting on programs costing over $100 million and initiating reviews of any such program that experiences large cost overruns or schedule delays.

Prizes: Gives NASA the authority to conduct competitions for cash prizes, modeled after the X-Prize won last year by famed airplane designer Burt Rutan and his SpaceShipOne, to stimulate innovative technology development.

Reports: The bill requires NASA to report to Congress on its plans in a number of areas, including its strategy for sending humans to the Moon, the costs of the Crew Exploration Vehicle, a plan for updating the U.S.'s system of space communications and navigation satellites, and a plan for helping NASA's Shuttle workforce make the transition to other jobs.

Miscellaneous Provisions: The bill includes several miscellaneous provisions, including an extension of NASA's indemnification authority, programs addressing near-Earth asteroids and comets, and a requirement for better coordination between NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) on earth science missions.

Funding: The bill authorizes to be appropriated to NASA $16,471,050,000 for fiscal year 2006, the same amount provided in the House Science, State, Justice and Commerce Appropriations Bill for FY 2005, or approximately $15 million above the President's FY 2006 request.

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