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Section-by-Section Analysis of H.R. 3070, National Aeronautics and Space Administration Authorization Act of 2005

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

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Sec. 1. Short Title.

The "National Aeronautics and Space Administration Authorization Act of 2005".

Sec. 2. Findings.

Urges NASA to maintain robust programs in space science, earth science, and aeronautics while it moves forward with plans to send Americans to the Moon, Mars, and beyond.

Sec. 3. Definitions.

Sec. 4. Responsibilities, Policies, and Plans.

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. Encourages NASA to work with entrepreneurs, use commercial services to the extent practicable, and to involve other nations to the extent appropriate.

Directs NASA to carry out the Vision for Space Exploration by returning Americans to the Moon no later than 2020, launching a Crew Exploration Vehicle as close to 2010 as possible, and conducting research on the impacts of space on the human body to enable long-duration space exploration. Retires the Shuttle at the end of 2010 to enable agency resources to be devoted to the Vision.

Requires the President, through the Administrator, to develop a national aeronautics policy to guide NASA's aeronautics programs through 2020. Directs the policy be delivered to Congress with the 2007 budget request.

Requires NASA to develop a policy to guide agency space and earth science programs through 2020. Requires the policy to prioritize the agency's scientific missions and address NASA's plans on servicing the Hubble Space Telescope. Directs the policy be delivered to Congress with the 2007 budget request.

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. Directs the plan be delivered to Congress with the 2008 budget request.

Requires NASA to develop a human capital strategy to ensure that it has a workforce of the appropriate size and with the appropriate skills to carry out programs and policies of this Act.

Limits NASA's flexibility in offering buyouts or subjecting employees to Reductions in Force until 60 days after the plan is submitted with the President's budget for fiscal year 2007.

Requires NASA to conduct a study evaluating whether any of it centers should be operated by or with the private sector. Directs the study be delivered to Congress by May 31, 2006.

Directs the President's budget for NASA to include documents showing the requests for aeronautics, space science, earth science, and agency administrative expenses, and comparable figures for each activity for each of the two previous fiscal years.

Sec. 5. Authorization of Appropriations.

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. This amount is approximately $15 million above the President's FY 2006 request.

Sec. 6. Reports.

Requires NASA to report certain details regarding the Vision for Space Exploration and for other NASA programs by the end of this fiscal year.

Requires NASA to report estimated costs of the Crew Exploration Vehicle and the impact of those on other agency programs through 2020.

Requires NASA to report its plans for updating the system of space communications and navigation architecture to carry out lunar and deep space missions.

Requires NASA to submit a report to Congress describing its plans to carry out the "awareness campaign" required by the report accompanying the FY 2006 House Science, State, Justice, and Commerce Appropriations Bill.

Requires NASA to develop a transition plan for government and contractor personnel engaged in the Space Shuttle program.

Requires NASA and the Department of Energy jointly to describe their plans to develop a proposed astronomy research mission to study dark energy.

Requires the Director of the Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) to conduct a study to evaluate whether any research NASA conducts is unnecessarily duplicating aspects of programs of other Federal agencies or whether it is neglecting areas of research in the national interest related to NASA's mission.

Sec. 7. Baselines and Cost Controls.

Adapts language that currently applies to the Department of Defense to require NASA to report annually on the status (including cost, schedule and performance) of "major" programs.

Requires notification to Congress and an internal evaluation of any major program that exceeds its originally estimated development cost by more than 15 percent or exceeds its originally planned schedule by more than six months. Requires Congress to evaluate whether to continue the major program in the event that it exceeds its originally estimated development cost by more than 30 percent or $1 billion. Defines major programs as those with life-cycle costs of over $100,000,000.

Sec. 8. Prize Authority.

Gives NASA 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. Allows NASA to enter into an agreement with a private, non-profit entity to administer prize competitions. Gives NASA the authority to accept private funds and funds from other agencies for cash prizes. Does not limit the amount of a prize, but requires NASA first to report to the Congress before offering any prize worth more than $10,000,000.

Sec. 9. Miscellaneous.

Grants NASA authority it is seeking to give State and local law enforcement officers jurisdiction over NASA-owned research centers to allow them to enforce speeding, drunk driving, and other laws.

Makes technical amendments to the NASA Scholarship program.

Grants NASA an extension it is seeking on an expiring provision in the Space Act of 1958, which allows NASA to indemnify developers of experimental aerospace vehicles with which NASA is involved in a cooperative partnership.

Repeals the limitation on expenditures (cost cap) for the International Space Station.

Sec. 10. Foreign Launch Vehicles.

Requires NASA to launch missions on foreign launch vehicles only in accordance with the President's Space Transportation Policy, announced December 21, 2004.

Sec. 11. Coordination with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

Requires NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to coordinate their respective earth science activities to ensure that any technologies developed in NASA's earth science programs can be efficiently transferred to NOAA.

Sec. 12. Charles "Pete" Conrad Astronomy Awards.

Includes the text of H.R. 1023, a bill to authorize the NASA Administrator to establish an awards program in honor of Charles "Pete" Conrad, astronaut and space scientist, for recognizing the discoveries made by amateur astronomers of asteroids with near-Earth orbit trajectories.

Sec. 13. George E. Brown, Jr. Near-Earth Object Survey

Includes the text of H.R. 1022, a bill authorizing NASA to conduct a Near-Earth Object Survey program to detect, track, catalogue, and characterize certain near-earth asteroids and comets.

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