Rep. Pete Olson Applauds NASA/Shuttle Accountability Language in Spending Bill

Press Release From: Rep. Pete Olson
Posted: Friday, November 18, 2011

image Washington, DC- Rep. Pete Olson (R-TX) announced that language demanding transparency and accountability for placement of the retired shuttle orbiters was included in a spending bill that passed the House today. The report language requires NASA to apprise Congress of the status of all transfer and display plans for the four Space Shuttle orbiters (Atlantis, Enterprise, Discovery and Endeavour) as well as provide contingency plans if the host cities fail to meet specific criteria and agreed upon milestones. The bill, H.R. 2112, provides funding for the Agriculture, Commerce-Justice-Science and Transportation-Housing and Urban Development agencies for Fiscal Year 2012.

"In the wake of recent reports on alternate plans for displaying Enterprise in New York City, taxpayers deserve to know that the cities scheduled to receive orbiters can and will fully meet their obligations," Rep. Olson said. "If they don't, Congress will hold them accountable and consider alternate options. Several qualified cities, particularly Houston, the home of Mission Control, would gladly absorb the cost of hosting an orbiter. This language puts both the recipients of the orbiters and NASA on notice that Congress will demand accountability."

The language directs NASA to submit quarterly reports to the Committee on the status of disposition of the four Space Shuttle orbiters. The bill passed the House by a vote of 298 - 121. It is expected to pass the Senate by tomorrow night and be signed into law by President Obama.


Text of the report language:

Orbiter disposition.--NASA is directed to submit quarterly reports to the Committee on the status of its disposition of the four Space Shuttle orbiters. Those reports should include 1) expected dates of the physical transfer of each orbiter to its final destination; 2) the total cost to NASA (net of any contribution made by the orbiter recipient) for the storage, preparation and transport of each orbiter; 3) details on how each orbiter will be physically moved and a plan for ensuring the safety of the orbiters in transit; 4) a description of each recipient's physical and educational plan for displaying its orbiter; 5) notification if any orbiter recipient has failed to meet a financial or physical milestone to which it had committed as a condition of orbiter receipt and, if so, an action plan for how NASA and the recipient will address that missed milestone.

If at any time NASA determines that a recipient cannot or will not meet the milestones (financial or physical) to which it committed as a condition of orbiter receipt, NASA should immediately notify the Committee and provide a proposed course of action.

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