Science Committee Reaction to NASA '03 Budget Amendment

Press Release From: House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology
Posted: Wednesday, November 13, 2002

WASHINGTON, D.C. - Today, the Administration released a proposed amendment to NASA's FY2003 budget request that shifts funding to support Space Shuttle safety while extending the Shuttle's operational life. The proposal also pursues a new Space Station crew rescue and transfer capability that relies on the Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle (EELV) while also enhancing Space Station research funds. This amendment is "budget neutral" in that it does not increase or decrease NASA's original FY2003 budget request, but it shifts funding priorities within NASA's top-level budget request.

"Over the last two years, I have been talking with Administrator O'Keefe about the need to integrate NASA's human space flight programs; to evaluate current and future needs of the Space Shuttle, Space Station, and the Space Launch Initiative as a whole and not just as individual programs. This proposal does just that and is a big step in the right direction," said Science Committee Chairman Sherwood Boehlert (R-NY).

"This re-focus of NASA's Space Transportation and Space Station plans is fiscally prudent and greatly needed to maximize the Station's scientific research. While several details still need to be ironed out over the coming weeks and months, I applaud Sean O'Keefe for proactively addressing several of the shortcomings that our Committee identified in NASA's FY 2003 budget plan. While this amendment is arriving late in the normal budget and appropriations process, it should still be acted on by the 108th Congress in early January," continued Boehlert.

Space & Aeronautics Subcommittee Chair Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA) said, "I welcome NASA's course correction in the Integrated Space Transportation Plan (ISTP) which calls for channeling more funds toward Space Shuttle safety and launch infrastructure upgrades, an Orbital Space Plane, and Space Station research. I especially applaud NASA for recognizing the need to develop and demonstrate a new Orbital Space Plane to eventually replace the Space Shuttle. My only caution is that NASA should still keep their eye on dramatically reducing the cost to orbit and use commercial business practices when partnering with industry to meet NASA's needs."

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