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Space Shuttle Independent Oversight Act of 2003 (Full Text)

Status Report From: Committee on Science, Space, and Technology Democratic Caucus
Posted: Wednesday, October 1, 2003

108TH CONGRESS

1ST SESSION H. R.

A BILL

To establish an independent committee to oversee the National Aeronautics and Space Administration's Space Shuttle return-to-flight plans, and for other purposes.

IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

Mr. HALL (for himself, Mr. ROHRABACHER, and Mr. GORDON) introduced the following bill; which was referred to the Committee on

To establish an independent committee to oversee the National Aeronautics and Space Administration's Space Shuttle return-to-flight plans, and for other purposes. Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,

SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.

This Act may be cited as the ''Space Shuttle Independent Oversight Act of 2003''.

SEC. 2. DEFINITIONS.

In this Act-

(1) the term ''Administrator'' means the Administrator of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration; and

(2) the term ''NASA'' means the National Aeronautics and Space Administration.

SEC. 3. ESTABLISHMENT OF INDEPENDENT OVERSIGHT COMMITTEE.

(a) IN GENERAL.- The Administrator shall enter into an arrangement with the National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Engineering for the establishment of an independent committee to oversee NASA's implementation of the recommendations of the Columbia Accident Investigation Board, with the exception of those recommendations associated with return-to-flight activities of the Space Shuttle fleet.

(b) MEMBERSHIP AND OPERATING PROCEDURES. The size, composition, and operating procedures of the committee shall be determined solely by the National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Engineering, in consultation with the National Academy of Public Administration.

(c) TASKS.- The committee shall-

(1) review and evaluate the plans NASA develops to implement the recommendations of the Columbia Accident Investigation Board and make recommendations to the Administrator as appropriate with respect to the plans' adequacy and responsiveness to the findings and recommendations of the Columbia Accident Investigation Board;

(2) monitor and assess the implementation of the Columbia Accident Investigation Board recommendations by NASA and report the committee's findings on a semi-annual basis to the Administrator;

(3) provide technical oversight of any required design activities and test or certification procedures and plans;

(4) review and evaluate the results of any required test or certification programs; and

(5) each year for five years after the date of termination of NASA's Return-to-Flight Task Force, determine whether NASA is still complying with all of the Columbia Accident Investigation Board's Return-to-Flight recommendations.

(d) SUPPORT.- The Administrator shall provide to the committee in a timely manner-

(1) all information and technical data necessary to complete the committee's tasks;

(2) briefings and interviews by personnel from NASA, its contractors, and the Columbia Accident Investigation Board; and

(3) access to all test and certification activities, as needed.

(e) DURATION.- The committee shall be established within 60 days after the date of enactment of this Act and shall remain in existence for six years after the date of termination of NASA's Return-to-Flight Task Force unless otherwise extended by the Administrator.

SEC. 4. REPORTS.

The committee established under section 3 shall provide to the Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation of the Senate and the Committee on Science of the House of Representatives-

(1) copies of any interim reports or correspondence it provides to the Administrator at the same time as they are provided to the Administrator; and

(2) at the conclusion of the committee's activities, a final report summarizing the committee's 20 findings, recommendations, and any other matters that the committee wishes to address.

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