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H Rpt 108-674 - VA/HUD Subcommittee's report on HR 5041

Status Report From: U.S. House of Representatives
Posted: Friday, September 10, 2004

NATIONAL AERONAUTICS AND SPACE ADMINISTRATION

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Fiscal year 2005 recommendation                $15,149,369,000
Fiscal year 2004 appropriation                  15,378,032,000
Fiscal year 2005 budget request                 16,244,000,000
Comparison with fiscal year 2004 appropriation    -228,663,000
Comparison with fiscal year 2005 request        -1,094,631,000
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The National Aeronautics and Space Administration was created by the National Space Act of 1958. NASA conducts aeronautics research; research, development, and flight operations scientific spacecraft, and other activities designed to ensure and maintain U.S. preeminence in aeronautics, science, and space exploration.

The Committee has recommended a total program level of $15,149,369,000 in fiscal year 2005, which is a decrease of $1,094,631,000 from the budget request and a decrease of $228,663,000 when compared to the fiscal year 2004 enacted appropriation.

The budget submission proposed the renaming of two existing appropriations paragraphs. The Committee has accepted the new title of Exploration Capabilities for activities that were, for the most part, included as Space Flight Capabilities in the fiscal year 2004 appropriations Act. The Committee has not changed the title of the Science, Aeronautics and Explorations account, where the proposed change was to simply reorder the three words. While the Committee is supportive of the exploration aspect of NASA's vision, the Committee does not believe it warrants top billing over science and aeronautics.

For the second time in the last three years, NASA has failed to pass an independent financial audit. Among the material weaknesses identified by the most recent audit was a $1.743 billion discrepancy between NASA's fund balance and the U.S. Treasury's reported balance as of September 30, 2003. The Committee understands that NASA has reconciled and corrected $1.6 billion of the $1.743 billion in fiscal year 2003 audit differences and that NASA expects to reconcile the remaining $143 million by September 2004. The Committee requests that NASA submit a report to the Committee documenting the reconciliation and correction of the full amount by September 30, 2004.

The Committee notes that NASA was provided with limited Enhanced-Use Lease authority in the fiscal year 2003 appropriations Act and has selected two locations for pilot programs as specified in the Act. The Committee directs NASA to provide a report to the Congress within 120 days on the results of the program with recommendations for expansion if warranted.

SCIENCE, AERONAUTICS AND EXPLORATION (INCLUDING TRANSFER OF FUNDS)

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Fiscal year 2005 recommendation                $7,621,169,000
Fiscal year 2004 appropriation                  7,830,200,000
Fiscal year 2005 budget request                 7,760,000,000
Comparison with fiscal year 2004 appropriation   -209,031,000
Comparison with fiscal year 2005 request         -138,831,000
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This appropriation provides for the research and development activities, and all associated costs of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. These activities include: space science, earth science, biological and physical research, aeronautics, and education programs.

The Committee recommends $7,621,169,000 for Science, Aeronautics and Exploration in fiscal year 2005. The amount recommended is a decrease of $138,831,000 from the budget request, and a decrease of $209,031,000 from the fiscal year 2004 level as estimated in this new account structure.

SPACE SCIENCE

The Committee believes that the planetary exploration and space science programs at NASA are essential to the mission and success of the federal space program. Therefore, the Committee provides full funding for several important NASA missions. The Committee supports the continued robust program for the exploration of Mars at $691 million. In addition to supporting several critical, ongoing missions such as the Mars Exploration Rovers and the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, this level will also fund major initiatives which will usher NASA into a new generation of discovery. In addition to Mars exploration, the Committee provides $155.1 million for the Space Interferometry Mission, which will determine the positions and distances of stars several hundred times more accurately than any previous program. Project Prometheus is supported at a reduced level, with a concentration on basic research into the development of space power systems and space nuclear propulsion systems.

The Committee notes that the National Academy of Sciences has recently issued an interim report on the usefulness of the Hubble Space Telescope and has provided some observations on the options being considered for extending the life of the mission. The Committee encourages NASA to heed the advice of the Academy, including a further evaluation of the option of using the shuttle to perform a servicing mission. The Committee has taken no action at this time with regard to funding for the Hubble program, but will re-evaluate the programs needs as they become more defined.

The amount provided reflects the following program and project adjustments within the space science enterprise.

1. A decrease of $12,400,000 associated with a delay in the Jupiter Icy Moons Orbiter mission;

2. A decrease of $70,000,000 associated with a one year delay in the Lunar Exploration mission;

3. A decrease of $15,000,000 from other Technology and Advanced Concepts;

4. A decrease of $5,000,000 from other research within the Structure and Evolution of the Universe theme;

5. A decrease of $5,000,000 from Living With a Star in the Sun-Earth Connection theme;

6. An increase of $250,000 for the Detroit Science Center;

7. An increase of $15,900,000 for the Institute for Scientific Research, Inc. for development and construction of research facilities;

8. An increase of $2,100,000 for continued development of a lightweight carrier pallet to increase NASA's payload capacity for space shuttle servicing missions;

9. An increase of $500,000 for the Sacramento Space Science Center at California State University;

10. An increase of $2,000,000 for telescope construction at the Pisgah Astronomical Research Center;

11. The Committee directs $3,000,000 from NASA Space Science be transferred to the Air Force Research Laboratory to begin development of miniature synthetic radar technology.

EARTH SCIENCE

The amount provided reflects the following program and project adjustments within the earth science enterprise.

1. A decrease of $15,000,000 from the Orbit Carbon Observatory mission resulting in a delay in the program;

2. A decrease of $20,000,000 from the CCRI(Glory) mission resulting in a delay in the program;

3. An increase of $500,000 to the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences for NASA Earth Science integration planning;

4. An increase of $500,000 for continuation of emerging research that applies remote sensing technologies to forest management practices at the State University of New York, College of Environmental Sciences and Forestry;

5. An increase of $1,000,000 for the Advanced Interactive Discovery Environment engineering research program at Syracuse University;

6. An increase of $3,000,000 for the Regional Application Center for the Northeast;

7. An increase of $15,900,000 for the Institute for Scientific Research, Inc. for development and construction of research facilities;

8. An increase of $1,500,000 for on-going activities of the Goddard Institute for Systems, Software, and Technology Research, including mission design tools, Earth Science analysis, and remote sensing instrumentation development;

9. An increase of $1,000,000 for the Goddard Space Flight Center's Clustering and Advanced Visual Environments Initiative;

10. An increase of $1,000,000 for the University of San Francisco Center for Science and the Environment;

11. An increase of $500,000 for hyper spectral remote sensing research and development at the Desert Research Institute;

12. An increase of $400,000 for Space Place;

13. An increase of $4,500,000 for the implementation of a remote data storage capability at the NASA IV&V Facility. Appropriated funds are for augmenting available data storage capacities; expanding remote data storage capabilities to the Goddard Space Flight Center and a second DAAC; and communications, facility and integration services at the IV&V Facility to support data backup, recovery, and on-line access capabilities for the Goddard Space Flight Center (GSFC) ECS program.

BIOLOGICAL AND PHYSICAL RESEARCH

The amount provided reflects the following program and project adjustments within the biological and physical sciences enterprise:

1. A decrease of $103,000,000 from the bioastronautics research program, in the form of a general reduction based upon undefined requirements;

2. An increase of $3,000,000 for space radiation research at the Loma Linda University Medical Center;

3. An increase of $500,000 for the Northwestern University Institute for Proteomics and Nanobiotechnology;

4. An increase of $400,000 for Musculoskeletal for Simulator for Injuries at the Cleveland Clinic;

5. An increase of $1,250,000 for the Michigan Research Institute;

6. An increase of $600,000 to the MCNC-Research and Development Institute (RDI) for continued funding for a Laboratory for Distributed Chemical and Biological Sensors;

7. An increase of $500,000 for gravitational space biology research at North Carolina State University;

8. An increase of $3,000,000 for the National Center of Excellence in Bioinfomatics in Buffalo, New York;

9. An increase of $1,000,000 for Cryogenic Power Electronics Development at the State University of New York at Albany.

10. An increase of $1,000,000 for the Central New York Biotechnology Research Center in Syracuse, New York;

11. An increase of $900,000 for the State University of New York Downtown Medical Center in Brooklyn, New York for the Advanced Biotechnology Incubator project.

AERONAUTICS

The Federal investments in aeronautics research and development have delivered countless economic and societal benefits to the nation over the years. Challenges in dealing with the projected growth in air traffic as well as the need to reduce significantly the adverse environmental impacts of future aircraft will require that NASA remain deeply engaged in aeronautics research and development. The Committee directs NASA to develop a prioritized set of aeronautics goals through 2020, along with the annual funding requirements associated with achieving each goal. The plan should be provided to the Committee within 120 days. As part of NASA's investments in this area, the Committee directs NASA to provide $25,000,000 for Intelligent Propulsion System Foundation Technologies (Propulsion 21) to continue research by the existing coalition of NASA, state government, industry, and academia.

The Committee recommends the following adjustments to the budget request:

1. An increase of $350,000 for Validated Probabilistic Lifing Tools;

2. An increase of $200,000 for the National Center for Communication Navigation, and Surveillance at Glenn Research Center;

3. An increase of $350,000 for Aerospace Education Center in Cleveland, Ohio;

4. An increase of $500,000 for the Michigan Small Aircraft Transportation System;

5. An increase of $3,000,000 for the Virginia Institute for Performing Engineering and Research;

6. An increase of $400,000 for COM Simulation Architecture;

7. An increase of $700,000 to the Virtual Systems Laboratory of the National Aviation Technology Center, School of Aviation, Dowling College, New York;

8. An increase of $1,700,000 for the University of Toledo Turbine Institute;

9. An increase of $300,000 for the Bowling Green State University Hybrid Engine project;

10. An increase of $600,000 to the Research Triangle Institute, International for Synthetic Vision Systems/Combined Vision Systems;

11. An increase of $500,000 to the University of Alabama in Huntsville for a Space Flight Guidance, Navigation, and Control Test Bed;

12. An increase of $3,000,000 for the National Center of Excellence in Infotonics in Rochester, New York;

13. An increase of $2,100,000 for Research on Advanced Wireless Communications for Airport Applications;

14. An increase of $2,700,000 to research Secure Automatic Dependent Surveillance Broadcast (ADS-B) Surveillance data link technology for enhanced aviation security and general aviation airspace access;

15. An increase of $3,000,000 for the Computing, Information and Communications Technology Program (CICT) for High Information Density Approaches to Mobile Broadband Internet Communications;

16. An increase of $5,000,000 for Project SOCRATES;

17. An increase of $1,000,000 for the National Aviation Technology Center at Dowling College, New York;

18. An increase of $1,500,000 for Integrated Sensing Systems at the Rochester Institute of Technology;

19. An increase of $500,000 for the development of an Aircraft Radio Guidance System (ARGUS) utilizing a new radio frequency interferometer that will provide two or three dimensional navigation guidance for airborne, space or surface vehicles;

20. An increase of $1,000,000 for the development of a Research Flight Computing System in support of the NASA Dryden Flight Research Center's Altair/Predator B UAV Technology Demonstrator Project;

21. An increase of $7,500,000 for the Hydrogen Research Initiative;

22. An increase of $1,000,000 to the Applied Polymer Technology Extension Consortium for research on polymers;

23. An increase of $3,000,000 to the Mobile Broadband Network project, a joint effort between NASA and the Air Force Research Laboratory;

24. An increase of $3,000,000 to be transferred to the Air Force Research Laboratory to continue joint research between NASA and the Air Force on emerging areas of computing including grid computing, quantum and biomolecular information processing technology.

EDUCATION PROGRAMS

The Committee has included $28,200,000 for the National Space Grant College and Fellowship program. This amount is an increase of $9,100,000 to the fiscal year 2005 budget request. The amount provided will fund 40 states at $575,000 each and 12 states at $350,000 each as well as $1,000,000 for administrative expenses.

The Committee has included $12,000,000 for the Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research (EPSCoR). The amount provided is $7,400,000 above the budget request of $4,600,000 and will fund the fourth year of current five-year research grants.

The amount provided reflects the following program and project adjustments within the education programs enterprise.

1. An increase of $9,100,000 for the National Space Grant College and Fellowship program, for a total funding level of $28,200,000 in fiscal year 2005;

2. An increase of $7,400,000 for the Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research, for a total funding level of $12,000,000 in fiscal year 2005;

3. An increase of $500,000 to the State of Alabama for the Alabama Math, Science, and Technology Initiative;

4. An increase of $250,000 for the Education Training Center at the U.S. Space and Rocket Center;

5. An increase of $2,000,000 to the Educational Advancement Alliance, to support the Alliance's K-12 math, science, and technology education enrichment program;

6. An increase of $400,000 for Albany State University/Darton College in Albany, Georgia for the Science, Engineering, Math and Aerospace Academy program;

7. An increase of $250,000 for South Georgia Technical College in Americus, Georgia for the Science, Engineering, Math and Aerospace Academy program;

8. An increase of $250,000 for Albany State University in Albany, Georgia for project `JumpStart' for a Math, Science Education Enhancement program for pre-college students;

9. An increase of $250,000 for the Georgia Project/ABAC College, Tifton, Georgia to implement a K-12 program for Hispanic students in science, engineering, math and aerospace in SW Georgia who struggle with English as a Second Language;

10. An increase of $400,000 for the University System of Georgia-Board of Regents, Atlanta, Georgia for purchase and implementation of a pre-testing software for math and science educational and career-related standardized test.

11. An increase of $100,000 for Georgia Southwestern College in Americus, Georgia for grants and scholarships in math and science for students implemented through the Multicultural Affairs Program;

12. An increase of $4,000,000 for a new Science Center at St. Bonaventure's University in New York State;

13. An increase of $2,000,000 for the JASON Foundation;

14. An increase of $300,000 for the Challenger Learning Center in Cookeville, Tennessee;

15. An increase of $3,500,000 for Little River Canyon Field School;

16. An increase of $250,000 for Hollins University for upgrades to its science infrastructure;

17. An increase of $250,000 for the University of New England Marine Science Center;

18. An increase of $500,000 for the Liberty Science Center.

EXPLORATION CAPABILITIES (INCLUDING TRANSFER OF FUNDS)

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Fiscal year 2005 recommendation                $7,496,800,000
Fiscal year 2004 appropriation                  7,520,700,000
Fiscal year 2005 budget request                 8,456,400,000
Comparison with fiscal year 2004 appropriation    -23,900,000
Comparison with fiscal year 2005 request         -959,600,000
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This appropriation provides for the conduct and support of exploration capabilities including human and robotic technology, transportation systems, international space station, space shuttle programs, and flight support. Activities include research, development, support and services. Within this appropriation, two major subcategories of funding exist, exploration systems and space flight.

Funding in the exploration systems category includes technology for new space transportations systems and robotics as well as technology transfer programs and activities. Funding in the space flight category is provided for continued development and operation of the International Space Station, operations and upgrades to the performance and safety of the space shuttle, and flight support operations.

The Committee recommends a total of $7,496,800,000 for the exploration capabilities account in fiscal year 2005, an decrease of $959,600,000 from the budget request and a decrease of $23,900,000 to the fiscal year 2004 level as estimated in this new account structure.

The reductions in this portion of the budget include $30,000,000 from technology maturation efforts, $230,000,000 from Project Prometheus efforts related to the Jupiter Icy Moons Orbiter, $438,000,000 resulting from delaying the Crew Exploration Vehicle, and $100,000,000 from Space Launch Initiative by accelerating the termination of activities.

The Committee finds the significant public support of the new Vision for Space Exploration to be noteworthy. The Committee is supportive of the new vision, and believes that it will serve to preserve our nation's leadership in space. The Committee support includes a commitment to the safe return to flight of the space shuttle fleet, the completion of the International Space Station as a unique scientific research facility, the implementation of a sustained and affordable robotic program to explore the solar system and beyond, and extending human exploration activities beyond low-earth orbit in a timely fashion. The Committee expects that NASA will take full advantage of the core capabilities and appropriate infrastructure of its field centers while implementing the vision. The Committee believes that a robust space exploration program will help strengthen our nation's economy, benefit our national security, and stimulate the education of future generations of scientists and engineers. At this time, the Committee does not have sufficient resources to meet the full budget request for NASA in fiscal year 2005. However, the Committee is hopeful that if additional resources are identified as the legislative process moves forward, it may be possible to augment NASA funding.

The Committee directs NASA to provide a report to the Congress, within 120 days, which comprehensively lists the propulsion systems that would be required to implement Project Constellation. This report should include, but not be limited to, all elements of the Earth-to-Orbit propulsion systems, in-space propulsion systems, and propulsion systems for landing/ascent craft.

With this appropriation, the Committee continues its support of the space shuttle program by fully funding the budget request. While the Vision for Space Exploration indicates that the shuttle fleet will retire in 2010, the Committee believes this reflects an optimistic assessment of when a replacement system could become operational and believes NASA needs to re-evaluate this date in the context of the current budget environment and the technical challenges associated both with return-to-flight activities and new system development needs. Recent information provided to the Committee indicates that additional time and money will be required to return the shuttle to safe operations. The Committee looks forward to learning more about NASA's needs for this program and will work with NASA to ensure necessary funding is provided in a timely manner.

The Committee does not agree with the termination of the commercial programs within the Innovative Technology Transfer Partnerships (ITTP) program as proposed in the budget submission, and has therefore provided an increase of $30,000,000 to this appropriation for the express purpose of continuing the commercial programs, including the activities of associated NASA personnel, as they existed in fiscal year 2003 and prior fiscal years. The Committee notes that the National Academy of Public Administration (NAPA) has just completed the first phase of an analysis of the ITTP program, which highlights a number of weaknesses that reduce the program's effectiveness at spin-in and spin-out of technology. The Committee directs NASA to fully address the recommendations of phases I and II of the NAPA study in the context of future budget submissions. The Committee supports maintaining a vigorous ITTP program at NASA and strongly supports maintaining the spin-out of NASA technology to the commercial world as an integral part of the program.

Within this enterprise, the International Space Station budget is reduced by $120,000,000, which represents an estimate of the underrun associated with this program due to continued delays in the shuttle return-to-flight. Additionally, the Committee recommends a reduction of $70,000,000 to the budget request for cargo/crew services, leaving $70,000,000 for this activity. The Committee notes that in the past NASA has not always used full and open competition for procurement of technical data and had proposed a sole-source contract for procurement of launch systems. The Committee finds this practice to be unacceptable given today's competitive environment and directs NASA to ensure that to the maximum extent feasible, competitive procurements should be the order of the day. While current regulations allow for a finding of other than full and open competition when in the `best interest' of the government, NASA should be aware that the Committee will be very interested in any sole-source contract awards and will take more aggressive action if necessary to ensure the integrity of competitive procurement.

The Committee has concerns about the role of materials research onboard the International Space Station. NASA has developed a backlog of application-oriented materials research experiments that have undergone multiple peer-reviews. The Committee recognizes that materials research performed in the microgravity environment offered by this unique laboratory has the potential to play a significant role in developing the novel and improved materials, innovative devices, and enhanced manufacturing processes of the future. The Committee strongly urges NASA to give full consideration to the role of materials research in its ISS research program, and to seek independent external expert advice on how materials research performed in the environment onboard the ISS can support the Nation's Space Exploration Initiative.

The amount provided reflects the following adjustments within the exploration systems enterprise:

1. An increase of $400,000 for the Glennan Microsystems Commercialization Initiative;

2. An increase of $300,000 for Garrett Morgan Commercial;

3. An increase of $900,000 for Simulation based acquisition for manned space flight vehicle, design and testing, MSFC;

4. An increase of $150,000 to the Technology Research & Development Authority of Central Florida for continuing investment in IT, and security technologies;

5. An increase of $850,000 for the Florida Institute of Technology in Melbourne, Florida for its Hydrogen, Fuel Cell & Sensor Technology Initiative;

6. An increase of $2,000,000 for the Idaho National Engineering and Environmental Laboratory for development of performance, safety, and mission success tools for NASA programs;

7. An increase of $250,000 to the Alabama A&M University for Advanced Propulsion Materials Research;

8. An increase of $500,000 for the Nano and Micro Devices Laboratory at the University of Alabama in Huntsville;

9. An increase of $200,000 for Morehouse College in Atlanta, Georgia to support the technology center;

10. An increase of $6,000,000 for the continuation of the Space Alliance Technology Outreach Program for business incubators in Florida and New York;

11. An increase of $1,000,000 for the National Center of Excellence in Wireless and Information Technology Programs at Stony Brook University, New York;

12. An increase of $1,000,000 for the National Center of Excellence in Small Scale Systems Packaging at the State University of New York at Binghamton;

13. An increase of $2,500,000 for NASA's Independent Verification and Validation Facility, of which $800,000 is available for continuation of the Code Level Metrics Data Program; $400,000 is available for continuation of IV & V of Neural Nets; and $400,000 is available for Software Legacy Research.

OFFICE OF INSPECTOR GENERAL

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Fiscal year 2005 recommendation                $31,400,000
Fiscal year 2004 appropriation                  27,139,000
Fiscal year 2005 budget request                 27,600,000
Comparison with fiscal year 2004 appropriation  +4,261,000
Comparison with fiscal year 2005 request        +3,800,000
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The Office of the Inspector General was established by the Inspector General Act of 1978 and is responsible for audit and investigation of all agency programs.

The Committee recommends $31,400,000 for the Office of the Inspector General (OIG) in fiscal year 2005, an increase of $4,261,000 to the amount provided in fiscal year 2004 and $3,800,000 more than the budget request for fiscal year 2005. The increase is for contracting for the annual audit of NASA's financial statements. Under current policy, the Office of Inspector General is responsible for providing oversight of the independent public accounting firm selected to perform the annual audit of NASA's financial statements, but funding for the audits is provided from other NASA appropriations. With this change, the OIG will have consolidated responsibility for technical oversight and fiscal management of the contract.

ADMINISTRATIVE PROVISIONS

The bill includes three administrative provisions. The first provision allows for the availability of funds to remain until expended when any activity has been initiative for construction of facilities. The second provision makes all amounts appropriated for construction of facilities to remain available until September 30, 2007. The final provision allows unexpended balances of prior appropriations to be transferred to the new account established for the appropriations that provides such activity under this Act. The Committee recommendation does not include two administrative provisions proposed as part of the budget request. The first provision would give NASA unlimited transfer authority. The second provision would give NASA authority to award prizes and allow funding for such prizes to remain available without fiscal year limitation.

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