NASA Excerpts from S. Rpt. 108-353; S. 2825, the Senate FY 2005 VA/HUD Appropriations Bill


NATIONAL AERONAUTICS AND SPACE ADMINISTRATION

Appropriations, 2004    $15,378,248,000
Budget estimate, 2005   16,244,000,000 
Committee recommendation        15,579,500,000 

GENERAL DESCRIPTION

The National Aeronautics and Space Administration [NASA] was established by the National Aeronautics and Space Act of 1958 to conduct space and aeronautical research, development, and flight activities for peaceful purposes designed to maintain U.S. preeminence in aeronautics and space. NASA's unique mission of exploration, discovery, and innovation is intended to preserve the United States' role as both a leader in world aviation and as the pre-eminent space-faring Nation. It is NASA's mission to: advance human exploration, use and development of space; advance and communicate scientific knowledge and understanding of the Earth, the Solar System and the Universe; and research, develop, verify and transfer advanced aeronautics and space technologies.

COMMITTEE RECOMMENDATION

The Committee recommends $15,579,500,000 for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration for fiscal year 2005, an increase of $201,252,000 above fiscal year 2004, and a decrease of $664,500,000 below the President's request.

Early this year the President announced a vision to return man to the Moon and eventually to Mars. This vision has provided an overall direction for NASA. Such a Presidential vision has been missing from NASA for many years. While many programs at NASA have been working, in some cases exceptionally, a comprehensive initiative to orient the mission of NASA has been lacking. The Committee is supportive of the vision, but has reservations about the low level of details provided in the fiscal year 2005 budget request on how this vision will be accomplished.

The Committee has modified the account structure as proposed under the budget request of NASA. The Committee has transferred the appropriate activities to reflect the two newly created accounts of Exploration, Science and Aeronautics, and Exploration Capabilities. Exploration, Science and Aeronautics will contain the enterprises of Space Science, Earth Science, Biological and Physical Research, Aeronautics, and Education. The Exploration Capabilities account will contain the funding for the International Space Station [ISS], Space Shuttle, Human and Robotic Technology, Transportation Systems, and Space Flight Support. The account of the Office of the Inspector General will remain unchanged. These account revisions are being made to accommodate NASA's new vision.

By providing a vision, the President has prompted a discussion about what NASA could do, or should be doing. The budget NASA has presented to the Committee outlines the plan for implementing the vision, yet does not provide sufficient details for the technical and scientific goals to be reached by embracing the vision. The Committee understands that as any plan moves forward, particularly in an area of high risk such as space, that adjustments in time and budget will be necessary. However, a sufficient framework must be established prior to embarking on a path that may ultimately cost hundreds of billions of dollars.

NASA's new vision maps out an aggressive role for the United States in both manned and unmanned space exploration. However, the potential out-year costs are substantial and will likely be very difficult to sustain. In addition, the Committee believes that there must be a commitment to those activities at NASA that are already underway. The Shuttle program and the construction of the ISS continue to be the primary focus of the Nation's manned space flight activities. Nevertheless, the Committee believes that a replacement for the Space Shuttle's manned and heavy lift capabilities must be considered as part of any plan for continued human access to space.

The Committee is concerned that the current implementation plans for the new vision do not properly address the requirements and development for the heavy lift capability that may be necessary to carry out the proposed vision. A complete review of such plans must be conducted prior to embarking fully upon the implementation of the proposed vision. In order to assess heavy lift capability needs, NASA shall report to the Committee, no later than 6 months from the enactment of the appropriations act which accompanies this report, regarding NASA's heavy lift capability needs and long-term plans. NASA is encouraged to look at concepts currently being developed in the Falcon program with DARPA that could have an impact on future heavy lift program development.

NASA has the opportunity to lay the groundwork for a successful implementation of the proposed vision. The current budget justification does not provide the details the Committee expects to see for such a dramatic undertaking. The Committee expects NASA to take initial steps for implementing the vision in fiscal year 2005, and to provide year-by-year budgetary and developmental goals related to the vision for the next 5 years, along with 10-year summary budget totals, in the fiscal year 2006 request.

NASA has presented a timeframe for the retirement of the Shuttle program which assumes an end in the program around 2010. This timeframe is essential if resources are to be available for the Crew Exploration Vehicle [CEV] in order to meet a potential Moon mission between 2015 and 2020. If there are delays in the Shuttle program that push retirement beyond 2010, then funds for CEV development will also be delayed. At a time when the Shuttle fleet continues to be grounded, the Committee feels that the schedule NASA has presented is overly ambitious and optimistic.

As part of the proposed exploration vision, NASA will begin to phase-out existing programs in order to accommodate the vision. These plans must be clearly identified in order for NASA to smoothly transition older programs to make way for missions associated with the vision. As part of this process, the Committee directs NASA to include in all future budget justifications the phase-out schedules and any out-year termination dates of its programs.

The current Federal fiscal environment is not favorable to supporting completely the budget NASA has presented for fiscal year 2005. The out-year costs also seem overly optomistic at time when both the administration and Congress are committed to reducing the Federal budget deficit. However, steps toward laying the foundation of future NASA initiatives must be taken in order for there to be a future for many NASA activities once the Shuttle program is retired and the International Space Station is completed.

The Committee is also concerned that NASA will neglect areas that will only tangentially benefit from, or that do not fit within, the proposed vision. Within the fiscal year 2005 budget request, programs and infrastructure are proposed to be deferred, or cancelled, in such areas. These programs appear to be the sacrifices for the near-term budgetary resources needed to facilitate the implementation of the new Moon/Mars vision.

The new national space policy to proceed with human and robotic exploration of the Moon, Mars, and beyond has profound implications for all of the science conducted by NASA. While the Committee applauds those goals, it is concerned that the strong, balanced science program that has served the Nation so successfully for many years should be nurtured and sustained as the new policy is implemented. That science program has been based on a set of carefully crafted scientific strategies that are founded on scientific and technical merit, relevance to overall national needs, and broad consultation with the scientific community via the National Academy of Sciences. Consequently, the Committee directs the National Academies' Space Studies Board to conduct a thorough review of the science that NASA is proposing to undertake under the new policy and to develop a strategy by which all of NASA's science disciplines, including Earth science, space science, and life and microgravity science, can make adequate progress towards their established goals, as well as providing scientific research in support of the new policy. Further, the Committee is troubled by the abrupt and seemingly unilateral decision to alter the science conducted aboard the ISS to focus solely on biological and physiological research without any consultation with or authorization by Congress. As part of the scientific review, the National Academy of Sciences shall also consider the new direction of research proposed by NASA on the ISS and whether it is compatible with the overall national research needs identified in past Academy reports. In addition, the Committee directs NASA to report to the Committee on Appropriations on whether this change in focus should require a change in the overall requirements for the completion of the ISS. An amount of $250,000 is appropriated for this purpose. The Space Studies Board report should be available in time for Congressional consideration of the fiscal year 2006 Appropriation for NASA. Prior to receipt and consideration of the report, NASA is directed to maintain a balanced science program that follows priorities that have been recommended by the National Academy of Sciences and agreed to by Congress.

It has been over 1 year since the Columbia tragedy, which has led to adjustments to both the shuttle program and the International Space Station [ISS]. The current plan assumes that the shuttle program will resume flight operations in March 2005 if all things go according to schedule. The Committee understands that these programs, as well as many others, pose very difficult and technological challenges for NASA and can become subject to delay. Nevertheless, where there are delays in programs and activities, NASA often ends up paying additional costs to maintain the skilled workforce to protect the institutional memory of the delayed program or activity, regardless of the reason for the delay. These costs associated with maintaining the workforce will continue to cut into the resources available for other programs at NASA and into program reserves. NASA should review these effects and determine if there is a more effective method for dealing with such circumstances in the future.

Finally, for fiscal year 2005 and each year thereafter, the Committee directs NASA to include the out-year budget impacts on all reprogramming requests. The operating plan and all resubmissions also shall include a separate accounting of all program/mission reserves.

The Committee remains concerned that NASA needs to reform its contracting process to ensure timely delivery of both services and hardware. The Committee directs the NASA Inspector General to issue a list of contracting `trouble' areas with recommendations to address these areas. The Committee understands that this is no easy project, but expects NASA and the NASA IG to respond to these concerns with a package of proposed contracting reforms that can begin to be implemented in fiscal year 2005. The Committee also is concerned that NASA does too much sole source contracting and that sole source contracting can stifle competition and discourage new investment in space-related activities. The Committee directs NASA to submit to the House and Senate Committees on Appropriations each intention by NASA to enter into a sole source contract no later than 10 days before a contract is let; this requirement shall apply to all contract modifications of more than $500,000 where a new contractor is involved or a new activity is added to an existing contract.

EXPLORATION CAPABILITIES

Appropriations, 2004    $7,467,884,000 
Budget estimate, 2005   8,526,400,000  
Committee recommendation        7,811,100,000  

GENERAL DESCRIPTION

NASA's `Exploration Capabilities' [EC] account provides for the full costs associated with the capabilities that support Agency research, which consist of the Exploration Systems and Space Flight Enterprises. The full costs include both the direct and the indirect costs supporting these programs, and provide for all of the research; development; operations; salaries and related expenses; design, repair, rehabilitation, and modification of facilities and construction of new facilities; maintenance and operation of existing facilities; and other general and administrative activities supporting Exploration Capabilities programs.

COMMITTEE RECOMMENDATION

The Committee has provided $7,811,100,000 for the Space Flight Capabilities account. This amount is $715,300,000 below the President's request for these activities in fiscal year 2005 and $343,216,000 above the fiscal year 2004 enacted level.

The Committee has included an additional $500,000,000 in emergency funding for the Space Shuttle to implement the recommendations of the Columbia Accident Investigation Board and other costs associated with return to flight activities.

Space Shuttle- The Committee continues to believe that there is no higher priority than improving the safety and reliability of the remaining Shuttle orbiters. The Shuttle remains the cornerstone of our Nation's heavy launch capability and is critical to the future of the International Space Station [ISS] and scientific research. The future of the ISS, and other U.S. manned space flight missions for the rest of the decade are contingent upon having a working Shuttle fleet that is safe and reliable throughout the remaining years of the shuttle program. The Committee is concerned that as the Shuttle and the Shuttle infrastructure continue to age, further challenges in operating the fleet may arise.

The Committee remains committed to the continued safety of the Shuttle program as its highest priority. It is of paramount importance that there be transparency in all documentation of shuttle safety provided to the Committee, and that this information contain details of NASA's current, and future, safety efforts.

The Committee recommends that funding for the Shuttle be $4,319,200,000, the same as the level within the request of the administration. This will allow NASA to have funds readily available to make a return to flight as soon, and as safely as possible. More importantly, the shuttle funds that are provided within this account are dedicated solely to shuttle funding needs. If necessary, NASA may only seek additional funds by transfer from other activities within the Exploration Capabilities account.

The Committee also directs NASA to keep the Committee informed, in writing, of any reprogramming of funds related to the shuttle program, as well as including the out-year impacts on all activities involved in the reprogramming.

Finally, the Committee expects regular consultations by NASA on all proposed changes to investments in the Shuttle program. These consultations should occur before final decisions are made to the program.

Space Station.--The Committee notes that the International Space Station [ISS] continues to operate at a reduced level with future construction not expected to begin until 2005. The current crew of two cannot fully utilize the capabilities of the ISS for the research it was intended to facilitate, and the caretaker role of the astronauts does not currently justify the funds requested for operations of the ISS. Despite the ability of the international partners to fill the gap created by the grounding of the shuttle fleet, the capabilities of the ISS have been dramatically diminished. Accordingly, the Committee has reduced funding for the ISS by $120,000,000.

As soon as the Shuttle is available to provide access to the ISS, the Committee is adamant that NASA provide the Committee with a plan detailing the steps necessary to complete construction of the ISS. This plan may include completion of the ISS by only using the shuttle, or a combination of shuttle and unmanned flights for delivering components to the ISS. The cost implications associated with the revised schedule must be included in the plan that is submitted to the Committee no less than 30 days after the successful return-to-flight of the shuttle program. The report should also contain a timeline, in conjunction with the construction timetable for the ISS, for the eventual transition to a new manned launch vehicle.

As construction of the ISS resumes, revised plans for the future of the ISS must also be set. If there is to be a redirection of the research to be conducted onboard the ISS, any revision shall be done in consultation with the ISS partners. These partners will be affected by such actions, and their participation to this point has been both crucial and beneficial. If NASA intends to have international partners for future space exploration, then NASA should be sure not to exclude its current partners in making decisions involving the research direction and construction schedule of the ISS.

Finally, the Committee has chosen not to fund the proposed new project for ISS crew and cargo services. The current plan anticipates the need for such services from the time after the Shuttle fleet is retired until future capability to reach the ISS is available around 2014. The current ISS construction plan is contingent upon an aggressive launch schedule that has yet to begin. It is unclear what the requirements are for these services, that such a schedule can be achieved, that the potential gap in service to the ISS will even occur, or that the gap could be longer than anticipated. Until there is further clarity regarding when and to the extent such services will necessary, the Committee is not inclined to provide resources for such an effort.

Crew Exploration Vehicle- The Committee is prepared to commit funds to the Crew Exploration Vehicle [CEV], but is concerned that there has not been enough initial planning to determine what specific capabilities the CEV should have. The determination of the right capabilities should naturally come from a carefully thought-out plan and goals, which have yet to emerge from the implementation of the Moon/Mars vision. The current vehicle offered by NASA resembles a work-in-progress, rather than a firm definition of what is necessary to accomplish missions to the ISS, as well as future manned missions.

While the Committee feels that a plan with sufficient details on cost and accountability for any subsequent budget overruns will eventually emerge, the time to lay the proper groundwork for such an ambitions vision is prior to heading down the path, not on the way.

During the time that the Shuttle program has been working to complete the ISS, NASA has endeavored to develop a separate manned vehicle many times. NASA has invested hundreds of millions into these programs, yet there has been little progress toward having the manned vehicle that these programs have promised. While incremental advances in technology have been gained, a comparable amount of return for the funds invested has not been realized.

In order to ensure that such a fate does not befall the CEV, the Committee expects NASA to provide a report to the Committee that details the criteria and developmental goals the CEV must meet to accomplish the missions envisioned by NASA within 60 days of enactment of this bill. The report shall also include the internal and independent procedures that will be in place to ensure that the CEV will stay within its budget throughout its development.

As NASA begins to consider another manned vehicle program, the Committee does not want to repeat the mistakes of the Space Station, where poor management and lack of independent oversight resulted in major cost overruns, to occur with the CEV. At this early stage in the development of the CEV, it is essential that these mistakes not happen again. Therefore, the Committee directs the Administrator to identify an independent oversight committee to examine the design, technology readiness and cost estimates for the CEV. The Administrator shall use available funds within the Exploration Capabilities account to provide sufficient resources for this Committee. The chosen oversight committee shall report to the Administrator and the Committees on Appropriations annually on their findings and recommendations.

In order to allow for the initiation of the CEV, the Committee recommends a funding level of $268,000,000. This will allow for a modest start for this ambitious program, and still allow NASA the time needed to refine its plans for the vehicle in time for a full start in the fiscal year 2006 budget request.

It is not clear to the Committee that NASA has given appropriate consideration to the propulsion requirements of the President's space exploration initiative. Therefore, the Committee directs NASA to report to the House and Senate Committees on Appropriations, within 180 days of enactment of the Act accompanying this report, on the propulsion systems that will 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.

The Committee acknowledges the desire of NASA to attempt to replicate the efforts of the X-Prize in the proposed Centennial Challenges program. The Committee allocates $10,000,000 for the Centennial challenges in order for NASA to initiate what may be a useful tool for NASA. The Committee will not entertain further requests for funds to this program until a through review of program, and the results of any proposed competitions, is conducted on the effectiveness of the Centennial Challenges program.

The Committee does not include the funding requested for the technology maturation program. Finally, the Committee funds the entire Prometheus program at $430,000,000. Although portions of Prometheus are found within other accounts at NASA, the Committee has chosen to reflect a total funding level for this program. Within the funds provided, the Committee provides $10,000,000 for nuclear thermal propulsion at the Marshall Space Flight Center. The Committee encourages NASA to do a study on the feasibility of non-nuclear energy and power in regards to the Prometheus program.

The Committee recognizes that modeling and simulation will have an important role in assessing the overall system development and performance in the President's vision for space exploration. The Committee continues to believe that simulated integrated systems, including testing and evaluation, will substantially reduce the system's complexity as well as the total development costs of future space transportation systems by formulating and validating program requirements and by identifying and mitigating program risks as early as possible in the development process. The Committee has included $3,000,000 for NASA's Office of Exploration Systems to develop and implement an integrated system simulation strategy to take full advantage of modeling and simulation and evaluation tools.

EXPLORATION, SCIENCE AND AERONAUTICS

Appropriations, 2004    $7,883,225,000 
Budget estimate, 2005   7,760,000,000  
Committee recommendation        7,736,500,000  

PROGRAM DESCRIPTION

NASA's `Exploration, Science and Aeronautics' [ESA] account provides for the full costs associated with the Exploration, Science and Aeronautics [ESA] activities of the Agency, which consist of the Space Science, Earth Science, Biological and Physical Research, Aeronautics, and Education Programs. The full costs include both the direct and the indirect costs supporting these programs, and provide for all of the research; development; operations; salaries and related expenses; design, repair, rehabilitation, and modification of facilities and construction of new facilities; maintenance and operation of existing facilities; and other general and administrative activities supporting Exploration, Science and Aeronautics programs.

COMMITTEE RECOMMENDATION

The Committee recommends $7,736,500,000 for the Science, Aeronautics and Exploration account, a decrease of $23,500,000 below the President's request and $146,725,000 below the fiscal year 2004 enacted level. Within this account, the Committee directs NASA not to charge any administrative expenses to congressionally directed spending on specific projects. These costs should be absorbed within the funding provided in this account.

The Committee has included an additional $300,000,000 in emergency funding for a servicing mission to the Hubble Space Telescope.

Space Science- The activities of NASA's Space Science Enterprise seek to chart the evolution of the universe, from origins to destiny, and understand its galaxies, stars, planetary bodies, and life. The Enterprise asks basic questions that have perplexed human beings, such as how the universe began and evolved and whether there is other intelligent life in the universe.

The quest for this information, and the answers themselves, are intended to maintain scientific leadership, excite and inspire our society, strengthen education and scientific literacy, develop and transfer technologies to promote U.S. competitiveness, foster international cooperation to enhance programs and share their benefits, and set the stage for future space ventures.

The Committee anticipates that there will be a Hubble servicing mission which, at this time, is not a part of the fiscal year 2005 budget submission. Once the study being conducted by the National Academy of Sciences is completed, the Committee will consider any appropriate funding options presented by NASA. NASA should consider a servicing mission a priority.

The Committee funds the Mars Programs and Architecture at $75,600,000, an increase of $8,900,000 over the fiscal year 2004 enacted level.

The Committee has provided $20,000,000 for the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter [LRO], a reduction of $50,000,000 from the budget request reflecting the difficult spending allocation within which the subcommittee has been forced to operate. NASA should continue with its announcement of opportunity for scientific instruments with these funds. However, in establishing the criteria for instrument selection, not less than 25 percent of the LRO's scientific instrumentation funding should be explicitly dedicated to building instruments focused solely on answering basic science questions. The Committee is concerned that the lunar measurement investigations to be carried out by the LRO mission, intended to characterize future robotic and human lunar landing sites, will forgo the opportunity for research and focus only on applied engineering assessments. The current proposed AO focuses solely on the human exploration objectives of the potential mission. Since the LRO is allocated against NASA's space science budget, the Committee believes that fundamental lunar science questions should be addressed in a significant fashion through instruments on this spacecraft. The Committee encourages NASA, as part of the LRO development, to consider the research instrumentation opportunities as well as technology qualification, navigation and communications capabilities, and resource identification technologies to maximize the opportunities of this first lunar mission.

The Committee is troubled by the proposed reductions to the Living With a Star [LWS] program. The Committee is also concerned about the growth of the Solar Dynamics Observatory [SDO] particularly under full cost accounting guidelines and is capping the mission at $646,100,000, included in the budget request. To meet the original goals of the LWS program, which this Committee has endorsed, the Committee is providing an additional $25,000,000 for the LWS theme in 2005 to be allocated as follows: $5,000,000 for the solar probe mission; $15,000,000 to begin implementation of Geospace and $5,000,000 for preliminary studies of solar sentinels. Furthermore, the Committee directs NASA to develop a plan to guarantee launch of Geospace and SDO within 1 year of each other with solar sentinels to follow in a reasonable time thereafter.

The Committee also provides $3,000,000 and up to eight FTE's to establish a NASA program office at the Applied Physics Laboratory [APL] for the purpose of administering all existing contracts between NASA and APL, including those under the LWS Program. The APL program office will report directly to the Associate Administrator for Science.

The Committee expects NASA to provide the necessary funding for the Pluto-Kuiper Belt mission in 2005 to ensure the mission is launched on schedule. The Committee expects NASA to submit any request for additional funds through the operating plan.

The Committee notes the progress made to successfully launch the New Horizons mission in 2006 and expects NASA to aggressively work to meet that schedule. The Committee is aware that recent problems with the Department of Energy's plutonium production will likely leave New Horizons with insufficient fuel to make its scheduled Kuiper Belt orbit after its Pluto mission. For this reason, the Committee has also allocated an additional $4,000,000 from the New Frontiers line to undertake a detailed study of the feasibility for a New Horizons II mission, to be launched within the near-term, if the study results can justify the scientific return for such a follow-on mission, at a price considerably less than the original New Horizons mission. Such a study should have its results submitted to the Committee on Appropriations by April 15, 2005.

NASA is directed to consult with the Committee on program management for the Discovery and New Frontiers programs. The Committee notes that NASA has transferred management of the Discovery and New Frontiers programs out of headquarters. Therefore, the Committee directs that the Office of the Associate Administrator for Science shall be reduced by 10 FTE's and transferred to the appropriate NASA Centers. Furthermore, the Committee prohibits the transfer of any FTE's or other personnel into the Office of the Associate Administrator for Science without the approval of the Committees on Appropriations.

The Committee directs NASA to select competitively some of the scientific instruments for the Terrestrial Planet Finder mission. The Committee allocates $15,000,000 of the $52,900,000 contained in the budget request to establish a competitive advanced technology development program among universities and non-profit organizations with experience in relevant fields to provide scientific instruments for the TPF mission. The TPF budget profile beyond 2005 should articulate a critical path-with requisite financial resources-to down select from these teams, as well as any currently existing intramural teams, for flight instruments.

The Committee has made the following adjustments to the budget request:

An increase of $1,000,000 for University of Idaho for RTULP Electronics for Space Applications.

An increase of $1,000,000 for Utah State University in Logan, Utah for the Calibration Center.

An increase of $300,000 to the University of Missouri at Rolla for the Advanced Millimeter Wave Inspection System program.

An increase of $3,000,000 to New Mexico State University for the ultra-long balloon program to augment planned flights and technology development.

An increase of $4,000,000 for the Stennis Space Center for the commercial technology program.

An increase of $4,000,000 for the Marshall Space Flight Center for the commercial technology program.

An increase of $1,500,000 to Montana State University to purchase clean room systems and basic process equipment related to the microdevice fabrication facility.

An increase of $1,000,000 for Texas Tech University Experimental Sciences Initiative, Lubbock, Texas to promote advanced and interdisciplinary research.

An increase of $1,000,000 to the Southern Methodist University Multifab Facility in Dallas, Texas to develop multifabrication manufacturing technology.

An increase of $2,000,000 to the University of North Dakota in Grand Forks for the Northern Great Plains Space Sciences and Technology Center.

An increase of $4,000,000 to the University of Hawaii, Hilo for the Mauna Kea Astronomy Education Center.

An increase of $1,000,000 to the University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, Arkansas for the Arkansas-Oklahoma Center for Space and Planetary Sciences.

Earth Science.--The activities of NASA's Earth Science Enterprise seek to understand the total Earth system and the effects of humans on the global environment. This pioneering program of studying global climate change is developing many of the capabilities that will be needed for long-term environment and climate monitoring and prediction. Governments around the world need information based on the strongest possible scientific understanding. The unique vantage-point of space provides information about the Earth's land, atmosphere, ice, oceans, and biota as a global system, which is available in no other way. In concert with the global research community, the Earth Science Enterprise is developing the understanding needed to support the complex environmental policy decisions that must be addressed.

The Committee believes that Earth science has been a critical part of a balanced space program long advocated by this Committee. The Committee remains fully committed to a robust Earth science program at NASA notwithstanding the recent headquarters reorganization plan. The Committee expects NASA to remain fully committed to Earth science, with future missions identified with 5 year funding profiles that reflect a serious commitment to Earth science as a vital part of the Nation's space program.

An increase of $15,000,000 above the President's request for fiscal year 2005 for the NASA Earth Science Applications Program. This funding increase will be used to support competitively-selected applications projects. These projects will integrate the results of NASA's earth observing systems and earth system models (using observations and predictions) into decision support tools to serve applications of national priority including, but not limited to, Homeland Security, Coastal Management, Agriculture Efficiency, Water Management and Disaster Management.

The Committee is highly supportive of continuation of the ECS/EMD Synergy Program, reflecting the success of NASA's EOS Data Information System [EOSDIS] and its core system [ECS]. The Committee is providing $15,000,000 for Synergy in 2005 with $1,500,000 for the Battelle Pacific Northwest Laboratory's Infomart; not more than $1,500,000 to support the transition of Synergy Infomart activities to the ESE Application Division to be administered through a Cooperative Agreement [CAN] that will focus these funds toward meeting the needs of State, local and tribal governments and $12,000,000 through the EOSDIS Maintenance and Development Contract to support an extension of the Synergy Data Pools to improve data distribution to climate change models, expansion of data distribution to the user community and development of a pilot project using grid computing technology.

The Committee remains supportive of NASA's Columbia Project to upgrade its supercomputing capacity, but insists that NASA's total supercomputing capability should not reside at one location in order that the Agency avoids a potential single point of failure for mission critical and safety of flight analyses. Therefore, the Committee has provided $5,000,000 from within funds projected for the Columbia project to upgrade the Goddard Space Flight Center's Center for Computational Science [NCCS] to guarantee that it serves as NASA's backup supercomputing center with tier 1 system backup and disaster recovery functions, including full transfer capability in the event of a failure of the principal supercomputer facility.

Finally, the Committee supports the full budget request for the GLORY Global Climate Change research program mission including the Aerosol Polarimeter Sensor.

The Committee has made the following adjustments to the budget request:

An increase of $390,000 for Pearl River Community College in Mississippi for remote sensing, geographic information system and GPS training.

An increase of $1,000,000 for Idaho State University for the Temporal Landscape Change Research program.

An increase of $3,000,000 for the University of Alaska for weather and ocean research.

An increase of $1,000,000 to Utah State University in Logan, Utah for the Intermountain region Digital Image Archive and Processing Center.

An increase of $750,000 for the University of Northern Iowa for the GeoTREE project.

An increase of $1,500,000 to Montana State University-Bozeman for the Center for Studying Life in Extreme Environments.

An increase of $1,000,000 for the University of Texas Mid-American Geospatial Information Center at the UT Center for Space Research in Austin, Texas to continue information collection through satellite imaging.

An increase of $500,000 to the Liberty Science Center, Jersey City, New Jersey for the Hudson Harbor and Estuary Ecological Learning Center.

An increase of $750,000 to the University of Connecticut for the Center for Land Use and Education Research.

An increase of $750,000 to the University of Vermont, Burlington for the Center for Advanced Computing.

An increase of $5,400,000 for the Wallops Island Flight Facility to be used for developing a standard small launch vehicle, universal FTS, doppler radar and launch modeling laboratory.

Biological and Physical Research.--NASA's Biological and Physical Research [BPR] Enterprise recognizes the essential role biology will play in the 21st century and pursues the core of biological and physical sciences research needed to support NASA's strategic objectives. BPR fosters and enhances rigorous interdisciplinary research, closely linking fundamental biological and physical sciences in order to develop leading-edge, world-class research programs. BPR uses the unique characteristics of the space environment to understand biological, physical, and chemical processes, conducting science and technology research required to enable humans to safely and effectively live and work in space, and transferring knowledge and technologies for Earth benefits. BPR also fosters commercial space research by the private sector toward new or improved products and/or services on Earth, in support of the commercial use of space.

The Committee has expressed its intent that scientific research remain one of NASA's top priorities. However, delays in the construction of the Station and the current stand down of the Shuttle fleet have significantly reduced the opportunities for life and microgravity research in the near term. In order to maximize what research can still be done on the ISS, the Committee funds Biological Sciences Research within Earth science at $368,000,000, the same as the funding level for fiscal year 2004.

The Committee has made the following adjustments to the budget request:

An increase of $1,500,000 to the University of Missouri at Columbia for the National Center for Gender Physiology studies on basic biomedical knowledge for the improvement of life on earth and solution of problems in human space flight.

An increase of $5,000,000 to the Marshall Space Flight Center for propulsion materials microgravity research [OBPR].

An increase of $2,000,000 for the Alliance for Nanohealth, Houston, Texas to purchase equipment and conduct research on Nanotechnology and medicine.

An increase of $2,000,000 for the University of Louisville Space Flight Exploration: The Impact on Perception, Cognition, Sleep and Brain Physiology Project at the University of Louisville in Louisville, Kentucky.

An increase of $1,000,000 to the National Technology Transfer Center at Wheeling Jesuit University to transfer and adapt the Walter Reed Army Medical Center's HealthForces program, into medically underserved rural areas.

An increase of $1,000,000 to the State University of Buffalo Center for Bioinformatics, Erie, New York.

Aero-Space Technology.--NASA's Aerospace Technology Enterprise works to maintain U.S. preeminence in aerospace research and technology. The Enterprise aims to radically improve air travel, making it safer, faster, and quieter as well as more affordable, accessible, and environmentally sound. The Enterprise is also working to develop more affordable, reliable, and safe access to space; improve the way in which air and space vehicles are designed and built; and ensure new aerospace technologies are available to benefit the public.

NASA's Aeronautics program pioneers the identification, development, verification, transfer, application, and commercialization of high-payoff aeronautics technologies. NASA also supports the development of technologies to address airport crowding, aircraft engine emissions, aircraft noise, and other issues that could constrain future U.S. air system growth.

The Committee is concerned with the steady decline in the aeronautics research and technology request. The current request in Aeronautics is a cut of $115,000,000. Even more alarming, NASA's budget projections indicate that this trend will continue. Further, the United States faces major foreign competition in the commercial aviation arena. The Europeans have stated in their `Vision 2020,' that they intend to dominate the commercial aviation global market by 2020 through their investment in aeronautics R&D. The Committee feels that the vitality of U.S. aviation should not be left behind. The Committee is committed to the research NASA conducts in aeronautics, and to the benefits, both in terms of safety and economics, that will be made available to the public through NASA led research.

Based on the success of the X-43 program, the Committee is providing $25,000,000 to continue the research being conducted on hypersonic engine technologies. The Committee also continues to encourage joint NASA and Air Force cooperation and collaboration in advancement of aeronautics technologies in the National interest.

The Committee also includes an increase of $4,000,000 for NASA Glenn Research Center for Intelligent Propulsion Systems (propulsion 21).

The Committee has made the following adjustments to the budget request:

An increase of $2,300,000 to the University of Missouri at Rolla for Aerospace Propulsion Particulate Emissions Reduction Program.

An increase of $1,000,000 for the National Institute of Aviation Research in Kansas for icing research.

An increase of $2,000,000 to Wichita State University in Wichita, Kansas for the National Center for Advanced Materials Performance for composite materials research.

An increase of $1,000,000 for the Glenn Research Center for the National Center for Communications, Navigation and Surveillance.

An increase of $4,000,000 for the Glenn Research Center for the commercial technology program.

An increase of $3,000,000 to the Inland Northwest Space Alliance in Montana for the FreeFlyer program.

An increase of $750,000 to the University of Montana in Missoula, Montana for the National Space Privatization Program.

An increase of $750,000 to Purdue University in West Lafayette, Indiana for the Advanced Manufacturing Institute.

An increase of $2,000,000 to Wheeling Jesuit University, West Virginia for continued operation of the National Technology Transfer Center.

An increase of $2,500,000 to Marshall University in Bridgeport, West Virginia for the continuation of NASA related composites workforce development training at the Composites Technology Institute.

An increase of $1,000,000 to Iowa State University for the Center for Nondestructive Evaluation.

An increase of $1,000,000 to the University of New Orleans, Louisiana for the Composites Research Center of Excellence and for the development of advanced metallic joining technologies at Michoud Space Center.

An increase of $1,750,000 to the University of Maryland, College Park for the nanotechnology institute.

An increase of $1,750,000 to the University of Maryland, Baltimore County for photonics research.

An increase of $3,000,000 to Chesapeake Information Based Aeronautics Consortium.

An increase of $2,000,000 to upgrade the High End Production Capability at the Goddard Space Flight Center to improve climate and weather research capabilities.

Academic Programs.--The objective of NASA's academic programs is to promote excellence in America's education system through enhancing and expanding scientific and technological competence. Activities conducted within academic programs capture the interest of students in science and technology, develop talented students at the undergraduate and graduate levels, provide research opportunities for students and faculty members at NASA centers, and strengthen and enhance the research capabilities of the Nation's colleges and universities. NASA's education programs span from the elementary through graduate levels, and are directed at students and faculty. Academic programs include the Minority University Research Program, which expands opportunities for talented students from underrepresented groups who are pursuing degrees in science and engineering, and to strengthen the research capabilities of minority universities and colleges.

The Committee has made the following adjustments to the budget request:

An increase of $1,000,000 for National Center for Air and Space Law at the University of Mississippi.

An increase of $1,000,000 for Tennessee Technological Institute for the development of a Challenger Learning Center.

An increase of $500,000 for the Christa McAuliffe Planetarium in New Hampshire for the construction of the Alan Shepard Discovery Center.

An increase of $500,000 to Southeast Missouri State University for the NASA-ERC Initiative.

An increase of $1,000,000 to the Texas A&M Space Engineering Institute in College Station, Texas to continue minority engineering outreach in conjunction with NASA.

An increase of $1,000,000 to Northern Kentucky University/University of Louisville for the Taking Astronomy to the Schools Project at Northern Kentucky University in Campbell County, Kentucky.

An increase of $1,000,000 for the US Space and Rocket Center in Huntsville, Alabama for education training equipment and the museum exhibit improvement program.

An increase of $2,000,000 to the SSME program office at Marshall for development of a knowledge management integrated data environment.

An increase of $750,000 to the Delaware Aerospace Education Foundation in Kent County, Delaware. An increase of $750,000 to the Chabot Space and Science Center in Oakland, California for The Future for Humans in Space Education Program.

An increase of $250,000 to Rowan University, Pomona, New Jersey for the Engineering and Technology Satellite Campus.

An increase of $250,000 to the Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago, Illinois for the Henry Crown Space Center.

An increase of $250,000 to Glendale Community College, California for the Cimmarusti Science Center's Teacher Training and Science Education Outreach Program.

An increase of $500,000 to the Science Center of Iowa in Des Moines, Iowa.

An increase of $2,000,000 for improvements to the Cooper Library at the University of South Carolina, Columbia, South Carolina.

An increase of $1,000,000 to the College of Charleston, South Carolina for the School of Science and Mathematics.

An increase of $1,000,000 to the Boston Museum of Science, Massachusetts for the National Center for Technology Literacy.

An increase of $750,000 to Space Education Initiative, Wisconsin for the Wisconsin Aerospace Education Initiative.

An increase of $1,750,000 to the Mitchell Institute, Portland, Maine for science and engineering education.

An increase of $1,000,000 to the Virginia Air and Space Museum, Norfolk, Virginia.

An increase of $750,000 for the Griffith Observatory, Los Angeles, California.

OFFICE OF INSPECTOR GENERAL

Appropriations, 2004    $27,139,000 
    Budget estimate, 2005   27,600,000  
    Committee recommendation        31,600,000   
   PROGRAM DESCRIPTION

The Office of Inspector General was established by the Inspector General Act of 1978. The Office is responsible for providing agencywide audits and investigative functions to identify and correct management and administrative deficiencies which create conditions for existing or potential instances of fraud, waste, and mismanagement.

COMMITTEE RECOMMENDATION

The Committee recommends $31,600,000 for fiscal year 2005, the same as the budget request and $4,461,000 above the fiscal year 2004 enacted level. The Committee commends the NASA IG's diligence in addressing issues of fraud and abuse.

The Committee also directs the NASA IG to review NASA's contract procedures and conventions to determine if there are ways to reform the process and reduce the costs of NASA programs and activities. In particular, many NASA contract provisions require NASA to pay for significant cost overruns and, in cases of program delays, significant costs associated with staffing that appear to be maintained solely to ensure the preservation of the institutional memory for the delayed program or activity. The Committee agrees that institutional memory is critical to the success of many, if not all, NASA programs which are in most cases exceedingly complex. Nevertheless, these costs are substantial and, in some cases, may be unwarranted or unnecessary. As a result, the Committee believes that contract reform should be considered a priority as part of any overall restructuring at NASA.

Within the amount provided to the Office of the Inspector General, $3,847,000 is provided to conduct the annual audit of NASA's financial statements. This will consolidate responsibility for technical oversight and fiscal management of the contract into a single office.

ADMINISTRATIVE PROVISIONS

The Committee recommendation includes a series of provisions, proposed by the administration, which are largely technical in nature, concerning the availability of funds. These provisions have been carried largely, in prior-year appropriation acts.

The Committee is concerned that NASA has not utilized independent cost verification early in the process of estimating costs for its programs and missions. By not using this tool, NASA cannot be certain that potential contract costs are accurately represented. In order to allocate resources for current and future needs, effective cost estimation is crucial. NASA is directed to incorporate independent cost verification as part of the process by which contracts are selected, to use them as a guide for assessing when costs have exceeded expectations, and to help identify projects for termination.

The Committee notes the current difficulties that NASA is facing with is annual financial statement. The independent auditor involved with the annual audit included a disclaimer that NASA did not provide sufficient materials to support the financial statements in order to complete the audit within the guidelines provided by OMB. Further, four material weaknesses were identified. These weaknesses included NASA's the inability to provide an audit trail to support NASA's financial statements and the lack of controls over property and equipment. These weaknesses created a lack of documentation to support $565,000,000,000 in adjustments to NASA's financial statement accounts. As NASA prepares to embark on a significant mission of exploration, NASA must correct these issues immediately before entertaining significant movement on such major undertakings. A clean financial bill of health at NASA will bring clarity to NASA's internal accounting structure and confidence that funds are being used appropriately throughout the agency.

The Committee is concerned about the cost and organizational implications of the recently announced transformation of NASA, and other recommendations proposed in the Aldridge report. Last year the Committee directed the National Academy of Public Administration [NAPA] to conduct a complete review of NASA's organizational, programmatic, and personnel structures. As part of this review, the Committee asks NAPA to include a complete review of the new transformation proposal, as well as a thorough review of the proposal to convert NASA centers into Federally Funded Research and Development Centers. NASA shall provide appropriate funds for the completion of the current NAPA review, including funds to review the announced NASA organization transformation and the FFRDC recommendation proposed in the Aldridge report.

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