NASA Office of Legislative Affairs Memo: NASA Plans for Plant and Animal Research

Status Report From: NASA HQ
Posted: Friday, August 12, 2005


Editor's note: This memo was sent to a large number of Congressional staff.

NASA Plans for Plant and Animal Research

August 11, 2005


As reported in the 05/10/05 FY 2005 Operating Plan Update, NASA completed a Zero Base Review (ZBR) of the former Biological and Physical Research (BPR) portfolio to ensure that future investments are aligned with exploration objectives and that biological and physical research planned for the ISS is driven by the unique capabilities of the ISS.  The redirection of the Exploration Systems Mission Directorate's Human Systems Research and Technology (HSR&T) program was based on internal programmatic reviews, recommendations from previous National Academy reports, and the Bioastronautics Roadmap. The resulting HSR&T portfolio has been reshaped into a requirements-driven program linked directly to exploration requirements for human missions to the Moon, Mars, and beyond.

One of the conclusions reached during the ZBR stated that our research programs should place a higher priority on medical research using human subjects than on animal, cell, and tissue research.  Consistent with the ZBR results, NASA reallocated funding from animal and cell research – as part of a $107.6 million reduction to Biological Sciences Research -- through the 05/10/05 FY 2005 Operating Plan Update.  Also in May 2005, the Agency briefed Congress on the results of the ZBR and the associated reductions for animal and cell research.  To implement the reductions identified in the May 2005 Operating Plan Update and the ZBR briefings, NASA has terminated the Plant Research Unit (PRU) and eliminated funding for animal research on the ISS by issuing a stop work order for the Advanced Animal Habitats (AAH).  The FY 06 Budget Request does not include any funding for these activities. 

Contract Actions

The following actions have been taken to implement the changes to the PRU and the AAH as described in the FY2005 Operating Plan and the ZBR briefings, and aligned with the FY 2006 Budget Request:

8/04/05 - A NASA stop-work order was sent to ORBITEC—Madison WI, the prime contractor for the AAH and PRU:

  • The prime contract value for AAH is $33M base plus $14.8M options (start date 10/04, end date 12/07)
  • Approximately 15 civil servants and 60 Lockheed Martin support service contractors (Lockheed Martin Space Operations—Moffett Field, CA), located at Ames Research Center (ARC), 37 Prime contractor employees (ORBITEC—Madison, WI), and 6 subcontractor employees (STAR Enterprises—Bloomington, IN) will be affected by this stop work order. 
  • Approximately 25 Lockheed Martin (LM) support service contractors have already been affected (layoff, reassignment, reduction of hours worked) by a previous (2/8/05) work slowdown order
  • The PRU has not been an active contract for the past two years
  • .4 Civil Servants and .2 contractors who perform contract maintenance work have been affected by the termination of PRU

8/9/05 – NASA informs Lockheed Martin of an Agency stop-work order of the AAH development and associated activities and termination of the PRU for FY 2006.  This notification to Lockheed Martin Space Operations at Moffett Field estimates a potential impact of approximately 70 LM support service contractors in FY 2006 in addition to the 85 contractors impacted in FY 2005.

Let me know if you have questions.

Lon Forehand
Legislative Affairs Specialist
Office of Legislative Affairs
NASA Headquarters
phone:  202-358-0853
fax:    202-358-2984

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