Memo NASA Staff: FY 2002 Budget Blueprint Overview by NASA Associate Administrator for Space Flight

Status Report From: NASA HQ
Posted: Wednesday, February 28, 2001

TO: Johnson Space Center Employees and Contractors
Kennedy Space Center Employees and Contractors
Marshall Space Flight Center Employees and Contractors
Stennis Space Center Employees and Contractors
FROM: M/Associate Administrator for Space Flight

SUBJECT: FY 2002 Budget Blueprint Overview

We all should be proud of the activities that the Human Space Flight (HSF) team has accomplished over the past year. In 2000, the world witnessed some of the most historic and long-awaited milestones in the life of the International Space Station (ISS). The year began with the on going 24-hour-per-day, 7-days-a-week support of the unoccupied ISS. In the past 8 months, we have launched eight missions to the ISS, an incredible accomplishment. Today, NASA has a well functioning space station capable of supporting three astronauts and conducting initial research.

Today, the Administration issued its Blueprint for the FY 2002 budget. This is in advance of the formal submittal of the Presidents FY 2002 budget to Congress expected in April. The FY 2002 budget Blueprint reflects a slight increase from the FY 2001 budget forecast from last year. This is good news since other Federal Agencies experienced budget reductions. Equally as important, this budget fully supports the current civil service employment levels at all of the Office of Space Flight Centers. In fact, as soon as the current hiring freeze is lifted, we will continue to implement our hiring plans to relieve skill shortages and revitalize the HSF workforce.

While the Space Station is truly growing before our eyes, this process is not accomplished without growing pains. As described in the Blueprint, there are budget shortfalls within the ISS program that we will have to deal with from within the Human Space Flight budget. The initial raw estimate of this shortfall of $4 Billion over the next five years is just that, a raw, bottoms-up estimate, which has not yet been validated and is undergoing review by the ISS Program Office. In addition, the Program is evaluating options to meet our commitments to our International Partners and Research community within the existing budgets. As a result, some capability will be deferred; however, within the FY 2002 budget, we will have and continue to build a productive research facility.

We are funded for six Space Shuttle flights per year over the next several years, fully supporting the ISS assembly schedule as well as our other flight commitments (i.e., Hubble Space Telescope servicing missions, etc.). In addition, the Agency plans continued support of Shuttle high-priority safety and supportability upgrades. We recognize that the aging Space Shuttle program infrastructure also requires restoration, placing a strain on the Space Shuttle budget and these requirements will be prioritized within the Human Space Flight budget.

In parallel with the ISS Program budget activities, all four OSF Centers are evaluating a number of actions that will begin the management and process reforms for Human Space Flight Programs. As a result of these activities, we will refocus resources within Human Space Flight from lower priority programs to activities that meet high priority ISS and Space Shuttle Program needs. Decisions have already been made to defer work on technology supporting Human Exploration for at least two years and refocus the civil service workforce to support in-line activities for the ISS and Space Shuttle. In addition, other, non-OSF NASA centers have identified additional ISS and Space Shuttle in-line tasks which they will perform utilizing their technology and civil service resources to support OSF programs during this challenging period.

In the FY 2002 budget Blueprint, the Administration has requested NASA to continue transitioning Phase II of the Space Shuttle contracts to the Space Flight Operations Contract (SFOC), while ensuring we do not compromise safety. This effort originally envisioned the consolidation of 27 operations contracts into a single prime contract to allow operational synergy and efficiency to reduce costs while maintaining our primary goal - safety. To date, all contracts have been consolidated except the contracts related to the Space Shuttle Main Engine, External Tank, and Reusable Solid Rocket Motors. Continuing our efforts toward Privatization, we will transition these contracts when proper skill level and experience assure the maintenance of Space Shuttle safety.

I want to address the concerns you may have about the future of Human Space Flight activities. The FY 2002 budget Blueprint also directs NASA to continue evaluating further privatization options within the Space Shuttle system. NASA and the Space Shuttle program contractors will perform studies to evaluate all potential options that will allow us to meet the President's direction, while ensuring we don't compromise safety in the process of privatization.

Let me personally assure each of you that from my point of view, the HSF workforce is outstanding, and the programs you carry out are important and inspiring to the nation and the world. Our programs are also difficult and challenging. Over the next few years, the ISS and the Space Shuttle programs will continue to require a significant effort by NASA and the contractor workforce. Refocusing the Civil Service workforce will require deferring work on our future programs while meeting our commitments on the ISS and Space Shuttle. I believe we should look at this as an opportunity to provide our workforce the experience necessary to be the leaders for our future Human Exploration and Space Flight programs.

I know that the entire HSF workforce will continue to perform at the exceptional level that you have demonstrated over the past several years of intense activity. I expect that all of you will continue to focus on the activities that ensure we safely fly the Space Shuttle and continue to operate the ISS. In closing, as management changes and budget challenges occur, let's focus and be proud of the history-making accomplishments we are making on ISS and Space Shuttle. Finally, I know that we will all continue to work together with the rest of the Agency to find new ways of doing business, while always keeping our eyes on the future.

Original signed by

Joseph H. Rothenberg

// end //

More status reports and news releases or top stories.

Please follow SpaceRef on Twitter and Like us on Facebook.

SpaceRef Newsletter