Conference Report, 21st Century Competitiveness Act, 2007 (NASA Excerpts)


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TITLE 11-NATIONAL AERONAUTICS AND SPACE ADMINISTRATION

SEC. 2001. NASA's CONTRIBUTION TO INNOVATION.

(a) PARTICIPATION IN INTERAGENCY ACTIVITIES.-The National Aeronautics and Space Administration shall be a full participant in any interagency effort to promote innovation and economic competitiveness through near-term and long-term basic scientific research and development and the promotion of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics education, consistent with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration's mission, including authorized activities.

(b) HISTORIC FOUNDATION.-In order to carry out the participation described in subsection (a), the Administrator of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration shall build on the historic role of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration in stimulating excellence in the advancement of physical science and engineering disciplines and in providing opportunities and incentives for the pursuit of academic studies in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.

(c) BALANCED SCIENCE PROGRAM AND ROBUST AUTHORIZATION LEVELS.-The balanced science program authorized by section 101(d) of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration Authorization Act of 2005 (42 U.S.C. 16611) shall be an element of the contribution by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration to such interagency programs.

(d) SENSE OF CONGRESS ON CONTRIBUTION OF APPROPRIATELY FUNDED NATIONAL AERONAUTICS AND SPACE ADMINISTRATION.-It is the sense of Congress that a robust National Aeronautics and Space Administration, funded at the levels authorized for fiscal years 2007 and 2008 under sections 202 and 203 of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration Authorization Act of 2005 (42 U.S.C. 16631 and 16632) and at appropriate levels in subsequent fiscal years-

(1) can contribute significantly to innovation in, and the competitiveness of, the United States;

(2) would enable a fair balance among science, aeronautics, education, exploration, and human space flight programs; and

(3) would allow full participation in any interagency efforts to promote innovation and economic competitiveness.

(e) ANNUAL REPORT.-

(1) REQUIREMENT.-The Administrator shall submit to Congress and the President an annual report describing the activities conducted pursuant to this section, including a description of the goals and the objective metrics upon which funding decisions were made.

(2) CONTENT.- Each report submitted pursuant to paragraph

(1) shall include, with regard to science, technology, engineering, and mathematics education programs, at a minimum, the following:

(A) A description of each program.

(B) The amount spent on each program.

(C) The number of students or teachers served by each program.

(f) ASSESSMENT PLAN.-Not later than 1 year after the date of the enactment of this Act, the Administrator shall submit to Congress a report on its plan or instituting assessments o the effectiveness of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration's science, technology, engineering, and mathematics education programs in improving student achievement, including with regard to challenging State achievement standards.

SEC. 2002. AERONAUTICS.

(a) SENSE OF CONGRESS.-It is the sense of Congress that the aeronautics research and development program of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration has been an important contributor to innovation and to the competitiveness of the United States and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration should maintain its capabilities to advance the state of aeronautics.

(b) COOPERATION WITH OTHER AGENCIES ON AERONAUTICS ACTIVITIES - The Administrator shall coordinate, as appropriate, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration's aeronautics activities with relevant programs in the Department of Transportation, the Department of Defense, the Department of Commerce, and the Department of Homeland Security, including the activities of the Joint Planning and Development Office established under section 709 of the Vision 100-Century of Aviation Reauthorization Act (Public Law 108-1 76; 117 Stat. 2582).

SEC. 2003. BASIC RESEARCH ENHANCEMENT.

(a) IN GENERAL.-The Administrator of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, the Director of the National Science Foundation, the Secretary of Energy, the Secretary of Defense, and Secretary of Commerce shall, to the extent practicable, coordinate basic research activities related to physical sciences, technology, engineering, and mathematics.

(b) BASIC RESEARCH DEFINED.-In this section, the term "basic research" has the meaning given such term in Office of Management and Budget Circular No. A-11.

SEC. 2004. AGING WORKFORCE ISSUES PROGRAM.

It is the sense of Congress that the Administrator of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration should implement a program to address aging work force issues in aerospace that-

(1) documents technical and management experiences before senior people leave the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, including-

(A) documenting lessons learned;

(B) briefing organizations;

(C) providing opportunities for archiving lessons in a database; and

(D) providing opportunities for near-term retirees to transition out early from their primary to document their career lessons learned and brief new employees prior to their separation from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration;

(2) provides incentives for retirees to return and teach new employees about their career lessons and experiences; and

(3) provides for the development of an award to recognize and reward outstanding senior employees for their contributions to knowledge sharing.

SEC. 2005. SENSE OF CONGRESS REGAKDING NASA's UNDERGRADUATE STUDENT RESEARCH PROGRAM.

It is the sense of Congress that in order to generate interest in careers in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics and to help train the next generation of space and aeronautical scientists, technologists, engineers, and mathematicians the Administrator of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration should utilize the existing Undergraduate Student Research Program of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration to support basic research projects on subjects of relevance to the National Aeronautics and Space Administration that-

(1) are to be carried out primarily by undergraduate students; and

(2) combine undergraduate research with other research supported by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration.

SEC. 2006. USE OF INTERNATIONAL SPACE STATION NATIONAL LABORATORY TO SUPPORT MATH AND SCIENCE EDUCATION AND COMPETITIVENESS.

(a) SENSE OF CONGRESS.-It is the sense of Congress that the International Space Station National Laboratory offers unique opportunities for educational activities and provides a unique resource for research and development in science, technology, and engineering, which can enhance the global competitiveness of the United States.

(b) DEVELOPMENT OF EDUCATIONAL PROJECTS.- The Administrator of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration shall develop a detailed plan for implementation of 1 or more education projects that utilize the resources offered by the International Space Station. In developing any detailed plan according to this paragraph, the Administrator shall make use of the findings and recommendations of the International Space Station National Laboratory Education Concept Development Task Force.

(c) DEVELOPMENT OF RESEARCH PLANS FOR COMPETITIVENESS ENHANCEMENT.- The Administrator shall develop a detailed plan for identification and support of research to be conducted aboard the International Space Station, which offers the potential for enhancement of United States competitiveness in science, technology, and engineering. In developing any detailed plan pursuant to this subsection, the Administrator shall consult with agencies and entities with which cooperative agreements have been reached regarding utilization of International Space Station National Laboratory facilities.

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