National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)
The Committee has sought to enable NASA to succeed as a multi-mission agency in carrying out the goals expressed in the NASA Authorization Act of 2008 (P.L. 110-422). In general, Committee Republicans concur with the Majority that the budget seems consistent with the priorities of the NASA Authorization Act of 2008, including retirement of the Space Shuttle following completion of the International Space Station and one additional flight to deliver the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer. We applaud the Administration's reaffirmation of NASA's initiatives to return humans to the Moon by 2020 as part of a robust space exploration program, while also stimulating the privatesector to develop and demonstrate commercial crew and cargo delivery services to the International Space Station.
We are encouraged that the Administration's budget provides $18.7 billion for NASA in FY 10. However, additional details are needed to adequately evaluate the Administration's goals and intent. For example, it is unclear whether the "new space, flight systems for carrying American crews and supplies to space" is the Constellation System already under development. With Constellation, NASA is in the midst of a once in-a-generation development of a new human launch system. This is the largest launch vehicle development since the beginning of the Space Shuttle program, with the added requirement of being capable of safely returning humans to the Moon. We are concerned that the flat funding profile in the Administration's out year projections may be unrealistic for such a large scale development effort without jeopardizing NASA's ability to successfully accomplish its portfolio of missions.
We also endorse the Administration's commitment to modernize our nation's air traffic control network by allocating $800 million to the Next Generation Air Transportation System. This multi-agency program, led by the FAA and NASA, requires a high level of research, development, and validation to ensure mission success. A robust, safe and efficient air transportation system, capable of handling three-times current traffic levels, is fundamental to promoting economic growth as well as maintaining our quality of life.