MR. JACOBS: Good afternoon. Welcome to NASA Headquarters here in Washington. My name is Bob Jacobs. I am with the Office of Communications, and we are here to discuss the Fiscal Year 2013 Budget Proposal.
This year, we are trying something a little different. As well as traditional media representatives, for the first time we have invited members of the social media community to be a part of today's presentation, and we will be taking questions via Twitter using the #AskNASA. So we thank everyone for joining us for today's presentation.
We will go over some of the ground rules first, but well, wait a second. I want to make sure I capture this. If we are going to be social media, I need to do it from here too.
MR. JACOBS: Okay. Got a Photo.
All right. With that, we will have a presentation and a preview of the 2013 Budget Proposal.
MR. JACOBS: And as we get ready to continue the presentation, I think it is important someone tweeted that Seth Borenstein is apparently more social media awesome than me because he tweeted faster than I did, and I am up here at the podium, so that was pretty quick.
MR. JACOBS: Before we get to the question and answer session, it is my pleasure to introduce the NASA Administrator Charles Bolden. Please welcome him.
ADMINISTRATOR BOLDEN: Thank you very much, Bob, and thanks to all of you for coming out today. This is a special day for us, and I would like to join Bob in welcoming all of those who came to tweet.
Some of you heard me talk to them as I came in. I get a chance to see them down at the Cape and other places when they come out for launches, and before anybody asks the question, I will answer it. They are here because they represent a totally new way for us to communicate with our public. They represent a way that we just did not know how to do before, and we are trying to take advantage of technologies that are available. So I welcome you, and I really appreciate all that you have done to help us tell our story over the last few years.
It is my privilege today to be here to share NASA's Fiscal Year 2013 budget. It is a great new story. It is a $17.7billion blueprint for NASA and the nation to embark on an ambitious plan of space exploration that will take us farther into the solar system than we have ever gone.
Despite a constrained fiscal environment, this budget continues to aggressively implement the Space Exploration program agreed to by the President and a bipartisan majority in Congress, laying the foundation for remarkable discoveries here on Earth as well as in deep space.
While reaching for new heights in space, we are creating new jobs right here on Earth, helping to support an economy that is built to last. We are developing new capacities of exploration, new ways of doing business and creating a bright future driven by aviation and space technology breakthroughs and missions to places we have never been, including an asteroid and Mars.
The time for debate about our future is over. We have a solid plan, a sustainable plan, and we are moving out to implement it, opening the next great chapter of American exploration.
There is no doubt that tough decisions had to be made here at NASA as well as across the government; however, this is a stable budget that allows us to support a diverse portfolio of human exploration, technology development, science, aeronautics, and education work. This budget continues the work we started last year with bipartisan support of the Congress and approval of the President.
We have made steady and tangible progress on the nextgeneration deep space crew capsule and our new heavylift rocket that will launch astronauts on journeys to destinations farther in our solar system. Those priorities are funded in this budget.
Already, we have been doing test firing to the J2X that will power the heavylift's upper stage. Orion has undergone water drop tests for its eventual ocean landings. Funding is included in this budget to keep this important work going.
We have continued to maintain an American presence in space on board the International Space Station, our orbiting laboratory where we learn more about human health and demonstrate technologies like those we will need for bolder missions in the future.
This budget funds our work on Station while supporting jobs right here at home. As a former astronaut and head of the world's most successful space agency, I am committed to launching astronauts from American soil on spacecraft built by American companies.
This year, we will have the firstever launch and berthing of a spacecraft by a private company. That is a critical historic milestone.
Just last week, we issued an announcement for proposals for the next round of commercial crew acquisition activities. This budget provides the funding needed to bring that work back home to the U.S. and get American companies transporting our astronauts into space.
Some of these are the same American companies on whom we are depending to build the biggest rocket this nation has ever produced to go deeper into space to destinations like an asteroid, back to the moon, and on to Mars. These are like the American companies on whom we are depending to build the stateoftheart crew capsule that will carry U.S. astronauts farther than anyone has ever gone before.
We just concluded our latest call for astronauts, which drew a nearrecord number of applicants. The 2013 class will join the class of 2009 that just graduated last November and is even now training for missions of the future. These are the first space travelers that could one day reach an asteroid, and they will pioneer the path for future astronauts to set foot on Mars.
Space technology is generating the ideas and the actual innovations that will take us farther, ideas such as solar electric propulsion and lightweight cryogenic propellant tanks. These cuttingedge ideas are all supported in this budget that builds on the work we have already been doing.
Last year, we provided 80 Space Technology Research fellowships to graduate students to complete their studies and join us in tomorrow's missions. Continuation of that important initiative is funded in this budget.
With this budget, we continue to refine and demonstrate technologies that will increase our nation's capabilities. This budget provides for more of the type of projects like the three Technology Demonstration Mission Proposals we selected this year to transform space laser communications, deep space navigation using atomic clocks, and inspace propulsion capabilities, including solar sails.
We do many things in space. As I said in the video, spending U.S. taxpayer dollars is not one of them. Every dollar spent on space exploration is spent right here on Earth. This budget insources jobs, creates capabilities here at home, and strengthens our workforce.
The rapid pace of scientific discoveries from NASA missions continues. This year, we will land Curiosity, the largest rover ever, on Mars and continue to develop and conduct critical tests on the James Webb Space Telescope, leading to its planned launch in 2018. As the successor to the Hubble Space Telescope, the Webb Telescope will again revolutionize our understanding of the universe.
This budget supports more than 80 science missions, 56 currently in operation and 28 now under development, that cover the vital data we need to understand our own planet, diverse missions reaching farther into our solar system, and the next generation of observatories peering beyond the reaches of our neighborhood to other galaxies and their solar systems and undiscovered phenomena.
However, tough choices had to be made. This means we will not be moving forward with the planned 2016 and 2018 ExoMars mission that we had been exploring with the European Space Agency. Instead, we will develop an integrated strategy to ensure that the next steps for Mars exploration will support science as well as human exploration goals and potentially take advantage of the 20182020 exploration window. The budget provides support for this new approach, and this process will be informed by extensive coordination with the science community and our international partners.
This administration remains committed to a vibrant and coordinated strategy of Mars exploration and continuing America's leadership role in the exploration of the Red Planet with an available budget.
Our goals include not only new pathbreaking robotic missions to Mars but also future human missions, as outlined by the President. I have tasked the head of the Science Mission Directorate, Dr. John Grunsfeld; the head of Human Exploration, Bill Gerstenmaier; our Chief Technologist, Dr. Mason Peck; and our Chief Scientist, Dr. Waleed Abdalati, with crafting an integrated Mars strategy, one that will ensure that the next steps for the robotic Mars Exploration program will support science as well as longterm human exploration goals.
The missions currently at Mars the Mars Science Laboratory, on its way, and MAVEN, well into development will provide many years of data to help us understand the Red Planet and our needs in future years to meet the President's challenge to send humans to Mars in the mid 2030s.
In Aeronautics, our investments are driving technology breakthroughs for cleaner, safer, and more efficient aircraft. The millions of flyers around the world will benefit from our work and our partnership with greater aviation community to transform our air travel system.
One of my greatest pleasures is to talk to young people and answer their questions about what it is like to go to space and how they can pursue a career in science, technology, engineering, and math. In this budget, we focus on education programs with measurable return. This will help us feed that pipeline we so urgently need of new scientists and engineers to share their energies, their passions, and great intelligence with us.
I am very optimistic about our future and our next generation of exploration leaders. The missions we begin now, the technologies we create now, and the discoveries we make are all going to inspire them and help us sustain an American community built to last. This budget is about American innovation and American ingenuity. It is about keeping the U.S. the world leader in space exploration and showcasing our knack for solving problems and improving life here on Earth.
We are ready to work, ready to be surprised not only by what we discover but by how much we can accomplish when we work together as one nation, proud and energized by a space program that is reaching higher and unfolding the future today.
Now let me turn the podium over to my erstwhile Chief Financial Officer, Dr. Beth Robinson, to brief the details of the Fiscal Year 2013 Budget Proposal before we take your questions.
DR. ROBINSON: Thank you, Charlie.
Can we bring up my slides?
The presentation I am going to be talking to is the one that should be up on the website now, and this is the cover of all of our budget materials. As we have said, we talk a lot about rockets and crew capsules and satellites and all that, but, of course, that is all done by people, and these are some of the people who have worked so hard to bring all those things to fruition.
Charlie and our video gave a lot of over, so I am going to skip over the first four slides. If you are interested in them, go to the website to read them. Can I have the next? Keep on going. Next one. Okay.
So, to start looking at more of the details, I want to make sure we are all on the same page. NASA has produced budgets in different formats and with different assumptions, and so I want to go through them here.
First is our outyears. NASA has programs that last 5, 7, 10 years, and we need to plan them on that kind of time scale. So we need some planning envelope to which we work to.
I am sure you have already heard from the President's budget that the discretionary outyears are notional. Ours are as well, but we do develop a plan to a top line, and our top line here is nominally flat, meaning no increase with inflation. This should remind you of last year. This is an exact duplicate of last year, and so the counts in general are held at that request, but you are going to see trades within accounts to account for the rise and fall of missions and other needs.
Also in this budget, you are going to see a change in the emphasis of what kinds of expenditures we are doing, and in particular, we are working to reduce the administrative expenditures, travel, supplies, IT, energy management in order to increase expenditures within the same top line, increase them on programmatic expenditures.
In 2012, we have a goal. This year, we have a goal to reduce our administrative costs by $100 million, and we are well on our way to meeting that, and for the '13 budget, we are doubling that to $200 million.
We are well into a multi-year effort to work with our workforce and realign it as our programmatic needs have changed; in particular, of course, the Space Shuttle has had its last flight last year. And so this budget, you will see that, part of the reorienting of our workforce, and we have a small reduction that is consistent with the budget limitations.
And then, also, all the numbers are presented in full cost. I think you remember last year, we had labor broken out by project. This year, we're not. All project costs are together and included in the cost of a specific program or project. The institutional costs are still in their account, but we are working in full cost.
Okay, next slide.
This slide is impossible to talk to. I like to include it just to say, "Yes, the numbers add up." Go check it out for yourself. I am also going to talk through the various lines here in detail.
Part of what Charlie and others have said is that we do have a very vigorous launch profile. Even with the Shuttle retiring last year, NASA is going to be launching a lot of things from Kennedy and elsewhere. About half of them are science and work with our partners, and the other half are trips with cargo and eventually crew back and forth to the Station.
Okay. And our first account, speaking of launches, the Earth Science program is heading for two launches in 2013: the Landsat Data Continuity Mission and the Global Precipitation Mission. The program also is still vigorously working on many of the projects that I think you probably know well, SMAP, ICESat2, the replacement for OCO1, OCO2. And we are maintaining our research and modeling capabilities. One of the great things about working at NASA is we have so many missions in operation that are streaming down data as we speak, and in Earth Science, we have 16, and we are working on that data every day.
In Planetary Science, Charlie mentioned this is one of the few aspects really of our budget that has changed much since '12. One of the major messages of this budget is that we are continuing that bipartisan plan that we developed in the 2010 Authorization Act.
So here, you do see a reduction of about .3 billion from 2012. Almost all of that, in fact, indeed all of it can be attributed to the launch last year of MSL and Juno. So, of course, the expenditures go down at that point, and we are planning two more launches in '13, LADEE and MAVEN. And so, again, their expenditures go down.
So the question that we were facing is how much do you then reorient and build up into a new portfolio, and we are taking advantage of this time to restructure our longterm Mars missions. And I say long term because, of course, MSL is on its way and is going to be producing data for years to come. MAVEN will be going in a year or so, but our longterm missions, we are looking at it to better integrate our science and human Mars exploration efforts.
We are also funding the development of OSIRISREx to go to an asteroid in 2016, and we have 16, as well, missions in operation. And some of you know we have been trying to crack the problem of developing energy sources for satellites as they go so far away from Earth in our planetary programming sorry away from the Sun and that its source of energy, and so we are working on technology, the Advanced Stirling Radioisotope Generator, and on production of plutonium238 in this budget to supply the energy needed for future launches.
For astrophysics, I think you remember last year, we broke out the James Webb Telescope line from astrophysics. We did that again this year. This is the nonJames Webb part. We are just funding the development of GEMS, the Gravity and Extreme Magnetism mission. SOFIA is flying, as you can see in the picture. We have a robust R&A program, and we have 11 astrophysics missions; most notably Hubble, still in operation.
Here is the James Webb Space Telescope. I hope these numbers look very familiar to you. This is the plan that we briefed last summer and the numbers associated with it. This program is working hard and has targeted the October 2018 launch date, and as you can see, they are making progress as we speak.
Heliophysics. The one thing I should have mentioned on the astrophysics slide is that the Research Council had asked us to increase our focus on Explorer missions, on the smaller missions, and we are doing that in this budget. So, from the astrophysics budget, we are selecting an Explorer mission in 2013. In Heliophysics, we are actually launching one in 2013, and we are selecting the next one also in 2013.
We are continuing to work toward the launch of MMS in 2015, and we are continuing the formulation of the next large mission, the Solar Probe Plus mission, and we are already undertaking initial development of the Solar Orbiter collaboration with ESA. And we are still operating 16 heliophysics missions in space.
Before going on from our science portfolio, I want to mention how much work we do do with other agencies, billions of dollars worth of work, and our largest partner by far is NOAA. And we are working with them on the Joint Polar Satellite System. Those are Jason3 and the Discovery Satellite. They all are proceeding to pace.
Aeronautics. Aeronautics has a slight decrease of about $18 million from '12 to '13. A little less than half of that, though, is a content transfer where we are transferring entry, descent, and landing activities from this account to the space technology account. This account is supporting, again, the same initiatives that you have seen now for several years on improving aviation safety, minimizing the environmental impact of aviation, and developing innovative air traffic management technologies, which are truly they are coming to fruition. It is going to be very exciting to see the energy savings and other things we get from those as they roll out.
We are also continuing from last year a reduction in the hypersonics research. We are combining hypersonics with supersonic research into a single project to focus on fundamental research for highspeed flight.
Space technology. This is its debut as a fully formed new account. We had that account created in the 2012 budget and in the 2012 appropriation, and we are asking for $699 million here, a slight increase. That is mainly to support the big nine projects they have going and the scholarships and other things that Charlie was mentioning, and these are in areas such as inspace propulsion, robotics, deep space communications. You can see there a solar sail. And the point of this program is to advance revolutionary concepts that industry is not yet ready to take on, and then the program also vigorously works to commercialize those technologies to ensure the economic value and ensure the spinoffs that we have seen so many years from NASA research into our economy.
Moving on to the Human Exploration Directorate, one of the largest things we do there is to develop the heavylift launch system and crew capsule, the SLS, and MPCV. You are going to see two changes here maybe I will describe them as three changes here in presentation that was requested by the Congress. So it is important to understand these if you are trying to compare to previous years' budgets.
First is that the Congress asked us to break out the ground system component of SLS, the Space Launch System, from that line. So you are now going to see three lines here. Instead of this SLS and MPCV, you are going to see SLS, MPCV, and Exploration Systems Development, ESD. You are also going to see a transfer of construction funds from this account to the construction account. So they will be over in the construction account, even though they really are ESD activities, and that is because Congress only allows us to do construction in one account, and they wanted all the money over there, so we have done that.
So then the third thing is actually about exploration ground systems itself. We have broken that into two pieces. The largest by far is that associated with SLS and Orion. It is about $400 million, but there is a piece that is focused on commercial multiuse capability at Kennedy. That is in the Space Ops Director and Space Ops account, and I will be talking about it when we get there.
Okay, next slide.
Well, if you combine all of these things and put them back together, so that you can compare to last year's formulation, we are still developing the heavylift vehicle at $1.88 billion. Of course, part of that are corresponding modifications and operations at KSC for about $400 million.
We are also developing the Orion MultiPurpose Crew Vehicle at about a billion dollars. That is including construction, and that number should look familiar to you. Last year, we spent quite a lot of time and effort formulating a plan to build both SLS and MPCV. It was looked at by the independent cost assessors, and so this is the number that was in that plan. So we are going back to plan for both SLS and MPCV.
This does support an exploration flight test in 2014 of Orion, so reduce the crew vehicle program and costs and schedule risks.
Also in the Human Exploration Directorate, we have our commercial space flight Program. We have talked about it being so important to provide first cargo and then crew to the International Space Station with American companies. We have asked for $830 million here, and the vast majority of this amount plus amounts from the 406 that was appropriated this year will go to support the proposals that come in, in response to the announcement for proposals that went out last week. We have every intent to select more than one provider for that. It is really important to keep competition going in this program, both to assure that we have the safety capabilities, the technological capabilities, and the robustness that we need to ensure that we develop strong commercial space flight capability.
There is a dedicated research and development program in the Human Research and the Human Exploration Directorate that focuses on technologies that are very close, that can be rapidly prototyped to use in both SLS, MPCV, and other programs as well as things like human research that are so important to understanding exactly what is going on, on the ISS at this time and others and to go into deep space.
So here, we have the Advanced Exploration Systems Program, which is the technology work, and the Human Research Program, which is the technology and biological science work. I think you know that we reorganized the Human Exploration Directorate last year, and we do have a dedicated SLPSRA, the Science and Life Sciences and Physical Sciences Program and Research Program [sic]. That program coordinates both the HRP and a piece that I will talk about when we get to the Space Operations Directorate account. Sorry.
And here we are at Space Ops. This is the Space Shuttle program has thousands and thousands of pieces of equipment that need to be transitioned and retired, and we hope that this is the last year we will be asking for funds to do this. It is a multi-year program.
And the biggest of those pieces of equipment are, of course, the orbiters themselves, and Discovery is going to the Smithsonian by April of this year. That will mean that the enterprise moves from there to the Intrepid Museum in New York. Endeavour is going to arrive at the California Science Center in September, and Atlantis will be transported to KSC's Visitor Center next year in '13.
This is our main account to fund the International Space Station. It funds its routine operation, its extension in lifetime, and utilization of the ISS research capabilities, including the oversight of CASIS that was talked about in the video.
There is also a slight increase int his account. It is primarily to fund the acquisition of crew and cargo to the ISS for after 2016. You know, we need to contract at least 3 years earlier in order to do that.
Last year's budget carried us through mid 2016. This year's budget will add seats after that, and since there is probably a high likelihood that we will have some from Soyuz at that point, that does involve the INKSNA issue. And the administration will be coming forth in early spring here with an INKSNA proposal.
Space Flight Support is an account that supports all the work that we do, ground systems and satellites, to enable space flight for us and our partners. It also supports the modernization plans for a 21st century space launch complex. This is the amount that I was talking about that is the multiuser commercial capability. It is about $40 million in this budget. We provide all the space communication and navigation capabilities, and this last year, we initiated we exercised the option to get the next TDRSM Satellite. That is fully funded here. And then there is a number of things this account does ranging from crew and crew preparation to ensuring safe NASA that ELVs launch safely, NASAsponsored payloads, and also it does our rocket propulsion testing.
We also talked about how important our education efforts are at NASA. Education occurs throughout all of our missions and our accounts, but we also have a dedicated account for education activities. There is a decrease here from last year. We were appropriated this year at 138, but this program has been working very hard with the Office of Science and Technology Policy and has developed and is working on the CoSTEM 5year strategic plan and is bringing what NASA can do uniquely, as you saw the very handson and other things we will be doing uniquely to this program, and then we will be working very collaboratively with NSF, the Department of Education, and others on other activities.
We do fully support the Minority University Research and Education Projects, which supports HBCUs, private colleges, and Hispanicserving institutions, and we have a lot of leveraging going on between government, academia, and industry in this account.
So, finally, NASA is as great as it is in large part because of the centers that we have. We have nine centers around the country, and these are the accounts that fund the operations and maintenance and construction primarily at those facilities.
So the crossagency support account is roughly funded about $2.8 billion. That is a decrease, but if you remember, I talked about at the beginning how we are trying to drive down administrative costs focusing on programs. That is where you are going to see the fruition of that, is in these reduced numbers. We will still conduct all the safety and reliability and assurance of safety and mission success that we have done in the past.
Similarly, we talked about the construction account, and you can see here, the numbers here are larger. It is 619, and its usual runout which is in the 400s. That is because we have transferred amounts, 144 from exploration, being the largest, into this account in accordance with Congress' wishes to have it all funded in one account.
MR. JACOBS: All right. We will get started here at Headquarters and then around to field centers and some questions from social media.
So we will go ahead and get started here with Seth over at AP. Don't forget to give us your name and your affiliation.
QUESTIONER (Associated Press): Thank you. Seth Borenstein, Associated Press.
For Charlie, can you tell me how do you reconcile the President's stated space goals of going to Mars with humans and cooperating with the Europeans when you are cutting two European Martian missions against what I am trying to understand, is when you are ramping up to send humans to Mars, why are you cutting robotic missions? How will that not affect human exploration of Mars? Because when NASA last tried to go someplace new, the Moon, you ramped up, not down the robotic missions. Can you explain how that works?
ADMINISTRATOR BOLDEN: Let me try. As I said, we are embarked on an ambitious program to take us farther than we have ever been before, and the program on which we are embarked complies with the fundamental premises of the 2010 Authorization Act as decided by the Congress, signed into law by the President, and what we are doing with our partners is not walking away at all, but we are trying to get together with them such that we take the limited assets that we all now have.
We have been discussing this for almost a little bit more than 2 months now. Everybody is seeing decreased funding. So we are trying to take the funds that are available and restructure a reasonable robotic Mars exploration strategy.
A couple of things I want to say, though, to make sure that everybody understands what we are doing, we are not talking about evaluating a new mission or a new mission concept. We are talking about a fundamental change in the way we do business. We are talking about developing a new strategy for robotic exploration and have had conversations with our European partners, the Russians, everybody as late as this morning. Everyone understands where we are. Everyone is very glad about two things: one, that our budget is 17.7, because they believe what you were writing, so they expected it was going to be much worse; and they are very happy that we are still intent on cooperating with them on Mars exploration, robotic Mars exploration.
So I see that we are trying to gain efficiency. We are trying to get a more by virtue of getting a program that is realistic, I think it is more robust. You remember, as Beth pointed out, we have a Rover opportunity that is busy on the Moon on Mars right now, still sending us data. We have two orbiters that continue to send data and are helping us in formulating plans to go forward. MSL is on its way, will land in August, and that is a mission that is slated for 2 years, but it has 55 years worth of power. So, for someone to say we are walking away from Mars with the largest Rover ever, not even there yet, I don't think that makes much sense.
And then MAVEN, one of the things we don't understand about Mars is its atmosphere, period, but its upper atmosphere is going to be studied with the MAVEN mission that is on track to launch in 2013.
So I think we are moving right along the way that we thought. We found that we could not afford the path we were on, and so we are getting together with the science community and our partners in determining a better strategy for attacking our robotic Mars missions.
MR. JACOBS: Sure.
QUESTIONER (Associated Press): What does that do for a Mars sample return? Is that completely off the table, and what are you really going to miss?
ADMINISTRATOR BOLDEN: Nothing is off the table, Seth, but I will tell you, when people a problematic part of the ExoMars mission as it was laid out was that it was another, quote/unquote and you hear us use this term _ "flagship" mission. It was another multibilliondollar mission.
We have MSL on its way, a flagship. We have James Webb Space Telescope in work, a flagship. Flagships are essential for this nation. Anybody in the scientific community will tell you that anybody that wants to lead the world in scientific exploration and discovery has to do flagships every once in a while. We just could not do another flagship right now. It was not in the cards with the budget, given these very difficult fiscal times.
So you are going to hear hopefully, you can grab John Grunsfeld, and this corner is the Amen Corner over here, but hopefully, you will hear them say things like we are looking at mediumclass missions, not flagship missions, that accomplish the objectives that were set out in the ExoMars program that meet the priorities as laid out for us in the Decadal Survey, the Planetary Decadal, and it remains to be seen whether we can do that or not. We are confident we can.
The excitement of people sitting around the table in the last few weeks is something that I find personally very rewarding. We are asking them to think about things they didn't think about. We are asking them to think about doing, getting information in ways that they did not do before, so that is exciting for us.
MR. JACOBS: Thanks, Seth. Let's go to Mark, right there.
QUESTIONER (Orlando Sentinel): Mark Mathews with the Orlando Sentinel.
Could one of you guys just list every single program that was affected by the cost overruns of James Webb that either had their budgets reduced or cut outright?
ADMINISTRATOR BOLDEN: Could we do that? Do you want to say that again?
QUESTIONER (Orlando Sentinel): List all the programs that were saw their budgets completely cut or reduced as a result of the overruns of James Webb. We know about the two European Mars missions, but what else in addition to those saw their budgets cut or reduced?
ADMINISTRATOR BOLDEN: Mark, I think you know as well as I do, these are very difficult fiscal times. I think if you listened to any of the budget rollouts that came prior to this one, everyone is reducing their budgets. That is the only thing we can do. So I don't agree with the premise that you levy in the first place.
We are having to make tough decisions because these are tough economic times. You look at our education program; that had nothing to do at all with anything. You know, we are really looking for smarter ways to do business. Leland put together an education design team that has told us new ways to get measurable data. That is what I talked about in my comments. I want to be able to measure and give you metrics data that says we are being successful in the things we are doing, and you are going to find that we do things a little bit differently than you are accustomed to.
QUESTIONER (Orlando Sentinel): Right, I understand that, but James Webb, the cost of the programs are larger than what's expected. There has to be some other program that eats that money in order to pay for it. I mean, it's simple math.
ADMINISTRATOR BOLDEN: We are embarked on an ambitious program of exploration. We are trying to meet the premises or the agreements that the President made with the Congress after their bipartisan vote on the Authorization Act and then the appropriations for this year, and we are trying to do things that create jobs for America and create new technology, and that's what we're doing.
MR. JACOBS: Mark, thank you. Let's go to the front here. Frank, Frank Morring.
QUESTIONER (Aviation Week): Hi. It is Frank Morring, Aviation Week.
For Beth, you mentioned I think you used the word "realignment" of employment, and there are different kinds of employment at NASA civil service, contractors, and the people at JPL. With the reduction in the Mars program, can you put some numbers on that realignment particularly as it relates to contractors and people at JPL?
DR. ROBINSON: Well, I would like you to address that question to JPL, because they know it the best, but I will give you the way we think about it.
You know, first of all, in 2012, we are not expecting any real employment impacts, but we will be seeking to reorient some of the work there. But that will all be within JPL, away from the 20162018 portfolio and toward the new formulation effort and the technologies that will take.
Now, MSL was as you ramp up MSL, you there were going to be several hundred more jobs, maybe a maximum of 300 to 400, that would have ramped off, and so the issue is always how much more money we were going to do to bring it you know, to focus JPL on a new project. So you will still see those rampoffs.
But in addition to the projects that the Mars specific project, the followon that we have been talking about, the 300 to 400 assumes that JPL and that's sort of the worst case JPL is also going to be working with the science with the Space Technology Program on entry, descent, and landing, has a very small project there that is ramping up. It also has bids in for in fact, even a Mars mission in 2016, a very small mission, and numerous other things.
So, as always with science, since we have a competitive environment, we are never quite sure who is going to win, so we can't say that they're you know, how it is going to go, but, you know, JPL has done well in the past. We expect them to do well in the future.
QUESTIONER (Aviation Week): I am a little bit curious about where I should count from. Should I count from what you actually have in '12, or should I count from what you projected for '12 last year? There is about a billion dollars difference there in terms of how you are calculating roughly where your jobs will be in '13 and beyond.
DR. ROBINSON: Do you mean JPL alone, or you mean for well, yeah. I mean, as you go down a billion dollars, that will have job impacts. Obviously, there's job impacts primarily on our contracts. We are sustaining our civil servant workforce, and we don't have we just finished '11, and we have those figures, and so and that was based on a budget that was $18.4 billion. So we actually you know, we were hoping to go up, right, if you remember from budgets past, and so we're down not quite a billion, though. We're down only about 700 million.
MR. JACOBS: All right. Let's
DR. ROBINSON: And I'm sorry. I just want to say one other thing. It's that we were already planning to go down, and one of the interesting things about NASA, right, is that we were ramping off the Shuttle program. So we had planned all of those decreases.
What has happened is, you know, the debate has been about how much, again, do we reinvest in other programs, and so almost all of the reductions and in fact, I would almost say all of the reductions in contractor support that you see were already planned, they are familiar to you, they are the Space Shuttle reductions.
MR. JACOBS: All right. Let's go to the back here. Dan?
QUESTIONER (Space News): Hi. Dan Leone with Space News. Morning, everyone.
If I heard you right, you are planning on buying more seats from the Russians to ride the astronauts up to the ISS, and that seems like an admission that it is going to take longer than 2017 for the commercial providers here to take those astronauts to the Space Station, and I'm happy because
ADMINISTRATOR BOLDEN: I hope I hope you didn't hear us say that, because we didn't. We didn't give you a date. What I said was we were asking for we are asking to take the commercial crew funding line up to 837 or so, and we have changed our acquisition strategy, which allows us to bring in more competitors. Fourteen to 20 months from whenever we award the winners of the Space Act Agreements, we would hope to be able to go into competition for firm fixedprice contracts that we can deliver at the present schedule that we have.
So, no, we have not said we intend to go any longer. We would love to close the gap. If we get the adequate funding that we are asking for, we think we can hold the schedule that we are on right now.
QUESTIONER (Space News): But you are now budgeting in this budget. I thought you said to buy seats from Russia.
DR. ROBINSON: Well, what I should have said is and I thought I did say was that we're budgeting to buy seats, and so I think any agency like ours, which is planning 5, 10 years in horizon, is always trying to be prudent and hedge our bets, and so the instant issue comes up if we eventually have to buy seats that go past 2016, and so I was saying that we are we are looking for a proposal there. We are working on a proposal, so that we cannot get ourselves into a box, you know, about the exact date of the instant proposal or instant authority at this point in time.
MR. JACOBS: Okay. Thank you, Beth.
Let's go over to our social media side, actually here in the back. Make sure you get the microphone.
QUESTIONER (Nature): Hi. Eric Hand with Nature.
This question is for Charlie. You mentioned that you cast your brain trust over here with trying to come up with a new strategy for Mars exploration, an integrated strategy, human and science, mission directorates. Can you be more specific? So far, I have heard kind of two things. You want things to be cheaper. You don't want flagships; you want mediumclass missions. And then someone also gave the example of, you know, sensors like on MSL to gather data about the space radiation environment, but other than that, can you be more specific by what you mean by an integrated
ADMINISTRATOR BOLDEN: Yeah. And let me be very specific about what I do not mean. We are not merging directorates. We are not merging science and human exploration. We are looking for synergies. We are realizing that
QUESTIONER (Nature): Can you give me an example of the synergies?
ADMINISTRATOR BOLDEN: Oh, I can give you well, let me not deal in hypotheticals, because that is what I have asked them to go off and do, and as I mentioned, we are not I do not want to try to define a mission, because that is something that the science community would find probably find offensive if the NASA Administrator decided that he had an idea on how we should now go into robotic Mars exploration.
So I understand your frustration at the NASA Administrator not being able to give you an example, but I have sworn off on that, and that is what I have asked John and the group to they are coming up with a conceptual form of how we can strategize with our international partners, how we can go back to the science community in the form of the NRC and the Decadal Survey Group and how we can go to academic and industry and find out how do we synergize in order to give us best science return for our dollar and also support the continuing path that we are on to meet the President's challenge of being able to put humans in the Martian vicinity in the mid 2030s.
So it is going to be several months before that team is able to come in and say, "Okay. We have met with the Europeans. We have met with the science community. We are all on the same sheet of music now. So here is the strategy we want to do, and here are some concepts of things that we can do." It won't take years, trust me, because we have got to be able to lay out a plan if we are going to realize, if we are going to be able to capture the 20182020 mission window, which is optimal for a Mars mission. So it will be months, not years.
MR. JACOBS: Eric, thank you. Let's go over here.
QUESTIONER (Science Magazine): Hi. Yudhijit Bhattacharjee with Science Magazine.
I saw in the budget numbers that there has already been quite a bit of money spent on the Mars Trace Gas Orbiter. I think something like 30 million was spent in 2011. Now, since that is not going to fly in 2016, because ExoMars is canceled, what is the public going to get out of that money that was spent? So, basically, two questions. How much money has NASA already spent on ExoMars, and where are we going to see that return?
ADMINISTRATOR BOLDEN: I am not going to try to tell you how much we have spent on 2016, because I don't know, but we will get you an answer.
Again, I will tell you, what we are trying to do is live within our means, live within the budget that we saw we had. We are trying to be able to carry out this ambitious program by putting our heads together with our European partners and others and come up with a strategy that will get us a welldefined Mars robotic Mars exploration program that will put us on a path to meet the President's challenge for putting humans, you know, within the Martian environment in the mid 2030s, but we will have to get you an answer on how much money has been spent on ExoMars, you know, on the 2016 mission and the formulation of a 2018 mission, because we hadn't gotten any further than formulations so far.
QUESTIONER (Science Magazine): But still, some of the money that has already been spent, I mean, there must be equipment out there.
ADMINISTRATOR BOLDEN: You are asking me a question I cannot answer for you, and I am saying we will get you an answer. As Beth said, probably the best people to ask are the folks out at JPL. We are told by them that they have people and work that will continue to go on, as happens in a lot of our cases. We are able to take the crown jewels from any program and use them on others. When you talk about synergies and looking at a strategy for going forward, you would probably hope that you can utilize or take advantage of things that you've done already.
MR. JACOBS: Some of those deeper specific questions, we can address during the followup media telecons. The schedule is on NASA.gov.
Let's take one more question over here, and then we will take a couple from Twitter, and then we will go to the field centers.
QUESTIONER (Karen Lopez): Hi. I am Karen Lopez. I am Datachick on Twitter.
One of the ways that the public, the rest of us, can benefit from all these NASA missions is via access to open government transparency and open data initiatives, like at data.NASA.gov. Have budget pressures made any changes to those programs? Will they continue to expand?
ADMINISTRATOR BOLDEN: Do you want to take that?
DR. ROBINSON: Okay. So NASA couple things. One is you know the administration has a very vigorous Open Government Initiative, and NASA is a participant in that. And it recently went international, and we have an international event coming up in April April, thank you April, where we will be gathering together folks from around the world, virtually, of course, to work on things. So we have very vigorous programs.
And a large part of what we do in Open Government is, as you said, we leverage off of things that the programs do already, make their data available, make it accessible, Open Government a little bit more just to point them in the right direction. So it's really Open Government is really a philosophy at NASA that we try to put as much as we can out into the public in the most understandable way possible, and so we are doing that.
The Open Government Initiative has taken us in a few different directions, and we will continue that. We plan to keep going forward, but it is always when you talk about Open Government, it is really it is hard to predict, because we are going to do so much, right? We are going to have so much data coming in and all of that. NASA is a very exciting place to work, because now we have apps on our iPhones from NASA and a whole bunch of things, so we are already out there in terms of Open Government and enjoy
QUESTIONER (Karen Lopez): [Speaking off mic.]
DR. ROBINSON: Well, not in the near future. We're going to assess I am looking at my partner here. I am the senior accountable official for Open Government, and then our CIO over there
ADMINISTRATOR BOLDEN: We are both looking at the CIO.
DR. ROBINSON: Yeah, we are both looking at the CIO, and it is her folks mainly who do it. And so I think we are really going to assess up to this international event, how to keep those kind of things going or not.
MR. JACOBS: Let's take a question that we received from Twitter. It says, "With the ISS budget remaining steady over the coming years, what plans does NASA have to increase utilization and returns?"
ADMINISTRATOR BOLDEN: I think one of the things you are seeing already, we have finally put in place CASIS, the nongovernmental organization to help us recruit researchers and research for the International Space Station, bring some enhancements to its operation. We want to better utilize it. We want to make sure we can expand its use through 2020.
What will be critical for us, however, as I mentioned before, is for us to speed the development of commercial cargo and crew capability, so that we can support the International Space Station with American crews on America vehicles using American technology. That is really important for us, and I would say that the ISS is critical for any deep space exploration future. It is also critical for bringing benefits back here to Earth, whether it's drugs like the Salmonella vaccine that most of the work for which was done on the ISS or BIOS I think they are called "Biocapsules" that are being developed right now. These are all things that benefit humans on Earth, and they have, hopefully, some benefit for astronauts, but we are trying to make life better for people here on Earth, and the ISS is doing that right now.
MR. JACOBS: One more Twitter question here, and then we will go out to the Kennedy Space Center. We have got several questions along the same theme. I will try to parse these out, but people are expressing some concern that we reward large projects that have significant cost overruns, and they are asking how we can better fund these longterm projects and get costs under control, so we don't cannibalize other projects and programs.
ADMINISTRATOR BOLDEN: These are, as the question implies, very difficult fiscal times, and we are trying, we are doing all that we can to be fiscally responsible to make sure that our programs fit into the provisions of the Authorization Act that came from Congress and help us with the ambitious programs that we want.
We have instituted programs like Joint Confidence Level analyses. If you look at programs like Grail, Juno, the last
DR. ROBINSON: [Speaking off mic.]
ADMINISTRATOR BOLDEN: I forget. But some of the more recent missions that we have launched have come in on cost, on schedule, because we are now we have refined our management training, our management techniques. We pay much more attention to detail when it comes to cost and schedule, so I think that you are going to find that we are doing projects on time and on cost.
The other thing that I will say, before you can go out and ask for big projects, then you have got to demonstrate that you can do little ones well, and that is what we are doing. We are making slow, steady progress. If you look at where we are with the James Webb Space Telescope, since we replanned that mission, we send every month an accounting of how we are doing on meeting milestones and meeting costs, and I am very proud to say that from the time that we did the replan and we started that documentation, we are on time or ahead in some cases, on cost or below what we estimated the cost to be. And through diligence and really paying attention to it, I think we can do that.
MR. JACOBS: All right. Let's go to some of the field centers. We will begin at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. Your question?
QUESTIONER (WESHTV): Yes. Hi. My name is Dan Billow, WESHTV. Question for General Bolden.
My question has three dates, and I missed part of your last answer. I hope this isn't a repetition, but when what's your best estimate for the first crewed launch of Orion, the first crewed launch of the SLS, and what how are those different from the last budget, if any? And the third date is, the first launch from American soil of an astronaut on a commercial vehicle, what would be your best guess for when that happens, please?
ADMINISTRATOR BOLDEN: I'm not going to guess. I am going to cite for you what is in our plan, and I am sticking with it. It is my story, and I'm sticking with it.
The plan date for the first launch of a from American soil in an American commercial spacecraft is no earlier than 2017, and we are confident. As I said, if we can get the budget we are asking, then we are confident we can hold to that budget, if not better.
The next plan, let me just go through what we briefed before. First flight of Orion will hopefully be 2014, and it is an exploration test, run by Lockheed, as a matter of fact, and we will take the data that they gather from that. It will accelerate the vehicle in two orbits of Earth, such that its reentry, velocity, and pressures will be similar to what we would experience coming back from the Moon or from a deep space mission, so that we can verify that the vehicle is as good as we think it will be.
The second date is 2017 for the first flight, integrated flight of Orion on the SLA, that is uncrewed, and the first crewed flight is now scheduled for 2021. So that's it.
MR. JACOBS: Dan, just a reminder, about 3:30, we will be having a media teleconference with the Human Exploration folks who can give you additional information on dates and future planning.
We have got a question from the Ames Research Center out in California.
QUESTIONER (KCBS Radio): Yeah. Mike Colgan with KCBS Radio from San Francisco. Here in Silicon Valley, of course, we are concerned about Ames. Just wondering how much Ames' budget will be cut, how that will affect missions here, and what about the status of a hangar? What's going to happen with a hangar? Thank you.
ADMINISTRATOR BOLDEN: Let me answer the first one the second one first. We continue to be in contact with the community out there, the congressional delegation, and we are working to do what is in the best interest of the community and the taxpayer.
In terms of Ames' budget, they have a brief that is coming up this afternoon where Pete will be giving you the details, and I would rather not usurp what he is going to give you.
MR. JACOBS: We will come back here for a couple of questions from Twitter. We have one that asks, "Have the FY13 NASA budget priorities been developed with stakeholders and Congress?"
ADMINISTRATOR BOLDEN: We always do.
DR. ROBINSON: Right.
MR. JACOBS: We'll take that as a "yes."
ADMINISTRATOR BOLDEN: Yes.
DR. ROBINSON: Yes. Yes.
MR. JACOBS: We will take that as a "yes."
Okay. Let's come back here for a couple of questions. Here on the end, right behind Bill.
QUESTIONER: Dr. Grunsfeld was recently paraphrasing, I hope accurately, saying that when the Pharaohs built pyramids, they didn't revisit it every year. You have an annual budget cycle driven, I think, by law, and you don't have the ability to move money between years. I don't know if it's legally possible, but if you had the flexibility to move money between years, wouldn't that help you to reduce overruns due to delays of projects and also to avoid some of the tough choices you referred to several times today?
ADMINISTRATOR BOLDEN: Yes.
DR. ROBINSON: We do have a limited amount. The monies that are given us for our programs usually last 2 years. They aren't annual.
And then and we do have limited reprogramming authority within each year where we can move money between accounts. It's limited. It's 5 5, 10 percent, whether you're in or out, but it's not like we're locked in when the appropriation passes.
MR. JACOBS: We will take a couple more questions here, and then we will start to wrap things up. How about here in the front? Next to Brian.
QUESTIONER (Karen Taphagen): Hi. I am Karen Taphagen from Durham, and I tweet @KTaphagen.
Since you're concerned about instability and tradeoffs of funding, for example, shifting funds from one project to support another mission, what other options might we consider? If the public overwhelmingly supports a project and is willing to voluntarily put personal funds toward a particular project, is there some way to accept this funding stream; for example, something analogous to an alumni endowment for a chair or university research project at a State university or, for example, the way Kickstarter, Crowdsources, startups?
DR. ROBINSON: We do have a donations account, and we have received donations over the years. And we work with the donees on what it is that they would like to see done, and we would love to see more, though our focus is on spending the taxpayers' dollars as best we can.
MR. JACOBS: Let's come over on this side, right here, second hand.
QUESTIONER (Nathan Johnson): Thank you. My name is Nathan Johnson, @nathanjohn on Twitter, also George Washington Law School here in D.C.
This question is for Administrator Bolden. You said flagships are essential for this nation, and coming up on election year, there are some candidates who have offered their own ideas for possible flagships, particularly in human exploration. Is there any flagship for the American public to currently look forward to? Is it supposed to be Orion, SLS, or is it commercial?
ADMINISTRATOR BOLDEN: There are two flagships that the American public should look forward to with great anticipation and angst, and the first one is the Mars Science Lab. That we are going to land on the 5th of I think it is the 5th of August. Critical. And I would encourage people to follow it with great interest. The hardest part of that is yet to come. We are going to do something that we have not done before in putting a vehicle that size on the surface of another planet. That's hard work.
You can look at these guys over here shaking their heads, and there are going to be a lot of people biting their fingers in August, because we're going to be really proud when Curiosity is finally safely on the surface of Mars, and we will be able to say that we have accomplished something that was never, ever done before in the annals of humanity as far as we know.
The second one is the James Webb Space Telescope, which I believe will be an incredible asset to humanity and the world. It is going to take I firmly believe, because I participated in Hubble, and I can remember having this discussion with people about, okay, Hubble is going to answer all the questions in the world. I said, "I don't think so," and one thing, I said, "Based on my faith, it is going to cause us to have more questions than we ever dreamed possible." And I'm not a scientist, but I can tell you, Hubble has created more questions for learned people than we ever imagined. I think James Webb is just going to dwarf that. We are talking about 50, 100 times the capability of Hubble.
So let's be patient. Let's eat this pie that we have. Let's gobble on you know, nibble on the two flagships that we are trying to work before we bite off another one. They are two incredible missions that we can look forward to.
MR. JACOBS: Let's come back over here to the left. Mark Mathews.
QUESTIONER (Orlando Sentinel): Mark Mathews with the Sentinel.
Charlie, what do you think is the biggest step that your administration has taken to reduce cost overruns on largescale projects, and how much money do you think you've saved by doing that?
ADMINISTRATOR BOLDEN: I won't be able to answer how much we have saved, because we won't know until each project has come to its end, Mark. And I won't take any credit for what's been done, because Joint Confidence Level analysis was critical. That started before I even knew how to spell it and before I was Administrator. Getting a clean budget was an incredibly accomplishment of Beth and her folk, and not a lot of people understand how hard that was. That was 9 years of effort led by a team. Terry Bowie, who recently retired, I mean, he deserves a lot of credit for just shepherding that and making it happen.
I think when people are fair with us, they will recognize that we took the work that was begun by a group of people before us, and we have tried to refine it and demonstrate that we can be responsible to the American taxpayer. And I am very proud to say I think we have done that, and we continue to.
MR. JACOBS: One final question -- over here.
QUESTIONER: I'm Asa, [inaudible], part of the Tweeters here, also part of the space generation.
So there are three major programs in the budget that I would like to talk about. Probably commercial crew ate about 830 million, and Orion, MPCV ate about 800 to 900 million, and then SLS. This year, both those are three large targets in terms of moving money away from those three to other parts of the budget that Congress might be interested in doing. Can you prioritize of those three programs what you would fight for the most? Is it commercial crew? Is it the Orion? Is it SLS? Because there are people afraid that the commercial crew is a large target here in this budget cycle.
ADMINISTRATOR BOLDEN: This budget, which represents an ambitious exploration program, as I said before, in an incredibly challenging fiscal time represents the commitment of the Congress, by an overwhelming bipartisan vote of the Congress in the 2010 Authorization Act, agreement with the President when he signed that Act into law and then when he signed the appropriations for 2012 under which we are operating right now. That laid out the three priorities for this agency as SLS, MPCV for exploration, the James Webb Space Telescope as just critical for science and understanding of our universe, and enhancement of the International Space Station and extending its life to at least 2020, shored up by the critical need for an American capability to get humans and cargo from here to the International Space Station and LowEarth Orbit, all of which will enhance the American economy and bring good jobs here.
So we have written a budget that says what we are fighting for, and that is what the Congress and the President agreed to, and that is what we are sticking with.
MR. JACOBS: All right. I would like to thank everyone for joining us here today. I want to give everyone enough time to get to the follow-on telecons that we have starting at 3:30. You can listen to those, if you are not participating them, by going to www.NASA.gov/newsaudio. A complete schedule of those telecons and additional budget information is available online at www.NASA.gov/budget.
Thank you for joining us. Have a good afternoon.