(Human Space Flight) Senate Rpt.107-222 VA-HUD Appropriations Bill 2003


Source: Senate Rpt.107-222 - DEPARTMENTS OF VETERANS AFFAIRS AND HOUSING AND URBAN DEVELOPMENT, AND INDEPENDENT AGENCIES APPROPRIATIONS BILL, 2003

HUMAN SPACE FLIGHT

  • Appropriations, 2002 - $6,830,100,000
  • Budget estimate, 2003 - 6,130,900,000
  • Committee recommendation - 6,130,900,000

GENERAL DESCRIPTION

NASA's ``Human Space Flight'' account provides for human space flight activities, and for safety, mission assurance and engineering activities supporting the Agency. The HSF activities are centered around the operation of the Space Shuttle as well as high priority investments to improve the safety of the Space Shuttle and required construction projects in direct support of the Space Station and Space Shuttle programs. This appropriation also provides for: salaries and related expenses (including travel); design, repair, rehabilitation, and modification of facilities and construction of new facilities; maintenance and operation of facilities; and other operations activities supporting human space flight programs; and space operations, safety, mission assurance and engineering activities that support the Agency.

COMMITTEE RECOMMENDATION

The Committee has provided $6,130,900,000 for the Human Space Flight account. This amount is the same amount as the President's request for these activities in fiscal year 2003.

Space Station .--The Committee has provided $1,492,100,000 for the International Space Station (ISS), the same as the budget request. This funding level will continue assembly missions through U.S. Core Complete (Flight 10A), currently planned for calendar year 2004, and support early research commensurate with the build-up of on-orbit utilization capabilities. In previous years, the Committee has criticized NASA's management of the ISS program. The lack of credible budget estimates, program mismanagement and the absence of any credible oversight forced the Committee to cut funding and impose cost caps on the program. Despite these actions by Congress, NASA was unable to correct the underlying problems associated with the program. In 2001, NASA announced that the ISS would require an additional $4,800,000,000 over previous estimates to complete the ISS, as planned.

As a result of these cost overruns, NASA and the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) eliminated certain program elements to reduce cost and provide additional time to re-scope the ISS with the international partners. In addition, NASA created an independent assessment team known as the ISS Management and Cost Evaluation (IMCE) Task Force to evaluate program management. The Committee supports the recommendations of the (IMCE) Task Force and the development of a Cost Analysis Requirements Document (CARD) to support cost estimates of the U.S. Core Complete baseline. Furthermore, the Committee notes the agency's intention to develop an integrated management action plan based on recommendations of the IMCE Task Force. The Committee fully supports this approach in order to provide the Congress with reliable cost estimates for the U.S. Core Complete and beyond.

In addition, the Committee supports the recommendations of the Research Maximization and Prioritization Task Force (REMAP) as it pertains to ISS research. The Committee views the Task Force report as the foundation upon which the OBPR sets ISS research priorities and its organizational structure. The Committee notes that a final report on the REMAP recommendations is to be provided by the NASA Advisory Council during the third quarter of calendar year 2002. Given the importance of the REMAP report to the future of the ISS and the agency's overall research agenda, the Committee directs the Administrator to report to the Committees on Appropriations by December 1, 2001 on the implementation of the REMAP recommendations in relation to the ISS as well as the overall structure of the OBPR.

The Committee remains concerned about Russia's continued policy of selling time on the ISS for tourists, especially since the guiding purpose for the construction of the ISS was to have a world class microgravity research platform, a goal which is still far away. The Committee urges NASA to strictly enforce the protocols developed in cooperation with the international partners to ensure that any space tourist is fully trained and physically capable of participating as a crew member on the ISS.

Space Shuttle .--The Committee has provided $3,208,000,000 for the Space Shuttle program, the same as the budget request. In fiscal year 2003, four Space Shuttle flights are planned in support of ISS. The proposed budget also supports key Space Shuttle safety investments as part of the Integrated Space Transportation Plan.

The Committee believes their is no higher priority than improving the safety of the Shuttle orbiters. The Committee directs NASA to proceed with implementation of the Cockpit Avionics Upgrade, the Advanced Heath Management System and the External Tank Friction stir weld project.

In March 2002, NASA's Aerospace Safety Advisory Panel issued its Annual Report. The Committee commends the Panel for its thorough assessment of the Human Space Flight Program and its recommendations to improve ISS and Space Shuttle safety. The Committee recognizes that NASA has made safety its top priority and applauds the agency for the steps it has taken to date to reduce risks and improve the safety and reliability of all programs within the HEDS Enterprise including operation of the Space Shuttle.

However, the Panel stated that current budget projections for the Space Shuttle are insufficient to accommodate significant safety upgrades, infrastructure upgrades and maintenance of critical workforce skills over the long term. The Committee concurs with this assessment. While the Committee recognizes that NASA is studying the overall space transportation architecture, including second and third generation re-usable launch vehicles to eventually replace the Shuttle, it is clear that the Space Shuttle will continue to operate for at least the next decade, and possibly as long as two decades, as NASA's main heavy lift vehicle for human space flight. Therefore, the Committee directs the Administrator to include, as part of the fiscal year 2004 budget, a thorough assessment of flight systems, logistics, infrastructure and workforce readiness costs that would be needed to maintain and improve Space Shuttle safety over the expected operational life of the Shuttle.

The Committee remains concerned about the overall state of the infrastructure of the Space Shuttle program. While the committee is aware that NASA has conducted an assessment of some of its infrastructure, there has been no official comprehensive study of Shuttle infrastructure needs with reliable cost estimates. Therefore, the Committee directs the Administrator to report the Committees on Appropriations by January 10, 2003, on the critical infrastructure needs for the Space Shuttle program ranked by order of priority including cost estimates for each project identified.

Payload and Expendable Launch Vehicle (ELV) Support .--The Committee recommends $87,500,000 for payload and ELV support, the same as the budget request. This account provides technical expertise, facilities, flight carrier hardware and capabilities necessary to provide servicing of multiple payloads to be flown aboard the Space Shuttle. In 2002 and 2003, over 20 major and secondary payloads will be flown on the Shuttle.

In addition, this account provides funds for technical and management insight of commercial launch services, including advanced mission design/analysis and leading-edge integration services which are provided for the full range of NASA missions under consideration for launch on ELVs. In 2003, support for 10 ELV launches, including 1 secondary, is planned.

Investments and Support .--The Committee recommends $1,178,200,000 for investments and support, the same as the budget request. Funding in the account provides institutional support to the Human Exploration and Development of Space (HEDS) Enterprise through research and program management, construction of facilities, rocket propulsion testing and engineering and technical support to maintain ``core'' technical skills and capability at the NASA centers involved in human space flight.

Space Communications and Data Systems .--The Committee has provided $117,500,000 for space communications and data systems, the same as the budget request. Funding in this account provides space communications services for all NASA Enterprises not otherwise covered by each Enterprise.

Safety, Mission Assurance and Engineering .--The Committee recommends $47,600,000 for safety, mission assurance and engineering, the same as the budget request. This account provides funding for agencywide safety and engineering programs to ensure uniform safety programs, practices and procedures are implemented throughout all NASA Enterprises.

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