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

Status Report From: Senate Appropriations Committee
Posted: Thursday, July 25, 2002


Space Science

The activities of NASA's Space Science Enterprise seek to chart the evolution of the universe, from origins to destiny, and understand its galaxies, stars, planetary bodies, and life. The Enterprise asks basic questions that have eternally perplexed human beings, such as how the universe began and evolved and whether there is other intelligent life in the universe. The Space Science Enterprise develops space observatories and directs robotic spacecraft into the solar system and beyond to investigate the nature of the universe.

The quest for this information, and the answers themselves, is intended to maintain scientific leadership, excite and inspire our society, strengthen education and scientific literacy, develop and transfer technologies to promote U.S. competitiveness, foster international cooperation to enhance programs and share their benefits, and set the stage for future space ventures. The Committee has made the following adjustments to the budget request:

An increase of $105,000,000 for the New Horizons Program for the Pluto-Kuiper Belt (PKB) mission to be used for the spacecraft, instruments, project management, the radioisotope thermoelectric generator and the launch vehicle. The Committee has added funding to continue development work on the Pluto-Kuiper Belt mission as the first mission in the New Horizons Program. The Committee notes that the PKB mission meets all of the criteria for the New Horizons Program and expects the agency to include funding for PKB in subsequent budget submissions in order to launch the mission by 2006.

An increase of $2,000,000 for a center on life in extreme thermal environments at Montana State University.

An increase of $500,000 to the University of Alaska, Anchorage, for broadband riverine research in Alaska.

A decrease of $16,500,000 from the flight projects building at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory. The Committee makes this reduction without prejudice in light of the Agency's decision to postpone construction in fiscal year 2002.

A decrease of $9,000,000 from the proposed Nuclear Power Program and a decrease of $4,000,000 from the proposed Nuclear Electric Propulsion program. The Committee supports both new programs, but believes that the necessary technology will be slow to ramp up. Moreover, the Committee is concerned about out year budget costs of these programs, the Space Launch Initiative and Shuttle upgrades, all program that will need to complement each other.

Mars Program .--The Committee has provided the full budget request for the Mars Program.

Hubble Space Telescope .--The Committee has provided the full budget request for the Hubble Space Telescope and the Next Generation Space Telescope.

The Committee commends the Agency for the continued success of the Hubble Space Telescope and the extraordinary contributions it has made to the advancement of science.

Living With A Star .--The Committee remains strongly supportive of the Living With A Star program because of the critical role its missions will play in understanding the effect of the Sun on our solar system particularly its impact on space weather which can have a profound impact on the Earth. Therefore, the Committee has provided the full budget request for technology development requested for the magnetospheric multiscale mission (MMS), the Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) and the Geospace Missions. Should the Agency wish to reallocate funds within these missions, the Committee will entertain a re-programming request in the operating plan provided that any re-programming preserves the LWS objective of maintaining contemporaneous science.

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