Prepared Statement by Dan Goldin Before The House Science Committee

Statement of Daniel S. Goldin
National Aeronautics and Space Administration
before the
Subcommittee on Space and Aeronautics
Committee on Science
House of Representatives
March, 3, 1997

Mr. Chairman and Members of the Subcommittee.

Last spring I told this Subcommittee about the amazing year NASA had completed. I reported that NASA had requested that the Administration provide the Agency a stable budget submission for FY 1997 and that the Administration had done that. NASA's FY 1997 budget request of $13.8 billion was the same as our budget in FY 1996. We had just completed 1995--a year of upheaval for NASA. We had made a commitment to the President to identify another $4 billion of savings in FY 1997-2000 and we delivered, bringing to $40 billion the savings in NASA's multiyear budget NASA has identified for the American taxpayer. The 1995 Zero Base Review had consumed the energy and attention of the NASA workforce. But the Zero Base Review was only partly about finding budget savings. At its heart was a fundamental challenge to the NASA workforce to prepare the Agency for the next millennium. To sharpen NASA's focus on cutting edge technology. To commit NASA's Centers to becoming Centers of Excellence. To do more with less by cutting out duplication and overlaps, and ensuring that NASA's energies are directed at those things only NASA does best. Let the private sector take over those activities that they are best equipped to do, and get NASA out of the way. The Zero Base Review was the sprint. Following that extraordinary exercise, we requested that the Administration provide us stability to catch our breath, to continue the serious implementation of new ways of doing business, and to continue to fulfill our promise to the American people--to deliver astonishing science and aeronautics missions which provide history-making discoveries. The President gave us that year.

Last year, NASA's FY 1997 budget request was stable, but the outyears were lower than we expected. I told you then, we hoped we could do better. I am happy to report that we have. The President's FY 1998 budget request for NASA of $13.5 billion, and the funding plan for the outyears, are proof of the President's commitment to the Nation's space and aeronautics program. This budget plan is a vote of confidence from the President and his Administration that NASA has done what it needed to do, technically, scientifically, and organizationally. We have reached out to our solar system and our Universe seeking answers to the questions all people need to know:

How did the Universe form?
How did we get here?
Is life of any form, single-cell or higher, unique to Earth?
How can we use the uniqueness of space to develop a better understanding of physics, chemistry, and biology?
How can we understand the interaction of the oceans, atmosphere, land and biomass to get predictive weather models, climate models, and environmental models that are better than 5 days?
How can we build space and air transportation that is safer, quieter, cleaner, faster and more affordable?
How do we communicate this knowledge to America?
How do we transfer this knowledge to enrich the American economy in the next 10-20 years?
NASA's goal this year is the same as it was last year--to implement a space and aeronautics program that is balanced, relevant, and stable.

NASA has made a remarkable transition in the last few years. We have turned around our budget overruns. In 1992 a General Accounting Office survey identified an average cost growth of 77% on our programs. Today, 5 years later, we are underrunning our program cost estimates by 6%.

This turnaround has taken several years. In 1992, technical performance was rewarded while the contractor's practice of "buying in" and NASA's habit of adding program requirements went unaddressed. I told Program Managers as well as the contractor community when I became Administrator 5 years ago that these practices would be tolerated no longer. The message has obviously been received because NASA program managers are turning in terrific performances. Actually, the pendulum has swung in the opposite direction and resulted in the growth of uncosted balances between FY 1995 and FY 1997. Program managers have become extremely conservative in their obligation and cost plans for the year, biasing their numbers to cover unrealistic procurement award schedules or low probability development threats. This may be an overcorrection, but we are taking advantage of this excellent cost performance across the Agency. In the Shuttle program, we are accelerating the development and delivery of upgrades to hardware and software systems, which will enhance the Shuttle's safety. We have proposed increases for the New Millennium program and TIMED for FY 1997 which took advantage of uncosted balances in excess of program funding requirements. One of the major contributors was the Cassini program, where we have spent far less than we anticipated of our program reserves. There is no lack of exciting work to be done if additional funds are available.

We also know that these large balances made us more vulnerable to budget reductions for FY 1997 and FY 1998. We are taking action to correct this problem. We are building our budgets to minimize uncosted obligations at the end of the year. We are increasing management awareness of the need for accuracy in planning by stressing personal accountability and interdependence. We are adjusting how we internally track the actual cost performance of our programs against their monthly plans by eliminating from these plans unsupported estimates about how program reserves will be expended. Finally, we are identifying program priorities midway through the year that we determine are unaffordable, and reallocating funds from programs that aren't using them. Through all of these actions, we are demonstrating that credible, accurate obligation and cost plans are something that management rewards.

In addition to addressing cost overruns, NASA needed to streamline its workforce. In 1993, we had 24,900 civil service employees at NASA. At the end of FY 1996, we had a workforce totaling 21,000. Today, we are under 20,000. By FY 2000 we will have 17,979.

We also have made great strides in cutting the cost of spacecraft. From 1990-1994, the average cost per spacecraft launched was $590 million. For 1995-1999, it will be $190 million. Our goal beyond the year 2000 is $77 million. At the same time we are achieving reductions in average development time per spacecraft. For 1990-1994 it was 8.3 years. For 1995-1999, it will be 4.6 years. For 2000 and beyond, our goal is 3.1 years. Because we are reducing the cost and time for development, we can launch more missions. For FY 1990-1994, NASA averaged 2 flights per year. For 1995-1999 it will be 9 flights per year. For 2000 and beyond, our goal is 16 flights a year. It truly is faster, better, cheaper.

NASA determined several years ago that we must transition from larger to smaller spacecraft. Galileo is an extraordinary program. It is providing us unprecedented information about Jupiter and its moons, changing the way we think about the largest planet in our solar system. But the development of Galileo was expensive. Development of the Galileo spacecraft started in 1981, when the approach to space missions was "a one time shot, " in which a mission was designed to achieve a maximum number of scientific objectives because it was deemed to be a single flight opportunity. It is no wonder Galileo's total life cycle cost, from development through mission operations, is $2 billion dollars.

Today, NASA has revolutionized the way we build spacecraft. We have created a group of small planetary missions. Between FY 1996-2001, NASA expects to launch 11 of these small missions which, combined, will cost less than the single Galileo mission. NASA is thrilled with Galileo and the science it is returning, but the days of bigger and bigger spacecraft are over.

NASA remains unwavering in our commitment to improving Space Shuttle safety. It has been our highest priority. In 1991, the probability of catastrophic loss on ascent for the Shuttle was one in 78. Today it is one in 248. NASA has achieved a 50% reduction in the number of in-flight anomalies per flight since FY 1993, from 14.3 to 6.8. The Agency also has reduced the number of monthly mishaps during Shuttle processing at the Kennedy Space Center almost 50%, from 0.9 in FY 1993 to 0.5 in FY 1996. At the same time, the Agency has worked diligently to reduce Shuttle operating costs. In FY 1993, it had been $4.1 billion dollars. Today it is $3.1 billion. The number of people required to operate the Shuttle--contractors and civil servants--has been reduced nearly 22% since FY 1993. At the same time, we have made the process more efficient. Since FY 1993, the amount of overtime has been reduced 37%. This means our teams on the line are not overworked and susceptible to making mistakes, and that we are meeting our budgetary commitments.

Today, NASA is focusing on programs that make the most sense. We are not rushing off to initiate a program every time a new discovery is made. Before NASA commits to a program, it must show real promise for answering important questions about the Universe, planet Earth, or aeronautics. The technology we are developing is cutting edge and is linked directly to accomplishment of our scientific goals. NASA's measurements of success are profoundly different than in the past--by our output, by the science achieved, not by the level of dollars going in. As you can see, by all measures, NASA has achieved great success.

Witness NASA's outputs for 1996. It was an amazing year. The scientific discoveries, the missions, were astounding.

Last August, I had the opportunity to introduce a finding at a NASA press conference which forever changed the way people view themselves and the Universe. The cause for all of this excitement was a rock, a meteorite from Mars which suggests that primitive life may have formed there more than 3 billion years ago.

NASA's reaction to this announcement is one of careful fascination. The implications are profound, but the inferences are not conclusive. Much more work needs to be done to confirm, or refute, the conclusions of this team of researchers. While the potential for life on early Mars adds emphasis to our current planning for the scientific exploration of Mars, an important first step is to focus more work on the Martian meteorites.

A logical next step is to confirm what we have here on Earth. Other scientific teams must attempt to replicate the findings of the McKay team to ensure the validity of its findings. McKay and other scientists must look to other avenues of inquiry, such as evidence of sub-cellular structures, to augment and expand the areas of analysis. And we need to continue to identify more meteorites from Mars, and to examine the other eleven we already have, for any light they may be able to shed on this area of scientific inquiry.

In this regard, NASA and the National Science Foundation (NSF) are jointly funding the Ancient Mars Meteorite Research Program. NASA and NSF released research announcements for this program last November and we received proposals in late January 1997. We will conduct a coordinated peer review and selection process shortly; we anticipate announcing awards by the end of April. This joint program will allow the broader scientific community to investigate whether the preliminary conclusion reached by the McKay team is valid, to see if other meteorites offer similar opportunities for understanding life, and to open this area of inquiry to new methods and ideas. We expect that in a year or two a clear scientific consensus will have emerged on the intriguing question of whether we have found evidence of life beyond Earth.

As this research continues, we also are launching a number of missions to help address these questions about past life on Mars. Two historic missions to Mars were launched in 1996. The Mars Pathfinder and the Mars Global Surveyor will reach the Red Planet in 1997. Both of these are part of the 11 small planetary missions, the ones with quicker development time and much smaller life cycle costs.

Galileo made a lot of history of its own this year. When Galileo's probe made its way into the violent atmosphere of Jupiter, we learned new information on the extent of its water, clouds, and chemical composition. One of Galileo's most exciting reports last year was that Europa may have once had, or perhaps still has "warm ice" or even liquid water beneath its icy crust. On Ganymede, Jupiter's largest moon, Galileo recorded three-dimensional images of giant, icy fissures and evidence of a magnetic field. Galileo's data gathered from the moon Io found it had changed substantially since the volcanically-active moon had been observed 17 years ago by the Voyager spacecraft. The new data we have gathered from Galileo's mission to Jupiter means that astronomy books all over the world will be rewritten.

The Hubble Space Telescope had an impressive year in 1996. It studied the surface of Pluto and the birth of stars. Hubble took a cosmic movie of the Crab Nebula. It found the Nebula even more dynamic than previously understood. Hubble surveyed the "homes" of quasars and found they live in a remarkable variety of galaxies often violently colliding.

These discoveries set the stage for an even more exciting quest to find answers to questions about the Universe and Life which are as old as human thought. The study of Origins follows the 10- to 15-billion-year-long chain of events from the birth of the universe at the Big Bang, through the formation of chemical elements, galaxies, stars and planets, through the mixing of chemicals and energy that cradled life on earth, to the earliest self-replicating organisms and today's profusion of life.

Human Space Flight activities hit the record books in 1996. Astronaut Shannon Lucid set a new American record for continuous space flight during her 181-day stay on the Russian space station Mir. Astronaut Lucid conducted vital microgravity and life sciences research as well as providing a model for international cooperation in space. Our continuing program of joint activities with the Russians is setting a foundation for the International Space Station. The Space Shuttle successfully completed seven missions, including 3 visits to the Mir, two Spacelab missions, deployment of the Tethered Satellite System, and the fourth Spacehab mission. NASA and the United Space Alliance (USA) signed the Space Flight Operations Contract, making USA the single Space Shuttle prime contractor. This was the first step in the consolidation of multiple ground and flight operations contractors into a single contract.

As part of the Mission to Planet Earth, the NASA Scatterometer was launched aboard the Japanese ADEOS satellite in 1996. It is providing new data on wind velocities over the oceans, allowing researchers to study the interaction of the oceans with the atmosphere on a global scale.

In 1996, NASA successfully flight tested a new collision avoidance radar system intended to help helicopter pilots fly more safely when operating close to the ground or in poor weather conditions. This sensor, designed to detect obstacles in an aircraft's flight path and provide a cockpit display to help avoid them, has potential uses for all types of aircraft.

Lockheed Martin was chosen to build the X-33. It is a one-half scale prototype of the Reusable Launch Vehicle. The X-33 will be used to demonstrate advanced technologies that should dramatically increase reliability and lower the costs of putting payloads into space.

We can all agree 1996 will go down in history as a year of record-breaking discoveries. I predict 1997 will also be spectacular. No one knows what discoveries we have in store, but that is the serendipitous nature of exploration.

Next, I would like to address NASA's FY 1998 budget request. If the FY 1993 NASA budget were projected through FY 1998, NASA would have planned for a FY 1998 budget of $20.8 billion. The actual budget request for 1998 from the President is $13.5 billion. That's a world of difference. But we are making it work. I will now discuss the plans of NASA's Enterprises and how the FY 1998 budget request supports NASA's continuing efforts to deliver better programs for less.


We have made significant progress in the development of International Space Station hardware and software. Since 1993, we've completed over 56% of the planned program, which has yielded over 162,000 pounds of U.S. flight hardware. The U.S. portion of the ISS program has been, and is, on a steady course. As it enters the fourth year since the redesign, the program continues to perform within the annual funding cap of $2.1 billion and the $17.4 billion completion estimate. We have accommodated the needs of our international partners, while maintaining our own U.S. objectives, commitments and major milestones. The road has not been entirely smooth, however; as the Subcommittee is aware, we are experiencing some difficulties with our Russian partners. This issue will be fully discussed later in this statement.

Early assembly flights are moving from qualification to integration activities. In a few short months we will be shipping flight hardware to the Kennedy Space Center where it will be readied for integration with the Shuttle. Likewise, the first element to be launched, the Functional Cargo Block (FGB), is on schedule to be shipped to the Baikonur cosmodrome in May in preparation for its launch. Given the breadth and complexity of this program, and looking at the experiences of other major Government development programs, we have demonstrated strong performance. We are literally less than a year from readiness for start of on-orbit assembly of an unprecedented orbital research facility. I am very proud of the NASA/Industry team. They have worked long hours and demonstrated a true commitment to the American people in delivering the International Space Station.

The FY 1998 budget request for the International Space Station is $2,121.3 million. This includes funding for Station Development and Operations activities and funding for the Space Station research and technology, science utilization, and payload development activities, which were previously budgeted in the Science, Aeronautics and Technology appropriation. The Space Station Research and Technology program now includes Mir Research and Support and the Station-related space product development activities from the former Space Access and Technology Program. The funds supporting Space Station research activities were consolidated with the management of the Space Station development and operations activities so we can better manage the total content of the annual $2.1 billion budget. The Life and Microgravity Science and Applications Program establishes the life sciences and microgravity research requirements consistent with the overall Space Station objectives, while the Space Station program manager is responsible for the total cost, schedule and technical performance of the program. We have restructured the research program in order to better match research utilization of the on-orbit resources with the research support capabilities during the assembly period, and to enhance science planning and training for long-term operations. This rephasing will ensure that the maximum scientific and technological return is achieved.

The International Space Station represents an unprecedented level of international cooperation, including partnership agreements with the Canadian Space Agency (CSA), the European Space Agency (ESA), the National Space Development Agency of Japan (NASDA) and the Russian Space Agency (RSA). Through FY 1996, the CSA, ESA and NASDA had invested nearly $6 billion for design and development of their hardware element contributions, towards a total expenditure of $10 billion.

The joint Shuttle-Mir missions, demonstrating the benefits of U.S.-Russian cooperation, have provided tremendous scientific and technical results. One of the key observations we have made in working with the Russians is that Shuttle science is task-oriented; we conduct science for two weeks at a time in space, and spend an enormous time in preparation. Hence, we have developed procedures to address specific tasks scheduled to be performed on a mission or which might occur in-flight. The Russian cosmonauts train to be skill-oriented, and have used their advantage in long-duration missions to learn how to live and work effectively in space. We are bringing the best aspects of both programs into the utilization and operations planning for the International Space Station.

We have advanced our understanding of the long-term effects of human space flight on the human body by 6 years over the previously planned Freedom program. Three American astronauts have each flown flights in excess of 100 days. Shannon Lucid has set a new American record for space flight and achieved a new women's world record for time in-orbit. Even now as we speak, Jerry Linenger is living and working aboard Mir and will complete a flight of 4 months before his return to Earth in May. Through Mir, we have already started a period of continuous American presence in Space that will last through the operational lifespan of the ISS.

Through our work with the Russians, the United States has gained significant knowledge in a number areas: we have learned to dock the quarter-million-pound Shuttle with another large spacecraft at 17,000 m.p.h. and within a 600-pound docking force constraint; we have successfully demonstrated that the five-minute launch window will not impact our assembly schedule; we have expanded by 30 times the number of protein crystals which can be grown through conventional techniques; and we have demonstrated that joint ground and mission control operations can work effectively and collaboratively.

We never said this complex, precedent-setting project would be easy. The Russians are experiencing dramatic changes, unlike anything we have ever experienced. For the past 16 months, we have had concerns regarding the ability of the Russian government to provide steady and adequate funding for its contribution to the ISS. Time and again, we were told that the problem would be resolved. Last summer, Russian Government officials said the lack of funding would be resolved. It didn't happen. We have endeavored to keep Congress informed, and worked steadily to develop options to mitigate the effects of inadequate Russian funding.

Last fall the Russians formally notified us that their funding difficulties have delayed the scheduled completion of production of the Service Module from April to December of 1998. As you know, we share the Committee's concerns about this situation. We have initiated contingency plans to ensure that we can proceed with the assembly process despite the delay of this key element. The fact that we are less than a year from the planned launch of our first two flights, makes it imperative that we be very careful and deliberate in making sure that we have the information we need to enable us to make the right decisions at the earliest possible moment. As members of the Subcommittee are aware, we are considering the possibility of delaying the launch of those first elements. But it is not because the hardware will not be ready.

To briefly recap the background provided to the full House Science Committee: We have been dealing with the Russian Governments problems in providing steady and adequate funding for its contribution to the ISS for 16 months. Repeatedly, we have been told that the funding problem would be resolved. Last summer the Russian government officials said the lack of funding would be resolved. It didn't happen. We communicated all this to appropriate Congressional committees and worked steadily to develop options to mitigate the effects of inadequate Russian funding. Over the course of the past several months, your frustration has grown; my frustration has grown; as it became clear that the first Russian element, the Service Module, would not make its scheduled delivery date.

Most recently, in early February 1997 the Russian Government stated that funding would begin to flow by the end of February to provide necessary funds to proceed with Service Module construction, and that adequate funds were budgeted in 1997 to keep the Service Module on track to support a December 1998 launch date. In addition, the Russian Government challenged the Russian Space Agency to recover two months of schedule slip and meet an October 1998 launch date.

However, our future actions must now be based on observed performance, not on statements of intent. Right now, we are waiting to determine whether the Russian Space Agency will receive funding; whether that funding will reach the prime contractors and sub-tier suppliers; and whether work will be performed for the Service Module to meet the scheduled launch date. In order to determine if these events are occurring, I am sending a team to Russia to improve our understanding of the current status of Service Module funding. They will report their findings to me in late March.

There is the potential that the Russian funding commitment and challenge to the Russian Space Agency to meet an accelerated October 1998 launch will be demonstrated through appropriate actions. However, given past difficulties and current circumstances in Russia, we cannot rule out the possibility of delaying the first element launch. We will not launch hardware just to get it into orbit. That would be irresponsible.

The continued uncertainty regarding Russian funding has led us to take several steps to safeguard development of the International Space Station. First, the funding situation for the Russian Space Agency is such that an immediate transfusion of funds was needed to support even the late 1998 launch date of the Service Module, as a number of subcontracts for critical long-lead hardware needed to be signed before it receives its upcoming budget payments. To cover this funding gap and to allow RSA to meet its schedule, NASA has negotiated a modification to the existing NASA/RSA contract to rephase milestones for the last long-duration Phase 2 missions to the Russian Mir space station. This will provide RSA a total of $20 million early in 1997. RSA has already met its first rephased milestone and received the first payment of $12 million on January 31. This does not represent new funding, but is a rephasing of committed funds from the existing NASA/RSA contracts. As agreed in the contract modification, RSA must still meet its original obligations for the Phase 1 missions. RSA also agreed to give NASA greater insight into SM development activities and to conduct a General Designer's Review for the SM in March, which NASA will attend.

Second, we are studying if we need to augment our early control and reboost capabilities in order to protect the ISS program from a Service Module delay. This could involve making some modifications to the FGB to allow for refueling and upgrade of its avionics capability. We are also considering the addition of an Interim Control Module (ICM) that would add important redundancy and robustness to the Space Station. Even further, we are looking at the development of a propulsion module to provide an alternative propulsion capability to the Service Module should it fail to be delivered. We have taken the necessary steps to protect our options while we work to assess what we are hearing from the Russians and further evaluate our best approach. We need to work out the contractual ramifications of any action we might take to defer the first element launch.

Relative to our options to augment our early control and reboost capabilities, the most cost effective approach appears to be to defer the FGB and modify it to allow for refueling from the Progress or the Shuttle and to provide avionics enhancements that would enable it to perform attitude control and reboost functions through the completion of Phase 2, should the Service Module be delayed. We are working with our Russian partners to define the precise cost and schedule impacts of taking this approach.

Alternatively, we could make a lesser amount of modifications to the FGB, and fully develop an interim control module from a Navy Research Laboratory (NRL) design that we have been evaluating. The schedule for development of the NRL ICM appears to provide for a launch in the October, 1998 timeframe. This would require holding flight 3A until after the NRL ICM was attached, in order to maintain control of the hardware configuration of the Station at that point. The design would give us approximately three years of reboost capability, however, a refueling option is being assessed.

Third, we are also examining the cost, schedule and technical implications of a propulsion module which will provide a solution to longer term Service Module delay. The development of a propulsion module would not preclude the use of the Service Module, and could be used in combination with the Service Module to provide additional robustness and redundancy to the critical station reboost and control function.

Technical and management teams are now analyzing these questions and will provide their recommendations in the near future. We will brief the Committee as we refine our understanding of those costs, in the context of our current and out-year funding profile and reserve status.

Updates to the assembly sequence through flight 7A, or the end of Phase 2, are being developed based on the above options. These sequences should maintain the final launch of Phase 2, the launch of the U.S. Airlock, close to the original baseline schedule. The remainder of the ISS assembly schedule in Phase 3 is still being reviewed. Of course, any proposed changes to the assembly sequence will be discussed in consultations with all of our Space Station partners. Final decisions will be approved by the Space Station Control Board. Again, we will keep the committee and the Congress informed of developments in these areas.

While these are difficult decisions to make, I must again say how impressed I am with the Space Station team, and their ability to carefully and expertly evaluate these options and make a recommendation that is based on a firm understanding of the facts and their implications to Space Station development and operations.

The Life and Microgravity Science and Applications (LMSA) program leads the Nation's efforts in space biological, physical and chemical research and aerospace medicine. We support technology development and use the space environment to advance knowledge, to improve the quality of life on Earth, and to strengthen the foundations for the continued exploration and development of space. The LMSA program supports ground-based research and definition studies upon which flight experiments are based. Major initiatives underway include continued cooperation with the National Institutes of Health and the National Science Foundation. The FY 1998 budget request for the LMSA program is $214.2 million.

The FY 1998 budget request for the Space Shuttle program supports two major activities: Safety and Performance Upgrades ($483.4 million) and Space Shuttle Operations ($2,494.4 million). Safety and Performance Upgrades funding supports the modifications and improvements to the flight elements and ground facilities, including expansion of safety and operating margins, enhancement of Space Shuttle capabilities to meet customer requirements, replacement of obsolete systems, and upgrades required to meet environmental regulations. We are continuing the program of selected upgrades to increase reliability and maintainability of the Shuttle systems, and continuing studies to assess the feasibility of implementing more state-of-the-art technologies into the system. The upgrades allow us to support our customer requirements through 2012. Examples include updating the launch processing system, implementing Global Positioning System, and an Orbiter avionics improvement.

Shuttle Operations funding supports hardware production, ground processing, launch and landing, mission operations, flight crew operations, training, logistics, and sustaining engineering to maintain and operate the Shuttle fleet. The transition phase of the Space Flight Operations Contract will continue through FY 1998. The Shuttle manifest includes seven flights in FY 1997 and seven flights in FY 1998. Highlights of the FY 1997 flights include: a Wake Shield experiment, which was successfully flown in November 1996; this month's successful second servicing visit to the Hubble Space Telescope replacing two current science instruments with "second generation" instruments and refurbishing some telescope support system components; three more resupply flights to the Russian Space Station Mir; a development flight test of components that will be part of the Japanese Experiment module on the International Space Station, and; the Microgravity Science Laboratory mission (MSL), which will study protein crystal growth, combustion, and material science experiments. Seven flights are planned for FY 1998, including the last Spacelab (NEUROLAB), deployment of the Advanced X-Ray Astrophysics Facility (AXAF) and two flights to the Mir Space Station. A mission including a Microgravity payload package of experiments in the Orbiter cargo bay and a SPARTAN X-ray astronomy experiment using a retrievable free flyer also is manifested. We will also be ready for the assembly of the International Space Station to begin during this timeframe.

The FY 1998 budget request for Payload and Utilization Operations ($227.4 million) supports the processing and flight of Space Shuttle spacecraft and space experiments; retention of core science and technology capabilities supporting a variety of programs and the Human Space Flight Centers, and advanced research programs activities. Funding also is included to continue support of the X-38 vehicle, which is an in-house technology demonstration program for a prototype vehicle which has multiple applications and evolutionary options. Primarily, it is a pathfinder for the Crew Return Vehicle (CRV) for the International Space Station. Discussions are underway with the European Space Agency exploring the commonality of design between the CRV and European Crew Transfer Vehicle and on the ability to launch the CRV on the European's Ariane expendable launch vehicle. NASA and DOD are looking at the applicability of the X-38 as a testbed for the development of a trans-atmospheric vehicle carrying crew to space and back. The Japanese Space Agency has expressed interest in participating in the X-38 and CRV programs and we are jointly looking at the possibility of building part of the flight vehicles and providing launch capability on their H-2 expendable launch vehicle.


The highlight of the FY 1998 budget request of $2,043.8 million for Space Science is the Origins program. The Origins Program was designed to answer questions about the Universe. For the first time in the history of humankind, we have the technology, or we will soon, for answering many of the questions about the beginning of the Universe and our solar system. Origins is going to look at many facets of the Universe, from its creation to the formation of chemical elements, galaxies, stars, and planets. Through this unique program, we will be unraveling the mysteries of the events and their sequence that led from the creation of the Universe to life on Earth.

The FY 1998 budget request for Space Science includes increases for several Origins-related programs. These include:

an increase for the Mars Surveyor program to allow for the launch of a Mars sample return mission in the middle of the next decade, and to increase the scientific robustness of the program; a new Exploration Technologies Development program, to enable bold, new, low-cost experiments on the surface of solar system bodies; augmentations to the New Millennium program to enable aggressive development and demonstration of new technologies for the highly demanding new Space Science missions; full development of the Keck II ground-based interferometer, to enable direct detection of planets around other stars; and, an increase in astrochemistry/astrobiology research and analysis, to support the multidisciplinary study of the origin and evolution of pre-biotic material, the origin and distribution of life, the adaptation of life to space, and space studies of life on Earth. The science content of this program will be further defined in the coming year.

The Space Science program is moving forward on a number of scientific and flight programs, building on scientific successes of the recent past and preparing for the launch of significant missions which were started a few years ago and are nearing the end of their development. Cassini will be launched in October 1997. In 2004 it will begin exploring Saturn and surrounding objects, including Saturn's moon Titan. This mission should give us unprecedented knowledge about Saturn and its moons.

On July 4, 1997, America will be returning to Mars when the Mars Pathfinder lands a single vehicle with a microrover and several instruments on the surface. The microrover will be providing ground truth on the surface, while the Pathfinder explores Mars from orbit, using instruments to study geology, surface morphology, geochemistry, the magnetic and mechanical properties of the soil, and a variety of atmospheric investigations. In September 1997, the Mars Global Surveyor will reach Mars and begin its orbits. Approximately every two hours, it will circle the planet, gathering information about Mars that it will relay to Earth. During each orbit the spacecraft will be over a different part of Mars, filling in the blanks in our knowledge about the Red Planet. Together, these missions should give us the most in-depth information we have ever had about Mars.

Galileo will continue its mission of studying Jupiter and its system. A Galileo Europa Flyby occurred on February 20 and another is scheduled for November 1997. Galileo will also have two flybys of Ganymede in April and May.

This budget request includes funding to continue the robust program spacecraft development activities underway in the Discovery, Explorer, New Millennium and Mars Surveyor programs. The program management philosophy underlying these programs, which emphasizes limited science objectives, short development times and strict adherence to cost caps, exemplifies the acceptance of the "faster, better, cheaper" philosophy by NASA and the scientific community. The FY 1998 budget request also provides for continued stability in the Space Science Research and Analysis (R&A), Suborbital Program, and Mission Operations and Data Analysis (MO&DA) accounts.


Mission to Planet Earth is a basic research program seeking an understanding of how the Earth system works and changes, both naturally and in response to human activity. This effort has huge potential to improve the quality of life on Earth, from the basic scientific research and also from strengthening the American economy by developing new science and technologies that are essential to a broad community of civil, commercial and national security users. The comprehensive, long-term focus on understanding and eventually predicting changes in the Earth system is only possible with today's air and space-based observation and information processing technologies. Understanding the interactions of the oceans, atmosphere, continents, ice caps and biomass will be a revolutionary advance in Earth science. While much of our funding is looking toward the long-term goal, a significant portion of this funding is focused on producing near term results. In the near term, we are in the business of improving weather prediction on seasonal to interannual time scales, and increasing the efficiency of producing and using water, food, timber, rangeland, and other natural resources. Our scientists produce research results which reduce the threats that unexpected environmental changes pose to America and other nations of the world. This aspect of the program has become increasingly more important given that the seven largest economic losses from natural catastrophes have occurred in the last seven years. Mission to Planet Earth also conducts basic science technology research that benefits the American remote sensing industry.

An Integrated Program Incorporating New Science & Technology:

The Earth Observing System (EOS), the centerpiece of Mission to Planet Earth, is a program of multiple spacecraft and instruments designed to provide a sustained 15 year data set on 24 key measurements needed to understand global climate change. The first EOS satellite launches begin in 1998. EOS implementation strategy has undergone a profound transition in the past few years. The size of the initial satellites to establish the system has been greatly reduced. Future missions will be increasingly responsive to technology advances, evolving scientific understanding, and commercial opportunities. In addition, to ensure the ability to stimulate new scientific discovery and respond to science questions on shorter term time scales, a parallel series of small, rapid-development Earth System Science Pathfinder (ESSP) missions has been incorporated into the program within the available funding. The first ESSP mission should be ready for launch in 2000.

Data from MTPE missions, both current and future, are captured, processed into useful data products, and broadly distributed by the EOS Data and Information System (EOSDIS). EOSDIS will ensure that data from these diverse missions remains available in active archives for use by current and future scientists. We are currently experiencing some schedule problems in the EOSDIS Core System (ECS), the data processing and active archiving system which comprises approximately one-third of the EOSDIS. We are working aggressively to ensure no adverse impact to the near-term launches while working with Hughes, the implementing contractor, to resolve the issue. In the longer term, following the recommendation of the National Research Council, MTPE is exploring the creation of a federation of Earth Science Information Partners in academia, industry and government to broaden the participation in the creation and distribution of EOSDIS information products.

The intellectual capital for these missions, and the key to generating new knowledge from them, is vested in an active program of research and analysis. MTPE's science research program funds over 1700 researchers from nearly every US state. These researchers develop Earth system models from MTPE data, conduct laboratory experiments, run aircraft campaigns, develop new instruments, and thus expand the frontier of our understanding of our home planet. In 1996, MTPE published its first Science Research Plan which lays out an integrated strategy of satellite, aircraft and surface-based observations and research to address five key questions. The Plan also outlines some twenty related areas of research which round out the MTPE contribution to Earth System Science. The research program is also the basis for generation of applications pilot programs which enable universities, commercial firms, and State and local governments to turn scientific understanding into economically valuable products and services.

Partnerships Make It Possible:

The challenges of Earth System Science, sustainable development, and protection of people, property and the environment from natural disasters require collaborative efforts among a broad range of national and international players. NASA participates with 12 other agencies in research coordinated by the US Global Change Research Program. MTPE has extensive collaborations with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) on seasonal-to-interannual climate prediction, and MTPE develops the NOAA-operated operational environmental satellites. NOAA, NASA and the Department of Defense are collaborating on a convergence of the civilian and military weather systems. MTPE collaborates with the US Geological Survey on a range of land surface, solid Earth and hydrology research. NASA, NOAA and USGS collaborate in the Landsat 7 program, and NASA, DoD and USGS are working together on a 3rd flight of the Shuttle Radar Laboratory modified to yield digital terrain data on most of the Earth's surface.

Internationally, MTPE participates in the World Climate Research Program, the International Geosphere/Biosphere Program, and the ozone assessments of the World Meteorological Organization. Most of MTPE's satellite missions have international participation, ranging from simple data sharing agreements to joint missions involving provision of instruments and spacecraft. International direct contributions to MTPE missions total $4 billion, while cooperative agreements on data exchange provide access to US researchers to $4.7 billion in other foreign programs. In total, our international partners' contributions exceed NASA's investment, and we are working aggressively to improve the integration of our joint efforts as their contributions increase.

MTPE includes a growing web of commercial partnerships, ensuring a broader distribution and use of MTPE science results while stimulating the US commercial remote sensing industry as a byproduct of MTPE activity. The worldwide market for remote sensing products was estimated at approximately $1 billion in 1995, and may grow to $10-$15 billion in the next 10 to 20 years. In 1997, a commercial firm is planning to launch a satellite instrument to measure global ocean "color" (phytoplankton concentration) to satisfy both MTPE research needs and to sell data to commercial fishing concerns. Also in 1997, two satellites built by industry in partnership with NASA, (Lewis and Clark) will demonstrate hyperspectral and high resolution land imaging technologies and will test the market for such data. A new and growing industry of "value-added" data processing companies is taking data from MTPE satellites and combining them with other data to produce information products for sale to timber companies, State and local governments and others with a need for geographic data. Many of these NASA/industry partnerships are implemented through the Earth Observation Commercial Applications Program (EOCAP) managed by NASA's Stennis Space Center. MTPE is refining a commercial strategy which is designed to foster these partnerships.

Other creative partnerships also further the application of MTPE data to practical problems. MTPE is assisting the City of Scottsdale, Arizona, to apply remote sensing data to a broad range of needs such as flood management, urban planning, and environmental compliance; we are also working on final definition of a pilot program that develops local government applications of satellite imagery in Cayuga County, New York. NASA and several partner agencies are planning a series of regional workshops in partnership with regional authorities and local universities to look at hydrology in the Southeast, and perhaps fisheries in the Northwest, and agriculture in the MidWest.

Staying on the Cutting Edge of Science & Technology:

MTPE has adopted an evolutionary approach to fulfilling its mission and goals. During 1995, NASA conducted a comprehensive review of the entire MTPE enterprise. The goal was to enable: a focus on near-term science and associated applications; explicit provision for new technology infusion; reduction in life-cycle cost of the EOS program; provision of new science opportunities through smaller, quicker and less expensive missions (the genesis of ESSP); and closer participation with other Federal agencies (especially NOAA), commercial firms and international partners. The result of this review is an EOS which is lower in life-cycle cost, more flexible in implementation, and of greater utility to the science and commercial communities. Our basic approach has been endorsed by the National Research Council (NRC) through its Board on Sustainable Development.

Out of this review came planning for MTPE involvement in the New Millennium Program which conducts the development and flight demonstration of advanced, smaller instruments for the EOS 2nd series. We are beginning a companion Instrument Incubator program to encourage the development of advanced instruments that may not require a flight demonstration, and a program to extend these advanced technology gains for polar-orbiting spacecraft to existing geostationary spacecraft programs. Additionally, we have recently initiated a study to examine the benefits of using a Principal Investigator-mode of implementation for EOS-Chem-1. In this management mode, the Principal Investigator who has designed the scientific instrument, is empowered to make design tradeoffs among the spacecraft, instrument, and ground system capabilities to get amore optimum implementation approach. This mode shows promise for yielding additional cost savings across the space and ground aspects of our missions.

We continue to refine this plan and seek the advice of the NRC and other external groups as we progress. In 1997, NASA will conduct the first Biennial Review of MTPE. The Biennial Review will examine all aspects of MTPE with a view toward incorporating new scientific understanding, technology development, commercial opportunities and expanded collaborations with national and international operational and research satellite systems. The product of the Biennial Review will be reviewed by a panel of independent external experts from the commercial, technology, and scientific communities, and will be the basis for MTPE's FY 1999 budget request development.


In 1996, NASA combined its Aeronautics and Space Transportation Technology programs, creating a strategic alliance between them to develop, in partnership with industry, advanced technologies in aeronautics and space transportation, and to facilitate the transfer and commercialization of these technologies. It is not NASA's job to build operational vehicles, either for aviation or space transportation. It is NASA's job to reduce the technology risk enough so that industry can produce vehicles for use by both the government and commercial sectors. To this end, NASA conducts enabling, risk reducing research, along with some focused technology demonstrations. The application of this research supports NASA mission requirements while improving U.S. economic competitiveness. The Aeronautics and Space Transportation Technology budget request for FY 1998 is $1,469.5 million.

In Aeronautics, NASA's work goes well beyond vehicle technologies as we focus on the long-term safety, efficiency, and environmental compatibility of aircraft and the system in which they operate. Developing technologies that cannot be utilized in the system or that do not add value is not a good use of taxpayer dollars. NASA works closely with the FAA, DOD and U.S. industry to ensure NASA develops the high-payoff, critical technologies that can be used in future vehicles and systems.

The High Speed Research (HSR) program addresses high-risk, make-or-break environmental and economic "barrier issues" that currently prevent any manufacturer from making a commitment to build a High Speed Civil Transport (HSCT). Industry trade studies indicate that a substantial market exists for an HSCT that would travel at more than twice the speed of sound, provided that stringent noise and emissions standards can be met and that ticket prices will be roughly equivalent to those on subsonic aircraft. Successful U.S. leadership in this next-century market could mean $200 billion in sales and 140,000 high-quality jobs in the U.S. NASA is working on the technologies that should make U.S. leadership possible in this next arena of global competition. The FY 1998 budget request for the High Speed Research program is $245 million.

Regardless of the success of a future HSCT, subsonic aircraft and the system in which all aircraft operate will remain the foundation for air travel in the next century. The Advanced Subsonic Technology (AST) program provides a focused technology base to ensure continued U.S. leadership in aircraft manufacture, aviation system efficiency and safety, and protection of the environment. As a result of the White House Commission on Aviation Safety and Security, Vice President Gore recently announced a bold goal of reducing the fatal accident rate by a factor of 5 in 10 years. NASA has accepted this challenge and is refocusing parts of AST as well as our basic research efforts to focus on safety-related technologies. NASA will continue to work closely with FAA, DOD and the aviation industry as we strive to meet this and other important goals. In addition to safety research, which includes both aircraft and air traffic system work, the AST program focuses on reducing the environmental impact of the growing fleet. NASA also is developing technologies that could lower both the manufacturing and operating cost of new aircraft, resulting in better U.S. competitiveness and ultimately lowering airfares to the traveling public. The

FY 1998 budget request for AST is $211.1 million.

NASA's High Performance Computing and Communications (HPCC) program is part of the multi-agency effort to boost supercomputer speeds one thousand-fold to at least one trillion arithmetic operations per second -- one teraflop -- and communications capabilities one hundred-fold. Throughout government, we have applications and requirements for these capabilities. For NASA, teraflop capability should allow us to begin to model the complete physics of an aircraft and develop a 100-year ocean-atmospheric model for climate change. Clearly, to get to the full fidelity of these models, we may need speeds of a thousand to a million times faster than a teraflop--and we will continue to work in this arena. We also will embed this capability in future spacecraft and remote exploration vehicles, greatly expanding the scientific return. The DOE recently demonstrated teraflop capability; however, this demonstration is at the theoretical peak performance which is relevant for only 4 or 5 percent of potential applications. For the majority of applications, we are at about 10 percent of our goal and significant progress needs to be made. HPCC efforts are funded in the Aeronautics, Space Science, Mission to Planet Earth and Education programs. NASA is also contributing $10 million to the Administration's Next Generation Internet initiative. The total FY 1998 NASA budget request for HPCC is $73.8 million.

The Research and Technology (R&T) Base has been reorganized into six systems-oriented, customer-driven programs that serve the needs of the full range of aeronautical vehicle classes. A new emphasis on flight research has been added within the R&T Base, to "build a little, test a little, fly a little", in order to advance technologies. The new organization is reflected in the FY 1998 budget request of $418.3 million. The R&T Base continues to serve as the vital foundation of expertise and facilities that meets a wide range of challenges and provides revolutionary new aerospace concepts. The new organization allows the R&T Base to remain focused on long-term technology needs while being more flexible and responsive to customers.

NASA's Advanced Space Transportation Technology program is focused on developing and demonstrating pre-competitive next-generation technology to enable the commercial launch industry to provide truly affordable and reliable access to space. This in turn should enable the U.S. to recapture leadership in worldwide commercial space transportation in the early decades of the next century. The consequences of today's high launch costs are unacceptable -- it is choking off the scientific, commercial and national security potential of this Nation's space program.

The Reusable Launch Vehicle (RLV) technology program, comprised of the X-33 large-scale Advanced Technology Demonstrator and the X-34 Small Reusable Demonstrator, is a partnership between NASA and industry aimed at radical improvements in launch system cost and performance. We are focusing on six parameters: reusability, operability, reliability, safety during abort, mass fraction, and affordability. It is the goal of this program to reduce launch costs to $1,000 per pound of payload.

NASA is playing a unique role in the X-33 program, which is based on industry-led cooperative agreements. As a result of industry's leadership of the program, the participants are not playing traditional roles, with government overseeing and directing the work of the industry contractors. Instead, Government participants are acting as partners and subcontractors, performing only those tasks which offer the most effective means to accomplish the program's goals. The Government participants report costs and manpower to the industry team leader (Lockheed-Martin Skunkworks) as would any other subcontractor. Most NASA Centers have negotiated roles in the X-33 program. The industry-led cooperative arrangement allows a much leaner management structure, lower program overhead costs, and increased management efficiency.

The Advanced Space Transportation Program (ASTP) focuses on a broader spectrum of technological advances than RLV, with the potential to reduce launch costs well below RLV goals. The RLV is not the end of this process; it is only the beginning. We must continue to push technology to make space transportation as easy, reliable and affordable as it can be, to allow the fullest utilization of the space environment for research and commerce. The ASTP aims at a cost-to-orbit measured in hundreds, not thousands, of dollars per pound. Major near-term efforts include the Low-Cost Booster Technology project and Advanced Reusable Transportation Technologies project.


NASA's request for Space Communications continues the critical services essential to the success of every NASA flight mission, from interplanetary spacecraft to the Space Shuttle to aeronautical flight test. The FY 1998 budget request for these activities is $646.5 million. Funding for components of the basic NASA infrastructure and institutional facilities is included in the Construction of Facilities budget. The FY 1998 budget request for these activities is $159.4 million.

NASA's civil service workforce is at its lowest level since the early 1960's. The overwhelming success of two buyouts conducted in the past two years, and an aggressive constraint on hiring, has allowed NASA to achieve unprecedented reductions in the civil service workforce, and meet the Administration's streamlining targets earlier than planned. NASA is committed to continuing its downsizing efforts, to reach an FTE level just below 18,000 by FY 1999. The

FY 1998 budget request for Research and Program Management, which includes the salaries, travel and supporting infrastructure for NASA's civil servants is $2,070.3 million.

The FY 1998 budget includes several initiatives to improve the planning and budgeting for the acquisition of flight projects. The President's budget request includes a request for advance appropriations for several of NASA's programs. These programs include development of the International Space Station, development and launch of the Space Infrared Telescope Facility (SIRTF), development of the Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy (SOFIA), the X-33 experimental launch vehicle, and development and launch of the Tracking and Data Relay Satellite Replenishment spacecraft. The incremental budget authority required in FY 1998 for these projects is included in NASA's budget request. The Administration is requesting approval of language which would appropriate fixed amounts in future years to complete development of the projects.

One of the Zero Base Review recommendations was to manage NASA's programs on a "full cost" basis, including direct and overhead costs. Although there is no other way in the private sector, the NASA financial and program managers have been working hard to make this management philosophy a reality within NASA. NASA traditionally has considered funding for its programs separately from funding for the civil service workforce and institutional support. Under full cost management, the total cost of any activity -- including direct, indirect service pools, and agency overhead costs -- will be captured together. Management on a "full cost" basis will improve NASA's decision process by motivating managers to operate more efficiently and allowing a more compete analysis of the true cost of project activities. Implementation of full cost management is integral to the management changes that we have instituted over the past year. The designation of Lead Centers for program activities, and the movement of program management authority and responsibility out of Headquarters to the field centers will be completed with the implementation of full cost budgeting and management in NASA. We will work closely with the Congress as we implement our plan to accomplish this.


Some will say the NASA budget request for FY 1998 is not enough. I do not agree with that. When I look at the President's budget submission, I see a vote of confidence from the President. The President's request indicates that he recognizes what it takes for NASA to do its job.

This is an extraordinary time for civilization and this Nation. For the first time, we have achieved the level of understanding and technical capability that allows us to grasp the full meaning of our origins, our history, and our context in the Universe. For as long as humans have been able to think, we have been explorers, inventors, and dreamers, pondering how the Universe came to be as it is, how the richness of life on this planet developed, and whether life on Earth is unique in the cosmos. In the past, these questions were answered by speculation and myth. Now they can be addressed with the scientific soundness of evidence and quantitative analysis.

We are nearly ready to begin construction of the International Space Station, ushering in a new era of living and working beyond the confines of Earth's gravity. We eagerly await the discoveries and inventions we cannot yet imagine that will be made possible by this orbital research facility.

We also stand at a new threshold in the understanding of our planet, as Mission to Planet Earth already is providing groundbreaking new information on the systems at work on Earth. We are working toward a future where we understand Earth's systems and the influence and impact of the human race on them; the benefits for humankind will be diverse and far-reaching.

In Aeronautics, thanks to NASA research the early part of the next century may see the advent of the first affordable supersonic transport aircraft, with its attendant benefits for the global community and the US economy. Air travel on the whole will become even safer, less harmful to the environment, and more convenient.

NASA technology will enable a whole new generation of launch vehicles that will make access to space affordable and reliable, allowing the proliferation of new uses for the space environment, many of which we cannot yet imagine.

NASA is ready to deliver on this vision for the future. We will continue to work closely with the Congress over the coming months as we implement our programs for the benefit of the American people. We believe they will see the value of the work NASA is doing and the work we did to get here.

Please direct all questions to: Webmaster:Matt Peterson, Office of Legislative Affairs
E-mail comments or suggestions
A service of NASA's Office of Legislative Affairs, Jeff Lawrence, Associate Administrator.

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This page contains a single entry by Keith Cowing published on March 3, 1997 1:08 PM.

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