Budget: June 2013 Archives

Nelson warns of partisan "chaos" regarding NASA authorization, Space Politics

"Immediately after the House Science Committee's space subcommittee wrapped up its hearing on a draft NASA authorization bill Wednesday morning, Sen. Bill Nelson (D-FL) offered his views on the subject at a Space Transportation Association luncheon on the other side of Capitol Hill. Nelson, chairman of the space subcommittee of the Senate Commerce Committee, said his committee was working on its own version of a NASA authorization bill that would be ready by mid-July or perhaps sooner, in order to support appropriators."

What we're going to try to mark up is a balanced program," he said, citing progress in both commercial crew development and the Space Launch System and Orion programs, as well as science programs, including the James Webb Space Telescope."

Moon, Mars, or Asteroids, Which is the Best Destination for Solar System Development?, Dennis Wingo

"The Moon!, no Mars!, no Asteroids! Here we are in the second decade of the 21st century and in the NASA, space advocacy, and commercial space worlds one of these three destinations are being touted (largely to the exclusion of others) for their value to science, human exploration, and economic development, but which one of them is the most valuable, the most deserving, of our attention?

This argument is taking place today in the vacuum of space policy that we currently live in without any unifying principles or policy to inform our decisions. Without a guiding policy and sense of purpose that encompasses more than narrow interests and singular destinations it is exceedingly likely that the human exploration and development of the solar system will continue to be an expensive and futile exercise. We must develop a firm moral, technological, and fiscal foundation for this outward move that will attract capital investment, spur technology development, and encourage innovation in a manner that people can understand, believe in, and thus financially support."

Subcommittee on Space Hearing - NASA Authorization Act of 2013

Hearing: NASA Authorization Act of 2013
Location: 2318 Rayburn House Office Building, Washington, DC 20515, US
Time: 10:00 a.m. ET

Witnesses and Statements

- Dr. Steven W. Squyres, Goldwin Smith Professor of Astronomy, Cornell University

"Three themes run through my testimony today:

- NASA needs a clear and compelling long-term goal. That goal should be to send human explorers to Mars.
- NASA is being asked to do too much with too little. Unless program content can be matched to budget, the result will be wasted effort and delay.
- Our nation's civil space program will be best served by having high-level policy set by the Administration and Congress, and implementation details recommended by NASA engineers, scientists, and managers."

- Mr. A. Thomas Young, Former Executive Vice President, Lockheed Martin Corporation

"The dominant strategic issue facing the civil space program is human spaceflight. Today, there is a human spaceflight program but no credible human space exploration strategy. There is much discussion about going to the moon, an asteroid, Phobos, Deimos and Mars; however, there is no credible plan or budget. There are human exploration elements such as SLS and Orion."

Space Subcommittee Chairman Steven Palazzo (R-Miss.)

- Prepared Statement by Rep. Palazzo: The NASA Authorization Act of 2013

"The draft bill includes a topline budget of over $16.8 billion dollars and authorizes the agency for two years."

"The Space Launch System is authorized at over $1.77 billion and the Orion crew capsule at $1.2 billion. The SLS and Orion will take our astronauts deeper into space than ever before. I am committed to the success of these assets and ensuring their continued on-time development and appropriate prioritization moving forward. The Commercial Crew program is authorized at $700 million, but let me be clear; this is not a blank check for the Administration. The bill includes several accountability measures and a flight readiness deadline of December 31, 2017. This deadline is not negotiable. NASA must do whatever is necessary in its acquisition model to meet this deadline, even if that means radically altering their current plans."

House Appropriators Want Deep Cut to FAA Commercial Space Launch Office, Space Policy Online

"The House Appropriations subcommittee that funds the FAA's Office of Commercial Space Transportation (AST) will meet tomorrow to markup the draft FY2014 Transportation-HUD (T-HUD) appropriations bill. As drafted, the bill would reduce AST from its requested level of $16.01 million to $14.16 million."

"Mike Gold, Director of D.C. Operations & Business Growth for Bigelow Aerospace, said "These cuts are ill-advised to say the least. At a time when we're depending so heavily on commercial space transportation to do this to the FAA-AST will have serious consequences, causing delays throughout the industry and even potentially putting lives in danger. It's certainly my hope that all of the AST's funding can be restored."

Mars base added to moon plan Politico

"Republicans in Congress are pushing for major cuts across the federal budget, but so far, they're not willing to sacrifice a plan to build a moon colony."

In fact, Republicans on the House Science, Space and Technology Committee are eyeing an even more ambitious goal: building a base on Mars, too.

"... The [NASA] Administrator shall establish a program to develop a sustained human presence on the Moon and the surface of Mars," states a recent discussion draft obtained by POLITICO."

Marc's note: Wow, what can I say, go for it! Oh hold on, there's no budget for this "go-as-we-can-afford-to-pay" plan. The rhetoric out of Congress is at an all time high and who can take anything they say seriously anymore. I suppose the only way to make them accountable, is to vote them out.

Draft House NASA Authorization Bill Would Create 6-Year Term for NASA Administrator, No Funds for ARM, Space Policy Online

"The draft NASA Authorization Act of 2013 penned by the House Science, Space and Technology Committee would make the NASA Administrator a 6-year term appointment and authorize no funds for the proposed Asteroid Return Mission (ARM). A hearing on the draft bill is scheduled for Wednesday.

- Authorizes $16,825,200,000, which is "consistent with the Budget Control Act and FY2013 appropriations." If Congress replaces or repeals the Budget Control Act (which created the sequester) then funding would be added for the International Space Station (ISS), Space Launch System (SLS), and Commercial Crew.

Human Spaceflight - Makes clear that missions to lunar orbit, the surface of the Moon, and Mars are NASA's human spaceflight goals.

- No funding for the Asteroid Rendezvous Mission [alternately called the Asteroid Return Mission or Asteroid Retrieval Mission]
- NASA to study feasibility of extending ISS beyond 2020
- OSTP to lead a strategic plan for ISS utilization by "all science agencies"
- Continued commitment to SLS/Orion; reiterates that Orion is a backup to commercial crew for ISS

Marc's note: This is a draft only. NASA is moving forward with the Asteroid Initiative at the direction of the White House. The final bill will assuredly look different.

Subcommittee on Space Hearing - NASA Authorization Act of 2013, House Science Committee

The House Science Committee's space subcommittee has scheduled a hearing for 10:00 a.m. ET next Wednesday, June 19 on the "NASA Authorization Act of 2013." The House version of the bill has not been released yet but should be soon and possibly before the hearing.

The scheduled witnesses are:
- Dr. Steven W. Squyres, Goldwin Smith Professor of Astronomy, Cornell University
- Mr. A. Thomas Young, Former Executive Vice President, Lockheed Martin Corporation

UPDATE: Draft NASA Authorization Bill Nixes Asteroid Retrieval Mission, Space News

"The House Science, Space and Technology Committee has begun drafting a NASA authorization bill that would hold the agency to a top line of about $16.87 billion, bar funding for a planned asteroid rendezvous mission, and divert money for Earth observation into robotic missions to other parts of the solar system, according to an official summary of the bill obtained by SpaceNews.

The bill also would authorize NASA to spend $700 million annually on the Commercial Crew Program -- up from the $500 million Congress authorized in 2010 -- and require the agency to report every 90 days on the effort."

FUTHER UPDATE: NASA Invites Media to Asteroid Initiative Industry and Partner Day (June 18) , NASA

AIP FYI #102: The AIP Bulletin of Science Policy News - Update on OMB Travel Restrictions, American Institute of Physics

"The OMB recently issued a 3 1/2 page "Controller Alert: Travel and Conferences" document recognizing the important role that meetings play in the conduct of scientific research. The unsigned and undated memorandum advises that the previously announced spending reductions will continue and details implementation procedures for acceptable travel expenses. This alert, which appears on the website of the American Society of Association Executives (ASAE), states:"

NASA operating plan adjusts commercial crew, planetary science funding, Space Politics

"Space News reported Friday that a long-awaited fiscal year 2013 operating plan for NASA will make some funding adjustments for several key programs, including commercial crew development and planetary science. The plan, not publicly released yet by NASA, would fund commercial crew at $525 million, effectively undoing the effects of sequestration and rescission on the program. Planetary science, which received additional funding even after sequestration and rescission compared to the administration's request, would lose that funding: it would go back to $1.2 billion, the amount originally requested by the administration for FY13. The funds cut from planetary would be redistributed to the James Webb Space Telescope and to earth sciences."

Marc's note: Good news for Commercial Crew, not so much for Planetary Science.

Update: Confirmed: NASA Defies the Will of Congress by Raiding Planetary Science Funding, Planetary Society

"Despite our best efforts and the best efforts of Congress, the implacable thirst to undercut the most visible and successful program within NASA continues unabated."

Marc's note: While I can sympathize with those who support a strong Planetary Science budget I also see the need for Commercial Crew to get the funding it needs. In world of finite resources you can't everything. The only way to please everyone would be a budget increase. But that's not going to happen in the current political climate.

Download This One-Page Summary on the Threat to Planetary Science, Planetary Society

"When we visit legislators or staff members in Congress we always provide them with a "leave-behind" to reinforce our position. This tends to be a one page summary of our reason for visiting, which right now is about stopping the proposed cuts to NASA's Planetary Science Division in next year's budget."

And here's the Planetary Society's solution to the issue: "Implement the science priorities of the NRC decadal survey. Provide $1.5 billion annually (same as FY12) to NASA's Planetary Science Division, a re-balance of less than 2% of NASA's total budget."

ASP Statement Regarding the Obama Administration's GFY14 Budget Proposal Relating to NASA SMD EPO Funding, The Astronomical Society of the Pacific

"The Astronomical Society of the Pacific (ASP), speaking from the perspective of 124 years of advancing science and science education, expresses its profound concern over the Obama Administration's fiscal year 2014 Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) education restructuring proposal. This proposal will drastically reduce NASA's education and public outreach (EPO) effort, including the abrupt termination of all mission-based EPO efforts in NASA's Science Mission Directorate (SMD). We believe that this action, in NASA and similarly in other science agencies, will significantly damage STEM education efforts--just the opposite of what the Administration intends."



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This page is an archive of entries in the Budget category from June 2013.

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