Congress: March 2009 Archives

Senate budget panel: Shuttle can fly another year

"A $2.5 billion spending provision that would allow NASA to fly the space shuttle well beyond its scheduled retirement next year cleared a major legislative hurdle today, according to U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson. The provision, requested by Nelson, was included in the broader five-year spending plan that passed the Senate Budget Committee. The shuttle is scheduled to be retired in the fall of next year, and President Barack Obama's recently submitted budget plan provides only enough money for nine flights by the end of 2010. But Nelson has argued there should be no hard-and-fast deadline for launching those flights or mothballing the shuttle; and, that finishing all the shuttle's work safely should come first."

House Science and Technology Committee: Minority Views and Estimates Committee on Science and Technology Fiscal Year 2010 - NASA Excerpts

"The Committee has sought to enable NASA to succeed as a multi-mission agency in carrying out the goals expressed in the NASA Authorization Act of 2008 (P.L. 110-422). In general, Committee Republicans concur with the Majority that the budget seems consistent with the priorities of the NASA Authorization Act of 2008, including retirement of the Space Shuttle following completion of the International Space Station and one additional flight to deliver the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer. We applaud the Administration's reaffirmation of NASA's initiatives to return humans to the Moon by 2020 as part of a robust space exploration program, while also stimulating the privatesector to develop and demonstrate commercial crew and cargo delivery services to the International Space Station."

Lawmakers: NASA watchdog lacks bite, needs to go, CNN

"Apparently, Mr. Cobb thought he was supposed to be the lap dog, rather than the watchdog, of NASA," Rep. Bart Gordon, D-Tennessee, told CNN."

Letter to the President Regarding Inspector Genteral Cobb, House Science and Technology Committee

"President Barack Obama: In the almost $800-billion economic recovery package you signed into law last week, federal inspectors general offices were allocated millions of dollars of additional funding so that they have the resources to oversee spending of stimulus money. We are confident that many of the sitting inspectors general are capable of meeting this new challenge. However, Robert Cobb, the inspector general (IG) of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), cannot be relied upon to carry out this important task. With an agency budget of more than $17 billion and another $600 million proposed in the economic stimulus package, NASA cannot afford another four years with an ineffective inspector general. We are asking that you take immediate steps to remove Mr. Cobb."

Sens. Voinovich and Brown Lead Letter to Obama on Strengthening NASA in Ohio

"We would encourage you to pay particular attention to the Glenn Research Center and its testing facility, Plum Brook Station," the letter states. "While we are excited by all the work that has been done to date, it is but the beginning of opportunities that will span generations. Ohio has a skilled engineering labor force and manufacturers that have proven themselves on multiple NASA flight projects. When combined with NASA Glenn's experienced federal workforce and world-class facilities, Ohio is a competitive choice for the location of additional contract and sub-contract work in design, development, manufacturing and testing."

Quality Control at NASA

NASA official says counterfeit parts a growing problem, Houston Chronicle

"The acting administrator of NASA told Congress Thursday that some of the cost overruns besetting the space agency stem from counterfeit parts inadvertently installed on space craft. "We find out late they are counterfeit parts,'" Christopher Scolese, the space agency's acting administrator, told a House Science and Technology subcommittee. "We find out about it while sitting atop a rocket or, worse, find out about it in space." NASA has been trying to weed out counterfeit parts for years, Scolese said."

Prepared Statements

Chairwoman Gabrielle Giffords
Christopher Scolese
Cristina T. Chaplain
Gary P. Pulliam

GAO Report: NASA: Assessments of Selected Large-Scale Projects

"GAO assessed 18 NASA projects with a combined life-cycle cost of more than $50 billion. Of those, 10 out of 13 projects that had entered the implementation phase experienced significant cost and/or schedule growth. For these 10 projects, development costs increased by an average of 13 percent from baseline cost estimates that were established just 2 or 3 years ago and they had an average launch delay of 11-months. In some cases, cost growth was considerably higher than what is reported because it had occurred prior to the most recent baseline. Many of the projects we reviewed experienced challenges in developing new technologies or retrofi tting older technologies as well as in managing their contractors, and more generally, understanding the risks and challenges they were up against when they started their efforts."

House Space and Aeronautics Subcommittee Hearing: Cost Management Issues in NASA's Acquisitions and Programs. Thursday, March 5, 2009

Mr. Christopher Scolese, Acting Administrator, NASA
Ms. Cristina T. Chaplain, Director, Acquisition and Sourcing Management, Government Accountability Office
Mr. Gary P. Pulliam, Vice President, Civil and Commercial Operations, The Aerospace Corporation



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