"An important element in the decision making about the long term status of ISS is whether it can demonstrate sufficient research value to justify the continuation of its operating budget. Currently, the fraction of the overall ISS budget devoted to research is extremely small, and plans for leveraging outside funding through the ISS National Lab are moving slowly because the National Lab's manager, the Center for the Advancement of Science in Space (CASIS), is still establishing its management and governance structures ..."
Congress: April 2012 Archives
Democrats Urge Continued Support for Aeronautics Research
"Because of the lengthy gestation period needed to move from concept to deployment, industry has often been reluctant to apply resources to high risk, fundamental aeronautics research and development (R&D) --an investment often needed as a forerunner to bringing to market new technologies and capabilities. NASA and successive Congresses believe that NASA has a unique role to play in this pre-competitive area and see sustaining the Nation's competitive edge in aviation as requiring an examination of innovative technical concepts and sustained government investment in R&D."
"Fifteen members of the American Astronomical Society (AAS) are traveling to Washington, DC, April 24-25 to thank Congress for recent appropriations in the fiscal year 2013 spending bill and to express the need for continued federal funding of research and development (R&D) programs, which are critically important to American economic growth."
"Today, Congressman Bill Posey introduced legislation to allow for private sector investment in the Department of Defense for space transportation in an effort to modernize America's defense capabilities, promote America's commercial space industry and help America regain the loss of commercial launches."
"The Senate Appropriations Committee has released details of its draft Commerce, Justice, Science Appropriations bill that provides $525 million for NASA's Commercial Crew Program for the 2013 Fiscal Year, an increase from the $406 million provided in the final bill last year. The House Appropriations Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice and Science draft bill provides $500 million for the program."
"National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) - NASA is funded at $17.6 billion in the bill, which is $226 million below fiscal year 2012 and $138 million below the President's request."
"The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) is funded at $19.4 billion, an increase of $1.6 billion over the fiscal year 2012 enacted level."
"Our private industry partners have built every single space craft we have ever flown. "NASA has never built a single human-rated space craft."
Keith's note: C'mon, Charlie, be honest. Of course NASA has built human-rated spacecraft - along with its aerospace industry partners. It has always been that way. Wordsmithing won't change the facts.
I just love it when NASA and Congress plays this semantic game i.e. "commercial" vs "government". Charlie Bolden uses this throw away line to justify the current focus on utilization of commercial launchers to provide crew and cargo services. Fine. For "commercial" efforts, aerospace contractors provide services with less than usual government oversight, with significant government seed money, but also with significant private investments. Yet, simultaneously, NASA (i.e. "government") mandates and oversees the construction of Orion using one of the very same aerospace companies that is involved in the "commercial" efforts (I would hope NASA's Orion is human-rated) and also directs the construction of the SLS - likewise using another aerospace company that also participates in the "commercial" activities.
America's space act is about to lift-off to a spectacular new future, Bill Nelson and Kay Bailey Hutchison
"If we are to move forward, we must avoid a false competition between our long-range space exploration goals - the moon, Mars and beyond - and commercialized ferrying of cargo and crew members to the space station. In fact, both programs are essential.Assisting development of commercial space capabilities will eliminate America's reliance on the Russian Soyuz system for crew transportation to low-Earth orbit, while developing our next generation heavy launch capability is a necessity if we are to expand space exploration beyond Earth, to Mars and beyond."
Keith's note: According to Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation staffer Jeff Bingham (posting as "51D Mascot"): "It is clearly NOT the intent of people I work with to impede or slow development of Commercial crew, despite all the characterizations to the contrary. The issue is balanced development efforts across the agreed-upon priorities within the context of a severely--and in my view inappropriately--constrained top line budget for NASA."
I sense that the ground is being laid (in slow motion) for raiding commercial space to fund other things at NASA. "Balanced" is code language for "let's move money around". Stay tuned.
"U.S. Rep. Adam B. Schiff (D-Burbank) has pledged to fight the cuts, and he grilled NASA Administrator Charles Bolden about the budget request last week at a meeting of a congressional science subcommittee. Schiff was joined by several Republicans, including Rep. John Culberson (R-Texas), who said NASA's planetary science program would not survive the proposed cut. "We're making intriguing progress in identifying the building blocks of life in other places," Schiff said in an interview. "To walk back from that and leave those questions unanswered means that we step back from potentially game-changing revelations about the origins of life in the universe, about our place in the cosmos. It's hard to put a price tag on that."
"President Obama's $17.7-billion budget request for NASA for the 2013 fiscal year includes a $300-million cut to planetary science, the very work JPL specializes in. That could mean a 20% reduction in NASA's planetary science budget and, at JPL, job losses in the hundreds."