Congress: July 2020 Archives

H.R. 7617 Division-by-Division Summary, House Appropriations Committee

"National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) - $22.63 billion, equal to the FY 2020 enacted level. This funding includes continued investments in human space exploration efforts, as well as other investments, including the following:

• $819 million for Aeronautics research, an increase of $35 million above the FY 2020 enacted level and equal to the President's budget request, to continue efforts to improve passenger safety, fuel efficiency, and noise reduction, and to make air travel more environmentally sustainable.

• $126 million for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) Engagement, an increase of $6 million above the FY 2020 enacted level, to inspire young people to pursue future careers in science and engineering, and rejecting the Administration's request to eliminate funding for these programs."

Lucas and Babin: Appropriations Bill Fails to Prioritize NASA's Human Exploration Activities

"In particular, we need funding now to move forward on the Human Landing System, but this legislation provides only a fraction of what's needed to do that. As a nation, we need to prioritize human space exploration. This bill is shortsighted, and I hope we can do more to support NASA's critical missions."

John Lewis

Rep. John Lewis, Space Station Savior, Passes Away, Space Policy Online

"Rep. John Lewis (D-GA) passed away yesterday. A legendary civil rights activist, his role at a pivotal point in the history of the space station program is less well known. He is the Member of Congress who cast the deciding vote in 1993 to continue the program despite years of cost overruns and schedule delays. Today's International Space Station might not exist without his support."

Keith's note: I sat at my desk at NASA Space Station Freedom Program Office in 1993 listening to the roll call wondering if I'd have a job. John Lewis did indeed save the space station.

In voting to keep the space station program alive Rep. Lewis said: "I still believe, as do the majority of the American people, that it is America's destiny to explore space. Not for the cold war reasoning of proving we are the greatest Nation on Earth, but because we are the greatest Nation on Earth. We became great by dreaming and pursuing that dream. As soon as we lose the ability to dream and reach for the stars we cease to be great. Madam Chairman, let us keep the dream alive. Support the space station. All mankind will continue to reap the magnitude of benefits from this program." Update - see below 1

1 Reader note: "It's a great quote, but it's from the wrong Rep. Lewis. This is from Rep. Tom Lewis of Florida, and he never actually had the chance to speak these word during the debate because he ran out of time and had to submit it in writing. Citation: Page 13669: https://www.congress.gov/103/crecb/1993/06/30/GPO-CRECB-1993-pt10-2.pdf - https://www.c-span.org/video/?43471-1/house-session"

Appropriations Committee Releases Fiscal Year 2021 Commerce-Justice-Science Funding Bill

Full Bill

"That the National Aeronautics and Space Administration shall use the Space Launch System, if available, as the launch vehicles for the Jupiter Europa missions, plan for an orbiter launch no later than 2025 and a lander launch no later than 2027, and include in the fiscal year 2022 budget the 5-year funding profile necessary to achieve these goals."

"Provided, That not less than $1,400,500,000 shall be for the Orion Multi-Purpose Crew Vehicle: Provided further, That not less than $2,600,000,000 shall be for the Space Launch System (SLS) launch vehicle, which shall have a lift capability not less than 130 metric tons and which shall have core elements and an Exploration Upper Stage developed simultaneously to be used to the maximum extent practicable, including for Earth to Moon missions and Moon landings: Provided further, That of the amounts provided for SLS, not less than $400,000,000 shall be for SLS Block 1B development including the Exploration Upper Stage and associated systems including related facilitization: Provided further, That $459,700,000 shall be for Exploration Ground Systems including infrastructure in support of SLS Block 1B missions: Provided further, That the National Aeronautics and Space Administration shall provide to the Committees on Appropriations of the House of Representatives and the Senate, concurrent with the annual budget submission, a 5-year budget profile for an inte11 grated system that includes the SLS, the Orion Multi-Purpose Crew Vehicle, and associated ground systems that will ensure a crewed launch as early as possible, as well as a system-based funding profile for a sustained launch cadence that contemplates the use of an SLS Block 1B cargo variant and associated ground systems: Provided further, That $1,557,400,000 shall be for exploration research and development."

Keith's note: The $22.63 billion requested for NASA in FY 2021 is the same as it was for FY 2020. However the request for FY 2021 was for $25.2 billion - so thats $2.5 billion that is missing. Also, $1.57 billion is set aside for exploration research and development - but $4.72 billion was requested. How NASA is supposed to do the accelerated Artemis program such that they land humans on the Moon by 2024 is hard to fathom. Maybe the Senate will be more generous. As for the Europa missions on SLS - planing orbital mechanics to meet political direction using a Congressionally-designed rocket that has not yet flown is always a bad idea. But Congress still does it anyway. Meanwhile Jim Bridenstine is putting on a brave face. But this is an election year - one marked by racial, societal, and political strife amidst a pandemic that is increasingly out of control. So who knows.


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