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Understanding House Science Committee Republican Deficit Recommendations

By Keith Cowing
October 18, 2011
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Republicans Send Deficit Reduction Recommendations to Select Committee (NASA excerpts)
“We propose reductions of $177 million (based on the FY12 request) by taking the following actions:
* Cancellation of OCO-2 mission (received $89.0 million in the FYI 1 CR; $91 million savings in FY 12; $149 million savings over five years). Life cycle cost savings could be higher as NASA struggles to define a launch vehicle to carry OCO-2 to orbit.
* Reduce by 20% “Other Missions and Data Analysis” account within the Earth Systematic Missions (received $274 million in the FY11 CR; $74 million in savings in FY 12; $584 million in savings over five years). The FY12 request represents a 66.8% increase over FY2010 enacted, with an average annual increase thereafter of 32%.
* Reduce by 20% “Venture Class Missions” account within the Earth System Science Pathfinder Missions (received $32 million under the FY11 CR; $12.4 million savings in FY12; $144 million savings over five years). Venture Class Missions is a new activity for NASA, begun in response to a recommendation from the National Academy of Sciences. It is, in essence, a new start. While we support the program’s goals, we simply propose that growth in the spending profile be moderated.

Keith’s note: Of course the Republican staffers on this authorizing committee could have picked any mission with a similar cost range to cut but they chose OCO-2 because its mission is directly related to global change issues. Alas, the National Academy of Sciences sees the replacement of OCO-1 as being important. I guess that just makes it a bigger target for climate change deniers. Why get data, eh? Take a look at the other cuts that are recommended. It is clear that there is an anti-Earth science bias running throughout. If you were to collect all of the input that the Super Committee as received from here and there you’d see all manner of proposed cuts – some obvious, some wacky, and many overtly partisan. Keep that in mind when you read this.

NASA Watch founder, Explorers Club Fellow, ex-NASA, Away Teams, Journalist, Space & Astrobiology, Lapsed climber.