A Review of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration Budget for Fiscal Year 2015

Posted by Brad Johnson Thu, 27 Mar 2014 13:00:00 GMT

Witness

  • Charles F. Bolden, Jr., Administrator, National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)

Statement of The Honorable Charles F. Bolden, Jr. Administrator of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration before the Subcommittee on Space Committee on Science, Space and Technology U. S. House of Representatives

Mr. Chairman and Members of the Subcommittee, I am pleased to have this opportunity to discuss NASA’s FY 2015 budget request. The requested budget of $17.46 billion provides the resources NASA needs to pursue the goals and priorities that the Congress and the Administration have established for the Agency and will ensure that NASA will remain the world’s leader in space. A summary of the FY 2015 budget request is appended to this statement.

The President’s FY 2015 request supports NASA’s continuing quest to extend human presence into deep space and on to Mars. NASA will continue to perform research aboard the International Space Station (ISS), partner with American industry for crew and cargo delivery to low Earth orbit (LEO), develop the Space Launch System (SLS) and Orion crew vehicle, and test our new capabilities in the proving ground of cis-lunar space before sending a human mission to the Red Planet. NASA will also continue to develop a rich array of commercial and international partnerships as part of its overall exploration framework. As we speak, American astronauts aboard the ISS are learning the fundamental lessons necessary to safely execute extended missions deeper into space. Later this year we will see the Exploration Flight Test-1 (EFT-1) of Orion atop a Delta IV Heavy launch vehicle. NASA is pressing forward with development of SLS and Orion, preparing for a first, uncrewed mission in FY 2018. As a critical element in this long-term exploration strategy, as well as a source of continuing scientific and material benefits to life on Earth, operations in LEO remain among NASA’s highest priorities. With the Administration’s commitment to the extension of ISS operations through 2024, NASA looks forward to expanded research opportunities with continuing support from our commercial partners for both crew and cargo. Two American companies are launching supplies to the ISS from U.S. soil. NASA will complete a commercial crew competition this summer, and if Congress fully funds our FY 2015 budget request, we believe we can stay on track to launch astronauts to the ISS from American soil by the end of 2017. This capability is critically important to safe/sustained operations, and will end our sole reliance on our Russian partners for this service. The requested funding is required to meet this critical near-term need.

Consistent with the 2010 NASA Authorization Act (P.L. 111-267) and the National Space Policy, NASA continues to make solid progress on the development of SLS and Orion for a series of test flights including a compelling mission in the proving ground of cis-lunar space to redirect a small asteroid into orbit around the Moon, and to send U.S. astronauts to rendezvous with and explore this target. The proving ground of cis-lunar space also puts the Nation in a position from which we may help our commercial and international partners robotically explore other destinations on that pathway, such as the Moon.

The Asteroid Redirect Mission (ARM) will enable NASA to test powerful Solar Electric Propulsion (SEP) and integrated human/robotic vehicle operations in deep-space trajectories. Like the invaluable ISS, this mission will provide NASA with critical knowledge, experience and technologies for future human exploration missions deeper into space. Drawing on our long-term investments across three Mission Directorates, the FY 2015 request supports continued core capability development and formulation of the integrated mission concept. The overall asteroid initiative also includes enhanced Near Earth Object (NEO) detection and characterization, which will extend our understanding of the NEO threat while providing additional opportunities for investigations of asteroids and demonstrations of technologies and capabilities.

NASA’s FY 2015 request for Science supports operation of the world’s premier constellation of spacecraft dedicated to exploring Earth, the solar system, and the universe beyond, while we continue to develop the next generation of missions in pursuit of our Nation’s highest priority space and Earth science. The James Webb Space Telescope (JWST), NASA’s next-generation successor to the Hubble Space Telescope (HST), continues on schedule for its 2018 launch. In recent months, NASA has completed rigorous testing of the spine of the massive telescope and completed the primary mirrors for integration. As we announced last year, we have begun work on a large Curiosity-scale rover for a 2020 mission to Mars, and the FY 2015 request includes funding to continue pre-formulation activities of a potential mission to Europa, one of Jupiter’s moons believed to harbor a vast subsurface ocean. NASA will launch five Earth science missions in calendar year 2014, taking advantage of the unique vantage point of space to secure new insights into our home planet. The Earth science budget will support airborne campaigns to the poles and hurricanes, development of advanced sensor technologies, and use of satellite observations and data analysis tools to improve natural hazard and climate change preparedness.

With NASA’s FY 2015 request, our pioneering Aeronautics research program will continue to focus on substantially reducing aircraft fuel consumption, emissions, and noise – and help make the Next Generation Air Transportation System, or NextGen, a reality. NASA’s Aeronautics Research Mission Directorate (ARMD) will continue to implement the strategic vision for aeronautics that NASA launched last year, with a focus on addressing the challenges facing the U.S. aviation community – civil and military – in the coming decades.

In essential support of the Agency’s broader mission, the FY 2015 request supports an active Space Technology Program to advance cutting-edge technologies, providing an on-ramp for new space technologies, creating a pipeline that matures them from early-stage through flight, and delivering innovative solutions that dramatically improve technology capabilities for NASA, the aerospace sector, and the Nation. The request supports the sustained investments that NASA must make to mature the capabilities we need to achieve the challenging goals that the Congress has set for us. By the end of FY 2014, NASA will test and deliver two candidate designs for high-power solar electric systems for SEP with critical applications for deep-space exploration as well as for Earth-orbital activities. By the end of calendar year 2015, NASA will have completed seven Space Technology missions in 24 months, including demonstration of a deep-space atomic clock for advanced navigation, the green propellant demonstration (an alternative to highly toxic hydrazine), a solar sail to demonstrate propellant-free propulsion, and four small spacecraft missions pioneering new technologies. The Space Technology Program is also developing high performance systems for decelerating spacecraft at Mars, high bandwidth laser communications with the potential to transform communication systems for both space exploration and commercial use, advanced life support technology, advanced robotics, and lightweight composite propellant tanks.

The program laid out in detail in NASA’s FY 2015 request continues NASA’s implementation of the priorities established for it in the bipartisan NASA Authorization Act of 2010. In the current constrained budget environment, we have designed a balanced program that pursues the Nation’s highest priorities in science, exploration, and aeronautics; with a critical technology development program to develop essential capabilities. The FY 2015 request supports the next steps on the way to Mars in a sustainable way. It enables NASA to restore an American capability for sending humans to orbit while continuing development of a deep-space capability for human space flight. This is not an either-or scenario. Each is critically dependent on the other. The request supports the Nation’s highest priority science and technology goals for space. NASA appreciates the strong budget support the Agency has received despite a difficult budget environment, and we are fully committed to delivering the world’s leading space program on behalf of the American people.

NASA is pleased to be included in the President’s Opportunity, Growth, and Security Initiative (OGSI). Under this initiative, NASA would receive nearly $885.5 million in additional funding in FY 2015 to focus on specific priorities. This initiative recognizes NASA as a critical source of innovation and technology that creates opportunity, economic growth, and ultimately security and prosperity. NASA’s funding under OGSI would focus on priority investment opportunities such as an expanded Space Technology Program, reducing risk and enhancing competition in the Commercial Crew Program, continuing currently operating science missions and accelerating work on potential future missions. NASA’s portion of OGSI would also enable further development work on SLS and Orion, more fully utilize the ISS, and support additional Earth Science mission development, advanced computational fluid dynamics research and increased investment in composite materials.

Science

With 95 missions in development and actively observing Earth, the Sun, the planets, and the universe beyond, NASA remains the world’s premier space science organization and the critical source of information on the home planet. The President’s FY 2015 budget request for the Science program includes $4,972.0 million, with $1,770.3 million for Earth Science, $1,280.3 million for Planetary Science, $607.3 million for Astrophysics, $645.4 million for the James Webb Telescope, and $668.9 million for Heliophysics.

Earth Science

The President’s FY 2015 budget request enables NASA to continue to make critical spaceborne measurements of Earth, our home; to conduct and fund a comprehensive, competed scientific research program to turn those measurements into an understanding of our complex planet; and to use the measurements and understanding to develop and demonstrate applications that will provide direct benefit to our Nation, and indeed all of humanity. Today, there are 17 NASA- developed research satellites on orbit, making measurements of more than 60 key aspects of our planet’s environment. Just a few weeks ago, in collaboration with the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA), the Global Precipitation Measurement mission (GPM) was launched to provide the first-ever, accurate, global maps of rain- and snowfall over the globe. During the rest of 2014, NASA will be launching four more Earth observing research missions: Orbiting Carbon Observatory-2 (OCO-2) to measure global carbon dioxide concentrations with unprecedented coverage and accuracy; RapidScat to the ISS, to make measurements of ocean wind speed and direction; Cloud-Aerosol Transport System (CATS), also to the Space Station, to measure atmospheric aerosols; and, in November, the Soil Moisture/Active Passive (SMAP) mission to make accurate measurements of soil moisture and freeze-thaw cycling. These 2014 missions will be followed in 2015-2017 by the SAGE-III (Stratospheric Aerosol and Gas Experiment III) instrument to the ISS for atmospheric trace gas profile data, including ozone measurements; the Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment (GRACE)-Follow On gravity mission with our German partners to measure changes in the Earth’s gravity field and water storage, such as aquifer level changes; a constellation of eight smallsats, called Cyclone Global Navigation Satellite System (CYGNSS), to use reflected Global Positioning System (GPS) signals to measure conditions in cyclones and hurricanes; an instrument called Tropospheric Emissions: Monitoring of Pollution (TEMPO) to fly on a commercial geostationary communications satellite, to measure air quality over greater North America; and Ice, Cloud, and land Elevation Satellite-2 (ICESAT-2), to make precise measurements of our planet’s rapidly changing ice caps and glaciers. NASA is now developing the Pre-Aerosol, Clouds and ocean Ecosystem (PACE) ocean color and aerosol continuity mission, and the NASA-Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) Synthetic Aperture Radar (NI-SAR) mission in collaboration with the Indian space agency to measure solid earth processes, ice flows, global vegetation, and response to disasters and geohazards. The FY 2015 budget request also supports NASA to develop missions that will continue key climate data series, including a set of solar irradiance, ozone profile, and Earth radiation budget instruments, and follow-on capabilities in support of U.S. Geological Survey for sustained land imaging following our successful launch of Landsat-8 just one year ago.

Astrophysics and James Webb Space Telescope

NASA is making strong progress on JWST, the most powerful space telescope in history, and remains on cost and schedule for launch in 2018. The Webb telescope is the next in a series of astrophysics missions, including the venerable, yet still unrivaled, HST and the incredibly productive Kepler exoplanet mission, which are revolutionizing our understanding of the universe. After launching in 2018, the Webb telescope will travel one million miles from Earth, unfold its sunshield to the size of a tennis court, and keep its instruments cooled to a temperature of 370-387 degrees below zero Fahrenheit (40-50 Kelvin). The Webb telescope will allow us to observe objects even fainter than HST can see, which will allow us to study every phase in the history of our universe, ranging from the first luminous glow after the Big Bang, to the formation of solar systems capable of supporting life on planets like Earth, to the evolution of our own solar system. The FY 2015 request will support work to continue testing the integrated science instrument module for JWST, continue the construction of the spacecraft that will carry the science instruments and the telescope, and begin the assembly of the delivered mirror segments into the telescope backplane. NASA’s Astrophysics Program operating missions include the Hubble, Chandra, Spitzer, and Kepler telescopes; and other missions that together comprise an unrivaled, and in many ways unprecedented resource for the study of our universe. NASA is currently working with our German partner to identify a path forward for the Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy (SOFIA), a mission with high annual operating costs that cannot be accommodated within the FY 2015 budget request. In FY 2015, NASA’s next two astrophysics Explorer missions will continue their development. The Neutron Star Interior Composition Explorer (NICER) will probe the interiors of neutron stars and determine the laws of physics that govern atomic nuclei. NICER will be launched to the ISS in 2016. The Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) will extend the pioneering work of the Kepler Space Telescope, which showed us that virtually every star in the sky has a planetary system. TESS launches in 2017 and will discover rocky exoplanets orbiting the nearest and brightest stars in the sky in time for the JWST to conduct follow-up observations that will characterize their atmospheres and other properties.

Planetary Science

Planetary science missions continue to explore the solar system in unrivaled scope and depth. This past November, the Lunar Atmosphere and Dust Environment Explorer (LADEE) was successfully lowered into its optimal position in lunar orbit to enable science data collection. Using its ion engines, the Dawn spacecraft is nearing its next target, Ceres, the largest asteroid in the asteroid belt, with an expected arrival in April 2015. Other upcoming outer planet encounters include the New Horizons mission flyby of Pluto in July 2015 and the Juno mission orbit insertion around Jupiter in August 2016. The FY 2015 budget request also includes funding for continuing pre-formulation activities and studies for a potential mission to Jupiter’s icy moon, Europa; with compelling evidence of a liquid water ocean beneath its crust, exploration of Europa is vital to our understanding of the habitability of other planets. Building on the success of NASA’s Curiosity rover on Mars, the FY 2015 request supports plans for a robust multi-year Mars program. In a little more than a year on the Red Planet, Curiosity has landed in an ancient river bed, determined the age of the surrounding Martian rocks, found evidence the planet could have sustained microbial life, taken the first readings of radiation on the surface, and shown how natural erosion could be used to reveal the building blocks of life protected just under the surface. Curiosity is providing vital insight about Mars’ past and current environments that will aid plans for future robotic and human missions. The current Mars portfolio includes the Curiosity and Opportunity rovers, the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, the Mars Odyssey orbiter, and our collaboration on the European Space Agency’s Mars Express orbiter. It also includes the new Mars Atmosphere and Volatile EvolutioN (MAVEN) orbiter, launched in 2013 to study the Martian upper atmosphere, which will arrive at the Red Planet in mid-September 2014. Future missions include the 2016 Interior Exploration using Seismic Investigations, Geodesy and Heat Transport (InSight) mission, which will take the first look into the deep interior of Mars; participation in the European Space Agency’s 2016 and 2018 ExoMars missions; and the new Mars rover planned for launch in 2020. The FY 2015 budget request includes enhanced funding for NASA’s Near Earth Object survey and characterization activities in support of the ARM effort, as well as to protect our planet. Just last year, the Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer spacecraft was reactivated, renamed NEOWISE and given a renewed mission to assist NASA’s efforts to identify the population of potentially hazardous near-Earth objects (NEOs). NEOWISE’s first discovery of its renewed mission came on December 29, 2013 – a large near-Earth asteroid designated 2013 YP139, which was about 27 million miles from Earth with an estimated diameter of roughly 0.4 miles. NEOWISE can also assist in characterizing previously detected asteroids that could be considered potential targets for future exploration missions.

Heliophysics

NASA’s Heliophysics Program is composed of 29 spacecraft and the associated research to understand the universal physical phenomena of magnetized plasmas and their interactions. These include the influence of the Sun in our local region of the galaxy, the origins of solar variability, and the coupling among various regions at the Earth and other planetary systems. Last year, NASA successfully launched the Interface Region Imaging Spectrograph (IRIS), a Small Explorer mission. Within a few months, IRIS provided a new understanding of how the outer solar atmosphere is heated to over a million degrees. The FY 2015 budget request will support completion of development of the Magnetospheric Multiscale (MMS) mission, which will launch in 2015 to investigate how magnetic fields connect and disconnect, often releasing tremendous amounts of energy in the process. NASA will continue to develop the Solar Probe Plus (SPP) mission for a planned launch in FY 2018, together with our instrument contributions to the European Space Agency’s Solar Orbiter mission; Solar Probe Plus will repeatedly pass through the hot outer atmosphere of the Sun, to within five times the Sun’s diameter, which is much closer than any man-made object ever has flown before. Finally, the Explorer missions selected in 2013 to study Earth’s outer atmosphere – Ionospheric Connection (ICON) and Global-scale Observations of the Limb and Disk (GOLD) – are in their preliminary design phases for planned launches in 2017.

Aeronautics Research

NASA’s Aeronautics research is making air travel cleaner, safer, and more efficient. NASA’s FY 2015 budget request provides $551.1 million to fulfill the Agency’s strategic research agenda. This innovative research is aimed at transforming the aviation industry through game-changing advances in the safety, capacity, and efficiency of the air transportation system, while minimizing negative impacts on the environment. NASA’s FY 2015 research portfolio is aligned with six strategic research thrusts to directly address the growing global demand for mobility, severe challenges to sustainability of energy and the environment, and technology advances in information, communications, and automation technologies. This portfolio includes those activities in our current portfolio deemed to be the most relevant and critical, as well as new activities focused on high-risk, forward thinking ideas to address aviation’s big problems. The Agency will clearly define the most compelling technical challenges facing the aviation industry, and retire these challenges in a time frame that is supported by stakeholders and required by NASA’s customers. Over the next two years, NASA will continue to develop, demonstrate, and transition to industry and the Federal Aviation Administration new vehicle and airspace management concepts and technologies to help realize the promise of NextGen, as well as provide technical data, analysis and recommendations to support the integration of unmanned aerial systems (UAS) into the National Air Space. We will strengthen our external partnerships through joint flight experiments using alternative aviation fuels and advanced flight deck and vehicle technologies, and through demonstrations of advanced sensors to improve safety and identify emerging faults before damage occurs. By the end of FY 2015, NASA will close out the six-year Environmentally Responsible Aviation project with a series of integrated technology demonstrations to demonstrate the feasibility of a suite of technologies to meet our aggressive environmental goals. Through the alignment of our research portfolio to address the most critical challenges facing the aviation sector, NASA will be best positioned to continue supporting the global competitiveness of the U.S. aviation industry that contributes to a $47 billion positive balance of trade, infuses $1.3 trillion annually into the U.S. economy and supports more than 10 million direct and indirect jobs1,2. NASA is truly with you when you fly.

Space Technology

NASA’s FY 2015 request includes $705.5 million for Space Technology, to enable our future in space, drawing on talent from the NASA workforce, academia, small businesses, and the broader national space enterprise, by delivering innovative solutions that dramatically lower costs and improve technological capabilities for NASA and the Nation. By the end of FY 2014, NASA will test and deliver two candidate designs for large deployable solar array systems, power processing units, and advanced thrusters to support a flight demonstration of SEP. In addition to being important to the future of human spaceflight and the ARM effort, high-power SEP can enable orbit transfer capability for satellites, and addresses the rapid power demand increases facing today’s communications satellites. Having successfully demonstrated a 2.4-meter propellant tank in 2013, NASA will complete testing a 5.5-meter diameter composite tank to enable lower-mass rocket propellant tanks for future systems, including the SLS. By the end of 2015, NASA will have completed seven Space Technology missions in 24 months, including demonstration of a deep-space atomic clock for advanced navigation that has commercial application for improving GPS systems, the green propellant demonstration (a higher-performing, less toxic alternative to hydrazine), a solar sail to demonstrate propellant-free propulsion, and four small spacecraft missions pioneering new technologies. Building on recent successes with its Low Density Supersonic Decelerator, NASA plans to conduct high-speed tests – at an altitude of 170,000 feet – of the largest planetary parachute ever developed to enable precise landing of higher-mass payloads to the surface of other planets, with particular focus on infusing advanced capabilities into the Mars 2020 mission and future human exploration missions. NASA’s Space Technology investments are aligned with NASA’s Human Exploration and Operations and Science Programs to reduce technological barriers and mission risk, and to foster affordable missions. The Space Technology Game Changing Development effort is delivering advanced life-support, advanced robotics, and battery technologies for system demonstrations planned by Human Exploration and Operations. For Science, Space Technology is improving navigational accuracy, developing advanced computing and avionics, and developing advanced Entry, Descent, and Landing (EDL) solutions, observatory technology, and optical communication technology to transmit large amounts of science data from deep space. Space Technology is partnering with Human Exploration and Operations and Science on many activities, including demonstration of in-situ resource utilization, optical communications, and advanced measurements on Mars. These precursor activities will pave the way and reduce risk for future Mars exploration.

Exploration and Space Operations

NASA is building the capabilities and knowledge to send humans farther from the home planet then we have ever been before. The FY 2015 budget request for Exploration is $3,976.0 million with $2,784.4 million for Exploration Systems Development, $848.3 million for Commercial Space Flight, and $343.4 million for Exploration Research and Development. Space Operations, including the ISS and Space Flight Support, form a critical component of the Agency’s exploration plans by enabling us to develop the knowledge, experience, and technology necessary for safely living and working in space. The FY 2015 request for Space Operations is $3,905.4 million, with $3050.8 for ISS and $854.6 for Space Flight Support (SFS).

Exploration Systems

The FY 2015 request will enable NASA to continue to meet its milestones in the development of the Space Launch System (SLS), a rocket system ultimately capable of bringing an unprecedented 130 metric tons of payload to Earth orbit. The Orion program continues on track for an uncrewed test flight later this year. This test flight, Exploration Flight Test-1 (EFT-1), will see Orion conduct two orbits of Earth and reenter the atmosphere at approximately 85 percent of lunar re- entry speed of a returning deep-space exploration mission. The test will provide valuable data about the spacecraft’s systems – most importantly its heat shield and structure. The flight test article for this mission is already in place at the Kennedy Space Center and being readied for this test. The FY 2015 budget request supports progress toward a first uncrewed test of the Orion and the SLS together, known as Exploration Mission-1 (EM-1) in FY 2018, with the first crewed mission of the two vehicles slated for FY 2021-2022. Orion, SLS, and Exploration Ground Systems (EGS) are using the latest in systems and manufacturing technology to develop the safe and sustainable systems this country needs to extend human presence to Mars. Examples include Orion’s use of time-triggered gigabit Ethernet, SLS’ use of friction-stir welding on large structures to build the Core Stage, and EGS’ replacement of cables from Pad 39B with the latest in fiber optics. In developing the Orion, SLS, and EGS, NASA is building a national capability for the long-term human exploration of space.

International Space Station

The FY 2015 request supports the ISS with its international crew of six orbiting Earth every 90 minutes. The Station is making deep-space exploration possible, as we build on the knowledge and experience we are gaining from the astronauts living, working, and conducting research on the ISS. On January 8, 2014, the Administration announced it is committing the United States to the extension of ISS operations through at least 2024. This will allow NASA to complete many of the research and technology development activities aboard the ISS necessary to enable planned long-duration human missions beyond LEO; extend the broader flow of societal benefits from research on the Station, which has already resulted in a discoveries that could have significant medical and industrial implications; provide NASA and its private-sector partners time to more fully transition to the commercial space industry the transportation of cargo and crew to LEO; instill confidence in the science community that the ISS platform will be available for important, long-term research endeavors; and help cement continuing U.S. leadership in human spaceflight going forward. NASA’s plans for the coming year include preparing for an extended duration, year-long human-crewed mission – slated to launch in March 2015 – to explore human adaptation to space; and continuing to utilize the ISS to improve our ability to live and work in space, including conducting technology demonstrations enabling future exploration. The Center for the Advancement of Science in Space (CASIS) continues to manage the National Laboratory research being conducted in the U.S. segment of the ISS by an array of organizations, including commercial researchers interested in taking advantage of this unique, microgravity facility. One company, NanoRacks, uses standardized hardware to provide a microgravity research option for scientists working in venues ranging from grade school to academia to industry. During its first three years of business, NanoRacks sent 91 investigations to ISS, returned 10 to Earth, and deployed one CubeSat – a new area of focus using satellites that measure about four inches on all sides.

Commercial Crew and Cargo

A top priority for NASA and the Nation is to affordably and safely launch American astronauts and their supplies from U.S. soil, ending our sole reliance on foreign providers and bringing that work back home. Under NASA’s Commercial Resupply Services (CRS) contracts, Space Exploration Technologies (SpaceX) was awarded 12 cargo flights to the ISS, and Orbital Sciences Corporation (Orbital) was awarded 8 flights. Counting demonstration flights and CRS resupply flights, SpaceX has now completed three cargo missions to the ISS, successfully delivering cargo and returning scientific samples to Earth, with the fourth mission expected to launch in the next few days. Orbital Sciences Corporation has completed their demonstration mission to the ISS and their first contract mission under CRS to deliver crew supplies, research and other cargo onboard the Cygnus spacecraft. NASA continues to work with its commercial partners to develop a U.S. commercial capability for human spaceflight and plans to launch American astronauts from U.S. soil by the end of 2017. 2014 will be a pivotal year for NASA’s Commercial Crew Program (CCP) as the Agency intends to award development and certification contract by August/September for the Commercial Crew Transportation Capability (CCtCap) phase that would lead to operational crewed flights to the ISS. Competition is a key to controlling costs over the long term, and NASA’s Aerospace Safety Advisory Panel has opined that competition should be maintained until safety confidence is achieved. Through the successful execution of this partnership, we will return to the United States the vital capability to launch astronauts to the ISS from U.S. soil and return them to Earth.

Education

The Administration is proposing increased interagency coordination of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) education investments, aligned with the Five-Year Strategic Plan released last year by the Committee on STEM Education (CoSTEM). The FY 2015 budget request for Education will enhance the impact of the Federal investment in STEM Education through greater interagency coordination and cooperation in support of a cohesive national STEM strategy focused on four priority areas: K-12 instruction, undergraduate education, graduate fellowships, and informal education activities. The Office of Education will continue its intra-agency consolidation of certain educational programs to eliminate duplication of efforts and achieve maximum leverage of resources. The FY 2015 budget request of $88.9 million consolidates education activities in the Office of Education, including several elements that may be transferred from NASA’s mission directorates under a competitive process. The FY 2015 budget request for the Education account includes funding for the National Space Grant College and Fellowship Program, the Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research (EPSCoR), and the Minority University Research and Education Project (MUREP), and STEM Education and Accountability Projects. These education investments link to NASA’s research, engineering, and technology missions. Each of these investments provides unique NASA experiences and resources to students and faculty. The budget also provides $15 million to the Science Mission Directorate to competitively fund the best application of NASA Science assets to meet the Nation’s STEM education goals.

Conclusion

Mr. Chairman, thank you for the opportunity to appear before you today to provide you with our progress and status over the past year. I would be pleased to respond to any questions you or the other Members of the Subcommittee may have.

A Review of the President’s Fiscal Year 2015 Budget Request for Science Agencies

Posted by Brad Johnson Wed, 26 Mar 2014 14:00:00 GMT

On Wednesday, March 26, 2014, the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology will hold a hearing to review President Obama’s proposed fiscal year 2015 (FY15) budget request for programs and science agencies under the Committee’s jurisdiction.

Dr. John P. Holdren, Assistant to the President for Science and Technology and Director of the Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP), will review the proposed budget in the context of the President’s overall priorities in science, space, and technology and will describe how the Administration determined priorities for funding across scientific disciplines and agencies.

Witness

  • John Holdren, Director, Office of Science and Technology Policy, Executive Office of the President

The following web links are highlights of the President’s FY 2015 budget request:

http://www.whitehouse.gov/sites/default/files/microsites/ostp/Fy%202015%20R&D.pdf

The following web links provides highlights U.S. Global Change Research Program, clean energy programs, and climate change initiatives in the President’s FY 2015 budget request:

http://www.whitehouse.gov/sites/default/files/microsites/ostp/FY%202015%20Climate.pdf

http://www.whitehouse.gov/sites/default/files/omb/budget/fy2015/assets/fact_sheets/building-a-clean-energy-economy-improving-energy-security-and-taking-action-on-climate-change.pdf

The following web link provides highlights of the Administration’s STEM education programs in the President’s FY 2015 budget request:

http://www.whitehouse.gov/sites/default/files/microsites/ostp/fy_2015_stem_ed.pdf

The following web link provides highlights of the Administration’s proposals for investing in American Innovation in the President’s FY 2015 budget request:

http://www.whitehouse.gov/sites/default/files/omb/budget/fy2015/assets/fact_sheets/investing-in-american-innovation.pdf

Smith asks Holdren about NSF’s “stress in Bolivia” grant.

Holdren: I’m not sure any of us in this room are in a better position to judge these grants than the NSF.

Smith: Don’t you feel that NSF should justify these grants to the American taxpayer?

Holdren: I believe they do. The organic act says the NSF’s job is to promote the progress of science. Funding basic research is in the NSF’s mission, we should let it continue.

Smith: I don’t think they’ve justified these grants.

Rohrabacher challenges Holdren on “bogus figure” of 97% climate scientists, Holdren questions its accuracy but says the study was peer-reviewed. Rohrabacher asks about tornadoes and hurricanes getting more “ferocious.” Holdren says that there is no evidence, none, of changes in tornadoes, but that there is evidence supporting changes in hurricanes, droughts, and floods. Rohrabacher calls Holdren out for “weasel words.”

Neugebauer challenges Holdren on fracking study. “There was not a lot of evidence to justify going down this road. It appears this administration is on a witch hunt. The administration continues to take a negative, slanted view towards the technology.”

Holdren: “This is not a witch hunt. I don’t want and the president doesn’t want to lose access to this natural gas and oil, this very important set of resources because we don’t do this right.”

Statement of Chairman Lamar Smith (R-Texas)

Hearing on The President’s FY2014 Budget Request for Science Agencies

Chairman Smith: The topic of today’s hearing is the President’s budget request for the coming year. This is the first of several hearings to examine over $40 billion in annual federal research and development (R&D) spending within the Science Committee’s jurisdiction.

Unfortunately, this Administration’s science budget focuses, in my view, far too much money, time, and effort on alarmist predictions of climate change. For example, the Administration tried to link hurricanes, tornadoes, floods and droughts to climate change. Yet even the Administration’s own scientists contradicted the president.

The Administration also has not been as open and honest with the American people as it should. When the Committee asked the EPA for the scientific data being used to justify some of the costliest regulations in history, their response was that they didn’t have it even though they were using it.

When we asked the National Science Foundation (NSF) last year for their justification in funding numerous research grants, the NSF refused to provide a response.

All government employees and their agency heads need to remember they are accountable to the American taxpayer who pays their salary and funds their projects. It is not the government’s money; it’s the people’s money.

Further, an estimated $300 million was spent in building the website Healthcare.gov prior to its public rollout last October. Secretary Sebelius rightly called this “a debacle.” In its haste to launch the Healthcare.gov website, it appears the Obama Administration cut corners that left the site open to hackers and other online criminals. According to experts who testified before the Science Committee, millions of Americans are vulnerable to identity theft from this website.

For this reason, the Science Committee has twice asked the White House’s Chief Technology Officer, Todd Park, to testify about his role in the development of the Healthcare.gov website. Rather than allow him to testify before Congress, the White House instead chose to make Mr. Park available for interviews with Time magazine. So much for accountability and transparency.

The Administration’s willful disregard for public accountability distracts from the important issues of how America can stay ahead of China, Russia, and other countries in the highly-competitive race for technological leadership.

Perhaps the greatest example of the White House’s lack of leadership is with America’s space program. The White House’s approach has been to raid NASA’s budget to fund the Administration’s environmental agenda. In the last seven years, NASA’s Earth Science Division has grown by over 63 percent. Meanwhile, the White House’s budget proposal would cut NASA by almost $200 million in Fiscal Year 2015 compared to what Congress provided the agency this year.

And The White House’s proposed asteroid retrieval mission is a mission without a budget, without a destination, and without a launch date. Rather than diminish NASA’s space exploration mission, President Obama should set forth a certain, near-term, realizable goal for NASA’s space exploration.

Many experts believe that a Mars Flyby mission launched in 2021 is a potentially worthy near-term goal. A human Mars mission would electrify the American public, excite American scientists, and inspire American students.

Our leadership has slipped in areas such as: space exploration where we currently rely on Russia to launch our astronauts into space; supercomputing where China currently has the lead; and even severe weather forecasting where European weather models routinely predict America’s weather better than we can. We need to make up for lost ground.

These budget hearings are about something far more important than simply numbers on a ledger. They’re about priorities. And the Administration should reevaluate its priorities if we want to continue to be a world leader in science, space, and technology.

Carbon Monitoring Satellite Is Lost During Launch

Posted by Wonk Room Tue, 24 Feb 2009 17:25:00 GMT

From the Wonk Room.

OCO LaunchThe first satellite designed exclusively to measure atmospheric carbon dioxide from space failed to reach orbit during this morning’s launch, NASA reported. The Orbital Carbon Observatory (O-C-O, an acronym that matches the chemical diagram for carbon dioxide) “did not achieve orbit successfully in a way that we could have a mission,” Nasa launch commentator George Diller announced following the early-morning liftoff. “I am bitterly disappointed about the loss of OCO,” Dr. Paul Palmer, a scientist collaborating on the mission, told BBC News. “My thoughts go out to the science team that have dedicated the past seven years to building and testing the instrument.” NASA’s announcement explains the loss in dry terms:

When OCO launched Feb. 24, the payload fairing did not separate as it was supposed to and the mission ended.

The OCO would have complemented the Japanese satellite Gosat, designed to measure carbon dioxide and methane emissions with an infrared spectrometer and a cloud and aerosol imager. Gosat successfully launched on Friday. The two satellites were designed to work together and cross-check each other’s measurements, with “a common ground validation network to help combine data from the missions.”

Satellite measurement of CO2 emissions is needed to complete scientists’ understanding of the carbon cycle. Scientific American’s David Biello explained the mystery of the missing carbon before OCO’s launch:
Human activity—from coal-fired power plants to car tailpipes—is responsible for nearly 30 billion metric tons of carbon dioxide wafting into the atmosphere yearly. We know that roughly 15 billion metric tons remains in the atmosphere for a century or more. A portion of the rest ends up in the ocean—acidifying saltwater and making life tough for corals—and another chunk appears to be helping tropical trees grow thicker. We don’t know, however, where the rest of humanity’s CO2 is disappearing to.

Markup of The National Aeronautics and Space Administration Authorization Act of 2008 (HR 6063)

Posted by Brad Johnson Wed, 04 Jun 2008 14:00:00 GMT

The National Aeronautics and Space Administration Authorization Act of 2008 H.R. 6063.

Bill Summary and Status

Reported by the Space & Aeronautics Subcommittee May 20, 2008

Introduced in the House May 15, 2008 Section-by-Section

Sec. 1. Short Title.

The “National Aeronautics and Space Administration Authorization Act of 2008”.

Sec. 2. Findings.

Congress finds, on this the fiftieth anniversary of the establishment of NASA, that the agency is and should remain a balanced, multimission agency, and 12 other findings.

Sec. 3. Definitions.

(1) Administrator-The term “Administrator” means the Administrator of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration.

(2) NASA-The term “NASA” means the National Aeronautics and Space Administration.

(3) OSTP- The term “OSTP” means the Office of Science and Technology Policy.

TITLE I. – AUTHORIZATION OF APPROPRIATIONS FOR FISCAL YEAR 2009

Sec. 101. Fiscal Year 2009

Authorizes NASA at $20,210,000,000 for FY 09. This amount is approximately $2.59 billion above the President’s FY 2009 request.

The baseline Authorization of $19.21 billion, includes the following breakdown:

Science: $4,932,200,000 of which

$1,518,000,000 is for Earth Science

$1,483,000,000 is for Planetary Science

$1,290,400,000 is for Astrophysics

$640,800,000 is for Heliophysics

Aeronautics: $853,400,000

Exploration: $3,886,000,000

Education: $128,300,000

Space Operations: $6,074,400,000

Cross-Agency Support Programs: $3,299,900,000

Inspector General: $35,500,000

In addition to the above amounts, the bill authorizes $1,000,000,000 to accelerate the initial operational capability of the Crew Exploration Vehicle and the Crew Launch Vehicle.

TITLE II. – EARTH SCIENCE

Sec. 201. Goal

Expresses the sense of the Congress that the goal of NASA’s Earth Science program shall be to pursue a leadership role in providing Earth observations, research, and applications activities to better understand the Earth system

Sec. 202. Governance of U.S. Earth Observations Activities

Requires the Director of the OSTP to task the National Academies with conducting a study to determine the most appropriate governance structure for U.S. Earth Observation programs. Directs the study to be delivered to Congress within 18 months after the enactment of the Act, and for the OSTP to provide an implementation plan of the study’s recommendations within 24 months of the enactment of the Act.

Sec. 203. Decadal Survey Missions.

Requires the Administrator to submit a plan describing how NASA intends to implement the recommended missions in the National Academies decadal survey “Earth Sciences and Applications from Space,” within 270 days of the enactment of the Act.

Sec. 204. Transitioning Experimental Research Into Operational Services.

Encourages NASA to transition experimental sensors and missions that have the potential to benefit society into operational status whenever possible.

Directs the Director of the OSTP, in consultation with the Administrator of NASA and the Administrator of NOAA, to develop a process for federal agencies to transition NASA Earth science and space weather missions or sensors into operational status. Requires NASA and NOAA to submit a joint plan for each mission or sensor that is determined to be appropriate for transition to Congress within 60 days of the successful completion of the mission or sensor critical design review.

Sec. 205. Landsat Thermal Infrared Data Continuity

Requires the Administrator to prepare a plan for ensuring the continuity of Landsat thermal infrared data or its equivalent within 60 days of the enactment of the Act.

Sec. 206. Reauthorization of Glory Mission

Reauthorizes NASA to continue with development of the Glory mission and requires the Administrator to submit a report to Congress a new Baseline Report within 90 days of the enactment of the Act.

Sec. 207. Plan for Disposition of Deep Space Climate Observatory.

Requires NASA to develop a plan for the Deep Space Climate Observatory (DSCOVR), which shall examine options for the future disposition of the spacecraft and its instruments, and to submit this plan no later than 180 days after the enactment of the Act.

TITLE III. AERONAUTICS

Sec. 301. Environmentally Friendly Aircraft Research and Development Initiative.

Directs the Administrator to establish an initiative with the objective of enabling commercial aircraft performance characteristics such as significant noise reduction near airports and significant reductions in greenhouse gas emissions.

Sec. 302. Research Alignment.

Requires the Administrator, to the maximum extent possible, to align the fundamental aeronautics research program to address high priority technology challenges of the National Academies “Decadal Survey of Civil Aeronautics.”

Sec. 303. Research Program to Determine Perceived Impact of Sonic Booms.

Requires the Administrator to establish a cooperative research program with industry to collect data on the impact of sonic booms that can be used to develop standards for overland commercial supersonic flight operations.

Sec. 304. External Review of NASA’s Aviation Safety-Related Research Programs.

Requires the Administrator to arrange for the National Research Council to conduct an independent review of NASA’s aviation safety-related research programs, and to submit to Congress a report on the results on this review within 14 months of the enactment of the Act.

Sec. 305. Interagency Research Initiative on the Impact of Aviation on the Climate.

Requires the Administrator, in coordination with the U.S. Climate Change Science Program and other appropriate agencies, to establish a research initiative to assess the impact of aviation on the climate, and if warranted, to evaluate approaches to mitigate that impact. Requires the participating entities to jointly develop a plan for the research program no later than 1 year after the enactment of the Act. Requires the Administrator to arrange for the National Research Council to conduct an independent review of the plan and to provide the results of this review no later than 2 years after the enactment of the Act.

Sec. 306. Research Program on Design for Certification.

Requires NASA, in consultation with other appropriate agencies, to establish a research program on methods to improve both the confidence in and the timeliness of certification of new technologies for their introduction into the national airspace system, and to provide a plan for this program no later than 1 year after the enactment of the Act. Requires the Administrator to arrange for the National Research Council to conduct an independent review of the plan and to provide the results of this review no later than 2 years after the enactment of the Act.

Sec. 307. Aviation Weather Research.

Requires the Administrator to establish a research program with NOAA on improving the reliability of 2-hour to 6-hour aviation weather forecasts.

Sec. 308. Joint Aeronautics Research and Development Advisory Committee.

Establishes and provides the guidelines for a joint Aeronautics Research and Development Advisory Committee which shall assess and make recommendations regarding the coordination of research and development activities of NASA and the FAA.

Sec. 309. Funding for R&D Activities in Support of other Mission Directorates.

Establishes that funding for research and development activities performed by the Aeronautics Research Mission Directorate for the flight projects of other Mission Directorates be funded by the Mission Directorate seeking assistance.

Sec. 310. University-Based Centers for Research on Aviation Training.

Changes “may” to “shall” in Section 427 (a) of P.L. 109-155.

TITLE IV. INTERNATIONAL EXPLORATION INITIATIVE

Sec. 401. Sense of Congress.

Expresses the sense of Congress that the President should invite America’s friends and allies to participate in a long term exploration initiative under the leadership of the U.S.

Sec. 402. Stepping Stone Approach to Exploration.

Requires the Administrator to take all necessary steps to ensure that the lunar exploration program be designed and implemented in a manner that gives strong consideration to meeting requirements of future exploration and utilization activities beyond the Moon.

Sec. 403. Lunar Outpost.

Requires that NASA make no plans that would require a lunar outpost to be occupied to maintain its viability. Establishes that the U.S. portion of the first human-tended outpost on the Moon shall be designated the “Neil A. Armstrong Lunar Outpost.” Expresses the intent of Congress that NASA shall make use of commercial services to the maximum extent practicable in support of its lunar outpost activities.

Sec. 404. Exploration Technology Development

Requires the Administrator to establish a program of long-term exploration-related technology research and development that is not tied to specific flight projects with a funding goal of at least ten percent of the budget of the Exploration Systems Mission Directorate, and of having at least fifty percent of the funding allocated to external research institutions.

Sec. 405. Exploration Risk Mitigation Plan

Requires the Administrator to provide a plan identifying the scientific and technical risks that need to be addressed in carrying out human exploration beyond low Earth orbit and the research and development activities required to address those risks, and to provide the plan no later than 1 year following the enactment of the Act.

Sec. 406. Exploration Crew Rescue.

Directs the Administrator to enter into discussions for the purpose of agreeing to a common docking system standard with other spacefaring nations who have or plan to have crew transportation systems.

Sec. 407. Participatory Exploration.

Requires the Administrator to develop a technology plan to enable dissemination of information to the public for the purpose of fully experiencing NASA’s missions to the Moon, Mars and other bodies of our solar system, and to provide Congress with the plan no later than 270 days of the enactment of the Act.

Sec. 408. Science and Exploration

Expresses the sense of Congress that NASA’s scientific and human exploration activities are synergistic, and encourages the Administrator to coordinate NASA’s science and exploration activities to maximize the success of the human exploration initiatives and to further our understanding of the universe.

TITLE VSPACE SCIENCE

Sec. 501. Technology Development.

Directs the Administrator to establish a cross-Directorate long-term technology development program for space and Earth science within the Science Mission Directorate and sets a funding goal for the program of five percent of the total Science Mission Directorate annual budget, and directs that it be structured to include competitively awarded grants and contracts in the program.

Sec. 502. Provision for Future Servicing of Observatory-Class Scientific Spacecraft.

Directs the Administrator to ensure that provision is made for all future observatory-class scientific spacecraft intended to be deployed in Earth orbit or at Lagrangian points in space for robotic or human servicing and repair.

Sec. 503. Mars Exploration.

Reaffirms the Congress’ support for a systematic and integrated program of robotic exploration of the Martian surface.

Sec. 504. Importance of a Balanced Science Programs.

Expresses the sense of Congress that a balanced and adequately funded set of activities all contribute to a robust and productive science program and are catalysts for innovation. Expresses the further sense of Congress that suborbital flight activities provide valuable training opportunities and that it is in the national interest to expand the size of NASA’s suborbital research program.

Sec. 505. Restoration of RTG Material Production.

Requires the Director of the Office of Science and Technology Policy to develop a plan for restarting and sustaining the domestic production of Radioisotope Thermoelectric Generator (RTG) material for deep space and other space science missions and to deliver the plan to Congress within 270 days of the enactment of the Act. $5,000,000 is authorized for radioisotope material production.

Sec. 506. Assessment of Impediments to Interagency Cooperation on Space and Earth Science Missions.

Requires the Administrator to arrange for the National Research Council to assess impediments to interagency cooperation on space and Earth science missions and to provide the report to Congress within 15 months of the enactment of the Act.

Sec. 507. Assessment of Cost Growth.

Requires the Administrator to arrange for an independent external assessment to identify the primary causes of cost growth in large, medium, and small space and Earth science spacecraft mission classes and to identify recommendations and to provide the report within 15 months of the enactment of the Act.

TITLE VISPACE OPERATIONS

SUBTITLE A – International Space Station.

Sec. 601. Utilization.

Directs the Administrator to take all necessary steps to ensure that the International Space Station (ISS) remains a viable and productive facility of potential U.S. utilization through at least 2020 and to take no steps that would preclude its continued operation and utilization by the U.S. after 2016.

Sec. 602. Research Management Plan.

Requires the Administrator to develop a research management plan for the ISS. Directs the Administrator to establish a process to support ISS National Lab users in identifying requirements for transportation of research supplies to the ISS and to develop an estimate of transportation requirements needed to support users of the ISS National Lab. Directs the Administrator to identify existing research and support equipment that are manifested for flight and to provide a description of the status, budget and milestone of research equipment that were completed or in-development prior to being cancelled. Requires the Administrator to establish an advisory panel under the Federal Advisory Committee Act to monitor the activities and management of the ISS National Lab.

Sec. 603. Contingency Plan for Cargo Resupply.

Requires the Administrator to develop a contingency plan and arrangements to ensure the continued viability and productivity of the ISS in the event that U.S. commercial cargo resupply services are not available after the Space Shuttle is retired and to deliver the plan within one year of enactment of the Act.

SUBTITLE B – Space Shuttle.

Sec. 611. Flight Manifest.

Establishes that the Utilization flights ULF-4 and ULF-5 shall be considered part of the Space Shuttle baseline flight manifest and shall be flown prior to the retirement of the Space Shuttle. Requires the Administrator to take all necessary steps to fly one additional Space Shuttle flight to deliver the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer (AMS) to the ISS prior to the retirement of the Space Shuttle. Establishes that the Space Shuttle be retired following the completion of the baseline flight manifest and the additional flight carrying the AMS, events which are anticipated to occur in 2010.

Sec. 612. Disposition of Shuttle-Related Assets.

Requires the Administrator to provide a plan for the disposition of the remaining Space Shuttle orbiters and other Space Shuttle program-related hardware and facilities after the retirement of the Space Shuttle fleet and to not dispose of any Space Shuttle-related hardware prior to the completion of the plan, which shall be submitted to Congress within 90 days on the enactment of the Act.

Sec. 613. Space Shuttle Transition Liaison Office.

Directs the Administrator to establish an office within NASA’s Office of Human Capital Management to assist local communities affected by the termination of the Space Shuttle program, which will be operated until 24 months after the last Space Shuttle flight.

SUBTITLE C – Launch Services.

Sec. 621. Launch Services Strategy.

Requires the Administrator to develop a strategy for providing launch services in support of NASA’s small and medium science, space operations, and exploration missions as preparation for awards to follow up on the current NASA Launch Services contracts and to provide this report within 90 days of the enactment of the Act.

TITLE VIIEDUCATION

Sec. 701. Response to Review.

Requires the Administrator to develop a plan identifying actions taken or planned in response to the recommendations of the National Academies report, “NASA’s Elementary and Secondary Education Program: Review and Critique,” and to provide this report within one year of the enactment of the Act.

Sec. 702. External Review of Explorer School Program.

Requires the Administrator to arrange for an independent external review of the Explorer Schools program and provide the report within one year of the enactment of the Act.

TITLE VIIINEAR EARTH OBJECTS

Sec. 801. In General.

Expresses Congress’ support of the policy direction in P.L. 109-155 for NASA to detect, track, catalogue and characterize the physical characteristics of near-Earth objects equal to or greater than 140 meters in diameter.

Sec. 802. Findings.

Includes findings on the potential threat posed by near-Earth objects and the need to prepare the appropriate policies and procedures.

Sec. 803. Requests for Information.

Directs the Administrator to issue requests for information on a low cost space mission to rendezvous with the Apophis asteroid, and a medium-sized space mission with the purpose of detecting near-Earth objects equal to or greater than 140 meters in diameter.

Sec. 804. Establishment of Policy.

Requires the Director of the Office of Science and Technology Policy to develop a policy for notifying Federal agencies and relevant emergency response institutions of an impending NEO threat if near term public safety is at stake, to recommend a Federal agency or agencies to be responsible for protecting the Nation from a near-Earth object that is anticipated to collide with Earth and implementing a deflection campaign, in consultation with international bodies, should one be required.

Sec. 805. Planetary Radar Capability.

Requires the Administrator to maintain a planetary radar that is, at minimum, comparable to the capability provided through the NASA Deep Space Network Goldstone facility.

Sec. 806. Arecibo Observatory.

Expresses Congress’ support for the use of the Arecibo Observatory for NASA-funded near-Earth object-related activities, and requires the Administrator to ensure the availability of the Arecibo Observatory’s planetary radar to support these activities until the National Academies review of NASA’s approach for the survey and deflection of near-Earth objects is completed.

TITLE IXCOMMERCIAL INITIATIVES

Sec. 901. Sense of Congress.

Expresses the sense of Congress that a healthy and robust commercial sector can make significant contributions to the successful conduct of NASA’s space exploration program, and encourages NASA to look for such service opportunities and to the maximum extent practicable, make use of the commercial sector to provide those services.

Sec. 902. Commercial Crew Initiative.

Directs NASA to make use of U.S. commercially provided International Space Station (ISS) crew transfer and crew rescue services to the maximum extent practicable, limit the use, to the maximum extent practicable, of the Crew Exploration Vehicle to missions carrying astronauts beyond low Earth orbit once commercial crew transfer and crew rescue services that meet safety requirements become operational, facilitate the transfer of NASA-developed technologies to potential U.S. commercial crew transfer and rescue service providers, issue a notice of intent within 180 days of the enactment of the Act to enter into a funded Space Act Agreement with two or more commercial entities for a Phase 1 Commercial Orbital Transportation Services (COTS) crewed vehicle demonstration program with $50,000,000 to be authorized for FY 2009, and $50,000,000 to be authorized for the provision of ISS-compatible docking adaptors to be made available to the commercial crew providers selected to service the ISS. It also directs NASA to enter into a crew transportation services contract with a commercial provider if it demonstrates the ability to provide ISS crew transfer in accordance with safety requirements.

TITLE XREVITALIZATION OF NASA INSTITUTIONAL CAPABILITIES

Sec. 1001. Review of Information Security Controls.

Requires the Comptroller General to complete a review of information security controls that protect NASA’s information technology and to provide a report to Congress no later than one year after enactment of the Act. Requires the Comptroller General to provide a restricted report detailing results of vulnerability assessments conducted by GAO on NASA’s network resources within one year of the enactment of the Act.

Sec. 1002. Maintenance and Upgrade of Center Facilities.

Requires the Administrator to ensure that adequate maintenance and upgrading of Center facilities is performed on a regular basis, to develop a budget plan to reduce maintenance and upgrade backlog by 50 percent over the next five years, and to deliver a report to Congress on the results on these activities with the FY 2011 budget request.

Sec. 1003. Assessment of NASA Laboratory Capabilities.

Requires the Administrator to arrange for an independent external review of the overall quality of NASA’s laboratories.

TITLE XI. OTHER PROVISIONS

Sec. 1101. Space Weather.

Directs the Office of Science and Technology Policy to develop a plan for sustaining space-based measurements of solar wind from the L1 Lagrangian point in space and to submit the plan within one year of the enactment of the Act.

Requires the Administrator, in coordination with the National Science Foundation, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and other relevant agencies, to initiate a research program to conduct or supervise research projects on impacts of space weather to aviation and to facilitate the transfer of technology from space weather research programs to Federal agencies with operational responsibilities and to the private sector.

Requires the Administrator to arrange for the National Research Council to conduct a study on the impacts of space weather on the current and future United States aviation industry, and to provide the results of the report no later than one year after the enactment of the Act.

Sec. 1102. Space Traffic Management.

Requires the Administrator, in consultation with other appropriate agencies of the Federal government, to initiate discussions with the appropriate representatives of other spacefaring nations to determine the appropriate framework under which information intended to promote safe overall operations in outer space can be shared.

Sec. 1103. Study of Export Control Policies Related to Civil and Commercial Space Activities.

Requires the Director of the Office of Science and Technology Policy to conduct a study of the impact of current export control policies and implementation directives on the U.S. aerospace industry and its competitiveness in global markets, as well as on the ability of U.S. government agencies to carry out cooperative activities in science and technology, including the impact on research, and to provide the report to the Congress within 9 months of the enactment of the Act.

Sec. 1105. National Academies Decadal Surveys.

Directs the Administrator to enter into agreements on a periodic basis with the National Academies for independent assessments of the status and opportunities for Earth and space science discipline fields and Aeronautics research, to recommend priorities for research and programmatic areas over the next decade, to include whenever possible independent estimates of the costs and technical readiness of missions assessed, and to identify conditions that would warrant reexamination of the priorities established.

Sec. 1106. Innovation Prizes.

Amends Section 104 of P.L. 109-155 by replacing paragraph “(b) TOPICS” with language requiring the Administrator to consult widely in selecting topics for prize competitions and suggesting potential prize competition topics.

Amends section 104 of P.L. 109-155 by replacing “$10,000,000” in “(i)(4)” with “$50,000,000”.

FY 2009 NASA Budget

Posted by Brad Johnson Wed, 27 Feb 2008 19:30:00 GMT

DSCOVR Climate Satellite Still in Limbo

Posted by Brad Johnson Tue, 19 Feb 2008 21:37:00 GMT

Mitchell Anderson at DeSmogBlog:
NASA was given over $100 million in taxpayers money to build the Deep Space Climate Observatory (DSCOVR), a spacecraft designed to measure the energy budget of our warming planet from the unique vantage of a million miles away.

Even though it is fully completed over five years ago, DSCOVR is still sitting in a box at the Goddard Space Center – likely for political reasons.

In 2006, Anderson filed a FOIA request with NASA, receiving only letters from scientists to NASA concerned about the cancellation, but no documents about the internal decision-making process.

In 2007, NOAA proposed a joint NASA-NOAA mission with the private launch company Space Services Inc. using the DSCOVR satellite.

Anderson now reports on his 2007 FOIA request to NOAA on the fate of DSCOVR:
My request was sent in November. I was told my documents would be emailed on December 11. Then I got call from NOAA General Counsel Hugh Schratwieser before Christmas telling me that it going to take longer than they thought but I should get the document package in early January. Mr. Schratwieser also assured me NOAA takes pride in their compliance with the Freedom of Information Act and that I shouldn’t worry.

Then silence.

I have since sent five unanswered emails to NOAA requesting updates on my request. Government bodies like NOAA have a legal obligation to respond to FOIA requests in 20 working days. It is now over three times that long and counting.

Since I was repeatedly told over the last two months that the package of documents was very close to being assembled, I can only assume that it is now complete but being held up for political reasons.

Draft Oversight Report: Systematic White House Climate Change Censorship

Posted by Brad Johnson Mon, 10 Dec 2007 18:54:00 GMT

The House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, chaired by Rep. Henry Waxman (D-Calif.), today released a draft report entitled Political Interference with Climate Change Science Under the Bush Administration.

The report is based on the committee’s January 30 and March 19 hearings, depositions, and interviews of government officials on White House censorship and manipulation of governmental climate change science over the last 16 months.

Scientists, reports, and testimony from NOAA, NASA, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the National Climatic Data Center, and the Environmental Protection Agency were affected.

Findings include:
  • Media requests to speak with federal scientists on climate change matters were sent to Council on Environmental Quality for White House approval
  • The White House edited congressional testimony regarding the science of climate change
  • CEQ Chief of Staff Phil Cooney and other CEQ officials made at least 294 edits to the Administration’s Strategic Plan for the Climate Change Science Program to exaggerate or emphasize scientific uncertainties or to deemphasize or diminish the importance of the human role in global warming
  • The White House insisted on edits to EPA’s draft Report on the Environment that were so extreme that the EPA Administrator opted to eliminate the climate change section of the report
  • CEQ eliminated the climate change section of the EPA’s Air Trends Report
  • CEQ Chairman James Connaughton edited the August 2003 EPA legal opinion disavowing authority to regulate greenhouse gases

The NASA Administrator's Speech to Office of Inspector General Staff, the Subsequent Destruction of Video Records, and Associated Matters

Posted by Brad Johnson Thu, 24 May 2007 14:00:00 GMT

Committee site

Since early 2006, Robert Cobb, the inspector general of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), has been under investigation for allegations of misconduct. After a review of 79 allegations, in early 2007, the Integrity Committee of the President’s Council on Integrity and Efficiency (PCIE), an organization of agency inspectors general, issued a report finding that Mr. Cobb had abused his authority and demonstrated the appearance of a lack of independence from the agency’s top officials, particularly Sean O’Keefe, NASA’s former administrator. Most of the allegations came from current and former employees of NASA’s Office of Inspector General (OIG).

Witnesses

Panel 1
  • Ms. Evelyn R. Klemstine
  • Mr. Kevin Winters
Panel 2
  • Mr. Paul Morrell
  • Mr. Michael Wholley

Shaping the Message, Distorting the Science: Media Strategies to Influence Public Policy

Posted by Brad Johnson Wed, 28 Mar 2007 18:00:00 GMT

Redacting the Science of Climate Change, Government Accountability Project Report

Witnesses
  • Dr. James J. McCarthy, Alexander Agassiz Professor of Biological Oceanography, Harvard University, Board Member, Union of Concerned Scientists
  • Sheldon Rampton, SourceWatch, Co-Author of “Trust Us, We’re Experts!”
  • Tarek Maassarani, Government Accountability Project
  • Jeff Kueter, George C. Marshall Institute

2:06 The chair recognizes Dana Rohrabacher.

Rohrabacher: If ever there was a case of the pot calling the kettle black, this is it. There is ample evidence of prominent scientists complaining that they have not been able to get grants if they question the quote global warming consensus.

What I see happening more and more in the debate over global warming is people not answering the questions from prominent scientists – there are hundreds on my website – there is a dismissal of the public debate. That is about as arrogant and anti-scientific as there is.

There have been consensuses in the past that have been dead wrong, and one or two scientists that haven’t been getting the grants that advance the science.

What people are doing. Just challenge who’s paying for your research. (He accidentally started to say “illegal immigration” instead of “global warming”.)

100 times more funding on the pro-global warming side than on those people trying to disprove that theory.

I’ve been hearing about the consensus for ten years even as I hear more and more about people getting cut out. These are not people, these are people who are the heads of scientific departments. The head of the Royal Dutch Meteorological Institute. People are influenced by the lure of getting government grants.

This hearing is looking in the wrong direction for scientists pressured to do the wrong thing.

2:12 Gordon: I know that gravity and global warming are pretty well established. There’s 100% certainty there is global warming. It seems there’s a new industry in town to create doubt where there is none to provide a hook for special interests.

2:13 Baird I have concerns about the possible misuse of science on all sides. I’ve seen industry hire hired guns and I’ve seen environmental groups do the same. As a scientist myself, I take this very seriously.

2:14: The chair introduces the panel.

2:16 Sheldon Rampton The power that science wields in modern society is that is able to create knowledge as reliable as any human endeavor. Its prestige makes it an attractive target, however. Advertising, public relations, and lobbying form what should be called a modern propaganda industry.

PR firms use a “third party” technique. The client is the first party, the audience the second party. It helps to use a third party that seems independent. “Put your words in someone else’s mouth.” Scientists, doctors are very useful third party spokesmen. In public policy debates it can be used to minimize or exaggerate dangers.

The tobacco industry is well known for its manipulation of science. The first clear link between smoking and lung cancer was found in the 1950s. A few years ago documents showed a campaign to plant letters in scientific journals, paying scientists to put their names on the letters. The industry’s law firms did the actual drafting of the letters.

As the WSJ reported, many of the articles under the byline of prominent academics are written by drug company ghostwriters.

Area after area: Air quality, water quality, product safety, nutrition. The manipulation of science inevitably has a corrupting influence on science itself.

McCarthy I was the co-chair of IPCC Working Group 2 in 2001; the president-elect of the AAAS, on the board of UCS, the Alexander Agassi professor at Harvard University. I will show how Exxon-funded efforts have distorted the record on climate change.

In 2005 the academies of science in the G8 plus China, India, and Brazil put out a statement: The science of climate change is now clear enough that nations should take immediate action.

How is then that the non-scientific organizations and a few individuals are able to cast doubt?

Smoke, Mirrors and Hot Air documents how Exxon has adopted the tobacco industry’s tactics and some of the same organizations and people to confuse the public on global warming science.

Atmosphere of Pressure shows how federal scientists have felt the pressure of political interference.

I congratulate the House for passing legislation to extend whistleblower protections to scientists. Scientists should not be subject to undue restrictions on media access.

Congress needs to recognize Exxon-Mobil’s disinformation campaign for what it is and avoid being influenced by the protestations of a few individuals funded by the campaign.

2:30 Maassarani As lead investigator I conducted more than 40 interviews with scientists and officials, and reviewed 1000s of FOIA documents, and more than 100 published articles and Congressional documents. The control restricted interviews and press releases. A NOAA scientist complained that media requests dropped from 2-3 a week to 2-3 a month. A NASA scientist’s release was edited to minimize its impact. Some scientists have given up trying to issue press releases or have media contacts.

Restrictive policies and practices are characterized by inconsistencies on criteria and who is responsible. Directives, off the record, are enforced by low-level political appointees.

Their effect has been to misrepresent and underrepresent knowledge of federal climate change scientists.

GAP asks Congress to strengthen its oversight functions to ensure that independent science is the basis of policy making.

2:35 Kueter He talks very fast. Reasonable people can reach different conclusions. Discussing these different interpretations is not confusing the public. There’s a group of people wearing Exxpose Exxon shirts behind him. Conclusions drawn from incomplete science represent personal preference. The media’s role is to report, not to judge. Claims that this confuses rather than informs presupposes a foresight that does not exist.

Dr. Happer when in the Clinton-Gore administration questioned the VP’s position on global warming and the ozone layer and was summarily dismissed.

Our opinions long predate any support of corporations.

The UCS report single us out for close scrutiny. It fails to challenge the substance our work. The pursuit of federal funding can create pressure to conform to current beliefs.

Whose work is funded is less relevant than the quality of their work.

2:41 Miller Rampton, is this campaign what you’re talking about?

Rampton Exxon-Mobil is just one company. In the 1990s, the coal/gas industry created Information Council for the Environment’s goal was to reposition global warming as theory, not fact. They reuse the same scientists and people to make there seem as if there’s a huge amount of debate when there’s not.

2:43 Miller Scientists think truth exists and it’s their job to find it. PR people think truth may be created or at least shaped. Could you describe what the harm is in thinking that way?

McCarthy Truth is not a certainty. If anyone alleges we know the details of climate change with any certainty, we should question that. The representation of a contrary view, especially those supported by industry, have represented as facts information that are not part of the scientific record.

2:44 Miller A joke is that administrators hate having scientists on faculty panels because when you change the information they change their positions.

McCarthy If you go back 20 years ago or so it was difficult to find a consensus that the globe was warming; 10 years later it was hard to find statements that people were definitively causing it. If anyone could find the consensus wrong you’d have Nobel Prizes all over the place.

2:46 Miller How well does Rampton’s model fit what you found in your report?

Maasarani Rampton described one end of the construction of the debate. What we have in the government is the deconstruction of statements of the mainstream scientists.

2:48 Rohrabacher When I made a joke about dinosaur farts it was presented as my opinion. It shows you how dishonest this debate has come. When we talk about this “consensus” this is what I’m talking about.

Let me note I have a few statements. The Dutch Meteorological guy. Richard Lindzen. Antonio Esperenza lost their funding.

William Happer (he’s pronouncing it “Harper”) was fired by Al Gore because he was skeptical of the global warming theory.

Timothy Ball. “It’s one of the greatest deceptions in the history of science.”

William Grey. “I had NOAA money for 30 years. When Gore started directing some of the environmental stuff, I couldn’t get any money.”

These are examples of the suppression.

There are hundreds of such scientists. They’re getting cut off from their research. Yet we’re complaining about someone’s press release being edited.

Nobody suggests there isn’t some kind of warming going on in the planet. There has been a change. That’s because over a 150 years there’s been a one degree change in the temperature. They had started that change at the end of the mini-Ice Age. We have had many many changes in the temperature of the earth. Those cycles were caused by solar activity, probably the same one going on right now. Probably as important, if not more important, than human activity.

Why is the temperature going up on Mars? Is that because of all the human-like activity going on in Mars? I don’t think so.

I consider myself open-minded on this. I’m never going to tell someone I’m not going to listen to someone’s arguments. We have blaming Exxon for it. I applaud the young people wearing their t-shirts for participating. There are a lot of interest groups that manipulate people. I think it’s good for the debate.

2:56 Baird This is not just about climate change. I believe the evidence about climate change is quite compelling. It’s reall about the distortion of science. I believe this administration has put undue stress on federal agencies. I share the broad concern about the distortion of scientific policy. Reproductive health, federal advisory committees.

Mr. Rampton, your points about the power given to scientists cut both ways.

Are there standards in the scientific community about one must do before signing on to a public letter? Can someone just sign on?

2:59 Rampton Essentially no.

Baird Are you equally concerned by people signing on to either side of the issue?

Rampton I think scientists have every right to talk about whatever they want. I think scientists think because they are expert in a field they think they can speak with equal authority on other issues.

3:01 Baird I think Science Magazine rushed articles to press to influence public policy.

3:02 McCarthy The AAAS should always be concerned by their reputation. Three years ago the UCS first becoming aware of the abuses of our federal agencies first issued a report. The Union worked a great deal to make sure was a very crisp document. The first sixty people were not just random people. Winners of the the National Medal of Science, former presidential advisors, heads of major research institutions. Noone said “I won’t sign it” because it was wrong. It was vetted very carefully.

Any effort to rush something without the process with the scientific body would be irresponsible.

Baird When your report came out we held rump hearings because the chairman would not let us hold hearings.

3:05 Rothman What do you recommend to prevent the abuse of federal scientists by the government?

Kueter Transparency. Require that peer-reviewed studies have data archived for scrutiny by independent researchers. Use devil’s advocates that don’t necessarily agree with the consensus on an issue.

Rothman I’m more concerned about the twisting or censoring of scientific opinion.

Maasarani We have an extensive list of recommendations. Clear and transparent media policies that can require prior notifications but that eliminates the need for required pre-approval, routing, drafting of anticipated questions and answers, and to reaffirm the personal views exception.

McCarthy I congratulated Congress on the whistleblower act. Scientists should be able to reject a document that changes the meaning of their intent.

Rampton Medical journals have dealt with a fairly similar problem. Whatever a scientist finds they should be able to publish or announce their findings regardless of what is found.

3:11 Miller The tobacco industry knew before federal researchers the adverse effects of smoking. A month ago William Brennan testified the Bush Administration accepted the AAS finding and the IPCC report. What are we to believe?

Maasarani It’s going to be more and more difficult to hold the position the Bush administration held earlier. Perhaps that’s what you’re getting at here.

McCarthy It is a puzzle. In the spring of 2001 when Bush announced he would no longer honor his campaign announcement to regulate carbon it came just after the third report of the IPCC and asked the AAAS to look at the report. The US delegation to the IPCC is formed by the State Department. Even though things are being said, at the level the work was being done there’s a different story.

3:16 Rohrabacher The GAP report while it has the innuendoes we have heard today lacks specific charges. We can make innuendoes all we want and we can ignore the things that are very blatant on the other side of the aisle.

For example, James Hansen, Mr. Hansen complained his press releases were being manipulated. Last week in a Senate hearing he acknowledged he had been interviewed 14,000 times on global warming. Maybe it was 1000 times. This is what I saw in the press. That doesn’t indicate there’s some suppression going on. There’s some guy who thinks his opinions are more important than anyone else’s, who thinks he’s speaking for NASA.

I’d like to remind everybody when people don’t have the right kind of science to back things up. The first incident I had like this 19 years ago Al Gore sat right there. He demanded the president declare an ozone emergency. Guess what. A week later they found out it was a misreading of instruments from a Piper Cub airplane.

I’ll end it with a question. Are there or are there not, you keep mentioning the consensus, there’s warming on Mars, instead of confronting arguments, do you agree there are a significant number of scientists who are not part of the consensus?

Miller: We are gloriously past the time, but a brief answer.

McCarthy: There is a range of views on these issues. The IPCC is a very conservative process. Could it be the sun? You can ask that question. The solar variability as best estimated is about 1/10th the 2 watts per square meter of insulation we’ve accumulated. So there’s no paper. That’s the way the science proceeds. If anyone could find such solar variability that would be included.

Kueter: I point to the uncertainties in the IPCC reports. That should be the issue.

Maasarani: I’d like to correct some misstatements. Press releases were edited to downplay science. 14,000 interviews was a misstatement. That was 14,000 google hits. We’ve seen these problems emerging in the recent past. We believe that one incident of political manipulation of science is unacceptable.

3:26 Miller: Rohrabacher pointed out gaps in the report. I was impressed how far you could get with FOIA.

Maasarani: NASA got back to us with their media policy and that’s it. EPA was nonresponsive. It’s beyond me how they would have no responsive documents. NOAA: we had scientists give us documents directly that they sent up to the FOIA response that never got to us.

3:29 Baird: Two ethical questions. I used to teach a statistics and methods of science, and history of science course. If a scientist secretly submits research, should a supervisor be restricted by the law from blocking that?

3:32 Rohrabacher: I was a professional journalist.

3:33 Baird:* What if the supervisor says it can’t go through?

Rohrabacher: I think it should all be open.

Rothman: It’s Dr. Baird’s time.

Baird: I’m aware of cases where scientists could not put their name on a study. Now the converse, if a supervisor recognizes flaws in a study.

McCarthy: It’s not unusual for scientists to have their reports reviewed in house. There are corrective measures.

Baird: Once the study is published it gets printed thousands of times.

3:37 Rothman: Can the panel give me at least three examples of problems that have taken place in this administration?

Maasarani: A confidential source positioned in the public affairs office. This person was told “You make him be quiet, stop him from speaking to the public.” This person was summoned to the politically appointed supervisor’s office.

McCarthy: 21% of respondents experienced pressure to drop “climate change” or similar words. 58% personally experienced interference at least once in the last 5 years.

Kueter: We haven’t analyzed this administration.

Rothman: You’re more of a historian, then.

Kueter: I’m a public policy analyst. This book does take a historical look.

3:42 Rohrabacher: I’m dismayed you couldn’t come up with any examples. Give me names. Give me the examples. Give me three examples. Send them to my office.

Rothman Do you deny the results of the UCS report?

Rohrabacher: I do. When you ask scientists, do you want a higher budget for global warming? Sure, I think it’s really discriminatory against our group of people that there isn’t a higher budget.

I would never suggest we overlook suppression by this administration. If you have evidence specifically.

Maasarani They’re unnamed for a reason.

Rohrabacher There would be someone who would be willing to say something now. There’s always someone willing to say something anonymously.

Maasarani Tom Knudsen has had media requests denied. Weatherall has had press releases squashed.

Rohrabacher: They were denied press release? That’s not suppression at all.

Maasarani: They were press releases announcing important research.

Rohrabacher: Important research according to that researcher.

Maasarani: These were announcing publications of peer-reviewed research.

Rohrabacher: You’re ignoring that the lead scientist from the Department of Energy was sacked by Al Gore.

3:49 McCarthy We’re talking about much more than squashing of press releases. To make references that someone fired years ago, or a Dutch or Italian scientist didn’t get their funding. My last four funding proposals were denied. I’m not claiming there’s some kind of political process. I can’t think of any time there was any policy by a foundation that this is the kind of research we should be supporting. Scientists don’t get research trying to prove something.

Rothman: Is there any evidence there was a conspiracy or effort at the highest levels of the administration to censor work?

Maasarani: It depends how do you define a conspiracy. White House offices are sending these signals through political appointees. In some clear instances to suppress communications by scientists. I’m not prepared to call this a conspiracy. Certainly there’s something going on.

Kueter: Your colleages posted the deposition of Phil Cooney. I suggest you take the time to read that document. Quite plainly the coordination doesn’t exist.

Rothman: Do you have any reason to question the statements of the other panelists?

Kueter: I have not reviewed their reports for that purpose.

3:54 Rothman: I look forward to looking at your recommendations. The hearing is adjourned.

Allegations of Political Interference with Government Climate Change Science (Part II)

Posted by Brad Johnson Mon, 19 Mar 2007 14:00:00 GMT

On Monday, March 19, 2007, the Committee held a second oversight hearing on allegations of political interference with government climate change science. Witnesses at the hearing included the former Chief of Staff of the White House Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ), the current Chairman of CEQ, the Director of NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies, and a former NASA public affairs officer. At the hearing, the Committee examined evidence of White House efforts to minimize the significance of climate change.

Witnesses

Panel I
  • Philip Cooney, former Chief of Staff, White House Council on Environmental Quality
  • Dr. James Hansen, Director, Goddard Institute for Space Studies, National Aeronautics and Space Administration
  • George Deutsch, former public affairs officer, National Aeronautics and Space Administration
Panel II
  • James Connaughton, Chairman, White House Council on Environmental Quality
Panel III
  • Dr. Roy Spencer, University of Alabama in Huntsville
Transcript

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