The National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s FY2006 Budget Request: Description, Analysis, and Issues for Congress

Order Code RL32988 CRS Report for Congress Received through the CRS Web The National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s FY2006 Budget Request: Description, Analysis, and Issues for Congress Updated January 24, 2006 Marcia S. Smith and Daniel Morgan Resources, Science, and Industry Division Congressional Research Service ˜ The Library of Congress The National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s FY2006 Budget Request: Description, Analysis, and Issues for Congress Summary For FY2006, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) requested $16.456 billion. That amount was a 2.4% increase over the $16.070 billion (adjusted for the rescission) appropriated in the FY2005 Consolidated Appropriations Act (P.L. 108-447). NASA also received a $126 million supplemental for damages caused by the 2004 Florida hurricanes, yielding a total of $16.196 billion for FY2005. The FY2006 request was 1.6% above that amount. By comparison, the White House had projected in 2004 that NASA’s budget would increase by 4.7%. NASA submitted a FY2006 budget amendment on July 15; total funding for the agency did not change. The Administration requested $324.8 million for NASA in the October 28, 2005 reallocation package that included funds for relief from the 2005 hurricanes. NASA’s congressionally-approved FY2006 funding is a combination of $16.456 billion in the FY2006 Science, State, Justice, Commerce Appropriations Act ( P.L. 109-108), minus a 0.28% across-the-board rescission in that act, minus a 1% acrossthe-board rescission in the FY2006 Department of Defense appropriations and hurricane recovery act (P.L. 109-148), plus $350 million added for NASA for hurricane recovery in P.L. 109-148. Congress passed a 2005 NASA authorization bill (P.L.109-155). It contains many policy provisions, and authorizes NASA funding for FY2007-2008 (but not FY2006). Congressional debate over NASA is centered on plans to implement the Vision for Space Exploration, announced by President Bush in January 2004. The Vision calls for NASA to return humans to the Moon by 2020, and someday send them to Mars. President Bush did not propose adding significant funding to NASA’s five-year budget plan to implement the Vision. Instead, the agency must redirect funds from its other activities. NASA’s resources are being strained by that decision, increased funding requirements for returning the space shuttle to flight status, cost growth in existing programs, and the need to fund congressionally-directed items. NASA Administrator Dr. Michael Griffin states repeatedly that NASA cannot afford all the programs on its plate, and priorities must be set. He also is changing the emphasis on some of the Vision-related activities. For example, he is accelerating development of a Crew Exploration Vehicle (CEV) to reduce an expected multi-year gap between when the space shuttle is to be terminated (2010) and the availability of the CEV. During that gap, the United States would be dependent on Russia for taking astronauts to and from space. To pay for accelerating the CEV, Dr. Griffin is reducing funding for other activities. NASA’s FY2006 budget request also assumed a reduction of about 2,500 NASA civil servants by the beginning of FY2007. The FY2006 appropriations act that includes NASA (P.L. 109-108) restricts NASA’s use of buyouts and Reductions in Force (RIFs), and the2005 NASA authorization act (P.L.109-155) prohibits RIFs or other involuntary separations (except for cause) prior to March 16, 2007. This is the final edition of this report. An abbreviated version is available as CRS Report RS22063. Contents Preface . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1 Introduction to NASA . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2 NASA’s Historical Budget . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7 Congressional Committee Reorganizations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8 Overview of NASA’s FY2006 Budget . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9 FY2006 Appropriations (H.R. 2862, P.L. 109-108) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12 House . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12 Senate . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 13 Conference . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 14 The 2005 NASA Authorization Act (P.L. 109-155) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 15 House (H.R. 3070) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 15 Senate (S. 1281) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 17 Conference . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 18 Major NASA Issues . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 18 Should NASA Be a “Single Mission” Agency Implementing the Vision for Space Exploration? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 18 The President’s Vision for Space Exploration . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 18 How Much Will it Cost? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 21 Workforce Impacts . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 22 FY2005 Budget . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 23 Original FY2006 Budget Request (Under Mr. O’Keefe’s Tenure) . . . 23 Amended FY2006 Budget Request (Under Dr. Griffin’s Tenure) . . . 27 Congressional Action . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 30 What is the Space Shuttle’s Future? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 30 Terminating the Shuttle in 2010 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 31 “Shuttle-Derived” Launch Vehicles . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 32 FY2005 Budget . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 33 FY2006 Budget Request and Congressional Action . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 33 What Should Be the U.S. Strategy for the International Space Station Program? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 34 FY2005 Budget . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 35 FY2006 Budget Request and Congressional Action . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 35 Should the Hubble Space Telescope be Serviced? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 36 FY2005 Budget . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 38 FY2006 Budget Request and Congressional Action . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 38 What is the Future of NASA’s Aeronautics Program? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 39 New Directions for Aeronautics at NASA . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 39 Impact on NASA Workforce and Facilities . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 40 Impact on U.S. Industry and Other Agencies . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 41 A National Aeronautics Policy . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 41 FY2005 Budget . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 42 FY2006 Budget Request and Congressional Action . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 42 NASA’s FY2006 Request By Budget Account . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 43 Science, Aeronautics, and Exploration (SA&E) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 43 Science . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 44 Exploration Systems . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 49 Aeronautics Research . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 50 Education Programs . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 50 Exploration Capabilities . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 52 Inspector General . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 53 Out-Year Budget Projections . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 53 Appendix A: Related CRS Reports . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 56 Appendix B: Highlights of NASA’s Activities: 1958-2004 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 57 List of Figures Figure 1. NASA Facilities . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5 Figure 2. NASA’s Organization Chart . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6 Figure 3. NASA Budget Authority FY1959-2004 — Current and Constant Dollars (in $millions) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7 Figure 4. NASA’s “Sand Chart” of Projected Budget Authority: January 2004 . 20 List of Tables Table 1. NASA Budget Authority, Past Ten Years (1996-2005) . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8 Table 2. NASA’s FY2006 Budget . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10 Table 3. Recommended Funding Levels and Budget Structure in H.R. 3070 . . 17 Table 4. Breakdown of NASA’s FY2004-FY2010 Budget As Exploration-Specific, Shuttle and Station, and Other . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 25 Table 5. Space Shuttle Projected Funding: FY2005-FY2010 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 31 Table 6. FY2006 Request for the Science Mission Directorate . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 44 Table 7. Changes to Earth Science Budget Run-Out . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 46 Table 8. FY2006 Request for Exploration Systems . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 50 Table 9. FY2006 Request for Space Operations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 52 Table 10. FY2006-FY2010 NASA Funding Projection . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 54 Table 11: FY2007-2008 Funding Authorized in P.L. 109-155 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 55 The National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s FY2006 Budget Request: Description, Analysis, and Issues for Congress Preface This report discusses the major issues debated in the context of NASA’s FY2006 request for $16.456 billion, a 2.4% increase over the $16.070 billion appropriated in the FY2005 Consolidated Appropriations Act (adjusted for the rescission). NASA also received $126 million in a FY2005 supplemental for damages from the 2004 Florida hurricanes, giving it a total of $16.196 billion for FY2005. The FY2006 request was a 1.6% increase above that total. By comparison, last year’s (FY2005’s) budget submission projected that the agency would receive a 4.7% increase for FY2006. NASA submitted a FY2006 budget amendment on July 15, 2005; total funding requested did not change, only how it is allocated within the agency. In the final version of the FY2006 Science, State, Justice, Commerce Appropriations Act, which includes NASA, Congress approved $16,456.8 million for NASA, $500,000 above the request. The appropriation is subject to a 0.28% across-the-board rescission. The bill (H.R. 2862) was signed into law on November 22, 2005 (P.L. 109-108). The FY2006 Department of Defense (DOD) appropriations act (P.L. 109-148) included a $350 million addition for NASA for recovery from the 2005 hurricanes, and a 1% across-the-board rescission for most federal agencies, including NASA. The FY2006 funding figures in this report do not reflect the across-the-board rescissions, or the additional $350 million. Congress also passed a 2005 NASA authorization act (P.L. 109-155). It includes many policy provisions, but does not authorize funds for FY2006 (only for FY2007-2008). NASA substantially changed its budget structure in the FY2006 budget request, as it has done repeatedly over the past several years. The agency also shifted to “full cost accounting” in FY2004. These changes make comparisons across fiscal years at the program level virtually impossible. Comparing the FY2005 appropriation and the FY2006 request alone is difficult. In its FY2006 request, NASA provided estimated FY2005 funding figures, taken from its Initial Operating Plan (December 23, 2004), using the same structure as the FY2006 budget to enable comparisons between those years. However, NASA’s FY2005 spending plans have changed CRS-2 significantly since then, as explained in periodic updates to the operating plan.1 The FY2005 operating plan updates are presented in the budget structure NASA used for FY2005, not FY2006, with no “crosswalk” between the old and new structures. Thus, those numbers cannot be incorporated into the tables in this report. Major changes are discussed in the text, however. The most prominent issues in the FY2006 budget debate were carry-overs from FY2005: whether to approve President Bush’s “Vision for Space Exploration” to return astronauts to the Moon by 2020 and then go on to Mars and “worlds beyond”; returning the space shuttle to flight status following the February 2003 space shuttle Columbia tragedy; the future of U.S. use of the International Space Station; and whether to use the shuttle to service the Hubble Space Telescope. Another major issue was the future of NASA’s aeronautics research programs, which are slated for significant reductions. Several other CRS reports are available on NASA-related topics, and are referenced herein. For convenience, a list is provided in Appendix A. An abbreviated version of this report is available as CRS Report RS22063, The National Aeronautics and Space Administration: Overview, FY2006 Budget in Brief, and Key Issues for Congress, by Marcia Smith and Daniel Morgan. FY2005 estimated, and FY2006 requested, budget figures are from NASA’s budget justification documents [http://www.nasa.gov/about/budget/index.html], Office of Management and Budget FY2006 budget documents [http://www.whitehouse.gov/omb/budget/fy2006/nasa.html], or, where indicated, from a budget amendment submitted by the White House [http://www.whitehouse.gov/omb/budget/amendments/amendment_7_15_05.pdf] on July 15, 2005. Program descriptions are condensed from material provided by NASA in that or previous budget justifications, and previous CRS reports in this series. Introduction to NASA NASA was created by the 1958 National Aeronautics and Space Act (P.L. 85568), and opened its doors on October 1, 1958.2 NASA’s charter is to conduct 1 NASA’s operating plans are discussed below under Overview of NASA’s FY2006 Budget Request. 2 The National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA), chartered in 1915, served as the nucleus for NASA. The day that NASA began operations, five NACA research facilities were transferred to NASA, and all continue to operate today: Ames Research Center, Dryden Flight Research Center, Glenn Research Center (formerly Lewis Research Center), Langley Research Center, and Wallops Flight Facility. Two Army organizations also were transferred to NASA within a year of the agency’s creation: the Development Operations Division of the Army Ballistic Missile Agency — the “von Braun team” — which developed the Jupiter C launch vehicle that placed the first U.S. satellite into orbit on January 31, 1958 (prior to NASA’s creation), now called Marshall Space Flight Center; and (continued...) CRS-3 civilian space and aeronautics activities. Military space and aeronautics activities are conducted by the Department of Defense (DOD) and the intelligence community. The organizations cooperate in some areas of technology development and occasionally have joint programs. NASA began operations almost exactly one year after the Soviet Union ushered in the Space Age with the launch of the world’s first satellite, Sputnik, on October 4, 1957. In the 47 years that have elapsed, NASA has conducted far reaching programs in human and robotic spaceflight, technology development, and scientific research. The agency is managed from NASA Headquarters in Washington, D.C. It has nine major field centers around the country (see Figure 1): ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, CA, which also manages Moffett Federal Airfield, Mountain View, CA.; Dryden Flight Research Center, Edwards, CA; Glenn Research Center, Cleveland, OH; Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, MD, which also manages the Goddard Institute of Space Studies (New York, NY), the Independent Validation and Verification Facility (Fairmont, WV), and the Wallops Flight Facility (Wallops, VA); Johnson Space Center, near Houston, TX, which also manages NASA activities at the White Sands Test Facility, White Sands, NM; Kennedy Space Center, near Cape Canaveral, FL; Langley Research Center, Hampton, VA; Marshall Space Flight Center, Huntsville, AL, which oversees the Michoud Assembly Facility in New Orleans, LA (operated by Lockheed Martin); and Stennis Space Center, in Mississippi, near Slidell, LA. The Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, CA, often counted as a 10th NASA center, is a federally funded research and development center (FFRDC) operated for NASA by the California Institute of Technology.3 Figure 1 shows the locations of these facilities. See [http://www.nasa.gov/about/highlights/OrganizationIndex.html] for links to all of NASA’s facilities. Stennis Space Center and the Michoud Assembly Facility were both significantly impacted by Hurricane Katrina in August 2005. Stennis is NASA’s primary rocket engine test facility, including the Space Shuttle Main Engines (SSMEs). Michoud is a government-owned, contractor-operated facility, operated for NASA by Lockheed Martin. It is the site where space shuttle external tanks are assembled. According to its September 30, 2005 update to the FY2005 operating plan, NASA estimated that it will cost $760 million to repair damages and relocate staff. The agency shifted $100 million in FY2005 funds ($85 million from ISS 2 (...continued) the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, which developed that satellite (Explorer 1). 3 Despite its name, JPL’s primary role for NASA is developing earth-orbiting and planetary exploration spacecraft, and managing the Deep Space Network, which tracks and communicates with planetary spacecraft. CRS-4 Crew/Cargo and $15 million from the Shuttle Life Extension Program) to begin hurricane recovery efforts, which it hopes to repay to those accounts from funds made available through supplemental appropriations. The rescission and reallocation package submitted to Congress by the Bush Administration on October 28, 2005 contained $324.8 million for NASA. Congress increased that amount to $350 million in the FY2006 DOD appropriations act (P.L.109-148), to which the hurricane funding was attached. The source of the remaining funds that NASA needs for hurricane recovery is unclear. According to information supplied to CRS by NASA in March 2005, and NASA’s workforce website [http://nasapeople.nasa.gov/workforce/default.htm], NASA employs approximately 19,000 full time equivalent (FTE) civil servants.4 The website also estimates that NASA has 40,000 on-site and near-site support contractors and grantees. Significant workforce cutbacks are planned by the beginning of FY2007 as NASA “transforms” itself to implement President Bush’s Vision for Space Exploration. That issue is discussed below. NASA is headed by an Administrator. Dr. Michael Griffin was sworn in as NASA’s 11th Administrator on April 14, 2005. Dr. Griffin has extensive experience in military and civilian space programs, and has served in a number of private sector and government capacities (including previous service at NASA). Immediately prior to his appointment as Administrator, he was Space Department Head at Johns Hopkins University’s Applied Physics Laboratory. His predecessor as Administrator was Mr. Sean O’Keefe. NASA Headquarters is currently organized into four Mission Directorates: Aeronautics Research, Exploration Systems, Science, and Space Operations. NASA Headquarters’ current organization chart is provided in Figure 2. 4 A NASA official told the House Science Committee on February 17, 2005 that NASA had 18,000 employees, an apparent reference to full-time permanent (FTP) employees, not the more commonly used “full time equivalents” (FTEs), which are budget-related estimates of the number of work years required to achieve agency missions and objectives. According to data provided to CRS by NASA in March 2005, the FY2005 NASA budget funds 19,227 FTEs, and the FY2006 budget would fund 18,798 FTEs; the actual number of employees was 18,932, of which 17,475 were FTPs. Those data also show that NASA plans to reduce its FTE level to 16,738 by FY2007, a reduction of 2,489 from its current level. Other NASA information indicates that as many as 2,673 positions may be eliminated. CRS-5 Figure 1. NASA Facilities CRS-6 Figure 2. NASA’s Organization Chart CRS-7 NASA’s Historical Budget Since its creation in 1958, NASA has experienced periods of budget growth and decline, some of which were dramatic. Figure 3 displays the agency’s budget history, both in current year dollars (i.e., unadjusted for inflation) and in constant 2005 dollars (i.e., adjusted for inflation). In the early 1960s, as the nation strived to put an American on the Moon by 1969, NASA’s budget increased rapidly, peaking at $5.25 billion (current dollars) in FY1965. Then, as other national priorities gained precedence, NASA’s budget declined sharply to about $3 billion (current dollars) by FY1974. Subsequently, it increased steadily for almost two decades (the one-year spike in 1987 was to build a replacement space shuttle orbiter), but declined in the mid-1990s as efforts to restrain federal funding took hold. It rose gradually (in current dollars) thereafter. President Bush’s Vision for Space Exploration called for NASA’s budget to increase by about 5% in FY2005-FY2007. That occurred for FY2005, but the FY2006 budget request is less than what had been projected last year (see below). Figure 3. NASA Budget Authority FY1959-2004 — Current and Constant Dollars (in $millions) 30000 25000 20000 15000 10000 5000 0 '59 '64 '69 '74 '79 '84 '89 '94 '99 '04 Current Year Dollars Constant 2005 Dollars Does not include Transition Quarter. Source: Current dollars for 1959-2003 are from the Aeronautics and Space Report of the President: FY2003; for 2004-2005, from the Historical Tables of the Budget of the U.S. Government, FY2006. Constant dollars (adjusted for inflation to reflect 2005 dollars) were calculated by CRS using the GDP (chained) price index. The spike in NASA funding in 1987 was to cover the costs of building a replacement orbiter after the 1986 Space Shuttle Challenger tragedy. CRS-8 Table 1. NASA Budget Authority, Past Ten Years (1996-2005) (in millions of dollars) Current dollars (unadjusted for inflation) Constant 2005 dollars (adjusted for inflation) 1996 13,884 16,332 1997 13,709 15,840 1998 13,648 15,581 1999 13,653 15,384 2000 13,601 15,022 2001 14,230 15,355 2002 14,868 15,751 2003 15,364 15,998 2004 15,379 15,692 2005 16,197 16,197 Fiscal year Source: Current dollars for 1959-2003 are from the Aeronautics and Space Report of the President: FY2003; for 2004-2005, from the Historical Tables of the Budget of the U.S. Government, FY2006. Constant dollars (adjusted for inflation to reflect 2005 dollars) were calculated by CRS using the GDP (chained) price index. Congressional Committee Reorganizations Historically, NASA was part of the appropriations bill covering the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), and Independent Agencies, including the National Science Foundation and the Environmental Protection Agency. The House and Senate appropriations subcommittees with oversight over that bill were dubbed the “VA-HUD-IA” subcommittees. In the 109th Congress, the House decided to reorganize its Appropriations Committee, reducing the number of subcommittees from 13 to 10. The VA-HUD-IA subcommittee was one of those abolished. NASA now is part of the newly established Science, State, Justice, Commerce (SSJC) subcommittee. Press accounts trace the origin of the reorganization to dissatisfaction by Representative Tom DeLay (then House Majority Leader) with deep cuts for NASA recommended by the VA-HUD-IA subcommittee in the FY2005 deliberations, and a desire to eliminate the funding competition between NASA and other popular programs such as housing and veterans medical care.5 Representative DeLay is a strong supporter of NASA. (See CRS Report RL32676, The National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s FY2005 Budget Request: Description, Analysis, and 5 For example, see “U.S. House Republican Pushes for Spending Change,” Reuters, February 9, 2005 (via Factiva); and Carl Hulse, “There’s No Talk of Dollars in This Battle Over the Budget,” New York Times, February 16, 2005 (via Factiva). CRS-9 Issues for Congress, by Marcia Smith and Daniel Morgan, for more on the FY2005 congressional deliberations.) The Senate also eliminated its VA-HUD-IA subcommittee, but retained a total of 12 subcommittees (down from 13). NASA was moved into the newly established Commerce, Justice, and Science (CJS) subcommittee. The Senate CJS subcommittee’s jurisdiction is different from its House counterpart in that the House subcommittee includes the State Department. NASA’s Senate authorizing committee, the Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee, also reorganized its subcommittee structure. Previously, NASA was part of the Science, Technology and Space Subcommittee. In this case, the committee added several new subcommittees, and technology issues were moved to a different one. The subcommittee that oversees NASA is now named the Science and Space Subcommittee. The House Science Committee, which authorizes NASA activities in the House, maintained the same structure as in the 108th Congress, with NASA issues under the purview of the Space and Aeronautics Subcommittee. Overview of NASA’s FY2006 Budget NASA requested $16.456 billion for FY2006, a 2.4% increase over the $16.070 billion (adjusted for the rescission) appropriated in the FY2005 Consolidated Appropriations Act (P.L. 108-447). NASA also received $126 million in a FY2005 supplemental (P.L. 108-324) for hurricane relief associated with the 2004 hurricanes, giving it a total of $16.196 billion for FY2005. The FY2006 request was a 1.6% increase above that total. The previous year (in the FY2005 request), NASA was projected to receive a 4.7% increase for FY2006. NASA substantially changed its budget structure again in the FY2006 request, as it has each year for the past several years, making comparisons across fiscal years difficult. Footnotes to Table 2 explain the changes from FY2005. NASA submitted a FY2006 budget amendment on July 15, 2005, available at [http://www.whitehouse.gov/omb/budget/amendments/amendment_7_15_05.pdf]. It reflects, in part, the shifting of two programs into the Exploration Systems Mission Directorate (ESMD): ISS Crew/Cargo services ($168 million) from the International Space Station theme in the Space Operations Mission Directorate, and the Lunar Robotic Exploration Program ($135 million) from the Solar System Exploration theme in the Science Mission Directorate. These changes are consistent with the statement in NASA’s May 10, 2005 operating plan update that these moves had been made for FY2005. Thus, the FY2006 funding request for the ESMD increased by $303 million in the budget amendment. The budget amendment made a number of other changes, which are discussed elsewhere in this report as appropriate. Some of the fields in Table 2 are necessarily blank because of how the various congressional committees acted on the bills. Increases and decreases for specific programs were noted in the text of the House and Senate committee reports accompanying the appropriations bill (H.R. 2862), but overall funding levels were identified only at the account level. The 2005 NASA authorization act (P.L. 109- CRS-10 155) did not authorize funds for FY2006, only for FY2007-2008. Therefore, its funding provisions are not included in Table 2. Table 2. NASA’s FY2006 Budget (Budget Authority, in millions of dollars) FY2005 FY2006 SSJC Appropriations Category Science, Aeronautics, and Exploration Estimate (initial op. Request plan) (amended) Authorization† House Senate “Final” House Senate passed passed *** passed passed **7,619 **9,829 5,527 5,341 906 852 1,004 —b 25 3,469 217 167 **8,358 **6,595 Space Operations 6,704 6,595 — Space Shuttle 4,543 4,531 — International Space Station 1,676 1,689 485 376 1,654 —c 31 32 16,070 16,456 16,471 16,396 16,457 16,966 16,556 16,456 16,471 16,396 16,457 16,966 16,556 Science a Aeronautics Biol. and Phys. Research Exploration Systems Education Exploration Capabilities — Space and Flight Support Exploration Systems Inspector General Total regular appropriations FY2005 Hurricane Suppl.†† Grand total††† 9,726 9,761 9,761 9,661 5,341 6,713 6,603 6,663 6,863 32 32 32 32 126 16,196 Source: FY2005 Estimate and FY2006 Request from the Office of Management and Budget [http://www.whitehouse.gov/omb/budget/fy2006/nasa.html], except for space shuttle, space station, and space and flight support, which are from NASA’s FY2006 budget justification. Grand Total was added by CRS. The FY2006 request figures are adjusted for the July 15, 2005 budget amendment. Appropriations and authorization figures are from NASA FY2006 funding bills (H.R. 2862, H.R. 3070, and S. 1281) and associated committee reports. Totals may not add due to rounding. * Figures in this column are from the December 23, 2004 version of NASA’s FY2005 operating plan, as provided in NASA’s FY2006 budget justification documents. Several updates to the FY2005 operating plan were submitted to Congress, most recently on September 30, 2005. The updates are presented in the budget structure used for the FY2005 budget, however, and cannot be used to update this table (which is in the FY2006 budget structure). ** The FY2005 totals for the SA&E and Exploration Capabilities accounts are different from those in the table included in NASA’s FY2006 budget justification documents because OMB shows the shift of “Exploration Systems” from one account to the other. The NASA table uses the FY2006 budget structure without showing a “trace” between last year’s budget presentation and this year’s. Since the OMB data show that trace, they are used in this report. CRS-11 † The final version of the bill does not authorize funds for FY2006; only for FY2007-2008. †† For the 2004 Florida hurricanes. ††† FY2006 “final” appropriation does not reflect the 0.28% across-the-board rescission in the SSJC bill, the 1.0% across-the-board rescission in P.L. 109-148, or the addition of $350 million for recovery from the 2005 hurricanes in P.L. 109-148. a. In the FY2006 request, “Science” incorporates the former Space Science and Earth Science line items. b. In the FY2006 request, Biological and Physical Research became part of Exploration Systems. c. In the FY2006 request, funding for Exploration Systems was moved into the SA&E account. Congress gave NASA significant latitude in how it could spend its FY2005 funding. The conference report referred to it as “unrestrained transfer authority” between NASA’s two major budget accounts.6 NASA was directed to notify Congress of how it planned to spend the money, and did so through the traditional process of submitting periodic “operating plans.” An Initial Operating Plan was sent to Congress on December 23, 2004,7 and it was used to show FY2005 funding figures for various activities in the NASA’s FY2006 budget submission. Several updates were subsequently submitted, the most comprehensive of which were the May 10 and September 30, 2005 versions.8 Despite the fact that NASA received approximately the same amount that it requested in FY2005, the agency was under significant funding constraints in FY2005. As noted, $126 million of the total was a supplemental to help NASA recover from the hurricanes that damaged NASA facilities at Kennedy Space Center, FL in 2004. The NASA FY2005 budget was subject to an across-the-board rescission, reducing the appropriated level from $16.200 billion to $16.070 billion. More than $1 billion in other funding was used for activities that were not included in the FY2005 request: increased costs for returning the shuttle to flight status ($762 million); congressionally directed items (approximately $400 million, including $291 million to service the Hubble Space Telescope); and cost increases in other NASA programs. NASA Administrator Griffin testified to the Senate Appropriations CJS subcommittee on May 12, 2005, about one month after he took office. His statement covered both the FY2006 request, and the May 10 update to the FY2005 operating plan. He emphasized that NASA does not have sufficient money to fund all the programs it has on its plate for FY2005, and priorities must be set. His priorities are discussed below. As noted by the House and Senate Appropriations Committees, and the House Science Committee, in their reports on NASA’s funding bills (see below), NASA’s FY2006 budget justification documents contained significantly less detail than in previous years. The committees directed NASA to provide more detail in the future. However, because of that lack of detail in publicly available documents, 6 NASA requested, but did not receive, the same transfer authority for FY2006. 7 The December 23, 2004 plan was publicly released by NASA in February 2005 and is used in NASA’s FY2006 budget justification, available at [http://www1.nasa.gov/about/budget/]. 8 NASA operating plan updates are routinely submitted to Congress. NASA’s budget website sometimes has a link to the most recent version [http://www1.nasa.gov/about/budget/], although the most recent, dated September 30, 2005, is not available there. CRS-12 it is not always possible in the lists below of committee actions to indicate the amount that was requested for a particular activity. FY2006 Appropriations (H.R. 2862, P.L. 109-108) House. The House SSJC appropriations subcommittee marked up its version of the FY2006 appropriations bill (H.R. 2862) on May 24, 2005. It was reported from the full committee on June 10 (H.Rept. 109-118), and passed the House on June 16. The committee recommended, and the House approved, $16.471 billion for NASA, a net increase of $15 million above the request. In total, the House added $64.76 million for the Science, Aeronautics, and Exploration account, and cut $50 million from the Exploration Capabilities account as follows: Science, Aeronautics, and Exploration ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! An increase of $30 million for the Glory earth sciences mission ($5 million was requested); An increase of $10 million for the Space Interferometry Mission; An increase of $54 million for aeronautics research, restoring it to its FY2005 level ($906 million); An increase of $2 million for education programs ($167 million was requested); An increase of $50 million for continuation of unspecified congressionally-directed programs that were terminated in the budget request; A decrease of $25 million from exploration systems research and technology ($919 million was requested); A decrease of $25 million from human systems research and technology ($807 million was requested); A decrease of $31 million from corporate administrative costs, of which $10 million is from the Office of Advanced Planning and Integration, which the committee said was being eliminated; and A direction that $10 million of the funds provided for nonprogrammatic construction of facilities be allocated for the Institute for Scientific Research, Inc. for construction of research facilities. Exploration Capabilities ! ! ! ! ! A decrease of $10 million from the International Space Station ($1.86 billion was requested); A decrease of $10 million from ISS Crew/Cargo Services (included in the ISS request above); A decrease of $10 million from Rocket Propulsion Testing ($69 million was requested); A decrease of $10 million from Space Communications ($173 million was requested); and A decrease of $10 million from Launch Services ($124 million was requested), but none can be taken from the Small Payload Launch program. CRS-13 Senate. The Senate CJS appropriations subcommittee marked up its version of H.R. 2862 on June 21, and the bill was reported from the full committee on June 23 (S.Rept. 109-88). The Senate passed it on September 15. The bill approved a net cut of $60 million from the request, adding $100 million for the Science, Aeronautics, and Exploration account, and cutting $160 million from the Exploration Capabilities account. The committee’s report lists several specific increases, but only two specific decreases, which do not total the $60 million net reduction. The report makes a number of recommendations about funding levels, and in some cases directs NASA to spend funding in a certain manner. In many cases, these do not involve increases above a requested funding level, but instead are instructions on how to spend the funds. In other cases, it is not clear if it is an increase, or a specified allocation. Science, Aeronautics and Exploration ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! An increase of $250 million for a Hubble servicing mission (none was requested for a servicing mission, although $191 million is requested for the Hubble program); An increase of $30 million for the National Center for Advanced Manufacturing; An increase of $15 million for Earth Science Applications ($52 million was requested) was included in a recommendation of “$102,837,000 million within this account to supplement the areas of earth science and exploration”; A direction that $50 million be allocated for unspecified congressionally-directed initiatives terminated in the budget request; A direction that $20 million of Exploration Systems funding be used for the evaluation of alternative small spacecraft technologies with the potential for dramatically lowering planetary exploration costs; A recommendation that $25 million be used to continue hypersonic engine technology research (none was requested); A direction that the Research Partnership Centers and the University Research Engineering and Technology Institutes be funded at the same level as in FY2005 (precise figures were not provided either in NASA’s budget documentation or in the committee’s report); A recommendation that within the funds for education, $12 million be for EPSCoR, $29.55 million for the Space Grant program, and $54.233 million for other education-related activities (EPSCoR and Space Grant are discussed later in this report, the total requested for education is $167 million); A recommendation that $10 million be allocated to research and development for integrated radiation shielding protection, regenerative environmental control and life support systems, advanced life support air revitalization, and integrated vehicle health management through the ECLSS Life Test program office; CRS-14 ! ! A recommendation that, within the funds provided, $20 million be allocated for the Propulsion Research Laboratory to perform nuclear thermal propulsion systems development, and research on other advanced nuclear power propulsion; and A decrease of $34 million (the entire request) for the Centennial Challenges program. Exploration Capabilities ! A decrease of $160 million (the entire request as identified NASA’s original FY2006 budget documents) from ISS Crew/Cargo Services. Conference. The conference report on the bill was filed on November 7, and passed the House on November 9 and the Senate on November 16. The bill was signed into law on November 22, 2005 (P.L. 109-108). It approved $16,456.8 million, a $500,000 net increase above the request. Congress added approximately $500 million for various activities, and cut the same amount in NASA’s section of the bill. All discretionary accounts in the bill are subject to a 0.28% across-the-board rescission, a reduction of about $46 million for NASA. The bill also directs the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to transfer $27 million to NASA for building and infrastructure improvements. Other funding measures could similarly change the amount available to NASA in FY2006. For the purposes of this report, only the funding provided to NASA in the NASA section of H.R. 2862 is discussed, unless otherwise noted. Science, Aeronautics, and Exploration Specified increases are — ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! $280 million for congressionally directed priorities $60 million for aeronautics research $50 million for the Hubble servicing mission $30 million for the Glory earth science mission $20 million for the National Center for Advanced Manufacturing $20 million for alternative small spacecraft technology $15 million for the Propulsion Research Lab $15 million for earth science competitive grants $12.2 million for the Space Grant program $10 million for the Space Interferometry Mission $10 million for the Institute for Scientific Research $8.2 million for EPSCoR $5 million for a Heavy Lift Launch Vehicle, and $5 million for the Living with a Star program. Specified decreases are — ! $200 million from Project Prometheus CRS-15 ! ! ! ! ! ! ! $90 million general reduction $34 million from the Centennial Challenges program $26 million from corporate G&A expenses $25 million from exploration research and technology $25 million from human systems research and technology $25 million from the Discovery program, and $15 million from optical communications Exploration Capabilities The following reductions are specified: ! ! ! $80 million from the International Space Station (including $60 million from the ISS Crew/Cargo Services line, leaving $100 million) $10 million from space communications, and $10 million general reduction The conferees noted that, with $98 million in carry-over funds from FY2005, NASA would have $198 million available in the ISS Crew/Cargo Services line. The 2005 NASA Authorization Act (P.L. 109-155) Congress passed a 2005 NASA authorization act (P.L. 109-155). The final version authorized funding for FY2007-2008, not FY2006. Its funding provisions are summarized in Table 11, but are not otherwise discussed in this report. However, its policy provisions are discussed herein as appropriate. Prior to this law’s enactment, the most recent NASA authorization act covered FY2000-2002 (P.L. 106-391). House (H.R. 3070). H.R. 3070, as passed by the House on July 22, 2005, authorized funding for FY2006 and FY2007. Committee Action. As reported from the House Science Committee (H.Rept 109-173), the total for FY2006 was the same as approved in the House version of the appropriations bill (see above) — $16.471 billion, a $15 million increase over the request. The level for FY2007 was the same as the projected request in NASA’s budget documents — $16.962 billion. As discussed below, these figures changed significantly in the House-passed version of the bill. During committee markup, an amendment in the nature of a substitute was adopted that reflected a compromise between H.R. 3070 as approved by the Space and Aeronautics Subcommittee on June 29, and H.R. 3250 (Gordon), a Democratic substitute that was introduced after subcommittee markup. Most Democratic members of the subcommittee abstained from voting on H.R. 3070 during subcommittee markup because they said they had insufficient time to review it. The amended version of H.R. 3070 that cleared the full committee is quite different from the earlier version of H.R. 3070, and from H.R. 3250. CRS-16 The amended bill adopts the budget structure proposed in H.R. 3250, which is different from the one used in NASA’s FY2006 budget request. Instead of three accounts (Science, Aeronautics, and Exploration; Exploration Capabilities; and Inspector General), the bill creates four accounts: Science, Aeronautics and Education; Exploration Systems; Space Operations; and Inspector General. Thus, funding for “exploration” would be in its own account, instead of with science, aeronautics and education. According to comments at the markup, the intent is to create budgetary “firewalls” that would require closer congressional scrutiny if funding is shifted from one set of activities (e.g., science, aeronautics and education) into another (e.g., exploration). The goal is to maintain balance among NASA’s activities. The recommended budget structure is shown in Table 3. The committee shifted some programs from one account to another. As explained in the report (H.Rept. 109-173), the new Science, Aeronautics and Education account would include all the programs in the current Science, Aeronautics and Education lines proposed in the request, except that the Robotic Lunar Exploration program would be transferred from Science to Exploration Systems. The Exploration Systems account would include all programs currently in the Exploration Systems line in the FY2006 request, as well as the Robotic Lunar Exploration Program, and two activities transferred from the Space Operations account — Space and Flight Support, and ISS Crew/Cargo Services. The new Space Operations account would include only the space shuttle and the International Space Station (minus the ISS Crew/Cargo Services activity). H.R. 3070, as reported, further specified that, for FY2006, of the amount in the Science, Aeronautics and Education account, $962 million was for aeronautics, $150 million was for a Hubble servicing mission (see below), and $24 million was for the National Space Grant College and Fellowship program. For FY2007, the bill as reported from committee specified that, of the amounts in the Science, Aeronautics and Education account, $990 million was for aeronautics, and $24 million was for the National Space Grant College and Fellowship program. Floor Action. The House adopted a manager’s amendment during floor debate on H.R. 3070 that significantly increased the authorization level for both FY2006 and FY2007. The new amounts are shown in Table 3. In total, $510 was added for FY2006, and $765 million for FY2007. The amounts for Science, Aeronautics and Education are unchanged from the committee-reported bill. The total for Exploration Systems increases by $663 million in FY2006 and by $925 million in FY2007. The total for Space Operations (i.e., the space shuttle and the International Space Station) was reduced by $168 million in FY2006, and by $160 million in FY2007. The specific amounts identified in the committee-reported bill remained unchanged, and, for FY2006, $8.9 million was specified for the Science and Technology Scholarship Program. CRS-17 Table 3. Recommended Funding Levels and Budget Structure in H.R. 3070 ($ in millions) As reported Category FY2006 As passed FY2007 FY2006 FY2007 Science, Aeronautics and Education 6,870 7,332 6,870 7,332 Exploration Systems 3,181 3,589 3,844 4,514 Space Operations 6,387 6,008 6,219 5,848 Inspector General 33 34 33 34 16,471 16,962 16,966 17,727 Total Source: H.R. 3070 as reported from the House Science Committee July 18, 2005 (H.Rept. 109173) and as passed by the House July 22. Column totals may not add due to rounding. Senate (S. 1281). S. 1281 (S.Rept. 109-108), was reported from the Senate Commerce Committee on July 26, 2005, and passed the Senate, amended, on September 28, 2005. The bill would provide a five-year (FY2006-2010) authorization for NASA. Committee Action. As reported from committee, funding in the bill for FY2006 and FY2007 was broken down into the three accounts used in NASA’s request, but not further allocated to specific programs. For FY2008-2010, only a total for the agency was provided. (See Table 11 at the end of this report for those figures.) For FY2006, $16.556 billion was recommended, a $100 million increase above the request. That additional funding, in the Exploration Capabilities account, is for implementing a section of the bill that pertains to increasing the scientific research conducted aboard the ISS. For FY2007, a $91 million increase was recommended: $17.053 billion. That additional funding similarly is in the Exploration Capabilities account, but there is no language specifying how it should be spent. The bill contains a number of policy provisions, and requires NASA to submit certain reports. These are discussed in subsequent sections of this report. Floor Action. A manager’s amendment was adopted during floor consideration of the bill. In terms of funding changes from the committee-reported version, the manager’s amendment specifies how much is allocated to science programs within the Science, Aeronautics, and Exploration account for FY2006 and FY2007: $5,341.2 million and $5,960.3 million, respectively. The FY2006 amount is the same as the amount requested in the amended (July) FY2006 budget request. The FY2007 amount is the same as the amount projected in NASA’s initial (February) FY2006 request. A number of other policy-related changes were made in the manager’s amendment and are discussed below. Among them are modifying the language CRS-18 concerning retirement of the space shuttle, expanding on the requirement for developing a national aeronautics policy, and requiring the Administrator to develop a human capital strategy for the NASA workforce. Conference. The bill was reported from conference (H.Rept. 109-354) on December 16, 2005. It passed the House on December 17, and the Senate on December 22. It was signed into law on December 30, 2005. As noted earlier, it authorizes funding for FY2007 ($17.932 billion) and FY2008 ($18.686 billion), not for FY2006, so its funding provisions are not further discussed in this report. Policy provisions are discussed elsewhere in this report as appropriate. It should be noted, however, that the act contains a variation of the Housepassed requirement that NASA restructure its budget in the future so that exploration-related activities are separated from science, aeronautics, and education. Instead of creating a separate, third, account for exploration, however, the final version moves exploration systems into the same account as the International Space Station, the space shuttle, and space flight support. Thus, NASA will continue to have two major accounts, not three. One will be labeled “Science, Aeronautics, and Education,” and the other, “Exploration Systems and Space Operations.” The act limits to 10% the amount of funding each year that can reprogrammed from Exploration Systems into Space Operations, or from Space Operations into Exploration Systems. Major NASA Issues Should NASA Be a “Single Mission” Agency Implementing the Vision for Space Exploration? On January 14, 2004, President Bush made a major space policy address in which he directed NASA to focus its activities on returning astronauts to the Moon by 2020, and someday sending them to Mars and “worlds beyond.” Officially this policy is called the “Vision for Space Exploration,” VSE, or simply “the Vision,” but is often informally referred to as the “Moon/Mars program.” The President’s Vision for Space Exploration. Under the Vision as delineated by the President, NASA would terminate the shuttle program in 2010 when construction of the International Space Station (ISS) is expected to be completed, instead of operating the shuttle until 2015 or beyond as planned prior to the Columbia tragedy. The scientific research program aboard the ISS would be restructured to support only research associated with achieving the Vision instead of the broadly-based program that was planned. NASA would end its use of ISS by FY2017 instead of using it for at least 10 years after assembly is completed, as previously planned. President Bush directed NASA to build a Crew Exploration Vehicle (CEV), with a demonstration flight by 2008, and an operational capability to low Earth orbit no later than 2014. Its primary purpose is transporting astronauts to and from the Moon. NASA also would build robotic probes as “trailblazers” for the astronauts, and launch other robotic missions to explore the solar system and CRS-19 the universe, including new space telescopes. The President invited other countries to join in the initiative. The President did not propose adding significant sums to NASA’s budget to pay for the Vision. Instead, most of the funding was to be redirected from NASA’s other activities. The White House announced that $12.6 billion would be made available for the Vision from FY2005-2009, but only $1 billion of that was new money. The remaining $11.6 billion would come from other NASA activities. Taking most of the requisite funds from other NASA programs instead of adding new money for the agency could mitigate concerns that the Vision might increase the deficit or detract from other national priorities. But it raised issues about the impact on those other NASA programs, and whether the level of funding is adequate to achieve the goals. NASA released a “sand chart” of projected NASA budgets through 2020 (see Figure 4). The sand chart shows a NASA budget increasing approximately 5% each year for FY2005-2007, less than 1% in FY2008 and 2009, and remaining roughly level with inflation (approximately 2%) beyond FY2009. The total amount of funding for the Vision represented in the chart appears to be $150-$170 billion. CRS-20 Figure 4. NASA’s “Sand Chart” of Projected Budget Authority: January 2004 CRS-21 NASA officials said the intent of the chart was to demonstrate there was no “balloon” in funding past FY2009, the end of the time period covered by the out-year projections accompanying the FY2005 budget request. However, it fueled concerns that, inter alia, certain programs would pay the price for funding the Vision. In addition to showing termination of the space shuttle and International Space Station programs, it included a category labeled “Aeronautics and Other Science Activities” for which funding would remain essentially level, without adjustments for inflation, throughout the 17 year time period. That sparked concern that NASA was becoming a “single mission” agency devoted to Vision, while sacrificing its other responsibilities. The FY2005 and FY2006 NASA budget requests, and their out-year projections, further increased worry that aeronautics and certain science disciplines would suffer in order for NASA to be able to afford the Vision, particularly when the President’s FY2006 request for NASA was only half of what had been projected. The FY2005 budget and the original FY2006 budget request were prepared under the leadership of then-NASA Administrator Sean O’Keefe. He left NASA in February 2005, and was succeeded by Dr. Michael Griffin in April 2005. Dr. Griffin’s approach to implementing the Vision is different from Mr. O’Keefe’s. Dr. Griffin submitted changes to the FY2005 budget in the operating plan updates discussed earlier, and to the FY2006 budget request in a July 2005 budget amendment. For completeness, both the original FY2006 request developed by Mr. O’Keefe, and the amended request submitted by Dr. Griffin, are discussed below. Under Dr. Griffin’s leadership, a sand chart equivalent to the one produced in February 2004, showing how funding will be allocated across the agency through 2020, has not been made public. How Much Will it Cost? The 2004 sand chart is a budget projection, not a cost estimate. The White House and NASA have not released a cost estimate for accomplishing the Vision in its entirety (such as for sending people to Mars). The only specific milestone for which a cost estimate has been released is for returning humans to the Moon. In late February 2004, NASA estimated that landing a crew on the Moon in 2020 would cost $64 billion in FY2003 dollars: $24 billion (FY2004-2020) to build and operate the Crew Exploration Vehicle; and $40 billion (FY2011-2020) to build the lunar lander portion of that vehicle, a new launch vehicle, and operations. The estimate did not include the cost of robotic missions. In September 2005, Dr. Griffin announced the results of the Exploration Systems Architecture Study (ESAS) — the implementation plan for the Vision. During a September 19 press conference, he stated that it would cost $104 billion to return humans to the Moon by 2018.9 NASA briefing charts in October 2005, however, clarified that the $104 billion does not include the costs of CEV missions to the International Space Station during the 2012-2016 time period. Those costs add another $20 billion according to NASA, for a total estimate of $124 billion for the first human return to the Moon. Both figures ($104 billion and $124 billion) are 9 The transcript of the press conference is available at [http://www.nasa.gov/pdf/ 133896main_133896main_ESAS_rollout_press.pdf] CRS-22 adjusted for expected inflation; in calendar year 2005 dollars, the estimates are $83 billion and $99 billion, respectively, according to NASA. Dr. Griffin stated at the press conference that, when adjusted for inflation, the cost of the new program is 55% the cost of Apollo. (That estimate also did not include the cost of CEV missions to the space station.) One question is whether NASA’s annual budget is sufficient to support implementation of that plan. As noted, NASA’s request for FY2006 is less than what the White House projected last year, so the Vision did not survive even its first year of priority setting within the total national budget. Some critics assert that the Vision is more about ending NASA programs than setting the nation on a bold path towards the future. Veteran space commentator John Pike, who operates the globalsecurity.org website, called the Vision “a roadmap for the quiet and orderly phase-out of manned space flight.”10 Workforce Impacts. Another aspect of the Vision is its effect on NASA’s workforce. NASA’s FY2006 budget justification, which includes projections through 2010, assumes that the agency will cut about 2,500 civil service jobs by the end of FY2006. The agency is offering buy-outs and other incentives to encourage staff in certain disciplines to leave, but to date these efforts have not achieved their targets. NASA officials explain that everyone who currently is employed by NASA is funded through the end of FY2006. As discussed below (see What is the Future of the Aeronautics Program?), many of the personnel cuts are expected in the aeronautics field, where significant funding cutbacks are being proposed because aeronautics is not considered to be a Vision-related activity. Four of NASA’s field centers focus primarily on aeronautics research — Langley, Glenn, Ames, and Dryden — and are expected to bear the brunt of the personnel cuts. Dr. Griffin has been visiting each NASA center, reassuring workers that the centers themselves will not be closed, but cautioning that workforce changes are inevitable as NASA shifts its focus. During a September 8, 2005 talk to NASA employees, Dr. Griffin noted that “I can’t kid folks. We are going to do everything we can to assign real and meaningful work as part of the Exploration effort into centers where that work is needed to begun [sic], but we are not going to get all the way there. ... [T]here will be folks who are simply no longer needed at NASA.”11 He stressed that NASA headquarters staff requirements would be scrutinized along with those at the centers. The FY2006 appropriations act that includes NASA (P.L. 109-108) restricts NASA’s use of buyouts and Reductions in Force (RIFs) prior to NASA providing certain reports to Congress. The 2005 NASA authorization act (P.L.109-155) prohibits RIFs or other involuntary separations (except for cause) prior to March 16, 2007. 10 Quoted in: Jeffrey F. Bell. “The Bush Space Initiative: Fiscal Nightmare or...Fiscal Nightmare?,” SpaceDaily, March 17, 2004. 11 Transcript of remarks by Dr. Griffin, “NASA Update on NASA TV,” September 8, 2005, [http://www.nasa.gov/pdf/127082main_090805_mg_update.pdf]. CRS-23 FY2005 Budget. For FY2005, Congress appropriated a total for NASA that was quite close to its requested amount: $16.196 billion (including the FY2005 hurricane supplemental and adjusted for the across-the-board rescission) versus the $16.244 billion requested.12 Representative DeLay is widely credited with winning that funding level for NASA.13 Many commentators concluded the funding level was a sign of congressional support for the Vision. However, conferees on the Consolidated Appropriations Act explicitly stated that although they were appropriating substantial funds for the Vision, “to date there has been no substantive Congressional action endorsing this initiative.” (H.Rept. 108-792, p. 1599). They called on the House and Senate authorizing committees to provide guidance and authorization for the effort. NASA’s FY2005 operating plans show how NASA plans to spend the FY2005 funds. The Initial Operating Plan, submitted to Congress in December 2004, was significantly modified in the May 10 and September 30 revisions, reflecting the different approach being taken by Dr. Griffin (discussed elsewhere in this report). Original FY2006 Budget Request (Under Mr. O’Keefe’s Tenure). The original NASA FY2006 budget request was developed under then-NASA Administrator Sean O’Keefe. Mr. O’Keefe’s approach to implementing the Vision centered on development of the new Crew Exploration Vehicle (CEV), with a competition between two contractors from 2006 to 2008, at which time a final design and single contractor would be selected. An operational vehicle with Earth-orbital capability would be available by 2014. A small amount of funding was included to begin planning for a launch vehicle for the CEV, but no decision was made on what launch vehicle would be used. Mr. O’Keefe would not commit to using the CEV to service the International Space Station, seeking to keep the program focused on lunar transportation. Funding for Project Prometheus (to develop advanced space nuclear power and propulsion systems, a strong interest of Mr. O’Keefe), and for the first of a series of robotic lunar probes to support the Vision (to be launched in 2008 as directed by the President), were relatively well supported. In concert with the idea that most of the funding for the Vision would come from other NASA activities, the original FY2006 request included steep cuts in aeronautics (see below), a $1 billion reduction in funding for space and earth sciences over the FY2006-2010 time period, and a sharply declining budget for the space shuttle program in the FY2008-2010 time frame. As noted above, the budget request also assumed that NASA would reduce its civil service workforce by about 2,500 jobs by the end of FY2006. Within NASA’s total budget request, what constitutes funding for the “Vision” is open to interpretation. The entire FY2006 NASA budget is labeled “Exploration Vision,” but a FY2006 NASA budget chart (reproduced as Table 4) divides the request into three categories: “exploration-specific,” “shuttle & space station,” and “earth science, aero, & other.” Some may consider funding for the Vision as that contained in the “exploration-specific” category. Others may add funding for the 12 For action on NASA’s FY2005 budget request, see CRS Report RL32676, The National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s FY2005 Budget Request: Description, Analysis, and Issues for Congress, by Marcia S. Smith and Daniel Morgan. 13 For example, see “Tax Record Spat Slows Omnibus Spending Vote in Senate,” Congress Daily PM, November 20, 2004, (Special Edition). CRS-24 space shuttle and space station, since those are often described as the first steps in the Vision. Alternatively, funding specifically for the Exploration Systems Mission Directorate (ESMD, see Table 2) could be defined as funding for the Vision. CRS-25 Table 4. Breakdown of NASA’s FY2004-FY2010 Budget As Exploration-Specific, Shuttle and Station, and Other ($ in billions, from NASA’s original FY2006 budget request) FY2004 FY2005 FY2006 FY2007 FY2008 FY2009 FY2010 Robotic Exploration 2.7 2.8 2.8 3.3 3.8 3.9 3.9 — Solar System Exploration 1.9 1.9 1.9 2.3 2.8 3.0 3.1 — The Universe (Origins-Related)* 0.8 0.9 0.9 1.0 0.9 0.9 0.8 Human Exploration 0.9 0.5 1.1 1.6 1.5 2.0 2.5 — Constellation Systems 0.9 0.5 1.1 1.6 1.5 2.0 2.5 Exploration Technology 1.7 2.2 2.0 2.1 2.3 2.5 2.7 — Exploration Systems Research & Technology 0.7 0.7 0.9 0.9 1.0 1.1 1.1 — Human Systems Research & Technology 1.0 1.0 0.8 0.8 0.8 0.8 0.8 — Prometheus Nuclear Science & Technology 0.0 0.4 0.3 0.4 0.5 0.6 0.8 Subtotal: Exploration-Specific 5.3 5.5 6.0 7.0 7.6 8.4 9.0 Space Shuttle 4.1 4.7 4.5 4.2 3.9 2.8 2.4 International Space Station 1.4 1.6 1.7 1.7 1.6 1.7 1.7 ISS Cargo & Crew 0.0 0.1 0.2 0.2 0.2 0.5 0.7 Subtotal: Shuttle & Station 5.4 6.3 6.4 6.0 5.7 5.0 4.8 CRS-26 FY2004 FY2005 FY2006 FY2007 FY2008 FY2009 FY2010 Aeronautics 1.1 0.9 0.9 0.7 0.7 0.7 0.7 Earth Sun Systems** 2.3 2.2 2.1 2.1 2.1 2.4 2.3 The Universe (SEU-Related)* 0.6 0.6 0.6 0.6 0.6 0.6 0.6 Education 0.2 0.2 0.2 0.2 0.2 0.2 0.2 Space and Flight Support 0.5 0.5 0.4 0.4 0.4 0.4 0.4 Inspector General 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 Subtotal: Earth Science, Aero & others 4.7 4.4 4.1 3.9 4.0 4.3 4.2 15.4 16.2 16.5 16.9 17.3 17.7 18.0 Total Source: NASA table, entitled “Budget for Exploration Vision,” provided in a February 10, 2005 briefing on NASA’s original FY2006 budget request. FY2004 is actual; FY2005 is from the December 23, 2004 Initial Operating Plan; FY2006 is the level requested in NASA’s original FY2006 budget submission; FY2007-2010 are projections. “Total” was added by CRS. The NASA table did not provide an explanation for why Inspector General funding is listed as zero each year. Typically it is $30-$35 million per year. *Notes on the NASA table explain that the category “Universe (Origins-related)” includes Navigator (a suite of programs including the Space Interferometry Mission and the Terrestrial Planet Finder), Webb Space Telescope, Hubble Space Telescope, the airplane-based SOFIA program (Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy), and Discovery programs. “Universe (SEU-related)” includes GLAST (Gamma Ray Large Area Telescope), the Explorer series, ISSC (International Space Science Collaboration), Beyond Einstein, and Universe research. SEU means Structure and Evolution of the Universe, one of the Science themes previously identified in the space science area. For information on these programs, see [http://science.hq.nasa.gov/missions/index.html]. ** Earth Sun Systems includes the former Earth Science program, and the former Sun-Earth Systems program (including solar-terrestrial physics projects such as Living with a Star). CRS-27 Amended FY2006 Budget Request (Under Dr. Griffin’s Tenure). Dr. Griffin emphasizes that he believes NASA should continue to have a diverse set of missions, and funding for the Vision should not come from NASA’s science or aeronautics programs. At his April 2005 confirmation hearing, he testified that NASA pursued a broad range of activities during the Apollo program in the 1960s and early 1970s, and sees no reason the agency cannot do so while implementing the Vision.14 (Appendix B provides a summary comparison of NASA’s human space flight, robotic space flight, and aeronautics activities by decade.) He concluded that the total amount of NASA funding is not the problem, pointing out that NASA received approximately the same amount of money in its first 16 years as it has in the past 16 years (adjusted for inflation). Instead, he said, it is a matter of setting priorities. Dr. Griffin’s chief priorities are returning the shuttle to flight and making each flight as safe as possible, completing construction of the space station by 2010, terminating the shuttle in 2010, and accelerating the development of the CEV to minimize the gap between when the shuttle ends and the CEV is available. At a November 3, 2005 House Science Committee hearing, Dr. Griffin clarified that by “science” programs, he means the space science and earth science programs in the Science Mission Directorate. He does not include biological and physical sciences research, which is currently part of the Exploration Systems Mission Directorate. As discussed elsewhere in this report, he is cutting funds for that research, some of which was to be conducted aboard the International Space Station, in order to pay for accelerating the availability of the CEV. It is important to note that he did not promise that he would not take funds from science or aeronautics to pay for other agency priorities. The NASA budget is under tight constraints because of increased costs for returning the space shuttle to flight status, cost overruns in various programs (including space science programs), the need to pay for congressionally directed items, and the need to pay for hurricane clean-up. The following is a list of the major changes Dr. Griffin is pursuing compared with Mr. O’Keefe’s plan. Constellation Systems. This program comprises the Crew Exploration Vehicle (CEV) and a Crew Launch Vehicle (CLV) for it. It is the major focus of the Exploration Systems Mission Directorate (ESMD). Dr. Griffin has stated repeatedly that he wants to close the gap between when the space shuttle will be terminated (2010) and when the CEV becomes available. His current goal is 2012. He also has added servicing the International Space Station to the CEV’s requirements. Instead of looking for new concepts for the CEV — which might be expensive and take time to develop — Dr. Griffin emphasizes that it should be simple and straightforward, and therefore not require significant development time. He has decided that instead of funding two contractors with competing designs through 2008 as originally planned, the agency will choose a single contractor in 2006. Dr. Griffin estimates that “downselecting” to one contractor that early could save $1 billion. In the near term, however, additional funds are needed both for the CEV and the CLV. In the September 2005 implementation plan, Dr. Griffin 14 Dr. Michael Griffin, testimony before the Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee, April 12, 2005. Transcript by Federal Document Clearing House (via Factiva). CRS-28 announced that the CLV would be a shuttle-derived vehicle. Another shuttle-derived launch vehicle will be developed later for taking heavy cargo into space. Funding for that vehicle is not included in the FY2006 budget request. (Shuttle-derived launch vehicles are discussed below.) In keeping with the philosophy that funding for the Vision (in this case, funding for ESMD) should not be taken from science or aeronautics, Dr. Griffin has focused on reducing funds for other ESMD activities in order to pay for accelerating the CEV. The FY2006 budget amendment shifts $292 million in FY2006 from other biological and physical research, other ESMD research and technology programs, and Project Prometheus (see below) into the CEV/CLV. The September 30, 2005 operating plan update identifies an additional $493 million in FY2006 funds to be shifted into CEV/CLV from research and technology programs within ESMD. Taken together, that would increase planned funding for CEV/CLV in FY2006 by $785 million — from $1.12 billion in the original FY2006 request, to $1.9 billion. (Some question whether that much can actually be spent in FY2006, especially considering that NASA does not plan to award a CEV contract until spring 2006.) Project Prometheus. This program to develop new space nuclear power and propulsion systems was initiated by NASA prior to the Vision speech. NASA initially requested $320 million for FY2006, but the July 15 budget amendment reduced that request by $140 million, with that amount instead shifted into the CEV/CLV effort. The goals of Project Prometheus also are changing. During Mr. O’Keefe’s tenure, its goal was developing Nuclear Electric Propulsion (NEP) and advanced Radioisotope Thermoelectric Generators (RTGs). A robotic probe, the Jupiter Icy Moons Orbiter (JIMO), which was being designed to study three of Jupiter’s moons, was to be the first mission to use these new systems. RTGs have been used by NASA since the 1960s to supply power for spacecraft systems and experiments on probes that travel so far from the Sun that solar energy-based systems are impractical. RTGs also can be used for spacecraft that land on surfaces where they will experience “night” for long periods. NASA has not used nuclear propulsion, either NEP or a different type, Nuclear Thermal Propulsion (NTP), in the past, although NASA worked on developing NTP in the 1960s and early 1970s. Initially, Dr. Griffin changed the focus of Project Prometheus to nuclear “surface power” systems (for use on the lunar surface, e.g.), and NTP, with development of NEP third on the priority list; JIMO was indefinitely deferred. In NASA’s September 30, 2005 operating plan update, however, further cuts to Prometheus were announced, and JIMO was canceled. NASA shifted Prometheus and its remaining $270 million in FY2005 funds from ESMD back to the Science Mission Directorate (SMD) from whence it had come. Management of the program remains with ESMD, however. The operating plan noted that the program was being restructured again because nuclear surface power is not a near-term requirement, and the resulting $76 million in “savings” would be applied to the CEV/CLV program. Congress cut $200 million from Prometheus in the FY2006 appropriations bill that includes NASA (P.L. 109-108). How NASA will adjust its plans in light of the congressional action presumably will become clear once the agency submits its initial operating plan for FY2006. CRS-29 Biological and Physical Research. This activity includes research conducted aboard the International Space Station (ISS) and was previously funded by the Office of Biological and Physical Research (OBPR). OBPR was merged with the Office of Exploration Systems to form the ESMD in August 2004. Activities that were conducted under OBPR are now funded in the “Human Systems Research and Technology” line in ESMD’s budget. Following the Vision speech and President Bush’s directive that research on the ISS be restricted only to that which supports the Vision, NASA began developing a revised research plan, including identification of what must be done on the ISS versus using ground-based facilities. Dr. Griffin’s announcement that he would tap these research funds to help pay for accelerating the CEV further affected the plan. That was followed by a NASA decision not to launch a large centrifuge and its Centrifuge Accommodation Module,15 intended to be the major facility for conducting fundamental biological research on the International Space Station (ISS). The Space Studies Board of the National Research Council sharply criticized NASA’s revised ISS research plan.16 In addition, an editorial in the November 25, 2005 issue of Science, a publication of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, lamented the cutbacks in ISS research, and cautioned that NASA was cutting the very research needed to ensure the health and safety of astronauts who would someday journey to Mars. NASA’s FY2005 operating plan updates do not have a budget line item called Human Systems R&T because that line item first appears in the FY2006 request. In FY2005, these activities were still part of OBPR. The FY2005 operating plan updates show that activities funded under OBPR in FY2005 were cut by $106 million (leaving $925 million). For FY2006, the original request for Human Systems R&T was $807 million. The July 15 budget amendment shifted $30 million of that into the CEV/CLV effort. The September 30, 2005 operating plan stated that 34 contracts and activities previously planned for FY2006 under Human Systems R&T would be discontinued, resulting in a net savings (after termination costs and buyouts) of $243 million. It further stated that 80 tasks and activities under Exploration Systems R&T are being discontinued, for a net savings in FY2006 of $174 million. Together, these $417 million in cuts to research and technology would be shifted to the CEV/CLV effort. (Added to the $76 million that would be cut from Project Prometheus, the total addition to the FY2006 CEV/CLV effort would be $493 million, as noted above.) Congress cut $25 million from Human Systems R&T and $25 million from Exploration Systems R&T in the FY2006 appropriations bill that includes NASA (P.L. 109-108). How NASA will adjust its plans in light of the congressional action presumably will become clear once the agency submits its initial operating plan for FY2006. 15 The centrifuge and the CAM were being built for NASA by Japan under a barter arrangement wherein Japan would provide them in exchange for NASA launching Japan’s scientific laboratory, Kibo (the Japanese Experiment Module) for free. Thus, although they were being built by Japan, they counted as U.S. hardware. 16 The report can be downloaded from the National Academies Press website at [http://books.nap.edu/catalog/11512.html]. CRS-30 Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO). The LRO is the first of several planned robotic missions to the Moon in support of the Vision. The LRO’s purpose is to support the Vision by providing detailed maps of the lunar surface, and because the former Office of Space Science was experienced in developing such probes, it was given management responsibility for LRO originally. Conferees on the FY2005 appropriations bill directed that, because it was being funded by the Office of Space Science, at least 25% of its experiments should focus on science objectives, rather than those associated with the Vision. In the May 10 operating plan update, Dr. Griffin moved the program into ESMD, presumably to make its purpose and focus clearer. The FY2005 funding level will not change from the $53 million in the December operating plan. (Congress cut funding for the LRO from $70 million to $10 million in FY2005, but NASA nevertheless plans to spend $70 million on it — $17 million that was reprogrammed in FY2004, and $53 million in FY2005). The July 15 budget amendment similarly moves the $135 million requested for the Lunar Robotic Exploration Program in FY2006 from the Science Mission Directorate into ESMD. Congressional Action. In the final version of the appropriations bill (H.R. 2862, P.L. 109-108), Congress cut $25 million from both of the research and technology (R&T) accounts associated with the Vision (as had been approved in the House version of the bill), $34 million from Centennial Challenges program (as in the Senate version of the bill), and $200 million from Prometheus. Congress added $5 million for a “heavy lift” launch vehile. What is the Space Shuttle’s Future? The congressional committees that oversee NASA are closely following the agency’s efforts to return the space shuttle to flight status following the February 1, 2003 Columbia tragedy. Although NASA launched the first of two “Return to Flight” missions — STS-114 (Discovery) — on July 26, 2005, the agency regrounded the shuttle fleet the next day after discovering that larger-than-expected pieces of foam detached from the External Tank during launch — similar to what led to the loss of Columbia. The Columbia tragedy, STS-114, and the Return to Flight effort are discussed in CRS Report RS21408, NASA’s Space Shuttle Program: The Columbia Tragedy, the Discovery Mission, and the Future of the Shuttle, by Marcia S. Smith. NASA is trying to determine why large pieces of foam detach from the External Tank and how to mitigate the problem. The date for the next shuttle launch is uncertain. At the same time, there is considerable debate about the shuttle’s future in light of President Bush’s directive that the shuttle — in its current form — be terminated in 2010. Some want the shuttle terminated as soon as possible, either because they consider it unsafe or because they want to use the money now devoted to the shuttle program for other aspects of the Vision instead. Others want to keep the shuttle until the CEV is operational so that the United States is not dependent on Russia for human access to space. Another option is to define precisely how many more shuttle missions are needed, and operate the system until they are completed, whenever that occurs. A fourth alternative, articulated by Dr. Griffin after the STS-114 mission, is to launch each shuttle mission only when NASA determines it is ready to fly instead of trying to meet a pre-determined schedule. Taking this one-launch-at-a-time CRS-31 approach, NASA would see how many launches could be completed before 2010, and continue construction of the ISS after that, if possible, using other launch vehicles. Terminating the Shuttle in 2010. NASA’s current “target” is to launch 18 shuttle missions in support of the ISS program, plus one possible additional mission to service the Hubble Space Telescope, by the end of 2010. (NASA will not make a final decision about the Hubble servicing mission until after the shuttle completes the second Return to Flight mission.) Most of the remaining segments of the ISS awaiting launch were designed to be launched only on the shuttle. The shuttle also is used to take crews back and forth. Construction of ISS has been suspended since the Columbia accident. NASA and its ISS partners have been keeping two-man crews aboard ISS using Russian spacecraft in the interim. Before the STS-114 launch, NASA was assessing how many shuttle flights would be needed to complete the ISS. In early 2005, the estimate was 28, but Dr. Griffin considered only 18 of those to be needed for ISS assembly. The other 10 comprise five for logistics (taking food, water, equipment, etc. to the ISS) and five for utilization (conducting research). He proposed shifting the logistics flights to other launch vehicles, that perhaps could be provided by commercial launch service providers, and to delay NASA’s utilization of the ISS. As noted above, the current plan is for 18 ISS-related shuttle missions. NASA’s FY2006 request included budget projections that showed the shuttle budget decreasing significantly beginning in FY2008 (see Table 5). Many were skeptical that NASA could succeed in reducing shuttle budgets while maintaining whatever flight rate is needed. The board that investigated the Columbia tragedy cited budget constraints as a factor. Table 5. Space Shuttle Projected Funding: FY2005-FY2010 ($ in millions) FY2005 4,543.0 FY2006 4,530.6 FY2007 4,172.4 FY2008 3,865.7 FY2009 2,815.1 FY2010 2,319.2 Source: NASA FY2006 budget justification. The FY2005 estimate is from NASA’s December 23, 2004 Initial Operating Plan. See the FY2005 Budget subsection below for additional changes since then. During testimony before the House Science Committee on November 3, 2005, Dr. Griffin acknowledged that the shuttle program will need $3-5 billion more in FY2008-2010 than shown in the above projection. He is hoping to keep the figure to a minimum through synergies he expects to achieve by melding the current shuttle program with the effort to develop shuttle-derived launch vehicles (see below). Another factor cited by the Columbia investigation board was schedule pressure resulting from the ISS assembly schedule. At the time, then-NASA Administrator Sean O’Keefe had set completing a particular phase of ISS construction (called “U.S. Core Complete”) by February 2004 as a priority. Today, some worry that setting a CRS-32 firm date of 2010 for completing all shuttle launches is creating an environment similar to that prior to Columbia. The Senate version of the NASA authorization bill, S. 1281, as reported from the Senate Commerce Committee, directed NASA not to retire the shuttle until a replacement human-rated spacecraft has been demonstrated. That provision was modified in the manager’s amendment adopted by the Senate during floor consideration on September 28, 2005. As passed by the Senate, the bill stated that it is U.S. policy to possess the capability for assured human access to space, and directed the NASA Administrator to act to ensure that capability and to make several related reports to Congress in future years. The House version, H.R. 3070, as introduced and approved at the subcommittee level, directed that the shuttle not be launched after December 31, 2010. However, the Democratic alternative, H.R. 3250, contained language similar to that in the Senate bill as reported from committee. The compromise version of H.R. 3070, as reported from the House Science Committee (H.Rept. 109-173) and passed by the House, was silent on this issue. The final version of the law (P.L. 109-155) states that it is U.S. policy to have human access to space on a continuous basis, and directs NASA to submit several related reports to Congress. “Shuttle-Derived” Launch Vehicles. President Bush’s directive that “the shuttle” be terminated in 2010 refers to the shuttle in its current form — a vehicle that takes both crews and cargo into space. The concept of developing a “shuttlederived” launch vehicle (SDLV, or SDV) has been discussed for many years. The need for a launch vehicle for the new CEV, and a “heavy lift” launch vehicle to support other aspects of the Vision, reenergized debate about the SDLV. Dr. Griffin is a strong advocate of such a vehicle, and on September 19, 2005, announced that he had chosen that approach for implementing the Vision. According to that plan, two SDLVs will be developed: one for crew (the Crew Launch Vehicle), and one for cargo (the “heavy-lift” launch vehicle). The Crew Launch Vehicle (CLV), or “single stick,” would use one Solid Rocket Booster (the shuttle uses two, one on each side of the orbiter), augmented by a new “upper stage,” with the CEV on top. The heavy lift version would modify the External Tank (the large cylindrical tank that carries fuel for the orbiter’s main engines), add SRBs, with a cargo-carrying spacecraft on top. It would be designed to lift approximately 125 tons of cargo to low Earth orbit (LEO), several times more than what could be launched with existing versions of the other two major U.S. launch vehicles — Atlas V and Delta IV.17 Building a SDLV could mitigate some of the workforce displacements that would result from terminating the shuttle program in its current form. It also could bring a new launch vehicle into the U.S. fleet at lower cost than developing a new vehicle from scratch. But proponents of the Atlas and Delta argue that if NASA used them for the Vision, the cost per launch would go down, making space launches more 17 These two launch vehicles were developed under the Department of Defense’s Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle program and thus are sometimes referred to as “the EELVs.” CRS-33 affordable for DOD and NASA overall. The Atlas and Delta also might be able to be modified to launch heavier payloads. Dr. Griffin and Dr. Ronald Sega, Under Secretary of the Air Force, signed a letter to the Director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy on August 5, 2005, agreeing that NASA will develop the two SDLVs described above (one for crew, one for cargo). Dr. Sega, a former NASA astronaut, is the Department of Defense’s Executive Agent for Space. In return, NASA agreed that it would use the Atlas V and Delta IV to launch all of its other spacecraft in the 5-20 metric ton range, including ISS cargo re-supply missions (although new commercially-developed launch vehicles may compete with the Atlas V and Delta IV if they become available). Boeing manufactures the Delta IV. Lockheed Martin manufactures the Atlas V, as well as the External Tanks for the space shuttle system. The SRBs are manufactured by ATK Thiokol. The United Space Alliance, a 50-50 joint venture between Boeing and Lockheed Martin, is the “single prime contractor” in charge of most ground operations for the existing space shuttle system. Boeing and Lockheed Martin have announced plans to create a similar joint venture, called United Launch Alliance, to market Atlas V and Delta IV to government customers. (Another launch vehicle company, SpaceX, has filed an antitrust suit to prevent the joint venture.) FY2005 Budget. For FY2005, NASA requested $4.3 billion for the space shuttle program, compared with $4 billion in FY2004. NASA informed Congress in November 2004 that it needed $762 million more in FY2005 for the shuttle program, but a budget amendment was not submitted. Congress appropriated the requested amount, and said that NASA could reprogram funds, or submit a supplemental request if needed. According to NASA briefing charts accompanying its May 10, 2005 operating plan update, funding was reprogrammed as follows: $55 million from the Science Mission Directorate ($20 million from space science, $35 million from earth science); $375.8 million from the Exploration Systems Mission Directorate ($73 million from biological and physical research, $204 million from human and robotic technology, and $98 million from transportation systems); and $331.2 million from the Space Operations Mission Directorate ($160 million from the space station, $170 million from space shuttle upgrades, and $1.2 million from space flight support). FY2006 Budget Request and Congressional Action. NASA’s FY2006 request for the shuttle program was $4.5 billion. The final version of the FY2006 Science, State, Justice, and Commerce appropriations bill (H.R. 2862, P.L. 109-108) funds the shuttle at the requested level. The extent to which the continuing efforts to reduce foam loss from the External Tank in the wake of the Discovery launch, and the effects of Hurricane Katrina on Stennis Space Center and the Michoud Assembly Facility (described earlier) may require an augmentation for the shuttle budget, is not clear. CRS-34 What Should Be the U.S. Strategy for the International Space Station Program? NASA began what is now known as the International Space Station (ISS) program in 1984. Canada, Japan, 10 European countries, and Russia are partners with the United States in building the space station. For more information, see CRS Issue Brief IB93017, Space Stations, by Marcia S. Smith. Assembly of the space station was originally intended to be completed by 1994, followed by 30 years of operation during which a wide variety of scientific research would be conducted. The results of that research were expected to have applications on Earth such as new and better pharmaceuticals, metal alloys, and manufacturing processes. The original cost estimate was $8 billion (in FY1984 dollars). Twenty-one years and approximately $35 billion later, whether those promises will be met is uncertain. Under the Vision, NASA is to meet its commitments to the other partners, finish construction by 2010, and complete its utilization of the ISS by FY2017. (The other partners could continue to use it beyond that time.) The President directed that the only research conducted by NASA is that needed to implement the Vision, not the broadly-based program that was planned. As discussed earlier, NASA has terminated plans to launch a centrifuge and its Centrifuge Accommodation Module, which was to be the primary facility on the ISS for conducting fundamental biological research. Until November 2005, NASA was facing questions about how NASA astronauts would be able to access the ISS after April 2006 because the Iran Nonproliferation Act (INS) prohibited NASA from paying Russia for ISS-related goods and services unless the President made a determination that Russia was not proliferation certain technologies to Iran. The linkage between the ISS and the INA, its implications for the future of U.S. access to ISS, and congressional action, are explained in CRS Report RS22072, The Iran Nonproliferation Act and the International Space Station: Issues and Options, by Sharon Squassoni and Marcia S. Smith; and CRS Report RS22270, The International Space Station and the Iran Nonproliferation Act (INA): The Bush Administration’s Proposed INA Amendment, by Marcia S. Smith and Sharon Squassoni. In November 2005, however, Congress passed an amendment to the INA which permits NASA to purchase needed goods and services from Russia through January 1, 2012. It was signed into law on November 22, 2005 (P.L. 109112). Thus, this issue seems to be resolved for the moment. NASA spends about $2 billion a year on ISS, in addition to the costs of the shuttle program. Some question whether ISS is worth that level of investment considering the modest research opportunities that remain. Others consider fulfilling U.S. commitments to the other ISS partners to be a sufficient rationale for continued U.S. involvement. President Bush pledged to fulfill U.S. commitment to the ISS partners in his Vision speech. Dr. Griffin has reiterated that pledge. How NASA will do that is unclear, since the partners anticipated that the space shuttle, with its large crew and cargo capacity, would be available during the operational phase of the ISS. NASA also was committed to building a Crew Return Vehicle (CRV) that would enable the crew size to increase to at least six. NASA canceled the CRV, then CRS-35 replaced it with another program (called an Orbital Space Plane), which then also was canceled. Dr. Griffin now plans to develop a CEV that can be used not only to take crews to and from the Moon, but as a vehicle to transport crews to and from ISS, and remain docked to the ISS for long periods of time, enabling it to serve in a CRVmode. Thus, the United States once again is planning to build a vehicle to fulfill the CRV function, but the termination of the shuttle would still significantly reduce the ability of the ISS partners to take cargo to and from the ISS. Another question is what will happen to the ISS once NASA discontinues its use of the facility. Would it be turned over to the other partners? Would it be privatized? Would it be deorbited? If it remains in orbit under someone else’s control, would the United States have any continuing liability if, for example, it made an uncontrolled reentry and impacted people or property on the ground? Or if it collided with another object in space? FY2005 Budget. Congress did not specify a funding level for the ISS in the FY2005 Consolidated Appropriations Act. The request was $2.412 billion: $1.863 billion for construction and operations, including $140 million in a new “ISS Crew/Cargo Services” line to pay for alternatives to the shuttle for taking crew and cargo to and from ISS; and $549 million for research (included in the request for the Office of Biological and Physical Research). NASA’s December 23, 2004 Initial Operating Plan cut $160 million from ISS construction and operations to help pay for additional costs for returning the space shuttle to flight status. Funding for research also was cut, from the planned $549 million to $382 million (per the December operating plan). FY2005 funding for ISS Crew/Cargo Services was identified as $98 million, and NASA took $85 million of that to begin paying for damages from Hurricane Katrina. NASA hopes to repay this account from funds made available through an emergency supplemental appropriations request. As noted earlier, the reallocation request submitted to Congress on October 28, 2005 included $324.8 million for NASA, out of a total of $760 million that the agency estimated would be needed for hurricane recovery. Congress increased that amount to $350 million in the FY2006 DOD appropriations act (P.L. 109-149) to which the hurricane funds were attached. How much of the $350 million will be used to repay the ISS Crew/Cargo line is unclear. FY2006 Budget Request and Congressional Action. The original FY2006 ISS request was $1.857 billion for construction and operations, including $160 million for ISS Crew/Cargo Services; plus $324 million for ISS research. Dr. Griffin indicated in the May 10, 2005 update to the FY2005 operating plan that the ISS Crew/Cargo Services activity and associated FY2005 funding is being moved to the Exploration Systems Mission Directorate (ESMD). The July 15 budget amendment similarly moves the FY2006 ISS Crew/Cargo funding into ESMD, reducing the request for ISS construction and operations commensurately. The budget amendment identifies the FY2006 request for ISS Crew/Cargo Services as $168 million, rather than $160 million as shown in earlier NASA FY2006 budget briefing charts. Thus the revised FY2006 request for ISS construction and operations is $1.689 billion. In the FY2006 SSJC appropriations bill (H.R. 2862), the House cut $10 million from ISS construction and operations, and $10 million from ISS Crew/Cargo services CRS-36 program. The Senate cut all $160 million from ISS Crew/Cargo services because NASA did not spend any of the $98 million provided for FY2005. (As noted above, NASA allocated $85 million of that funding to pay for damage from Hurricane Katrina.) The final version of the bill (P.L.109-108) cuts the ISS program by $80 million ($60 million of which is from the ISS Crew/Cargo Services line). That would make the final budget $1.777 billion using the original budget request ($1.857 billion minus $80 million), or $1.669 billion under the amended budget ($1.689 billion minus $20 million). Added to that is the funding for ISS research. According to NASA, the amount it plans to spend on ISS research in FY2006 has declined from $324 million to $306 million. Added to the $1.669 billion, that would make the FY2006 ISS budget $1.975 billion. The 2005 NASA authorization act (P.L.109-155) requires NASA to allocate 15% of the funds budgeted for ISS research to research that is not directly related to supporting the Vision. The FY2000-2002 NASA authorization act (P.L. 106-391) imposed a cost cap on the ISS program (see CRS Issue Brief IB93017, Space Stations, by Marcia S. Smith, for details). Under the 2005 NASA authorization act, NASA must submit a report to Congress on how certain factors affected ISS development costs, and the cap is repealed 30 days thereafter. Should the Hubble Space Telescope be Serviced? NASA launched the Hubble Space Telescope in 1990. From the beginning, Hubble was designed to be serviced regularly by astronauts. That design proved fortuitous when it was discovered that Hubble had a defective mirror that produced blurry images. Astronauts on the first servicing mission in 1993 were able to install corrective optics, allowing years of scientific accomplishments and generating widespread scientific and public support. Additional servicing missions were conducted in 1997, 1999, and 2002 to replace aging hardware and install advanced scientific instruments. Two more shuttle missions to Hubble were scheduled: another servicing mission in 2004 (known as SM-4) and a retrieval mission to bring the telescope back to Earth in 2010. In the wake of the Columbia tragedy, however, then-NASA Administrator Sean O’Keefe decided in January 2004 not to proceed with either flight. His stated reason was the safety of the shuttle astronauts, but many critics perceived a connection with the new priorities of the Vision for Space Exploration, announced just days before. The decision to cancel SM-4 brought praise from some, but also considerable congressional and public opposition. The opposition initially focused on efforts to reverse Mr. O’Keefe’s decision and proceed with a shuttle mission. Attention soon shifted to robotic options, which dominated the public discussion of Hubble’s future throughout most of 2004. In March 2004, Mr. O’Keefe agreed to ask the National Research Council (NRC) to study options for extending Hubble’s life, including both shuttle and robotic missions. In December 2004, the final NRC report surprised many by finding it “unlikely that NASA will be able to extend the science life of [Hubble] through robotic servicing.” The report recommended a servicing mission by astronauts in the space shuttle, and a robotic mission only for deorbiting the CRS-37 telescope at the end of its useful lifetime.18 Hubble does not have its own propulsion system, and would make an uncontrolled reentry if a propulsion module is not attached to the spacecraft. An uncontrolled reentry would put people and property under Hubble’s orbit at risk of damage from falling debris. NASA initially estimated that if Hubble were left unattended, it would make an uncontrolled reentry in about 2012. That date has been extended to at least 2021 by additional NASA analysis that was first reported in August 2005. Mr. O’Keefe stood by his decision not to proceed with a shuttle servicing mission, and by early 2005, NASA’s work on a robotic mission to Hubble was focused on deorbiting it, rather than servicing it. The confirmation of Michael Griffin as NASA Administrator in April 2005 breathed new life into efforts to service Hubble. At his Senate confirmation hearing on April 12, 2005, Dr. Griffin stated that while he considered robotic servicing infeasible and “would like to take the robotic mission off the plate,” he planned to revisit the shuttle servicing option after the shuttle returns to flight. After two successful shuttle flights, NASA would be able to reassess the risks associated with what Dr. Griffin considers “essentially a new vehicle.” The 2005 NASA authorization act (P.L. 109-155, section 303) calls for a shuttle servicing mission after the shuttle returns to flight successfully “unless such a mission would compromise astronaut safety”; it also requires a status report on servicing plans within 60 days of the landing of the second successful RTF flight. Prospects for servicing Hubble became more uncertain when NASA grounded the shuttle fleet again after problems with the first RTF launch on July 26, 2005. Issues remain about the prospect of servicing Hubble, including the costs of the servicing mission, and costs associated with operating the telescope longer than expected. Cost estimates for a Hubble servicing mission vary widely, depending partly on what the mission would include, and partly on how one treats the costs of the shuttle launch. Before the Columbia tragedy, Hubble servicing missions were estimated to cost about $100 million each, not including the marginal cost of a shuttle launch. According to a GAO report in November 2004, NASA then estimated the full cost, including all shuttle costs, at between $1.7 billion and $2.4 billion; GAO considered this estimate “not yet definitive.”19 Plans for deorbiting Hubble also remain an issue. As noted above, before the Columbia tragedy, Hubble was to be returned to Earth by the space shuttle at the end of its lifetime. NASA no longer plans to do this, and since Hubble has no propulsion system of its own, a propulsion module must be attached to the spacecraft to permit a controlled deorbit. Remotely attaching the required new hardware is technologically challenging, however. If there is a shuttle servicing mission, a deorbit module could be attached at that time, but on August 31, 2005, NASA terminated work on such a module. New analysis indicates that Hubble will not 18 National Research Council, Assessment of Options for Extending the Life of the Hubble S p a c e T e l e s c o p e , N a t i o n a l A c a d e mi e s P r e s s , 2 0 0 5 . O n l i n e a t [http://books.nap.edu/catalog/11169.html]. 19 Government Accountability Office, Space Shuttle: Costs of Hubble Servicing Mission and Implementation of Safety Recommendations Not Yet Definitive, GAO-05-34, November 2004. CRS-38 reenter the atmosphere until at least 2021, and NASA expects new capabilities to be available by then. Boosting Hubble’s orbit during a shuttle servicing mission could delay the date of reentry even further, but at some point, deorbiting will be necessary if an uncontrolled reentry is to be avoided. For more on the Hubble Space Telescope, see CRS Report RS21767, Hubble Space Telescope: Should NASA Proceed with a Shuttle Servicing Mission?, by Daniel Morgan. FY2005 Budget. The FY2005 budget was released shortly after Mr. O’Keefe’s first announcement that the shuttle would not fly to Hubble. At that time, NASA intended to cancel the 2004 servicing mission entirely, and was only in the earliest stages of studying the possibility of robotic deorbiting. For this reason, the potential costs of servicing and deorbiting were not included in the FY2005 request. Most of the $130.1 million requested for Hubble was for data analysis. The FY2005 appropriations conference agreement was written before the release of the NRC report, at a time when the debate was focused on the robotic option. It designated $291 million for development of a Hubble servicing mission, but it did not specify where NASA should make the offsetting reductions. NASA’s initial operating plan for FY2005, released after the NRC report but before the appointment of Administrator Griffin, reflected $175 million for development of Hubble servicing and deorbiting missions, with the remainder of the $291 million to be determined after a design review in March 2005. The May 2005 update to the operating plan, released after Dr. Griffin’s announcement that a shuttle servicing mission will be reassessed after the shuttle completes its Return to Flight missions, reflected the full $291 million. FY2006 Budget Request and Congressional Action. In the original FY2006 budget, NASA requested $190.7 million for Hubble, including funds for development of a deorbit mission but not for a servicing mission. The July 15 budget amendment requested an additional $30 million to preserve the option of a Hubble servicing mission. The final version of the 2005 NASA authorization act (P.L.109155) does not specify finding for Hubble. (The House-passed version would have authorized $150 million in FY2006 for a servicing mission. The Senate-passed bill was silent.) The House-passed version of the FY2006 appropriations bill, H.R. 2862, did not specify a funding level for Hubble, although report language applauded Dr. Griffin’s commitment to reassess SM-4. The Senate Appropriations Committee report recommended a $250 million increase, pending the Administrator’s reassessment and final decision; a floor amendment provided $250 million for a servicing mission as bill language in the Senate-passed bill. The final version (P.L. 109-108) provides a total of $271 million: the original request, plus the addition requested in the July budget amendment, plus another $50 million “to continue planning, preparation, and engineering activities” for SM-4, “pending a final decision” to proceed. CRS-39 What is the Future of NASA’s Aeronautics Program? Aeronautics R&D has a long history of government involvement, starting in 1915 with the creation of the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA). NASA was established in 1958 using NACA as its nucleus, and NACA’s research centers were transferred to the new agency. Although NASA is better known for its space programs, supporters note that aeronautics is “the first A in NASA.” For several years, however, aeronautics advocates have failed to halt a multi-year slide in funding. NASA’s budget for aeronautics was cut by about one-third in the late 1990s, with the termination of programs in high-speed research and advanced subsonic technology. In 2003, NASA’s move to full-cost accounting heightened funding concerns, because research facilities such as wind tunnels play an especially large role in the aeronautics program.20 In 2004, when the President announced the Vision for Space Exploration, many foresaw that new spending priorities would increase the pressure on aeronautics further. The FY2006 budget request confirmed that expectation: according to Administrator Griffin, “the nation makes available to us within NASA a certain amount of money ... The fact is that in the President’s program going forward, aeronautics is not as high a priority as ... space exploration.”21 New Directions for Aeronautics at NASA. The FY2006 budget request proposed to “transform” the largest element of the aeronautics program, Vehicle Systems. Funding for Vehicle Systems would be reduced by 27% relative to FY2005, there would be more emphasis on barrier-breaking demonstrations, and resources would be focused on a smaller number of research areas. NASA described this new approach as a pilot for transforming the entire Aeronautics Research Mission Directorate. The restructured program would have consisted of four projects: two on noise reduction, one on emissions reduction, and one on unpiloted research aircraft. The topics eliminated would have included hypersonics, rotorcraft, and ultraefficient engine technology — all of which have received congressional funding increases in past appropriations cycles — as well as most evolutionary, incremental improvements to subsonic aeronautics. The proposed elimination of several entire research areas was controversial, especially in the context of substantial, continuing reductions in total funding for the program. The House Appropriations Committee report on H.R. 2862 (H.Rept. 109118) called for NASA to continue work on hypersonics and rotorcraft and expressed the view that transforming the aeronautics program was premature in light of a May 2005 report by the National Institute of Aerospace and a forthcoming study by the National Research Council (both discussed further below). The Senate committee 20 Under full-cost accounting, programs must pay for the cost of the facilities they use. Previously, facility costs were budgeted separately. The change therefore meant that the same program activity now appears to require a larger program budget. H.R. 3070 as passed by the House would direct NASA not to seek full cost recovery for its test facilities. 21 NASA Headquarters, Office of Public Affairs, Press Conference with Administrator Michael Griffin, April 18, 2005. Online at [http://www.nasa.gov/pdf/113096main_mg_ presscon_041805.pdf]. CRS-40 report on H.R. 2862 (S.Rept. 109-88) referred to the proposed changes in Vehicle Systems as “dismantlement” and directed NASA to “maintain the existing program structure ... along with its people and facilities.” The House Science Committee report on H.R. 3070 (H.Rept. 109-173) identified civil supersonic transport, rotorcraft, and hypersonics as initiatives that NASA “may establish.” S. 1281 as passed by the Senate identified supersonic transport, rotorcraft, and hypersonics as high-priority areas in which NASA “shall, at a minimum ... conduct programs.” In August 2005, Lisa J. Porter became Administrator Griffin’s senior adviser for aeronautics, and on October 24, 2005, she was named associate administrator for the Aeronautics Mission Directorate. Dr. Porter is seen as the driving force behind yet another “reshaping” of NASA’s plans for aeronautics, which the September operating plan describes as “consistent with direction received from our Committees.” The new plans will after all include “core competencies in subsonic, supersonic, and hypersonic flight” as well as rotorcraft. Among other changes, the Vehicle Systems program will be renamed Fundamental Aeronautics to reflect its new character. Although there was no formal amendment of the FY2006 budget request, the new plans appear to supersede the “transformation” initially proposed. According to press reports, the changes also herald a “complete redirection” in FY2007 that will include new programs in hypersonics and rotorcraft in coordination with the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA).22 The conference report on H.R. 2862 (H.Rept. 109-272) expressed support for the latest realignment, and the conference version of the 2005 NASA authorization act stated that NASA “may establish” initiatives in supersonic civil transport and rotorcraft and a program of hypersonics research. Impact on NASA Workforce and Facilities. An especially controversial consequence of the proposed funding reductions is a reduction in staffing levels at NASA centers. According to NASA FY2006 briefing charts, the reduction in aeronautics funding proposed in the FY2006 request would mean the elimination of 1,100 civil service jobs at the centers by FY2007. A smaller number of on-site contractor positions would also be eliminated. Most of the affected positions would be at Langley Research Center (in Hampton, VA) and Glenn Research Center (in Cleveland, OH), but Dryden Flight Research Center (in Edwards, CA) and Ames Research Center (in Mountain View, CA) would also be affected. Some aeronautics research facilities at these centers would likely be closed as well, but the affected facilities have not yet been identified. Aeronautics supporters and leaders in the affected communities have expressed alarm at the consequences of these changes, both for aeronautics itself and for the local economies surrounding the centers. Since taking over as NASA Administrator in April 2005, Dr. Griffin has sought to downplay the cuts at the centers. He and other NASA officials insist that the goal is to transform centers, not to close them, and to ensure that the NASA workforce has the mix of skills that is necessary to implement the Vision. On visits to Glenn and Langley in May 2005, Dr. Griffin stated that job losses there will not be as severe as was earlier projected. The final version of the 2005 NASA authorization act 22 Rich Tuttle, “NASA Seen Revamping Aeronautics Program; ‘Complete Redirection’ for FY ‘07”, Aerospace Daily and Defense Report, September 9, 2005. CRS-41 (P.L.109-1555) prohibits NASA from implementing reductions in force (RIFs) or other involuntary separations (except for cause) until March 16, 2007. Impact on U.S. Industry and Other Agencies. If research areas such as subsonic aeronautics and hypersonics were eliminated from NASA’s aeronautics program, would other federal agencies, or the U.S. private sector, conduct the research that is needed in these areas? A leading justification for federal aeronautics funding has been the economic importance of the U.S. aircraft industry. Supporters often cite increases in European funding for aeronautics R&D as a threat to U.S. competitiveness. The high-risk, high-payoff approach proposed in the FY2006 budget request would shift the program’s value to industry towards longer-term needs. Some believe that this is appropriate, and that industry should be responsible for its own short-term R&D, but others argue that aeronautics “requires unique national facilities and world-class researchers that are not resident in any one company” and that “the fruits of this research add to the nation’s wealth, not just to that of any individual company.”23 In the past NASA has also stated that it plays “a key role in ... increasing the performance of military aircraft.”24 The FY2006 budget documents do not mention this goal (although the September 30 update to the FY2005 operating plan does). The Air Force, the Navy, and DARPA have aeronautics R&D programs, particularly in the area of hypersonics. These Defense Department programs tend to focus on specific military missions, such as rapid longrange strike, so they may not address all aspects of the field. On the other hand, much of their work has a long enough time horizon that it can be applied quite generally. A concern that has not yet been resolved is how Defense Department and industrial users of NASA aeronautics facilities, such as high-speed wind tunnels, would be affected by possible facility closures. The 2005 NASA authorization act (P.L.109-155) calls for an independent review of NASA test facilities and would prohibit closures until completion of that review. A National Aeronautics Policy. Supporters and critics alike have long argued that NASA’s aeronautics program needs a clearer vision of its goals and direction. In February 2001, NASA sought to answer this criticism in The NASA Aeronautics Blueprint: Toward a Bold New Era in Aviation.25 November 2002 brought recommendations on aeronautics from the congressionally established Commission on the Future of the United States Aerospace Industry.26 In November 2003, the National Research Council published An Assessment of NASA’s Aeronautics Technology Programs.27 In May 2005, the National Institute of Aerospace released a congressionally requested five-year plan for U.S. aeronautics 23 National Institute of Aerospace, Responding to the Call: Aviation Plan for American Leadership. 24 FY2005 NASA budget request. 25 [http://www.aerospace.nasa.gov/aboutus/tf/aero_blueprint/cover.html]. 26 [http://www.ita.doc.gov/td/aerospace/aerospacecommission/aerospacecommission.htm]. 27 [http://books.nap.edu/html/atp/0309091195.pdf]. CRS-42 research, Responding to the Call: Aviation Plan for American Leadership.28 The National Research Council is undertaking another study, to be completed in late 2006, that will “assess and develop options for a national policy in aeronautics,” “develop a course of action to guide the federal government’s investment and role in aeronautics,” and “provide specific guidance on how to disseminate whatever federal resources may be allocated for aeronautics research.”29 Despite all these efforts, there is still no consensus view of NASA’s role in aeronautics. The final version of FY2006 appropriations bill (H.R. 2862, P.L. 109-108) directs the President, through the NASA Administrator and in consultation with other agencies, to develop “a national aeronautics policy ... through 2020,” including a description of research priorities through 2011, the process for setting priorities in subsequent years, needs for facilities and personnel through 2011, and budget assumptions. The policy is to be submitted to Congress within one year of enactment. Similar language was in the House-passed bill, and although the provision was not in the Senate-passed bill, the Senate committee report supported the concept. The 2005 NASA authorization act (P.L.109-155) contains language similar to the final version of the FY2006 appropriations act; they differ in the level of detail they give, but they are not inconsistent. FY2005 Budget. Aeronautics funding in FY2005 is $962 million. This total consists of $630 million for the Vehicle Systems program, $183 million for Aviation Safety and Security, and $149 million for Airspace Systems. The original FY2005 appropriation was $919 million, reduced to $906 million by a general rescission. NASA transferred $56 million into the program in its May 2005 operating plan, making the total $962 million, to support the cost of congressionally directed items that were not in the FY2005 budget request. FY2006 Budget Request and Congressional Action. The FY2006 request for aeronautics was $852 million, with a further reduction to $728 million projected for FY2007. The FY2006 total consisted of $459 million for Vehicle Systems, $193 million for Aviation Safety and Security, and $200 million for Airspace Systems. The July 15 budget amendment made no changes to the FY2006 request for aeronautics. The authorization bill that passed the House, H.R. 3070, authorized $962 million for FY2006 and $990 million for FY2007. The version passed by the Senate, S. 1281, did not specify a funding authorization for aeronautics. The final version of the bill does not authorize funds for FY2006. The House-passed version of the appropriations bill, H.R. 2862, provided $906 million, the same as the FY2005 appropriation before the changes made by the May 2005 operating plan. The Senate-passed version provided $859 million (in Section 307) as the result of a floor amendment. (The Senate-reported bill did not specify overall funding for aeronautics, though committee report language recommended $25 million for hypersonics.) The final version of the appropriations bill (P.L.109-108) provides $912.3 million, including $25 million for hypersonics, and directs NASA to provide a plan for how it intends to allocate aeronautics funding for FY2006. 28 [http://www.nianet.org/nianews/AviationPlan.php]. 29 [http://www7.nationalacademies.org/aseb/AeroDecadal_Main_Page.html]. CRS-43 NASA’s FY2006 Request By Budget Account NASA’s FY2006 budget has three accounts: Science, Aeronautics, and Exploration (SA&E); Exploration Capabilities; and Inspector General. This section follows the format of the NASA budget as shown in the agency’s FY2006 budget estimate. As noted, NASA has changed its budget structure repeatedly over the past several years. For FY2006, the names of the budget accounts remain the same as last year. However, the programs under the two major accounts (SA&E, and Exploration Capabilities) have changed to reflect a new NASA headquarters organization adopted in August 2004. In summary, the Office of Space Science and the Office of Earth Science merged, and are now the Science Mission Directorate (SMD). The Office of Biological and Physical Research and the Office of Exploration merged, and are now the Exploration Systems Mission Directorate (ESMD). The Office of Education was abolished. Its activities are now under a Chief Education Officer. The Office of Space Flight was renamed the Space Operations Mission Directorate (SOMD). The Office of Aeronautics was renamed the Aeronautics Research Mission Directorate (ARMD). The SA&E account funds the Science Mission Directorate (SMD), the Exploration Systems Mission Director (ESMD), the Aeronautics Research Mission Directorate (ARMD), and Education Programs. The Exploration Capabilities account funds the Space Operations Mission Directorate (SOMD), which includes the International Space Station (ISS), the space shuttle, and space flight operations. Science, Aeronautics, and Exploration (SA&E) In the FY2006 budget, the SA&E account includes the Science Mission Directorate, Exploration Systems Mission Directorate, Aeronautics Research Mission Directorate, and Education Programs. The Science Mission Directorate focuses on increasing human understanding of space and Earth, and makes use of satellites, space probes, and robotic spacecraft to gather and transmit data. The Exploration Systems Mission Directorate is focused on implementing the Vision for Space Exploration, including development of a new Crew Exploration Vehicle to take astronauts to and from the Moon, development of nuclear power and propulsion systems, and biological and physical research, including that to be conducted on the ISS. The Aeronautics Research Mission Directorate contributes to increasing air traffic capacity, reducing the impact of aircraft noise and emissions, and improving aviation safety and security. NASA’s education funding is for programs aimed at educating children in elementary and secondary school, as well as university students, in science, mathematics, engineering, and technology. For FY2006, NASA initially requested $9.661 billion for SA&E, compared with $9.336 billion appropriated for FY2005 (per the December 23, 2004 Initial Operating Plan). That request was increased to $9.829 billion in the July 15 budget amendment, reflecting the shift of $168 million from the Exploration Capabilities account into this account. The $168 million is for ISS Crew/Cargo Services that had been part of the International Space Station program. That activity now will be part of the Exploration Systems Mission Directorate. The following tables show how much was requested for various activities within the Mission Directorates. The CRS-44 FY2006 appropriations act does not provide this level of detail, so congressional action on the request cannot be summarized in these tables. However, the text discusses significant changes that were made to specific programs. Science. The Science Mission Directorate (SMD) is the merger of the former Office of Space Science (OSS) and Office of Earth Science (OES). Each of those offices was organized by “themes.” OSS had six themes (Solar System Exploration, Mars Exploration, Lunar Exploration, Astronomical Search for Origins, Structure and Evolution of the Universe, and Sun-Earth Connections), and OES had two (Earth System Science, and Earth Science Applications). All of those now have been merged into three themes under the new SMD: Solar System Exploration, the Universe, and Earth-Sun System. Solar System Exploration programs involve sending spacecraft to other planets, the Moon, and other solar system destinations (such as asteroids). They combine the previous themes of Solar System Exploration, Mars Exploration, and Lunar Exploration. Programs in the Universe theme include space-based astronomical observatories such as the Hubble Space Telescope, the Spitzer Space Telescope, the Chandra X-Ray Observatory, and plans for future observatories, as well as planning for studies of dark energy and dark matter, for example. They combine the previous themes of Astronomical Search for Origins, and Structure and Evolution of the Universe. The Earth-Sun System theme studies the Earth as a system (such as global climate change) and interactions between the Sun and the Earth (solar terrestrial physics). This theme combines activities previously under the two OES themes, and the Sun-Earth Connections theme that was part of OSS. Table 6. FY2006 Request for the Science Mission Directorate ($ in millions) Theme FY2005 estimate* FY2006 initial request FY2006 amended request Solar System Exploration 1,858.1 1,900.5 1,667.5 The Universe 1,513.2 1,512.2 1,522.2 Earth-Sun System 2,155.2 2,063.6 2,151.9 Total 5,527.2 5,476.3 5,341.6 Source: NASA FY2006 Budget Justification and July 15, 2005 budget amendment. * NASA’s budget justification uses the figures from its Initial Operating Plan, submitted to Congress on December 23, 2004. Updates to that operating plan have been submitted, but are in the format of the FY2005 budget, not FY2006, so cannot be used to update this table. Budget Amendment Changes. The July 15 FY2006 budget amendment made the following changes to the Science Mission Directorate (SMD). First are several changes to the Solar System Exploration theme. As announced in the May 10 operating plan update for FY2005, NASA decided to move the Lunar Robotic Exploration Program into the Exploration Systems Mission Directorate (ESMD) CRS-45 since its primary purpose is to support the Vision for Space Exploration. The FY2006 budget amendment therefore shifts the $135 million requested for the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter to ESMD, with a consequent reduction in the Solar System Exploration theme. Next, the budget amendment reduces funding for this theme by $98 million, shifting $88.3 million into the Earth-Sun System theme, and $10 million into the Universe theme. According to the budget amendment, the $98 million was “made available” by cancellation or deferral of several robotic Mars exploration programs, while funding also will be added to fund extended operation of the Mars rovers currently on the Martian surface, and to maintain a 2009 launch date for the Mars Science Laboratory [http://marsprogram.jpl.nasa.gov/missions/future/msl.html]. The budget amendment states that the Universe theme would be increased by $10 million, with $30 million provided to preserve the option of a Hubble servicing mission. Most of the funds for the Hubble option would come from funding for a future astronomical observatory called the Terrestrial Planet Finder [http://planetquest.jpl.nasa.gov/TPF/tpf_index.html]. The $88.3 million added for Earth-Sun System would be allocated to the Glory mission (see below), provide additional funding for extending the mission of currently operating satellites, and maintain the launch schedule for the Solar Dynamics Observatory [http://sdo.gsfc.nasa.gov/]. Concerns About NASA’s Earth Science Program. The merger of space science and earth science, and cuts to funding for earth science programs as NASA redirects money into implementing the Vision, have raised concerns in the earth science community and Congress. The House Science Committee held a hearing on NASA’s earth science program on April 28, 2005. Among the witnesses was Dr. Berrien Moore, the chairman of a National Research Council study that is reviewing NASA’s earth sciences program.30 Dr. Moore warned that the process of building an understanding of the earth system is “at risk of collapse”31 because of decisions to terminate certain NASA earth science missions. Science Committee Chairman Boehlert said in his opening statement that “The planet that has to matter most to us is the one we live on. You’d think that would go without saying. ... It’s great if earth science can contribute to exploration, and greater still if exploration of other planets could teach us more about Earth.”32 NASA’s FY2006 budget justification documents did not allow a comparison of funding for earth science programs between the FY2006 request and prior years because funding for earth science was merged with funding for programs that had been part of the Sun-Earth Connections theme, which was in the former Office of 30 National Academies. National Research Council. “Earth Science and Applications from Space: Urgent Needs and Opportunities to Serve the Nation,” April 2005. Prepublication Copy. Available at [http://www.nas.edu]. 31 Prepared statement of Dr. Berrien Moore before the House Science Committee, April 28, 2005, p. 2. Available at [http://www.house.gov/science]. 32 Opening statement of Chairman Sherwood Boehlert at House Science Committee hearing on NASA’s earth science program, April 28, 2005, p. 1. Available at [http://www.house.gov/science]. CRS-46 Space Science. NASA provides five-year funding projections — called the “budget run-out” — in its annual budget justifications that show the request for the current year plus projections for the next four years. In preparation for the hearing, the Science Committee insisted that NASA provide such a comparison for earth sciences. The funding data were published in the hearing charter (available on the committee’s website), and are reproduced in the following table. The data show the budget runout as it was projected in the FY2004 budget (for FY2004-FY2008), FY2005 budget (for FY2005-FY2009), and the current budget (FY2006-FY2010). The table shows that the earth sciences budget was $1.55 billion in FY2004, $1.49 billion for the current fiscal year (FY2005), and the request for FY2006 is $1.37 billion. Thus, the program experienced a significant cut in FY2005 — a $1 billion cut through the five-year run-out compared with what had been projected in F2004. The cut in the FY2006 request is slightly less. In summary, the cut from FY2004 to FY2005 is 8%; the cut from FY2004-FY2006 is 12%. Table 7. Changes to Earth Science Budget Run-Out ($ in billions) FY2004 FY2005 FY2006 FY2007 FY2008 FY2009 FY2010 2004 Request 2005 Request 2006 Request 1.55 1.53 1.6 1.7 1.73 1.49 1.39 1.37 1.34 1.47 1.37 1.35 1.33 1.47 1.44 Source: House Science Committee. Hearing Charter for April 28, 2005 Hearing on NASA Earth Sciences. Available on the committee’s website [http://www.house.gov/science]. Among the earth science programs of particular concern to the earth science community are the Global Precipitation Mission (GPM), Glory, and continuation of data acquired by Landsat satellites. GPM is a follow-on to an existing program (the Tropical Rainfall Mapping Mission) to measure global rainfall. The launch of GPM has been delayed from 2007 to 2010. Glory is intended to study aerosols in the atmosphere and how they affect global climate change. In the original FY2006 budget submission, NASA had decided to cancel development of the Glory spacecraft, but continue development of the sensor, with the hope that it someday would be able to fly on some other spacecraft. The July 15 FY2006 budget amendment, however, shifts funding into the Glory program to “fully fund a standalone ... mission.” The portion of the $88.3 million added to Sun-Earth System in the budget amendment that will be allocated to Glory was not specified. NASA launched its first Landsat satellite in 1972. Landsat 5 and Landsat 7 are currently in orbit though both are only partially operational.33 The earth science community wants to ensure “data continuity” — obtaining similar data over decades — for Landsat, but NASA’s plans for a follow-on to Landsat 7 have been in flux. NASA hoped that the private sector would build the next satellite and NASA could 33 The Landsat satellites are now operated by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) in the Department of the Interior. CRS-47 purchase data on a commercial basis. It received only one bid for that contract, however, and NASA considered it inadequate. NASA then planned to build Landsattype sensors (called Operational Land Imagers, or OLIs) and install them on a different satellite, called NPOESS.34 Earth scientists were concerned that the NPOESS satellite with the first OLI would not be launched before Landsat 5 and 7 ceased operating and data continuity would be lost. They wanted a “bridge” or “gap filler” mission to be launched carrying a Landsat-type sensor to ensure there is no break in data acquisition. The NASA authorization bill that passed the House (H.R. 3070) required the Administrator to seek an independent assessment of the costs and risks associated with placing the OLI on the first NPOESS, versus building a bridge mission and waiting for the second NPOESS to host an OLI. The version that passed the Senate (S. 1281) directed NASA, in consultation with NOAA and USGS, to submit a plan that ensured the “long-term vitality” of NASA’s earth observing system (EOS — a set of three spacecraft that are conducting long term global observations of the Earth’s surface and atmosphere to better under Earth as a system). The final version of the authorization act (P.L. 109-155) includes language similar to that passed by the House, except that the independent assessment is not required if NASA cancels plans to fly the OLIs on NPOESS. In that case, NASA must notify the cognizant congressional committees, and submit a plan for undertaking a dedicated gap filler mission or alternative means for ensuring the continuity of Landsat data, including consideration of a low-cost constellation of small satellites. Revelations about cost overruns and schedule slippage in the NPOESS program in late 2005 led the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) to reconsider Landsat planning. On December 23, 2005, OSTP issued a new policy. For the near-term, the plan to put OLI’s on NPOESS was terminated. Instead, OSTP directed NASA to acquire a new satellite to provide Landsat-type data, which will be operated by USGS. For the long-term, OSTP will lead an effort to develop a strategy for providing this type of data. Concerns About Potential Cuts in Space Science Programs. As articulated in 2004 by the President and then-NASA Administrator O’Keefe, the Vision incorporated a number of space science disciplines. NASA’s FY2005 request described programs to explore other planets and to build and operate space-based observatories such as the Hubble Space Telescope as Vision-related. As discussed earlier, many in the scientific community were concerned that funding for traditional science missions would be cut in order to fund the Vision. That concern was exacerbated by the fact that the FY2006 budget run-out for the Science Mission Directorate overall was $1 billion less than what had been projected in FY2005. 34 The National Polar-orbiting Operational Environmental Satellite System (NPOESS) is a joint effort of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the Department of Defense (DOD), and NASA. NOAA and DOD each operate their own weather satellite systems; NPOESS is the merger of those systems. NASA develops new technology for NPOESS. Significant cost growth and schedule delays are affecting the NPOESS program, and launch of the first satellite has slipped from 2010 to 2012. NPOESS issues were discussed at a November 16, 2005 hearing before the House Science Committee. Further discussion of NPOESS is outside the scope of this report. CRS-48 Dr. Griffin, however, has repeatedly stated that he will not take funds from science or aeronautics to pay for the Vision (see earlier discussion under Should NASA Be a “Single Mission” Agency Implementing the Vision for Space Exploration?). SMD programs are feeling budget strains, however. They are caused primarily by cost growth in programs within the SMD (such as the James Webb Space Telescope) and the need to pay for congressionally-directed activities, such as preserving the option to send a shuttle mission to service the Hubble Space Telescope. Generally speaking, cost growth in one SMD theme (e.g., the Universe) must be covered by cutting other activities within that theme. For example, in order to pay for preserving the Hubble servicing option, and to pay for cost growth in the Webb telescope, funding for future space telescopes was cut (e.g., the Terrestrial Planet Finder). Also, although Dr. Griffin has said that he would not take money from science to pay for the Vision, that does not means that money may not be redirected from science to other agency priorities. For example, in FY2005, $55 million was reallocated from space science programs to pay some of the costs associated with returning the space shuttle to flight status. Among the cuts considered by NASA is terminating some of its older space science probes even though they are still returning useful data. Considerable concern was expressed in the space science community at the prospect of turning off two older probes in particular, Voyager 1 and Voyager 2. Launched in 1977, Voyager 1 has just reached the outer edge of the solar system, and Voyager 2 is to do so in a few years. NASA expects to be able to continue to receive data from the probes through 2020, when their power sources are expected to become too weak to send signals back to Earth. NASA explains that there are a total of 13 probes in the Earth-Sun System theme that have far exceeded their design lifetimes and are being considered for termination in order to save the $49.6 million requested in the FY2006 budget to continue operating them. The portion of that total for the two Voyager probes is $4.2 million. Dr. Griffin said at a June 28, 2005 House Science Committee hearing that he thought turning off the Voyager spacecraft was “rather dumb,” but that he was awaiting a report from a group that is reviewing the future of all 13 spacecraft before announcing a final decision.35 The July 15 budget amendment states that some of the $88.3 million added to Earth-Sun System would be used for extended missions such as Voyager. The House-passed NASA authorization bill, H.R. 3070, required NASA to carry out annual termination reviews for extended missions, and that such reviews be made for certain extended missions (including Voyager) within 60 days of enactment, with a report to Congress required 30 days later. The Senate-passed version, S. 1281, directed NASA to assess the cost and benefits of extending the missions of the Voyager spacecraft, and another spacecraft called Ulysses that is studying the Sun. The final version (P.L. 109-155) was similar to the House-passed version, except that biennial, rather than annual, termination reviews are required. 35 Hearing transcript from Federal Document Clearing House, via Factiva. CRS-49 Congressional Action. In terms of funding, conferees on the appropriations bill that includes NASA (H.R. 2862, P.L.109-108) took the following actions on programs in the Science Mission Directorate: Specified increases are — ! ! ! ! ! ! $50 million for a servicing mission to the Hubble Space Telescope, bringing the total for the Hubble program in FY2006 to $271 million $30 million for the Glory earth science mission $20 million for alternative small spacecraft technology $15 million for Earth Science Applications to fund earth science competitive grants $10 million for the Space Interferometry Mission, for a total of $119 million for FY2006 $5 million for the Living with a Star solar-terrestrial physics program, for a total of $239 million, of which $10 million shall be allocated to the Applied Physics Laboratory for program management of programs specified in the conference report Specified decreases are — ! ! $25 million from the Discovery program $15 million from optical communications The conference report also made a $90 million general reduction, plus a $26 million reduction from corporate G&A, from the Science, Aeronautics, and Exploration account. How much of that will be taken from the Science Mission Directorate was not specified. The conferees also specifically noted that they were providing $680 million for the Mars program, and $371.9 million for the James Webb Space Telescope, the same as the request. Exploration Systems. This budget category funds the part of NASA primarily responsible for implementing the “Moon/Mars” portion of the Vision. The Constellation Systems line item funds development of the CEV and the CLV (discussed earlier). Exploration Systems Research and Technology funds a variety of technology development efforts, including funding for Centennial Challenges, a program through which NASA offers prizes for developing specific technologies. Project Prometheus, which is developing nuclear power and propulsion, is discussed in an earlier section of this report. Human Systems Research and Technology comprises the programs that remain from the previous Office of Biological and Physical Research. It is the budgetary location of funds for research to be performed by NASA aboard the International Space Station, though it also funds ground-based research. CRS-50 Table 8. FY2006 Request for Exploration Systems ($ in millions) Theme FY2005 est.* FY2006 initial request FY2006 amended request Constellation Systems 526.0 1,120.1 1,412.1 Exploration Systems Research & Technology 722.8 919.2 797.2 Project Prometheus 431.7 319.6 179.6 1,003.9 806.5 776.5 ISS Crew/Cargo Services** NA NA 168.4 Lunar Robotic Exploration Program** NA NA 135.0 2,684.5 3,165.4 3,468.8 Human Systems Research & Technology Total Source: NASA FY2006 Budget Justification and July 15, 2005 budget amendment. * NASA’s budget justification uses the figures from its Initial Operating Plan, submitted to Congress on Dec. 23, 2004. Updates to that operating plan have been submitted, but are in the format of the FY2005 budget, not FY2006, so cannot be used to update this table. ** The July 15 budget amendment moves funding for these two programs into the Exploration Systems Mission Directorate (as discussed earlier in this report), but does not specify if they are now included in one of the four themes identified in the original FY2006 request, or if new themes are created for them. They are shown here as separate line items due to lack of other information to the contrary. NA means Not Applicable. Congressional action on funding for the Vision is discussed earlier in this report. Aeronautics Research. NASA’s aeronautics research program and its FY2006 budget request are discussed earlier in this report. Education Programs. Prior to FY2004, NASA’s education activities appeared under the budget heading “Academic Programs.” NASA reorganized its education activities in 2003, consolidating programs that had been in its Office of Human Resources & Education, and the Office of Equal Opportunity Programs, into a new Office of Education. That office was abolished in the August 2004 reorganization, however. Now, a “Chief Education Officer” oversees these activities. According to NASA’s current organizational structure, the Chief Education Officer reports to the Chief of Strategic Communications. In addition to the funding identified in the budget under Education Programs, other NASA programs in the various Mission Directorates also fund educational activities. These are not separately identified in NASA’s budget justification documents, and therefore are not addressed in this section. NASA’s education programs include a broad array of activities designed to improve science education at all levels — kindergarten through 12th grade (K-12) and CRS-51 higher education. They include programs that directly support student involvement in NASA research, train educators and faculty, develop new educational technologies, provide NASA resources and materials in support of educational curriculum development, and involve higher education resources and personnel in NASA research efforts. The National Space Grant and Fellowship Program, which funds research, education, and public service projects through university-based Space Grant consortia, is administered through this office. The Space Grant program [http://calspace.ucsd.edu/spacegrant/] was established by Congress in NASA’s FY1988 authorization bill (P.L. 100-147). It funds Space Grant Consortia in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico, to broaden the base of universities and individuals contributing to and benefitting from aerospace science and technology. Programs devoted to minority education (the Minority University Research and Education Program — MUREP) focus on expanding participation of historically minority-dominant universities in NASA research efforts. These programs develop opportunities for participation by researchers and students from those institutions in NASA activities. The objective is to expand NASA’s research base through continued investment in minority institutions’ research and academic infrastructure to contribute to the science, technology, engineering, and mathematics pipeline. This office also administers NASA’s participation in the Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research (EPSCoR). According to its website [http://calspace.ucsd.edu/epscor/], NASA’s EPSCoR program targets states of modest research infrastructure with funds to develop a more competitive research base within their member academic institutions. NASA is one of several federal agencies that participate in the EPSCoR program. Among the others are the National Science Foundation,36 the National Institutes of Health, the Department of Defense, and the Department of Energy. For FY2006, NASA requested $166.9 million for education programs, compared to a FY2005 appropriation of $216.7 million (per the Initial Operating Plan). The difference between the request and the FY2005 appropriation is primarily due to congressionally directed funding for which NASA did not request funds in FY2006. The specific amounts for EPSCoR and the Space Grant program are not provided in NASA’s budget justification document. The Senate Appropriations Committee specified that within the funds for education, $12 million be for EPSCoR, $29.55 million for the Space Grant program, and $54.233 million for other education-related activities. In the final version of the bill, conferees added $12.2 million for Space Grant, for a total of $30.2 million; and added $8.2 million for EPSCoR, for a total of $12.5 million. They specified that the Space Grant funds are to fund 40 grantees at $611,250 each, and 12 grantees at $425,000 each. 36 NSF’s EPSCoR program is described in CRS Report RL30930, U.S. National Science Foundation: Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research (EPSCoR), by Christine Matthews. CRS-52 Exploration Capabilities Last year, this budget account included most of the funding related to implementing the Vision, labeled “Exploration Technologies.” For FY2006, those activities were moved into the SA&E account under the “Exploration Systems” line. What remains in this budget account is funding for the Space Operations Mission Directorate and its three themes: International Space Station, Space Shuttle, and Space and Flight Support. The ISS and space shuttle programs are discussed earlier in this report. Space and Flight Support is a budget category that includes funding for space communications, rocket propulsion systems testing, launch services (i.e., acquisition of commercial launch services for NASA payloads that are not launched on NASA’s shuttle), and crew health and safety. Table 9. FY2006 Request for Space Operations ($ in millions) Theme FY2005 estimate* FY2006 initial request FY2006 amended request International Space Station** 1,676.3 1,856.7 1,688.3 Space Shuttle† 4,543.0 4,530.6 4,530.6 485.1 375.6 375.6 6,704.4 6,763.0 6,594.5 Space and Flight Support Total Source: NASA FY2006 Budget Justification and July 15, 2005 budget amendment. * NASA’s budget justification uses the figures from its Initial Operating Plan, submitted to Congress on Dec. 23, 2004. Updates to that operating plan have been submitted, but are in the format of the FY2005 budget, not FY2006, so cannot be used to update this table. ** Does not include funding for space station research activities, which are included in the Exploration Systems Mission Directorate. At the time of its budget submission, a NASA briefing chart indicated that $382 million in FY2005, and $324 million in FY2006 was for space station research, although those numbers are expected to decrease as the result of later funding decisions. † The FY2005 estimate in the Initial Operating Plan did not fully fund the $762 million shortfall that NASA identified in November 2004. Additional money subsequently was moved into the FY2005 shuttle account. The original request for the ISS program included $160 million for ISS Crew/Cargo Services according to NASA briefing charts. This subaccount was created in the FY2005 budget to cover costs associated with obtaining alternative means to the space shuttle for servicing the ISS (for either crew or cargo). Dr. Griffin announced in the May 10, 2005 operating plan that he was shifting responsibility for this program from the Space Operations Mission Directorate to the Exploration Systems Mission Directorate. The July 15 budget amendment similarly shifted the FY2006 requested funding into ESMD, and reduced the ISS request (the budget amendment stated that the FY2006 requested level was $168.4 million, not $160 million). CRS-53 In the Senate-passed version of the appropriations bill (H.R. 2862), the Senate disapproved all $160 million. The Senate Appropriations Committee explained in its report (H.Rept. 109-272) that NASA had not spent the $98 million provided for FY2005 and since it would be carried over into FY2006, should be sufficient for any activity initiated in FY2006. The final version of the bill (P.L. 109-108) cut $80 million from the ISS program, including $60 million from the ISS Crew/Cargo Services line. The conferees also cut $10 million from space communications, which is part of the Space and Flight Support line. A general reduction of $10 million from this account also was made. Inspector General In NASA’s FY2006 budget documentation, the Office of Inspector General describes its responsibilities as preventing and detecting crime, fraud, waste, abuse and mismanagement, while promoting economy, effectiveness, and efficiency within NASA. The FY2006 request was $32.4 million, an increase of $1.1 million over FY2005. The final version of the appropriations bill (H.R. 2862, P.L. 109-108) approves the requested level. Out-Year Budget Projections NASA’s FY2006 budget estimate contains the out-year budget projections shown in Table 10. Such projections are always subject to change, but can be indicative of the direction in which the Bush Administration wants NASA to head. Compared to the projections in the FY2005 budget (see last row), the projected increases in NASA’s budget for implementing the Vision for Space Exploration are less in FY2006-2007, and slightly more in FY2008 and FY2009, but still less than the projected rate of inflation (approximately 2%). Also, NASA lists the $126 million in FY2005 emergency funds associated with the 2004 hurricanes in Florida separately from the $16.070 billion provided in the FY2005 Consolidated Appropriations Act. If those figures are added, the increase from FY2005 to FY2006 actually is 1.6%, not 2.4% as shown in this table. CRS-54 Table 10. FY2006-FY2010 NASA Funding Projection ($ in millions) Budget account FY2005 FY2006 FY2007 FY2008 FY2009 FY2010 Science, Aeronautics, and Exploration 9,334.7 9,661.0 10,549.8 11,214.6 12,209.6 12,796.1 — Science 5,527.2 5,476.3 5,960.3 6,503.4 6,853.0 6,797.6 — Exploration Systems 2,684.5 3,165.4 3,707.0 3,825.9 4,473.7 5,125.5 — Aeronautics Research 906.2 852.3 727.6 730.6 727.5 717.6 — Education Programs 216.7 166.9 154.9 154.7 155.4 155.4 Exploration Capabilities 6,704.4 6,763.0 6,378.6 6,056.7 5,367.1 5,193.8 — Space Operations 6,704.4 6,763.0 6,378.6 6,056.7 5,367.1 5,193.8 International Space Station 1,676.3 1,856.7 1,835.3 1,790.9 2,152.3 2,375.5 Space Shuttle 4,543.0 4,530.6 4,172.4 3,865.7 2,815.1 2,419.2 485.1 375.6 370.9 400.0 399.7 399.1 31.3 32.4 33.5 34.6 35.2 37.3 Space and Flight Support Inspector General Total 16,070.4 16,456.3 16,962.0 17,305.9 17,611.9 18,027.1 Year to year increase (%) Projected in FY2006 budget Emergency Hurricane Supplemental† Grand total Year to Year Increase (%) Projected in FY2005 Budget 2.4* 3.1 2.0 1.8 2.4 126.0 16,196.4 16,456.3 16,962.0 17,305.9 17,611.0 18,027.1 5.6 4.7 4.8 1.0 0.2 ** Source: NASA FY2006 Budget Justification, p. 1, except that CRS added the last two rows. The Grand total was calculated by CRS; the Year to Year Increase Projected in the FY2005 Budget is from NASA’s FY2005 Budget Justification, p. 1. As noted in NASA’s FY2006 Budget Justification, the FY2005 figures in this table are from NASA’s Initial Operating Plan, submitted to Congress on December 23, 2004, and are not final. * As noted in the text of this report, the actual increase from FY2005 to FY2006 is only 1.6% when the $126 million in emergency hurricane relief funds are added to the $16.070 billion provided in the FY2005 Consolidated Appropriations Act. ** The projected budgets are for five years only, so the FY2005 budget did not include a figure for FY2010. † FY2005 supplemental for the 2004 hurricanes that hit Florida. The final version of the 2005 NASA authorization act (P.L. 109-155) did not authorize funds for FY2006, but did for FY2007 and FY2008. Those figures are shown in Table 11. As discussed earlier, the act specifies a new budget structure for NASA that separates funding for exploration from funding for science, aeronautics and education. CRS-55 Table 11: FY2007-2008 Funding Authorized in P.L. 109-155 (In $ millions) Account Science, Aeronautics, and Education Exploration Systems and Space Operations Inspector General Total FY2007 FY2008 7,137.* 7,748.* 10,762.** 10,904.** 34. 35. 17,932. 18,686. Source: P.L. 109-155. Totals may not add due to rounding. * The act specifies that of the $7,137 million in FY2007, $962 million shall be for aeronautics; and of the $7,748 million in FY2008, $990 million shall be for aeronautics. ** The act specifies that of the $10,762 million in FY2007, $6,619 million shall be for Space Operations; and of the $10,904 million in FY2008, $6,547 million shall be for Space Operations. CRS-56 Appendix A: Related CRS Reports General CRS Issue Brief IB92011, U.S. Space Programs: Civilian, Military, and Commercial, by Marcia S. Smith. CRS Issue Brief IB93017, Space Stations, by Marcia S. Smith. CRS Issue Brief IB93062, Space Launch Vehicles: Government Requirements, Commercial Competition, and Satellite Exports, by Marcia S. Smith. The Vision for Space Exploration CRS Report RS21720, Space Exploration: Issues Concerning the “Vision for Space Exploration”, by Marcia S. Smith. CRS Report RS21866, Space Exploration: Report of the Aldridge Commission on Implementation of President Bush’s Exploration Initiative, by Marcia S. Smith. The Columbia Accident and the Space Shuttle Program CRS Report RS21408, NASA’s Space Shuttle Program: Issues for Congress Related to the Columbia Tragedy and “Return to Flight”, by Marcia S. Smith. CRS Report RS21606, NASA’s Space Shuttle Columbia: Synopsis of the Report of the Columbia Accident Investigation Board, by Marcia S. Smith. The International Space Station and the Iran Nonproliferation Act CRS Report RS22072, The Iran Nonproliferation Act and the International Space Station: Issues and Options, by Sharon Squassoni and Marcia S. Smith. CRS Report RS22270, The International Space Station and the Iran Nonproliferation Act (INA): The Bush Administration’s Proposed INA Amendment, by Marcia S. Smith and Sharon Squassoni. Hubble Space Telescope CRS Report RS21767, Hubble Space Telescope: Should NASA Proceed with a Shuttle Servicing Mission?, by Daniel Morgan. CRS-57 Appendix B: Highlights of NASA’s Activities: 1958-2004 Time period Human Space Flight Robotic Spacecraft for Space and Earth Science and Applications Aeronautics 1958-1959 • Adoption of goal to launch people into space: - initiation of Project Mercury and selection of first group of astronauts — the “Mercury 7” • Launch of first U.S. satellites, including: - Beginning of Explorer series** (which continues today), including Explorer 1, which led to discovery of Van Allen belts of radiation - Beginning of Pioneer series of probes to study Moon, though most of those launched in this era failed • First flight of rocketpowered X-15 aircraft. The X-15 program produced data on aerodynamic heating, high-temperature materials, reaction controls, and space suits. 1960-1969 • Adoption of 1961 goal announced by President Kennedy to land a man on the Moon and return him safely to Earth by the end of the decade. • Launches of experimental communications satellites: Echo, and Applications Technology Satellite (ATS) series. (Most civilian communications satellites were and are built and launched by the private sector; NASA’s role was R&D). • Launches of experimental weather satellites: TIROS and Nimbus series. (Weather satellite program transferred to what is now NOAA† late in the decade once technology was demonstrated.) • Continued launches of Explorer satellites. • Continued launches of Pioneer series to Moon, including four successes (Pioneer 6-9). • Launches of three other series of probes to fly-by, • Three X-15 aircraft complete a total of 199 flights, setting records for altitude (67 miles) and speed (Mach 6.7). • Early development of the wingless “lifting body” concept, which later contributed to the design of the space shuttle. • Six flights (1961-1963) in Project Mercury: two suborbital, four orbital. The Mercury spacecraft accommodated one astronaut. - Alan Shepard first U.S. astronaut in space (suborbital), 1961 - John Glenn first U.S. astronaut in orbit, 1962 • Ten flights (1965-1966), in Gemini Program, all orbital. The Gemini spacecraft accommodated two astronauts. CRS-58 Time period Human Space Flight - demonstrated extravehicular activity (EVA, or spacewalks) - demonstrated rendezvous and docking in space - extended duration of human space flight missions to 14 days • First flights in Apollo Program. The Apollo spacecraft accommodated three astronauts. The Apollo Program also involved NASA’s development of the Saturn launch vehicle. - 1967 Apollo fire killed three astronauts in prelaunch test - two Apollo missions to earth orbit (Apollo 7 and 9) - two Apollo missions to lunar orbit (Apollo 8 and 10) - two Apollo missions land on Moon (Apollo 11 and Apollo 12) 1970-1979 • Apollo program continues: - Apollo 13 accident in 1970; crew safely returns to Earth after Service Module explodes enroute to the Moon - four more lunar landings (Apollo 14, 15, 16, 17) - three Apollo missions (Apollo 18-20) canceled due to budget constraints Robotic Spacecraft for Space and Earth Science and Applications Aeronautics orbit, or land on the Moon: - nine Rangers (three successful) - seven Surveyors (five successful) - five Lunar Orbiters (all successful) • Launches of seven Mariner probes to Venus or Mars (five successful). • Launches of two spacecraft in Orbiting Astronomical Observatory (OAO) series (one successful). • Launches of six spacecraft in Orbiting Geophysical Observatory (OGO) series (three successful). • Launches of six spacecraft in Orbiting Solar Observatory (OSO) series (five successful). • Continuation of Mariner series: - Mariner 9, first U.S. probe to orbit Mars (a companion probe, Mariner 8, lost in launch failure) - Mariner 10, first probe to visit both Venus and Mercury. • Continuation of Pioneer series: — Pioneer 10 and 11, first probes to Jupiter and Saturn. • First flight test of an electronic fly-by-wire control system, replacing hydraulicmechanical controls to improve safety, maneuverability, and efficiency. • First demonstration of a full CRS-59 Time period Human Space Flight • President Nixon approves development of reusable space transportation system — the Space Shuttle — in 1972. • Skylab space station launched in 1973; three 3person crews occupy Skylab from 1973-1974 (launched to the space station using Apollo spacecraft). Skylab made an uncontrolled reentry through Earth’s atmosphere in 1979, spreading debris on Australia and the Indian Ocean. • U.S.-Soviet Apollo-Soyuz Test Project in 1975, with docking of U.S. Apollo and Soviet Soyuz spacecraft for two days of joint experiments. Last Apollo mission; no more Americans in space until 1981. 1980-1989 • First decade of Space Shuttle flights; missions included launch of government and commercial satellites, retrieval of malfunctioning satellites, and several flights of “Spacelab” (a shirt-sleeve Robotic Spacecraft for Space and Earth Science and Applications Aeronautics — Pioneer Venus 1 and 2 to Venus • Launches of Viking 1 and 2, first U.S. probes to land on Mars, each with a companion orbiter in Martian orbit. • Launches of Voyager 1 (to Jupiter and Saturn) and Voyager 2 (to Jupiter, Saturn, Neptune, and Uranus); today they continue to send data back from their current positions as they head out of the solar system — Voyager 1 is 14 billion kilometers, and Voyager 2 is 11 billion kilometers, from the Sun. • Continued launches of Explorer satellites. • Two more launches in OSO series (both successful). • Two more launches in OAO series (one successful). • Three launches in High Energy Astronomy Observatory (HEAO) series (all successful). • Launches of Landsat 1, 2, and 3 — series of earth orbiting remote sensing satellites (all successful). • Launches of other earth science satellites, including Heat Capacity Mapping Mission (HCMM); and Seasat, which carried a radar for ocean sensing (but failed after 100 days). “glass cockpit” using electronic instead of electromechanical displays, gauges, and instruments • First flight test of winglets (small wings at the end of each main wing) to reduce aerodynamic drag, improving fuel efficiency and range. • Launch of Earth-orbiting Solar Maximum Mission to study the Sun. • Continued launches of Explorer satellites. • Launch of Magellan probe to Venus. • Joint NASA-FAA Airborne Wind Shear program initiated in response to multiple fatal accidents. CRS-60 Time period Human Space Flight Robotic Spacecraft for Space and Earth Science and Applications laboratory, built by Europe, that fits inside the shuttle’s cargo bay): - first shuttle flight in April 1981 - total of 24 successful shuttle launches until January 1986 Space Shuttle Challenger tragedy - shuttle returns to flight in September 1988 - six more successful flights through end of 1989 • Launch of Galileo probe to Jupiter. • Launches of Landsat 4 and 5 earth remote sensing satellites (both successful). • Launch of other earth science satellites, including Earth Radiation Budget Satellite (ERBS — two more instruments in this series were later launched on NOAA weather satellites). Wind-shear accidents have since been virtually eliminated for large commercial transports. • National Transonic Facility cryogenic wind tunnel becomes operational. Vehicles subsequently tested include the Boeing 777, space shuttle, and F-18. • National AeroSpace Plane (NASP) program initiated. Developed technologies such as composite airframe materials, but program cancelled in 1994. • Launch of Advanced Communications Technology Satellite (ACTS). • Launch of Polar and Wind spacecraft as part of international program to study solar-terrestrial physics. • Launch of three of four “Great Observatories”: Hubble Space Telescope, Compton Gamma Ray Observatory, and Chandra X-Ray Observatory. • Launch of Cassini spacecraft to Saturn. • First flight test of flight control using only engine thrust (without elevators, rudders, or ailerons) permitting continued operation if main control system fails. • First of 385 research flights on modified F-18 to • President Reagan, in 1984, directs NASA to build a permanently occupied space station “within a decade” and to invite other countries to join. Europe, Canada, and Japan do so. Many redesigns and program restructurings because of cost growth; no space station launches during this time period. 1990-1999 • Continued flights of the Space Shuttle: - 64 successful missions during the decade, including nine to visit Russia’s Mir space station. Others dedicated to various scientific missions (including use of Spacelab), launching NASA or DOD satellites, and servicing Hubble Space Telescope. • Space station further redesigned and reconfigured: - Russia joins international space station partnership Aeronautics CRS-61 Time period Human Space Flight in 1993 - first two space station segments launched in 1998; then hiatus (until 2000) while awaiting the next Russian segment to be completed Robotic Spacecraft for Space and Earth Science and Applications • Continued launches of Explorer satellites. • Initiation of “Discovery” series of spacecraft, including launches of Near Earth Asteroid Rendezvous (NEAR) mission, Lunar Prospector, and Stardust (to return sample of comet to Earth). • Launch of Deep Space 1 test of ion engines for deep space missions. • Continued launches of Mars probes, including two successful missions in 1996 (Mars Pathfinder, which was part of the Discovery series, and Mars Global Observer), and three failures (Mars Observer in 1993, and Mars Polar Lander and Mars Climate Orbiter in 1999). • Continued launches of earth science satellites, including Upper Atmospheric Research Satellite (UARS), Total Ozone Mapping Spectrometer-Earth Probe (TOMS-EP), TOPEX/Poseidon and QuikSCAT for ocean sensing, and the first of three Earth Observing System (EOS) platforms — Terra. • Launch of Landsat 7†† Aeronautics demonstrate stabilized flight at high angles of attack, improving safety for fighter aircraft during extreme maneuvers. • SR-71 flights investigate how to reduce the intensity of sonic booms. CRS-62 Time period 2000-2004 Human Space Flight • Continued flights of the Space Shuttle: - 16 successful launches, many associated with construction of the space station, until Space Shuttle Columbia tragedy in February 2003 - Shuttle fleet grounded for 2 ½ years until first Return to Flight mission in July 2005 (STS-114). • Continued space station construction and operation: - “permanent occupancy” begins in November 2000. Two or three astronauts have been aboard the facility since that time on rotating shifts, in addition to visiting crews on U.S. space shuttle or Russian Soyuz spacecraft Robotic Spacecraft for Space and Earth Science and Applications • Launch of fourth Great Observatory (Spitzer Space Telescope). • Continued launches of Mars probes (including Mars Odyssey orbiter, and Spirit and Opportunity rovers). • Continued launches of Discovery-class missions, including Genesis to return samples of solar wind to Earth, and Messenger to orbit Mercury. • Continued launches of Explorers. • Continued launches of earth science satellites, including EO-1, ICESAT, ocean sensing satellite JASON-1 (a follow on to TOPEX/Poseidon), and final two EOS platforms — Aqua and Aura. • Launch of Gravity-Probe B to test Einstein’s general theory of relativity. Aeronautics • Unpiloted solar-electric research vehicle Helios sets altitude record for propellerdriven aircraft (97,000 feet), with possible applications in ground imaging and atmospheric monitoring or as an alternative to satellites for telecommunications. • X-43A demonstrates airbreathing scramjet engines for hypersonic flight, with sustained speed of Mach 9.6. • President Bush announces “Vision for Space Exploration” in January 2004, directing NASA to return humans to the Moon by 2020 and someday send them to Mars and “worlds beyond.” Source: Prepared by CRS. * This table shows illustrative examples of NASA space missions, and is not meant to be comprehensive. ** NASA’s Explorer website [http://nssdc.gsfc.nasa.gov/multi/explorer.html] reports that as of March 2000, 78 Explorer satellites had been launched, 74 successfully. Several more have been launched since. These satellites cover a wide range of disciplines, including atmospheric physics, solarterrestrial physics, and astronomy. The Explorer program was begun by the U.S. Army prior to the creation of NASA. The Army Ballistic Missile CRS-63 Agency (ABMA) developed the launch vehicle used for the early Explorer launches, and the Army’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory built the satellites. ABMA, JPL, and the Explorer program were transferred to NASA upon its creation; but the first five Explorer satellites (three of which were successful), strictly speaking were DOD, not NASA, satellites. † NOAA is the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, part of the Department of Commerce. †† After NASA’s launch of Landsat 1-5 in the 1970s and 1980s, an attempt was made to privatize the Landsat system. One satellite, Landsat 6, was launched under that privatization program, which was overseen by NOAA, not NASA. That launch failed, and the program was brought back under NASA sponsorship, and NASA launched Landsat 7. Therefore, Landsat 7 is included in this table, while Landsat 6 is not. Landsat 5 and 7 are still operational, and are operated by the U.S. Geological Survey