FY 2014 Senate Appropriations: NASA

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Publication date: 
24 July 2013
Number: 
125

The House and Senate Appropriations Committees have approved their versions of the FY 2014 Commerce, Justice, and Science Appropriations Bills.  These bills provide funding to the National Science Foundation, NASA, and the National Institute of Standards and Technology.

The amount of money available to the committees differed, with the House committee operating with a significantly lower figure.  The House Appropriations Committee has not released a final version of its report accompanying its bill.

This FYI will excerpt selections from the Senate committee report accompanying its bill regarding the National Aeronautics and Space Administration found on pages 104-119.  Committee report language does not have the force of law, but agencies usually adhere to it closely.  Conflicts in funding and policy between the House and Senate versions will be resolved in a conference committee.

Total NASA:

The FY 2013 budget (not including the mandatory 5 percent reduction) is $17,506.7 million
The FY 2014 request is $17,715.4 million, an increase of $208.7 million or 1.2 percent
The Senate subcommittee recommendation is $18,010.3 million, an increase of $503.6 million or 2.9 percent

In an introductory section, the Senate report states:

“The Committee's recommendation seeks to implement a balanced space program that adequately funds science, space exploration, and aeronautics, all made possible by reliable and safe space transportation. For Science, the Committee's recommendation strives to keep NASA's near-term launches on track to continue progress in exploring our solar system and the universe, understanding the sun, and observing and protecting our planet. The Committee is concerned that the budget request does not invest adequately in future missions, as evident by proposed cuts and cancellations for top priority science missions. The Committee expects NASA to maintain making progress on the recommendations of National Academies' decadal surveys, now and in the future.”

 

Science:

The FY 2013 budget (not including the mandatory 5 percent reduction) is $5,037.4 million
The FY 2014 request is $5,017.8 million, a decrease of $19.6 million or 0.4 percent
The Senate subcommittee recommendation is $5,154.2 million, an increase of $116.8 million or 2.3 percent

A funding table with the committee’s recommendations for various programs in earth science, planetary science, astrophysics, James Webb Space Telescope, and Heliophysics can be found on page 106 of the Senate report.  There is also explanatory report language for various programs on pages 106 – 110.  Excerpts of this language for two programs that have attracted considerable congressional attention follow:

Mars Exploration -- The budget request proposes to cut and restructure the program of robotic rovers and in-space observatories expected to culminate in a Mars sample return, which was identified as the top priority for planetary science by the National Research Council's Decadal Survey. The Committee provides $334,000,000, which is $100,000,000 above the request level, for Mars Exploration. This amount supports any re-planned Mars program that can take advantage of upcoming opportunities to launch robotic science platforms to Mars as early as 2016. NASA is expected to use these funds to retain core U.S. competencies in areas such as entry, descent, and landing.”

James Webb Space Telescope -- The Committee maintains strong support for the completion of the James Webb Space Telescope [JWST], and provides $658,200,000, the same as the budget request. In 2011, the Committee asked for an independent assessment of JWST. That assessment, led by Dr. John Casani, found that while JWST is technically sound, NASA had never requested adequate resources to fund its development.

“In response to the Casani report, NASA submitted a new baseline for JWST with an overall life-cycle cost in 2012 of $8,700,000,000. NASA and its contractors continue to assure the Committee that this new baseline includes adequate reserves to achieve a 2018 launch without further cost overruns. The Committee intends to hold NASA and its contractors to that commitment, and the bill maintains an overall development cost ceiling for JWST at $8,000,000,000. The Committee expects to be kept fully informed on issues relating to program and risk management, achievement of cost and schedule goals, and program technical status. The Committee appreciates GAO's continuing work to monitor JWST progress, costs, and schedule.”

 

Aeronautics:

The FY 2013 budget (not including the mandatory 5 percent reduction) is $558.2 million
The FY 2014 request is $565.7 million, an increase of $7.5 million or 1.3 percent
The Senate subcommittee recommendation is $558.7 million, an increase of $0.5 million or essentially level funding

The report states:

“Within the funds provided, the Committee supports the budget request level of $25,000,000 for the Advanced Composites Initiative within the Integrated Systems Research division.”

 

Space Technology:

The FY 2013 budget (not including the mandatory 5 percent reduction) is $628.7 million
The FY 2014 request is $742.6 million, an increase of $113.9 million or 18.1 percent
The Senate subcommittee recommendation is $670.1 million, an increase of $41.4 million or 6.6 percent

 

Exploration:

The FY 2013 budget (not including the mandatory 5 percent reduction) is $3,806.4 million
The FY 2014 request is $3,915.5 million, an increase of $109.1 million or 2.9 percent
The Senate subcommittee recommendation is $4,209.3 million, an increase of $402.9 million or 10.6 percent

There is extensive report language in the Senate report on the International Space Station (ISS), the Space Launch System, Orion Multi-Purpose Crew Vehicle, Commercial Crew, and Advanced Exploration Systems on pages 111-115.  The introduction of this section states:

“The Committee believes the Nation deserves a safe, robust human spaceflight program. This program aims to regularly and reliably provide access to the ISS and enable exploration beyond low-Earth orbit. Capabilities to reach the ISS with U.S. vehicles and explore beyond low-Earth orbit must work hand in hand. The United States must continue building a heavy lift rocket to complement emerging domestic capabilities for a sustainable human spaceflight program that can accomplish both of these goals.

“Furthermore, the United States must engage its international partners to have a truly robust and successful program. With the funds provided here, the United States will be able to contribute heavy lift launch technology, including the capability to launch humans beyond low-Earth orbit, to that effort.”

 

Space Operations:

The FY 2013 budget (not including the mandatory 5 percent reduction) is $3,871.1 million
The FY 2014 request is $3,882.9 million, an increase of $11.8 million or 0.3 percent
The Senate subcommittee recommendation is $3,882.9 million, an increase of $11.9 million or 0.3 percent

 

Education:

The FY 2013 budget (not including the mandatory 5 percent reduction) is $122.4 million
The FY 2014 request is $94.2 million, a decrease of $28.2 million or 2.3 percent
The Senate subcommittee recommendation is $116.6 million, a decrease of $5.8 million or 4.7 percent

In addition to language on Workforce Development and Space Grant, the report stated:

“A full description of the Committee's assessment and direction regarding the administration's Co-STEM consolidation proposal is found in the Office of Science Technology and Policy portion of this report. For NASA's part, the Committee does not support the elimination of formal and informal education activities from NASA at this time that were planned to migrate to the Department of Education and the Smithsonian Institution, and directs NASA to work with OSTP on the Committee's directions provided to that office for these programs.

“However, the Committee does encourage efforts to streamline STEM education programs across NASA line offices and supports the internal consolidation of NASA education programs. Prior to the administration's proposed STEM education consolidation, NASA intended to combine multiple Education programs into the STEM Education and Accountability Project, which include: the Undergraduate Student Research Project; the Learning Environment and Research Network; Education Flight Projects; NASA Education Technology Services; Aerospace Education Services Project; the Graduate Student Researchers Program; Innovation in Higher Education; the Learning Technologies Project; NASA Explorer Schools; and the Summer of Innovation.

“The Committee believes that there is value in consolidating these programs within NASA and encourages NASA to move forward with their consolidation. NASA should maintain education and outreach within science missions. As part of this consolidation, NASA shall provide the Committee with a report, within 60 days of enactment, that will describe the goals and activities of the STEM Education and Accountability Project and how the needs of the consolidated activities will be addressed within the consolidated program.”

 

Cross Agency Support:

  • The FY 2013 budget (not including the mandatory 5 percent reduction) is $2,764.5 million
  • The FY 2014 request is $2,850.3 million, an increase of $85.8 million or 3.1 percent
  • The Senate subcommittee recommendation is $2,793.6 million, an increase of $29.1 million or 1.1 percent
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