Summary: S.916 — 101st Congress (1989-1990)All Information (Except Text)

Bill summaries are authored by CRS.

Shown Here:
Passed House amended (09/28/1990)

National Aeronautics and Space Administration Multiyear Authorization Act of 1990 - Title I: National Aeronautics and Space Administration Authorizations - Authorizes appropriations to the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) for: (1) research and development; (2) space flight, control, and data communications; (3) construction of facilities; (4) research and program management; and (5) the Inspector General.

Permits appropriations for the first two numbered categories to be used for certain items of a capital nature (other than land acquisition) required for the performance of research and development contracts, and for grants to nonprofit educational and research organizations to augment their research facilities. Prohibits the use of these funds for the construction of any major facility whose estimated cost exceeds a specified amount, unless the Administrator of NASA notifies specified congressional committees.

Authorizes use of funds from one or more of the numbered categories, subject to limitations, for scientific consultations or extraordinary expenses, for facilities construction, repair, or modification, and for unforeseen programmatic facility project needs.

Permits reprogramming of funds for facilities construction, subject to conditions outlined in this Act.

Authorizes certain fund transfers and makes available specified funds for the construction and modification of laboratories and other installations. Requires the Administrator to notify specified congressional committees of the nature, cost, and need for such construction before expending the funds in question.

Prohibits, until 30 days following congressional receipt of the Administrator's full explanation, the use of funds appropriated pursuant to this Act for any program: (1) deleted by the Congress from original requests; (2) in excess of the amount actually authorized for the particular program; or (3) not presented to either of specified congressional committees. Requires NASA to keep those committees fully and currently informed regarding all activities within their jurisdiction.

Amends the National Aeronautics and Space Act of 1958 to add to the functions of the Administration those of: (1) seeking and encouraging the fullest commercial use of space; and (2) encouraging and providing for Federal Government use of commercially provided space services and hardware.

Authorizes appropriations to carry out the activities of the National Space Council, making a limited amount available for official reception and representation expenses. Requires the Council to reimburse other agencies for at least half of the personnel compensation costs of individuals detailed to it.

Directs the Administrator to award to a domestic firm a contract that, under the use of competitive procedures, would be awarded to a foreign firm, if certain conditions exist.

Directs the Administrator to submit to specified congressional committees certain reports relating to the Advanced Solid Rocket Motor.

Declares it to be U.S. policy to use the space shuttle: (1) for purposes that require the presence of man or the unique capabilities of the shuttle; or (2) when other compelling circumstances exist, including those related to national security or foreign policy. States that the policy does not preclude carrying secondary payloads that do not require the presence of man if consistent with the requirements of research, development, demonstration, scientific, commercial, and educational programs authorized by the Administrator. Requires the Administrator to submit to the Congress a plan for implementing the policy.

Directs the Administrator to: (1) review proposed manned space flight missions with regard to identifying the human factors knowledge base necessary and developing a schedule of when specified components of information will need to be acquired or developed; (2) develop a strategic plan for life sciences research and technology development, including a crew certification plan and a life sciences implementation plan; and (3) verify the physiological and technical feasibility of the life sciences implementation plan.

Directs the National Space Council to conduct a study and report to the Congress on International Cooperation in Planetary Exploration with regard to: (1) developing an inventory of technologies and intentions of all national space agencies; (2) seeking ways to enhance the planning and exchange of information; (3) preparing a proposal for efficient use of resources; (4) developing priority goals for needs that could not be achieved by any individual country; (5) exploring the possibilities of international unmanned probes and international manned missions; and (6) devising strategies for cooperation that would prevent unwanted transfer of technology.

Establishes within the Department of Commerce an Office of Space Commerce to coordinate space-related issues, programs, and initiatives within the Department. Authorizes appropriations.

Directs the Secretary of Defense and the Administrator of NASA to jointly establish a National Aero-Space Plane program to develop a primarily air breathing single-stage-to-orbit and long-range hypersonic cruise research flight vehicle. Prescribes the respective responsibilities of the Secretary and the Administrator. Directs the Secretary and the Administrator to develop and submit to the Congress a management plan that includes goals, tasks, schedules, and resource procurement strategies. Requires the Secretary to be responsible for at least two-thirds, and the Administrator to be responsible for not more than one-third, of the costs of the program.

Amends the Commercial Space Launch Act to authorize appropriations to carry out the Act. Requires the Secretary of Transportation to encourage States, as well as the private sector, to acquire, by lease, sale, or other transaction, U.S. launch property not needed exclusively for public use. Makes the Secretary responsible for facilitating private sector involvement in commercial space transportation activity, and for promoting public-private partnerships. Allows the amount to be paid for the acquisition to be adjusted by the value of any improvement or benefit to the United States as a result of the acquisition.

Directs the Administrator to contract with the National Academy of Public Administration for a review of the organizational and institutional preparedness of NASA to undertake major new initiatives in science and human exploration. Requires the contract to include a report: (1) estimating the human resources required to carry out this title; (2) describing the structure of NASA; (3) describing the role and relationship of other Federal agencies, Federal laboratories, and the private sector in carrying out the Nation's space program; and (4) recommending administrative changes.

Declares that it is U.S. policy to: (1) conduct space activities in a manner that does not increase orbital space debris; and (2) engage other spacefaring nations to develop an agreement to ensure that such debris is not increased.

Authorizes the Administrator to spend excess funds appropriated for orbiter production to maintain the space shuttle orbiter production line and related production lines of orbiter subcontractors.

Requires, in any agreement entered into by NASA for an Industrial Application Center, that the center be allowed to retain all client income without any deductions from appropriated funds received or to be received by that center.

Requires the Administrator to contract with the National Academy of Public Administration for a cost and benefit analysis of the Shuttle-C program.

Requires any automotive stirling engine demonstration program sponsored by NASA to utilize natural gas and, if not natural gas, then methanol or ethanol.

Requires the National Space Council to establish a Users' Advisory Group to ensure that non-Federal entities involved in space activities are adequately represented in the Council. Exempts the Group from the Federal Advisory Committee Act.

Authorizes the Administrator to purchase specified land in De Baca County, New Mexico, for use as a balloon launching facility.

Title II: Launch Services Purchase - Launch Services Purchase Act of 1990 - Requires NASA to purchase launch services for its primary payloads from commercial providers. Allows exceptions on a case-by-case basis if the Administrator determines that: (1) the payload requires the unique capabilities of the space shuttle; (2) cost effective commercial services to meet mission requirements are not reasonably available; or (3) the use of commercial services poses an unacceptable risk or loss of a unique scientific opportunity. Requires the determination to be made at Preliminary Design Review and prohibits it from being delegated. Allows launch vehicles to be acquired or owned by NASA, except for historical displays, only as required by such exceptions or for conducting research, development, and testing of launch technology.

Requires contracts to provide launch services to NASA to be awarded on the basis of full, fair, and open competition. Requires NASA to limit its requirements for submission of cost or pricing data in support of a bid or proposal. Requires performance specifications, not detailed Government design or construction specifications, to be used.

Prohibits acceptance of commercial payloads for launch as primary payloads on the space shuttle unless: (1) the payload requires unique shuttle capabilities; or (2) launching on the shuttle is important for national security or foreign policy purposes.