Bill summaries are authored by CRS.

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Conference report filed in House (09/12/2000)

National Aeronautics and Space Administration Authorization Act of 2000 - Title I: Authorization of Appropriations - Subtitle A: Authorizations - Authorizes appropriations for FY 2000 through 2002 for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) for: (1) human space flight; (2) science, aeronautics, and technology; (3) mission support; and (4) the Inspector General.

(Sec. 105) Limits the total authorization of appropriations for NASA for each of FY 2001 and 2002.

Subtitle B: Limitations and Special Authority - Sets forth limitations on, and special authorities (with prior notice to specified congressional committees) for, the use of funds with respect to the construction of new facilities and the repair, rehabilitation, or modification of existing facilities.

(Sec. 124) Specifies limitations on the amount of funds that may be used for scientific consultations or extraordinary expenses.

(Sec. 125) Earmarks a specified amount of the appropriations authorized for Earth Science for FY 2001 and 2002 for the Commercial Remote Sensing Program for commercial data purchases, unless NASA has integrated data purchases into the procurement process for Earth science research.

(Sec. 126) Directs the Administrator to solicit comment on the potential impact of the participation of a foreign entity as a supplier of the spacecraft, spacecraft system, or launch system for a space mission and to consider U.S. national interests before entering into an obligation for such mission.

Requires the Administrator to certify to Congress, at least 15 days in advance of any cooperative agreement with the People's Republic of China, or any company incorporated under Chinese laws, involving spacecraft, spacecraft systems, launch systems, or scientific or technical information, that such agreement is not detrimental to the U.S. space launch industry and will not improve China's missile or space launch capabilities.

Directs the NASA Inspector General to conduct an annual audit of NASA policies and procedures for the export of technologies and the transfer of scientific and technical information to assess the extent to which NASA is carrying out its activities in compliance with Federal export control laws and such certification.

(Sec. 127) Prohibits the obligation of any funds authorized by this Act for the definition, design, procurement, or development of an inflatable space structure to replace any International Space Station components scheduled for launch in the Assembly Sequence adopted by NASA in June 1999. Provides that nothing shall preclude NASA from leasing or otherwise using a commercially provided inflatable habitation module if such module would: (1) cost the same or less than the remaining cost of completing and attaching the baseline habitation module; (2) impose no delays to the Assembly Sequence; and (3) result in no increased safety risk. Directs NASA to report to Congress on substituting any inflatable habitation module or other inflatable structures for one of the elements included in such Assembly Sequence.

(Sec. 128) Prohibits any funds authorized by this Act from being used to create a Government-owned corporation to perform the functions that are the subject of the Consolidated Space Operations Contract.

Title II: International Space Station - Directs the Administrator to report bimonthly, until October 1, 2006, on whether or not the Russians have performed work expected of them and necessary to complete the International Space Station.

Directs the President to notify Congress of the decision on whether or not to proceed with permanent replacement of the Russian Service Module, other Russian elements in the critical path of the Space Station, or Russian launch services.

Requires the United States to seek assurances from the Russian Government that it places a higher priority on fulfilling its commitments to the Space Station than it places on extending the life of the Mir Space Station. Declares that the Administrator, if any international partner in the Space Station Program willfully violates any commitments or agreements for the provision of Space Station-related hardware or related goods or services, should seek a commensurate reduction in such partner's utilization rights until such commitments or agreements have been fulfilled. Directs the Administrator to seek to reduce NASA's share of Space Station common operating costs.

(Sec. 202) Limits (excluding funding and costs of the Station and space shuttle launch with respect to operations, research, or crew return activities subsequent to substantial completion of the Space Station, missions on which at least 75 percent of the shuttle payload by mass is devoted to research, and space shuttle safety and reliability) the total amount that may be appropriated for: (1) costs of the Space Station; and (2) space shuttle launch costs in connection with Space Station assembly. Provides for increases attributable to: (1) the lack of performance or the termination of participation of any of the participating countries; (2) loss or failure of a U.S.-provided element during launch or on-orbit; (3) on-orbit assembly problems; (4) new technologies or training to improve safety; and (5) the need to launch a space shuttle to ensure safety of the crew or maintain Station integrity.

Requires the Administrator to provide written notices of such increases to specified congressional committees. Requires the Administrator, as part of the annual Shuttle program and Station budget request, to identify the costs for assembly and development of the Space Station and for shuttle research missions to which cost limitations do not apply.

(Sec. 203) Directs the Administrator to contract with the National Research Council and the National Academy of Public Administration to conduct a study of the status of life and microgravity research as it relates to the Space Station.

(Sec. 204) Amends the Departments of Veterans Affairs and Housing and Urban Development, and Independent Agencies Appropriations Act, 2000 to require the Space Station commercial development demonstration program to apply to commercial use agreements entered into prior to Space Station completion or the end of FY 2002 (currently, FY 2004), whichever is earlier.

(Sec. 205) Directs the Administrator to enter into an agreement with a non-Government organization to conduct Space Station research utilization and commercialization management activities subsequent to substantial completion.

Title III: Miscellaneous- Requires the Chief Financial Officer for NASA, before any funds may be obligated for Phase B of a project that is projected to cost over $150 million, to conduct an independent life-cycle cost analysis of such project and report the results to Congress.

(Sec. 302) Amends the National Aeronautics and Space Act of 1958 to require: (1) the President to submit to the Congress the annual aeronautics and space report in May (currently, January); and (2) such report to address activities on a fiscal (currently, calendar) year basis.

(Sec. 303) Expresses the sense of Congress that NASA shall: (1) purchase commercially available space goods and services to the fullest extent feasible; and (2) not conduct activities with commercial applications that preclude or deter commercial space activities, except for national security or public safety reasons.

(Sec. 305) Bars NASA from entering into any agreement or contract with a foreign government that grants such government the right to recover profit in the event that the agreement or contract is terminated.

(Sec. 307) Directs the Administrator to arrange for an independent study to reassess priorities of all Space Shuttle upgrades under consideration but for which substantial development costs have not been incurred and that: (1) are safety related; (2) may have functional or technological applicability to reusable launch vehicles; and (3) have a payback period within the next 12 years.

(Sec. 308) Directs the Administrator to develop a plan for the integration of research, development, and experimental demonstration activities in the aeronautics transportation technology and space transportation technology areas.

(Sec. 309) Expresses the sense of Congress that the Administrator should ensure consistent NASA usage of specified definitions of: (1) commercialization; (2) commercial purchase; (3) commercial use of Federal assets; (4) contract consolidation; and (5) privatization.

(Sec. 310) Directs the Administrator to: (1) arrange for an independent study to identify and evaluate the potential benefits and costs of the broadest possible range of commercial and scientific applications which are enabled by the launch of Space Shuttle external tanks into Earth orbit and retention in space; and (2) conduct an internal agency study of what improvements to the current Space Shuttle external tank and other in-space transportation or infrastructure capability developments would be required for the safe and economical use of such external tank for any or all of the applications identified.

(Sec. 311) Requires the Administrator to provide notice to specified congressional committees on reprogramming and reorganization matters.

(Sec. 312) Amends the Unitary Wind Tunnel Plan Act of 1949 to include hypersonic wind tunnel construction within the scope of covered research and development facilities.

(Sec. 313) Directs the Administrator to establish a Human Space Flight Innovative Technologies program of ground-based and space- based research and development in innovative technologies.

(Sec. 314) Directs the Administrator to arrange with the National Academy of Sciences for a review of international efforts, and enhancements that can be made to NASA's efforts, to determine the extent of life in the universe.

(Sec. 315) Requires the Administrator to develop a carbon cycle remote sensing applications research program to provide a comprehensive view of vegetation conditions, assess and model agricultural sequestration, and encourage the development of commercial products. Directs the Administrator to use regional earth science application centers to carry out the program. Authorizes appropriations.

(Sec. 316) Directs the Administrator to: (1) determine data products that are of use to farmers which can be remotely sensed from air or space; (2) consider useful commercial data products related to agriculture as identified by the focused research program between Stennis Space Center and the Department of Agriculture; (3) examine other data sources which can provide domestic and international agricultural information; and (4) develop a plan to inform farmers and other prospective users about the use and availability of remote sensing products that may assist with such agricultural and forestry applications identified.

(Sec. 317) Directs the Administrator to: (1) develop and provide for the distribution of age-appropriate educational materials on the history of flight, the practical benefits of aeronautics and space flight to society, the scientific and mathematical principles used in flight, and any other related topics considered appropriate for use in the 2001-2002 academic year and thereafter at the kindergarten, elementary, and secondary levels in recognition of the 100th anniversary of the first powered flight; (2) integrate into such educational materials plans for the development of the Mars plane; and (3) report to Congress on such activities.

(Sec. 318) Directs the Administrator to make available through NASA's Internet home page the summaries of the results and importance of all research grants or awards of $50,000 or more made with funds authorized by this Act.

(Sec. 319) Expresses the sense of Congress that entities receiving any financial assistance provided under this Act should, in expending such assistance, purchase only American-made equipment and products. Requires the Administrator to provide each recipient of such assistance a notice describing such statement.

(Sec. 320) Directs the Administrator to place anti-drug messages on Internet sites controlled by NASA.

(Sec. 321) Expresses the sense of Congress that the Administrator should donate educationally useful Federal equipment to schools to enhance science and mathematics programs. Requires the Administrator to report annually on such donations to Congress.

(Sec. 322) Amends Federal law to prohibit the launch of a payload containing material for obtrusive space advertising. Requests the President to negotiate with foreign launching nations for the purpose of reaching agreements prohibiting the use of outer space for obtrusive space advertising, and expresses the sense of Congress that the President should take action to enforce the terms of any such agreement.

(Sec. 323) Directs the Administrator to: (1) provide to specified congressional committees the results of an engineering study of the modifications necessary for the more effective use of the WB 57 flight research plan; and (2) submit to such committees a plan for aircraft icing research.

(Sec. 324) Amends the National Aeronautics and Space Act of 1958 to require provisions regarding liability insurance and indemnification for developers of experimental aerospace vehicles to terminate on December 31, 2002, with an authorized extension to a date no later than September 30, 2005, if in the U.S. interest.

(Sec. 325) Requires the Administrator to consider abandoned or underutilized facilities in depressed communities, closed military installations, and excess or underutilized Government facilities for meeting NASA's requirements.