Text: H.R.1962 — 111th Congress (2009-2010)All Information (Except Text)

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Introduced in House (04/02/2009)

[Congressional Bills 111th Congress]
[From the U.S. Government Printing Office]
[H.R. 1962 Introduced in House (IH)]

  1st Session
                                H. R. 1962

To authorize the Space Shuttle to be flown from 2010 through 2015, and 
  to authorize appropriations for the National Aeronautics and Space 
                    Administration for this purpose.



                             April 2, 2009

   Mr. Posey (for himself and Ms. Wasserman Schultz) introduced the 
  following bill; which was referred to the Committee on Science and 


                                 A BILL

To authorize the Space Shuttle to be flown from 2010 through 2015, and 
  to authorize appropriations for the National Aeronautics and Space 
                    Administration for this purpose.

    Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the 
United States of America in Congress assembled,


    This Act may be cited as the ``American Space Access Act''.


    Congress finds the following:
            (1) The United States has been the preeminent leader in 
        human spaceflight for nearly 50 years. Under NASA's leadership, 
        this Nation has engaged many countries, including former 
        adversaries, in a series of peaceful space missions that have 
        contributed to mutual trust and understanding that continue to 
        this day.
            (2) The planning and development of the International Space 
        Station (ISS) is the culmination of many of these 
        collaborations, bringing together through NASA's leadership a 
        number of foreign partners to invest and participate in its 
        construction and operation. It is the most technologically 
        challenging and complex project ever undertaken. The United 
        States has been the largest contributor, having invested tens 
        of billions of dollars developing, building, and transporting 
        components of the International Space Station to orbit.
            (3) One of the guiding principles articulated in National 
        Security Presidential Directive 49, United States National 
        Space Policy, states, ``The United States considers space 
        capabilities--including the ground and space segments and 
        supporting links--vital to its national interests. Consistent 
        with this policy, the United States will preserve its rights, 
        capabilities, and freedom of action in space; dissuade or deter 
        others from either impeding those rights or developing 
        capabilities intended to do so; take those actions necessary to 
        protect its space capabilities; respond to interference; and 
        deny, if necessary, adversaries the use of space capabilities 
        hostile to U.S. national interests''.
            (4) The International Space Station is nearing completion, 
        with remaining ISS construction missions scheduled to be 
        concluded in 2010. The Station's crew size will increase to 6, 
        enabling the full utilization of its laboratories and research 
        facilities in a microgravity environment for the decade to 
        come. Routine and assured access to the Station is critical if 
        we are to capitalize on our investment.
            (5) In January 2004, the President directed NASA to honor 
        our international commitments to complete the assembly of the 
        International Space Station and retire the Space Shuttle by 
        2010. The directive also called for the development of a new 
        system to enable astronauts to travel beyond low Earth orbit. 
        This system, the Constellation System, consisting of the Orion 
        crew exploration vehicle and Ares launch vehicle, would also be 
        capable of traveling to the International Space Station but 
        would not be available until 4 years after the projected 
        retirement of the Space Shuttle. This plan was ratified by 
        Congress in the National Aeronautics and Space Administration 
        Authorization Act of 2005 (Public Law 109-155).
            (6) Other nations are now investing heavily to develop 
        manned spaceflight and robotic capabilities. During the planned 
        gap following retirement of the Space Shuttle, these nations 
        are expected to enhance their space capabilities, jeopardizing 
        our Nation's preeminence and our ability to influence other 
        space-faring nations, contrary to the national policy (National 
        Security Presidential Directive 49). United States influence in 
        world affairs and our ability to shape future peaceful uses in 
        space will be imperiled.
            (7) Congress believes it is imperative that NASA reduce our 
        Nation's dependence on foreign launch providers to access the 
        International Space Station. The planned gap has expanded to 5 
        years, and if development problems are encountered, the gap 
        will continue to widen. A 5-year or more gap is too long to 
        rely on other nations to access the International Space 
        Station, the bulk of which we have provided.
            (8) Unless Space Shuttle operations are extended beyond 
        2010, the United States will be heavily reliant on Russia to 
        supply crew and possibly cargo transport services to the 
        International Space Station during the gap period of 2010 
        through 2015. There is no other proven and reliable means of 
        transporting our astronauts into space during this period.
            (9) The United States should not increase its reliance on 
        Russia to transport American astronauts into space, given the 
        increasingly divergent views and posturing from Russia. Russia 
        opposes the United States plan to base an antimissile radar 
        system in the Czech Republic and interceptor missiles in Poland 
        to counter the threat posed by the Iranian nuclear weapons and 
        missile programs. Russia also suspended its participation in 
        the Conventional Forces in Europe (CFE) treaty, one of the most 
        significant arms control agreements of the Cold War years. 
        Additionally, Russia continues to arm some of America's 
        adversaries. Despite United States objections, Russia provided 
        billions of dollars worth of weapons to the regime of Hugo 
        Chavez in Venezuela in 2006. Such meddling is a possible 
        violation of the Monroe Doctrine and a throwback to the Cold 
        War era. Even more troublesome is the Russian history of 
        weapons trading with Iran. Russia has supplied advanced 
        conventional arms technology, missile technology, and nuclear 
        technologies to this very anti-American regime.
            (10) In the late 1990s, Russia fell short in fulfilling its 
        commitment to the International Space Station.
            (11) NASA was forced to transfer hundreds of millions of 
        dollars to enable the Russians to complete the critical Space 
        Station service module Zvezda, without which the International 
        Space Station could not operate.
            (12) Russia delayed completion of the Zvezda service module 
        for several years. Under the International Space Station 
        agreement, the Russian government had committed to fund as well 
        as build the Zvezda service module. Subsequent transfers from 
        the United States, in order to complete the module, reflect 
        serious Russian mismanagement in the field of space.
            (13) In 2000, while Russia was failing to meet its 
        commitment to the International Space Station, Russia was 
        diverting financial and human resources away from fulfilling 
        its International Space Station commitments in order to keep 
        the Russian's Mir Space Station aloft.
            (14) Russia's past shortcomings in fulfilling commitments 
        to its international space partners should serve as a warning 
        to the United States as we consider increased reliance on 
        Russian space services in the future. It is not prudent for the 
        United States to depend on Russia for access to space given our 
        past experience with this relationship.
            (15) The United States has already invested tens of 
        billions of dollars in the International Space Station program 
        since its inception.
            (16) There is much research of great value being conducted 
        in space, and on the International Space Station, that may 
        yield tremendous gains. Research conducted on the International 
        Space Station may help scientists back on Earth develop 
        medicines to treat diseases and help us better understand the 
        Earth's climate. Many scientists believe that the microgravity 
        environment of space will enable the development of new drugs, 
        vaccines, and other therapies. Equipment on the International 
        Space Station will monitor stratospheric gases, and investigate 
        ozone chemistry.
            (17) To ensure that the United States realizes the 
        dividends from the considerable investment we have made in the 
        International Space Station, we need to ensure continued access 
        to space for our astronauts. However, NASA's plan for transport 
        of crew to and from the International Space Station fails to 
        provide necessary redundancies to provide assured access to 
            (18) NASA anticipates that the Russian Soyuz spacecraft 
        will be the only vehicle for astronaut crew rotation to the 
        International Space Station after 2010. From 2011 until the 
        planned operation of Orion in 2015, NASA likely has no other 
        option for transporting American astronauts to space other than 
        on Russian vehicles.
            (19) Due to NASA's lack of a backup plan for reliance on 
        the Russians for transport of American astronauts to space, the 
        United States needs a better approach. The best approach is the 
        Space Shuttle, a proven, domestic source of space transport for 
        assured access to space, including the International Space 
        Station, for crew and cargo transport.
            (20) With 2 Shuttle missions per year during the human 
        spaceflight program flight gap between Shuttle and Orion, 
        currently scheduled from 2010 through 2015, we can replace our 
        need to rely on the Russians for crew rotation for the 
        International Space Station.
            (21) Savings from replacing Russian transport services to 
        the International Space Station with the Space Shuttle would 
        pay for a portion of the costs for flying 2 Space Shuttle 
        missions per year.
            (22) Only by closing the gap between 2010 and 2015, or 
        until the Orion is operational, will our Nation be able to keep 
        our Nation's highly skilled and critically important 
        spaceworkers and engineers gainfully employed, and mitigate the 
        loss of critical skills.
            (23) By extending Space Shuttle operations, NASA may 
        realize considerable savings by no longer having to pay 
        retention bonuses to critical space workers. But retention 
        bonuses would not be the only added costs associated with the 
        end of Space Shuttle operations when critical skilled workers 
        leave NASA or its contractors. Recruitment incentives for new 
        workers and contract cost increases could also be incurred by 
        NASA since the majority of the Kennedy Space Center's workforce 
        are contractors.
            (24) The success of the Constellation program will depend 
        on having the most skilled and experienced workforce possible. 
        The workforce gap, as currently envisioned by NASA, will 
        jeopardize this. NASA has acknowledged that thousands of 
        critical space workers will lose their jobs in the transition 
        from the Space Shuttle to the Constellation program. Continued 
        operation of the Space Shuttle, but on a reduced flight 
        requirement, while also integrating these workers into the 
        Orion program, is the best way to retain many of these critical 
        workers and skill sets.
            (25) An August 2007 study by the Government Accountability 
        Office, ``NASA Progress Made on Strategic Human Capital 
        Management, but Future Program Challenges Remain,'' stated that 
        ``the agency as a whole faces challenges in recruiting and 
        retaining highly experienced senior-level engineers in certain 
        specialties. NASA's principal workforce challenge will be faced 
        in the transition to the next generation of human space flight 


    (a) Use of Space Shuttle for Access to Space.--NASA shall fly not 
less than 2 Space Shuttle missions per year for crew transport, instead 
of purchasing Russian crew and cargo services, for the period beginning 
in 2010 and ending--
            (1) in 2015;
            (2) when Orion is operational; or
            (3) when NASA has certified the safe operation of an 
        available United States commercial capability,
whichever occurs first. There are authorized to be appropriated to NASA 
such sums as may be necessary, in addition to amounts otherwise 
authorized, to carry out this subsection.
    (b) Insufficient Funding.--Except as provided under subsection (c), 
the requirements of this Act shall have effect only to the extent that 
sufficient funding is appropriated, as authorized under subsection (a). 
Sufficient funding is defined as funds required to fully or partially 
comply with the requirements of this Act.
    (c) Report to Congress.--NASA shall report to Congress not later 
than 90 days after the date of enactment of this Act on the specific 
costs and actions needed to extend the operation of the Space Shuttle 
in accordance with this Act.
    (d) Operational Efficiencies.--As soon as possible, but no later 
than March 31, 2011, NASA shall investigate areas of reduced operations 
and enhanced cost savings and implement those that do not impinge the 
safe operation of the Space Shuttle program, including the following:
            (1) The possible retirement of one Space Shuttle orbiter, 
        leaving 2 to remain operational, in a manner that ensures the 
        safe operation of the Space Shuttle program.
            (2) Significantly reducing changes to the design of the 
        Space Shuttle orbiters, in a manner that ensures the safe 
        operation of the Space Shuttle program. This shall include 
        changes to the Space Shuttle software systems.
            (3) Significantly reducing Space Shuttle orbiter 
        configuration operations and payload configuration operations, 
        in a manner that ensures the safe operation of the Space 
        Shuttle program.
            (4) Maximizing the use of shared personnel between the 
        continued operation of the Space Shuttle and Constellation and 
        other NASA programs.
    (e) Facilities.--If conflicts arise in NASA's efforts to allocate 
facilities, personnel, and other resources in order to fly the Space 
Shuttle as well as continue the development of Constellation, then NASA 
shall identify in a report to Congress in advance such conflicts, along 
with recommendations as to how they can be mitigated.


    (a) Report to Congress.--Not later than 3 months after the date of 
enactment of this Act, NASA shall report to Congress on the amount of 
funding needed to expedite the schedule of the Orion Crew Exploration 
Vehicle and the Ares I Crew Vehicle and associated ground support 
systems. Such report shall--
            (1) contain a description and timeline for an expedited 
        schedule to bring Orion and Ares I on line sooner; and
            (2) outline the additional funding needed to achieve this 
        expedited schedule.
    (b) Authorization of Approprations.--There are authorized to be 
appropriated to NASA such sums as may be necessary to achieve the goals 
of this section. Such funding shall be in addition to any funding 
needed to continue operations of the Shuttle beyond 2010.