S. Rept. 111-278 - 111th Congress (2009-2010)
August 05, 2010, As Reported by the Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee

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[Senate Report 111-278]
[From the U.S. Government Printing Office]

111th Congress                                                   Report
 2d Session                                                     111-278


                                                       Calendar No. 548



                              R E P O R T

                                 OF THE



                                S. 3729



                 August 5, 2010.--Ordered to be printed

                     one hundred eleventh congress
                             second session

            JOHN D. ROCKEFELLER IV, West Virginia, Chairman
JOHN F. KERRY, Massachusetts         OLYMPIA J. SNOWE, Maine
BYRON L. DORGAN, North Dakota        JOHN ENSIGN, Nevada
BARBARA BOXER, California            JIM DeMINT, South Carolina
BILL NELSON, Florida                 JOHN THUNE, South Dakota
MARIA CANTWELL, Washington           ROGER F. WICKER, Mississippi
MARK PRYOR, Arkansas                 JOHNNY ISAKSON, Georgia
CLAIRE McCASKILL, Missouri           DAVID VITTER, Louisiana
AMY KLOBUCHAR, Minnesota             SAM BROWNBACK, Kansas
TOM UDALL, New Mexico                MIKE JOHANNS, Nebraska
                     Ellen Doneski, Staff Director
                   James Reid, Deputy Staff Director
                     Bruce Andrews, General Counsel
                 Ann Begeman, Republican Staff Director
              Brian Hendricks, Republican General Counsel
                Todd Bertoson, Republican Senior Counsel

111th Congress                                                   Report
 2d Session                                                     111-278




                 August 5, 2010.--Ordered to be printed


     Mr. Rockefeller, from the Committee on Commerce, Science, and 
                Transportation, submitted the following


                         [To accompany S. 3729]

    The Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation 
reports favorably an original bill to authorize the programs of 
the National Aeronautics and Space Administration for fiscal 
years 2011 through 2013, and for other purposes, and recommends 
that the bill do pass.

                          Purpose of the Bill

  The purpose of the National Aeronautics and Space 
Administration Authorization Act of 2010 is to authorize the 
agency's programs for fiscal years 2011 through 2013. The 
legislation would establish a balanced programmatic portfolio 
across the agency while providing specific direction on a 
number of issues related to human space flight and space 

                          Background and Needs

  The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) was 
established in 1958 and is responsible for the nation's civil 
space program. NASA provides U.S. leadership in science and 
engineering by undertaking missions to challenge the brightest 
minds and stimulate the highest degree of precision and 
technical excellence in the commercial and industrial sectors. 
Among the agency's flagship programs, human space exploration 
began with Project Mercury in 1959 and extends through today's 
Space Shuttle and International Space Station (ISS) programs. 
NASA also provides opportunities for groundbreaking research 
and applications in aeronautics, communications, 
transportation, Earth science, and other scientific and 
technical disciplines.
  With an average annual investment of less than one percent of 
the total Federal budget, NASA's discoveries and 
accomplishments are numerous and many address national needs. 
For example, NASA's Earth observations yielded breaking news as 
the GRACE (Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment) satellite 
uncovered startling depletions of groundwater reserves under 
California and northwest India. NASA airborne radar 
capabilities were rapidly mobilized to analyze deformation of 
the fault lines after the devastating January 2010 earthquake 
in Haiti, and NASA satellite images have been used to respond 
to the Gulf of Mexico oil spill resulting from the April 20, 
2010, Deepwater Horizon drilling rig explosion. The space 
program has also provided hundreds of spinoff technologies that 
support national security, public safety, and U.S. innovation 
and global competitiveness, such as global positioning systems 
(GPS), satellite radio, healthcare products including heart and 
kidney pumps and LASIK eye surgical devices, and tactical 
reconnaissance robots used in Iraq and Afghanistan.
  The fiscal year (FY) 2010 President's budget request for NASA 
announced the intention to establish an independent panel to 
evaluate the country's strategy for human space exploration. In 
May 2009, President Obama established the Review of U.S. Human 
Space Flight Plans Committee (a.k.a. the Augustine Committee) 
to conduct a review of ongoing U.S. human space flight plans 
and programs to make sure that the United States is pursuing 
the best trajectory for the future of human space flight--one 
that is safe, innovative, affordable, and sustainable.
  The Augustine Committee submitted their findings to the 
President in September 2009. They determined that the current 
exploration program of record--Constellation, with a planned 
return to the Moon by 2020--had little chance of success within 
current budget constraints and program requirements. The 
Augustine Committee also observed that NASA had siphoned 
funding from other important programs, such as robotic 
exploration and technology development, in an attempt to keep 
the other elements of the exploration program on track. They 
recognized the value of the ISS for research and international 
collaboration and suggested that the Administration consider 
extending the ISS beyond 2015.
  The President's FY 2011 budget request proposed a number of 
significant changes in mission direction for NASA. The major 
proposed changes included extension of the ISS from 2015 
through at least 2020; significant investment in the commercial 
space industry to develop crew transport to the ISS; the 
cancellation of the Constellation program; aggressive 
investments in research and technology development; restoration 
of funding for Earth sciences; and support for aeronautics, the 
NextGen partnership with the Federal Aviation Administration, 
and green aviation research and development. The 
Administration's proposal sought a hiatus until 2015 in NASA's 
vehicle, launch, and launch-related activities. It also sought 
to decrease a singular focus on the Moon as a destination for 
exploration. In April 2010, the President modified the proposal 
to include a scaled-back version of a crew vehicle, but only to 
be used for ISS emergency crew rescue and return.
  The President's FY 2011 budget request prompted considerable 
debate and discussion between Congress, the Administration, 
industry, and other stakeholders over the dramatic change in 
direction for the agency. With the impending retirement of the 
Space Shuttle and the proposed termination of the Constellation 
program, the potential five-year hiatus before developing a new 
NASA launch vehicle would create a major displacement of human 
capital, skills, and disruption to the nation's industrial 
base. This potential dissolution of a national capability and 
the reliance on undefined future technology advancements was a 
matter of considerable concern as the Committee began its 
review of the Administration's FY 2011 budget request. Further, 
the Committee was cognizant of the fact that NASA had already 
invested approximately $9 billion in the Constellation program. 
Its outright cancellation, without an alternative launch system 
development, would not only risk the loss of the design and 
hardware heritage resulting from that investment, but would 
potentially cost an approximate $2.5 billion in contract 
termination fees based on estimates provided by the agency.
  Against this backdrop, the Committee proceeded to develop a 
legislative framework that would address these and other 
concerns, but still provide support for several key elements of 
the Administration's proposal and new National Space Policy. 
The Committee reported original bill would provide policy 
direction to allow NASA to maximize the use of recent 
investments and existing capabilities while still enabling the 
agency to develop substantial new technologies, commercial and 
international partnerships, and innovative approaches to meet 
its overall goal of ensuring long-term human presence and 
expansion in space. The reported legislation also would address 
the imbalances in NASA's aeronautics and science mission areas 
by establishing authorization levels that increase funding in 
these critical areas.

                         Summary of Provisions

  The legislation would provide an authorization of 
appropriations for NASA for fiscal years 2011 through 2013 at 
$19 billion, $19.45 billion, and $19.96 billion, respectively. 
The legislation would provide for a balanced set of programs in 
human space flight and exploration, aeronautics research and 
development, and scientific research, including Earth 
observations and applications, and require a decadal-like 
survey to review the goals, capabilities, and direction of U.S. 
human exploration of space. It would establish an overall goal 
for human space flight to expand permanent human presence 
beyond low-Earth orbit, along with a number of related key 
objectives. It also would provide that human space flight 
activities should contribute to national and global needs and 
  The bill would initiate steps to develop a Space Launch 
System and a multi-purpose crew vehicle as a follow-on to the 
Space Shuttle and Constellation-based Ares I and Orion 
projects. In combination with appropriate new technologies and 
robotic elements, these fundamental capabilities would support 
initial exploration missions beyond low-Earth orbit to such 
destinations as lunar orbital and Lagrangian points. These 
capabilities would provide the foundation for pursuit of 
international and other collaborative activities in the conduct 
of these and potential follow-on missions to the lunar surface 
and deep-space destinations, such as asteroids and ultimately 
the surface of Mars.
  To implement these capabilities, the bill would direct 
development of a heavy-lift launch vehicle to be initiated 
immediately upon enactment with a 2016 goal for core 
operational capabilities. The bill would stipulate the 
continued development of a multi-purpose crew vehicle capable 
of supporting missions beyond low-Earth orbit with a 2016 goal 
for full operational capabilities. Taken together, these 
elements would provide a government-owned and operated 
capability to support exploration missions and activities 
beyond low-Earth orbit, and crew and cargo delivery to the ISS 
as a backup, if necessary, to commercially developed means of 
fulfilling the ISS supporting missions. The Space Launch System 
and multi-purpose crew vehicle would be carried out within a 
performance and cost framework that focuses on maximum use of 
the workforce, assets, contracts, and capabilities of the Space 
Shuttle, Constellation, and other NASA programs.
  The bill would continue commercial cargo development and 
expand the Commercial Crew Development Program in FY 2011. The 
initiation of formal procurement for commercial crew 
development would be expected to begin in FY 2012, contingent 
upon the outcome of a series of studies and reviews to ensure 
effective implementation, direction, and oversight.
  The bill would support continuation and full utilization of 
the ISS until at least 2020, including a requirement to select 
an independent entity to manage the ISS national laboratory, 
the addition of a Space Shuttle flight in FY 2011 to help 
ensure the availability of spare and replacement parts for full 
ISS functionality, and an authorization of funding to help 
expedite development of commercial cargo transportation 
services already under development.
  While establishing a renewed commitment to development of a 
sustainable and successful human space flight capability, the 
legislation would direct the establishment and sustainment of a 
balanced portfolio for NASA across all of its mission areas, 
including aeronautics, Earth and space science, and education. 
It would require improved interagency coordination of Earth 
observations, expansion of NASA's sub-orbital research 
activities, and the establishment of a national policy to guide 
NASA's space technology efforts. Since the aerospace industry 
is one of the few remaining manufacturing industries that 
continues to be a major U.S. exporter, the bill would maintain 
support for a strong aeronautics research portfolio ranging 
from fundamental research through systems research.
  The bill would address the fundamental need to ensure the 
nation's competitiveness and technological excellence by 
supporting new education initiatives, such as teacher training 
programs, increased investments in NASA EPSCoR (Experimental 
Program to Stimulate Competitive Research) and the NASA Space 
Grant program. To fit current and future missions and expected 
funding levels, the bill would require NASA to examine 
alternative management models for NASA's workforce, centers, 
and capabilities, while enforcing short-term prohibitions on 
major center displacements and reductions-in-force until such 
examination and analysis is completed.

                          Legislative History

  The reported original bill was developed over several months 
through a bipartisan effort at the direction of Committee 
leadership to address the interests and concerns not only of 
members of the Committee, but members across the Senate, 
including the Appropriations Committee. Once a consensus 
emerged, Chairman Rockefeller offered the legislation as an 
original Committee bill with the full support of the Ranking 
Member, Senator Hutchison, and the Chairman and Ranking Member 
of the Science and Space Subcommittee, Senators Nelson and 
  On July 15, 2010, the Committee met in open executive session 
and, by a unanimous voice vote, ordered the original bill to be 
reported favorably.
  On July 20, 2010, Representative Bart Gordon introduced H.R. 
5781, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration Act of 
2010, which was reported as amended from the House Committee on 
Science and Technology on July 28, 2010. The House bill is 
similar to the Committee-reported legislation in that it would 
support a balanced mission portfolio for NASA. The House bill 
also includes technology investments, leverages existing skills 
and experience, and includes better controls on program cost 
and schedule. The primary differences are the plan and timeline 
for a heavy lift launch vehicle and the level of support for 
the development of commercial capabilities to the ISS.
  On March 3, 2010, Senator Hutchison introduced S. 3068, the 
Human Space Flight Capability Assurance and Enhancement Act of 
2010. The legislation was an early effort to address the human 
space flight concerns raised by the FY 2011 budget request and 
offered as part of the initial Committee discussions in 
developing a full NASA authorization bill. Representative 
Suzanne Kosmas introduced the House companion bill, H.R. 4804.
  The Committee held three hearings to consider elements of the 
President's FY 2011 budget request for NASA. The first hearing 
was held on February 24, 2010, to consider the NASA FY 2011 
budget request overall. The NASA Administrator appeared before 
the Committee, as did several space policy and operations 
experts. The second hearing was held on March 16, 2010, to 
specifically consider commercial space capabilities. Witnesses 
included representatives from NASA, the Federal Aviation 
Administration, and various commercial space companies. The 
third hearing was held on May 12, 2010, and considered the 
Administration's proposal for human space flight. Witnesses for 
this hearing included two former Apollo astronauts, Neil 
Armstrong and Eugene Cernan; the chairman of the U.S. Human 
Space Flight Plans Committee; the Administrator of NASA; and 
the Director of the Office of Science and Technology Policy. 
Another former Apollo astronaut, James Lovell, provided 
testimony for the record.

                            Estimated Costs

  In accordance with paragraph 11(a) of rule XXVI of the 
Standing Rules of the Senate and section 403 of the 
Congressional Budget Act of 1974, the Committee provides the 
following statement, prepared by the Congressional Budget 

                                     U.S. Congress,
                               Congressional Budget Office,
                                    Washington, DC, August 5, 2010.
Hon. John D. Rockefeller IV,
Chairman, Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, U.S. 
        Senate, Washington, DC.
    Dear Mr. Chairman: The Congressional Budget Office has 
reviewed the National Aeronautics and Space Administration 
Authorization Act of 2010, as ordered reported by the Senate 
Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation on July 21, 
2010. Enacting the bill would have no significant impact on 
direct spending or revenues over the 2010-2020 period. The bill 
would authorize the appropriation of more than $58 billion for 
the operations of the National Aeronautics and Space 
Administration over the 2011-2013 period; however, CBO has not 
yet completed an estimate of all of the legislation's costs 
that would be subject to appropriation.
    The bill contains no intergovernmental or private-sector 
mandates as defined in the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act and 
would impose no costs on state, local, or tribal governments.
    If you wish further details on this estimate, we will be 
pleased to provide them. The CBO staff contact is Martin von 
                                      Douglas W. Elmendorf,

                      Regulatory Impact Statement

  In accordance with paragraph 11(b) of rule XXVI of the 
Standing Rules of the Senate, the Committee provides the 
following evaluation of the regulatory impact of the 
legislation, as reported:

                       NUMBER OF PERSONS COVERED

  The bill would authorize appropriations for NASA for FY 2011 
through FY 2013. NASA conducts a number of scientific research 
and development activities concerning aeronautics, Earth 
science, space science, and space exploration and operations. 
The Committee believes the bill would not subject any 
individuals or businesses affected by the bill to any 
additional regulations.

                            ECONOMIC IMPACT

  This legislation would authorize $19 billion for NASA in FY 
2011, $19.45 billion in FY 2012, and $19.96 billion in FY 2013. 
The legislation would authorize sufficient levels to sustain 
ongoing and new awards, cooperative agreements, and contracts 
related to NASA's missions. A number of sections of the bill 
would enhance economic and educational outreach, licensing and 
applications, technology transfer, and commercial innovation 
and partnership opportunities. The bill is not expected to have 
an adverse impact on the nation's economy.


  This legislation would not have a negative impact on the 
personal privacy of individuals.


  The Committee does not anticipate a major increase in the 
paperwork burdens for individuals or businesses; however, there 
are a number of reports required of NASA. These reports are 
focused around specific critical areas of interest to the 
Committee and nation, including various aspects of proposed 
commercial capability development plans, launch vehicle 
architecture, long-range exploration goals and missions, space 
station requirements assessment, and facilities and workforce 
alignment, among others.

                   Congressionally Directed Spending

  In compliance with paragraph 4(b) of rule XLIV of the 
Standing Rules of the Senate, the Committee provides that no 
provisions contained in the bill, as reported, meet the 
definition of congressionally directed spending items under the 

                      Section-by-Section Analysis

Section 1. Short title; table of contents.
  This section would provide that the legislation may be cited 
as the National Aeronautics and Space Administration Act of 
2010. This section would also provide the table of contents for 
the legislation.
Section 2. Findings.
  This section would identify key findings of the Act 
concerning the history, the future, and the value of programs 
at NASA. The findings also would update the national and global 
context for NASA's human space flight programs and establish an 
incremental and integrated approach to fully maximize the 
nation's investments in establishing a low-Earth orbit 
infrastructure and simultaneously create the capabilities to 
move out beyond this region in a sustained, focused and open 
manner with an array of partnerships including the 
international community and U.S. commercial enterprises.
Section 3. Definitions.
  This section would define ten key terms used in the Act.


Sections 101 through 103. Fiscal year 2011 through 2013.
  Sections 101, 102, and 103 would provide the amounts to be 
authorized for appropriations for FY 2011, 2012, and 2013. 
These levels would align with the President's top-line budget 
request for FY 2011 and projections for FY 2012 and FY 2013. 
The Committee considered the five-year budget implications of 
the human space flight activities in the legislation to ensure 
that available resources matched restructured and new 
programmatic efforts required by this reauthorization. The 
levels authorized are intended to leverage and build off of 
previous investments, architectures, and hardware from both the 
Space Shuttle and Constellation programs. If appropriately 
utilized in the design and development of new systems 
authorized by this Act, it will contribute to reductions in 
initial development costs and ensure the availability of these 
new systems within the schedule set by this legislation.


Section 201. United States human space flight policy.
  This section would also reaffirm Congress's support for an 
uninterrupted capability for human space flight and operations 
in low-Earth orbit and beyond. This section would also reaffirm 
the policy that reliance and use of non-U.S. human space flight 
capabilities shall only occur as a contingency when no U.S.-
owned and operated capability is available.
Section 202. Goals and objectives.
  This section would establish NASA's long-term goal as the 
expansion of a permanent human presence beyond low-Earth orbit. 
Key objectives would include: full utilization of the ISS as a 
national laboratory; determination of the ability of humans to 
live in space for extended periods of time; assessment of the 
viability and use of space resources to lay the foundation for 
sustainable economic activities in space; building upon 
international partnerships; and maximization of the role of 
space exploration in advancing knowledge and inspiring young 
people into higher educational pursuits.
Section 203. Assurance of core capabilities.
  This section would provide a sense of Congress that existing 
space capabilities such as the ISS and Space Shuttle, and 
initial capabilities of follow-on transportation systems should 
be utilized to provide operational experience, technology 
development, and the requisite infrastructure for expanded 
future exploration missions. This section also would require 
the Administrator to refurbish the ET-94 Space Shuttle external 
tank as a means of retaining necessary skills and capabilities 
in the fabrication and preparation for flight readiness of 
large-diameter vehicle components necessary for development of 
the new Space Launch System. The refurbished tank could also be 
used if the President or Congress determines additional 
contingency Shuttle missions to the ISS are necessary.
Section 204. Independent study on human exploration of space.
  This section would require the Administrator to provide for 
an independent review by the National Academies covering human 
space exploration goals, capabilities, and direction, including 
goals set by the Congress and the President. The review would 
solicit inputs from a broad spectrum of stakeholders and would 
examine goals in the context of current and potential national 
capabilities, ongoing technology development activities, and 
potential partner capabilities and interests. The study would 
make findings and recommendations for a U.S. human space 
exploration strategy for fiscal years 2014 through 2023. It is 
anticipated that such a study would provide supporting 
rationale to ensure a sustainable space program, tied to 
national goals and objectives, which would be compelling and 
supportable by future administrations.


Section 301. Human space flight beyond low-Earth orbit.
  This section would identify key findings regarding the 
purpose of extending human presence in space beyond low-Earth 
orbit to address national priorities and purposes. This section 
also would require the Administrator to submit to Congress a 
report within 120 days after enactment on the efforts of NASA 
to expand international collaboration on the ISS and progress 
on the initial near-term missions in cis-lunar space (the area 
between the Earth and orbits of the Moon) authorized by this 
legislation. The report would include a discussion of the role 
of NASA's contribution of a Space Launch System, a multi-
purpose crew vehicle, and other appropriate technology to these 
Section 302. Space Launch System as follow-on launch vehicle to the 
        Space Shuttle.
  This section would direct U.S. space policy toward the 
development of a Space Launch System follow-on to the Space 
Shuttle capable of traveling beyond low-Earth orbit. This 
section would direct the Administrator to begin development of 
this vehicle upon enactment with an initial capability to lift 
payloads between 70 and 100 tons into low-Earth orbit, lift the 
multipurpose crew vehicle, and serve as a backup, if necessary, 
for ISS cargo or crew transportation. The vehicle would be 
evolvable to lift greater payloads to missions beyond low-Earth 
orbit. This section would provide for the minimization of 
termination liability on existing contracts by the modification 
or extension of contracts in cases where they can be 
transitioned and applied to the development of hardware and 
systems under the new Space Launch System. It also would 
provide for the retention of critical skills and capabilities, 
where appropriate, in the fields of liquid and solid engines, 
large diameter fuel tanks, and other rocket propulsion hardware 
skills and capabilities.
  The Committee anticipates that in order to meet the specified 
vehicle capabilities and requirements, the most cost-effective 
and ``evolvable'' design concept is likely to follow what is 
known as an ``in-line'' vehicle design, with a large center 
tank structure with attached multiple liquid propulsion engines 
and, at a minimum, two solid rocket motors composed of at least 
four segments being attached to the tank structure to form the 
core, initial stage of the propulsion vehicle. The Committee 
will closely monitor NASA's early planning and design efforts 
to ensure compliance with the intent of this section.
  This section would establish a priority for development and 
operational capability of the core elements of the Space Launch 
System by December 31, 2016. This goal is provided to help 
ensure an immediate focus on the development of the core stage 
of this vehicle to ensure the most effective transition from 
the Space Shuttle and other programs, and the ability to 
initiate meaningful partner discussions on the missions 
authorized in this Act. Should resources and manufacturing 
capacity be available to permit parallel development of both 
the core elements of the launch system and an integrated upper 
stage for missions beyond low-Earth orbit, the Committee 
believes such concurrent development should be pursued.
  In order to meet the mission and cost goals of the vehicle 
authorized by this section, NASA should focus on designing and 
building ``to cost'' versus overall performance. The Committee 
notes that this requirement represents a fundamental change 
from NASA's recent history with the Constellation program and a 
number of previous NASA launch initiatives, and believes it is 
critical that NASA follow this guidance. In the near-term, NASA 
should maximize the use of existing assets and capabilities 
from Shuttle and Ares programs to the extent practicable, while 
constraining requirements and performance to only those 
necessary to meet the schedule authorized for early operational 
capability. Modifications of ground infrastructure and other 
elements to support the vehicle should be minimized.
  The Committee has structured its approach to the development 
of this vehicle in part to reduce the five-year hiatus proposed 
by the Administration before initiating heavy-lift launch 
vehicle development. Such a delay, and the concurrent 
dissolution of the skills and capabilities associated with 
human space flight capability development that would likely 
ensue, is not an acceptable national risk. The use of existing 
technologies, capabilities, facilities, and infrastructure to 
the maximum possible extent, coupled with the immediate 
initiation of design and development activities, will provide 
the greatest opportunity to retire the development costs for 
this vehicle by the end of 2016 while ensuring the continuation 
of a critical national capability.
Section 303. Multi-purpose crew vehicle.
  Upon enactment, this section would require the Administrator 
to continue development of a multi-purpose crew vehicle based 
on the concept, designs, prototypes and other materials 
developed within the Orion project. The vehicle would be 
required to achieve full operational capability no later than 
December 31, 2016. Minimum requirements would include the 
capability of serving as the primary crew transportation 
vehicle for missions beyond low-Earth orbit and conducting in-
space operations, and to be a readily modifiable platform to 
incorporate new technology and complement commercial 
operations. NASA would be authorized to conduct a test to the 
ISS of the vehicle's capability prior to its full operational 
capability being available.
  As with the new Space Launch System, it is the view of the 
Committee that this program must also be developed with an 
approach that places emphasis on designing and building ``to 
cost'' versus overall performance, with the primary goal of 
achieving the ability to conduct missions beyond low-Earth 
orbit, as authorized by this Act. The Committee supports the 
development of a commercial crew service that includes crew 
rescue capability. The multi-purpose crew vehicle would only be 
made available for routine ISS crew transportation if a 
commercial crew service is not available and if subsequent 
action is taken by Congress to authorize that function.
Section 304. Utilization of existing workforce and assets in 
        development of Space Launch System and multi-purpose crew 
  This section would require NASA to utilize existing 
contracts, workforce, and capabilities, to the extent 
practicable, from the Space Shuttle and former Orion and Ares I 
projects in developing the Space Launch System and multi-
purpose crew transportation vehicles. To meet these 
requirements, this section would require the Administrator to 
take appropriate actions to utilize existing expertise, 
infrastructure, and testing capability to ensure timely and 
cost-effective development of the previously mentioned 
vehicles. This approach is critical to ensure that rocket and 
capsule development shall have the maximum opportunity to be 
conducted effectively and on a timely basis, and within the 
constrained budget environment that must be anticipated in a 
period of general fiscal austerity and limited government 
Section 305. NASA launch support and infrastructure modernization 
  This section would require the Administrator to improve the 
infrastructure, operations, and processing at the Kennedy Space 
Center in Florida, including ground preparation for the Space 
Launch System. This section would also require the 
Administrator to submit to Congress within 120 days after 
enactment a report on the implementation plan for the program. 
While the section would support overall improvements at the 
Kennedy Space Center for multiple users and operations, 
consideration should be given to all necessary launch 
infrastructure and operations associated with the Space Launch 
System and multi-purpose crew vehicle.
Section 306. Report on effects of transition to Space Launch System on 
        the solid and liquid rocket motor industrial bases.
  This section would require the Administrator, in consultation 
with the Secretaries of Defense and Commerce, to submit to 
Congress within 120 days after the date of enactment a report 
on the effects of the retirement of the Space Shuttle and the 
transition to the Space Launch System on the solid and liquid 
rocket motor industrial bases in the United States. 
Streamlining the overall supporting industrial base is both 
possible and necessary to ensure long-term operational 
efficiencies and cost reductions. In order to do this 
efficiently, it is the Committee's view that a current and 
accurate assessment of the propulsion industrial base be 
conducted in coordination with other government entities whose 
programs and activities are impacted by the health and 
availability of this base.
Section 307. Sense of Congress on other technology and robotic elements 
        in human space flight and exploration.
  This section would state the importance of investing in new 
technologies to enhance existing capabilities for human space 
flight, and that collaborations with international partners to 
do this can contribute to the overall goal of extending human 
presence in space.
Section 308. Development of technologies and in-space capabilities for 
        beyond near-Earth space missions.
  This section would authorize the Administrator to develop 
technologies necessary for missions beyond low-Earth orbit. To 
develop these technologies, this section would allow the 
Administrator to invest in a space suit, a space-based transfer 
vehicle, advanced life support capabilities, improved in-space 
propulsion systems, in-space propellant transfer and storage 
systems, in situ resource utilization capabilities, and 
technologies to mitigate of biological impediments to human 
deep space missions, including radiation challenges. This 
section would allow the Administrator to utilize the ISS as a 
test-bed for technologies developed in these areas, where 
applicable, and require the Administrator to pursue technology 
development through a coordinated agency technology approach, 
which includes mission-driven technology developments and risk 


Section 401. Commercial Cargo Development program.
  This section would require the Administrator to continue the 
Commercial Orbital Transportation Services program to develop 
the means to adequately supply the ISS. The section would allow 
funds to be used to support flight tests, accelerate 
development, and develop necessary ground infrastructure.
  With the extension of the ISS to at least 2020 and the 
upcoming retirement of the Space Shuttle, the Committee is 
concerned about the viability of commercial cargo delivery to 
supplement international partner capabilities to the ISS. Such 
concerns have been identified and validated through a 2009 
Government Accountability Office study indicating that delays 
in the availability of commercial capabilities would lead to a 
significant reduction in NASA's use of the ISS for scientific 
research. The viability of commercial cargo capabilities is 
also an important gauge for assessing the timing and overall 
feasibility of commercial crew services and capabilities.
Section 402. Commercial Crew Development program.
  This section would require the Administrator to continue the 
Commercial Crew Development (CCDev) program in FY 2011, 
building upon FY 2010 agreements to reduce risk and develop 
technologies. This section also would allow new agreements for 
the purpose of maturing concepts and supporting technologies to 
advance the development of commercial crew services.
Section 403. Requirements applicable to development of commercial crew 
        transportation capabilities and services.
  This section would require the Administrator to complete a 
number of steps prior to initiating a formal procurement 
process for commercial crew services. The Committee believes 
that it is necessary to develop a realistic, business-like 
foundation for the development of commercial crew capabilities 
and services. Combined with the short-term increase in the 
CCDev program and clarification that commercial crew service 
requirements shall include the capability to provide a crew 
rescue function for the ISS, the Committee believes that it is 
setting an acceptable balance between new capability 
development and appropriate government oversight and 
determination in this new, challenging area of space flight 
activity. The Committee supports appropriate funding needed to 
help facilitate the development of this capability through the 
end of the development time period (estimated to be not later 
than 2016).
Section 404. Report on International Space Station cargo return 
  This section would require the Administrator to submit to 
Congress within 120 days after enactment a report on 
alternative commercially developed means for the safe return 
from the ISS of research samples and small to mid-sized 
equipment. With the retirement of the Space Shuttle, there is a 
loss of the Shuttle's capability to return equipment and 
research articles from the ISS. Where analysis on Earth of 
returned samples can enhance research outcomes, it is important 
that other means be sought to retain this capability. The 
Committee believes that the assessment required by this section 
is an important step in ensuring the ISS can be fully utilized 
as an orbiting research laboratory.

                             SPACE STATION

Section 501. Continuation of the International Space Station through 
  This section provides authority for the U.S. to set policy, 
in consultation with its international partners, to support 
full and complete utilization of the ISS through at least 2020. 
The section also would require NASA to pursue additional 
international, commercial, and intergovernmental partnership 
arrangements to enhance the overall sustainability of the ISS 
and seek means to reduce or offset U.S. operating costs 
associated with the ISS.
  The Committee notes that with the retirement of the Space 
Shuttle, and until the replacement vehicles authorized in this 
legislation are operational, the ISS will be the only active 
U.S. human space flight activity. It is imperative, therefore, 
that every necessary effort is made to ensure both the 
viability and utility of the ISS as a functioning habitable 
spacecraft and as a research facility.
Section 502. Maximum utilization of the International Space Station.
  This section would provide that NASA maximize the returns 
from the ISS with respect to scientific and technological 
research and development, advancement of space exploration, and 
international collaboration. The section would direct NASA to 
increase the innovative use of the ISS national laboratory 
authority and to seek greater international and domestic 
Section 503. Maintenance of the United States segment and assurance of 
        continued operations of the International Space Station.
  This section would require the Administrator to ensure safe 
operation of the U.S. segment of the ISS through at least 
September 30, 2020, and submit to Congress an assessment 
including an inventory of equipment necessary for such 
operation, possible delivery methods, safety of such methods, 
and cost. This section would also require a Government 
Accountability Office report from the Comptroller General 
evaluating the accuracy of NASA's ISS assessment within 90 days 
of its submission to Congress.
  Until the required ISS inventory and assessment are 
completed, it cannot be known for certain whether another 
Shuttle mission would be required to deliver necessary spare or 
replacement items that could only be accommodated within the 
Space Shuttle payload bay. The Committee does not expect such a 
finding and has been encouraged by steps taken by NASA, to 
date, to anticipate and provide for prepositioning of such 
items aboard the ISS. However, the external tank refurbishment 
authorized by this Act is prudent to provide a means to ensure 
the longest lead-time element could be available on a timely 
basis to provide a realistic option to respond to a 
determination that an additional flight (after the Launch-On-
Need) might be essential to ensure ISS sustainability.
  This section would authorize funds to be appropriated to 
allow the Administrator to fly the Launch-On-Need Shuttle 
mission in FY 2011 pending the results of a required safety 
Section 504. Management of the ISS national laboratory.
  This section would require the Administrator to enter into a 
cooperative agreement with an appropriate not-for-profit 
organization to manage the activities of the ISS national 
laboratory, and to designate an official of NASA's Space 
Operations Mission Directorate to serve as liaison between NASA 
and the organization. It also would guarantee national 
laboratory managed experiments access to a minimum 50% of U.S. 
research capacity and crew time.
  Noting the prior shifts in NASA mission and research 
priorities, the Committee believes that an independent body 
should be established to serve as the designated agent to 
manage the ISS national laboratory. Furthermore, the Committee 
believes it is essential to the effective and successful 
implementation of a broad-based research agenda that the 
independent national laboratory entity be allocated a fixed 
amount of the available research capacity aboard the ISS for 
its management and use. In its review of NASA ISS research 
planning, the Committee found that NASA's planned usage of its 
allocation of ISS research capacity accounted for less than 50 
percent of the available resources. Thus, the Committee has 
directed that no less than the remaining 50 percent of ISS 
research capacity within the U.S. segment (including U.S. 
allocations within partner laboratory facilities) be allocated 
to and managed by the independent research management entity.


Section 601. Sense of Congress on the Space Shuttle program.
  This section would identify key findings regarding the value 
of the Space Shuttle program as a national asset. This section 
also would include a sense of Congress that the retirement of 
the Space Shuttle be done in a manner that builds on the legacy 
of the program, and that the United States maintains the skills 
and industrial capability to provide a follow-on launch system 
for missions beyond low-Earth orbit.
Section 602. Retirement of Space Shuttle orbiters and transition of 
        Space Shuttle program.
  This section would require the Administrator to retire the 
Space Shuttle orbiters on a schedule established by the 
Administrator in line with the requirements for ISS utilization 
set forth in this legislation. The Administrator would strive 
to transfer workforce, assets, and infrastructure of the 
program to the follow-on Space Launch System, with unneeded 
equipment divested among the Federal Government and private 
sector, and displaced workers assisted in retraining and job 
placement. Recognizing that not all of the Shuttle capabilities 
would be transferred, the Committee notes that funds from 
section 102 could be used for these transition purposes.
Section 603. Disposition of orbiter vehicles.
  This section would require the Administrator to decommission 
any remaining Space Shuttle orbiter vehicles in accordance with 
established safety and historic preservation procedures. 
Placement of orbiter vehicles would be determined through a 
competitive procedure established under section 613(a) of the 
National Aeronautics and Space Administration Authorization Act 
of 2008 (426 U.S.C. 17761(a)). The section also would require 
that this competitive process take into account locations with 
the best potential value to the public, particularly to advance 
educational opportunities in science, technology, engineering, 
and mathematics, and with an historical connection to the 
Shuttle program.

                        TITLE VII--EARTH SCIENCE

Section 701. Sense of Congress.
  This section would emphasize the importance of Earth 
observations to the understanding of the Earth system, the 
protection of human health and safety, the growth of the U.S. 
economy, and the strengthening of national security. This 
section also would reaffirm the critical role of NASA in Earth 
science, the need to maintain domestic and international data 
collaboration, and the vital role fulfilled by Earth-observing 
satellites and monitoring programs.
Section 702. Interagency collaboration implementation approach.
  This section would require the Director of the Office of 
Science and Technology Policy to establish a mechanism to 
ensure greater coordination across the Federal Government on 
civilian Earth observation. This would include the development 
of a strategic implementation plan updated at least every 3 
years with independent advisory input. This section also would 
require the Director to provide to Congress within 90 days of 
enactment a report on the implementation plan for this 
Section 703. Transitioning experimental research to operations.
  This section would require the Administrator, in coordination 
with the Administrator of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric 
Administration (NOAA) and the Director of the United States 
Geological Survey (USGS), to establish a formal mechanism to 
support the transition of NASA research and capabilities to 
NOAA and USGS operations. This section would encourage NASA to 
consider establishing an Interagency Transition Office for this 
purpose and would require NASA to provide within 90 days of 
enactment an implementation plan for this mechanism.
Section 704. Decadal survey missions implementation for Earth 
  This section would require the Administrator to implement, as 
appropriate, missions identified in the Earth Science Decadal 
Survey within the scope of funds authorized for the Science 
Mission Directorate.
Section 705. Expansion of Earth science applications.
  This section would support an expanded role for NASA in Earth 
science applications with all levels of government, academia, 
the private sector, nonprofit organizations, and international 
Section 706. Instrument test-beds and venture class missions.
  This section would require the Administrator to pursue 
innovative ways to fly instrument-level payloads for early 
demonstration or as co-manifested payloads.
Section 707. Sense of Congress on NPOESS follow-on program.
  This section would affirm that polar orbiting satellites are 
vital for weather prediction, climate and environmental 
monitoring, national security, emergency response, and climate 
research. The section would support the Office of Science and 
Technology Policy's decision to restructure the National Polar 
Orbiting Environmental Satellite System (NPOESS) program, 
suggest that NOAA and the Department of Defense should assure 
satellite data continuity, and indicate that the agencies 
should immediately notify Congress of any impediments to meet 
launch readiness dates.

                       TITLE VIII--SPACE SCIENCE

Section 801. Technology development.
  This section would ensure that the Science Mission 
Directorate maintains a long-term technology development 
program for space and Earth science that is coordinated with 
overall agency technology investments in the other NASA mission 
Section 802. Suborbital research activities.
  This section would direct the Administrator to establish a 
Suborbital Research Program to be overseen by a designated 
official in the Science Mission Directorate. The designated 
official would develop strategic plans to maintain, renew, and 
extend suborbital capabilities and integrate them into NASA's 
workforce development. The program would advance science and 
develop the aerospace workforce. The section also would require 
the Administrator to report annually to Congress on the number 
of suborbital missions and the number of undergraduate and 
graduate students participating in each mission. The section 
would authorize such sums as may be necessary for these 
Section 803. Overall science portfolio-sense of the Congress.
  This section would reaffirm the sense of Congress that a 
balanced and adequately funded portfolio of research, space 
missions, and suborbital missions serves as a catalyst for 
Section 804. In-space servicing.
  This section would direct the Administrator to ensure the 
development of in-space human servicing and repair capabilities 
for future observatory-class scientific spacecrafts to the 
extent practicable and appropriate. The Committee believes that 
this capability complements the bill's focus on the development 
of a human space flight approach that leverages on-orbit 
capabilities and a space launch and crew vehicle with 
additional complementary capabilities.
Section 805. Decadal results.
  This section would direct NASA to take into account 
recommendations from the National Academies' decadal surveys 
when submitting their budget request.
Section 806. On-going restoration of radioisotope thermoelectric 
        generator material production.
  This section would require the Administrator to coordinate 
with the Secretary of Energy to restart and sustain domestic 
production of radioisotope thermoelectric generator material 
for deep space and other science and exploration missions. This 
section also would provide that funds authorized by this Act 
for NASA would be available under a reimbursable agreement with 
the Department of Energy for the purpose of this section. A 
report would be required within 120 days after enactment to 
Congress regarding the plan and schedule for this production.
Section 807. Collaboration with ESMD and SOMD on robotic missions.
  This section would direct the Exploration Systems and Space 
Operations Mission Directorates to coordinate with the Science 
Mission Directorate to develop a plan for interagency and 
international collaboration for future robotic missions. The 
section would require NASA to provide a report within 90 days 
and would prohibit the cancellation or initiation of any ESMD 
or SMD robotic project before the report is submitted.
Section 808. Near-Earth object survey and policy with respect to 
        threats posed.
  This section would require the Director of the Office of 
Science and Technology Policy to implement a policy by FY 2012 
for notifying Federal agencies and emergency response 
institutions of any impending near-Earth object threats and for 
assigning a Federal agency to be responsible for protecting the 
United States and working with the international community in 
response to such threats.
Section 809. Space weather.
  This section would require the Office of Science and 
Technology Policy to improve preparation, avoidance, and 
mitigation of severe space weather events, coordinate across 
agencies, and submit a report to Congress within 180 days of 
the date of enactment that details current and future systems 
necessary to gather data for space weather forecasting.


Section 901. Sense of Congress.
  This section would reaffirm that aeronautics research is 
vital to NASA's mission and to U.S. leadership in global 
aviation and deserves continued support. The section would 
affirm the roles of the National Aeronautics Research and 
Development Policy and the National Science and Technology 
Council Subcommittee on Aeronautics Science and Technology in 
guiding and coordinating research and development and 
maintaining aeronautics infrastructure.
Section 902. Aeronautics research goals.
  This section would specify aeronautics research goals of 
supporting airspace capacity, environmental sustainability, and 
aviation safety.
Section 903. Research collaboration.
  This section would require the Administrator to coordinate 
with the Department of Defense to jointly support common 
infrastructure for research, development, testing, and 
engineering infrastructure. This section would require the 
Administrator to continue to coordinate with the Federal 
Aviation Administration in the development of the Next 
Generation Air Transportation Program and to accelerate the 
development and demonstration of NextGen technologies where 
Section 904. Goal for agency space technology.
  This section would support an agency-wide space technology 
base to help align mission directorates and support long-term 
needs. The program would develop and build upon existing 
Section 905. Implementation plan for agency space technology.
  This section would require NASA to provide a plan within 120 
days of the date of enactment that outlines how the Agency 
Space Technology program will meet the goals of section 904 and 
be integrated with mission directorate technology efforts. 
Because this is a new program at NASA, the Committee is 
requesting an integrated agency plan to ensure proper oversight 
and planning have gone into this newly authorized area. This 
section also would provide important information that can help 
inform NASA's participation in the development of a national 
space technology policy stipulated in section 906.
Section 906. National space technology policy.
  This section would require the President or the President's 
designee to assess and develop a national policy to guide the 
space technology programs across the Federal government. A 
report to Congress setting forth the national space technology 
policy would be required to Congress within a year after 
enactment, and a subsequent report from NASA would describe how 
NASA will carry out the policy. The Committee believes that 
completion of an overall plan for space technology that 
coordinates with other agency efforts is essential before 
committing to the greater level of authorized funding provided 
in Title I for this area starting in FY 2012.
Section 907. Commercial reusable suborbital research program.
  This section would establish a Commercial Reusable Suborbital 
Research Program within the Space Technology Program to provide 
for the development of payloads for scientific research, 
technology development, and education, as well as flight 
opportunities for these payloads to microgravity environments 
and suborbital altitudes. This section would require an annual 
report to Congress on the program's progress and provide an 
authorization of appropriations of $15 million for each of FY 
2011 through 2013 to carry out this section.

                           TITLE X--EDUCATION

Section 1001. Report on education implementation outcomes.
  This section would require the Administrator to submit a 
report to Congress within 120 days on the metrics, internal and 
external relationships, and resources committed by NASA to 
development of a national STEM (science, technology, 
engineering, and mathematics) workforce, retention of students 
in STEM disciplines over time, and development of partnerships 
between formal and informal STEM providers.
Section 1002. Sense of Congress on the Experimental Program to 
        Stimulate Competitive Research.
  This section would affirm that EPSCoR has promoted broader 
geographic distribution of research and development by 
improving research infrastructure in states that have 
traditionally received less NASA research and development 
funding. This section would further affirm that EPSCoR has 
provided an excellent return on investment and that the program 
should coordinate with similar programs at other Federal 
agencies to promote continued improvement and efficiency.
Section 1003. Science, technology, engineering, and mathematics 
        commercial orbital platform program.
  This section would require NASA to establish a program to 
annually sponsor scientific and educational payloads developed 
with students and educators to be flown on commercially 
available orbital platforms, when available. This section would 
set a goal of launching at least 50 such payloads, with at 
least one from each of the 50 states, to orbit on at least one 
mission per year.


Section 1101. Sense of Congress.
  This section would provide the sense of Congress that NASA 
needs to re-scope and downsize, where appropriate, to fit 
mission needs and funding levels.
Section 1102. Institutional requirements study.
  This section would require the Administrator to provide a 
report to Congress within 1 year of the date of enactment that 
examines NASA's structure, organization, and institutional 
assets and identifies a strategy to match NASA's facilities, 
laboratories, and test capabilities to NASA's missions and 
Section 1103. NASA capabilities study requirement.
  This section would, after the completion of the study 
described in section 1102, require the Administrator to 
contract with an independent entity to submit a report to 
Congress within 1 year from initiation of this analysis that 
examines alternative management models for NASA's workforce, 
centers, and capabilities, including the potential conversion 
of NASA centers to federally funded research and development 
Section 1104. Sense of Congress on community transition support.
  This section would affirm that Congress is supportive of the 
Administration's efforts to assist communities that are 
adversely impacted by changes to NASA programs.
Section 1105. Workforce stabilization and critical skills preservation.
  This section would require Congress to approve any transfer 
of functions, missions, or activities before the completion of 
the study required under section 1103. This section also would 
require the Administrator to preserve critical skills and 
competencies and minimize workforce disruptions, including a 
prohibition on reductions in force, until the strategy required 
by section 1103 has been received by Congress.

                        TITLE XII--OTHER MATTERS

Section 1201. Report on space traffic management.
  This section would require the Administration to submit a 
report to Congress on the status of international discussions 
regarding space traffic management.
Section 1202. National and international orbital debris mitigation.
  This section would require the Administrator to initiate 
discussions across the Federal government and with other space-
faring nations for orbital debris prevention and mitigation. 
The Office of Science and Technology Policy would coordinate 
with the National Security Council to prepare a strategy and 
recommendations for international collaboration for review by 
the President.
Section 1203. Reports on program and cost assessment and control 
  This section would require the Administrator to submit a 
report to Congress annually that describes all programs that 
exceed baseline costs by 15% or are more than two years behind 
their projected development schedule. The report also would 
contain a corrective action plan for each of the programs to 
control cost and schedule, or to decrease the program scope or 
Section 1204. Eligibility for service of individual currently serving 
        as Administrator of NASA.
  This section would confirm that the current NASA 
Administrator comes from civilian life and is therefore 
eligible to serve in such position.
Section 1205. Sense of Congress on independent verification and 
        validation of NASA software.
  This section would affirm that independent verification and 
validation of NASA software is critical to assuring mission 
safety, and affirm that the creation of NASA's Independent 
Verification and Validation Facility was the result of 
recommendations from the National Research Council and the 
Presidential Commission on the Space Shuttle Challenger 
Accident. This section would affirm the sense of Congress that 
NASA's Independent Verification and Validation Facility shall 
be the sole provider of verification and validation services 
for NASA software.
Section 1206. Counterfeit parts.
  This section would require the Administrator to implement 
employee training regarding counterfeir parts and establish a 
tracking database for counterfeit electronic parts in the NASA 
supply chain and to report counterfeit parts to appropriate law 
enforcement agencies. This section would require the 
Administrator to purchase electronic parts from a list of 
trusted manufacturers that is updated annually and to provide a 
report to Congress within one year of the date of enactment on 
progress toward implementing this section.
Section 1207. Information security.
  This section would require the NASA chief information officer 
to report to Congress within 120 days of the date of enactment 
and annually thereafter regarding efforts to reduce network 
risk by providing dynamic, comprehensive information about 
unauthorized access to information infrastructure. This section 
also would require the chief information officer to institute 
an information security awareness and education program for all 
NASA information infrastructure users.
Section 1208. National Center for Human Performance.
  This section would designate the Texas Medical Center in 
Houston as an Institution of Excellence for Human Performance 
in recognition of its work studying human performance in space, 
health, the military, athletics and the arts.
Section 1209. Enhanced-use Leasing.
  This section would provide a Sense of Congress supporting 
NASA's enhanced-use leasing program and its continued 
Section 1210. Sense of Congress concerning the Stennis Space Center.
  This section would support the Stennis Space Center test 
facilities and their continued utilization in testing liquid 
propulsion technologies.

                           Votes in Committee

  On a motion made by Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison, Ranking 
Minority Member of the Committee, during the executive session 
of the Committee on July 15, 2010, several amendments, as 
modified by prior agreement, were adopted en bloc, and the 
legislation ordered reported, by a voice vote of the Committee, 
with no dissenting votes.

                        Changes in Existing Law

  In compliance with paragraph 12 of rule XXVI of the Standing 
Rules of the Senate, the Committee states that the bill as 
reported would make no change to existing law.