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111th Congress Report
2d Session 111-278
Calendar No. 548
NATIONAL AERONAUTICS AND SPACE ADMINISTRATION AUTHORIZATION ACT OF 2010
R E P O R T
COMMITTEE ON COMMERCE, SCIENCE, AND TRANSPORTATION
August 5, 2010.--Ordered to be printed
SENATE COMMITTEE ON COMMERCE, SCIENCE, AND TRANSPORTATION
one hundred eleventh congress
JOHN D. ROCKEFELLER IV, West Virginia, Chairman
DANIEL K. INOUYE, Hawaii KAY BAILEY HUTCHISON, Texas
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
FRANK R. LAUTENBERG, New Jersey GEORGE S. LeMIEUX, Florida
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
MARK WARNER, Virginia
MARK BEGICH, Alaska
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
NATIONAL AERONAUTICS AND SPACE ADMINISTRATION AUTHORIZATION ACT OF 2010
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
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.
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
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.
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
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
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 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
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.
TITLE I--AUTHORIZATION OF APPROPRIATIONS
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.
TITLE II--POLICY, GOALS, AND OBJECTIVES FOR HUMAN SPACE FLIGHT AND
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.
TITLE III--EXPANSION OF HUMAN SPACE FLIGHT BEYOND THE INTERNATIONAL
SPACE STATION AND LOW-EARTH ORBIT
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
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
TITLE IV--DEVELOPMENT AND USE OF COMMERCIAL CREW AND CARGO
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
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.
TITLE V--CONTINUATION, SUPPORT, AND EVOLUTION OF THE INTERNATIONAL
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.
TITLE VI--SPACE SHUTTLE RETIREMENT AND TRANSITION
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
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
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
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.
TITLE IX--AERONAUTICS AND SPACE TECHOLOGY
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
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.
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.
TITLE XI--RESCOPING AND REVITALIZING INSTITUTIONAL CAPABILITIES
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
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
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.