SPEAKERS CONTENTS INSERTS Tables
Page 1 TOP OF DOCDEPARTMENTS OF VETERANS AFFAIRS AND HOUSING AND URBAN DEVELOPMENT, AND INDEPENDENT AGENCIES APPROPRIATIONS FOR 1999
Thursday, March 12, 1998.
NATIONAL AERONAUTICS AND SPACE ADMINISTRATION
DANIEL S. GOLDIN, ADMINISTRATOR
MALCOLM I. PETERSON, COMPTROLLER
JOSEPH ROTHENBERG, ASSOCIATE ADMINISTRATOR, SPACE FLIGHT
GRETCHEN McCLAIN, INTERNATIONAL SPACE STATION, PROGRAM REQUIREMENTS MANAGER
DR. ARNAULD E. NICOGOSSIAN, ASSOCIATE ADMINISTRATOR, LIFE AND MICROGRAVITY SCIENCES AND APPLICATIONS
JOHN D. SCHUMACHER, ASSOCIATE ADMINISTRATOR, EXTERNAL RELATIONS
ARNOLD G. HOLZ, CHIEF FINANCIAL OFFICER
GEORGE E. REESE, ASSOCIATE ADMINISTRATOR FOR EQUAL OPPORTUNITY PROGRAMS
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SPENCE M. ARMSTRONG, ASSOCIATE ADMINISTRATOR FOR HUMAN RESOURCES AND EDUCATION
JUNE EDWARDS, ASSOCIATE GENERAL COUNSEL, COMMERCIAL
JEFFREY E. SUTTON, ACTING ASSOCIATE ADMINISTRATOR FOR MANAGEMENT SYSTEMS AND FACILITIES
RALPH C. THOMAS III, ASSOCIATE ADMINISTRATOR FOR SMALL DISADVANTAGED BUSINESS UTILIZATION
EDWARD HEFFERNAN, ACTING ASSOCIATE ADMINISTRATOR FOR LEGISLATIVE AFFAIRS
FREDERICK D. GREGORY, ASSOCIATE ADMINISTRATOR FOR SAFETY AND MISSION ASSURANCE
RICHARD S. CHRISTIANSEN, ACTING ASSOCIATE ADMINISTRATOR FOR AERONAUTICS & SPACE TRANSPORTATION TECHNOLOGY
DR. WESLEY T. HUNTRESS, ASSOCIATE ADMINISTRATOR FOR SPACE SCIENCE
ROBERTA GROSS, INSPECTOR GENERAL
DR. GHASSEM ASRAR, ASSOCIATE ADMINISTRATOR FOR EARTH SCIENCE
Introductory of NASA Staff
Mr. LEWIS. The meeting will come to order.
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Welcome, Mr. Goldin. For the record, you might want to introduce some of your friends, and then I will have opening remarks. I just want to make sure they are comfortable.
Mr. GOLDIN. Thank you, Mr. Lewis. I would like to introduce Joe Rothenberg, who recently was appointed the head of the Office of Space Flight. The Space Station and Shuttle programs report to him. He is a man of impeccable performance in his career, and I am looking forward to his presence on the program. On my right is Malcolm Peterson, our reliable Comptroller; Dr. Arnauld Nicogossian, who is the head of our Life and Microgravity Sciences program; and John Schumacher, who is in charge of International Affairs.
Chairman's Opening Remarks
Mr. LEWIS. It is always a pleasure to work with the fine staff of NASA.
This morning, the Committee would like to welcome you all. We begin our hearings in the budget request for the International Space Station.
The fiscal year 1999 budget request for the Station is $2.27 billion. In addition, we have recently received a supplemental budget request, which would transfer $200 million of fiscal year 1998 funding from other NASA programs under the Space Station account.
The International Space Station is a collaborative effort of nations committed to exploring the benefits of space-based research. The investment being made by each of those nations is significant when compared to each nation's overall financial resources.
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It is incumbent upon each of the participants to fulfill their individual commitments in connection with that, working together. If any of the partners were to fail to fulfill their responsibilities, the responsibilities which I believe were agreed to without duress, the entire program suffers.
I am disconcerted to find that at least one of the major partners in this program has made commitments which serves as the basis for the actions of other partners and has failed to deliver on those commitments in a timely fashion.
I have said it before, and I will say it again. I have suggested to my staff that of all of my friends, you would understand this, Mr. Goldin. A deal is a deal. If some of our partners are not ready to live by the commitments they have made, why should any of the partners be bound by their commitments? I cannot continue to take funding measures to the floor of the House if the basis of that funding, namely commitments by other international partners, is increasingly viewed by the Members of the House as idle and without substance. The proof of commitment is delivery of the product, and, thus far, we have not seen the proof from Russia.
I would like to continue to deliver the support of the House of Representatives and for whatever role I can play in that, but we are living under very tight budget constraints in this country, and if all of our partners are not prepared to deliver what has been promised, how are we able to convince or conceivably convince our colleagues that their support is justified?
I look forward to hearing your testimony today, and, particularly, I would like to know what new commitments are being made by our partners, as we approach the firm launch dates of June 30 and July 8, 1998, for the first two elements of the International Space Station.
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Before I call on you to make your remarks, Mr. Goldin, let me call on my friend, Lou Stokes.
Congressman Stokes' Opening Remarks
Mr. STOKES. Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman.
I do not have a formal statement of any sort this morning. I do want to take this opportunity to welcome Mr. Goldin and his colleagues before our subcommittee, once again. it is always a pleasure to have you appear here.
Mr. Chairman, I quite concur with you in your statement this morning. This is a very important hearing, and it has some very important relevance to matters of concern to the Congress. This an agency which we spend some very probing time as we get into some of the issues related particularly to international relations. I, too, look forward to Mr. Goldin's testimony on these issues, and I will have some questions to pose relative to specific concerns that I have.
With that, I look forward to your testimony.
Mr. LEWIS. Mr. Goldin, you can read your testimony or summarize it. It will be included in its entirety in the record.
Administrator Goldin's Opening Remarks
Page 6 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. GOLDIN. Mr. Chairman, I would like to elect to put my written testimony in the record, and just to make a few brief statements. I was going to have a 10-minute opening statement. I think I could
Mr. LEWIS. Well, I might hear your statement. [Laughter.]
Mr. GOLDIN. This has been a very, very incredible year. I am very, very proud of the NASA teams that have done incredible work under very difficult conditions, and I would like to particularly single out Randy Brinkley, our program manager in Houston, and Gretchen McClain, who is here, our program manager in Washington, along with Tommy Holloway, who is our program manager of the Shuttle which is intimately related to this, and Doug Stone of Boeing, who has really begun to turn the corner, and then the heads of our international partners.
They have produced 368,000 pounds of hardware to date, quality hardware, and, in fact, as we speak now, the first two elements are being readied to launch in June and July of this year. The FGB built by Khrunitchev is getting ready for flight at Baikonur, and Node 1, built by Boeing, is getting ready for flight in July. The FGB is in June, and the Node is in July.
They have overcome incredible challenges. We have even begun to overcome some of the challenges we have had with our laboratory, and we pulled up the schedule within 6 weeks of where we plan to be with the lab.
Our Russian partners and Russian Space Agency are to be commended also for doing outstanding work under more difficult conditions. Their problem is not lack of expertise because they demonstrated when they had the money they could do the job. Their problem is a consistent funding flow from the Russian bureaucracy to them.
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We have had frank and candid discussions with the Russian team led by Prime Minister Chernomyrdin at the Gore-Chernomyrdin conference, and, in fact, the conference has not concluded. So, today, I could give you a progress report on where we are.
We had a number of very significant milestones which I have outlined in my written testimony on which we are going to track the Russians to see if the funding is flowing and if they are performing to schedule. This will be concluded sometime about mid-May when we will have a meeting in Moscow or at Cape Kennedy that is to be decided, along with our international partners with the heads of agency meeting to make a final decision to which we can come back to the Congress and tell them exactly what we are going to do.
Mr. LEWIS. I thought that meeting was going to be in Moscow, isn't it? In May, you might as well go to Florida.
Mr. GOLDIN. The weather is still okay in Florida.
In any case, we have a plan. I will be prepared to testify to the details of that plan today.
We have a general design interview in Moscow. I think that is what you mean.
Mr. LEWIS. Oh, is that what it is? Okay.
Page 8 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. GOLDIN. It is at the end of April.
Mr. LEWIS. Okay.
Mr. GOLDIN. But as of the Gore-Chernomyrdin Commission, we have opened up another layer of management oversight where I will personally be involved in a meeting with the Russian leadership to validate the funding.
We have made a budget recommendation, and with the exception of $100 million that this committee gave to us, additional, in the 1998 budget, all the cost growth of the Space Station is being handled within the NASA budget without impacting the American taxpayer and asking for more funds. I think this is a very important point I want to make to you, Mr. Chairman, and to you, Mr. Stokes, and to you, Mr. Mollohan.
NASA is a responsible agency, and because we have been achieving even greater efficiencies, we have been able to absorb the issues and problems we have.
One last point I would like to make with regards to the Space Station, in terms of overrun, the overrun is on the order of $900 million, and that is about a 5-percent overrun. For a program of this magnitude, it is not desirable, but it is within the ground rules we have for all other programs at NASA.
We have added monies because we thought it was the responsible thing to do. Based on our experience on the Shuttle/Mir program, we made a decision to build a U.S. crew return vehicle capable of taking seven astronauts back. This will make the Space Station much safer. That was a new start we put into this year's budget, and we also have an additional $250 million, which was approved last year for assurance against a Russian further schedule slip.
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So, even though the program has grown, the overrun itself is on the order of $900 million, or about 5 percent of the program, and I want to come back to my second point.
This is not where NASA is coming back and saying we are asking the American people for more money. We have taken all the growth, overrun and additional growth, for the CRV and the Russian program out of efficiencies and priorities in the NASA program.
With that, I would want to close by saying we are committed to deliver to this Nation and the world a Space Station that will revolutionalize research in the 21st century.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
[The information follows:]
"The Official Committee record contains additional material here."
COST OF RUSSIAN DELAY
Mr. LEWIS. Mr. Goldin, let's dwell just for a moment, and perhaps we can have an exchange here relative to the costs that you cite.
I rememberwe all remember very, very clearly that session, more than a couple of Congresses ago, in which Democrats and Republicans came together relative to the Station, and we committed ourselves to a specific dollar amount per year to the Station. $2.1 billion per year was going to be the figure that we try to keep ourselves within, and we were dealing with the reality that there was a lot of pressure from the House in general, and this growing problem was before us of budget restraint across the board and competing programs.
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At that point, as I am remembering, we were anticipating a total cost for Station of somewhere just beyond $17 billion, and within that package, I believe there was a $3 billion reserve. So the actual program cost was close to $14 billion.
I now understand that we are anticipating a total of cumulative costs of close to, if not just beyond, $20 billion upon completion, if you add all of those figures together, and that somewhat would suggest that the $800 million figure is less than we might measure as we look at those dollar figures.
Now, I may be wrong somewhere, but, to me, $17 billion guestimated completion cost with a $3 billion reserve means that we have eaten up the reserve, which we had hoped that we would not. You took the $14 billion figure, and you went to $20 billion. You are talking about, really, an increment of $6 billion upon a completion, and that is a considerable jump, not quite 50 percent, but I am extrapolating those figures. One might measure them to be extreme, but I think it is a fair line of questioning that we might be faced with on the floor. So I think maybe we need some help with that.
Mr. GOLDIN. I would be pleased to answer.
I want to say that the reserve is there because we did not know a lot of things. You know, this is a very, very difficult development. We felt it was crucial to replenish the reserves, and that was one of the reasons that we replenished that $900 million of overrun. We still retain $1.5 billion in reserves today. So, in effect, after reserves are gone, that is the first point I want to make, but I also want to make another few points.
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Let me come back and say $17.4 billion is the number we stated. We have had about $900 million worth of growth. We have chosen to add two items, one beyond our control. When we signed up to the program, we assumed that our partners would pay their share of the bills. There is one way that we can control in the broadest sense an independent Nation that does not pay their bills.
The Russians have not paid their bills, and we suffered an 8-month slip on the service module, but an even bigger schedule impact subsequent to that. This has caused a significant schedule delay and disruption.
Based on the experience with Mir, we have made a decision to put in the crew return vehicle. In our parlance, it has grown, but I do not consider that to be a bad thing because safety is very, very important, and 10 years from now, we could have a serious collision.
Let me explain to you the basis for that because I think it is very important to understand, and I will just use this bottle of water and this cup to make an explanation. Let's assume we have the Space Station in this space between here, and this is a Soyuz vehicle and that is a Soyuz vehicle. If we have a problem, a fire, which we experienced on Mir, all we have is depressurization, and we have six astronauts on board and all of them are on this side of the Station. If this could only carry three astronauts, only three could come back.
This came home very clear to us after the two situations we had on Mir, and we had not had long-term operation in space. And when we designed the Space Station, we truly believed that a three-person crew return vehicle would be acceptable.
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We had long talks in debriefing our astronauts when they came back, and based on those debriefings, we said we must have a crew return vehicle capable of carrying six people.
Then, when we took a look at the research needs with Dr. Nicogossian, the Station is capable of handling seven people. We wanted to increase the research productivity. So, we designed the crew return vehicle capable of taking seven people. So, with seven people on board and a crew return vehicle with seven here and seven here, no matterif we have a problem anywhere in the Station and we have the distribution with seven astronauts being in one place, we could bring them back.
We view this as a constructive change to the basis of the program, and as I said, the money for that, which is about $670 million in the 1999-to-2003 timeframe, it was taken out of efficiencies in the NASA budget. We felt this was the responsible thing to do.
Sometimes in history, one could play the budget game and meet a specific level, and then I could come by as administrator and, 10 years later, a problem could happen. I personally feltand I want you to understandI was the driving force behind this decision. So that is another $670 million.
The second area relates to the Russians delaying the service module by 8 months. We were very, very concerned, and although the Russians started paying their bills, we wanted to set out on a contingency program that began to give us every increase in flexibility in case the Russians would have further problems.
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So we added openly another $250 million to the program to build the interim control module and handles some design changes to the Station.
So those are two things that in my mind had to be done. I do not view it as overrun, and I view it as just prudent business decisions. That is about $1.8 billion. So that is $17.4 billion plus $1.8 billion.
The remaining $2 billion that gets you to this $21.3 billion that you are referring to is not added money to the program, and that is the impression that I want to clear up. If I take a line and I draw that line in June of 2002, where we said delivery was going to be complete with the U.S. habitation module coming up, that gives you the $17.4 billion.
Our new schedule has the last item being delivered in December of 2003, and that is the U.S. habitation module. However, we have added some equipment to the Space Station, and we do not have to wait until delivery of the U.S. habitation module to get a crew of six onboard. It happens much earlier in 2002 because we have a third node.
So, in effect, we will be doing about 80 percent of the research. During all of that timeand it is just a question of how one takes a look at the bookkeeping of the situation.
My only point is, it is not additional money being added to the program. It is just picking a point in time to determine when we declare development complete.
Page 14 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. LEWIS. Mr. Goldin, I am not sure that your formal statement has that clear outline. If it does, that is helpful. If not, I would like to have it supplemented.
Mr. GOLDIN. I will tell you, I would be happy to submit for the record the description I just gave you, and, in fact, I will put in the actual dates and the
Mr. LEWIS. It would be helpful.
[The information follows:]
Mr. GOLDIN. Let me explain why I am probing this, this way. I can easily in discussing with my colleagues, whether in small groups or one to one or on the floor, explain the CRV and the need to be assured that we can remove our entire crew. It is a line of discussion that leads to reasonably, easily testifying where we may have gone.
Time delays is another question, and they eventually take us to the point of saying the actual cost of Russian lack of commitment and time delays has been X. ''And when you are dealing with a bill like yours, Mr. Lewis,'' they would say to me, ''where we are talking about significant reductions in desired programming for X and Y housing program''or some would suggest VA medical care, although that is not really a problem with our bill, but, nonetheless, you can see in the line that one is suddenly faced with.
I think it is important that you help us develop the answers to that discussion. I think it is also very important that our Russian partners understand just how serious this is.
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Mr. GOLDIN. It has been a major disruption.
Let me explain to you part of the problems that we had, and that is, the service module got delayed 8 months, but we added a few extra logistic flights to protect the schedule in case the Russians did not have money for progress vehicles.
Mr. LEWIS. Excuse me just a moment. Have you met Mr. Frelinghuysen?
Mr. GOLDIN. Yes.
Mr. LEWIS. Would you come down here and say hello? This is Mr. Frelinghuysen.
Mr. FRELINGHUYSEN. I would be happy to. You do not like the separation?
Mr. LEWIS. I do not like this separation. Thank you.
He is very shy. He kind of tends to stand aside with those members who do not show up. So I cannot have that happen.
Page 16 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. GOLDIN. In any case, we had two logistics flights up for the Space Station to protect the schedule in case the Russians did not deliver propellent to the Space Station.
In fact, yesterday, we had Mr. Koptev and his Russian counterparts out to the Naval Research Laboratory to see what the interim control module looked like, to have an understanding that it really was there to protect the schedule.
Then, because the Russian slipped 8 months, the Europeans said, ''We want to hold the delivery date for our Columbus orbital facility.'' So, being a good partner, we moved out some of our deliveries a little further, and then we added the center fusion accommodation module. So, when you make a slip in the schedule of 8 months, it has a much bigger impact than an 8-month slip.
The point I want to make is, if you add up all the numbers and say I am going to draw a line in the center of 2003, you know, the $21.3 billionbut, again, I want to emphasize that $2 billion from the schedule delivery date or when we think operations is going to begin until the center of 2003, it is not additional money to the program, and that gives a misconception to those who think we are going to take more money out of the Federal Treasury and pay for it. That is the distinction point I want to make now.
One gets into accounting practices, and I do not want to say that people are wrong. I just want to make the point, there is no additional money beyond the $1.8 billion that I outlined for you, and we will be very happy to show you our research plan so that you will see that with the third node we are putting up, we get six crew members up there much earlier than
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Mr. LEWIS. That is a very important item.
Mr. GOLDIN. By the way, we said completion would occur when we got those six crew members up there.
Mr. LEWIS. Right.
Mr. GOLDIN. So, we will now be ready for research with six crew members a lot earlier.
I will outline it in a thorough written document that I will submit to this committee.
[The information follows:]
PERMANENT CREW CAPABILITY ABOARD ISS
The space station redesign activity in 1993, and the subsequent transition team activity to accommodate $2.1 billion annual funding levels, resulted in the ''Alpha'' space station design, presented to the President on September 7, 1993. First element launch was planned in September 1998, with establishment of permanent habitation by a four-person crew in September 2003. The projected cost for development was $19.4 billion. The plan also indicated that negotiations were ongoing regarding the participation of Russia in the program.
Page 18 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC In November 1993, the Russians were included in the program. NASA revised the design, enhancing the capability with the establishment of six-crew capability versus the four-person capability of the Alpha design, and reflecting a projected completion of development in June 2002. The accelerated development schedule and the provision of station components by the Russians resulted in a revised development estimate of $17.4 billion-a net savings of $2 billion.
Despite many changes that have occurred since then, including the loss of some of the accelerated development schedule, the current plan provides six-person crew capability in November 2002, just five months later than the revised sequence, but still ten months earlier than originally planned in the Alpha design.
Six-crew capability is established following the delivery of Node 3 and the completion of its outfitting. The cumulative cost for development at that point in time will be $19.7 billion, a $2.3 billion increase over the initial commitment of $17.4 billion, but only $300 million above the $19.4 billion Alpha estimate for a later, four-person capability.
Remaining development work beyond that point primarily represents station capabilities and research facilities beyond those envisioned in both the Alpha configuration and the revised 1993 configuration after the Russians were added.
After FY 1998, the emphasis in ISS funding begins to turn from expenditures for hardware production to a greater level of expenditures for assembly and test, research and operations. This reflects the beginning of the transition to an operational program.
Mr. LEWIS. It will be helpful to us.
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I have gotten us off track a bit, Mr. Stokes, but please go ahead.
ABSORPTION OF COST OVERRUNS
Mr. STOKES. Thanks, Mr. Chairman.
Just one question. Just prior to the Chairman's question, you talked about the cost overruns and the absorption of those costs within NASA through efficiencies and so forth.
Mr. GOLDIN. And prioritization.
Mr. STOKES. Right. But it would seem to me that in this absorption, the cost within NASA, that they also come at the expense of other NASA programs. I would think mostly your Space Science programs.
Mr. GOLDIN. I am glad you asked that question. We have added $700 million in the 5-year period of the Space Science program. The Space Science program is richer today than any time in the prior decade.
We are starting two new programs in the sun-earth connection to understand the relationship that the sun and the earth do, better weather predictions, and understand how to build more predictive weather models. We have added new programs in astrophysics.
So, rather than taking away, we have added to the Space Science program. In the Earth Science program, we have added two new spacecraft, what is called a QuikScat, which is a scatterometer which helped us determine the El Niño conditions 6 months in advance. It failed. The Japanese satellite was unfailed. So, within one year, we are going to launch a stand-alone satellite. We put that in the budget.
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We started the LightSAR program in Earth Science, and you know why we were able to do it? The Earth Science program proved a faster, better, cheaper philosophy. It cut its cost at half-a-billion dollars in the 5-year plan, and on top of that, we added over $150 million of research money into the Earth Science account.
Mr. STOKES. So you have not cut any programs, then.
Mr. GOLDIN. No, we have added programs. That is why I am so proud of this NASA team.
COST OF RUSSIAN DELAY
Mr. LEWIS. Connected directly with what Mr. Stokes is asking are two points. We are going to have people suggest that the Russians, because of lack of commitment and otherwise, have cost us x. You need to help us really get to that, both in terms of time delay, et cetera, because we have got to be able to respond, but beyond that, the point that you just made, the 8-month service module delay, it had an effect beyond the 8 months.
Mr. GOLDIN. Yes, it did.
Mr. LEWIS. It seems to me valid, if you accept that, not to delay launches any further.
What would be the cost of further delay in the service module, and is it acceptable?
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BENEFITS FROM RUSSIANS
Mr. STOKES. Could we add to that, Mr. Chairman, just the fact thatI can see us on the floor being questioned about how we can understand what the Russians are getting from this, but what are we getting from it?
Mr. LEWIS. We have gotten on track here.
Mr. GOLDIN. What are we getting from the Russians? I just want to write these down.
Mr. LEWIS. You are suggesting what they are getting, but what are we getting?
Mr. GOLDIN. Yes, right. And then there is the service module slip.
Let me deal with the service module. We believe that the service module is 2 to 3 months late today. The Russian Space Agency believes that they have a work-around plan that can hold the schedule for the service module. We are skeptical, and we have told them so.
We have set up a series of milestones to track the service module. They have the flight article which is being assembled and should be done, if my memory is correct, by May 10th. We will track that.
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They have 420 of 1,500 pieces of hardware. So they have made a lot of progress, and they have specific delivery dates for the rest of the hardware. We are tracking that.
I think the remaining pieces of hardware are due by the end of March, and a complete assembly is due on May 10th.
They have what they call a complex test facility which is a facility where they check out the individual boxes and make sure the whole system works before they do the final test on the system. That complex test facility testing should be done by June 10th.
They plan on shipping the flight assembly to RSN Energia on May 10th and do about a month worth of system testing, and then, if that is successful, they say they will ship it down to Baikonur where they will do final system testing and preparations for flight. They feel they could pick up 2 months. They said they did that on the Priroda module, but we have set these milestones along the way, and for the record, I will submit details of what those dates are and the specific pieces of hardware so the committee could track it along with us.
[The information follows:]
"The Official Committee record contains additional material here."
Mr. GOLDIN. Now, we have an ability because we put some flexibility in our schedule, anticipated problems, that we could absorb up to 4 months delay in the service module and still hold subsequent deliveries.
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If the service module is 6 months late, which have been some of the worst case estimates, it will cost us about 2 months. I am not prepared to give you a specific answer, but, certainly, for the record, we can answer that question.
Mr. LEWIS. As you know, these questions are going to be extending themselves through the legislative year.
Mr. GOLDIN. I think they are very fair questions, and we will be able to answer it, but our sense is, right now, we are about 3 months behind. We could absorb four, but we cannot absorb any more than that.
Now, if we have a 4-month delay, there will be a minor cost. If there is a 6-month delayand we have no reason to believe that, but I want to answer your question in full to look at the contingency planningwe will give you an answer to that.
Mr. LEWIS. As you know, Director Goldin, Mr. Stokes and Mr. Mollohan, colleagues on both sides of the aisle, have played a major role in keeping this process alive over several years, and this is the year that I expect to have some very serious probing. So we are looking for some of these answers to be prepared for that discussion ahead of us.
Mr. GOLDIN. I have to say it has been a very frustrating experience for our people. It is very hard when you have a complex program to have to make changes to it, and just a small change when you have 10,000 people working on a program, it rattles through every element. However, we are stepping up to it.
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MIR LESSONS LEARNED
Let me then address Mr. Stokes' question. Mr. Stokes, we have had experience mainly in short flights on the Shuttle. The ability to work with the Russians on the Mir Space Station has caused a significant change in how the designing, how we are planning to operate, and how we are planning to do research on the International Space Station.
We have changed the design with regards to safety. One major finding was that crew return vehicle. Secondly, we are changing how we deal with fire safety.
We found that the Russians had an approach where in case a fire broke out, there was a master switch to shut off all ventilation to prevent propagation of the fire through the vehicle. We are now putting in such master switches on our system.
When the Russians had the depressurization problem, they had many cables going in between modules, and our astronaut, Michael Fall, had to literally cut those cables, and it took time to disconnect and cut cables. We are changing the way we route cables on the Space Station from a safety standpoint.
We are looking at putting an additional EVA port air lock on the system because that is another experience that we gained with the Russians. They had multiple air locks. They have different levels of redundancy that was much more robust than we had.
In an operational sense, we were spending much too much money on detailed planning because, on a 2-week flight, we found that the astronauts had to have every minute planned because you only had 2 weeks up in space. The Russians have a much more flexible system where the crew is much more in command of how they decide what to test and to be done during the day. It is more effective and much less expensive. We are able to validate our docking mechanisms.
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For the record, I will submit a full list of all the activities, but I wanted to give you a sense of this, and just in a science area, we were able to establish how to be much more productive in building protein crystals. So, when we have the International Space Station, a structured drug design is going to be more effective.
[The information follows:]
MIR LESSONS LEARNED
The Shuttle/Mir Phase I program is scheduled for completion with the return of Astronaut Andy Thomas at the conclusion of STS91, currently scheduled for early June 1998. To date, the experience with long-duration missions on Mir has taught us a multitude of lessons relating to the reality of living and working in space aboard a permanent laboratory station. These lessons have all been entered into a database.
The lessons that NASA has learned during the Phase I Program range from such special design considerations as the arrangement of lines and cables, which on Mir were draped freely through open hatchways between modules, to the Russians' use of multiple airlocks for EVAs. The operational lessons we learned when the accidental depressurization of Spektr required immediate closure of the hatches caused us to take another look at the current design of the ISS. NASA learned another lesson during that experience relating to the design aspect of location and accessibility of emergency equipment like fire extinguishers and breathing masks.
Experience with emergency situations aboard Mir is unique. Because such occurrences cannot be simulated with any acceptable fidelity on the ground, NASA gained valuable experience with the crew's psychological reaction to emergency situations. Dealing with the loss of cabin pressure in Spektr and reestablishing safe onboard conditions in short order was an invaluable object lesson for NASA. At other times, our astronauts repeatedly got hands-on experience with Mir losing attitude control and going through the appropriate recovery procedures, dealing with free drift periods, momentum wheel management, attitude optimization, and power generation management. One recent EVA, on April 6, 1998, when Mir's roll control jets on the boom jet assembly ran out of fuel during the spacewalk, while not hazardous for the crew, provided another such experience applicable to future ISS operations. In nearly two decades of experience operating the Space Shuttle, NASA has a set of established procedures for reaction control venting under reduced proximity contamination with jet effluents, and the usage of external telerobotics for viewing and inspection that is quite different from those utilized on Mir.
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Space Station operational procedures which are difficult to approximate and verify convincingly in ground simulators proved highly enlightening and instructive on board Mir. NASA was exposed to real application of the various redundancies the Russians employ for critical subsystems on board, such as life support, which demonstrated an impressive level of robustness and safety.
Finally, unique lessons applicable on ISS were learned in real time during joint international ground operations. This entailed development, often from scratch, of common flight procedures and procedural terminology, as well as the processes to adequately scope preflight science planning and definition for research activities on board a long-duration space laboratory. NASA received first-hand experience with realistic approaches to crew training for long-duration flights, as opposed to the short-duration Shuttle missions. This allowed NASA to develop a process for setting up effective central management of all aspects of crew training, operations, and multilateral integration.
New to NASA were such complex tasks as resupplying a space station for long duration missions which is not a requirement with shorter duration Shuttle missions. As a result of our experience with the Phase I Program, NASA has developed a joint consolidated cargo shipping and logistics process featuring single-path manifesting and inventory control as well as the joint management of equipment configurations, transfers and on-board stowage. This included the all-important payload safety certification which had to be uniform and integrated across the partnership between the two originally dissimilar space programs. Flying NASA astronauts on Mir, thus, provided not only unique real experience and expertise for planning and scheduling long-duration missions that will be commonplace on ISS, but also realistic mission operations for long-duration flights controlled at more than one mission control center.
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Mr. GOLDIN. On the Mir Space Station, in the bioreactor, we built cartilage, parts of kidneys. We are building breast cancer tumors right now. So we are able to develop techniques there.
Mr. LEWIS. I am concerned that we may get a little bit too far off track here.
Mr. GOLDIN. With regards to the International Space Station, because the Russians are present, we have a much bigger crew. We have much more power. We have much more volume, and we will have much greater research capability.
On top of that, the Russian research community has been at this long-term research a long time, and we have learned a lot from them.
Mr. LEWIS. Mr. Stokes has a follow-up question, but for our other members, we got sidetracked talking about the cost of the Russian delay. If you have questions about that, it would be fine now, but in the meantime, I do want us to get back on schedule here if we can.
SPACE SCIENCE BUDGET
Mr. STOKES. Mr. Chairman, I will be glad for us to get right back on track.
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I guess that I am still a little confused over Mr. Goldin's statement relative to space science.
Right now you have before us a proposal that will take an additional $128 million from Space Science this year. That is in addition toin the past 2 years, you have taken about roughly another $300 million out of Space Science. I do not reconcile your statement here this morning with these facts.
Mr. GOLDIN. Let me say that in our budget submittal this year, we assume that $50 million would come out of Space Science as part of the transfer authority we requested. That was in our base science proposal.
There was a significant amount of uncosted carry-over in our Earth Science and Space Science program, and when we took a look at the needs that they had, we were able to take out that $50 million, but if you take a look at all of the program fundingdo not look at dollars. Take a look at all the program funding. We have funded every single program we put in the 1998 budget and added three new programs to space science. It has everything they asked for, plus those programs, and if you look at the run-out for the 5-year period, we have added $700 million to the Space Science program.
Maybe Mal could answer. I did not quite understand the $128 million.
Mr. PETERSON. The numbers you reference are for the appropriation as a whole and not just for the Space Science. The discrepancy is that in thefor instance, in 1998, we are proposing a transfer of $128 million from the appropriation, $50 million from Space Science, $50 million from Earth Science, and a residual $28 million from other accounts.
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In the long term, what the Administrator is saying is correct. If you look at the appropriation and the accounts within it, Space Science is up significantly over last year's plan.
Other accounts within the appropriation, particularly mission communications, are down, and there are savings, for instance, in Earth Science that Mr. Goldin referred to for the technology insertion that we have had, which have enabled those budget numbers to come down.
Mr. STOKES. Mr. Chairman, do you want to get back to
Mr. LEWIS. I do, but I had mentioned, Mr. Goldin, that the reason for my colleague's probing here involves, among other things, questions being raised by very good friends of these programs and the authorizing committee.
I have within my account here a letter from George Brown, for example, that would request that we consider limiting the amount of transfer authority that we would provide or consider in the months ahead, and it is with concern about science programs that those kinds of expressions are being made, and we need to be able in full good faith and partnership to have these discussions so that they are comfortable as well as our being comfortable.
Page 30 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. GOLDIN. I want to come back and say this is a different NASA.
Mr. LEWIS. Frankly, I understand your point.
Mr. GOLDIN. Again, I want to say, we have started major new Space Science programs. We are starting the technology work for the next-generation space telescope. This is going to be 8.3 meters in diameter, three and a half times the size of the Hubble Space Telescope.
We have a whole variety of new programs, and we also have in this budget a discovery probe that is going to go to Europa to see if there is a water ice ocean.
So I will be happy to list for you all the programs we committed to in 1998, plus listing all the new ones we started, plus showing our research account, to establish that this science budget is giving more science.
[The information follows:]
SPACE SCIENCE PROGRAMS
Attached is a listing of Space Science programs for FY 1998. Charts regarding new FY 1999 programs and a breakout of our Research and Analysis and Data Analysis accounts to establish a true picture of our science budget.
"The Official Committee record contains additional material here."
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Mr. LEWIS. We may very well want to have an informal discussion about that.
Mr. GOLDIN. I would be pleased to do it, and I also want to come back to Earth Science. Earth Science reduced their budget $500 million because we have much lower-cost space craft because we are using new technology, and we had three recommendations made to us in the Earth Science account.
First, they said the research and analysis money was not enough, and we have added about $200 million in research analysis over the 5 years now.
Mr. PETERSON. Yes, 180 to be exact.
Mr. LEWIS. But the heart of this discussion centered around delays and living with commitments on the part of one of our major partners, where those delays cost us, and getting specific about that, and then that leads us to questions about transfer authority that is necessary because of X and Y. So it is that area that we are probing.
In that connection, Mr. Mollohan or others, do you have questions you want to follow through on there? You have been kind enough to be here on time.
RUSSIAN COST FLOW
Mr. MOLLOHAN. With regard to?
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Mr. LEWIS. The Russian cost flow and the add-on costs because of the delay, et cetera. Frankly, I am just trying to get us back on track. You have been very generous with your patience.
Mr. MOLLOHAN. What overruns are you projecting?
Mr. GOLDIN. About $900 million. Approximately $800 million, or $817 million to be exact, is what we project for Boeing. Now, Boeing said
Mr. MOLLOHAN. $800 million for Boeing?
Mr. GOLDIN. Yes.
Boeing has contended that they are going to keep their overruns to about $600 million, and we have been
Mr. MOLLOHAN. Just on that, how are they going to do that?
Mr. GOLDIN. They
Mr. MOLLOHAN. As I understand, they are experiencing a degrading rate of $20 million a month.
Mr. GOLDIN. Not anymore. For the last 6 months, they had been managing right to plan.
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Mr. MOLLOHAN. Which is what?
Mr. GOLDIN. Dollars per month?
Mr. MOLLOHAN. It would have to get down to 3 to 4 million, wouldn't it, to meet this?
Mr. GOLDIN. The $20-million figure you saw is the problem we had when we had a runaway condition about 6 months ago.
Since that time, their managementand if you will recollect, at that time, they got zero award fee.
Mr. MOLLOHAN. Right.
Mr. GOLDIN. The management at Boeing took major steps to restructure their program. They changed their management theme, and for the last 6 months, they have been managing for the plans.
However, NASA felt that we wanted to be able to have a number that we had confidence in. So we added about $200 million, just in case Boeing had further problems.
Page 34 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. MOLLOHAN. I am sure you have done this for the Committee, but in the context of this hearing, I would like a short version. Why are we into a cost-plus contract here? I am sure there is a good reason for it.
Mr. GOLDIN. Oh, sure.
Mr. MOLLOHAN. Philosophically, why are we doing a cost-plus?
Mr. GOLDIN. The Space Station is a very complex system, and
Mr. MOLLOHAN. No other model
Mr. GOLDIN. It is not a production contract where the design is done and you could go in and introduce hardware. It is one-of-a-kind hardware with constantly changing interfaces.
Mr. MOLLOHAN. All right. I accept that.
Mr. LEWIS. Plus, it is a good question.
BOEING'S PERFORMANCE AND PRODUCTION PROBLEM
Mr. MOLLOHAN. Certainly.
Page 35 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC How much of this overrun is Boeing's performance and production problem? How much of it is slippage?
Mr. GOLDIN. Of the $900 million overrun, we believe Boeing is going to have $800 million of which they say they think they havethey are saying they think they will have $600 million, but we put $200 million on top of that because we expect other problems to occur.
About $100 million is a problem on the NASA side. That is what we consider overrun.
Now, what is the cause of the schedule slippage? In the limit, one could say $2 billion, but when we started, I was saying that that is not added money, and we have changed the way we deliver systems up to the Space Station. So that, we are actually doing research during that period of time.
Do you know of another way to answer the question, Malcolm?
Mr. PETERSON. Well, yes. I guess there is one point. We will have six-person research capability up there at the end of 2002. We will be delivering some hardware, a habitation module in 2003, but if you look at the budget makeup that has been submitted originally, the research program and operations of the research program and operations of the Station has about $1.3 billion in FY 2003, $1.3 billion in FY 2004.
What is coming down tremendously is the development content. Unfortunately, because we are moving the final piece of the Station's assembly hardware to the next year (2003) we are getting tagged with adding into the development cost the cost of operations for the period of the schedule slip. Even though we are doing up to 80 percent, of the total budget in 2003 and even more than that, up to 90 percent in FY 2004 for the research and operations program we had already built in.
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Mr. LEWIS. But please rememberI think Mr. Goldin understands, but, remember, our challenge is we are going to have people who are concerned about other programming within the whole budget saying, ''Look, this thing is getting out of hand in terms of cost. The Russians are the reason. They have delayed. Give us the precise items of what this delay costs, why you have requested this transfer, what have you done to science programs,'' and they are going to be asking us to be very specific, and they will have their own challenges. So that foundation is very important.
Mr. GOLDIN. Mr. Lewis, again, I would like to come back to a very, very basic point. A, the science program is stronger in 1999 than it was in 1998.
Mr. LEWIS. Well, that is an important point.
Mr. GOLDIN. It is stronger. There is more science in 1999 than there is in 1998, A.
B, with the exception of $100 million, which was appropriated in 1998, all of the cost has been handled within the NASA budget. We are not asking for more money.
In fact, NASA is one of the few agencies in going for fiscal 1998 to fiscal 1999 whose budget is actually going down. If you go into the development agencies, there has been the biggest increase in history for R&D agencies, and NASA's budget went down, not up. Yet, we have absorbed this. This is a very major statement to the American people about how we manage at NASA.
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Mr. LEWIS. My colleagues, do you want to follow on here at all?
Mr. KNOLLENBERG. I have questions, but I think I could probably conclude those in the normal sequence of things. You are trying to tie up, Mr. Chairman, this particular
Mr. LEWIS. Actually, we are not going to complete this by any matter of means, but I wanted to have it out. It came from the initial comments of Mr. Goldin. It is an area that is of major importance to us. I would hope that we will have formal and informal discussions of this in detail long before we find ourselves on the floor with these questions.
RUSSIAN FUNDING COMMITMENTS
Mr. FRELINGHUYSEN. I just had one question. The Russian funding commitments must be set, referring to your formal comments on page 10, and I quote, ''The positive accomplishments I have outlined and budget projections I have discussed could be threatened by any further performance difficulties on the part of our Russian partners.'' Then you go on to say, ''The concern is not one of quality. Our confidence in Russian technical capability remains unshaken.''
While I do not have last year's testimony, this is not much different than last year's testimony, is it?
NATIONAL PRESTIGE VS PERSONAL SAFETY
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Mr. GOLDIN. That is correct.
Mr. FRELINGHUYSEN. But to the casual observer, their view of performance difficulties may be a little different than yours. It seems almost like the Russians are more concerned about national prestige than they are with personal safety. That is what I get from my constituents, and I just wondered. You are saying there is absolutely no problem with the Russian technical capability. What do you mean, though, by performance difficulties? If they are not technical, what are they?
Mr. GOLDIN. Let me come back and say the Russians have taught us much more than we knew about safety. There is this perception on the part of the American public that the Russians do not treat space as a place for safety with their cosmonauts. The Russians have an incredibly designed Space Station with a much higher level of redundancy than we have, and, in fact, we are modifying the International Space Station to bring it up to some of the safety standards that the Russians taught us.
Mr. FRELINGHUYSEN. You have told us that, and that message seems to be somewhat lost. Often, we have a higher degree of concern about the personal safety of our astronauts. You are saying that is not
Mr. GOLDIN. I would be pleased to have our astronauts tell you. David Wolf, I talked to him before he went up, and he said he had more of a concern about the Shuttle flight up than he did on being on the Mir Station, not that he said it was unacceptably unsafe, but the Russians have had 10 years or 11 years of continuous operations on the Mir Station without one fatality, and they have had very minor
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Mr. FRELINGHUYSEN. The reports to the average citizen, you know
Mr. GOLDIN. I cannot control the press. I could tell you the facts as they are, and we have had significant experience and are very impressed by the Russians and their safety standards.
They have had fires and collisions. They have lost systems. Their logistics and maintenance procedures are outstanding, and we have learned a lot. It is difficult for me to say because I take tremendous pride in what we do in America, but I have to look you in the face and say, from a safety standpoint, the Russians have done a terrific job.
The problem that they have is there is an incredible bureaucracy in Russia, and this is the only problem we have; that their bureaucracy does not fund things when they are supposed to, and I have tremendous regard for
RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN FUNDING/SAFETY ISSUES
Mr. FRELINGHUYSEN. But there has to be some relationship between their funding and these safety issues, or is there no relation?
Mr. GOLDIN. We have not seen any relationship between funding and safety. Funding impacts schedule, and because the Russians are not willing to compromise safety, they have slipped the schedule. When they slip the schedule, it costs us money, and when it costs us money, we get very unhappy. We have transmitted that to our Russian partners at the highest levels of their government.
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They did fund it last year, and what I said was they have the 1,500 pieces they need for the service module. They have 1,420 with a delivery schedule over the next month or so to get it, but the impact is not on safety.
Mr. LEWIS. I am afraid we really do have to move on. Joe, I know you have
RUSSIA PAYING CONTRACTORS
Mr. KNOLLENBERG. Just very quickly. I know that one of the things that could be causing this delay problem is the fact that I have heardand I know this has been true in other aspects of Russian involvement with the U.S.is that they are not paying their contractors. You may have talked about that. That is ongoing, isn't it?
Mr. GOLDIN. That is ongoing. That is an ongoing struggle, and the Vice President is meeting with Prime Minister Chernomyrdin today. We had discussions over the last 2 days with the Prime Minister and his Cabinet of Russia about this. We have set up a very specific schedule.
Now, to keep it going, what the contractors are doing is they are borrowing money against the promise of future payments by the Russian government, both the Khrunitchev Company and the RSC Energia Company. So that is where it stands.
Now, we have a series of very specific milestones which I am going to submit for the record that will track what we expect from the Russians between now and mid-May when we are going to have a meeting with our international partners to review the schedule and have a position for the Congress by the end of May.
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Mr. LEWIS. Let me repeat one more time, I am afraid we will not get through that which we need to do today if we continue much longer here, and while I apologize to my colleagues for this diversion, it is centered to what our discussion is going to be this year.
We recognize that we have got to not just gather information, but understand it as well. So we may ask you to come and have informal discussions with us in some depth.
Mr. MOLLOHAN. Mr. Chairman.
Mr. LEWIS. Yes.
Mr. MOLLOHAN. May I ask a question? What happens if the Vice President is not successful in getting money for the service module? Where would that money come from?
Mr. GOLDIN. I could answer it, if you want me. Do you want me to answer it now?
Mr. LEWIS. He just asked it. So you might as well get it out of the way.
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Mr. MOLLOHAN. No, no. Go ahead.
Mr. GOLDIN. No, no. Please, it is important.
We have set up a contingency plan. We took the first step last year with building the interim control module.
If we become convinced that the service module is not going to be deliveredit will be a year late, instead of a few months latewe will have to launch what we call the interim control module which the Naval Research Lab is building right now and suffer further schedule erosion waiting for the service module to come up a year from now. That would be the first line of defense.
The next line of defense begins to spend even more money where we would build a second interim control module and initiate the full-scale propulsion module work to replace the functions of the service module, and to build the environmental control equipment which we have scarred our system to handle. And then we would have to go independent of the Russians. That would be the next series of steps.
Mr. LEWIS. We are going to be getting into that as we go forward.
Mr. GOLDIN. Mr. Lewis, could I say something? I think that the questions that are being asked are very important questions.
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Mr. LEWIS. I do, too.
Mr. GOLDIN. They are ones that we have pondered, and we are prepared to spend whatever time it takes to make sure you have the information to form your own decisions.
FUNCTIONAL CARGO BAY
Mr. LEWIS. I appreciate that, and it will be very important as we go forward here.
If my colleagues will be patient, let me go forward. I would like to discuss several of these programs in order. The first element of the Space Station is the functional cargo block, which has been delivered to the Russian launch site, and it is expected to be launched in June of this year.
Last year when concern about the service module construction was being addressed, the FGB was modified. What were the exact modifications of the FGB's original configuration?
Mr. GOLDIN. Joe, do you want to handle that?
Mr. ROTHENBERG. I do not know the answer. Maybe Gretchen can.
Page 44 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. GOLDIN. Gretchen, do you know the exact modifications that were made to the FGB?
Ms. MCCLAIN. Yes.
Mr. LEWIS. Could you identify yourself?
Ms. MCCLAIN. Gretchen McClain. I am Deputy Associate Administrator for Space Station.
The mods that were made to the FGBs will allow people to refuel the FGBs with the progress resupply vehicle. We also changed some of the controls, so it would give us the control that we need to be able to continue to build the Space Station through the laboratory development.
Mr. LEWIS. What was the direct cost of those modifications?
Ms. MCCLAIN. The mod as well as the ICMs together, it was $250 million. I can give you the exact data, if you would like me to check it.
Mr. LEWIS. Why don't you give it to us in just a moment.
Ms. MCCLAIN. Okay.
Mr. LEWIS. In the meantime, what is the certified service life of the FGB, the modified FGB, and how does that differ from the service life prior to the modification?
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Ms. MCCLAIN. The FGB service life?
Mr. LEWIS. Yes.
Ms. MCCLAIN. What you got now
Mr. LEWIS. The modified.
Ms. MCCLAIN. The modifiedyour lifetime is still the same
Mr. LEWIS. Okay.
Ms. MCCLAIN [continuing]. The limitation or your avionics. It is almost just on a 500 base for your avionics limitation. That is where it is Q/A'd for.
We probably could extend that, but our testing is just under 500 days.
Mr. GOLDIN. The answer is $36.9 million.
Mr. LEWIS. Okay, thank you.
Is there an effort underway or plan to certify the FGB for a longer service life?
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Ms. MCCLAIN. Not at this point.
Mr. LEWIS. One of the modifications makes it possible to refuel the FGB. Will the United States have the capability to refuel the FGB, or can it only be refueled by Russian vehicles?
Ms. MCCLAIN. Only Russian vehicles.
Mr. LEWIS. Mr. Mollohan.
Mr. MOLLOHAN. No questions.
Mr. KNOLLENBERG. No questions.
STATUS OF SERVICE MODULE
Mr. LEWIS. In January, the Committee staff was briefed on the status of the service module. At that time, it was being reported that the service module was 2 months behind schedule, but Russian officials with a program were still assessing or assuring NASA that the module would be ready for the December 1998 launch. What information did NASA receive on January 15, 1998, the 1998 general designers review regarding the likelihood of service module being ready for launch in December, and were critical subcontractors expressing optimism on keeping that delivery date?
Page 47 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. ROTHENBERG. Well, when we were there, what we realized in January is that the funding for the subcontractors was still behind schedule, behind receiving funding. At that time, there were several pieces of equipment specifically for subcontracts who were saying they were not going to provide the hardware until they received payment for it because they had been promised that.
Shortly after that, Mr. Goldin received that message. He contacted the people over there, and at that point, Mr. Koptev came and visited us. I guess that was at the end of January, January 28th.
The contractors who were not delivering hardware at that point had finally agreed to go get the hardware to the manufacturing site, pendingnot pendingbased on the fact that they were going to receive payment sometime in mid-February.
At that time, they did not receive payment in mid-February, and that then raised a concern once again about the Russian payment schedule.
We do know at this point that, for all practical purposes, the Russians have continued assembling the service modules, hanging all the pieces together, and we are told, although we have no way to absolutely verify this, that they can proceed down this path until the end of March before they run out of pieces to put on because of lack of funding.
TRANSFER OF FUNDS TO RUSSIAN SPACE AGENCY
Mr. LEWIS. Approximately the U.S. equivalent of $20 million from the previously unfunded $79.5 million in 1997 funds for Russian contributions to the ISS partnership is being transferred to the Russian Space Agency this week, theoretically prior to the commencement of these discussions. How will we know that that has been transferred?
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Mr. GOLDIN. We have people in Moscow that go to the hardware floor, validate what is being said to see that it is being done, and I believe once a month, they review the books for the Russians to validate the numbers that are being told that are actually being transferred.
Mr. LEWIS. I am presuming that alarm bells will go off if you have some serious questions there.
Mr. GOLDIN. Yes, sir.
Mr. LEWIS. But then there is a similar transfer in April and the same question applies. I presumed you will give us the same answer.
Mr. GOLDIN. Yes. In fact, do you have that list?
Mr. Lewis, here are the items that we put on our list to check before we have our meeting in mid-May. The general designers review is April 27th. At the general designers review, they have all the subtier suppliers. So we get a chance to see if the subtier suppliers got their money, and if the hardware was delivered. We sit through their general designers review observing.
Then we have verification of funding for the service module's subcontractors and vendors. The remaining 1997 funds will be transferred to RSA and flow to the subs by the end of March, and by 1998, the Russians are to have their budget plans completed for 1998.
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Flight article hardware deliveries are due on March 30th. The Energia software support final release is late April. The second phase complex stand integrated testing is complete mid-May. That schedule is to be complete, and the flight article assembly completion is to be done by mid-May.
So we have these check marks that we are going to check off to see if they are meeting the things they said they told us they would do.
Actually, I think the second phase complex test and integrated testing will be complete in mid-June, not mid-May.
FUNDING AND SCHEDULE CONCERNS
Mr. FRELINGHUYSEN [presiding]. Mr. Goldin, on May 21st of last year, you wrote to Chairman Lewis explaining the schedule changes which had been approved by this Space Station Control Board. In that letter, it was noted that the situation would continue to be monitored by takingand I quote''advantage of opportunities such as the upcoming Russian general designers review this fall''. What indications did you receive at the fall GDR regarding funding and schedule concerns?
Mr. GOLDIN. Gretchen.
Ms. MCCLAIN. In the fall, that was a point in time when we had just gotten a decree of the $99.5 million that was signed by Yeltsin. At that point in time, $20 million had flown, and they had given that to the subcontractor. The remaining was yet a schedule of information that they were going to have money coming out in different months. They have not received that money at the end of this year. We just got confirmation that additional $20 million for 1997 has been given to RSA.
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FUNDING LEVEL FOR SERVICE MODULE COMPLETION
Mr. FRELINGHUYSEN. Relative to Russian funding, what is the funding level required for calendar year 1998 to ensure completion of a service module?
Mr. ROTHENBERG. There are two pieces. One, we need the remainder of the FY calendar year 1997 funds, which at this point is $59 million. Plus, it is about $300 million fiscal yearcalendar yearI am sorry1998 funding, $100 million of which is already included in the budget, $200 million is in the supplemental.
CRITICAL ELEMENTS FOR SUCCESS FOR SPACE STATION
Mr. FRELINGHUYSEN. In his letter to you of March 26, 1997, Lieutenant General Stafford reported on the results of his trip to Russia and the assurances that he had that funding would be made available for the service module. In addition, General Stafford also obtained information with regard to the science power platform and the progress of the Soyuz vehicles.
Recent emphasis has been placed on the service module, but these other elements are also critical to success of the Space Station. Do you have any concerns at this time that any of these three elements will not be ready in time for their scheduled launches or usage in conjunction with assembly of the Station?
Mr. GOLDIN. The service module still gives us concern. To date, there seems to be progress on the solar power platform on the Soyuz use.
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Mr. ROTHENBERG. But they all require the same funding.
Mr. FRELINGHUYSEN. What is the schedule of technical risks associated with each of these three elements of the Station?
Mr. GOLDIN. Right now the biggest schedule of risk is on the service module, and they appear to be performing on the solar power platform on the Soyuz, but as Mr. Rothenberg said, they have to draw on the same account for all three, and we expect them to fully fund 1998 at $300 million.
Mr. LEWIS [presiding]. Mr. Mollohan.
Mr. MOLLOHAN. Mr. Chairman, that is Russia's contribution; is that correct?
Mr. GOLDIN. Yes.
Mr. MOLLOHAN. What part does the assurance program play in this? Is there any money in the assurance program to be used for this purpose?
Mr. GOLDIN. No. By the end of 1998, to the best of my knowledge, there will not be any monies going from the United States to Russia.
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When we say Russian assurance, we are paying for assuring ourselves against problems occurring in Russia, not paying the Russians to do additional things. I think our terminology may be bad.
Mr. MOLLOHAN. Would you please restate that?
Mr. GOLDIN. The $250 million for what we call Russian assurance is to protect the United States and our partners, at least a first step in it, to protect against further slippage by the Russians not paying their bills.
Mr. MOLLOHAN. In other words, to supplement their payment?
Mr. GOLDIN. Not to supplement their payment. We are building in the United States laboratories an interim control module. That is part of the Russian assurance program. We are making modifications to the Space Station to accommodate that interim control module. This is not giving the Russians more money for slipping.
Mr. MOLLOHAN. You say there is no money in your 1999 budget for the assurance program. Was $50 million reprogrammed in 1998 from the Space Shuttle account for this item?
Mr. PETERSON. That was done in the Appropriations Act last year, yes, sir.
Page 53 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. GOLDIN. In 1998.
Mr. PETERSON. The 1998 Appropriations Act.
And that is what Mr. Goldin was referring to. That is the last $50 million for the $250 million of Russian program assurance and action that we took with the help of Congress last year.
Mr. GOLDIN. But we did not put any money in that account. We programmed that into that account.
Mr. PETERSON. Well, actually, I believe in the appropriations bill itself, you added sufficient funds to allow us to allocate $50 million to that account.
Mr. GOLDIN. I want to correct what I said. Actually, 1999 is $7 million, payments to the Russians, and then, thereafter, it is about $1.3 million a year for the Star City Moscow Liaison. So it is a very minor amount of money.
Mr. LEWIS. Thank you.
Mr. GOLDIN. This is another one of the misconceptions that comes through that we continue to fund the Russians when they are not performing, and I wanted to make it very clear that we are not funding to cover missteps in the Russian funding for their own activities. We are not covering it.
Page 54 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCSCIENCE POWER PLATFORM
Mr. LEWIS. Thank you.
The Russian Science Power Platform is scheduled for installation in July 2000 to provide additional power to Russian science elements and provides role control for the entire station. If there are delays for nonperformance in construction of the SPP, what option is available to perform the role control functions?
Mr. ROTHENBERG. One of the options would be to modify the ICM, the second ICM to put on a role control capability and then put some kind of thruster on
Mr. LEWIS. Small thruster?
Mr. ROTHENBERG. Right. That is the one option we are looking at right now.
Mr. LEWIS. You will tell us what the cost might be for that option, too?
Mr. ROTHENBERG. Of course.
Page 55 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. LEWIS. In addition to the Russian contribution in the form of the service module, the Space Station will have a heavy reliance on Soyuz and progress space vehicle. What is the current agreement with Russia regarding the modifications to Soyuz vehicle for cruise support?
Mr. ROTHENBERG. I believe that is under control, but let Gretchen answer that.
Ms. MCCLAIN. They are currently modifying the Soyuz to be ready in late 1999. It will accommodate about 95 percent.
Mr. LEWIS. Is it on schedule?
Ms. MCCLAIN. It is on schedule.
Mr. LEWIS. What is the current status of the Russian modifications to the progress vehicle for resupply to the station?
Ms. MCCLAIN. What they are doing is they have got a progress mound vehicle today that is being modified to be a progress M1. That has undergone to date. It will be available in 1999. Basically, it is changing out some of the tanks to be able to allow more fuel.
Mr. LEWIS. How many Soyuz and progress flights will be required through the end of 2003?
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Ms. MCCLAIN. Ten Soyuz flights and 33 progress flights.
Mr. LEWIS. Ten and 33?
Ms. MCCLAIN. That is right.
Mr. LEWIS. Do you have confidence that the Russians will be able to meet the commitment to this large number of flights, both from a financial as well as a manufacturing perspective?
Mr. GOLDIN. I want to jump in. We feel the Russians have to make a commitment to de-orbiting the Mir Space Station because
Mr. LEWIS. To de-orbiting?
Mr. GOLDIN. Yes, because they are expending valuable resources and industrial capability and building Soyuz and progress vehicles to Mir when we need them to build them for the International Space Station.
Towards that end and the announcement, the joint announcement, and the agreement we made at the Gore-Chernomyrdin Commission by July of this year, the Russians are to prepare a plan for how they are going to de-orbit the Mir Space Station.
It is our desire that the Mir Space Station be de-orbited in mid-1999, to provide flexibility in the production schedule, and to have the finances available to support the schedule.
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So it is very important and it will be a very positive signal that the Russians will send that they are going to de-orbit Mir and it will give us a much higher confidence in their ability to meet the progress and the Soyuz deliveries.
LESSONS LEARNED FROM RUSSIANS
Mr. LEWIS. Mr. Goldin, I think I said this to you personally, but not for the record. I would like my colleagues at least to know how I feel about this.
We could not have designed the variety of mix of experience that we have gained from dealing with Mir. We certainly would never have designed it, per se, but in terms of safety questions, in terms of all kinds of questions, like the CRV, the expansion potential, a variety and mix of great lessons learned as a result of this, I think it would be a mistake not to recognize formally that that has been a value to us. On the other hand, we would certainly not wish it again on another element of this program to go forward.
Mr. FRELINGHUYSEN. I just wanted to ask a question. Is it being de-orbited because you would characterize it as obsolete?
Mr. GOLDIN. It needs to be de-orbited because from a resource standpoint, it is not possible to keep both of those going, A, and, B, the facilities on board the International Space Station will be much more advanced, much more capable, much higher power levels, and much more conducive to research in the 21st century.
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OBSOLESCENCE OF MIR
Mr. FRELINGHUYSEN. So you are actually speaking to obsolescence when you make that type of comment.
Mr. GOLDIN. But you have to keep in mind one specific issue. The Mir Space Station does not belong to America. It belongs to Russia.
Mr. FRELINGHUYSEN. But I asked you whether it is being de-orbited, taken out of commission, because it is obsolete.
Mr. GOLDIN. Well, I will answer the question from the American standpoint. From our standpoint, when we bring home Andy Thomas in June of this year, as far as America is concerned, we have learned everything possible we could learn from the Mir Space Station.
Mr. FRELINGHUYSEN. This gets back to my earlier contention, which is we will be breathing a sigh of relief when he comes back. This gets to the public perception that the Mir is somewhat obsolete.
You are suggesting
Mr. GOLDIN. I am disagreeing with that.
Page 59 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. FRELINGHUYSEN. You are. So it is being taken out of orbit not because it is obsolete, but because there is another package that is technologically far more advanced, and since I do not think we have arrived at any mutual agreement as to what is obsolete relative to the Mir, what is built into the new package that addresses the issue of obsolescence?
Mr. LEWIS. If you will yield, let me intervene there. I think what Mr. Goldin was saying, but clarify it for the record, one of the reasons to be pushing for decommissioning is because otherwise we would have the Russians participant in a Space Station, and they also want to keep this functioning and use resources.
Mr. FRELINGHUYSEN. I understand there is a resource issue, but I am interestedwhat some might consider Mir to be obsolete at this point in history.
Mr. GOLDIN. Again, so it is clear for the record, I want to address it a different way. Mir was clearly not obsolete for our usage of it, and without our experience on Mir, we would not have learned and known what we know today. I do not consider it obsolete.
OBSOLESCENCE OF SPACE STATION
Mr. FRELINGHUYSEN. Well, I think it is great and appropriate that we celebrate our relationship with the Russians, and if you do not want to describe the Mir as obsolete, maybe you can address the issue as to our Space Station, what steps are we building into its technological base that would keep it from obsolescence.
Page 60 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. GOLDIN. Well, we learned a lot from Mir. We learned about corrosion with dissimilar metals. We are making changes in our design.
We have learned that when you take real cold lines and put it next to electrical cabling, over years the electrical cabling degrades, and, in fact, this was the situation in our own laboratory until we discovered that.
We have learned about fire suppression. We have learned about safety relative to crew egress. We have learned about operations. We have learned about how we should maintain the system and the kind of spares we should have on orbit. Those are the type of things we have learned, absolutely crucial.
The reason I want to answer your question, I could say from the American standpoint, we consider we have learned everything we can. The Russians have some opportunity for revenue sources, where other countries want to fly on board Mir to learn from it. That is why I am being very careful from the Russian standpoint. They may not consider it obsolete.
From our standpoint, we feel we have learned as much as we could possibly learn to build the International Space Station, but our concern is a more pragmatic one. We are concerned that the Russian Control Center, which we are working with in Moscow and Houston, may get into overload operating the Mir and the International Space Station. We are concerned just about handling logistics and the flow of equipment through Baikonur will be an overload situation.
And in light of all the Russian funding problems, we have expressed a concern to them that it is important to give us confidence and themselves confidence that they could meet all the production schedules for the Soyuz and the progress, and, clearly, there is the added aspect that I hope the Russians will recognize that the International Space Station will have much more power, much more volume, much more advanced communications, much more stable conditions, lower vibration levels for doing microgravity research. So it will be a much more advanced system.
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The only reason I am reluctant is I feel reluctant to speak for a sovereign nation about decisions they will have to make themselves, and that is the only reason I have not answered precisely the question.
RUSSIAN SPACE PROGRAM
Mr. FRELINGHUYSEN. I do not think any of us view the Russian space program in a vacuum. I mean, some of us traveled to that part of the world, and we see how aggressive the Russians are in terms of oil supplies and technology, their national oil company. The fact that they have to decommission at some point in time a lot of nuclear reactorsI mean, if one were to judge public attitudes as to how those problems developed and perhaps swing that over to the space program, it would indeed be worrisome.
So I am glad you have given us the higher level of reassurance that you have.
Mr. GOLDIN. 1999 is the year that we believe the Mir should come down. We hope the Russians agree with us.
Mr. FRELINGHUYSEN. Thank you.
Mr. LEWIS. Mr. Knollenberg, did you want to comment?
RUSSIANS FOCUS ON SAFETY
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Mr. KNOLLENBERG. Just very quickly, and I will be leaving shortly. So do not look upon that as being disinterested. I have another hearing.
I am encouraged by what you said about the safety. In fact, the focus of the Russiantheir technology and their redundancy and what have you, that surprises me a little bit, only because on another front in the nuclear field, they have anything but redundancy of the kind and quality that we have built into that system.
So I am just curious as to why they have put such a focus and such interest into the safety side in this situation. Where does that come from?
Mr. LEWIS. They certainly are presenting that question in a very interesting way.
Mr. GOLDIN. It is a very interesting question. I will give you but one example of where I have been impressed. If you take a look at their oxygen-generating system, they have two complete oxygen-generating units; then they have spare parts in case something goes wrong. If they have a problem with that, they use a technique they developed for nuclear submarines using oxygen-generating candles and they have a few months' worth of supply of those.
And then they have this logistics system that could take parts up and down if they don't have it. And then they have gasses of air, bottles of gas, of air, that they can breathe from. And, if all else fails, they come back in the Soyuz module.
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When we conceived our Space Station, we did not do that. We put redundancy in number but not function. And that is what really impressed us about the Russians.
And, you know, I am going to pursue an answer to that question. It is a very good question and I am going to have some discussion with Russian experts and try to understand that.
Mr. LEWIS. Well, Mr. Goldin, as you do that, Mr. Knollenberg has essentially crystallized for me at least one of the items to wonder about, a thing called international prestige. If you take the number of people who were contaminated in the nuclear circumstance and then you take a look at this, it is just an item worth contemplating.
Mr. GOLDIN. I will be happy to have open discussions with the Russians on the subject, with American Russian experts. But we entered, and this may be part of the problem, we entered with the same level of feeling as your constituents that boy, we in America know everything about safety.
And when our astronauts started coming back and telling us about their experience on the Mir and the level that the Russians go to with safety, our eyes began to be opened. And I guess it is a process that we will all have to go through.
Now, there still could be some problems that we don't know about but from everything we have seen, the Russians take an extra measure to try and be safe.
Page 64 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCSPACE STATION PRIORITY
Mr. LEWIS. Which leads me to one more question before I turn to my colleague, Mr. Stokes. In this country we have made a national commitment to building the International Space Station. The same commitment has been made by Japan, Canada and numerous countries in Europe through individual actions as well as the European Space Agency.
When Russia was brought into the partnership in 1993, I believe we expected them to make a similar commitment to Station, but there has been a noticeable lack of consistency in that commitment. We have touched on that in several ways already.
The question is very simple. Where does the Space Station fall in the priorities of both the Russian Space Agency and the Russian national government? You talked about the delivery of funds already being delayed but a certain level of delivery by way of the legislature is a very sizable additional chunk that must be asked of the legislature here shortly. So where are they in terms of that commitment?
Mr. GOLDIN. Russia is having significant problems across the board. People in the military don't get paid. People routinely in industries don't get paid, as they are transitioning to an open market. I think we talked about this last year but I think it is important to realize this again.
The Russians have set an incredible goal. Not only are they opening up their market to become an open market; they have transitioned from a controlled society to an open society. And I believe for the first time in 10 years their economy is actually now beginning to show some growth because they have been in decline.
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This is a problem that has plagued the entire Russian economy. It is not as though the space industry is different. So it has been across the board, including defense, which is very important to Russia.
Seeing that there is some improvement in the economy, hopefully that will reflect on how they go at it. On a priority standpoint I am assured, and these are their words, not mine, that this has a high priority and that they are going to go get it funded. But deeds are more important than words and we are going to look very carefully over the months ahead to see that it happens.
Now, we brought a tremendous amount of pressure to bear and they have put a significant amount of money in. Last year, after we brought those pressures to bear, they have slipped up on those $59 million. We are going to work on that. But we need to see deeds, not talk.
I want to provide a little discussion here. If you take the U.S. contribution to the International Space Station plus our partners' commitments, we are talking about a $40 billion program. And for the lack of $359 million or $259 million, we could be putting the program in jeopardy. This message was presented very clearly and very focussed to the leadership and they responded. Yesterday Prime Minister Chernomyrdin in the open press made a major commitment to the Space Station.
Mr. LEWIS. As you look up that paper relative to the cost of the delays, that paragraph, that summary, would be welcome.
Page 66 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. GOLDIN. The same that I just made?
Mr. LEWIS. Yes, what you just said.
Mr. GOLDIN. Okay.
Mr. LEWIS. Mr. Stokes.
Mr. STOKES. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. LEWIS. Thank you for your patience.
TRANSFERS BETWEEN ACCOUNTS
Mr. STOKES. Yes, sir. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. Goldin, my information was, and you correct me if I am wrong, that NASA has already transferred $462 million from the Space, Aeronautics and Technology Account to the Space Station in 1996, 1997, 1998. In addition, it appears likely that there could be further transfers from the space science of $50 million in 1999 and $35 million each in 2000 and 2001.
This would appear to be counter to NASA's stated intention of paying back space science funds beginning in 2001.
The question is do you agree or disagree with these figures?
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Mr. GOLDIN. Let me add in the broadest sense that science that will be performed on board the International Space Station is going to have not just every facility we had in the redesign in '93 but there will be significantly added capabilities in the broadest sense.
And the details of the numbers I would like to have Mal respond.
Mr. PETERSON. Indeed we have made adjustments between the various accounts to make sure that the principal focus, which is getting the Space Station constructed in order to have a place to accommodate these facilities, was maintained. So what we have done within the total availability for Space Station is to adjust the mix so that we kept the delivery dates for the research facilities phased appropriately with the availability for the Space Station to do that research. So what we actually did was rephase some of this hardware.
The second thing that we did of significance, and it seemed a fair amount of money, was to insert new technologies into the facilities that we are building.
The third major thing is that we were able to secure the agreement of our international partners to actually contribute major elements of research hardware to the Space Station in return for offsetting their launch support costs to us to avoid transfer of payments between the two countries.
So there has been a significant change from early days of what was going to be done by the United States with taxpayer money and what was going to be done by our international partners with their money. So all those things come together.
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Now, I believe when you look out far enough you are going to see that the research program runs $500 million a year. Starting in 2000 it goes to $500 million a year and stays at that high rate for the foreseeable future. As opposed to where it is now with some couple of hundred million dollar level, it is going to take a tremendous increase. And that is tied to its timing, the readiness for research on the Space Station.
Mr. GOLDIN. Mr. Stokes, I would like to add one element and then I would like Joe to comment. We made a commitment to have 900 principal investigators brought on board by the year 2000 and we are marching to that plan. So in terms of researchers, we are bringing them on board as planned.
And then not only are we going to have the research we promised in 1993 but I would like to have Joe just summarize all the additional research capability and we would like to submit for the record, Mr. Lewis, the enhancements we have made to the research on the Station and make it much more productive.
Mr. LEWIS. That would be helpful.
Mr. STOKES. Joe, I would be happy to hear from you.
Mr. ROTHENBERG. Let's see. A number of things we did. One of the things, not specific to the Station, but we added actually payloads for the assembly flights. We were able to add some science payloads to the assembly flights. We added, for example, we upped the number of mid-deck lockers assigned to science on the Shuttle from four to 17 per flight.
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ESA added four external positions on board to accommodate external pallets with payloads on them. We have added telescience, increased the bandwidth or the amount of data we can put up and down for telescience. We would like the investigators to operate from their remote facilities as if they were on board Station.
We have added wiring. We call it scars but we have added wiring capability to allow upgraded communications with the Japanese research module.
The window that was in the Space Station, when we looked at it, its size and its transmissivity or the kind of glass they used in it was not conducive to earth science so we improved the window capability so we can get better spectral transmission and a larger aperture.
Mr. LEWIS. Transmissivity?
Mr. GOLDIN. That is how much light gets through without getting fuzzy.
Mr. ROTHENBERG. And what wavelength, how much of the ultraviolet and how much of the infrared. We think that is very important for earth science.
We have added advanced isolation, vibration isolation for microgravity work, for microgravity experiments which, as you know, are very important.
Page 70 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Communications outage recorder so that there is no data loss if we have an outage of signal communication or loss of it during the exclusion.
There are a number of things we did in training. We added some training for the crews and people, but that is, I think, the highlights of the capabilities.
Mr. GOLDIN. We will, for the record, expand on that but it is a significantly more capable system, much more automated, requiring less crew attention. And then we have added the seventh astronaut that will make the science much more productive.
But I think the key thing that we have done is increase telescience, which allows individual investigators not to have to cut through NASA bureaucracy but from their own laboratories at the university will be able to directly uplink and access the Station. That will make it much more productive.
Mr. ROTHENBERG. More importantly, industrial researcher, who are not as accustomed to going to remote sitesthey do research in their own facilitieswill be able to do it the same way, using the Station.
[The information follows:]
ENHANCEMENTS TO THE RESEARCH CAPABILITY
NASA has implemented several enhancements which greatly improve the ISS research capability. Some of these enhancements include:
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Addition of a Communications Outage Recorder (COR) to ensure that no payload data is lost during communications dropouts;
Addition of an Environment Monitoring Package (EMP) to characterize the external environment for attached payloads;
Consolidation of U.S. payload crew training;
Development of a generic payload to verify payload interface consistency;
Addition of flight-like payload to the Multi-Element Integrated Test program;
Initiation of a Pre-Planned Product Improvement (PPPI) process which includes enhancement of ISS research capabilities as a high priority;
Manifesting of science payloads on Assembly Flights;
Increasing Shuttle middeck locker capability from 4 to 17 starting at UF3;
Development of a comprehensive set of ISS telescience enhancements to be phased in by assembly plus one year; increase Ku downlink bandwidth, enhance Ku uplink capability, increase video and audio capability;
Addition of wiring scars in Lab to support enhanced communications requirements; 1553 Payload Bus extended to JEM Exposed Facility; addition of Ethernet to COF;
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Upgrading of Lab nadir window with research quality glass; a low cost simple window rack structure to support early research; upgraded rack will be available at completion of assembly;
Completion of 1st Active Rack Isolation System (ARIS) Risk Mitigation Experiment (RME); ARIS RME planned for UF1 to demonstrate modification; and
Implementation of hardware commonality across payloads (e.g., laptop computers, subrack interfaces).
ESA has also added 4 external payload adapter sites on the ESA Columbus Orbiting Facility (COF) to accommodate external payloads and pallets.
In addition to the ISS platform enhancements, NASA is working hard to decrease hardware development times while taking advantage of advanced technology in all its research programs. By incorporating the latest technology into ISS research accommodations and facilities, we increase the efficiency and scope of ISS research efforts, as well as overall ISS operational efficiency and safety. Examples of advanced technology infusions include:
Web-based Internet commanding and data management;
Improved imaging sensors;
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Graphics workstation/virtual environment generator;
Crew worn sensors vs. rack-mounted medical monitoring equipment;
Digital video technology;
Specialized aluminum structures;
Solid state switching capability;
Improved radiation hardening;
High-efficiency DCDC converters;
Real-time balancing and re-balancing of spinning motors;
Passive vibration isolation techniques and mechanisms;
Monolithic LED arrays;
Photocatalytic ethylene scrubbers for removal of contaminants; and
Multi-channel, wide-band telemetry equipment.
Page 74 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC NASA is also exploring and adopting new approaches to enhance the productivity of the human-machine interface, improve environmental control and life support systems, and medical monitoring. Examples of new systems NASA is investigating for the future include:
''Electronic Nose'' to provide real-time continuous monitoring of toxicological measurements;
Miniature Mass Spectrometer to replace the standard laboratory model;
On-orbit noninvasive medical monitoring techniques to enable collection of blood chemistry and physiological parameters without collecting samples from astronauts;
''Wireless Augmented Reality Prototype'' to provide hands-free, voice-controlled, audio-video information to and from the astronaut; and
Upgrading ISS life support system to include biological water recycling systems.
Mr. STOKES. Mr. Goldin, how much cushion is built into the additional $200 million in transfer authority which reflects the 1998 part of the different estimates of NASA and Boeing regarding the cost variance at completion?
Mr. GOLDIN. Well, not in the $200 million but Boeing made an estimate of what their overrun would be and they estimated that to be $600 million. We, NASA, have put in $817 million as an estimate of what their overrun might be. But in that $200 million I don't think
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Mr. STOKES. Let me get to the 1998 estimates. Let me ask specifically how is Boeing managing against a $600 million estimate for cost variance at completion so far this year?
Mr. PETERSON. It is doing quite well against its plan. It is actually slightly under its plan through the last report we have, which is the end of February. And the projections for the year to go indicate that they will have some additional funding requirements as we proceed through the year to meet technical challenges that are arising. Much of that is changes that are made and some of it is indeed overrun that the government is estimating will be incurred.
I believe, however, that the real thing that needs to be said about the additional funding, sir, is that we constructed the '99 budget number predicated on the assumption that that money was available. So the long-run analysis of reserve requirements for the program to offset threats that may emerge assumes the availability of those funds.
Mr. STOKES. Let me ask you, the chart I have here indicates that it looks as though the '99 portion is going to be about $100 million. Is that accurate?
Mr. PETERSON. Sir, what we require to meet obligational requirements during this year, assuming that there are no actions turned on that we do not currently have in our contract planning, such as anything having to do with the Russian situation, we have sufficient obligational authority to handle the problem without using the entire $200 million.
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However, what I am saying is that the funds need to be available to carry over into fiscal '99 to complement the fiscal '99 budget request.
Mr. STOKES. I am trying to focus in on the cost overrun portion for this year. What amount are we talking about?
Mr. PETERSON. Let me get you the actual figure.
Mr. STOKES. For Boeing.
Mr. ROTHENBERG. For Boeing? That is right. We are focussing on Boeing. Do you have that number?
Mr. PETERSON. I have it. The Boeing, we refer to the performance shortfall, which is also known as overrun.
Mr. GOLDIN. It is overrun.
Mr. PETERSON. Is $206 million by our estimate. Boeing's estimate is less than that, but this is our estimate. Our estimate is probably $50 or $60 million higher right now than Boeing would project.
Page 77 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. STOKES. Is that for the '98 portion?
Mr. PETERSON. That is for the '98 portion, sir.
Mr. STOKES. Now, does that mean less flexibility reserves will be needed this year?
Mr. PETERSON. It does. If you take the current performance and you project it forward without any introduction of any unknowns that might occur, we would not require the $200 million of additional funds this year. In terms of our 1999 request, then, it is short by the commensurate amount.
The other thing that is very important is what I said about what we know today and where we are going for the rest of this year. Actions that may need to be turned on by the program in response to problems that arise are not calculated in what I just said.
So we are dealing with the coverage for unknown problems, and that is, I think, a key issue for the program manager.
Mr. GOLDIN. Now in direct answer to Mr. Stokes' question, we might end up the year without expending all that $200 million if Boeing continues on that performance curve.
Page 78 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. PETERSON. I think it is highly likely, yes.
Mr. GOLDIN. However, we will need the money, we believe, in '99 and may have to commit the money in '98 to be spent in '99, and that is the point.
Mr. ROTHENBERG. I would like to add one thing. One piece of evidence that we already have is the uncertainty of the Russian schedule. If we have to commit to the second ICM, there would be, and we will know that in mid-May, there would be an immediate lien starting on that money.
So we already know about threats against the rest of that money. We just can't close on them yet until we finalize the decision and get the final information.
Mr. STOKES. That leads me to my next question. After giving Boeing a zero rating on a zero to 100 scale for the October '96/March '97 performance period, NASA gave Boeing a 70 for the April through September '97 period. Is that correct?
Mr. GOLDIN. Let me explain how that works. They got a score of 61 but a score of 61 gives them a zero award fee.
Mr. LEWIS. Award fee?
Mr. GOLDIN. Award fee.
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Mr. STOKES. You are talking about now for the period '96 to '97? There are two different periods here and two different ratings, right? All I am trying to do is get it on the record.
Mr. GOLDIN. Is that correct?
Ms. MCCLAIN. The first was a 61. The second was a 70.
Mr. LEWIS. And that 61 gave them a zero award fee.
Ms. MCCLAIN. And the second one gave them 70 percent of what was available.
Mr. GOLDIN. I think if you get a score below 65 you get zero fee.
Mr. STOKES. When you look at the two, is there any significant reason for giving them a higher rating in terms of performance?
Mr. GOLDIN. Gretchen.
Ms. MCCLAIN. During the period they had the zero award fee that is when we were seeing the overrun per month. After that, we had several discussions with Boeing, I believe Mr. Goldin and Mr. Condit, the CEO of Boeing. They have made some significant changes to the program management. They have brought what I think is a very positive team forward who is actually working on the problems we were facing.
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They have been able to bring the lab schedule back around. They are not there yet but they have recovered some of their down time. They have also changed some of their procedures. They are dealing with software more aggressively.
So we saw some very clear performance changes. And in that case we felt that they were deserving of a 70.
Mr. GOLDIN. And their financial performance was significantly better over the last six months, where they have been managing to plan; in fact, a little bit under plan. Now we have to look at the next period and see how they do. We award them period by period.
Mr. STOKES. Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. LEWIS. Mr. Stokes, I appreciate that line of questioning. My colleague over here, Mr. Frelinghuysen, as an aside made another very poignant comment. We have talked a lot about the Russians and their commitment, et cetera. Boeing does have a monopoly here and having some assurance that their management is totally committed, as we are asking the Russians to be totally committed, to a system and attention level that assures success is awfully important, to say the least. We will be interested in your reporting on that, too.
Mr. GOLDIN. It is very important. I believe from the chairman of the board of Boeing to the workers on the floor, they are committed. I have personally met with some of them. I went to some of their facilities. They are really engaged in the job.
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I want to come back to the Russians and be very clear. We see the same level of commitment from Yuri Koptev, the head of the Russian space agency, from Mr. Smirnov at RSE Energia. And, in fact, he is taking financial risks. One of the reasons a lot of the hardware flowed is he went to the bank to get a loan on the assumption that the Russian government will pay him back.
So sometimes there is
Mr. LEWIS. I hope that wasn't an FHA loan guarantee.
Mr. GOLDIN. My point being I would like the committee to understand that we have people who are working in Russia very hard. I have tremendous concern that they don't always get the resources they need but it is not because they don't care. They are passionately working on this program.
Mr. LEWIS. Mr. Frelinghuysen.
RUSSIAN SPACE AGENCY/RUSSIAN GOVERNMENT
Mr. FRELINGHUYSEN. This goes to the core again of public perception, and tell me if this perception is correct. The Russian space agency is off on its own tether here in your mind or are they linked, joined at the hip with the Russian government?
Mr. GOLDIN. They are working with the Russian government. They are not alone. As I pointed out, sometimes the military doesn't get paid. Sometimes people in factories don't get paid and the Russian economy is trying to get to where it wants to be.
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Mr. Koptev is working very closely with the prime minister of Russia but the bureaucracy in between sometimes doesn't get the money to Mr. Koptev that he should be getting.
Mr. FRELINGHUYSEN. But the public perception here is that they are scraping the bottom of the barrel to get their piece of the overall Russian budget pie to keep their program afloat and keep their promises as a major partner in this.
Mr. GOLDIN. I certainly have to say they have a more difficult time in receiving funding than NASA does. It is a very tough situation. But again I come back to the fact that Russia is trying to do some very tough things, very tough things, and other countries are not doing it the same way. They are trying to go from a totalitarian government to democracy and from a controlled economy to an open economy and, for the first time, I believe, in 10 years, there is actually some growth in the economy.
It is not that they don't want to do it. It is not that it is malicious, and this sometimes is public perception. They are having tough times in Russia.
RUSSIAN SPACE AGENCY BUDGET
Mr. FRELINGHUYSEN. Could you talk for a minute about what you know about the make-up of the Russian Space Agency budget? I know this is a sovereign nation but I assume we have a pretty good handle on where they get their sources. Does it come from their defense establishment or does it come out of
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Mr. GOLDIN. Oh, no. It is a civil space program. One of the things that Russia did as they made this transition is they broke out the civil space program. The Russian Space Agency is equivalent to NASA. There is a military space program in Russia but that military space program is managed by the Ministry of Defense.
So they are a civil space agency and they are funded in a similar manner by the Russian government.
They have one difference. They have an ability to go out and float loans. And I don't pretend that I understand it too well but the Russian space agency sometimes goes to banks and gets bridge loans, funds it until they get the money from the government and then they have to pay a discount rate. It is a lot different than NASA.
Mr. FRELINGHUYSEN. Considering what we know about their financial institutions, I can see why they may have some problems.
So in terms of the make-up of the Russian space agency's budget, what do you literally know about that, other than what you have told me?
Mr. GOLDIN. We have a break-out of their space budget for their calendar year '97. Their calendar year and fiscal year overlap and we can submit it for the record.
Mr. FRELINGHUYSEN. I would be interested in seeing it.
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[The information follows:]
"The Official Committee record contains additional material here."
Mr. GOLDIN. We can give you that break-out for '97. We don't have that same visibility yet for '98 but we will get it.
Mr. FRELINGHUYSEN. You talked earlier about the fact that they continue to want to put money into the Mir program at a time when you want them to be a more full and generous partner in the new Station.
Mr. GOLDIN. Let me clarify that. They have a Space Station up there right now with a U.S. astronaut on board.
Mr. FRELINGHUYSEN. I understand that.
Mr. GOLDIN. And I want them to do the right thing.
Mr. FRELINGHUYSEN. So do I. You brought up the issue of de-orbiting after our astronaut is back and after they have done whatever they can to bring their people back. Is there anything in the slowness of their acting on the de-orbiting, decommissioning of the Mir that has anything to do with their defense needs?
Page 85 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. GOLDIN. I don't know the details of how their government works but as far as we know, we haven't seen any defense activities taking place with the Mir.
I also may have given a wrong impression. We have had open discussions with them about when is the appropriate point to de-orbit the Mir. They have engaged with us in those discussions. They have not held us at arm's length. We established why we thought it was the right reason to de-orbit. They have agreed to come up with a de-orbit plan by July.
So we hope that the de-orbiting will be in 1999. In fact, we expect that it will be in 1999 but we want to wait and see what that plan is.
Mr. ROTHENBERG. In fact, there are discussions going on between the Russians and our people in Houston as we speak today, this week and through Friday, on trying to develop that plan.
Mr. GOLDIN. And there are a couple of issues. They have some international agreements to take astronauts from other countries up to the Mir. Then, once
Mr. FRELINGHUYSEN. Which gets to the issue here, that this is their baby, the Mir, and they are not eager to take it out of orbit since it represents national sovereignty, prestige, and so on.
Mr. GOLDIN. And they are an independent country.
Page 86 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. FRELINGHUYSEN. Yes.
Mr. GOLDIN. But they are working with us on the subject. But once a decision is made to de-orbit Mir, if they de-orbited responsibly, which they have told us they want to do, so that it lands in the ocean instead of a place where there is a large degree of habitation by people, it takes 10 months to have a controlled set of burns to bring it down so that it lands just right.
The fact that they are responsible about that, we are very, very pleased with. So again it comes back
Mr. FRELINGHUYSEN. Well, I should hope they would be responsible. There was a potential that they would not be responsible?
Mr. GOLDIN. That was not the impression I wanted to give. I just wanted to make a positive statement that they are working with us and they may seek some help from us to make sure that this comes down in a safe fashion.
Mr. FRELINGHUYSEN. Thank you. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. LEWIS. Very interesting.
SPACE STATION DEBATE
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Mr. WALSH. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Thank you for your testimony. I am sorry that I am late. I would just suggest that when we get to the floor and have the debate on the Space Station and on this bill, that we had better be well prepared, and you can help us with that. This is going to be a very volatile issue, as it always is. And with the recent press and the delays and the cost overruns and the problems with the Russians and so forth, it is going to be that much more difficult, especially our trying to fight this battle with the caps and keep our discretionary spending down. We get it from all sides.
So you need to be very forthcoming with us obviously on the scheduling and the costs and we will do our best to support the project.
Mr. GOLDIN. Let me say that we plan on doing that and there is one important point that I want to make that I made to the other members. NASA is an agency that does what it says it is going to do. And even though a lot of other budgets are going up this year, the NASA budget is actually coming down.
We are absorbing within our own resources, without impacting our science programs, our ability to do this because we keep getting more efficient and because we prioritize what we are doing.
So even though there is an overrun on the Space Station, we are not coming back to the American people and asking for more money. I am very proud of that within our agency. Let me just leave it at that.
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And finally, there is a cost study that has been undertaken by an outside review panel that will be reporting out at the end of this month led by Mr. Jay Chabrow. We will also factor that into our discussions and openly share that information with this committee. But I feel that it is our obligation to answer every question you have and I committed to Mr. Lewis that I am prepared to come over, go through the data. If there needs to be another hearing, we support that. And for the record we will present all the material that is necessary.
This is an open program. It needs to have the oversight and review that this panel provides it.
Mr. WALSH. Thank you.
INTERIM CONTROL MODULE (ICM)
Mr. LEWIS. Mr. Goldin, last year NASA embarked on a series of steps to follow in the on-rush of Russian performance lagged expectations. Step one was construction of the interim control module (ICM) to cover for delays in Russian service module. Step two would include elements to permanently replace the service module with a combination of ICMs and DUS propulsion module. Step three would include extensive changes to replace capability lost in the event that Russia is no longer in the program.
At this time can NASA launch an ICM in December if the service module is not ready for launch? And if not, why is the module not ready to fulfill this contingency, as planned last year when we started work on the ICM?
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Mr. ROTHENBERG. There are two possible uses for the ICM.
Mr. LEWIS. Is the first questionare we ready to launch in December?
Mr. ROTHENBERG. I am going to answer that. That is what I am saying. There are two possible uses for the ICM. The first use is to back up the service module. We have been hedging whether we want to commit to that because of the technical progress we see in the service module.
As Mr. Goldin said earlier, right now the service module appears in our view to be two to three months behind schedule. If indeed they can deliver the service module no later than that, it would be prudent for us to defer the ICM and use it for the 7A1 flight, as a back-up in that.
Mr. GOLDIN. Explain 7A1. You are becoming contaminated already in your new job.
Mr. ROTHENBERG. I have been at headquarters only two months. The 7A1 is a downstream flight that occurs after the service module and after the U.S. lab installation. The advantage of bringing it up then is it provides extra propulsion capability for us.
Mr. GOLDIN. And it protects against the Progress vehicle not being there.
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Mr. ROTHENBERG. Right. We have been watching very closely the service module development and we have elected at the moment, and we are watching it, to target the interim control module for the downstream protection against the Progress module, because of where the service module is.
Mr. Goldin mentioned earlier a series of milestones we have leading up to May 15, the middle of May, at which time at that point we are going to make a decision whether we want to revert back to providing an earlier back-up for the service module.
If we do that and he mentioned this earlier, that puts us right at the end of our four-month window in which we said we could absorb within the existing reserve. In fact, it is a couple of weeks into it. But we would trigger back off of providingif they fail to convince us that they are going to have the service module within a year at that point, we wouldfour months beyond December when I say a year, a year from Mayif we can't be convinced we are going to have it by then, we will redirect the ICM to be prepared as a back-up for the service module. At that point we believe it will be ready for launch about a year from then, which is late April, early May. It is 11 to 12 months.
Mr. GOLDIN. But that would trigger a very significant cost problem.
Mr. LEWIS. Absolutely.
Mr. GOLDIN. And a significant schedule problem.
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Mr. LEWIS. The original contingencies.
Mr. ROTHENBERG. The phase two, right.
Mr. GOLDIN. So this is why we want to do everything possible to get the Russian government to pay the money so they can get the service module launched in the shortest period of time. That is the lowest cost, best approach for this program.
U.S. PROPULSION MODULE
Mr. LEWIS. Relative to the contingency, then, has the U.S. propulsion module been designed and is NASA ready to proceed with construction?
Mr. ROTHENBERG. No, we have not expended any money. Boeing Corporation has done some preliminary looks at the propulsion module and has come in with some informal information to us, but we have made no steps to actually proceed with it because it starts incurring costs and we have enough problems managing costs right now on the primary path.
Mr. LEWIS. Are there additional ICMs available relative to contingency requirements?
Mr. ROTHENBERG. No, we would have to initiate that. The important point here is a second interim control module buys us an extension in time. It does not solve the whole problem if the Russians totally fail to deliver
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Mr. LEWIS. What kind of an extension of time?
Mr. ROTHENBERG. Again another 18 months or so. It provides us an option, then, to maintain role control, maintain control on the vehicle, but we still need to then proceed on an alternate for the long term of a propulsion module and then phase three, which will be providing habitation capability and other control capabilities.
Mr. LEWIS. You and I talked about the what-ifs, you know, games that need to be played from time to time. Have you done some guesstimating about what kinds of relatively short-term costs might be added on here that we would have to be looking at?
Mr. ROTHENBERG. Again depending on how far you go, if we look at the cost of the second interim control module, we don't have a formal estimate. Our estimate right now is somewhere between $70 and 100 million for the second interim control module. And correct me if I am wrong.
Mr. LEWIS. So what we are really saying here is that the contingency itself is kind of papier mache and even cost guesstimates relative to execution of step three, I imagine it is almost like playing with putty.
Mr. GOLDIN. I would like to think of it as being conservative with the expenditure of money.
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Mr. LEWIS. I understand.
Mr. GOLDIN. We have tried to be very frugal, to take the first step and track the Russians.
Mr. LEWIS. My great concern here is that so far there have been all kinds of evidence that there should have been bells going off and that their politics, their economy, a lot of other circumstances have been interfering with what might be Russia's international priority, but I think we have to kind of assume that we could very well find ourselves there. Someone is going to be saying if you don't have those answers, why didn't you have them?
Mr. GOLDIN. I think it would be very, very prudent at this point in time, and we have had these discussions in preparing for this hearing, that we should not wait until the end of May but we should be getting an activity started. Within about a week we will be directing the Naval Research Lab to start putting their costs together and getting the parts together for a second interim control module.
And I think we should get some funding started at the Boeing Company and at NASA and other people we might want to look at this, to get the next level of detail so that if we find ourselves in a difficult situation, we will have a final level of detail. And I think that that is a very appropriate thing to do and I want to commit to you here that we will be doing that.
Page 94 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. LEWIS. One of the most important elements of my comfort with you, Director Goldin, has been that you have had private sector experience and therefore you haven't been automatically wrapped up in what I call GGS. Some people suggest that is good government stuff.
But I also find you and I kind of joining each other in wishing that the Russians would do what we hope they have committed to do. And a lot of other people have been raising this question in different ways and more shrilly than we have today.
But I need to have you understand my concern that if this thing explodes and we are not prepared, haven't laid the foundation for funding, et cetera, it could undermine the whole program. You know what that does to our picture here.
Mr. GOLDIN. And I think we have tried to be as conservative as possible in the expenditure of funds but the signal I am giving you right now
Mr. LEWIS. I hear you.
Mr. GOLDIN. Your concern was made very clear to those above me in the government, too, and I think it is time for us to collect the next level of detail and be ready, should the question come, during this summer.
Mr. LEWIS. Mr. Walsh.
Mr. WALSH. No questions.
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Mr. LEWIS. Then we will move along.
Mr. WALSH. Let me just ask this. This issue of the Mir de-orbiting, are there reactors on that?
Mr. GOLDIN. No. None that we know of. Every time I say absolutely nothere are no reactors but I want to verify that there is no nuclear material which is, I think, the thrust of your question.
Mr. WALSH. Right.
Mr. GOLDIN. And we will go validate that. I believe there is none but we will validate that.
Mr. WALSH. Thank you.
Mr. LEWIS. Good question.
Assembly flight 5A will deliver the U.S. lab element in May of '99. There have been recent indications of a concern with regard to the lab schedule. Is there any validity to these concerns at this time? If so, what is being done to correct that schedule problem?
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Mr. ROTHENBERG. The answer to the first part of the question is that there has been a concern about the lab module schedule. There was a concern at one time we were down as much as two months on the schedule.
Subsequent to that, as part of the whole Boeing recovery program, they developedthey brought some different people who had, I think, more active management experience relative to final assembly of something, but that is just one piece of the puzzle.
But they have put a recovery program of schedule in place. To date they have regained two weeks out of the two months on the schedule. In fact, they are back six weeks. To date we would still say they are one and a half months behind.
We have a series of milestones which are here relative to the lab module that we are tracking. One is we have a major software build coming out on the lab in mid-March. That was one of the major areas of concern, their software development capability.
The second is they have at the end of March a functional test of their command and control software and hardware.
Their internal lab orbit-replaceable unitwhat these are, the black box componentsinstallation will be done by the end of March.
April 17 they have another package to install and they expect to have the system racks, and that is the racks that hold all the hardware, and we are tracking them very, very closely.
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They are making their milestones and meeting them. We do expect them to start to make up a little more of the six weeks. We are seeing a positive turn in their scheduled performance. In fact, I believe they will be there. Whether they will be there a week late or a month late, they will be there in about that time.
Mr. GOLDIN. We are planning to ship to the Cape in August. That will be the major milestone. Again, there is a tremendous spirit and you can see the change in the attitude of the people. They are feeling much more confident now.
Mr. ROTHENBERG. I have been down on the floor, met the people, walked through the lab module, and I do have a sense that they understand what they are doing.
Mr. LEWIS. What if they don't make that milestone?
Mr. ROTHENBERG. I have not looked at that. I mean, the two months, a month or two, in that time frame, is not going to hurt us, but I haven't looked in detail. I think Gretchen might be able to answer that question.
Mr. LEWIS. Do you want to, Gretchen?
Ms. MCCLAIN. Sure. The key thing about getting it to the Cape in August obviously is the multi-element integrated testing we have put into the program since the service module delay of eight months, which is an enhancement to our verification and testing.
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What that will do is slide that a little bit to the right, but we can accommodate a week or two. It makes the schedule a little tighter, but we will recover through arrangements and adjustments to our testing.
Mr. GOLDIN. Let me explain the terminology she used. Multi-element testing. We, at NASA, we have a new head of public affairs who criticizes us engineers for not speaking English.
A multi-element test means
Mr. LEWIS. I beg your pardon?
Mr. GOLDIN. I sunk myself again.
What we are going to do with this multi-element test is we were going to launch each of these initial pieces of hardware without ever preintegrating them on the ground. That was the redesign plan.
One of the oversight functions that was performed by our advisory panel was to say they felt we had too much risk in the program. So when the Russians had that eight-month slip we decided to add this test because we had time available to take risk out of the program.
So we are going to connect up the nodes and the payload mounting adapters and the lab and a lot of the electronic equipment to see that it fits and that it electronically plays together. And it is a very important test. And now we have tremendous ownership of that test and we don't want to seethat is why we are pushing so hard that the lab not be late, to get that test done in time.
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SPACE STATION SOFTWARE SCHEDULE
Mr. LEWIS. Okay.
For my colleagues, I had a very interesting discussion with Jack Gibbons instead of having a formal hearing, since he is on his way out here shortly. One of the issues we discussed is employee retainment. For example, software engineers these days get out of college and go to work for $45,000 or $50,000 and three months later they are given an offer somewhere else at a 30 percent increase. So how you keep that capability around and have consistent application is a concern in many areas.
The Aerospace Safety Advisory panel report in 1997 cautions that the Space Station software schedule has a degree of risk for which NASA has not yet found a solution. This concern exists even though over $30 million is being spent on a system integration lab. We need only to look at the Advanced X-ray Astrophysics Facility program for an example of what inattention to software development can develop.
Mr. GOLDIN. What happened the AXAF facility had a software problem that slipped.
Mr. LEWIS. Right. What specific steps are being taken to ensure that software problems don't cripple the Station program?
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Mr. GOLDIN. First let me say we are looking at a national problem. The growth in the information industry has exploded and we pay limited rates of salary.
You are absolutely right about the young people and NASA is a target and our contractors are a target for the computer manufacturers and a lot of software companies, without mentioning names of companies.
Mr. LEWIS. I said to my young staff, I said NASA is such a sexy activity; does that keep those software people around?
Mr. GOLDIN. To a degree.
Mr. LEWIS. Well, my staff said take yourself back to a time when you were trying to buy a house and you had two kids and you are talking about a 30 percent increase.
Mr. ROTHENBERG. Plus, one of the areas that are drawing them away equally to some kids is very sexy and that is games, the entertainment industry.
Mr. GOLDIN. But keep in mind NASA still is very important. I will give you some positive data points. We set up a Center of Excellence in Information Technology in Silicon Valley and were told by some of the consulting companies there we are never going to hire because we can't pay the right price.
Page 101 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC We are now hiring the brightest young kids because NASA is the only place they can do the kind of work that we do. So there is the positive side.
Secondly, the Boeing Company. This was the major area of contention with Boeingsoftware. And the $30 million you mentioned was Boeing investment in capital. So Boeing put that in. And what they are doing is they are prioritizing the Space Station so that they have the proper resources to meet the needs that we have.
The place we have seen progress is with the Boeing software activity. Are we out of the woods? No, but we certainly have their corporate attention and we are trying to do everything possible to work with them in this very difficult problem.
But if you just pick up the newspaper, article after article deals with it and the best we could do is to have Boeing say this is a priority, put their people on it, get it done and then get them on to other things.
SOFTWARE INTEGRATION TESTING
Mr. LEWIS. In January a committee staff was told that software integration testing of the FGB service module configuration had been completed with success. If the service module falls out of the program and is replaced with the interim control module, will the new software need to be developed?
Mr. ROTHENBERG. Well, that is one of the primary differences when we tell them whether we want to use it for the service module replacement or use it downstream as additional prop.
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Mr. LEWIS. As a Progress back-up?
Mr. ROTHENBERG. Additional propulsion, as a Progress back-up. So the answer is yes, there is software, but they understand what has to be done. They have already looked at it for that. It is just a question of what they are working towards. And that is why it takes approximately a year from the time we redirect them to the time they have to complete it.
Mr. LEWIS. Mr. Frelinghuysen.
ADVANCEMENT IN COMPUTER TECHNOLOGY
Mr. FRELINGHUYSEN. The advance computer work you are doing, is that part of your operation, advancement in terms of computer technology?
Mr. GOLDIN. Oh, absolutely.
Mr. FRELINGHUYSEN. What is your relationship to similar programs with the different national laboratories?
Mr. GOLDIN. We are working with the national laboratories and we are taking advantage of what they have, but we are setting out on a program that has a 20-year goal of getting much higher speeds, lower powers and compactness in the computing. So we are dealing with what they are doing in their basic program and expanding beyond that.
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Mr. FRELINGHUYSEN. Will they actually think that they are the leaders? My point is that if you are doing it and we always enjoy your enthusiasm and the excellent work of your agency but I just wonder whether the two sides are ever getting together.
Some of us serve on other committees and when we look at the national ignition facility and the advanced neutron source, we wonder are these parties talking to one another?
Mr. GOLDIN. Yes.
Mr. FRELINGHUYSEN. And is there anything you do to cement these types of relationships and partnerships?
Mr. GOLDIN. Yes.
Mr. FRELINGHUYSEN. In a formal way?
Mr. GOLDIN. Yes. We are intimately tied. We don't make bombs and we don't make bullets and we leave that to the Department of Energy and the DOD. We have very specific needs of what we are going to accomplish in the next 25 years and we do not replicate what they are doing. We do things that serve our needs that they are not already doing.
We are not interested in playing king of the mountain. We don't want to waste government resources to do that. And if they have monies to do the things that we need to do, we love it and we walk away.
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Mr. FRELINGHUYSEN. Well, what portion of your budget or is any portion of your budget provided by DOE or DOD? In other words, do they contribute in any way to your bottom line?
Mr. GOLDIN. No. What we do is we work cooperatively. If they have a specific task for us to do, like the DOD wants us to run an engine test for them at one of our facilities, they send the money, of course, to do that test. But when we work cooperatively, they bring their resources and we bring our resources.
We found every time we try and have cooperative programs where we have shared budgets, the funding mechanism is impossible, especially during appropriations with the different committees. So we have learned by some difficult experiences.
So now we agree to do a set of tasks; they do a set of tasks; they get funded through their system; we get funded through our system. But I want to assure you we work very closely.
Mr. FRELINGHUYSEN. So you are familiar with all those incredible programs under the title nuclear stockpile?
Mr. GOLDIN. You betcha.
Page 105 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. FRELINGHUYSEN. Your people are up to speed in terms of what they are doing, in terms of basic research, fundamental science?
Mr. GOLDIN. And we are counting on it. We are counting on it. We assume that it is going to get done and we are going to use it.
We cannot afford overlap in this new approach to business in government. I hold a coordinating meeting with General Estess, who is the head of the Unified Space Command, to assurethat is where our major interface is in government. We meet every six months. We have a panel of our people working individual issues and we are working so that we save money and don't have duplication. We work very hard at that.
And our people are working with the Department of Energy. I have a very close working relationship with Secretary Pena. And the new undersecretary, Ernie Munoz, within weeks of the time he had gotten confirmed he and I met. We are setting up a series of joint meetings. In fact, we are talking about having a workshop on utilizing the knowledge in high energy physics to astrophysics and space science.
So this is an area I know you are very sensitive to and we do not want to have overlap. We want to complement the activities and I think we are well on our way to doing that.
Mr. FRELINGHUYSEN. Thank you for that reassurance.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
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Mr. LEWIS. Thank you, Mr. Frelinghuysen.
REUSABLE LAUNCH VEHICLES
Mr. WALSH. Mr. Chairman, thank you.
We talked about the satellite application for communications and there are people with ideas about low earth orbit satellite application for telecommunication, data communications, all sorts of communications.
There was a story on television the other day about the evolution of air traffic control, that radars have blind spotsthe President's plane, for examplethe application of satellites in air traffic control and obviously the defense application and I am sure there are dozens of other applications.
You have said one of the problems that we have to overcome is the cost of lifting these things up into low earth orbit. What sort of progress has been made on reducing costs, better rocket engines, if you could comment.
Mr. GOLDIN. I would be pleased to. We have a very good program in the area of reusable launch vehicles. We are on our way, in 1999, to having a flight test of what we call the X33, which is a single stage-to-orbit. Unlike the Shuttle, which has the strap-on solid rocket boosters, then the drop-away external tank, this machine is almost all composite. In fact, we are building the hydrogen tanks out of a graphite epoxy material, not out of metallics. We are using
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Mr. LEWIS. Just very briefly because while it is really interesting
Mr. GOLDIN. The answer is yes.
Mr. WALSH. I am satisfying my curiosity rather than doing my job.
Mr. GOLDIN. I will come to your office and I will give you a briefing on the subject. But the answer is yes, we are working.
MEGA MERGER COMPANIES
Mr. WALSH. The additional question that you could maybe prepare for is with all of these mergers going on, are you getting concerned at the choices you have are? Are the competitive aspects of this a problem?
Mr. GOLDIN. We have reviewed each of the mergers that have taken place so far and we have found both Boeing and Lockheed-Martin to be incredibly responsive. In fact, sometimes I think they are so worried about not performing, they sometimes overdo it. They have really tried to be responsive.
We have not had a situation yet where they wouldn't bid. We are having real good competition between Boeing and Lockheed-Martin. And even on a little program like the $62 million lunar prospector, a multi-billion-dollar corporation paid attention to it and, at our request, took the extra time, took the extra money to make sure it came out right.
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So I am very pleased with the performance of the big megamerger companies that we are working with.
Mr. LEWIS. We are going to have a series of votes here in a moment. The first vote is 15 minutes and then I am not sure whether we will have one or two five-minute votes but we will go forward just a little more here.
We talked a lot about our concerns relative to Russia, commitments, et cetera, et cetera. It would not be appropriate for us not to spend a moment at least talking about our other partners, since they have dollars committed but concerns and interests along the same line of questioning.
Is there any reason to be concerned that future delay in the Station would cause any of our partners to withdraw from this international effort?
Mr. GOLDIN. It is hard to answer a hypothetical situation but I can tell you I have just spent a week in Germany, a week in Italy, a week in France, a week in Japan and I plan on spending a week in Canada, just to understand where they are at.
Our partners feel very strongly that it was an important step to bring the Russians into the program. They were and are extremely supportive at the highest levels of their government about bringing Russia in.
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They also told the Russians at the heads-of-agency meeting in Japan about six months ago that here we had an eight-month slip; they expected the Russians to do what they said they were going to do.
I believe it will be difficult and depending upon what the Russians do, under most circumstances I believe the alliance will stay together but I can't speak for these people. But what I can tell you for sure is that they did and do believe having the Russians in the program was the right thing to do.
Mr. LEWIS. Well, it sure seems to me, and I am not sure it is appropriate that we discuss this on the record at this moment but it sure seems to me that if we find a major schedule problem crystallizing out there in the near term that we presently don't expect, I would sure like to know about it and I think the rest of my colleagues would like to know what your thinking relative to the reaction of each of those.
Mr. GOLDIN. This is why, although we haven't had a chance to set up a heads-of-agency meeting, we want to consult with our partners before we make decisions and recommendations. So during May we intend to have a heads-of-agency meeting to answer that very question so that both we and the Congress would not have uncertainty about where our partners stand. We want our partners to work with us on all decisions. And I expect in the next few days we will be coordinating exactly when that meeting will be. We want to share with them all the information.
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So rather than my speculating, I can come back and report to you that this is what the heads of agency said at our coordination meeting.
Mr. LEWIS. When we return I expect that we will spend a little time on the supplemental, if that is okay with you gentlemen.
Do you have any additional questions now?
We might wander upstairs and let you have a little break.
TRANSFERS FROM VARIOUS PROGRAMS
Mr. LEWIS. We will come back into session.
Mr. Goldin, the fiscal year 1998 supplemental proposes the transfer of $173 million from various programs in the human space flight account for Space Station. The following question requests more detail on the programs from which funding will be taken.
We have already had discussions about the science programs but first a reduction of $50 million for the space science program is described as savings made possible from changes in the process for awarding research grants. Please explain how the process is being changed and how it results in a $50 million reduction in funding requirements.
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Mr. GOLDIN. I would like to ask Malcolm to give you an answer.
Mr. LEWIS. Mr. Peterson.
Mr. PETERSON. The issue that we have been dealing with with the academic community and our own procurement staff for some time has been the fact that their obligation pattern with the new money that you provide to us has had those obligations taking place either late in the year or often using that money in the next year to cover grants that would be awarded, say, in this year, late 1998, late fiscal 1998.
What we asked them to do was to go through their analysis of what they needed to fund their grants in '98 based on looking at a revised procurement process. And it is the revision to that procurement process that we believe enables us to make this money available.
UNCOSTED CARRYOVER FUNDS
Mr. LEWIS. We have discussed uncosted carryover funds. What is the current value of the uncosted carryover and how much of the balance do you believe is available for transfer?
Mr. PETERSON. Well, sir, depending on which account
Mr. GOLDIN. The space science account.
Page 112 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. PETERSON. If you take the space science account
Mr. LEWIS. Earth sciences, too.
Mr. PETERSON. All right. Space science account came into fiscal 1997 with $799 million of uncosted resources forwarded. With the $50 million reduction and with their cost plan that they have, they will leave the year at $532 million. So there will be a significant reduction in their uncosted carryover going out of the fiscal year.
That amount is still, however, sufficient. As a matter of fact, we have looked downstream to having process reforms that will allow us to get that uncosted carryover for them down to something closer to $400 million. We think that is about two months worth of uncosted resources authority at the end of the fiscal year. That is about as close as we want to bring it in aggregate.
Now in earth sciences, they came into fiscal 1998 with $697 million of uncosted authority and will leave fiscal 1998, after the $50 million transfer, with $502 million.
We believe, sir, that the funds are available. They do require us to do things in the grants area and other things, to manage our money more tightly, if you will, but I think it is well within our capability to do that.
HIGH SPEED RESEARCH PROGRAM
Mr. LEWIS. Thank you.
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The high speed research program within aeronautics research is slated for a $13 million reduction. What portions of the program are being deferred to accommodate the reductions?
Mr. GOLDIN. Let me take that. I didn't get a chance to talk to Mr. Stokes about the aeronautics program. He had asked that question, what we were doing.
We have reviewed the aeronautics program and have made a conscious decision to prioritize working on the engine first for high speed civil transport because that is the critical technology. And, in fact, we started up in this year's budget the high speed research program 2A with the intention of building validation hardware of an engine to prove that we are on the right track to cut emissions, cut noise and get fuel efficiency up.
We felt that some of the air frame work, however necessary, ought to be delayed a bit because you want to get the engine going before you do the air frame work. In fact, in later years we are going to take more money out of or delay the air frame work, and that comes to the prioritization that we made. We were trying to do too many things at once.
So we are focussing on the engine, doing a limited amount of air frame work, and that is where the money is coming from.
PERSONNEL COST REDUCTIONS
Mr. LEWIS. Personnel costs are reduced by $15 million, reflecting savings from the most recent employee buy-out program. Originally in fiscal year 1998 that request should have reflected personnel savings as a result of the buy-out which was authorized in the 1997 appropriations bill. What happened to the change in your estimate on the number of employees leaving as a result of the buy-out?
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Mr. PETERSON. Well, sir, basically we elected, as an agency, to try to take as many buy-outs as we possibly could in this time frame, through '97 and '98, so as to stabilize the work force as quickly as possible.
Now, what that meant was that we actually overshot our target reductions in '97 and will do so, I hope, again in '98, so that this freed up savings that we had not counted on when we built our fiscal '98 request.
Mr. LEWIS. So what are the personnel levels for '97 and projected in '98?
Mr. GOLDIN. While he is looking that up I want to state the policy we have. We have been successful so far in voluntary downsizing at NASA and I am going to do everything humanly possible to assure that and the buy-out is a major tool that we have. We are going to try real hard to, as fast as possible, work with our employees so that as many take the buy-out as a voluntary means of separation. And we are going to try to get down to a 17,500 employee level without having any forced lay-offs. This will be a major accomplishment.
I feel strongly about that. Coming from industry where I watched 1,500 employees laid off, I don't want to go through that if I don't have to.
Mr. LEWIS. Especially seeing what it does to the whole psyche of the whole organization.
Page 115 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. GOLDIN. You hurt people for years.
Mr. PETERSON. The numbers, sir, are 19,364 Full-Time Equivalent on average for fiscal '98. These are our actualsand you can see how we have tried to track under these numbers. These are the targets we have set for ourselves budgetarily.
So we want to get down as far as possible toward this number so that we can stabilize the workforce over a period of years.
Mr. LEWIS. That is helpful. Would you put in the record, as well, the end strength numbers quarter by quarter as you are projecting them through '98?
Mr. GOLDIN. Sure.
[The information follows:]
FY 1998 FUNDING REQUIREMENTS
Mr. LEWIS. The fiscal year 1998 appropriations for Space Station and related activities within the human space flight account is $2,351,300,000. In addition, we have recently received a supplemental request to relocate $200 million from other NASA programs in fiscal year '98, $27 million from the Shuttle program, $173 million from other programs.
Page 116 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC If the Station launch schedule changes and no actions are taken to implement any of the contingency plans, what will be your funding requirements in fiscal year 1998?
Mr. PETERSON. Well, sir, let me just try to take a moment on the Shuttle program.
Mr. GOLDIN. Let me answer the basic question before you go to the Shuttle.
Mr. LEWIS. Yes.
Mr. GOLDIN. Even if the service module is delayed, we are going to continue to build the hardware. We believe the right thing to do is to continue to get the hardware done and even if it's in shipping containers, get it built and get the people off the program.
So we do not want to delay what we are doing with our hardware activities in the broadest sense. Managing the schedule is probably the best tool we have and we want to continue that. We want Boeing to come down their destaffing plan. We want NASA to come down their destaffing plan and their subtier suppliers. So we want to proceed forward and not delay.
Mr. PETERSON. In the Shuttle program, sir, we have taken out of their budget request that we gave you just a couple of years ago $245 million, which is a significantwe took it out of their uncosted budget authority. We asked them to manage a great deal tighter.
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They are, I think, pressed to the appropriate point of pain, at least from a Comptroller's standpoint. And if they, in fact, do not launch in 1998, what I suspect will occur is that I will see some minor savings from reduced overtime and reduced propellant consumption requirements, but I will not see a major reduction in either the obligation requirements or the cost plan other than these savings.
We have given USA, as you are probably aware, an ambitious destaffing plan and they are actually going to be able to use this period of low launch activity to accomplish that destaffing in a way that maximizes the safety of the system. So I don't see any large savings coming, sir.
Mr. LEWIS. If the service module schedule continues to deteriorate and a decision is made to proceed with launch of the interim control module, step one contingency, what will be the funding requirements for 1998?
Mr. PETERSON. I believe, sir, and I am going to presume for a moment the transfer authority and I will speculate based on the earlier discussion
Mr. LEWIS. I presume with that presumption there will be a lot of communication between authorizers and appropriators.
Mr. PETERSON. With the transfer authority I believe that we will have the obligational capability in the Space Station budget to turn on any contingency measures within reason that we are currently looking at. What that will do, however, let's hasten to add, is because it will then essentially consume a significant amount of reserves, it will affect our fiscal '99 posture.
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Mr. LEWIS. Is there any scenario under which the fiscal year 1998 funding requirements will be less than $2,541,000,000 plus?
Mr. PETERSON. Yes, in terms of funding requirements needed to cover the obligations of the program, I believe that we would not require all of the $200 million, absent the stipulation that Dan and all of us will give you, that we turn on any work like the ICM.
The real issue has been and will continue to be a matter of the level of reserves available to the program manager to take such actions as he needs to without concern over the fiscal '99 consequences.
Well, what I have as a concern basically is that we have a set of actions that we are proceeding in '98. We are doing better than some had feared. However, the '99 budget assumed that $200 million was not eaten up during '98.
NODE ONE SHUTTLE FLIGHT
Mr. LEWIS. If the launch of node one is delayed beyond the end of fiscal year '98, does NASA have any plans to use the node one shuttle flight for other purposes?
Mr. ROTHENBERG. We are currently looking at the overall Shuttle schedule. We really want to see where we are in May with the service module. That is the critical point.
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AXAF, as you know, right now has manifested for December 3 or no earlier than December 3.
We are examining the possibility of another Neurolab, a reflight of Neurolab, which is the science requirement as one option for taking up any slack in the Shuttle flow, should we get it, to take advantage of it.
All of this really hinges on if the service module is going to be ready for December launch or even a February or March launch. At that point we need to just get forward with getting the node up there and protecting the downstream schedules.
Mr. LEWIS. So you are doing some of that what-if?
Mr. ROTHENBERG. Oh, absolutely.
Mr. GOLDIN. By the way, this is a place where I think the Office of Space Flight has done a very good job of what-if because we signed a contract, in NASA Johnson, we have signed a contract with Spacehab for the launch of STF95 which occurs this October and four options. And the reason for those four options is it gives us flexibility to move things around and have them accommodate us.
So Joe and his team is working around and the key to it is to be able to get the cycle time down in processing the Shuttle to give us more flexibility.
Page 120 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. ROTHENBERG. I do want to add one thing on this. It is important. I am convinced in my own experience and I think everybody in this room has had the experience that things are not going to go as expected when we start to put things on orbit. We are going to learn something with the very first flight that we are going to factor into the second flight.
So we are not willing to give up moving the node even if the service module slips way out. We are looking at how early can we get the node and the FGB up there while not giving up too much of this margin because it has a definitive lifeit has a lifeand learn something from it that we can factor into the U.S. lab and, in fact, the service module launch and activities.
The earlier we were able to do that, the less potential of that causing some other schedule or cost problem. So we are trying to keep the pressure, to keep that node sometime this year, this fiscal year if at all possible and if not, maybe into November, even with the ICM contingency option because I think we will learn a lot from that.
Mr. GOLDIN. I might say that the place where we have a maximum concern, we are getting a very good confidence in building the hardware. We are getting a much higher level of confidence. In spite of the funding problems, we have developed a tremendous operational relationship with the Russians in logistics.
One place that I am worried most about, as are a number of folks in and outside of NASA, is we are going to have 47 launches from four different launch sites with this system. How are we going to handle the flexibility of dealing with problems as they occur? And this is where we just don't have enough experience to be able to quantify it. And that is why what Joe was saying is important. We want to get stuff up there as soon as possible to learn.
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Mr. LEWIS. The budget request for Station funding in 1999 includes $1,055,000,000 plus for development, $840 million plus for operation, $374 million for the research program.
Will this funding requirement change if supplemental requests, the request of $173 million is denied? If so, how will it change?
Mr. GOLDIN. I will take that, Mr. Chairman. Yes.
Mr. LEWIS. If so, how would it change?
Mr. GOLDIN. To the best of our knowledge today, if we don't have the funding of the $200 million in '98 we will need the $200 million in '99, knowing what we know today.
Mr. LEWIS. I outlined development, operations and program. Which elements will change?
Mr. GOLDIN. I think the biggest risk right now is in development. That is where two-thirds of the money is. But we will have some issues.
Joe, let me just take a shot at this. Two-thirds/one-third?
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Mr. ROTHENBERG. Your guess is as good as mine what the impact will be, although I do believe there will be some development runs and the reason is we have a lot of effort in there now and that is where the problems are going to occur that we can't cover.
Mr. LEWIS. That is another what-if subject area and I urge you to look at these scenarios and help us understand them.
Mr. GOLDIN. Mr. Lewis, just to provide some perspective, if you take a look at how we are going to spend the money over the next five years, at the end of 1998 there will be about $2 billion left of development money, $9 billion worth of operations money, to give you a sense as to where we are and why we want to drive getting the hardware and software done.
Mr. LEWIS. Okay. What was the value of uncommitted reserves at the end of 1997?
Mr. GOLDIN. Mal.
Mr. PETERSON. Let's see.
Mr. LEWIS. The General Accounting Office gave us the figure.
Page 123 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. PETERSON. Space Station had $184 million of uncosted carryover at the end of fiscal '97, excluding the U.S.-Russian cooperation activity and in that account, normally we would have set a minimum carryover. It would have been the bare minimum. It would have been about $60 million. So we exceeded that, leaving us about $120 million to the good.
Now, the carryover number I gave you does not include research money that was previously appropriated through the Science, Aeronautics and Technology appropriation.
Mr. LEWIS. We are talking about total reserves here.
Mr. PETERSON. Yes, but what I am getting to is that money is not available for anything but those purposes.
Mr. LEWIS. The question was what was the uncommitted reserve at the end of '97 relative to the $3 billion?
Mr. PETERSON. To talk uncommitted, sirI am sorry; I now realize the error of my ways.
Mr. LEWIS. Uncommitted. I may not have said that.
Mr. PETERSON. We added a good deal of money in the '99 budget process to restore program reserves. Without those reserves being restored we would have had negative estimates of reserves at different points during the ensuing years.
Page 124 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC In other words, you look at '98 and you take a look then at '99. If we had not added roughly $160 million in reserves in '99, we would have had, against our availability, a deficit in terms of uncommitted reserves.
Mr. LEWIS. I don't think we are quite getting to the question. Let me refine it for you one more time because my schedule is running here. I will ask a series of questions for the record in connection with these reserves.
SPACE STATION ASSEMBLY
Mr. STOKES. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Just a couple of questions more.
Mr. Goldin, does NASA still intend to operate the International Space Station for 10 years after assembly is completed or only until the year 2012, regardless of when assembly is completed?
Mr. GOLDIN. We intend to operate the Space Station until June of 2012, at which point in the President's guidance and redesign, we will have a national peer review to establish is the Station meeting its commercial objectives, scientific objectives, educational objectives, its cost objectives, and factor that into a decision process: do we go for another 10 years?
Page 125 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC This is a very different program. We said that we would just not give it a 30-year life without testing it every 10 years.
So sometime before June of 2012 there will be this national peer review to establish whether it met its goals and one of the decisions could be the U.S. government has satisfied all its needs but the commercial industry wants to use it or we might just say it will be a commercial operation and the U.S. government will just rent some space. Or there could be a decision made that the U.S. government found everything it needs to find out so we are ready to shut it down.
This test date is not going to change. That is why I made the statement earlier saying after you look at that initial $1.8 billion that we put into the budget, we are not adding any more money to the budget because we are holding tight to that peer review in June of 2012.
SPACE STATION ANNUAL OPERATING COST
Mr. STOKES. You may want to put the next question in the record, which will be fine if you want. I would like to know what is the latest estimate of annual operating costs? How is the estimate divided among the international partners in the program? And explain the reasons for any variances from the 1993 estimate of $1.3 billion in annual operating costs. You may want to do that now or in the record.
Mr. GOLDIN. We could do it in the record but simply put, we have not changed our assessment of $1.3 billion for a year. And we are working with our international partners and for the record we will answer it but they are giving us in-kind goods and services in some cases. So we will be able to answer that question for you.
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[The information follows:]
SPACE STATION ANNUAL OPERATING COST
The estimated operations cost to NASA of the space station for 10 years is $13.0 billion, which is an average of $1.3 billion a year. The U.S. and Russia have agreed on an equitable balance of contributions to support ISS operations in place of an exchange of funds. The other International Partners (IPs), Canada, Japan, and the European Space Agency, will be responsible for a percentage of the common systems operations cost of the ISS equal to their share of ISS utilization resources. NASA has stated to its partners that it is willing to negotiate offsets to common systems operations costs in return for additional services which the IPs could provide which would be of benefit to NASA.
COMMERCIAL ACTION OF THE SPACE STATION
Mr. STOKES. What is your current thinking regarding when a commercial operator could take over control?
Mr. GOLDIN. Mr. Rothenberg is in the process of developing a commercialization plan for the Space Station, the first draft of which will be available in August of this year. And parallel with that we are working with a company called Spacevest, a venture capital firm, where we have signed a cooperative agreement in seeking their help in bringing in these small high-tech firms into the equation.
Page 127 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC We are working with a consultant in Boston who is an investment banker, also consulting with us. And I might indicate that Spacehab is already commercializing it because they have invested $250 million of their own money in support of logistics for the Space Station and other operations.
Mr. LEWIS. We may want to spend some time in August discussing that with Mr. Rothenberg.
PLANNED CREW SIZE
Mr. STOKES. That would be a good idea, Mr. Chairman.
You mentioned this morning that your planned crew size for the Space Station had been six and now it is seven. Is that correct?
Mr. GOLDIN. Yes. As soon as we get the crew return vehicle up.
Mr. STOKES. What are the cost implications both for the crew recovery vehicle program and for operating costs?
Mr. GOLDIN. The crew return vehicle, I believe our estimate within the '99 to 2003 is $670 million and in the full run-out it will be $792 million. Did I get that right, Malcolm?
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Mr. PETERSON. 626 through 2003.
Mr. GOLDIN. 626 through 2003. I stand corrected.
And in terms of operations, we believe at the present time it will be contained within the operations budget, a full review. We are waiting for the results of the completion of the testing we have going on this year on the X38 and final assessments to validate these numbers that I gave you. At the end of this year we will validate it.
Mr. STOKES. Now, it is my understanding that NASA's current plans calling for habitation module are under review and the alternative called transhab is an inflatable module which some estimates indicate could save considerable funds, possibly as much as $100 million. Can you bring us up to date on that issue?
Mr. GOLDIN. We have an effort going on right now at the NASA Johnson Space Center to utilize new technology that would allow us to give us better space debris protection, give us more volume and potentially save $100 million. We should have this work completed by the end of the year and that will give us enough time to make a decision and have the transhab module up there at the point in time we have planned for the present hab module.
Mr. STOKES. Are there risk aspects in this?
Page 129 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. GOLDIN. We are looking at the risks and we will not proceed forward if we are not satisfied that we have reduced the risks to an acceptable level.
But strange as it seems, using an inflatable gives you more protection rather than less protection against micrometeors and space debris, and we could explain the physics in an off-line discussion.
EQUAL EMPLOYMENT OPPORTUNITIES
Mr. STOKES. Mr. Chairman, I have to wind down but I can't close without a couple of questions here on one of Mr. Goldin's and my favorite subjects. I think he knows where I am going.
We have talked often times about the provision in the law relative to equal employment opportunities, particularly for minorities and women, and you have been a leader in this area. I have quoted you all over the country. I have used you as an example of an agency head who understands what this law means, not only to the individuals affected but to the nation. I would like for you to talk a little bit about what you have done recently so that we have it on the record.
Mr. GOLDIN. We are very proud that at NASA the only limitation one has is the ability within the human being and the desire. I believe, if the numbers are correct, we have doubled the number of minority Americans and women in our senior executive service. I will validate it for you but I think we are awfully close to that.
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We have contracted with small minority- and women-owned business to the point that it now makes up 14.4 percent of our total procurements. That is a doubling from where we were five years ago. The performance of these contractors is outstanding because they have to compete for the business and we feel we have brought the best of the country into it.
We have also set up a research programI can't remember the exact name; I will get it for the recordwhere we are funding minority-serving institutions. Last year we had a conference in New Mexico. We had 400 researchers come. This year we have the conference in Alabama; we had over 500 researchers come. The papers are cutting edge research and we are now involving a broader section of America inside of the space program, again through peer reviewed research.
We are proving that if you cast the net widely, there is no boundary to innovation and to enthusiasm and participation on the part of the American public.
Mr. STOKES. I appreciate that and please feel free to expand upon this question.
Mr. GOLDIN. I will get the exact numbers. Malcolm cringes when I give numbers because he needs to have it precise and we will get it precise for the record.
[The information follows:]
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NASA UNIVERSITY RESEARCH CENTERS (URC) AT MINORITY INSTITUTIONS
The name of the research program is the NASA University Research Centers (URC) at Minority Institutions. This program is designed to achieve a broad-based, competitive aerospace research capability among the Nation's Minority Institutions that will: foster new aerospace science and technology concepts; expand the Nation's base for aerospace research and development; develop mechanisms for increased participation by faculty and students of MI's in mainstream research and increase the production of socially-and economically-disadvantaged students, who are US citizens and who have historically been underrepresented, with advanced degrees in NASA-related fields.
The URC's are multidisciplinary research units established at minority institutions to focus on a specific area of NASA interest. Currently, NASA supports URC's at 11 Historically Black Colleges or Universities (HBCU's) and 3 Other Minority Universities (OMU's). Recent URC accomplishments include: (Academic Yr. 9/968/97)
262 Faculty members and research associates conducted NASA-related research at URC's.
190 degrees were awarded, including 106 Bachelor's Degrees, 76 Master's Degrees, and 8 Doctoral Degrees.
451 Referred papers and/or book chapters were published or accepted for publication, including 152 students as authors or coauthors.
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642 Technical presentations were given, including 210 by students.
11 Patents were awarded, applied for, disclosed.
10 Commercial products were under development.
Mr. STOKES. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Chairman's Closing Remarks
Mr. LEWIS. Thank you. I appreciate it. I would have extended this discussion, this specific discussion a little more but unfortunately, I am due at a meeting I am supposed to chair up the hill in about five minutes.
In the meantime, my remaining questions float around the $17.4 billion figure. We had, I think, adequate discussion of that earlier today. You know the priority that we are giving it, in no small part because that is where the questions are going to be coming to us.
We will be coming back together with NASA near the end of the month, as I remember. In the meantime the meeting is adjourned until the Committee comes back into session next Tuesday at 10:00 on Veterans Affairs.
Mr. GOLDIN. Mr. Lewis, could I just add that we will develop written responses for the record on this subject written in clean, plain English.
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Mr. LEWIS. We appreciate that.
Mr. GOLDIN. Very understandable. It is a complicated subject.
Mr. LEWIS. Thank you very much.
"The Official Committee record contains additional material here."
Tuesday, March 31, 1998.
Chairman's Opening Remarks
Mr. LEWIS. The meeting will come to order.
Good morning, Mr. Goldin.
Today we welcome Daniel S. Goldin, the Administrator of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration to the Committee's hearing for the 1999 Fiscal Year budget request. I would like to say to all those who are in the audience, if we are able to, we are going to go through our questioning process asking the Director to respond to questions that are not formally presented for the record. We may be able to finish this afternoon. If that works out, it will be a benefit to everybody's schedule, including Mr. Stokes.
The NASA budget request for 1999 is $13.5 billion, a decrease of over $100 million from the 1998 appropriation. Included in the 1999 request is funding for eight Shuttle flights compared to five flights for 1998. Most of these flights are currently oriented to assembly of the International Space Station.
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In addition to Shuttle flights, the NASA programs for Space and Earth Sciences includes a significant increase in spacecraft launches compared to those planned for 1998. These are only two of the many variables which influence the Agency's budget, but are probably the most visible indicators that NASA is working hard to execute its science mission.
Mr. Goldin, we will print your entire statement in the record. As I have indicated, I certainly hope that we can expedite this hearing today. Before we have your comments, I would like to call upon my colleague, Mr. Stokes, for whatever remarks he might have.
Ranking Minority Members' Opening Remarks
Mr. STOKES. Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman. Welcome back before the Subcommittee, Mr. Goldin. I notice that NASA is now gearing up to celebrate its 40th birthday, and I believe also, Mr. Goldin, that you are now the longest serving Administrator in the Agency's history, correct?
Mr. GOLDIN. I think I am a little bit away from that. Tomorrow is my sixth anniversary.
Mr. STOKES. Tomorrow is your sixth anniversary. You have had quite a tenure, and exhibited a great deal of resiliency, I would say, too, in this position. But just on behalf of this Ranking Member, I want to say it has been a pleasure working with you, and I look forward to discussing some of the issues of concern that I have relative to the Agency as you provide your testimony for the Subcommittee this morning. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
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Mr. LEWIS. Thank you, Mr. Stokes. We will do everything we can to give you your sixth anniversary off.
Mr. GOLDIN. I would like it.
Mr. LEWIS. Mr. Goldin, I indicated we would include your testimony in its entirety in the record. So, Mr. Goldin, please.
Administrator Goldin's Opening Remarks
Mr. GOLDIN. In the spirit of expediting this session, I would like to make a three- or four-minute opening statement.
Mr. Chairman, distinguished Subcommittee Members, I am very pleased to speak with you again today to discuss the President's proposed Fiscal Year 1999 Budget for NASA.
NASA continues to bring a strong sense of commitment and conviction to making our budget work, with doing more with less, and with doing what we say we will do.
Americans have a lot to feel good about, including the Space and Aeronautics Program. Programs like the Mars Pathfinder and the Lunar Prospector made Americans proud, and fired the imagination of young and old alike across the globe.
From fiscal 1993 to fiscal 2003, NASA's total budget requirements have continued to come down. We have made our budget challenges work for us. We are pleased that we helped the President achieve his historic zero-deficit budget.
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We are a high-performance Agency, and our budget cuts have not changed that. Nothing says it better than thisthe fiscal 1999 budget is nearly flatactually down from 1998, yet we have ten new programs that we are proposing to start.
In the area of aeronautics, last year the aircraft Pathfinder soared 71,530 feet above the island of Kauai, setting a new world record for propeller-driven subsonic aircraft. We will be shooting for 800,000 feet this summer and 100,000 feet in the next year or two. This capability will open up exciting new possibilities for research and commercial applications for remotely-piloted vehicles for American companies.
In the area of Earth Science, you will notice that the budget is lower in its five-year projection than last year. There is good reason for that, a reason we are very proud of. We now have lower-cost spacecraft that meet or exceed our toughest requirements. This lower budget not only fully funds our current programs, it provides funding for two new programs and complements a third.
In addition to doing more for less in the initiatives I have mentioned, we are also developing a balanced Space and Aeronautics Program. In fiscal year 1992, human space flight was 48 percent of our budget. Science, aerospace, and space transportation were 31 percent. In fiscal year 1999, human space flight will be 38 percent, science, aerospace and space transportation will be 43 percent.
We feel good about where NASA is today, and where the Agency is going. We are confident and we are proud of what we have done. We will be working closely with you and this Committee on all aspects of our budget, especially the International Space Station.
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As I testified on March 12, the United States and the majority of our international partners are making excellent progress in our preparations for launch and assembly. We are moving with confidence towards first element launch this year.
We are also carefully monitoring the progress of the Russian government in allocating funds and Russian progress in the integrated testing of the Service Module. As I testified earlier this month, these will be key factors on which we will base decisions regarding adjustments in the ISS assembly sequence and configuration, decisions we expect in May.
Today, with the exception of $100 million that the Congress gave us, we have accommodated all the additional space station requirements within our budget and, at the same time, Mr. Chairman, we have strengthened all other enterprises.
The women and men at NASA are doing an extraordinary job, and I want to thank them. I am very proud to be their leader. They are more than good scientists and engineers, they are good managers who are doing more for less, and they are good people, some of this country's best.
I also want to thank America's brave astronauts and all the people who support them, they do an incredible job. And last of all, I want to thank you, Mr. Chairman, and your Committee, for your support and help.
Our mission is to pioneer the future to open the air and space frontiers, to explore new worlds, and enrich life here on earth.
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And I would like to close by reading a letter I just received from a young student. It says, ''Dear Sir, I'm writing to commend you on your excellent work on the International Space Station. I just finished writing a report on space colonization and I think launching an International Space Station is a bold step in the direction of space colonization. Your administration's accomplishments along with other space agencies around the world will pave the road for tomorrow. Thank you for taking the time to read my letter. Charles Van Hee, Eighth-Grader at the Mill Middle School''. This is what we are about.
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Mr. LEWIS. Well, Mr. Goldin, that letter sets the stage for a number of items that are foremost in my mind and I think of concern to the Committee. Earlier this month, you appeared before this Committee to address issues regarding the Space Station. While we have already covered many of the questions of a pressing nature, nonetheless there are questions that persist.
I know that neither you or I would pretend to be an expert in Russian politics but, nonetheless, the international partnership is very important to the Space Station's success. Should that falter, it could have a huge impact upon America's responsibility and our ability to carry forward that responsibility in a funding sense.
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So, with that, the last time we were together, you had just had serious discussions with the Vice President as well as Chairman Yeltsin, and we were all encouraged by those discussions. Now there is a change of scene. And while we do not have expertise as I suggested, nonetheless, I am sure there are internal discussion that we ought to hear about on the record.
So, would you let us know what the prospects are from your perspective, of Russian participation and their priority in terms of the funding commitments they have made?
Mr. GOLDIN. I cannot give you a lot of detail because we do not have them, but there is one point that I could respond to, and that is the fact that just at about the same time when Russia underwent a government change, they disbursed an additional $15 million to RSA from outstanding FY 1997 ISS funding, and I think that was a signal that they were trying to maintain continuity in the change of Government. I do not know how to extrapolate beyond the fact that they put some more money in to drawdown the backlog from 1997 that they delivered a portion of the equipment that they committed to deliver by March 30and Joe Rothenberg will outline specifically what they have done and where the rest of the equipment is.
They have continued to make progress on all their hardware, and there seems to be no slowing up. So, we still get good signals on the shop floor, but we wait for a real signal from the Russian government, and I think it is too soon to be able to make a statement about whether the new Prime Minister is committed to space until he is confirmed by the Duma. But all the signals we have been receiving say that there should be continuity, but we will reserve judgment on this until we see how this develops.
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We are still going to maintain our plan to have our decision processes in place during the month of May, as I outlined at our last hearing. We are planning to have the people go to Russia on the dates we indicated. There will be the General Designers review at the end of April, and we will be conferring with the Russians sometime during the month. And then towards the end of the month, we will be meeting with our international partners and, by the end of the month, we should have a decision and a specific position to this Committee.
And if it is okay, I would like to ask Joe to go through some of the details of the hardware which we told you about last time.
SERVICE MODULE/FUNDING FOR CONTRACTORS
Mr. LEWIS. Joe, if you would, the last time we were together, there were key events with regard to the Service Module that should have taken place by now, and there were outstanding questions relative to funding for contractors. So, if you can address both those questions between the two of you, I would appreciate it.
Mr. ROTHENBERG. Okay. I think as you heard Mr. Goldin testify, we started out the year, they were about $99 million in the hole from last year. Subsequent to that, they received $20 million in January, $20 million in late February, and another $15 million last Friday. So that was a very positive sign, that they did receive that.
The second point is in terms of the Service Module progress, last time we reported that they had about 1420 out of 1500 components delivered and integrated into the flight hardware. They have made progress since then. We do not have a count on the components, but we do know that they have a number delivered.
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There were three key items to be delivered the end of March. One was a telemetry system hardware. They have received an engineering unit, it is in the Complex Test Stand. The second is a communications module. They have received the flight unit, the third of three flight units. It is in acceptance test in the Test Stand. They were also supposed to receive an electron oxygen system, and at this point we believe it is about two weeks late. We do not have that confirmed, but they do not have it at this time.
The Complex Test Stand, as I mentioned the last time, is in Energia, and the Complex Test Stand testing is progressing well. They have no major problems. They have run into a few integration problems, but not anything out of the ordinary. And what that is doing is validating all of the electrical design and the functional design of the hardware and it is using test units. Meanwhile, they are installing flight components on the Flight Service Module at Energia and, as I said, they are somewhere above 1420 out of 1500 components.
They still have not chosen an option. They have two paths to go. One is to send in early May the flight unit over and put it next to the Complex Test Stand and run its final testing there. The advantage of that option is it keeps the workforce for both units together and, if they have any problems on the flight unit, they can easily swap back and forth.
The second part of the option is actually to ship the flight unit to the launch site. The advantage of that is that they actually can pick up about three months in the schedule, and that is sort of an option they are working. Right now, we believe they are still two to three months behind a December launch date.
Page 142 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCPATTERN OF FUNDING
Mr. LEWIS. I am encouraged by the pattern of funding that you suggest, especially the delivery of money as late as last Friday. Nonetheless, as we look ahead, estimates indicate that some $300 million may be required in 1998 to carry out those programs and its share of the mission.
We have talked about it in other venue, but I think it is about time for us to begin discussing up front the what-if scenario for the record what you and NASA must be talking about if, for one reason or another, the Russian participation falters or disappears. Our Committee must also think through what kinds of obligations we might have in connection with a lack of Russian support. As pressure comes forward to this Committee for dollars way beyond NASA's responsibilities, there is little doubt that we need to give some thought to that scenario. So, any preliminary response would be appreciated.
Mr. LEWIS. Joe, go ahead.
Mr. ROTHENBERG. Okay.
Mr. LEWIS. Let me interject just for the record, so you will know really what I am talking about. You know that we are discussing offsets these days in light of funding the FY 1998 supplement bill. As of this moment, something over 90 percent of the offsets being proposed are by way of programs within this subcommittee. That means huge pressure on a variety and mix of critical programs, programs that absolutely demand the money in early 1999.
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So, you know, all of us are going to be against the wall here, and so, with that predicate, I would be interested in hearing your response.
Mr. ROTHENBERG. Okay. Number one, about a year ago we came forward with a proposal to fund an Interim Control Module which we have gone off and at NRL they are starting to build and also to put the refueling capability on the FGB, which is the Control Module that is going up in this coming year.
We, subsequent to that, have been watching the progress of the Service Module, and the decision point that we feel now that we have to make is, sometime in mid-May, be able to come to a conclusion whether we want to use that Interim Control Module as a backup for the Service Module, or the Service Module has made enough progress and looks like it will be ready no later than the middle of next year, we then would go ahead and use Interim Control Module as a backup for future failures of Russia to perform specifically if they could not provide progress vehicles which are required to resupply the onboard propulsion system.
So, one path is to pursue the course, look at where the Service Module delivery is in May, and make a decision whether to use that Interim Control Module as a backup for the Service Module and actually have NRL execute the program to deliver it about a year from now in May, to use it as a backup and actually launch it to maintain control.
Option two is if they are still making good progress on the Service Module in May, to not invest money in preparing it for a backup for the Service Module, but prepare it as a backup for failure then to provide adequate propulsion capabilities with the progress vehicles out in the late FY99 and 2000 time frame. So that is one contingency path.
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The second path is, say, for some reason, we find out that we
OPTION COST ESTIMATES
Mr. LEWIS. Would you provide us for the record cost estimates, guesstimates, if we have to exercise that option?
Mr. ROTHENBERG. Those costs, for the most part, are already included in the $250 million budget allocation received last year. I will clarify if there are any deltas to that, if we go to a later option, but the numbers have not changed.
The second potential option is to look at if they do not deliver the Service Module and it looks like it may never come, then we are in a position of saying we cannot believe they are going to provide the Power Module and/or the Progress Vehicles we need for resupply, and then we really have to go back and look at an alternative plan. And right now, our estimate which would be providing a prop module and control system, the problem with that option is it could run up into the billions very quickly, and it is not a desirable option. So, those are the two primary alternatives.
TASK FORCE ON STATION COST ASSESSMENT AND VALIDATION
Mr. LEWIS. Cost pressures, of course, are one of the centers of focus for this entire discussion today. On March 19, 1998, the Task Force on Station Cost Assessment and Validation presented its report to NASA's Advisory Council. As a number of reports suggested in that presentation, the Task Force estimates the cost of development and assembly will be as high as $24 billion, and the schedule will stretch an additional ten to 30 months. The Task Force attributed their findings to a number of factors, including among others, the Russian contribution difficulties, software development and testing, and lags in qualification tests.
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Do you have comments for the record on the Task Force report, at least as we hear about it?
Mr. GOLDIN. Yes. Last night, we sent over to the Committee a letter we received from the Task Force. It was not their final report, but it included some of the things that you had read in the paper.
There is a process which I would like to outline. The Task Force is submitting their report to the NASA Advisory Council, which is led by Dr. Brad Parkinson of Stanford, which will review the material and send the findings plus the report, the Task Force report, to NASA, to me.
We will then evaluate that, and then, at that point, I think we will be in a better position to make a comment. We want to reserve our judgment until we see the final report from the NASA Advisory Council, but we probably remain more optimistic than the Task Force indicated, but I want to wait and see the details of what they have to say, not just a summary letter. It is very hard to make judgments from a summary letter.
Mr. LEWIS. Well, Mr. Goldin, as you know, sometimes reports extend themselves conveniently as well in terms of their final form, but a lot of information flows by way of draft and otherwise. Sometimes the interaction that takes place outside a room like this sets a backdrop that distorts the discussion that we might have. So, the sooner we have that exchange, recognizing the difficulties that we face going towards Conference, probably early summer, the better. We are dealing with the real world here, and there are people who would just as soon put this money in other programs.
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Mr. GOLDIN. Let me say this. I believe we will be able to have the information this Committee needs before it goes to Conference. We are not talking about the good fraction of a year. I think the report is about 30 days away, and we will be able to process the report within weeks. So, it is not a significant time period.
People saw the preliminary findings, but we did not get a chance to go through all the detail, but we are going to work in parallel with what we have so we will not hold things up and have it available in a timely fashion.
Mr. LEWIS. Well, the Committee, especially Mr. Stokes and I, would appreciate you personalizing that communication so that we can stay as close to being on top of this as possible. Mr. Stokes.
RESEARCH FUND FOR AMERICA
Mr. STOKES. Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman. Mr. Goldin, the Administration's fiscal year 1999 budget touts increases in research and development programs for several departments and agencies as part of the Research Fund for America.
Among the winners are the National Institutes of Health, the National Science Foundation, even the Department of Veterans' Affairs medical research activity where they received a 10-percent hike over last year.
When these budget goodies were being passed out, NASA appears to have been overlooked. Of the activities included in the Research Fund for America, only one agency reflects a bigger decline from 1998 to 1999. Can you tell us why NASA has not faired better in the Administration's R&D initiative?
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Mr. GOLDIN. I do not want to brag, but I think NASA is better. I think we have, as an Agency, done a really solid job. Clearly, if we had more resources, we would know how to use them. But we have turned back over $40 billion to the U.S. Treasury while we have been able to do more and more. And even though this year's budget came down, we started ten new programs, some very significant science programs, some very significant aeronautic programs and, in fact, we added funds for a crew-return vehicle that would be built in America that ten years from now may be the difference between life and death for our astronauts.
I do not get a chance to make the national policy, but what I do want to say is that we have been asked to do a tough job at NASA. We have stepped up to it year after year. We will continue to do so.
BUDGET IMPACTS ON NASA PROGRAMS
Mr. STOKES. Within the last year, NASA has experienced problems in several programs. The Lewis Mission was launched and lost after a catastrophic failure occurred. Subsequently, after an investment of more than $50 million, NASA canceled the Clark Mission. Problems in the Advanced X-Ray Astrophysics Facility resulted in scheduled delays and cost increases.
Now, of course, the problems with the International Space Station have been well documented. I am wondering whether the budget crunch of the past few years impacted NASA to the extent that it is difficult for your Agency to achieve its goals. Would you comment on this for us?
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Mr. GOLDIN. I would be pleased to comment. First, I would like to say we had an unprecedented year last year in a number of successful launches that we had. We had, in all of the 1980s, two planetary launches. Between October of 1997 and January of 1999, we will have seven planetary launches. In fact, in 1999, we will have ten planetary launches.
We have now built our spacecraft in smaller sizes. We have made them much more efficient in the time it takes to build them, and we said as we went to the ''faster, better, cheaper'' philosophy, we are going to take risk and put advanced technologies in these spacecraft because we have diversity in number and function. And we did lose a few, but we learned a lot from those losses.
We felt we overstepped the responsibility we gave to industry. They were good spacecraft but, in the case of Lewis spacecraft, we allowed industry too much freedom and we did not want to have too much oversight. So, we learned the difference between ''oversight'' and ''insight'', we are going to change how we do things.
I might also say that the spacecraft was not a total lost because that sensor from the Lewis spacecraft, we are planning to replicate it and put it on the EO1 spacecraft, launch it in 1999, and for a relatively small increase in funding. So, it is not a lost mission.
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In the case of the Clark spacecraft, we will be able to use that sensor and the launch vehicle, and we will be able to get the data that we need. So, in that context, it was not a loss, it was a tremendous amount of learning because there seemed to be a sense that NASA overmanaged programs and got too much in detail. So we went from overmanagement, I feel, to a case where we just said to the contractors, ''Here is the contract, go perform'', and we did not give them the kind of help that they needed. So now we are going to come back to another position.
With regard to the AXAF spacecraft, the contractor had a problem in their software. And by the way, the other programs were adequately funded. In AXAF, they had a problem in the software in their test set, and they went and they fixed it. In fact, we had a reserve of something on the order of 20 percent, and now we have reserves of 11 percent, so there are more than adequate monies in the contract, and we believe by the time they get finished we will still underrun that contract. So, I do not believe that finances had anything to do with it and, quite to the contrary, we have had just an incredible number of successful launches.
But one of the things that I ask that this Committee think about is as we keep pushing the envelope, we have to expect failures, learn from the failures, and then move on.
MINORITY UNIVERSITY RESEARCH AND EDUCATION PROGRAM
Mr. STOKES. With my leaving the Congress at the end of this session, this well may be the last time that you and I have an opportunity to discuss minority programs and minority opportunities at this Agency in a public forum. And I note that you have several of your key people here today, and I want to get into some of this with you, if I can, at this time.
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If I look at the Minority University Research and Education Program Summary, I note the funding declines from $54.8 million in 1997, to $51.4 million in 1998, to a request of $45.9 million in 1999. The Administration's request for 1998 was only $40.9 million. The increase to $51 million is a result of congressional actions.
Last year, you indicated the major reason the program was going down was due to high uncosted balances. This year, you have added a new entry, ''Enterprise Program Funding'', which attempts to show an increase in total minority university research instead of the 10 percent decrease reflected in the minority university research appropriation.
First, tell us about the Enterprise Program funding. Where does it appear in the budget, and why are you including it this year and not previously, and also who controls the money, how can we be sure the funds are dedicated to minority university research?
Mr. GOLDIN. We have asked each of the Enterprises to get more directly involved so that the actual scientists are coming in contact with the bright young people at these minority universities.
I will submit for the record the details of where the monies are coming from each of the codes over the five-year period, so that the Congress will have open visibility to that and, in retrospect, we should have put that in the budget.
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Mr. GOLDIN. I would like to say, in the time frame in 1997, we had $3.5 million per year that came from the Enterprises. In 1998, it goes to $8, in 1999 to $12, and then stays flat thereafter.
This is a way of having our scientists and engineers not having just George Reese, who is the head of our Minority EO Program, manage it, but we get a direct ownership, which is one of the things we have been trying to do at NASA is to get ownership and then accountability and responsibility by each of our Associate Administrators and Center Directors.
It is not a negative statement, it is a very positive statement. They have stepped up, and that we have had some incredible results, and I wanted to justI would just like to read for the record what we have accomplished.
The NASA University Research Centers at minority institutions reported a 79 percent increase in the number of degrees awarded to the University Research Centers. 190 compared to 106I better put my glasses on. A 13-percent increase in the number of refereed technical papers published, 295 versus 260; a 23-percent increase in the number of student authors and co-authors on these papers, 95 compared to 77.
This is a program that is having a major impact on our young people across the country, and we are absolutely committed. This is a different way of doing it, but I believe a correct way, and we will submit all these detailed numbers for the record, and the Committee can track and see that we are doing what we said we were going to do.
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ENTERPRISE PROGRAM FUNDING
Mr. STOKES. Let me ask you, if you will, to repeat for us the funding figures you gave us for the total Enterprise Program funding.
Mr. GOLDIN. I made a mistake, I am sorry. It is this number up here. It is $13.3 million for '97, $20.8 million for '98, $28.8 for '99, $28.8 for 2000, and $28.8 for 2001. I am sorry, I did not have my glasses on when I looked.
OTHER MINORITY UNIVERSITIES
Mr. STOKES. Okay. Thank you. I note that although funding for the Math and Science Awards category increases by 40 percent to $14 million for historically black colleges and universities. It decrease by $1.9 million, or more than 22 percent, for other minority universities. What is the reason for this?
Mr. GOLDIN. George?
Mr. STOKES. Mr. Reese, I would be pleased to have you respond.
Mr. GOLDIN. Could we give Mr. Reese a few minutes to look that up?
Mr. STOKES. Sure, we can come back to it after he has had a chance to check it out.
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MINORITY WORKFORCE PERCENTAGE
Now, reviewing some of the data NASA provided for last year's record, I see that Agency-wide, minorities make up 20 percent of the workforce, which is certainly to be commended. Blacks are one-half of the minority total, or 10 percent, however, within the totals are some wide variations. For instance, while blacks constitute 12 percent of the workforce at Goddard, 11 percent at Stennis, they only amount to 4 percent at Ames and 7 percent at Kennedy.
Now, I guess I would have to ask if you are satisfied with these type of figures at these agencies, and what is being done in that respect?
Mr. GOLDIN. No, I am not satisfied, but we have a real dilemma, and that dilemma is this. We are committed to getting our labor force down to 17,500 employees, without having a forced layoff because we are concerned that a forced layoff would be just gripping to the workforce and, in fact, would take a bigger toll on the minorities who came into NASA later and the young people who came into NASA later.
So, we made a conscious decision that we would have voluntary separation rather than having forced layoffs. And so far, we have downsized from about 25,000 to 19,000, without one forced layoff. Within another year or two, we should be down to our numbers.
The problem we have at some of those centers, they have not had a chance to hire in five to seven years, and we cannot cast that widely to get the very best people. We find that every time we go for the very best people, we get diversity. So, I think we are a year or two away from being able to more aggressively hire so that we could see more diversity in the workforce. And by the way, I take full responsibility for this decision.
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After going to the Centers and talking to the workforce and seeing the anxiety that people had about forced layoffs, I came to the conclusion, I committed to our employees, I would do everything humanly possible to avoid forced layoffs. But it does give that continuing problem, and the only way to fix it is through aggressive hiring.
The other thing I would like to say is, through all this downsizing, I am proud that our diversity numbers percentage-wise, not number-wise, across the Agency have gotten better, not worse.
And I remember some hearings a number of years ago where you expressed concern as we were going to downsize, that our diversity numbers would get worse. Percentage-wise, in almost all categories, they have gotten better.
Mr. STOKES. I have noticed that. Mr. Chairman, I have a number of questions in another area, but notice that a number of our other colleagues are here, and I do not want to exceed my time. So, at this time, I would yield back, and then perhaps you will do another round and I will come back to these.
INTERNATIONAL SPACE STATION PROGRAM
Mr. LEWIS. Thank you very much, Mr. Stokes. We will proceed by way of order of the Members that have come in, going back and forth across the aisle. Mr. Frelinghuysen.
Page 155 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. FRELINGHUYSEN. Mr. Chairman. Good morning, Mr. Goldin. On a number of occasions, you have come before this Committee and told us that NASA is not conducting ''business as usual'', and has, in fact, been doing things ''faster, better and cheaper'', to use your own words. This may be true in some other areas of the NASA budget, it does not seem to be the case for the International Space Station Program.
TRANSFER OF FUNDS TO SPACE STATION
For example, two weeks ago you asked this Committee in another hearing to transfer funds from one area of NASA to the Space Station Program in order to keep it on schedule. What should we say to critics of the Space Station Program who support a strong NASA and feel that other programs are being squeezed to make room for the Space Station?
Mr. GOLDIN. What I would say is every single program at NASA is stronger today than it was in 1992. We went from 31 percent for science, aeronautics and technology, to 43 percent, and we are projected to go to 48 percent. The budget for the human space flight has gone down from 48 percent to 38 percent, on its way to 31 percent. If anything, we may be cutting too deeply over the long-run into the human space flight account.
I do not know of a time when NASA has had more missions to more places in our universe than now. Every single one of our science programs is stronger today than it has been in years. And I feel a little bit concerned that there seems to be a third rail which says that NASA cannot touch science programs. But the fact of the matter is, at NASA, we want to live within the budget that the Congress and the President has approved for us, instead of coming back when we have problems for more money. And I hope that the people who are concerned about this issue would openly look at the budget and understand in the two areas where we want to transfer money, the uncosted carryover has been much too high. And we do not feel it will have any impact on any of the science programs.
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SPACE NEWS ARTICLESTATION COST OVERRUNS
Mr. FRELINGHUYSEN. Let me trip over that third rail for a minute.
Mr. GOLDIN. I may be the one that gets fried.
Mr. FRELINGHUYSEN. We will wait and see. When I came into the office this morning, I tripped over the usual bulk mail outside, and on the top of it was a Space News, and the commentary, as fate would have it, put the Station on a diet. Three paragraphs caught my attention in that editorial.
And I quote, ''In the last five months alone, estimates of Space Station cost overruns have ranged from $600 million to as much as $2 billion''not, incidentally, about the cost of whether our mission has been to deploy to the Persian Gulf. Continuing, ''The truth is that none of the parties can accurately predict how much money it will cost to get the station in orbit and able to support crews and experiments from the 15 participating countries''. The editorial goes on, ''The space station is an important program for human space exploration that should not be canceled, but it cannot be allowed to suck up too much of NASA's budget''.
I would like you to comment on the whole notion a little more in detail on whether the station is sucking up some very critical monies that have been used in a variety of other programs.
Page 157 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. GOLDIN. I think if you take a look at our budget for 1999 that we have submitted, the Space Science Program is growing from some $2.1 billion to $2.5 billion over the five-year period, with these issues that we've dealt with on Space Station.
Mr. LEWIS. Do not let those bells bother you, we can hear you.
Mr. GOLDIN. My brain does not work while the bells are ringing.
Mr. LEWIS. Neither do ours. [Laughter.]
Mr. GOLDIN. And I might say we have started a number of new Space Science Programs in the 1999 budget, and we will continue to start new programs as we go. There are a significant number of new programs and, for the record, I will be happy to submit all the new programs we have started in Space Science.
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Mr. GOLDIN. In Earth Science, the budget went down because we found a way of efficiently building the spacecraft and we were able to replenish the funds that the Biennial Review Committee said that our R&A account was too low. We put some $200 million additional into research and analysis, which the community said we needed. We have money in there to fund a Quickscat mission, which is a replacement for a loss we had on a Japanese spacecraft, and we have money in the budget for a Lightsar spacecraft. So, I would say that the Earth Science Program is even healthier this year
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Mr. FRELINGHUYSEN. So you disagree, to answer succinctly, that the Space Station is sucking too much in the way of resources?
Mr. GOLDIN. We were able to get the resources to do this out of continuing efficiencies and telling our people, ''Don't come back for more money, tell us how we are going to restructure''.
Mr. FRELINGHUYSEN. Let me turn for a minute, since the time is relatively short, to a GAO report that was issued in July of last year on your Draft Strategic Plan. In that report, GAO indicated, and I quote,
Though NASA's objections are shared with those of other agencies, the draft plan does not identify specific programs and activities that are crosscutting or similar to those of other Federal agencies. The draft plan acknowledges in several places the need to work with other agencies, however, the plan's discussions of crosscutting programs are brief. They do not explain what, if any, coordination was done in developing goals and objectives.
Since duplication and overlap are two things that I think we, as a Congress, are interested in avoiding, can you tell me what NASA is doing to prevent this from happening?
Mr. GOLDIN. We took that criticism from the GAO to heart. We knew what we were doing. We did not express it well in the Draft Plan. I think if you look at our new final release of the Strategic Plan, we do cover those
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Mr. FRELINGHUYSEN. So there has been something since July, an update?
Mr. GOLDIN. Oh, yes. Yes. We got comments from the GAO, from the Congress, and from the Office of Management and Buget, we could submit them for the record, if you would like. I would have to say that our relationship with the Department of Defense and the Air Force is better now than it has been in years. We are now doing things like merging the maintenance and operations contracts at Cape Kennedy and Patrick Air Force Base. We are now talking to the Department of Defense where the next series of satellites beyond the tracking data relay satellites, NASA will not even build them, and we may rely upon DOD assets to do that. We are talking about a whole variety of facility-sharing and people-sharing. We are doing this with other agencies, and I believe we have made very significant progress. We are committed to doing that.
[CLERK'S NOTE.NASA provided a copy of the 1998 Strategic Plan and the 1999 Performance Plan to Mr. Frelinghuysen and the Subcommittee.]
Mr. FRELINGHUYSEN. I am pleased that that is occurring. It is interesting that GAO, in that July review, did not pick up any of those initial relationships. Is there some reason for that.
Mr. GOLDIN. We did a lousy job in writing the draft, all right?
Mr. FRELINGHUYSEN. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
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Mr. LEWIS. Thank you very much, Mr. Frelinghuysen. Mr. Price.
MINORITY RESEARCH AND EDUCATION
Mr. PRICE. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Welcome back to the Subcommittee, Administrator Goldin, and your colleagues. You have picked up a good deal of concern this morning from various Members about some of the increasing costs of the Space Station, and I appreciate your reassurances that unacceptable tradeoffs are not involved here.
As you know, I am a supporter of the Station, a strong supporter, but I, too, have become increasingly concerned that the pincers of increased Station costs and a decreasing NASA budget overall might cut away at other NASA programs such as the academic and education programs, and that they might put pressures on extramural research as well.
Mr. Administrator, on top of these decreases in minority research and education that you have been discussing with Mr. Stokes, the education programs of NASA are also slated for a decreasea $14 million decreasefrom $68.6 million to $54.1 million. A large portion of this decrease is coming in educational technology, particularly the Space Grant College and Fellowship Program cut in the President's budget by nearly 30 percent, from $19 million to $13.5 million and raises a question, I believe, whether you think the full range of programs that NASA is running from these accounts do deserve continued support.
In what accounts are these rather dramatic decreases in proposed funding planned? It is possible other agencies ought to be taking up more of the responsibility for getting children, elementary and secondary students interested in space and aeronautics as early as possible?
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What are we looking at here with these decreases? To what extent is there a tradeoff with Station or other items in the budget, and to what extent does this indicate some rethinking of priorities on your part?
Mr. GOLDIN. First, let me open up by saying our priority for education and working with the young children of this country remains incredibly high. And if you could take a look at the time period from '92 to the present when our budget was dropping, we have really made a significant increase in education. We touch children. We touch teachers. And as you can see from some of the statistics I gave, we are having a real impact.
I would like to first correct a misperception that you might have had. The actual funding from Mr. Reese's EO budget to minority university research programs went down, but I am submitting for the record a fact that we are actually increasing it because we are going to the individual Enterprises. So, our minority university research program is actually going up.
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Mr. GOLDIN. We did not do a good job in explaining the bookkeeping when we submitted the budget, but we have corrected it with the submittal with the material we are going to bring in today.
Mr. PRICE. I understand that the impression given by the minority research and education line alone is misleading.
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Mr. GOLDIN. It was lousy bookkeeping on our part, but I want to re-emphasize, we think it is an incredible program. I personally have gone to have a conference each year, the number of people going to that conference increases by a significant amount each year, and it is a touching experience. Mr. Stokes was at one of these conferences. It is having a huge impact.
So, I want to correct any impression. We are committed.
Mr. PRICE. That education item within the academic program category, that number is correct, right? You are proposing a decrease from $68.6 to $54.1 million?
Mr. GOLDIN. There was an earmark added in 1998 for Space Grant Colleges, and we have the monies for the earmark covered in '98 and '99. We did not adequately cover it in the outyears, and we intend to correct this deficiency in the year 2000 budget submittal that we are going to send in. We are not backing off on Space Grant because we think that also is the right thing to do.
So, I believe that we will hold tight on all our educational issues, and we do not intend to cut it. In two cases, we just had poor bookkeeping going in and, in the other case, we actually had an error that I was unaware of until I learned of the concern from this Committee and, in the year 2000 budget, that will be fixed.
Mr. PRICE. Well, that $54.1 million figure projected for fiscal '99 does go below the '97 figure considerably, not just the blip that you experienced in '98.
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My question is just overall what kind of price is going to be paid in terms of the things that you have been doing and the priorities that you have been setting in terms of this range of educational programs?
Mr. GOLDIN. With regard to our educational programs, there will be no backing off at all, period. And I would like to ask Mr. Peterson to explain to you the difference between '98 and '99.
Mr. PETERSON. Simply put, I made a mistake. When we formulated the '99 budget, we had just gotten earmarked for the '98 appropriation, and we thought that the cost implications of that would extend over two years, '98 and '99. At the time we allocated the budget authority for '99, we were in error. And we have probably about on the order of about a $5- or $6-million shortfall in one area in particular, which is the Space Grant area, and that is just an error on our part. We would propose to fix it in the operating plan, through the operating plan process.
OVERALL SCIENCE, AERONAUTICS AND TECHNOLOGY BUDGET
Mr. PRICE. All right. We will look forward to that clarification. When you look elsewhere in the research budget, you do see some slippage overall, but this masks a mixed pattern of incremental increases and decreases in science, aeronautics and technology programs.
I gather you think we do not have a ''big science-little science problem'' at NASA. At the budgetary margins, though, what kind of research endeavors are getting cut out by the economies that we are seeing in this extramural research budget?
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Mr. GOLDIN. With regards to science, I believelet me see if Iare you talking about research and analysis, or are you talking about our overall science budgets?
Mr. PRICE. I'm basically talking about the overall science, aeronautics and technology budget.
Mr. GOLDIN. Let me tell you that that has been the big winner at NASA. Each year we constantly make progress to increase that as a percentage of our budget and, in 1992, it was 31 percent of the budget. With this budget submittal today, it is 43 percent of the budget in 1999. And if you carry the budget out to the year 2003, it becomes 48 percent.
The budget for human space flight has come down from 48 percent to 38 percent and, in 2003, if we stick on this budget, it will be 31 percent. Somehow, this message does notand, in fact, I have a chart herecould you get the chart put up, Mal?
Mr. LEWIS. We actually have a chart right in front of us.
Mr. GOLDIN. Oh, you have the chart. Somehow, this message has not gotten across, but I feel that each year we have made continued progress in increasing the capacitythere is the chart I am talking about, which shows how we come from 31 percent all the way up to 48 percent.
This message does not come across because people look at individual budget line items. But taken in toto, if anything, I am concerned we may have overcompensated and put more into science and not enough into human space flight. And this is going to be an issue we are going to have to look at in the future, not with regards to the Space Station itself, but what happens beyond the Space Station. What happens in terms of Shuttle replacements? And I think those issues will come up in the years ahead.
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Mr. PRICE. Well, Mr. Chairman, I know my time is up. I am, indeed, looking at the line item. The percentage figures are interesting, and I appreciate your pointing those out but, for the overall science, aeronautics and technology budget, we are talking about going from $5.5 to $5.4 billion for next year. And what I am asking is, at the margins, what kind of research endeavors are on the line?
Mr. GOLDIN. Oh, you are talking about from '98 to '99?
Mr. PRICE. Yes, I am.
Mr. GOLDIN. Okay. I thought you were talking about the whole big period. First of all, what happened from '98 to '99 is we got more efficient in the Earth Science program, and we are able to build spacecraft a lot less expensively. In fact, our projections now for the EOS series of spacecraft in this five-year time period are $500 million less. And we were able to do moreand we started new programs also. We did not drop anything in going from '98 to '99. In fact, this year we started about five new science programs, and we enhanced the research and analysis account. We lost nothing. In fact, we have gained.
So, on the margin, we have lost nothing. Maybe Mal can explain the details of the numbers.
Mr. PETERSON. Sir, the Space Science, and Life and Microgravity Science, and Earth Science programs have stayed constant, or increased from '98 to '99. Aeronautics has gone down some as the completion of the first phase, or actually the second phase of the high-speed research program and the initiation of what we refer to as the 2A program. And we have made other adjustments in mission communications, which was part of this account, based on savings that we expect to see out of our consolidated contracts.
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Mr. PRICE. And then the academic
Mr. PETERSON. And the academic program is down
Mr. PRICE. The reductions that we were talking about earlier are also involved here.
Mr. PETERSON. Yes, sir.
Mr. PRICE. All right. Thank you very much.
Mr. LEWIS. Mr. Price, I appreciate those questions along that line. I have some additional questions that I will submit for the record in connection with that and, of course, you may as well. Mr. Walsh.
Mr. WALSH. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Mr. Administrator, thank you for your testimony today. Just a general sort of question, statement/question on budget. The proposed reduction in fiscal year 1999 would be the sixth consecutive cut in NASA's budget. NASA is the only U.S. science agency not receiving an increase for research and development in the fiscal year 1999 budget under the Clinton Administration's preparing for the 21st century research fund.
Page 167 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC The fund is intended to boost civilian research funding 32 percent over the next five years. Does it bother you that you are not a priority of the Clinton Administration?
Mr. GOLDIN. I believe that NASA has done things that have not been done in other places in the Federal Government. I do not want to say what other people have not done, but I know what we have done. And we have continued to change what we are doing by improving efficiencies. Clearly, if we were given more money, we would know how to spend it. But given the deficit situation in this country, I am proud of what the NASA team has done, to do more for less, and I would hope to see it across the Government.
Mr. WALSH. I think you have a pretty remarkable story. When you look at these charts and you see what you have been able to accomplish, you wonder if it is a diminution of support for NASA or just high expectations that you will continue to do what you have been able to do, but it does put pressure on the research and development that you do, and the Clinton Administration is making some investments perhaps in some questionable areas where NASA has a proven track record. My editorial comment.
SPACE STATION SAVINGS?
Mr. GOLDIN. I care not to comment on that.
Mr. WALSH. On the Space Station now, the Clinton Administration invited the Russians to join the Space Station back in I believe it was '93, and their participation was justified by the claim that American taxpayers would save over $2 billion with that partnership.
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Now, two hardware delays in Russia and the cost of the Space Station has risen by over $2 billion and, as my colleague from New Jersey pointed out, there is some expectation it could be an additional $2 billion for an increase of $4 billion. Have all those savings that we were told about evaporated?
Mr. GOLDIN. At the present time, the Russian delays in funding to their space agency have caused significant cost impact to the United States. If this continues, we will use up that $2 billion savings we had in the development phase.
There are other savings that are significant in the operations phase. One of the reasons we were able to reduce the operations budget, which was significant, was that the Russians are providing a number of delivery functions, namely, fuel and support equipment, to the Space Station, that we will then have to replace. That is important.
But probably more important is something that the VEST panel pointed out when they reviewed the inclusion of the Russians in the program, and that was the fact that they were concerned that there was only one launch vehicle that could take things up to the Space Station. And working on the Shuttle Mir program, we have seen a tremendous asset in having the Proton and the Shuttle and the Soyuz and the Progress. It gives us much more flexibility, and it will be very, very valuable during the life of the program.
Yes, we have taken some hits. This is a very tough program, a very difficult circumstance, but I still believe we have a chance of doing it right and pulling it off. And we should consider the Russians, but we have to just review if they are doing what they say they are going to do, and that is why we set up the process that Mr. Rothenberg talked about, to get to a decision and a recommendation to this Committee by the end of May.
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Mr. WALSH. Well, we appreciate your optimism as far as the Russians are concerned but, if a problem occursand Chairman Lewis has asked a number of questions about the Russian commitmentif there is a problem, what about the other partners? What are they prepared to do? Are they prepared to contribute additional resources to make this project work if the Russians cannot, or will not?
Mr. GOLDIN. We are going to have an appropriate discussion with our partners at the end of May, and this will be one of the considerations that we will talk to them about.
Mr. WALSH. Do you have a feel?
Mr. GOLDIN. I do not know, and it would be presumptive of me to make a commitment for our partner countries.
Mr. WALSH. Let me ask you this. Do the partners still have the same degree of confidence in the project that they had entering the project?
Mr. GOLDIN. I believe the partners have a $4.5 billion investment they have already made, and they want to see that investment come to fruition. The partners also want to see the Russians brought into the Space Station program because they can see the tremendous benefits from that, and we have been working very closely together. We have had heads of agencies meeting where we have tried to work through each of these issues to make this thing happen, and happen right.
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Mr. WALSH. Thank you very much. Mr. Chairman.
Mr. LEWIS. Thank you, Mr. Walsh. Ms. Meek.
Ms. MEEK. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Welcome to all of you. First of all, I would like to associate my questions on minority research and minority education with those made by Mr. Stokes just before he left. I have the same feelings. I have followed this with Mr. Goldin and the rest of the staff throughout, and I am continually interested, just as this Subcommittee is, in that.
I have a question. Being a strong supporter of NASA, if what I have read and received from members of your group and read your reports is true, your budget growth has been very slow, and now it is almost flattened out to the point that those who believe in shuffling figures with the budget would say that that is a good thing to do. But I am very concerned about NASA and its Space Program, particularly the International Space Program. I visited your site, I saw everything there. I was able to talk to the engineers, the scientists, and the people who were dealing with the Earth Sciences as well.
I note that you have reduced your civil workforce. You have tried to work within the parameters of what our budgetary constraints have given us. However, when you look at a comparative analysis of NASA's growth budgetary-wise, and other agencies, yours has been pitiably slow.
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Mr. Weldon, a colleague of mine, worked on this last year trying to get a bipartisan approach to showing this Congress, along with several other people, how slowly NASA's budget growth has not kept up with other agencies.
I passed these out to the Members of the Committee just to give some rationale to what I am going to say to the Committee. I do hope that notwithstanding the President's recommendations, that this Committee will look very closely at NASA's growth and their budget growth, and try to stimulate growth with NASA, and that you are the lastI guess I do not have the adequate wordbut in terms of research and science, you are our last place to go, really. If we are going anyplace in research and in medical science, it will be because of NASA. And I speak very strongly about this because I know that it is very easy for us to worry about the parameters we set with the balanced budget, but we fail to look at some of these comparative analyses to show. And when you look at it, the budget growth for Department of Justice, NIH, HHS, Treasury, SBA, DOT and all of them, then you look at NASA, you are below the lowest percentile here, the quartile, or any other kind of statistical analysis you would show.
So, if there is anything any smaller than percentile, I want to know where it is. But I think that this shows us on paper why Mr. Weldon took so much time trying to talk to other Members of Congress. That gives us sort of a mandate, I think, on this Subcommittee, that there are Members of Congress who feel very strongly about NASA and space exploration and space growth, that they were willing to sign these sheets to say not only to this Committee, but to the President and to the Speaker or to anyone else. And I wanted to bring this to the attention of this Subcommittee while you are here, just to reiterate the fact that we do need some help for NASA if we compare it with other agencies.
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It is flat, your budget is, and I hope the Subcommittee will look at that. And you do not need to respond to that, that was merely
Mr. GOLDIN. I would be happy to say a few comments.
Ms. MEEK. You may.
Mr. GOLDIN. It will be very brief. Clearly, as the Administrator of this Agency, when I see tremendous growth across all other agencies, it is difficult, but I have been given a job to do, and I will carry out that job and be loyal to my President.
KSC INVOLVEMENT IN THE SPACE STATION PROGRAM
Ms. MEEK. That is good. I think that is a very good statement. That is all I can say, but it really does not have anything to do with our increasing your budget on this Committee. [Laughter.]
Thank you. I will move on to the next question, and I will make it short, Mr. Chairman. I note from your budget that you plan to spend almost $10 million more at the Kennedy Space Center in 1999, on Space Station programs. Can you tell me how the Kennedy Space Center is involved, and will be involved, in the future in the Space Station program?
Mr. GOLDIN. Yes. The Kennedy Space Center is playing an every-increasing role in the Space Station program, and we made a major decision a few years ago to utilize the incredibly talented workers at NASA Kennedy to perform major integration functions.
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This team is headed by a gentleman named Tip Tallone, who has done an outstanding job and, in fact, we have had hardware that has been behind schedule and shipped to Kennedy, they have been able to make up schedule. So you will see an ever increasing role for Kennedy to play because it is our space port for STARS, and we are putting in additional facilities.
Another area that we had some concern is that we were not doing proper environmental testing on hardware down at the Cape and, in fact, the Russians told us this. So, we have now upgraded the vacuum chamber at NASA Kennedy so it can be used to do environmental testing before we ship payloads.
We are upgrading the launch checkout system, and that is being also done at NASA Kennedy because we have to make some significant upgrades as we go into the era of the Space Station because we cannot afford any launch delays due to problems with our equipment on the ground because we have to continually meet that five-minute launch window. These are the areas that I believe Kennedy is playing a very significant role.
ACCESS TO THE MICROGRAVITY RESEARCH
Ms. MEEK. My last quick question. You have expressed in the past, Mr. Goldin, your interest in commercializing the Space Station. And my question is relative to your HEDS Enterprise and how well you have been able to do that.
You have said that there have been reports that almost all of the upcoming Space Shuttle flights are committed to Space Station construction and resupply, with little opportunity for commercial and research missions.
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I am not sure we can expect the research and the commercial community to just pick up after downtime, a five-year downtime, as shown in your budget, with no access, as you have said in your book here, to Microgravity facilities.
How is NASA providing the scientists and commercial researchers across the country access to the microgravity research which you so ably mention here that will be available to them? Are you putting most of your attention to construction?
Mr. GOLDIN. Recognizing that we had that issue, we have added two Shuttle flights, STS95 and I believe STS107 that, in a large sense, are being done very differently, and then we have options for two more. We have contracted with the SPACEHAB Corporation, which is performing some of these missions on a commercial basis. NASA has taken a portion of the mission and then filling the rest commercially.
We have also increased the capacity to do middeck experiments on the Space Shuttle. We have increased the power. We have increased the capability. So we have middeck experiments.
Also in 1999, we will be launching the express rack up to the Space Station where we can do microgravity research, and we will continue to build that capability as we go. But I feel that one of the big factors is going to be this contract that we signed with the SPACEHAB Company for a guaranteed mission plus options up to four missions and, if need be, we will do more. We will not walk away from the research community.
Page 175 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCUPGRADE TO NASA BUDGET
Ms. MEEK. Thank you very much. My last question is to my Chairman. Mr. Chairman and Members of this Committee, do you think with all the finesse you have explored in the past, that you can find money to upgrade NASA's budget, the $200 million that they didn't get last year?
Mr. LEWIS. Ms. Meek, hope springs eternal. [Laughter.]
Ms. MEEK. I am on the record with that question.
Mr. LEWIS. I know you are. [Laughter.]
The Speaker has indicated his own priorities relative to funding in the months and years ahead. Within that mix, one of the very, very highest priorities is given on his part to research, both basic and applied. That would bode well over time but, indeed, your expression of nonpartisan interest in these subjects is very hopeful, and I want you to know I appreciate it. Mr. Knollenberg.
Mr. KNOLLENBERG. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Welcome, again, Mr. Goldin and company. There was an article in Science Magazine back in November regarding global warming, and global warming, as you well know, is something that has taken front page on newspapers and magazines around the country for the last several months. I find, too, that within the various budgets, including this one, there is an indication that money or some kind of program is being developed in the direction of global warming.
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That article in Science Magazine indicated that their position was, which is kind of interesting because it differs from the global warming ''gloom and doom'' scare which very honestly I have problems with, serious problems with, and that what we should be looking at, what is more dangerous, in fact, isthis was a quote from Duane Goobler, who is the Director of the Disease Control and Prevention Center, who also feels it is a gloom-and-doom kind of thinghe says what we should be thinking about is to look at a thing called ''the health measures'', public health measures, and, in fact, it is simplistic to think that global warming is the only thing that we should be looking at.
He cites, or they cite, a number of examples wherefor example, why is it that the Gulf states of the Americas are warmer than the Caribbean, but the diseases in the Caribbean are manifold and they do not carry through to our Gulf states, like, why is it in Mexico and the United States the mosquitoand he talks about the parasites and, in fact, he talks about the insects and mosquitoes in particular, there was a certain problem that occurred down on the Rio Grande, where 2,000 confirmed cases in Mexico, just across the river, there was something like seven in Texas. So, you have to figure that it has got to be air conditioning, it has got to be screens, it has got to be food, whatever, it has to be a lot of things that play into that.
Now, I understand there is a Nancy Maynard that is with youI do not know if she is here today or not, but I see somebody
Dr. ASRAR. She works for us.
Mr. KNOLLENBERG. And your name, sir?
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Dr. ASRAR. My name is Ghassem Asrar, I am the head of Earth Science Enterprise at NASA.
Mr. KNOLLENBERG. What I am interested in, and I understand from my sources, that you are starting a subcommittee that is headed by Dr. Maynard or Ms. Maynard?
Dr. ASRAR. Ms. Maynard, and also a representative from NIH.
Mr. KNOLLENBERG. Well, I am glad to hear that part. Now, is NASA, according to the article, starting this committee with emphasis on global climate?
Mr. GOLDIN. First, let me say that we have an Earth Science program. It is broad and deep in scope. It impacts fishermen in the Gulf of Mexico to find better places to go fishing. It impacts people who have drilling rigs that do not want to be swamped out by currents while performing drilling functions. It affects wine growers in California that are worked about pests. It affects the prediction of
Mr. KNOLLENBERG. Is this what is taking place now?
Mr. GOLDIN. It is a broad program. Somehow people keep saying that the NASA Earth Science program is a program focusing only on global warming. We are broad, and we are deep.
GLOBAL WARMING DEVOTED RESOURCES
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Mr. KNOLLENBERG. Here is what we want to know. I am glad to hear that. Let me just ask specifically, though, how much money or resources are being devoted to global warming? I see, for example, this chartand you have been true to what you told us several years ago about what you are attempting to do. It may not be what you would like to see happen with your particular spike being downward rather than upward, but if you are doing or spending money in these areas, and some of it is going for the things you say, Mr. Goldin, and some is also going for global warming, where is it coming from? Is it money being diverted from other programs in NASA?
Mr. GOLDIN. No. We have been able to performin fact, let me give you a statistic.
Mr. KNOLLENBERG. What I am looking for is how much and what are you doing.
Mr. GOLDIN. Okay. When I arrived at NASA, the Earth Science program for the decade of the '90s was $11.3 billion. The Earth Science program today, with many more spacecraft and a much deeper research base, is at $6.7 billion. That program is an outstanding program. It is a broad-based program that deals with five different basic research areas, as I would like to have Dr. Asrar point out to you.
I will give you another reference. In 1992, we had three spacecraft that we were going to launch on five-year centers with three different phases. We will be launching 27 spacecraft for the Phase I of the Earth Observing System instead of three.
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Mr. KNOLLENBERG. But how much of this is directed at global warming? I guess I want to knowif you cannot give me a number now, can somebody research that for me?
Mr. GOLDIN. Before we do that, we are trying to understandI would like to give you a perspective before we break out global warming. We are trying to understand how to build predictive models for weather, climate, environment and resource management for sustainable development.
Mr. KNOLLENBERG. And the adaptability of man to these things?
Mr. GOLDIN. And to understand what nature does and what the human specie does so we can take action in a policy sensewe will provide that data to the policymakers so they can make decisions. That is the role that NASA is playing.
I would like to now ask Dr. Asrar to give you a breakout of how our budget is being spent.
Dr. ASRAR. Good morning. Thank you for the opportunity. As Administrator Goldin stated, the focus of our Earth Science program at NASA is to understand fundamentally how earth functions as a system. How that knowledge is going to be used basically is up to the leadership in this nation to take that knowledge and apply it.
Yes, the scientific understanding that we get out of our program will undoubtedly have benefit to establishing sound policy decisions vis-a-vis the energy use and global warming and things of that nature. But we are not in the business of really mitigating or promoting science for the sake of addressing the global warming issue.
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Our job is to provide the scientific knowledge, the very same scientific knowledge and the technology that we develop has practical benefits to solving societal problems such as the vector-borne diseases issues that you have raised.
What we have not done effectively in the past that we are going to do a much more effective job over the next few years is to bring out the application and relevance of our science program to fixing or addressing the societal problems that you just stated.
The partnership with agencies such as
GLOBAL WARMING SPENDING
Mr. KNOLLENBERG. To repeat my question again, how much are you going to spend on global warming?
Dr. ASRAR. We do not break out our budget by these categories. Again, the fundamental focus of our program is understanding how the earth functions as a system.
Mr. KNOLLENBERG. Okay. I think what I am gettingand I understand that it may be difficult for you to separate that outbut I am not getting the question answered properly. You are not telling me what it is that you are going to spend specifically in that little area called global warming. Now, if you do not know that, that is all right, but we are going to watch you very, very closely.
Page 181 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Dr. ASRAR. Absolutely, sir. Again, we do not break out our budget by global warming or vector-borne diseases or things of that nature. We focus on five scientific areas. One is to understand how
Mr. KNOLLENBERG. Is this subcommittee functioning right now, is it functioning as we sit?
Dr. ASRAR. Which subcommittee, sir, is that?
GLOBAL WARMING SUBCOMMITTEE
Mr. KNOLLENBERG. Global Warming Subcommittee. I have been told there is a new Subcommittee on Global Climate Change that is a part of NASA.
Dr. ASRAR. No, sir, we do not have such a subcommittee within NASA, no. We have four fundamental divisions in our office. One focuses on basic research and analysis, one focuses on applications, the subject that you just stated in terms of the knowledge that we gain.
Mr. KNOLLENBERG. Here is the reason I bring this up, and I appreciate your answer. Nancy Maynard, Deputy Director of Science for NASA's Mission to Planet Earth Program says, ''NASA has just started a subcommittee on global change''now this is November''global change and human health, hoping to provide the strongest scientific basis for these relationships''. Is that true?
Page 182 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Dr. ASRAR. No, sir, it is not correct.
Mr. KNOLLENBERG. Not true.
Dr. ASRAR. No. Dr. Maynard was just recently appointed as the head of our Applications Research Division, to take the knowledge and technology that we get out of our program to solve societal problems such as the one you just stated, the vector-borne diseases. She will be leading the Application Research Program of our office.
Mr. KNOLLENBERG. So that is a misquote. I guess what I am trying to
Mr. GOLDIN. Could we get a copy of or the citation for where that was, and we will get for the record an answer.
Mr. KNOLLENBERG. And I will close here because I am taking too much time. It is not that I want to beat this thing to death, but if you are spending money in those areas, it should seem to me that you ought to know how much you are spending specifically for not just global warming, but whatever the other parts are, and maybe you do not know that today, but we would like to know that. I would like to know that.
[The information follows:]
GLOBAL CHANGE RESEARCH
Page 183 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC To date, NASA is working with NIH as well as USGS, DOE, USDA, FDA, and EPA on a Subcommittee on Global Change Research (SGCR) Working Group on Global Change and Human Health. Other members of the 19 agency SGCR may join the Working Group at a later date. The SGCR is part of the Committee on Environment and Natural Resources, which falls under the umbrella of the National Science and Technology Council (NSTC). This working group as well as the NSTC does not engage in global warming research.
The working group's main activity at this time is identifying the present ongoing Federal activities, preparing an inventory of all relevant programs on human health and global environmental change, and strengthening links among the agency programs. The purpose of this working group is to promote and enhance cooperative activities among the Federal R&D agencies related to understanding, measuring, characterizing, and assessing the relationships between human health and the components, processes, and changes in the total Earth system, including climate change.
Dr. ASRAR. We certainly take action to respond to the statement here. We are a member of the U.S. Global Change Research Program. This is sort of a partnership of about 12 agencies across the nation, including National Science Foundation, but I am not really familiar with the subcommittee.
Mr. KNOLLENBERG. I am going to submit it for the record a specific question that will relate to some of this, and perhaps you can uncover some numbers for us because we would like to know as much as we possibly can. I will yield back. Thank you.
Dr. ASRAR. Yes, sir.
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Mr. LEWIS. Thank you, Mr. Knollenberg. Obviously, this line of questioning will not go away, so we will improve upon it as time goes forward. Mr. Hobson.
REDUCTIONS IN AERONAUTICAL RESEARCH AND TECHNOLOGY
Mr. HOBSON. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Welcome, Mr. Administrator. I want to talk a little bit about reductions in aeronautical research and technology. NASA's '99 budget request is $13.5 billion, essentially flat for the fifth year in a row. Science, aeronautics and technology is cut 15 percent in 1999 from the 1998 level, which is a substantial cut in just one year.
NASA's priority, I think, should continue to be a quality basic research which increases the return on the Government's investment and strengthens international competitiveness in key U.S. industries.
Furthermore, in this current environment of significant year-to-year cuts, the basic research goals in aeronautical research must be accommodated.
My question is, could you comment on the proposed NASA reduction in aeronautics? Do you think the reduction will have a negative impact on U.S. competitiveness? Could you summarize what basic research falls within the high-speed research program, and why NASA proposed a Phase 2A to this program?
Mr. GOLDIN. Let me answer the broad question, and then I'll ask Mal Peterson and Rich Christiansen to answer the specifics. We have a very strong program. In fact, in this year's budget, we added about $800 million to start the high-speed 2A program which was a fundamental activity which we found in our high-speed Phase 2 program where it appeared that we wanted to build a full-up engine that will operate supersonically and test it.
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We think this is the critical technology because the engine technology will determine the fuel efficiency for such a system and it will also have a very big impact on the emissions and noise. These were the three issues that caused the Concorde not to be economically feasible. So, we did put that program in.
Secondly, we have put together a national consortium of NASA, the FAA, the DOD, the airline companies, the aircraft companies and their suppliers, to focus on a number of goals that we intend to accomplish in ten years and 20 years and, for the record, I will submit that so that you can see it. These are very tough goals across all areas.
[The information follows:]
Over the past eighteen months, we worked closely with our partners in government, industry, and academia developing a strategic framework to guide our research over the next twenty years. Last March, the NASA Administrator unveiled this strategic plan: ''The Three Pillars for Success.'' This plan for the future aligns our programs around three technology ''pillars:'' Global Civil Aviation, Revolutionary Technology Leaps, and Access to Space. In each pillar, we have defined the following enabling technology goals:
PILLAR ONE: GLOBAL CIVIL AVIATION
Reduce the aircraft accident rate by a factor of five within 10 years, and by a factor of 10 within 20 years.
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While maintaining safety, triple the aviation system throughput, in all weather conditions, within 10 years.
Reduce emissions of future aircraft by a factor of three within 10 years, and by a factor of five within 20 years.
Reduce the perceived noise levels of future aircraft by a factor of two from today's subsonic aircraft within 10 years, and by a factor of four within 20 years.
Reduce the cost of air travel by 25% within 10 years, and by 50% within 20 years.
PILLAR TWO: REVOLUTIONARY TECHNOLOGY LEAPS
Reduce the travel time to the Far East and Europe by 50 percent within 20 years, and do so at today's subsonic ticket prices.
Invigorate the general aviation industry, delivering 10,000 aircraft annually within 10 years, and 20,000 aircraft annually within 20 years.
Provide next-generation design tools and experimental aircraft to increase design confidence, and cut the development cycle time for aircraft in half.
PILLAR THREE: ACCESS TO SPACE
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Reduce the payload cost to low-Earth orbit by an order of magnitude, from $10,000 to $1,000 per pound, within 10 years.
Reduce the payload cost to low-Earth orbit by an additional order of magnitude, from $1,000's to $100's per pound, by 2020.
These goals are framed in terms of a final outcomethe anticipated benefit of NASA-developed technology once it has been incorporated into our nation's aviation and space system. Each of these goals stretches the boundaries of our knowledge and capabilities. Each requires taking technical risks and performing coordinated long-term research and technology development with our partners in industry and government. We may not know how to fully achieve each goal today; however, we believe that together, NASA, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), the Department of Defense (DOD), industry, and academia will find the necessary technology solutions to turn these goals into reality.
The Enterprise includes three major program areas: aeronautics, space transportation technology and commercial technology. The Enterprise's current portfolio of programs supports the ten technology goals and represents a logical framework for achieving the technical advances needed.
Mr. GOLDIN. In a general sense, we are completing high-speed Phase 2 and, as we go into 2A, because we want to focus on the engines, we are delaying work on the air frame activity because we think it is going to get out ahead of the engines. I think that was a significant cause of the reduction in the program.
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Mal, would you like to add anything to that?
Mr. PETERSON. Yes, sir. There are a number of factors that contribute to the change. For instance, in high-performance computing, we spent a great deal of money this year in buying some testbeds. That activity is finished in '98, so we do not have that nonrecurring investment made in '99.
We are in the peak year of funding in '98 for the X33, Reusable Launch Vehicle, and that comes downit is a bell-shaped curvein '99, as the program is getting into its flight test phase. Mr. Goldin has already addressed the high-speed research program. What we are watching is the culmination of the second phase of the program and the beginning in '99 of the buildup of the what we refer to as high-speed research 2A, which is the new program that Mr. Goldin referred to as an $800 million endeavor.
So, most of the change is really due from program phasing, and not from deliberate policy decisions.
Mr. GOLDIN. But I believe that America has the boldest set of goals in the aeronautics area than any nation in the world. We have set a goal of cutting the crash rate of planes by a factor of five in the next ten years. We have set a goal of cutting the cost of developing planes by a factor of 25 percent in the next ten years. Considering that for the past two decades the costs have gone up 50 percent, this is an incredible goal to develop those technologies.
Page 189 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC We have set a goal of cutting the cycle time to develop a new aircraft by a factor of two, and we have set a goal that within ten years we will increase the production rate of general aviation aircraft from somewhat over 1,000 aircraft a year to 10,000 a year, using the most advanced technology. And we are developing a jet engine and the technology for a small jet plane, four-place jet plane, that will get the cost down perhaps by as much as an order of magnitude. These are very tough, tough goals.
And in that we also said within 20 years we will attempt to develop a technology so that this nation can produce a supersonic transport that will travel at mach-2.4, at economical rates, so you do not have to pay a premium on coach ticket.
I would say that these are tough goals, and some of the folks in the aircraft industry have a ''pucker'' factor because they are a little bit concerned about this, and we may have to bring them along with us.
COOPERATION/COLLABORATION BETWEEN NASA AND OTHER FEDERAL AGENCIES
Mr. HOBSON. Thank you. I have two other questions I would like to ask, if I may. This is something that I have talked about before with you, and I want to go into this again, and this is the cooperation and collaboration between NASA and other Federal Agencies. I think it is vital to ensure that taxpayers get the most for their money, without unnecessary duplication.
As an example, because of less funding for aeronautics and space in 1995, NASA and DOD agreed to perform more joint planning, common funding, and common operations at aerospace testing facilities. However, I am now concerned with a March 1998 GAO study which indicated that virtually no progress has been made in this effort.
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According to the GAO report, NASA and DOD continue to compete with each other to test new rocket engines, and have not prepared a congressionally required joint plan on rocket test facilities. I want you to comment on that. And while I am on the subject of cooperation, I am interested to know more about the collaboration of NASA Lewis, and Wright-Patterson Air Force Base on aviation safety. I understand that NASA Lewis has 20 percent of the total NASA Aviation Safety program, and it has been interacting with Wright-Patterson personnel on this program. As you know, that is something I have been particularly interested in. I am concerned about this GAO report because we want to encourage everybody to work together and not duplicate.
Mr. GOLDIN. First, let me start by saying that in my estimationand I have been in the business for a number of decadesthe relationship between DOD and NASA has not been better. Gen. Estes has been a primary force. He is the head of the Unified Space Command. And we set up a partnership council with the Unified Space Command and with the Air Force.
We are doing things such as combining the maintenance and operations activity down at Cape Kennedy, between Patrick Air Force Base and Cape Kennedy. We are also making a decision to not build next-generation spacecraft and having NASA rely on the DOD in this area.
We are now committed to flying technology from the DOD on the Space Shuttle. The place that we are having more of a difficultyI gave you those examples so that you understand that we are really workingthe facilities is a difficult problem, and let me provide you a little perspective, especially rocket facilities.
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This nation put in very large rocket facilities during the Apollo program at NASA Stennis and in California at Edwards Air Force Base. I do not know that this nation could ever afford, given the present budget situation, to replicate those facilities.
We have, at Stennis, probably the best facilities in the world for testing rockets. And Roy Estess, who is the Director down at NASA Stennis, would like to take on the job of doing all the rocket testing for this country. But he has a degree of reticence. And I have a nice report that he wrote, which kind of glosses things over, but I want to get to the crux of this matter.
NASA and the DOD are in different budget line items. And there is a real anxiety, shared by both NASA and DOD, that once we shut the facilities down in California, if we were to do that at the DOD facility, and the DOD and the nation's defense was to rely upon NASA, and at some point in the future the NASA budget for whatever reason was to be cutand it doesn't even have to involve my presence at NASAwe have a concern that we would not be meeting a national commitment and we are concerned about the whole budget process.
In getting ready for this hearing and understanding the concern from the GAO report, I talked to our people, and this is what they are telling me, and we would like to openly discuss it because there is a genuine intent on the part of the DOD, the Air Force and NASA to work this problem, but we are going to need some help from the Congress.
Mr. HOBSON. I was going to say, if NASA and DOD do not gethere is what worries meI do not want to take too much time, Mr. Chairmanif NASA and DOD do not work it out, then Congress will get into it, and that does not always work the best. So, I thinkthe Chairman and I both sit on the other committee, and so there is some convergence here. But I would suggest to you that you all need to get together or somebody is going to come down and mandate something and nobody is going to be happy, I am afraid.
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Mr. GOLDIN. But again I say before it gets mandated, there is a real issue. And when I first came to NASA, we had joint programs that were jointly funded by the DOD side and by the NASA side of Appropriations, where we could not keep track of it. And all I am saying is this is a genuine concern that we would like to openly talk to the Congress about.
Mr. HOBSON. I am done, Mr. Chairman. I have some other questions, I will submit them for the record.
Mr. LEWIS. Thank you very much. Mr. Stokes.
MATH-SCIENCE EDUCATION AWARD
Mr. STOKES. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Let us go to Mr. Reese, if he is ready with his reply.
Mr. GOLDIN. Do you have the answer, Mr. Reese?
Mr. REESE. Yes, sir. Thank you, the Committee, and I am sorry for the lack of clarity and understanding. What I have found out, and I hope this addresses your question very specifically, was that as to the Math-Science Education Award, some of the allocations that were made, there were arrangements made with the recipient who could not use all of the money at the appropriate time, and that we would fully fund them in a subsequent year. And so the money was partially funded, some was also therefore used for more partnership awards.
Page 193 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Now, we have talked with those recipients, and they are aware that they will be fully funded to whatever degree the initial award was. As a matter of fact, there is a meeting going on as we speak, working those arrangements out with a particular grantee.
Mr. STOKES. So you are telling us then that what appears to be a decrease by about $1.9 million, or more than 22 percent, will, in the final analysis, not be a decrease?
Mr. REESE. Yes, sir. Yes, sir. There was no planned decrease, and this was a bookkeeping methodology we utilized to, in fact, try to get all of our money appropriately allocated out at the point in time. And all the recipients will be, in fact, fully funded.
SMALL BUSINESS SET-ASIDES
Mr. STOKES. Okay. Thank you, Mr. Reese. Mr. Goldin, I would ask that you also update the detailed information and statistics including minority representation small business set asides similar to that contained in prior year hearing volumes, if you will do that for the record.
[The information follows:]
"The Official Committee record contains additional material here."
Mr. GOLDIN. Yes.
Page 194 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCMENTORING SMALL MINORITY BUSINESSES
Mr. STOKES. I see Mr. Thomas here, and I do not want to neglect the opportunity to have him talk a little bit about what he is doing. As you mentioned earlier today, I attended one of his conferences, and among other things that impressed me there was the ''Golden Stokes Award'' that is given to mentor-protegee persons who have done outstanding jobs in mentoring small minority businesses, and Ralph is doing an outstanding job.
I see in his Opportunity Quarterly, he talks aboutsomewhere in here he is bragging about all the good things they are doing. Why do you not come up and tell us about what is happening. I think the section I was referring to says ''NASA awards record number of contract dollars to small businesses'', is that correct?
Mr. THOMAS. Yes, sir. In fact, ever since 1992, the awards to small disadvantaged businesses have gone up. As you know, the Stokes Amendment required at least 8 percent of our contracts and subcontracts do this to go to small disadvantaged businesses. At that time, in 1990, it was just 5.3 percent. Today it is 14.5 for 1997.
And we have had very good success in utilizing small disadvantaged businesses in a variety of areas and they have been critical to our success in our Agency's mission. Anything you want to look atfor example, the Lunar Prospector that was recently very successful, we heard about that.
CNN called the Website the best that NASA had ever done. I think it took 15 million hits the first day. Well, that was designed by a small disadvantaged business. The very successful Mars Pathfinder, the batteries were designed, produced and manufactured by a small disadvantaged business, and they lasted longer than they were contracted to last.
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We were told at the last Space Station briefing that the small disadvantaged businesses were outperforming in terms of performance and cost the large businesses. So we have gotten small disadvantaged businesses involved in all of our critical programs and, overall, they have done very well. The quality has been high, and the cost has been the lowest reasonable cost. So we are very proud of that.
Mr. GOLDIN. We have been competing them, too.
Mr. STOKES. I notice also, Mr. Thomas, on the front of your Opportunity Quarterly, you talk about a woman-owned business wins a HYPERX contract. Very interesting, what is happening there. Can you tell us a little bit about it?
Mr. THOMAS. Yes. That was one I left out, but our HYPERX program in which some experimental vehicles are going to be built to go faster than the speed of sound
Mr. GOLDIN. They are going to go between mach-7 and mach-10, and they are going to be air-breathers, which is a revolution in technology.
Mr. THOMAS. That contract was won by a woman-owned business, Microcraft, of Tulahoma, Tennessee, and they beat out a large competitor mainly because their costs were significantly lower. Now, we hear a lot about woman-owned businesses and husbands and so forth. This woman took over from her mother. She has been running it for 12 years. Her mother died 12 years ago, and her mother ran it for 18 years when her husband died in 1968. So this woman, Fran Markham, has been involved with the company almost all of her life. So, that is the type of company businesses that we are using to be successful at NASA.
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Mr. GOLDIN. We made a decision at NASA not just to have volume, but quality, and we now are building the capability in the small disadvantaged business area that these companies are now taking on the big companies and they are actually winning. And this is what we want to have in America, a level playing field, and we have fought very, very hard to get to this level playing field, and we are very proud of these companies that have been working with us.
Mr. STOKES. Well, I would just like to say that I have appreciated very much the commitment you have demonstrated in each of these areas that we have discussed. As is noted by Mr. Thomas, when the Stokes Amendment went on, we were in terms of minority contracts, at 5.3 percent, and they are now 14.5. Now, obviously, there has been great progress made in this area as well as other areas, in what you are doing.
So I just want the record to show I appreciate the commitment you have had over the years, and the appointment of people who have been given the authority by you to make a change in these areas. So, I just want the record to show how much I appreciate it.
Mr. Chairman, I have a number of other questions which I will submit for the record, and I yield back my time.
Mr. LEWIS. Thank you. Mr. Stokes, as you know, I think as most people know, I very much appreciate your commitment to these issues, and it has already been said at this meeting, that this may be his last NASA hearing but, indeed, the commitment over the years to make sure that these programs are quality is obvious to anybody who would look.
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It strikes me we have been working together longer than we thought. It was like 20 years ago, almost exactly at this moment, I was a freshman Member who wandered down to the Small Business Committee with an idea, and that was that we ought to put in the law that all of our research dollars should have a minimum percentage. I remember using the figure 10 percent would go to small and disadvantaged companies.
Now, I must say that the Committee thought that was a good idea, and it was stolen from me and disappeared from the faceI am not sure exactly what happened. [Laughter.]
I learned that early in the Minority, that sometimes your ideas are stolen from you. But, indeed, we continue to work together, and your voice will be heard long after you decide to do other things.
Mr. STOKES. Well, you have done an outstanding job also, Mr. Chairman, in your commitment in this area, and that is one case where a little theft does not hurt. [Laughter.]
Mr. LEWIS. Thank you very much, Mr. Stokes.
SCIENCE, MATHEMATICS, AND ENGINEERING MENTORING
Mr. GOLDIN. Mr. Chairman, I would like to submit some bottom line measurables for the record, to substantiate what we have just been talking about.
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Mr. LEWIS. They will be included, and we appreciate that.
Mr. GOLDIN. The 1997 Presidential Awards for Excellence in Science, Mathematics, and Engineering Mentoring were awarded to nine institutions. Five of those institutions were funded by the programs we just talked about from NASA. That, in my mind, is a major accomplishment in terms of the quality of the program we have.
And the other thing, I am proud to say, is that Florida A&M, another one of our minority universities got the Time Magazine College of the Year Award. So, we are having a very significant impact but, once again, I am coming back to a major theme. This did not happen because our budget went up, this happened because we have people like Ralph Thomas and George Reese, who are absolutely committed to doing things and not always asking for loads of more money.
SCIENCE, ENGINEERING, MATHEMATICS PROGRAM
Mr. STOKES. Can I just mention one other thing, Mr. Chairman. The SEMA program, which is Science, Engineering, Mathematics Program, and I am having a little trouble finding your fiscal year '98 amount here in the budget. As you know, last year the Committee added an additional $250,000. And let me tell you, that is the program that, Mr. Goldin, you have now seen fit to expand the program from Cleveland to Washington, D.C. to Detroit, and I think you are going into St. Louis, and I am sure it is something Mrs. Meek is going to soon want to see in Florida.
Ms. MEEK. Definitely.
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Mr. HOBSON. There is one in Dayton and Springfield also.
Mr. STOKES. But is that in the budget for '98, the SEMA program? That's where these young people, Mr. Chairman, young minority students in these inner cities come out on Saturday morning where people like the scientists and the researchers and the engineers at Lewis Research Center come out on Saturday morning and work with them and the families. The parents are required to be present. They study engineering, science and mathematics, and people just love that program. Those kids go on to become outstanding students.
Mr. GOLDIN. I have met them. The answer to the question is
Mr. REESE. The answer to the question is yes, and you are absolutely right, we are replicating that in several cities. It has done, and is doing, an outstanding job. And we think that the payoff as it relates to the youngsters, getting them ready, is just great. And that is consistent with what NASA has been doing in many other areas, and this is one of the more viable programs that we, in fact, have. And we have written it up in our latest publication on education and training.
Mr. STOKES. I would like a copy of that, too.
Mr. REESE. Yes, sir.
[CLERK'S NOTE.NASA provided a copy of the 1997 Research and Technology Report and the FY 1997 Education and Training Report to Mr. Stokes and the Subcommittee.]
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Mr. STOKES. Thank you, Mr. Chairman, Mr. Reese, Mr. Thomas, and Mr. Goldin.
Mr. HOBSON. Mr. Chairman, if I may, I would like to know about the money because is there a budget item in here? Where is the money shown for this?
Mr. STOKES. That was the problem we were trying to find an answer to.
Mr. HOBSON. I do not think there was an answer to that, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. PETERSON. Yes, sir, there is funding in the program. In the Budget Justification package, we speak specifically about it in our operating plan discussion where we note that $1.5 million was allocated to SEMA in addition to the base amount. That is, I believe, $300,000, that you expanded from $300,000 in '97 to $1.8 in '98. So, it is in the Changes column of the Budget Justification.
Mr. LEWIS. If you would expand upon that response for the record, $1.8 million was the fact that you might like to make Mr. Hobson and Mr. Stokes know that.
Mr. STOKES. We put an additional $250,000, as I recall.
Mr. HOBSON. I think somebody at NASA needs to look at that because we were having trouble with it, too, and I would just like somebody to check that out.
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Mr. REESE. Be glad to. It appears that the Budget Justification book for the educational technology area is in error, and I apologize for that. Clearly, we have a confusion here.
Mr. GOLDIN. We will correct it.
Mr. LEWIS. Mr. Stokes, you can be assured that both Mr. Hobson and Mrs. Meek will be following this as well.
Mr. STOKES. Thank you very much, appreciate it.
ANNUAL COST CAP
Mr. LEWIS. Thank you, Mr. Stokes. Mr. Goldin, going back just for a moment, one of the issues which the Task Force noted could have contributed to current problems with the Station development was the annual cost cap of $2.1 billion. In light of that assessment, what are your feelings with regard to the cost caps in the NASA Authorization Bill reported by the Senate Commerce Committee on March 12th of this year?
Mr. GOLDIN. Mal just said to me they switched it between accounts, and we will provide for the record the correction to the question that Mr. Hobson asked.
Mr. LEWIS. That is all right, just clarify that for the record.
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Education information: this effort will continue in FY 1998. The Educator Resource Center Network redesign effort to insure national access and to make greater use of emerging educational technologies, will be completed in FY 1998.
Educational Technology activities in FY 1997 included funding for the following activities directed by Congress in the Conference Report accompanying the FY 1997 VA-HUD-Independent Agencies Appropriation Act (P.L. 104204): National Prototype Space Education Curriculum in conjunction with the Bishop Museum in Hawaii; further development of the American Museum of National History/National Center for Science, Literacy, Education and Technology; upgrades to Mobile Aeronautics Education Lab.: feasibility study to create a national residential high school at the Lewis Research Center; replication of the Science, Engineering, Mathematics, and Aeronautics Academy (SEMMA) program at Cuyahoga Community College; and increase learning effectiveness of the Classroom of the Future, by assessing and improving student scientific inquiry abilities using the Astronomy Village Program. In FY 1998, additional activities directed by Congress include the Alaska Learning Center, Apply Valley (CA) Learning Center, additional funding for the Bishop Museum (III), California Discovery Science Center, K12 Telecommunications, Louisiana Daily Living Center, and the Pennsylvania Education Telecommunication Center. Funding for expansion of the SEMMA program directed by Congress is included in the Minority University Research and Education Program.
Mr. GOLDIN. NASA has always tried to do the right thing.
Page 203 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. LEWIS. Well, of course.
Mr. GOLDIN. This Committee has held us accountable and has done a very thorough job in overseeing the work that we have done. Senator McCain has proposed an additional step to utilize the total cap on the program.
We are willing to work with Senator McCain, as I openly testified, as long as we have flexibility in the planning and that this be treated as a very cutting-edge R&D program, which it is, and not a production type program. These are the two areas where we are having discussion with Senator McCain's staff, and we will try and work with them and see if we can come up with an appropriate cap.
NASA'S PROJECTION AND BOEING'S PERFORMANCE
Mr. LEWIS. We will look forward to that ongoing discussion. Mr. Goldin, one of the bright spots as we have struggled with the question of funding by way of international partners, slipping of schedule, et cetera, has swirled around the fact that the major contractor has made every effort to participate and stay on schedule, but there are some questions there.
Recently, since the March 12 hearing, there has been a reassessment of the Station program execution in fiscal year 1998, and in particular Boeing has not been spending as much on spares as NASA has projected. So, I have a series of questions in connection with that, and let me start with, what is the current dollar value of the difference between NASA's projection and Boeing's performance? What is the reason for Boeing spending less on spares than NASA assumed?
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Mr. ROTHENBERG. Okay. The total spares budget difference that Boeing is right now projecting is about $70 million that they will not be spending in this fiscal year. We did get an update yesterday, which says that they may drawdown on that additional $30 million, and here is the reason.
Number one, the spares program was developed to deal with the early U.S. Lab and the Node and having spares for those in the early part of the program, and also dealing with the back end of the program, later deliveries.
One of the things that we did when they laid out the program, they assumed that they would buy all of the spares right up front. However, after reviewing the program, they realized that they would be committing to spares and committing to the cost of them before they were finished qualification testing on some units.
So, what they did is, they re-evaluated the program and said what they would like to do is buy the spares to protect the up-front schedule items, and that is the Node and the U.S. Lab, and defer the procurement of the spares for the remainder of the program until all of the parts have completed qualification testing. And what is happening now is, they are watching the qual tests which are going on mostly this year on the flight hardware and, as they are completed, then they are issuing the procurement orders.
So, they are going to buy them, and it is just a question of whether the cost comes in in this fiscal year or next fiscal year.
Page 205 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. LEWIS. There is a bottom line concern relating to this issue essentially asking if this is a pattern and if the trend were to continue regarding the spares, would there be a problem or implications relative to supporting assembly and operations of the Station?
Mr. ROTHENBERG. Well, currently, they are projecting and we believe that they have all of the spares on the procurement to protect the early part of the program. We also believe what they are doing is prudent in terms of deferring until the qual tests are complete, the procurement of the remainder of the spares. That is not going to drag out forever. We are talking about something that is going on later this year. It is just a question of when they will be delivered.
LAUNCHING OTHER MISSIONS OR PAYLOADS
Mr. LEWIS. The fiscal year 1998 plan for Shuttle missions was for six flights. Since development of the budget, the Advanced Xray Astrophysics Facility flight has been rescheduled from August to December of 1998. In addition, Russian performance on the Service Module for the Space Station may cause a slip in the Station Node-1 flight. If the Node1 launch is delayed beyond the end of the fiscal year, is NASA considering launching other missions or payloads on the flight, or will the flight rate be reduced to four?
Mr. ROTHENBERG. Well, the first thing is, in order for the flight rate to reduce to four, everything would have to fall apart, not just a minor delay. There are nine flights, actually. There are nine flights on the docket in FY99. Six of them are Station flights, in addition there is STS95, which is a medical flight, utilization flight. There is the AXAF, and then there is the radar flight, a joint DOD flight.
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So, as a minimum, there are three flights that are non-Station. Right now, we are projecting that we will have at least four flights for Station, if not all six next year, even with the kind of slips we are looking at, potential slips.
LAUNCH OF SERVICE MODULE
Mr. LEWIS. The manifest for fiscal year 1999 includes six mission related to Space Station assembly. What are the implications for both the cost and flight rate of Shuttle operations in fiscal year 1999, if the Service Module is not launched on the current schedule?
Mr. ROTHENBERG. One of the problemsnot problemsone of the ways the Shuttle program flights are funded or costed is that you have to have procurement of the boosters and a lot of the expendable parts of the vehicle three to four years in advance. So, most of the money is already spent for the '99 missions.
What it will do is give us a backlog of some of these parts and offset the cost in future years. So, that is one piece of it. The second is that if we look at any given flight, the incremental cost of that flight is somewhere around $3040 million, so there would be some savings there but, fundamentally, the parts have already been committed, and that is the bulk of the cost of the flights.
Page 207 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. LEWIS. Included in the advanced projects program is funding for the X38, which is designed to demonstrate technologies and processes required to produce a CRV for use on the Space Station. It appears you have encountered some difficulties with the program because the budget materials indicate a one-year slip in the atmospheric test program.
What have been the cause of the delays, and what plans do you have to recover the schedule?
Mr. ROTHENBERG. Well, actually, as I think everybody knows but I would like to reiterate, they had a very successful first flight a couple of weeks ago, and we congratulate the team.
Getting up to that flight, they really did their homework. They really ran into some problems early, as you may remember, and ultimately delayed the flight until they had a number of additional carries and additional desert tests, which they were testing pieces of it. So that was the first part. So, it did delay it from last May until just this past month, the first flight, the first drop, in fact.
The second point was they have an RFP out. They are evaluating proposals to start a production of the orbital test vehicle. We believe that contract will be awarded sometime before June in this quarter of this year, and that will pick up the schedule again.
DE-ORBIT MODULE CONTRACT
Mr. LEWIS. Contract award for the de-orbit module is projected for the second quarter of '98. Has the contract been awarded, and who got it?
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Mr. ROTHENBERG. Yes, that is the one I just referred to. Actually, the RFP went out, the proposals are in, we are evaluating it. It should be awarded in the third quarter.
Mr. LEWIS. What is the value of that?
Mr. ROTHENBERG. I think it is $20 million.
NEXT-GENERATION LAUNCH SYSTEMS
Mr. LEWIS. Last year, NASA released a Request For Information which identified requirements for Shuttle systems upgrades. Included as part of that document was that manifest mission supportability included a ''capability to increase the number of flights to ten flights per year by the end of fiscal year 2002, and 15 flights by the end of 2007''. The document further states that 15 flights per year assumes the availability of liquid flyback boosters.
Since this document references liquid flyback boosters, does that mean that NASA has prejudged the outcome of studies regarding the development of next-generation launch systems?
Mr. ROTHENBERG. Absolutely not and, in fact, just starting with the booster part of that question, where liquid flyback booster is just one option. There is also a fifth segment solid that we are looking at.
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Backing up from that, the reason that model was generated, we were doing a study that the study considered the potential, and where we would like to ultimately head is the commercialization of the Shuttle program, and one could predict that if we did commercialize it, there may be ten to 15 flights a year out in the outyears. So, we created a mission model for contractors to study the upgrade program and looked at what if it was ten flights, what if it was 15 flights, and that is where those numbers come from.
Mr. LEWIS. Expanding just a bit, you have allocated $10 million for such studies in '98, and $20 million in fiscal year 1999.
Mr. ROTHENBERG. Yes, sir. Where that is, that money is not allocated just for Shuttle studies. There is an advanced space transportation system study, architecture study, and there are going to be three contracts let. And, in fact, the terms of reference in the RFP is being generated now, which look to spend about $5 million this year and maybe up to $20 next year, to look at the architectures that involve not only human space flight, but the RLVs, expendables, and what should be architecture, where should we be investing our money.
In parallel with that, there is going to be an ASEB, Aerospace Systems and Engineering Board
Mr. LEWIS. That's at the National Research Council.
Mr. ROTHENBERG [continuing]. Part of the NRC, study that looks at the total set of upgrades we are proposing for the Shuttle, and looks at the potential reliability performance gains from each one, the potential return on investment, the cost and cost-risk, and looking at those and providing a basis to factor into the overall architecture study what the Shuttle upgrade program could be and could provide.
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Mr. LEWIS. I have got a number of questions that relate to liquid flyback booster and this subject area, I will ask you to expand on this for the record. Mr. Frelinghuysen.
Mr. FRELINGHUYSEN. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I would like to get back, Mr. Goldin, to some of Congressman Hobson's questions relative to the GAO report of earlier this month. I was not entirely satisfied with your responses. In fact, the title of the report is Promise of Closer NASA-DOD Cooperation Remains Largely Unfilled. The GAO states, as Mr. Hobson did, ''This cooperation is largely unfilled at aerospace test facilities because NASA and DOD, one, have not yet convened most test facilities alliances; two, compete with each other to test agents for new rockets; three, did not prepared congressional-required joint plan on rocket propulsion test facilities''.
I think at some point in time those criticisms need to be answered, whether it is in this Committee or in the report that follows. I think that those are some pretty strong feelings. And the report goes on further to say, page 14 of the same GAO reportand I have mentioned two reports today, the one from last July and the one from earlier this month. Page 14 of the GAO report from this month, another quote on page 14, ''Progress towards validating the proposition''this is a cooperative agreement''has been'', in the words of GAO, ''slow and sporadic''. And then the report goes on to say, and I quote, ''While the effect of such a delay is unclear, it may indicate that some NASA and DOD test officials do not see the alliance as having a practical value, and that, with few exceptions, they will not object to continuing the pre-alliance status quo''.
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I mean, this gets to the culture issue. I am an ally of NASA on this committee. I believe in the Space Station. I am ready to go to bat for you. But when the GAO comes up with these types of observations, I think they need to be countered and rebutted. And maybe you do not want to do it this morning, but would you like to briefly comment on how you are handling these criticisms? I did not get a feeling of great confidence from your earlier responses.
Mr. GOLDIN. First, I would like to come at the part of the report that we are not cooperating, and then it goes on to talk about the aerospace test facilities. I wanted to point out to you that we are working to cooperate. It is a very difficult process. It is not something that I believe one can legislate. It requires building confidences.
I have been personally meeting with Gen. Estes every six months at a partnership council, trying to deal with these issues, and we have made some progress in some areas, and we have not made it in others.
There has been a problem between NASA and DOD that existed for many, many years, that hinges around the Shuttle program. And, again, I am not going to deal with the individual issues and, in fact, our people put a sheet together saying all the great work they are doing on writing these documents. I do not want to deal with that because I understand the sense of the question.
But what happened was NASA ended up with the Shuttle, and all the DOD missions went on that Shuttle, and we found that the nation had a single-point failure when the Challenger exploded.
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To this day, I have difficulty in some of my own relationships with the DOD because of the residual concern about the relationship. It is a tough, tough issue to take on, and we are taking it on, but you can only take it on one step at a time and work it.
I tried to indicate to Mr. Hobson not a bureaucratic response, but there is an anxiety on the part of some of the people due to the way we do budgeting, that if we close some of these facilities
TEST FACILITY ALLIANCES
Mr. FRELINGHUYSEN. I understand the different line item issue is perhaps a legitimate issue, but I do think there must be some good, clear reasons why you have not yet convened most of the test facility alliances. Do you, in fact, compete with each other to test engines for new rockets?
I mean, I would think either those are facts that the GAO has brought to our attention, or they are pure speculation.
Mr. GOLDIN. I just do not know how to comment on that, and I would have to ask one of our folks that is directly involved. The last thing I want to do is compete with the DOD. I have had meetings with the prior Chief of the Air Force, and I just met with the new Chief of the Air Force. I have worked with the Secretary of the Air Force when she was there. When the new Secretary of the Air Force comes in, I will work with them.
Page 213 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC These are very difficult issues. I come back and say we have made a lot of progress. I accept the fact, and I will accept responsibility, that we have not made as much progress as we should in the test facilities, but we are going to fly, a very significant mission with the DOD, something we haven't done before, to get a digital map of the world.
So, I could point to a number of success stories. We are getting an F in this category, and I accept that, and we will just try and do better.
DATA ANALYSIS PRIORITIES
Mr. FRELINGHUYSEN. With so many missions, changing the subject somewhat, but certainly germane to the Chairman's line of questions earlier, with so many missions on the drawing boards or in near flight, what are NASA's priorities for data analysis? How much is spent now? Is there a potential of, as some describe, as a ''data glut'' from so many missions? And when it is all said and done, how do we really focus on getting what is most important out of all the data that is collected from all these missions?
I am ready to be excited, and am excited, about what you are doing, but it seems to me I may come from the school, certainly the lay school, all these missions collecting data, what does it really mean, and how are we handling this massive amount of information, and how is the public going to come to benefit from it?
Mr. GOLDIN. You have asked what I consider to be one of our major challenges over the next five to ten years, and that is, ''data-mining'' with the volume of data that is going to start coming down. And I will give you but one example.
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In the Earth Sciences program, as we launch some of these next-generation platforms, we will collect more data in one month than we did in the prior 30 years. That is an enormous task. The tools that we are using need very significant upgrade in order to do this data-mining.
Towards that end, we have begun a new programit is not a new programwe are expanding our program in the development of engineering tools. One of our highest priorities is to work with the industrythe computer industry, the software industryto get ourselves the highest level tools so we do not have a ''data morgue'', which is the concern that you expressed.
We have increased the budget for the research and analysis in Earth Sciences because this was one of the areas we were concerned about that data glut. Another issue that we have done is we are restructuring the whole EOSDIS information program so that we could more efficiently process the data by going to principal investigators instead of having a centralized system. So, we are breaking down the system.
In the Space Science area, we do have this principal investigator-led data analysis, and we think it is much more effective.
Mr. FRELINGHUYSEN. You have satisfied my curiosity. I think the Chairman wants to do something like close this down, I do not know. Does every mission have every conceivable type of instrumentation, or are we limiting? I mean, I know the analysis of the data is setting priorities is important, but is there some sort of limitation, or is every mission going like a fully loaded car?
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Mr. GOLDIN. No. In fact, that is one of the concepts of faster-better-cheaper, and that is to get away from these platforms that look like they are the last ship out of port. You have to have every last instrument on it, and if you lose that ship, you do not have anything for a decade.
We are going to more focused missions where we have specific sensors targeted at specific sciences on those spacecraft and, as a result, we have that prioritization that you have talked about.
Mr. FRELINGHUYSEN. Mr. Chairman, are you still giving me the lead here?
Mr. LEWIS. Go right ahead.
X33 AND X34 REUSABLE LAUNCH VEHICLE TECHNOLOGY PROGRAM
Mr. FRELINGHUYSEN. At last year's hearing, Mr. Goldin, budget hearing, you told us that, and I quote, ''we may fail'', in the X33 and X34 Reusable Launch Vehicle Technology Program. Do you still feel this way, and can you give us a brief status report on these programs?
Mr. GOLDIN. I will provide the context of why I said we may fail. These are very high-risk programs that push the boundaries of technology to have incredible possibilities in terms of reduction of cost and improvement of safety.
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I was referring to the fact that we could have a crash with the X33, but the fact of the matter is, at this point in time, we have made major contributions to the technology for the next-generation launch vehicles. We have built composite hydrogen tanks which will have a significant reduction in cost and weight for these systems.
We have flight tested and ground tested the Aerospike engine, which is a major step forward. We have developed health monitoring systems that will be used across-the-board. So, yes, we could have a failure, but we are going to make great progress.
We also have moved very far on the X34 program, and the X33 looks like it is on schedule for a launch in July of '99, which is three years after the day we started, the day we announced, which is, in and of itself, a major management feat, and the X34, I believe, is on schedule for March of '99, and these are two very tough programs. And this is what NASA ought to be doing, more of these and less of the standard operational systems.
AVERAGE SPACECRAFT COST
Mr. FRELINGHUYSEN. Earlier in this decade, the average costcorrect me if I am wrongper spacecraft launch was about $590 million?
Mr. GOLDIN. Yes.
Page 217 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. FRELINGHUYSEN. You stated in previous testimony before this committee that NASA has a goal of $77 million per launch for the year and beyond. Can you tell me if you remain optimistic about meeting this goal?
Mr. GOLDIN. We are on track. Mr. Frelinghuysen, I want to say that I have thought about your comment and Mr. Hobson's comment about the testing, and that I have allowed a process to go on that was letting nature take its course. I am going to go back and think long and hard about your question. And I gave you what I do not like to do, a bureaucratic answer, saying it is too hard. And maybe it is not too hard.
I am going to get back to you on the record, and I am going to give you a more thoughtful response. I am not happy with the response I gave you.
[The information follows:]
ROCKET PROPULSION TEST FACILITIES
The National Rocket Propulsion Test Alliance (NRPTA) has met 10 times, most recently in February 1998, at SSC with representatives from all DOD Service and NASA Centers, and another meeting is scheduled at White Sands Test Facility on May 28, and 29. Meetings to date have resulted in:
1. Well-defined documentation of test capabilities at each NASA-DOD rocket test facility.
Page 218 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC 2. Agreement to review investments on test facilities prior to implementation.
3. Much better understanding of test requirements at all NASA-DOD rocket test facilities.
4. A proposed baseline test role in each NASA-DOD facility to minimize duplication.
5. Awareness that we currently need a national mechanism to manage rocket test facilities so they can be brought on an off line as required to meet national requirements.
6. Significant personnel and equipment sharing avoiding and reducing test costs to both agencies.
Baselining test roles and understanding capability and agency strategic goals with respect to propulsion development will minimize competition for test projects; especially if we're successful at implementing a management structure which is empowered to make test assignments and make investment decisions across all the Nation's rocket test facilities. The rocket engine commercial development community actively solicits proposals from NASA and DOD sites for the conduct of test programs. NASA has this situation under control within NASA through its Lead Center activities. However, there is no mechanism at this time to prevent NASA/DOD competition. The NRPTA has made significant progress in cooperation and visibility between the two organizations, but neither is in a position at this time to turn away business.
Page 219 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC An interim DOD response, with NASA concurrence, to the congressionally required joint plans on rocket propulsion test facilities was submitted to the Congress on March 6, 1997.
NASA has not been involved in the Air Force's Quadrennial Defense Review or the Vision 21, which the Air Force told Congress would be two of the three mechanisms used to develop the required joint plan on rocket propulsion test facilities. The third element is the NRPTA which NASA established and is fully committed to making it successful. Recently, DOD has informed Congress that Vision 21 will be folded into future BRAC rounds. Congress has not accepted this.
NASA sees tremendous value in the NRPTA, and has been the catalyst to keep alliance activity forging ahead. NASA understands and accepts that the pre-alliance status quo cannot continue. DOD support is needed to appoint a responsible party to speak for DOD rocket test matters. NASA has this in our Lead Center for Rocket Propulsion Testing at Stennis Space Center. We have successfully begun the very difficult job of consolidating NASA's rocket test capability by moving substantial capability around the agency so it can be better utilized. To date, over 16 test projects have been assigned through our NASA Rocket Propulsion Test Management Board. Over $24M in cost savings and avoidance have also been realized.
A major cultural shift is occurring within NASA with respect to rocket propulsion testing. DOD's support is required to take this to the national level.
After nine meetings of the NRPTA, NASA developed a Headquarter's directed Consolidation Plan over the timeframe of one year during which time the Alliance did not meet. The plan was not accepted in its entirety and was implemented through a definition of respective NASA Centers (Stennis Space Center, Marshall Space Flight Center, Lewis Research Center, White Sands Test Facility) test facility baseline. These baselines were agreed to in a summit meeting at SSC in the fall of 1997. This cleared the way to re-initiate Alliance meetings, which of course include the DOD. In other words, NASA was attempting to get its own propulsion test house in order to prepare for ''national'' discussions with the DOD. The Alliance met in February 1998 and has an upcoming meeting on May 28 and 29 at the WSTF.
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Mr. FRELINGHUYSEN. With the Chairman's indulgence, I have one last question which is fairly lengthy, if you can bear with me.
Mr. LEWIS. You are not coming back this afternoon?
Mr. FRELINGHUYSEN. No, I am not, not without you, Mr. Chairman.
Administrator, the work that NASA does under the Sun-Earth connections theme of the Space Science Enterprise is producing much new scientific knowledge of direct importance to life on Earth. In this regard, I am pleased to note the establishment of the line of solar-terrestrial probe spacecraft missions that are designed to improve the opportunity for access to space for this vital research.
I am also impressed that we have already operational space assets in this program with a value of some $3 billion in place for coordinated study of the increase of solar activity of the new sunspot cycle.
These ongoing science missions were reviewed in 1997 at NASA's request, by a panel of scientists. This was a zero-based review of the scientific value and minimum support required to continue to exploit the nation's investment in this field of research.
The panel concluded, as I understand, that a mission's operation and data analysis budget from NASA's Office of Space Science of about $63 million is required to assure the success of the nation's Solar-Terrestrial Research Program in the future.
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Could you tell me, Mr. Administrator, whether your fiscal year 1999 budget request includes the $63 million for the solar maximum campaign, and whether your three-year budget plan continues support for this campaign at the level advised by the 1997 review panel?
Mr. GOLDIN. I would like to ask Dr. Wes Huntress to answer that question, if that is okay with you.
Mr. FRELINGHUYSEN. Please do. Thank you, Doctor.
Dr. HUNTRESS. Mr. Frelinghuysen, in addition to the Solar-Terrestrial Probes as a new element in the '99 budget proposal, another one was, in fact, the continuation of the International Solar-Terrestrial Probe series of missions that we had started several years ago, and which has just observed the sun through solar minimum, and the idea was to extend these missions through solar maximum. That was the reason that we had this particular group come in and give us advice on what the resource requirements for those were.
We will get you the exact numberI do not remember the exact numberbut our budget proposal for fiscal '99 carries out this mission set through fiscal '02 in order to observe the solar maximum at or slightly above the minimum request that this committee gave us. I will get you the exact
[The information follows:]
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The President's FY 1999 budget run-out for the ISTP program is follows:
FY 1999 Budget Run-OutDollars in MillionsFY 2000 $25.0; FY 2001 $25.1; FY 2002 $25.1; FY 2003 $25.0.
Mr. FRELINGHUYSEN. So, $63 million is within the ballpark?
Dr. HUNTRESS. What they gave us was a five-year runout
Mr. FRELINGHUYSEN. Is there a three-year budget plan?
Dr. HUNTRESS. There is a five-year budget plan, and I will get you the data on that.
Mr. FRELINGHUYSEN. Are we in that ballpark?
Dr. HUNTRESS. Yes, sir, we are.
Mr. FRELINGHUYSEN. Thank you, gentlemen. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. LEWIS. Thank you, Mr. Frelinghuysen. Director Goldin, conflicting schedules and changing, shifting circumstances kind of alter everybody's best plans. We are going to recess the Committee at this point. We had originally scheduled coming back at two o'clock. Unless it is a total impossibility, I would like to have us bring down the gavel for coming back into session at 1:30, and we will try to quickly go through the remaining issues and see what progress we can make.
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Mr. GOLDIN. We are prepared to support any schedule you have.
Mr. LEWIS. All right, 1:30 then. Thank you.
MULTI-FUNCTIONAL ELECTRONIC DISPLAY SYSTEMS
Mr. LEWIS. Sorry for the delay but, as you know, the Supplemental Bill is moving to the Floor, and Members are in conflict, but we probably have some technical issues that we ought to get to.
Mr. Director, if the meeting will come back to order. In the fiscal year 1998 budget, the plan was to spend $32.4 million in 1997 and $15.3 in '98 for MEDS, the Multi-Functional Electronic Display Systems. The fiscal year 1999 budget shows that only $15.9 was spent in '97. The '98 requirement is $31.1. There is a request for $5.5 in 1999.
Does this shifting of funds among the three fiscal years indicate that the program is still experiencing development and supplier problems, and what are the implications of installation of MEDS in the Orbiter Atlantis during its OMDP this year?
Mr. GOLDIN. I would like to ask Joe Rothenberg to answer, if that is okay.
Page 224 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. ROTHENBERG. To start with, number one, there were supplier problems specifically with the glass on the tubes. That has been solved. They have a new supplier, and Atlantis will have MEDS in it, and actually I saw a demonstration of it last Thursday down at JSC.
Mr. LEWIS. Beyond the experimental and development supplier problems, the pattern of the funding or request causes me to scratch my head. Tell me about that.
Mr. ROTHENBERG. Well, what they did is when they had the supplier problems, they actually slowed down the program until they solved the problems and were sure they had them solved, and then they reprogrammed the money back in there to put in the years they needed for the upcoming OMDPs, and Atlantis does have it in, as I say.
Mr. LEWIS. Okay. The National Research Council recently completed a study on protecting the Space Shuttle and astronauts from orbit debris, small particles, not pieces of satellites, but I gather flecks of paint or otherwise. I am asking this question because I do not want to have this kind of problem when I am in one of those uniforms outside the Shuttle sometime. [Laughter.]
What actions have you taken to reduce the risk of the Shuttle mission termination or critical failure caused by collision with orbital debris?
Mr. ROTHENBERG. Okay. As part of the Phase 2 upgrade program that was specifically a program to reinforce areas that were vulnerable, specifically, the leading edges of the wings, the nosecone. There are some sharp edges on the front end that are particularly vulnerable. They actually put some insulation behind it so if we do get a penetration, it absorbs it. The radiators and the freon loops were another area that was critical on that, payload bay doors, and those were also reinforced, and that is part of the Phase 2 Shuttle upgrade program.
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Mr. LEWIS. The NRC study also noted this risk particularly to astronauts during extra-vehicle activity, which will be very common and extensive during assembly of the Space Station. The report states, and I quote, ''Most vulnerable parts are the soft areas of the spacesuit''. Given this assessment, why is NASA developing a new soft spacesuit which is to be delivered for testing in 1998?
Mr. ROTHENBERG. Some preliminary inputs that I have gotten, a preliminary report that I have seen from JSC, is that they believeand I need to penetrate this further because there are still questions in my mind, but the current belief is that there is a tradeoff between using a rigid or hard suit, and the amount of time the astronauts will actually have to spend in assembling the Station and being out there. The duration of the exposure, first, is being able to work faster and work more comfortably in a soft suit, but being out there with less and less exposure. So it is a tradeoff that they performed.
I would really like to reserve the right to, one, review the data, and also hear some other views on the alternatives.
Mr. LEWIS. I would appreciate that input. It is items like this, just the wrong thing occurring at the wrong time, and everything we are about goes up in smoke.
Mr. ROTHENBERG. Absolutely.
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Mr. LEWIS. Included in the Orbiter improvement portion of the safety and performance upgrades budget is a line for supportability upgrades, with a request of $48 million for fiscal year 1999. What are the specific upgrades being financed through this?
Mr. ROTHENBERG. Okay. There is actually a couple of pieces of that. The number, I believe, in question, is probably 44 because in the actual submission there is $51 million in there for the upgrade of the launch processing system. I think there is $3 million in there for GPS, and there are a couple of other small items.
In addition to that, things on the list are damage tolerant thermal protection system, electric APU studies, some fuel cell studies, mission TV, some fiber optic busses to replace some of the wiring cables, and replacement of the IMUs, the inertial measurement units.
LAUNCH CONTROL SYSTEM AT KSC
Mr. LEWIS. Thank you for that. The fiscal year 1999 budget request for Shuttle launch site equipment upgrades is about 85 percent more than the budget for 1998, $115 million in 1999, $67.5 million in 1998. One of the upgrades being financed in this budget line is the checkout in the launch control system at Kennedy, which will be upgraded in a kind of phased manner. What is the total cost of this upgrade, and how much is included in the fiscal year 1999 budget?
Mr. ROTHENBERG. The total cost is $171 million. In FY99, there is $51 million in that.
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Mr. LEWIS. When will the upgrade be completed?
Mr. ROTHENBERG. I think it is '02 or '03, let me see. '01, I am sorry.
Mr. LEWIS. One of the benefits of the upgrade is 50-percent reduction in operations and maintenance costs. Do you quantify these costs in dollars on an annual basis?
Mr. ROTHENBERG. Right now, there is no hard data to support that exact number. The current estimate that people believe is a savings of about $30 million a year, but I do not have a lot of detail behind that. It is an estimate based on some judgments people made on the amount of database work and less maintenance, and things like that we will achieve, but I have no hard backup.
EARTH SCIENCE UNCOSTED CARRYOVER
Mr. LEWIS. An ongoing concern of the Congress is the large value of uncosted carryover in the Earth Science program. At the end of fiscal year 1996, the carryover was $765 million. At the end of 1997, $697 million. These amounts represent about 50 percent of the total annual funding for the program.
First, is this level of carryover excessive to prudent management requirements, and second, if the answer to that is yes, what actions are being taken to reduce the carryover?
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Dr. ASRAR. Yes, sir. Once again, thanks for the opportunity. The reason for the unusually large amounts of uncosted are due to a number of programs that were late in getting started. These included basically data purchase. You had $50 million allocated for the commercial data purchase, and we are half-way through that activity. We intend to utilize those funds before the end of this fiscal year.
The other item that contributed to these are unusual and uncosted, were the initiation of a series of information system partnershipsthis is a subject that Administrator Goldin mentionedin terms of diversifying the functions for acquiring, processing, and archiving the data coming from our mission, a series of 24 projects called Earth System Information Partnership.
And the other item that contributes to these large amounts of uncosted is our grant processing mechanism. The answer to your question is an absolute yes, we are taking every single step to fix these problems. We have set a goal of being consistent with the rest of the agency by reducing our uncosted in the areas of grant processing to about six months, in the area of operations to about one month, and development of three months.
Our goal for this year, by the end of this fiscal year 1998, is to come down to about $550 million, and by the end of fiscal year 1999 to be about at $350 million, which is consistent with the rest of the Agency, about 25 percent uncosted.
Mr. LEWIS. I appreciate that response, Dr. Asrar. The question kind of underlies the concern if the program managers, by direction or otherwise, are stashing unneeded cash for a rainy day, or are these really the requirements to execute the programs?
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Dr. ASRAR. No, Mr. Chairman, I assure you that every single one of those dollars are basically accounted for and are meant to support some elements of our program. As I stated, the reason for the problem has been the lateness in starting some of these activities, and we will definitely fix the problem. I have taken that challenge as part of my duties, to fix the problem.
Mr. LEWIS. The question is for the record but, in jest, far be it from meI am surprised by your answer.
Mr. GOLDIN. Mr. Lewis, I would like to jump in here and say one of the reasons I strongly support the transfer authority that this Committee has put into the supplemental is I wanted the Earth Science and the Space Science organizations to understand the situation about uncosted carryover, and it is my assessment that in both the Earth Science and the Space Science programs, it is the right thing to do, transfer this uncosted carryover to the Space Station. It is well within their capacity to do it, and I also feel it will cause a sharpness of the thought process about not only managing the total program cost, but managing the cashflow appropriately.
VERSION 1/VERSION 2
Mr. LEWIS. Okay. NASA issued a stop-work order to the contractor in December 1996 for Version 1 of the EOS data and information system and restructured the contract focusing the contractor's entire effort on Version 2, which supports Landsat-7 and the AM1 spacecraft.
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The contractor presented a demonstration, a test of Version 2 in August of 1997, which was characterized by EOSDIS review group report of November 20, 1997, as ''a qualified success''. The review group found that ''considerable functionality was evident, yet the performance remains a certain''.
Finally, the review group noted reservations about the ''ability to field a credible workable system in time for the AM1 launch in June of 1998''. Have the concerns of the EOSDIS review group been adequately addressed and is the system ready to support Landsat-7 and AM1 launches?
Dr. ASRAR. The answer to the question is yes, Mr. Chairman. The efforts, as part of the EOSDIS have been streamlined, and the new arrangements for incremental delivery of the system was a much needed change in the way of doing that activity or conducting that activity. And we believe that the EOSDIS will be ready to support the launch of AM1 and Landsat systems. And as you are well aware, at the moment we are having some difficulties in the development of the Landsat program and AM1 will be launched a few weeks late, and that time slack would really help to have the EOSDIS definitely in place to support the launch of those two systems.
Mr. LEWIS. Okay. Thank you, Dr. Asrar. Mr. Knollenberg.
Mr. KNOLLENBERG. Mr. Chairman, thank you. Welcome back this afternoon, Mr. Goldin.
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Last year, you and I had a conversation, I believe we utilized some of your staff, for the purpose of determining information on the buyouts, and you had given us then some information relative to the estimated number of buyouts that you are proposing, or did propose then, for the fiscal year 1998. And I appreciate your moving in that direction, obviously it contributed to the reason for this chart, I presume, among other things, that shows that when we first talked about this some years ago, your design was to bring it down, and you have done that.
The question I have is, how close to your predictions or your projections are you moving, and specifically I think you said in 1998 that you estimated savings of some $40 million because of not having to pay salaries and benefits for some 870 employees.
So, my question is, was this number realized in fiscal year 1998?
Mr. GOLDIN. 1997 or 1998?
Mr. KNOLLENBERG. Well, it would bewe are still in fiscal year 1998, so it would be 1997. I am going back to a year ago when we had the hearings so, yes, that's right.
Mr. PETERSON. We have $61 million.
Mr. GOLDIN. We saved $61 million in fiscal year 1997.
Page 232 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. KNOLLENBERG. Let me ask you, how many employees then were involved?
Mr. PETERSON. 845.
Mr. KNOLLENBERG. So you actually saved more money by shaving less employees, is that right?
Mr. PETERSON. Excuse me. What is happening here is we had a budget plan, of course, that assumed we were coming down rapidly. And so if you look at the 1998 funding level for Civil Service salary, and you compare that to a 1999 level, that is the $61.5 million reduction in salary expense.
Mr. GOLDIN. No, no, no, he said 1997.
Mr. PETERSON. I erred when I said 1998, it should have been 1997. In 1997, we had 519 FTEsand I am sorry, I would have to get you the exact number, but it is basically $50 million.
Mr. KNOLLENBERG. The reason I bring up the number $40 million and 875, that is in the text of the statements that were made last year and are changed. I am just borrowing from that page.
Mr. GOLDIN. We will go validate that number and, for the record, we will give you the exact number, but I think we are close.
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PERSONNEL AND RELATED COST
Mr. KNOLLENBERG. It appears as though you are, certainly in terms of the number of personnel, and also you are nicely in a different direction, a good direction then in terms of dollars. What about 1999, do you anticipate further reductions and, if so, what will those be, and what would your estimates be for the coming
Mr. GOLDIN. Do you have the numbers there for 1999?
Mr. PETERSON. Yes. In 1999, our personnel and related cost will continue to decrease even though we are, of course, funding the pay raise, Civil Service pay raise. Even though that, this is where we get the reduction I mentioned of $61 million, comparing 1998 to 1999, due to the reduction of 845 FTEs.
Mr. KNOLLENBERG. All right. Maybe what we should have then isand this is only for following purposes, tracking purposes for usto have maybe the 1997, what you project for 1998 and 1999. Maybe that is what
Mr. GOLDIN. What we will do is we will give you the projections for 1997, 1998, 1999, in people and dollars, and then we will put the actuals for 1997.
Mr. KNOLLENBERG. That's fine.
Mr. GOLDIN. And then you can use those as a tracking chart for the next two years.
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Mr. KNOLLENBERG. That will be great, we would appreciate that. Then you will see to it that that gets here.
Mr. GOLDIN. I will make sure it gets done.
[The information follows:]
PROJECTED SALARY AND BENEFITS SAVINGS DUE TO BUYOUTS
For the past 4 years, NASA has achieved civil service staff reduction goals on or ahead of schedule. For FY 1997, the ability to reduce ahead of schedule was primarily due to the availability of buyout authorization provided in the FY 1997 appropriation.
The impact of the buyout in FY 1997 could not be fully predicted in time for the submission of the FY 1998 budget last year. The ability to compare the two submits is complicated by other factors such as changes in civilian pay increases, contributions to the retirement systems, and other benefit systems change in effect for the different years. The table below shows how these estimates have been adjusted over the past year and reflect out current estimates for FY 1999. It should be noted that the FY 1999 budget request includes assumptions for continued aggressive use of the buyout during FY 1998 and FY 1999. We do not anticipate similar major readjustments at the time of next year's submission.
It is also important to note that the ''savings'' achieved in FY 199798 were reallocated to other priorities in the Agency.
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Mr. KNOLLENBERG. Let me turn to space commercialization. I know thatagain, this is something that we have talked about before. I think in your concluding remarks in the written testimony, you mention that we want to bring down the cost of getting into space, which I presume means we are moving in the direction of greater utilization of space and commercializing it in a fashion to be used in a variety of ways.
Have you seen an increase in the private sector activity supporting such a move? Is it out there?
Mr. GOLDIN. Yes. The largest activity that we see is in the small startup rocket companies. They are very ambitious and very, very aggressive. We are supporting some with just our facilities and some technology transfer. We are encouraging them to work with us. We have a whole series of cooperative agreements and contracts we signed for components for rocketry that we are working on with small companies.
In the area of the larger companies, SPACEHAB has now committed $250 million, cash, private cash, to the operations and delivery of systems to the Space Station. So that is a very, very good sign. We are very pleased about that.
We are developing a privatization-commercialization plan for the Space Shuttle that Joe Rothenberg ought to have available by about August of this year. We have signed a cooperative agreement with people who are familiar with the investment banking community, to consult for us on how to approach the commercialization, and we also signed a cooperative agreement with SPACEVEST, one of the biggest venture capital firms in the area of space investments.
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So, taking these combination of things, we are moving very, very aggressively. And it is very interesting, watching the difference in cultures between the private sector and the large corporations that have dealt in the public sector in making this transition.
But I know a number of the large contractors are seriously working on these issues also, and the people at USA are now aggressively looking at how to commercialize the Space Shuttle.
Mr. KNOLLENBERG. Did you say SPACEVEST, is that the name of the company?
Mr. GOLDIN. SPACEVEST, yes.
Mr. KNOLLENBERG. And that is a venture capital company?
Mr. GOLDIN. It is a venture capital company that makes investments in the space arena.
Mr. KNOLLENBERG. Specifically and only?
Mr. GOLDIN. I know that is the lion's share where they make their investments, and the head of SPACEVEST has signed a cooperative agreement, and he and I have met twice already, and we are going to rely upon them to help us bring companies in.
Page 237 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. KNOLLENBERG. Somebody really wants to invest in outer space, or at least in near space.
Mr. GOLDIN. This is not an advertisement for people to go to SPACEVEST for venture capital money.
NEAR-EARTH ASTEROID TRACKING
Mr. KNOLLENBERG. Speaking of outer space, let me turn to outer space for just a moment. We have had some conversation about this. I am kind of repeating myself here, but I just want to come together on some things that we have talked about before and see where we are today. Number one, I want toI am looking for a sheet here on NEAT, which is the Near-Earth Asteroid Tracking. And I know that this is not a lot of money. I think it is, what, a little over $1 million that you had planned to spend in 1998, or in that vicinity.
And the concern is that while it is a minor number of dollars, it is a major potential catastrophe that could be happening. And we just recently had the story that blipped for a moment that there was one that was coming, and it was a mile wide, and it was going to hit us in the year 2028, and then the next moment they said, forget that, we were wrong, it is not out there at all, or it is out there, it is going to miss us by a long way.
Is the science getting better? I noticed in an article that I read that you only have about 10 percent of them tracked now, or I shouldn't say tracked, but categorized, is that right? And now what is there that is out there that we do not know about, that might cause problems in the next 50 or 100 years, that you know of.
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Mr. GOLDIN. Before Wes answers the question, I also want toI neglected to mention NEAT. NEAT is working with that private company that is going to send a privately financed
Dr. HUNTRESS. That is NEP.
Mr. GOLDIN. Oh, I am sorry. I confused the two. Wes, why do you not answer the question and get me out of my embarrassment.
Dr. HUNTRESS. Well, NEP is going to an asteroid, it is easy to get confused. In fact, what happened this last couple of weeks was the fact that we got information about the detection of an asteroid, and only a very small number of data points from which to calculate its orbit. And so there was a large uncertainty in that orbit. When more investigators got involved and found pictures of that asteroid in older plates, so they could get a long timeline of observations on it, they got a much, much better orbit calculation, and it showed that it was not going to come close to the Earth.
What that lesson says is that we need to make sure we make enough observations to have good orbits for these things. We have detected what we believe are somewhere on the order of about 10 percent of the population of those objects which could cross the Earth's pathway. We detect on the order of anywhere from half a dozen to a dozen a year with the resources that we have now in place. Depending on how many you believe might be out there, it could take us anywhere from 10 to 30 years to find them all, catalog them all, and to know their orbits well enough to be able to say whether there is any danger from any of them.
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At the moment, we know of none of them that pose any danger to the Earth at all, and the impact rate for this class of object is on the order of many, many, many centuries. On the other hand, we would like to increase the time
Mr. KNOLLENBERG. At least to cut down on spawning all of those movies, I suspect.
Dr. HUNTRESS. Well, enjoy the movies, but that is what they are, is movies. We are going to, in fact, increase the amount of money we spend on the recovery rate for these because we, first of all, like to know more about them quicker. So we are going to increase, in fact, double this year, the amount of funds that we spend on detection and recovery of these.
Mr. KNOLLENBERG. I believe the President vetoed a $30 million DOD request, did he not, that had to do with theit was a small spacecraft, Clementine 2, that was sent off to a nearby asteroid to calculate just how tough they might be to break up before entering the Earth's atmosphere. Is that true?
Mr. GOLDIN. That is a DOD mission. NASA's mission is to detect the asteroids.
Mr. KNOLLENBERG. Right, I understand. That is a separate mission.
Page 240 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. GOLDIN. It is DOD's mission to take the action. So, I would prefer having that question answered by the DOD.
Mr. KNOLLENBERG. This may be a dumb question, it will be my last one. Are most of those that you have cataloged now, are they inter-solar?
Dr. HUNTRESS. The ones we have cataloged now, these are asteroids that cross the Earth's path, and we know enough about their orbits now to know that none of them are going to impact the Earth within the next many, many centuries.
Mr. KNOLLENBERG. Thank you. Thank you very much.
Mr. LEWIS. In your lifetime or mine.
Mr. KNOLLENBERG. I checked that out, Mr. Chairman. I know I will be gone before the next one hits. Thank you.
Mr. GOLDIN. Mr. Knollenberg, in the last four or five years, we have increased the amount of investment that we have been making in asteroid missions and comet missions, by a very low level to as much as $0.5 billion a year, and we look at some of the future missions that we plan to put on the books. Within the next few years, we will be committing up to $1 billion to understand asteroids and comets which could be a danger to this planet.
Mr. KNOLLENBERG. And maybe to your Space Station?
Page 241 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. GOLDIN. The Space Station, too.
Mr. KNOLLENBERG. Thank you.
Mr. LEWIS. Thank you. Mr. Wicker.
COMPUTER HACKING/NETWORK INTRUSIONS
Mr. WICKER. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Mr. Administrator, let me move from the threat of asteroids and comets to a more immediate and localized threat perhaps. I understand that a suspect was recently arrestedas a matter of fact, this monthfor hacking into the NASA computer network, and apparently he is a leader of a group of hackers who have penetrated the networks of corporations, universities and other Government agencies. First of all, how serious of a problem is this?
Mr. GOLDIN. I would like to ask Roberta Gross to answer, she is the Inspector General (IG) for NASA.
Ms. GROSS. I think that computer hacking or network intrusions is a very serious problem for the Government, for private industry. Technology has a lot of benefits. It has brought communications, brought people closer, but the problem about being closer is a lot of people can be listening, and a lot of people that are listening do not havesome are doing it as a joke, some are doing it for espionage, and some are doing it for threats.
Mr. WICKER. Okay. How serious do you view this particular incident which occurred only this month?
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Ms. GROSS. The incident that we were tracking from NASA, we were not the only ones tracking it. It is being also tracked by the FBI and by Air Force. We were initially all doing it separately, and realized we were looking at some of the same groups. But the NASA intrusion was not a particularly serious one.
NASA's Center at JPL was being used as a way of getting into some other entry points, but in terms of the intrusions for DOD, the kinds of intrusions were not necessarily serious, but we do not know yet. We are still in the course of the investigation. Right now, investigators from both Air Force, FBI, and NASA are in Israel talking to some other individuals that were connected to the group where we had our arrests.
Mr. WICKER. In Israel?
Ms. GROSS. Yes.
Mr. WICKER. Is that where the hackers were?
Ms. GROSS. The hacker we arrested was from Washington. But the hackers are in chatrooms. I mean, they are national and they are international. The same wonderful system that we have that makes communication so seamless also makes penetration very seamless. And some of the people range from juvenileswe have had arrests in the past of juveniles, and we have had arrests of 20-year-olds, and we are also now having investigation of foreign intruders. And sometimes the same ones, kids, are innocently exchanging hacking tools and hacking methodology with some other people that have more serious kinds of intentions.
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What we have now at NASA is a Criminal Intrusion Unit that we have formed, or just starting to form, where we have some of the finest agents who have the ability to do these forensic methods and to be able to understand the technologies used by the hackers. And we have an agent, a specialized agent, at each center, or plan to have one at each center, as well as we have some people trained in the forensics. I think NASA has been supportive of this endeavor.
We have also been working very closely with the CIO's office in terms of policies, procedures that need to be coordinated with our office and that we need to coordinate with their offices.
Mr. GOLDIN. At the bottom line, Mr. Wicker, we take this very seriously, and we are very supportive of what Ms. Gross is doing, and we are going to give her the resources she needs. We are talking about human life. Can you imagine if a hacker got into our system with astronauts in space? While they are having a childhood prank, they could affect human life.
CONSEQUENCES OF HACKING INTO NASA COMPUTERS
Mr. WICKER. Well, that is what I was going to ask you. Is that sort of thing possible? And Ms. Gross mentioned people with serious intentions, and I just wondered how vulnerable we are at NASA to deal with these serious intentions, and what might the consequences be. Might it interfere with a mission that is in progress?
Ms. GROSS. You have all these as possibilities. I think that one of the reasons that both NASA is looking at from the policies and the procedures of the CIO office and with our officeand we have very, very good coordination with the CIO's officeis that these are real possibilities. They are not going to be usually from pranks, but obviously if you have systems, you are going to have possibilities of intrusions. And the intruders are far more sophisticated usually than the agents.
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Mr. WICKER. Fine. Well, let us know what you need. Let me just ask an international question. [Laughter.]
Well, I think the Chair would agree that we need to be armed and ready to withstand that type of vulnerability.
Ms. GROSS. We are actually proceeding slowly. I mean, actually, you cannot end up having a huge army to begin with becausewe have been two years in the process of building up an infrastructure. You end up needing to get the people, locate the trained people. You end up having to have an ability to work with each other and work with other law enforcement agencies as well as to work with the Agency. So, I would not be coming in for a blank check. It ends up being a slower process, but I certainly do appreciate that.
INTERNATIONAL SPACE FUNDING
Mr. WICKER. I appreciate your answer. Mr. Goldin, let me just ask you a question about international space funding. The Chairman, I think, this morning touched on our relationship with Russia. But one of your stated goals, performance goals, is for NASA to maintain the status of innovative leader in world aviation. Is that going to be easier to do as other nations cut back on world aviation, or how does our space program compare with that of other nations, and what is the impact of decreased funding on that particular performance goal?
Mr. GOLDIN. I believe we stand, on average, the leaders in the world today. I think we are making the right kind of investments.
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Let me provide a little perspective and answer the question a little differently than I did this morning. I thought about some of the questions I had this morning. We are trying to reform NASA to do things differently, to do them in a very efficient manner with new tools and new management approaches.
At the present time, we have the resources we need to do our job to satisfy what our strategic plan says. We have, in every areain Space Science, Earth Science, Aeronautics, Life Sciences, and human space flightvery, very strong programs, and we are transitioning away from operations into research. So, I do not believe, at this point, the issue is money.
I do want you to understand when we complete this transformation process and we have our efficiency up and we are doing everything, I do intend to ask for more funds in the future. We are going to have to face up to a decision on how we are going to take astronauts into space beyond the year 2000. That is going to be an issue that we are going to have to address.
We are going to have to address what do we do with the human space flight program beyond the Space Station, and these are the areas in the future that we are going to have to address that will probably require more funds.
WORLD LEADERS IN SPACE
Mr. WICKER. What if we made a decision as a nation not to be the world leader in space anymore. What would the consequences be to the United States?
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Mr. GOLDIN. I think it would be a terrible blow to the economy, to the leadership in science which leads to technologies which will impact the economy not tomorrow, but ten and 20 years from now, the technologies that we develop that we transfer to the Department of Defense for the nation's defense, for our leadership in aeronautics. We are more of an island nation than other continents because we have to go across two oceans and most other nations have to go across one.
It would also affect the psyche of the nation, and education. I think it would be a terrible mistaketerrible mistake. NASA is one of the few investments that America makes that has a payoff for two and three decades from now. And as a result, it is very hard to measure, for people who want to measure near-term results, and sometimes they say let us take a vacation from the expenditure. No, I think it would be a terrible, terrible mistake.
Mr. WICKER. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
LIFE AND MICROGRAVITY RESEARCH
Mr. LEWIS. Thank you, Mr. Wicker. Mr. Director, in the near-term reductionsit seems, anyway, reductions are being taken in the research programs associated with the Space Station in order to complete the Station development. In what ways have you expanded life and microgravity research being done on the Shuttle until the Station is ready to do the research?
Mr. GOLDIN. We have added STS95, and we are planning on the possibility for STS107 to handle more research. I believe we have increased the power in the middeck from 600 watts to 1800 watts, so we have more of a capacity to do science on the middeck on the Shuttle. And we have developed these express racks that are going to go up onto the Space Station as early as '99, so we could begin operations for science onboard the Station. And we are increasing the number of grants on the ground to develop the research base, and we are committed to get up to 900 grants and we are moving up a curve. I can submit for the record our past performance and, by the year 2000, we intend to get to our goal of 900 grants, and we have not waived one bit from that.
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STATION RESEARCH PRIORITIES
Mr. LEWIS. I have been heard to say in other agencies before us that I am often reminded of the great classroom teachers who sit in the coffee room and ring their hands and wonder why the world does not know what great work they do. Sometimes it is a fact, especially in times when dollars are pressing, that we need to sell the sizzle, if you will, regarding what we are aboutsome of the experiments that have been successful, experiments that produced results as it relates to here in our Shuttle efforts, anticipating that which we are looking for and would expect as possible outputs on Station. I would like to know more about, for example, what research priorities we have for the Station. All of that is an interest if the public knew more about some of these things. It seems to me that sometimes the competitive sale we have to make is not just in our own Committee, but with the whole panoply of competition that is out there.
Mr. GOLDIN. I believe we are going to have such a mission with sizzle on April 16 of this year, when we send up NeuroLab. This is the decade of the brain. And NASA is going to be working with NIH, some of the foremost experts in this field, doing experiments in space that will help benefit our understanding and help people on the ground. This is going to be a very exciting mission.
Mr. LEWIS. Tell us a little bit about that, experiments that will help people on the ground in what ways?
Mr. GOLDIN. Let me ask Dr. Nicogossian. Dr. Arnauld Nicogossian is the head of our Life and Microgravity Science area, and a physician.
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Mr. NICOGOSSIAN. Thank you very much. It is a pleasure to be able to talk about NeuroLab. NeuroLab is a mission which is both international and national. It has, like Mr. Goldin said, National Institutes of Health which is one of the prime players. It has the Office of Naval Research participating, and National Science Foundation, which is part of it. It has Japan and other countries participating in that flight.
The mission, as it is, addresses two major issues. One, it addresses the issue of adaptation of brain and the nervous system in space flight because once you lose gravity, you lose that capability to integrate against gravity, and everything you do accounts for the gravity on Earth.
So, if you toss a ball, for example, on Earth, and somebody catches it, you think it is a normal way of doing business, but you should think about all the muscles and all the coordination which causes your body to catch that ball. And it is done taking account of gravity. When you do that in space, gravity is not there and you can overshoot, and people try to understand how the brain adapts in space, creating motion sickness and so forth.
The second issue is basically to understand if going to space can be a laboratory for us to understand certain phenomena which are common to certain disease and what happens after people return from space flight.
One of the things that the astronauts, when they come back after the space flight, they are notoriously known to have forgotten how to walk, if you wish, and that is also seen in some disorders. They are unable to maintain the blood pressure. And that lack of ability to walk and lack of maintaining the blood pressure are something that we see with aging and other disorders. And space flight offers us a model to study how those conditions do develop on earth without chronic effects because they are reversible.
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So, that is one of the major things that we are going to be studying, is basically how the nervous system controls our body to function on earth, by doing the experiments in space. I will be more than glad to expand further, and we have very nice material that was prepared by us and our partners that we can put for the record.
Mr. LEWIS. Well, I think it is important that Members of this CommitteeI hope sometime when we have larger numbers than this, that we could discuss some of those items that have an impact on everyday life in terms of people's health and otherwise, that would allow us to change the competitive edge, when we have to make arguments in shrinking budget times. Thank you. Ms. Kaptur.
SENATOR GLENN'S FLIGHT
Ms. KAPTUR. Thank you. Welcome, Mr. Goldin, so good to have you here with us today. I apologize, I had conflicting committee hearings, so I chose you for the afternoon and Agriculture for the morning, but I have had the opportunity to read your excellent testimony.
I have a few questions and several for the record. The first one is regarding Senator Glenn. Where in your budget is his flight projected? Where is that, in what part of the NASA budget?
Mr. GOLDIN. He is going to be on STS95, Space Transportation System Flight No. 95, and that is the flight he is on. It is in the human exploration development of space portion of our budget.
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Ms. KAPTUR. And is that an additional mission, or is that one that was already planned?
Mr. GOLDIN. No, no. That mission was already planned, and Senator Glenn is one of the crew. In fact, he asked that he not be called Senator Glenn because he is just another crew member.
Ms. KAPTUR. He would be a colonel.
Mr. GOLDIN. He wants to be called John, and I just cannot get it out of my throat.
SHRINKING NASA PROGRAMS
Ms. KAPTUR. We wanted to also ask at some point as the International Space Station's operational budget and Space Shuttle program grow, would you expect that other programs in NASA would shrink?
Mr. GOLDIN. So far, we have been able to manage our program such that all other Enterprises in NASA have been very, very robust. In fact, our Space Science and Earth Science programs have more spacecraft than ever and, as an example I will give you, during the last five years, we went from three spacecraft in the Earth Science program, for Phase I of our EOS system, to 27. We are now launching close to ten spacecraft a year, when we used to launch two a year.
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So we believe we have a very, very robust program and, so far, we have been able to increase the percentage of our budget for all other programsScience, Aerospace and Technologyfrom 31 percent of the budget to 43 percent of the budget today, and we expect that to go to as much as 48 percent of the budget in the future.
Ms. KAPTUR. I read in your testimony, the number of employees that NASA has had to cut back through the decade of the '90s. I am sure you have given this to other witnesses, but at what level are you in this fiscal year, full-time staff equivalency positions, and where will you be next year?
Mr. GOLDIN. I think right now we are just around 19,000 FTEs. Let me get the exact number. We will go out in 1998 at 19,364, and we expect to be at 18,519 in '99.
Ms. KAPTUR. All right. And could you tell me if the total budget that you are submitting to us today, $13.465 billion, was the budget that was submitted to the Office of Management and Budget prior to your coming up here on the Hill today?
Mr. GOLDIN. We have gone through so many iterations, I do not remember. Mal, help me.
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Mr. PETERSON. The Administration asked us to submit a baseline budget in September that was 5 percent below our previous runout, which was around $13.4. And so we submitted a budget that was down below $13 billion to them, and then argued our way back up. So, we did not go in with a $16 billion budget and argue our way down, we argued our way back up.
Mr. GOLDIN. I have got it now. We were asked to submit a budget at $12.6 billion, and then we argued our way back up to $13.4.
Ms. KAPTUR. Okay. That is unusual.
Mr. LEWIS. That was considerably different than the last time you asked that question, right, and we were going to repeat that, you remember, the next day, but we lost track of it.
RUSSIAN INVOLVEMENT IN OUR PROGRAMS
Ms. KAPTUR. That is right. I wanted to ask, regarding Russian involvement in our programs, with the recent removal of former Prime Minister Mr. Chernomyrdin, is the Administration re-evaluating future cooperation with Russia in any of your projects that involve Russian funds?
Mr. GOLDIN. Before we go make decisions to back away from working with the Russians, we want to see what kind of position the Russian Government is going to take, and we clearly have to give them some time to put someone in place. We are very carefully monitoring the situation. We have people in Russia that are working with the Russians, seeing how the work is progressing. And through this transition, at least for the last few weeks, the work is progressing, and it has not stopped.
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I believe the Russians are committed to working with us. They have got to find the funds and have continuity of funding to assure that we do what we are supposed to dothey do what they are supposed to do.
SMALL SATELLITE TECHNOLOGY INITIATIVE (SSTI)
Ms. KAPTUR. Okay. How can you explain a program like the small satellite technology initiative and the age of faster, better and cheaper, that had cost the taxpayers $55 million before it was terminated?
Mr. GOLDIN. We started the process a number of years ago, and we said, instead of launching a few big spacecraft for billions of dollars a few times a decade, we were going to start launching up to a dozen a year, and we were going to break them up into smaller pieces. We will have focused missions. And instead of using older technology to guarantee that the missions are going to work, we are going to use more advanced technology and new management techniques because we have a goal of initially getting from $590 million on average, for the spacecraft, to $190 million on average, which we are at right now, and we still have to get to $77 million a spacecraft within another three or four years.
So we wanted to experiment with new techniques. And when we did this, we said we are going to have backups in number and in type because we have more missions, but because we are going to be experimental we should expect some failures.
When we started the program, there were suggestions that NASA had been overmanaging the industry, that there was too much NASA oversight and if only we would allow the industry to be in charge by themselves, they would get the job done.
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One of the lessons we have sadly learned from the SSTI program is that they need more interaction with NASA, and we had a number of review panels look at it. But saying that, the taxpayer has not lost the whole program. We terminated the program because we were afraid that there would be a total failure. We have the launch vehicle, which we purchased. We own it and we will use it. We have the sensor which we purchased, and we plan on flying that sensor on another spacecraft. So, in effect, we believe we are going to recover the mission, and the taxpayer will not have lost because we were careful in what we did.
I think it was a courageous thing of the team to do to say, let us not keep on marching down the line and just fire this spacecraft off, have more cost growth, and perhaps have a failure in space. We think we did the right thing.
Ms. KAPTUR. Does one of your staff have the initial projected cost of that program?
Mr. GOLDIN. Do you know what it was? I believe they ended upwhat was the final cost because they had about ado you have the numbers there? We can get that in one minute.
ORBITAL SCIENCE CORPORATION
Ms. KAPTUR. While they are looking for that particular number, it is my understanding that NASA will not seek restitution from the Orbital Sciences Corporation for their failure to deliver the goods under that program that they were required to do? Is that a correct understanding?
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Mr. GOLDIN. That is correct.
Ms. KAPTUR. Okay. If that is true, do you think that that sends an unfortunate message to private contractors that NASA is open for business but do not worry about fulfilling your contract because NASA will assume control, kind of like we did with the savings and loans and now we are going to be asked to do with the Asian nations, that if things do not work out, you come to the taxpayers and they will make up the difference?
Mr. GOLDIN. Well, let me very simply state it. Our people did not get involved enough at an appropriate level to help save them because this was the approach that we took. And by the way, Orbital Sciences bought the company that we contracted with late in the game. They took over at the very end. But I have to say that our people did not manage the contract well enough so that we did not have the option because we would not have won in court.
We are going to sharpen up how we go do this. I am not happy about this circumstance, but the fact of the matter is NASA did make some mistakes along the way that did not allow us to terminate for cause.
Ms. KAPTUR. I appreciate your openness on that, and if you would be kind enoughI do not know if your people
Mr. GOLDIN. We have the number now. It started at $53 million, and it is $63 plus termination costs. And one of the reasons we stopped the program is we were afraid it was going to spiral well beyond that point. So we said we could recover the hardware, not spend additional money, and then reuse the hardware that we recover.
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3-D MULTI-CHIP INVENTION
Ms. KAPTUR. Thank you very much. When we were fortunate enough to come out to the NASA facility, you had some representatives from PICO Systems there with this 3-D multichip invention. Could you tell us how that is progressing, and whether or not it holds the potential to save money in NASA's future endeavors?
Mr. GOLDIN. This is one of the directions that NASA feels is essential for achieving our goal of getting to spacecraft. We have to pick up another factor of two and a half in cutting our spacecraft costs. To do that, we want to do much more integration and use very low-cost methods of doing that with microminiaturization. The people at PICO Systems, under this small business innovative research grant that we have, have done incredible work. And what we would like to see happen is this technology get not just demonstrated, but utilized by our suppliers. And I think the key step for us now is to transition from a technology development into a utilization phase where it gets integrated into the spacecraft we are going to use.
Now, we are on an inhouse build spacecraft at NASA Goddard using that technologyJoe, correct me if I am wrong.
Mr. ROTHENBERG. Yes.
Mr. GOLDIN. We are making the technology available to our suppliers not just in the spacecraft area, but in the launch vehicle area and in the aircraft area. And each company is going to have to make a decision as to whether or not to use it, but we are so pleased with it that we are making the information available to these companies. And if they do use it, I think it will help us get towards our goal of $77 million a spacecraft.
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EARTH OBSERVATION SATELLITE
Ms. KAPTUR. Thank you for that. That was a most interesting demonstration. I learned a lot. I have a final question on this round, Mr. Chairman, and that regards your Earth Observation Satellite. Could you give me a sense of where that entire program is? I mean, I read the testimony, but that happened to be an initiative that I supported very much, and could you give me a sense of where we are headed over the next three to five years, the kinds of projects, where we have come and where we are going.
Mr. GOLDIN. We have made just incredible progress. I pointed out in prior testimony that in 1992 we were going to fly three big spacecraft and replicate them every five years. Over a 15-year period, we will fly a total of nine spacecraft.
In the first series, we are going from three spacecraft to 27, for less money. We are going to make a much broader, much more aggressive range of measurements, and we have just launched the first in this series this year and, in fact, we are going from three spacecraftthis year we are launching three, next year it is five, and the year after it is five. So, you are going to see a significant increase in the knowledge that we have about our own planet as a result of this program.
What I would like to do is ask Dr. Asrar to talk about some of the science we are going to get back.
Dr. ASRAR. Thank you very much. Thank you for your support. As Administrator Goldin stated, you will see some exciting results coming out of our Earth Science program over the next five to seven years. We are in the process of conducting the first series of missions that will end in the year 2003. At the same time we have energized the community to start thinking about what should we do beyond the year 2003, which basically is the planning for the next series of Earth-observing system programs that will be initiated later this year.
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We have asked the Academy to get involved, and we are basically mobilizing the entire U.S. Earth Science community, and we are also inviting our partners to participate in that effort.
On the other front, in addition to the space segment that Administrator Goldin just described to you, we have a robust Earth research and analysis program that we invested to the tune of about $300 million per year, supporting research and putting the necessary tools in place to fully take advantage of these observations, and not only to answer the scientific questions, but also take the knowledge that we gain, the technologies that we develop, to solve some practical societal problems in the areas of water resources, food production, agriculture, coastal settlements, and natural resources inventory.
And another dimension of our program is to make sure that the knowledge and the technologies that we develop basically find its way to the value-added sector or commercial remote-sensing sector. This is an area that historically we have not really done well.
We have had a commercial remote-sensing program that has been working on its own, but we have not established a pipeline for providing the knowledge and technologies that we develop as part of our basic research and technology to the other side, which is the private sector and value-added. And with the role that we have established for the Stennis Space Center as our lead center for commercial remote-sensing and with the establishment of an application research division with NASA Headquarters, we are making sure that the transfer of knowledge and technologies from our baseline program to the commercial remote sensing is done properly and on time.
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And we are, over the next five years, planning to invest somewhere in the neighborhood of $100 million in our commercial remote sensing and application remote sensing programs.
REMOTE SENSING TECHNOLOGY
Ms. KAPTUR. Would you provide for the record a list of some of the information that this program has already made available to the scientific and general public, and an outline of where you are headed up until 2003. You mentioned food and agriculture production, what type of information?
Dr. ASRAR. Basically, we are establishing a partnership with the U.S. Department of Agriculture to take advantage of remote sensing technology and tools that we have, in the area of precision farming, improving the production, application of fertilizer, pesticides, detection of diseases and viruses in earlyprior to the time that we can see them with the eye because we use infrared sensors technology. And also at the same time, some of the tools that we have developed, we are transitioning them to, for example, the U.S. Forest Service. These are the models that we have developed to assess the conditions that are prone to the forest fires, for example. These are all based on remote sensing and modeling, and we are working on a few pilot projects in the Northwest U.S. and establishing some areas where detection of the fire hazards in advance, not to assess the impact of hazards after they have taken place, that the prepare for sensing and detecting the onset of these activities.
These are a few examples, but we would be more than happy to provide for the record the type and the number of the projects that we are supporting in the areas of demonstrating the relevance of our science program to solving practical societal problems.
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Ms. KAPTUR. Thank you very much, and I will look forward to receiving that.
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Mr. LEWIS. Thank you very much. The questions regarding of earth orbital and observing systems and their results are not dissimilar from the kinds of questions I was interested in when Dr. Nicogossian was here. I mean, those results in terms of real values here are an important part of our making our total case as we discuss this with the country as well as the Congress.
I must say that it leads to a question that I was not really going to ask. In the 1998 March period, NASA announced that it was developing plans for a smallsat which could provide continuous views of the Earth by the year 2000. NASA's plans are sparked by a concept coming from the Vice President's office, as I understand it. But from a practical viewpoint, as I understand it, that satellite is not going to include all the sensors and et cetera. It is not a part of the program that we were just discussing. But tell me what that satellite will be about and what do we expect to get from it?
Mr. GOLDIN. Before we do that, if I might provide some perspective on it, just from the term of process standpoint. The Vice President challenged us to see if we could put up such a satellite at a relatively low cost. So, towards that end, we are preparing a request for informationwe have designed for the satellite, I might add, in just a few weeks, which is very, very fulfilling to me. But we want to make sure that we tie in the educational community, the scientific community, and the commercial applications community.
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So, Dr. Asrar is preparing a Request For Information that we are going to put out in the next week or two on the Internet. After we assimilate this data and really understand the process for moving forward, we will then decide if we could do it within existing resources, hopefully commercial resources, and go forward with the program, or if we would have to come forward and ask for some budgetary authority, but we are nowhere near ready to go do that.
So, I just wanted to have the Committee understand, we are not getting out ahead of the congressional process.
Mr. LEWIS. Okay. Since we do not know what costs might be, yet, right? I gather
Mr. GOLDIN. Or revenues.
Mr. LEWIS [continuing]. Or revenues. Well, the question that popped up as Ms. Kaptur was asking those questions, is whether or not the satellite will end up replacing other satellite efforts.
Dr. ASRAR. The answer is no, this was not intended to replace any of the existing or planned elements of the Earth Observing System. It was in the spirit of an educational project that would bring in the students from universities and high schools to learn about physics, math, orbital mechanics, the concepts of what is it like to get to L1, what does L1 mean, and what is the environment of L1, and what it takes to build this very simple three-color camera that the parts and components are really available on the shelf, working as a team together to put the system together, you have to be an engineer to build the instrument and the spacecraft, integrate them together, worry about the launch, how do you escape the gravities of Earth, can you get an assist from the moon to get to the L1 point, what are the strategies for getting to the L1. These are all learning lessons that would really help the students to apply the physics and mathematics concepts in practice, and not learn in abstract and theoretical sense.
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And then once you get there, what it takes to operate the system, what it takes to get the data brought to the Earth and disseminated and, indeed, use the data for completing thesis work. That was sort of the primary objectivethat is the primary objective of this project, which is really far from the science and the science focus that our program has been
Mr. LEWIS. I did not really ask this question to try to plug this particular satellite into the Apple Valley Science Center, but you do have my attention in a different way. [Laughter.]
So we do anticipate that from this, and other items, we will get a clear picture of the budget. I presume you do not expect to have to supply a budget amendment for this item.
Mr. GOLDIN. That is our hope.
Mr. LEWIS. That is our hope.
Mr. GOLDIN. Well, we do not know what the commercial sector is going to do, but we think there are some significant possibilities in the commercial sector for applications where, and we believe there is international interest. But in the end, we would like to touch millions of students with something real.
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Mr. LEWIS. Thank you for that. In November 1997, industry teams reported their findings on innovative approaches to Government-industry training for LightSar program. This program was first funded as a Congressional add in fiscal year 1997. The fiscal year 1999 budget proposed $5 million for the effort. Does NASA have a need for LightSar, and what is the status of NASA's evaluation of the industry team reports?
Mr. GOLDIN. We believe that there is a need for a LightSar, and over the last five or ten years, NASA has been leading a revolution in this country and around the world in utilizing synthetic aperture radar systems. For years and decades now, we have been using 1960s technology from the SeaSAT program, along with other nations in the world. This LightSar will be a very bold leap forward into the latest of the '90s technology that can have a significant change.
On the Shuttle radar missions, we are not operating with one frequency, but three, and we are finding that there is a tremendous amount of information there. So, as a result, we expect the LightSar program to be a multifrequency, multipolarization program that can have a significant impact not just on the NASA Science program, but on the U.S. commercial remote sensing industry.
Mr. LEWIS. I think we have discussed Canadian interest in this subject area, and their decision recently to finance a second radarsat. I am wondering whether we, in this area, have thought about not just partnering with, but rather having this project go forward with Canada's leadership. I do not know exactly what the cost is here, but we are trying to work on where we can find dollars. That is the thrust of my question.
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Mr. GOLDIN. I understand the thrust. We are trying to understand here the needs of the American industry because there is an issue for the American industry. We had worked with the Canadians on what they call ''radarsat-2'', and we had a verbal agreement to work with them.
They appeared to be going in a different direction. We were interested in a science direction at the Agency, and we have to have some talks with the Canadians. And, more importantly than that, we need to have some talks with our own commercial spacecraft sector because one of the other approaches for doing this is that they put in money, perhaps up to 50 percent, so that everybody winsthe U.S. taxpayer and the commercial industry and the Science community.
So we really want to understand the different options here, and it may be that we ought to decide that we still want to go ahead with the LightSar.
Mr. LEWIS. We will be interested in looking at your estimates of cost and such implications, et cetera.
Dr. ASRAR. Absolutely. As Mr. Goldin stated, the intent was to, in return for our investment or participation in Radarsat-2, we will get some data back in return for our contribution. So that option is still in place should we decide to basically look at the value of Radarsat-2 data to meet our scientific requirements. But their plan to proceed with a system which is somewhat different from what our understanding was is something that requires really careful examination over the next few weeks, and we plan to do that. But our commitment to LightSar is there, and we believethe four studies that you stated all indicated that clearly there is a market niche in the value-added that this mission can provide for the value-added sector to have some revenues and make some money. So, all four studies came to the same conclusion.
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Mr. LEWIS. In your statement, Mr. Goldin, you refer to the altitude record set by the solar-powered Pathfinder aircraft. This aircraft is part of the IRAS program. What are NASA's plans for applying the Pathfinder technology to their projects?
Mr. GOLDIN. The Pathfinder project is one of the vehicles in an alliance that we formed with four various companies, and the principal objective here is to develop technologies for high-flying aircraft, principally to support some of the Earth Science missions that we see out in the future.
So, the next steps in Pathfinder is, again, to begin to work for higher altitudes where they can gather in situ data that we have not been able to gather before, and then also to look for very long duration flights at perhaps lower altitudes with higher payloads, on the order of days rather than hours.
Mr. LEWIS. The Gravity Probe-B relativity mission has experienced cost overruns of about 25 percent, the figures being $45.6 million to $57.3. What is the reason for those cost growth?
Dr. HUNTRESS. The cost growth is only in this single year. The total development cost will remain the same. The reason for the additional funding in this fiscal year was that they had a technical problem with the dewar on the spacecraft. The dewar is a large cryogenic thermos bottle that holds the scientific instrument. They had some problems during development, and we addedwe rephased money into this fiscal year to help solve that problem. They did come up with a technical solution. The problem is solved, and they, in fact, remain on schedule. In fact, they remain ahead of schedule, and we used reserves in order to take care of this growth.
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ADVANCED X-RAY ASTROPHYSICS FACILITY
Mr. LEWIS. I will ask you to expand a bit on that for the record, but that is fine. Thank you. The advanced x-ray Astrophysics Facility was scheduled for launch aboard the Shuttle in August of this year. Last year, the contractor discovered a lack of coordination of software and hardware integration, and subsequent additional work is requiring delay of the launch until December of 1998. In order to make this launch date, there is a series of tests which must be accomplished on a very tight schedule.
As a result of that schedule, has there been any relaxation of the testing requirements for hardware or software?
Dr. HUNTRESS. No, there has not been.
Mr. LEWIS. If there should be a problem in testing which makes the December launch difficult, what are the alternative launch dates?
Dr. HUNTRESS. We could launch in January, but the progress has been very good on AXAF since we first discovered this problem, and we have actually generated extra margin in time, and so we already have about ten weeks worth of margin and it is going up. So, I think we will make that December date.
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Mr. LEWIS. Total funding for AXAF was $1.4-plus billion. How much reserve is there in that program?
Dr. HUNTRESS. We started the program with about 20 percent reserves in the total program, and we track the reserves as a fraction of the cost to go. And as of this date, with the December launch date, we still have about 11 percent reserves remaining.
Mr. LEWIS. Mr. Walsh.
REGIONAL APPLICATIONS CENTERS
Mr. WALSH. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Mr. Administrator, one of the things that I am interested in is this regional application center, the validation center, which working with local educational establishments provides a direct application of satellite imagery data for use in some of the average run-of-the-mill applications that local government has, things like land-use planning, agricultural applications, hydrological applications. Can you describe NASA's involvement in this program?
Dr. ASRAR. Yes, sir. Basically, we have the responsibility for conducting these activities out of the Earth Science office. As I stated earlier, because of the significance of and the potential of our program in this area, we have just established a focus in our program in the form of a division that has a full responsibility for taking advantage of the wealth of knowledge and technology that we have to focus on solving practical societal problems such as the one that you just described.
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We currently have $13 million in our budget, and we are in the process of developing a NASA research announcement to solicit proposals for establishing anywhere between five to eight such regional application centers across the nation, focused on regional problems, and then utilizing NASA technology and NASA-funded scientific efforts to solve and focus on solving these practical problems or addressing them.
Mr. WALSH. What was the impact of this data-gathering capacity that you have vis-a-vis this cycle of weather called El Niño. Can you cite some applications of what you accomplished?
Dr. ASRAR. Yes. As you know, basically, the technology that we have developed in form of three major capabilitiestemperature measurements, wind speed and direction measurements, and topography of the ocean, the height of the ocean, have been crucial to the prediction of the El Niño assessment of its impact, and its duration. With the technology and the knowledge that we invested in that really provided the global perspective to tie these pieces together. El Niño has existed all along. What the space-base measurements were provided. And then along with these predictive capability, NOAA, our sister agency, today puts out the monthly forecast of precipitation and temperature anomalies across the nation, basically whether northeast or the southwest, the central part of the country gets more rain or less rain, and that directly really impacts agricultural activity, transportation, fisheries, and things of that nature. So it has had some major impact in that regard. I hope I have answered your question.
Mr. WALSH. You have. I find it very interesting. Is it safe to say that the scope of knowledge, scientific data on El Niño has improved dramatically in this cycle of El Niño because of this?
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Dr. ASRAR. Absolutely, sir, and the challenging part of it we have been very successful to resolve some of the issues at the global level. The next set of challenges is to really bring the global knowledge to the regional problems, that is where people live, and show the relevance of that to the people's day-to-day life.
Mr. WALSH. You would need, I would think, a numberI am not a scientist, but you would need a number of these cycles to begin to extrapolate out regional anomalies, but are you seeing trends that you think are established already?
Dr. ASRAR. We are basically using the existing knowledge, the corporate knowledge, and looking at the sectors, such as food and agriculture and fisheries. In each part of our nation, really, each of these efforts are the main thrust for the economic growth. And we are saying what are the impacts of such events on fisheries in the southeast and off the coast, and oil drilling off the Mexican Gulf, or the food production and agriculture in the northwest U.S. So, we are focusing on the problems and trying to assess the impact of these variations anomalies on the mainstream of economic growth in the different parts of the nation.
Mr. WALSH. So when you begin to set up this regional structure, ideally, then you would pick institutions in those regions to
Dr. ASRAR. Precisely, because the experts are in the region, and you do not want to transplant knowledge.
REGIONAL VALIDATION CENTERS
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Mr. WALSH. That is a concern that I have because there are certain educational institutions that have all the experts. And the wealth is all sort of gathered in certain places. And I would think that it is not exactly on the agricultural extension model, but the information and also the practical application of that information is valuable to people on the ground. So, how do you get that outside of the Cornells and the Stanfords and the MITs and the CalTechs, and get it out to the regional colleges?
Dr. ASRAR. Excellent question, and the purpose of these regional validation centers are not the same as our basic research program. And there we clearly are going to rely on the decisionmakers, whether the county extension experts or the state decisionmakers or the weather bureau or the state meteorologist. We are going to bring the practical decisionmakers who have also the corporate knowledge to make sure that that knowledge is applied to solving the problem, not to be another set of academic for curiosity-driven science-related focus. The focus for these efforts are completely different from our basic research, that is why we call it applied research.
Mr. WALSH. So the RFP or RFQ or whatever it is that you put out will look for regional establishments where you have got people on the ground who are going to take this information and apply it to land-use planning or hydrological studies?
Dr. ASRAR. That is the purpose of the effort.
Mr. WALSH. It has obviously broad implications. The big farmers, as you know, and the big corporations, too, like Lockheed-Martin, for example, are figuring out how to use this satellite imagery to not only improve production, but to save on inputs. If you do not need to put so much potassium in one part of the field and you know you do not have to put it there, you are going to save some money and get the same basic result.
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Dr. ASRAR. Yes, sir, exactly that. We need to bring the practitioners to help us.
Mr. WALSH. It is an interesting challenge. I do not want to go too far afield with this thing, but there are people who worry about everything, and part of my job is to tell them not to worry, although I do not want to sound like a Pollyanna either, but I have read Malfus and I have read Huxley and I have read all those people whoEhrlichwho have made these broad generalizations about how we are running out of food and people are growing at this rate and food is growing at this rate, and the fact of the matter is we have made them all look like fools so far, but the challenge is clearly there, and it is these sorts of technologies that are going to help us keep ahead of the curve, I think.
Dr. ASRAR. Precisely, and improve the efficiency of production, not the production itself because we have been very successful on productivity side. The next level of challenge is improving the efficiency, and these tools can really help us improve the efficiency of food production or natural resources inventory.
Mr. WALSH. Thank you very much. Mr. Chairman.
Mr. LEWIS. Thank you, Mr. Walsh. I have got a number of questions for the record that relate to X33 and X34, I would ask you to respond to them, but a specific item that I feel needs to be at least discussed a little is X33 which has a goal to develop technologies that reduce space transportation costs very significantly is subject to authorization out there somewhere, and I do not know if you have a better handle on authorization prospects than I do, but we are trying not to have our bill burdened down by authorization responsibilities, so if you could give me just an off-the-top or otherwise guesstimate about those prospects.
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Mr. GOLDIN. The Senate has marked up an authorization bill that gives us the indemnification for the X33 and the X34. There is some further indemnification that we sought for the Shuttle and the Space Station. It is crucial that we have this legislation passed, otherwise, we will not be able to fly these two vehicles and will be in the difficult circumstance of having the vehicles sitting on the launchpad, paying a crew a monthly charge until we get such legislation.
We are planning to fly in March of '99 with the X34, in July of '99 with the X33, so we would hope to get it through in this Congress because, if we have to wait for the next Congress, there may not be a vehicle to get the legislation in time to start our flight testing. So, we are counting on it.
INSPECTOR GENERAL'S REPORT FINDINGS
Mr. LEWIS. Stay tuned. One last subject area here just briefly, as you may know, this Subcommittee covers some 22 agencies and commissions, and where there are inspectors general, I have found over time that their work and their reports are very helpful to us in our oversight responsibility.
On February 25 of this year, the Inspector General issued a report on procedures and practices being followed at NASA Headquarters, Langley and Goddard, with regard to investigation of equipment losses. In that report, it was noted that the Goddard Space Flight Center investigates no losses even though as of September 30,530 items valued at more than $1.2 million were reported as losses.
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Why is there a mentality at Goddard that such losses of taxpayer-financed equipment is acceptable, and investigation or recovery is given little or no attention?
Mr. SUTTON. My name is Jeff Sutton. I am acting as the Associate Administrator for Management Systems and Facilities at NASA. The property management function is one of the functions that our office oversees. I would like to say, first of all, that we take the findings of the Inspector General very seriously, as does Goddard Space Flight Center, and I think
Mr. LEWIS. The Committee appreciates that, I am sure Ms. Gross does as well.
Mr. SUTTON. I think she probably does. What we found out when we looked into the findings of the Inspector General is that there turned out to be some confusion over the use of the term ''investigation''. The Inspector General's findings were correct, let me say that first of all. The Property Survey Officer and the Property Survey Board at Goddard were not investigating these losses as we had expected or intended. However, that is not to say that they were not being investigated at all.
What we found out is that at Goddard they had moved to a system of having property losses investigated by line management or, in the case of suspected thefts, they were referred to their Security Office for investigation, which is probably an even stronger approach.
The Property Survey Board was then reviewing the work of those investigations and determining whether they were adequate or not. That is a weakness because it is not following the protocol that we have established for the Agency, and letting line management do their own investigations presents a bit of an internal control conflict.
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So we took an action from this report to get with all of the Property Management Offices, clarify the intended approach. In fact, we just held that meeting last week, and we will be clarifying for the rest of the Agency the proper way of conducting investigations on property losses.
I would just add that we have been tracking the property loss rates for NASA for several years, and after some initial concern seven or eight years ago, the property loss rates have fallen below one-half of 1 percent for the property holdings, and they have been holding below that threshold ever since.
Mr. LEWIS. Thank you for that response. Mr. Goldin, that really concludes my formal questioning for the record. As I have indicated, we have across-the-board Members with questions that we would like to have you respond to for the record.
CHAIRMAN'S CLOSING REMARKS
Let me make a comment here, however, about this hearing and not only just today, but my experience with the Agency in general. One of the greater difficulties of people in my seat who run for public office is that ofttimes people kind of automatically assume that we have to have all the answers to all the questions that are around or that are asked. I have always felt that one of the difficulties is sometimes the elected person thinks that they do have all the answers, and that creates more problems than anything.
It is important to learn the business of saying I do not know or, indeed, that I have made a mistake and if I do not know I will get back to you, or whatever. I have noted with your Agency over time that there is a management style that is willing to say, let us look again, or maybe we did not get that one right. That is to be appreciated, and not to be the center of negative criticism, if you will. I think it is very important as we carry forward our oversight responsibility and have these exchanges, that we appreciate those relationships. I do appreciate it, I know the Committee does.
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And so, having said that, it has been a worthwhile productive session, I think, and we will work on an ongoing basis to get at or solve some of the problems that have not been solved yet.
Mr. GOLDIN. Thank you, sir.
Mr. LEWIS. The meeting is adjourned.
"The Official Committee record contains additional material here."