SPEAKERS CONTENTS INSERTS
Page 1 TOP OF DOCNASA'S FISCAL YEAR 1999 BUDGET REQUEST, PART I: NASA POSTURE
THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 5, 1998
U.S. House of Representatives,
Committee on Science,
Subcommittee on Space and Aeronautics,
The Subcommittee met, pursuant to notice, at 1:02 p.m., in room 2318, Rayburn House Office Building, Hon. Dana Rohrabacher, Chairman of the Subcommittee, presiding.
Chairman ROHRABACHER. The Subcommittee on Space and Aeronautics is called to order. I thank all of you for being with us today.
First of all, I'd like to ask unanimous consent that Mr. Dennisyou know, I'm going to make sure I pronounce this right. Is Dennis with us now? Mr. KucinichI always mispronounce himis allowed to join us and participate in this hearing. Where is Dennis? Dennis is not here.
Finally, this House is in session this afternoon, and we may have to break for a vote. So, without objection, the Chair asks unanimous consent to declare a recess at any time. Hearing no objection, so ordered.
At this point I would like to recognize the Chairman of the full Science Committee, my friend, Jim Sensenbrenner, for any opening statement that he would like to have.
Chairman SENSENBRENNER. Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman.
I have reviewed Mr. Goldin's opening statement, and he appears to paint a very rosy picture of NASA. There have been many accomplishments that NASA has had in the last year of which he can be proud, but as far as the budget is concerned, I have to disagree. NASA's budget is a mess. Because the Administration can't or won't submit an honest budget, 890 Space Shuttle employees are losing their jobs. How can I say that the budgets are dishonest? Simple. Let's look at the facts.
Page 2 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Over the last 4 years, NASA has transferred or re-baselined over $600 million out of its Station science budget to pay for Station development. Yet, last March NASA testified that Station ''continues to perform within the annual funding cap of $2.1 billion, and the $17.4 billion completion estimate.'' A month later, NASA announced it intended to take $200 million out of the Shuttle budget and give it to the Station program. That came after 3 years of public testimony from NASA saying, don't cut the Shuttle budget or you'll jeopardize safety.
I objected to that transfer. The Chairman of the Subcommittee, Mr. Rohrabacher, objected to that transfer. The Vice Chairman of the Subcommittee, Dr. Weldon, objected to that transfer. The Committee as a whole objected to that transfer, and the House concurred when we passed the NASA authorization.
We tried to be reasonable. I proposed a supplemental appropriation for NASA. The White House said no. I proposed a transfer of unobligated Russian foreign aid to NASA. The White House said no. I proposed offsets in unobligated Nunn-Lugar funds. The White House said no. I proposed spreading the pain around the uncosted balances within NASA. The White House said no. It was taking a hit for the Shuttle or nothing, and the entire time they all kept saying, it won't affect the Shuttle program. Mr. Goldin, tell that to the 890 people losing their jobs.
NASA took its money from the Shuttle program, but it wasn't enough. The agency spent last summer lobbying appropriators behind the scenes for another $430 million for the Station. The appropriators gave in to the tune of $230 million by increasing the total budget and robbing other programs to pay for the Station. But that's not good enough for the Administration. The Agency's budget submission for this year assumes that Congress will give it another $200 million for Fiscal Year 1998 from the very programs that were declared offlimits by the Congress. If that presumption doesn't happen for any reason, the entire Fiscal Year 1999 budget is even more out of whack.
Page 3 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC I don't know how we can put any faith in this budget, given the Administration's track record. Every year we get the budget with a footnote that essentially says, oh, by the way, we need more money for the Station; and, oh, by the way, we're going to take the money from the science programs; and, oh, by the way, we're going to bale out the Russians. Well, finally, it was, oh, by the way, we're going to lay people off. Now that's got to stop.
NASA has done its best to jiggle the conflicting science technology budgetary and foreign policy goals that the President keeps throwing at it, but you can't juggle forever. The budgets that the President has imposed upon NASA have had to have been rewritten on the fly for the last few fiscal years, creating instability and threatening to undermine the credibility of the agency and everything it has accomplished.
I'm looking for signs that this budget will be different, and I am not finding much reassurance. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Chairman ROHRABACHER. Thank you, Mr. Sensenbrenner. I'd like to express my appreciation for Chairman Sensenbrenner's personal involvement. The fact is he was the Chairman of this Subcommittee, and now he's the Chairman of the full Science Committee. His expertise in helping us guide this budget process is much appreciated by this Subcommittee Chairman.
I also appreciate the fact that the former Chairman of the full Science Committee, who has a long historyI like to say that he has an institutional memory that goes back and is of great assistance to us as wellis Chairman George Brown, former Chairman of the whole Science Committee, a person who is held in great esteem and also considered a dear friend to most of us.
Former Chairman Brown, do you have a statement to make?
Mr. BROWN of California. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I'll speak very briefly.
Page 4 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC First, let me pay tribute to Chairman Sensenbrenner, whose critical oversight of NASA I think has been of great value to the success of the program. And while I do not share perhaps all of his views, I do believe that they represent some very good thinking on his part, and there will be occasions on which I will cooperate with the Chairman in trying to remedy some of the things that he said. Of course, I think I will be a little bit more sympathetic to the Administration than he is, but that's just the normal situation.
Let me make the main point that I wanted to make, and that is that, due to the departure of one of our members who was ranking on this Subcommittee, who has been selected to serve on the Appropriations Committee, and who has jumped at that opportunity, we are going to not have as our Ranking Member, Mr. Bart Gordon, a person of equally high quality and dedication, who I know will do an excellent job as Ranking Member. I will yield to him for whatever time I may have, or he may make an opening statement on behalf of the Subcommittee.
Chairman ROHRABACHER. He, in fact, will.
Mr. BROWN of California. And thank you, Mr. Chairman, for your continued courtesy.
Chairman ROHRABACHER. We thank you for your thoughts. This Chairman got along extremely well with Bud Cramer, and perhaps this Subcommittee is perhaps the most bipartisan Subcommittee in the House as far as I'm concerned, because Bud and I worked very, very closely together and we got a lot done. It was a pleasure working with him, and I look forward to working with you, Bart, and welcome you aboard as the Ranking Member, and just extend to you the same agreements and hospitality that I had with Bud. If you have ideas, this Committee is open to ideas from both sides of the aisle, and I'm looking forward to your participation and guidance.
So I present to you now the new Ranking Member, Bart Gordon.
Page 5 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. GORDON. Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman.
First of all, I want to also thank my Democratic colleagues for allowing me to serve as the Ranking Member of the Space and Aeronautics Subcommittee. I remember, I guess it was 1985, when I was first and the Space Subcommittee, that I attended my first launch. Certainly, that's an exhilarating experience for anyone, and I'm looking forward to doing more.
Although Mr. Brown made it clear that he was supporting me for this position, but he was not giving up his first option on the next Shuttle.
Mr. BROWN of California. Correct.
Mr. GORDON. So he has kept his ticket.
I also want to say that I think Bud Cramer did an outstanding job as the former Ranking Committee Member, and I certainly want to try to live up to the standard that Bud set, and will continue to look for his advice and suggestions.
Mr. Rohrabacher, you can be well assured that I think that the best Committees are the bipartisan Committees, and I want to work in whatever way that I can to make this effort better for all of us.
I'm also pleased that you're holding this hearing on NASA so soon after the release of the Fiscal Year 1999 budget request. In that regard, I'm going to join everyone here in welcoming Administrator Goldin. We're glad to see you again.
It was 40 years ago that the Space Act was passed and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration was established. In the decades since, our civil space accomplishments have been significant, from landing humans on the moon and sending robots to investigate other planets in our solar system, to learning more about the nature of distant galaxies and our own planet Earth. I don't intend to make a lengthy opening statement this afternoon. I think it's more important for us to hear from the NASA Administrator and have a chance to ask questions about the NASA budget.
Page 6 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC So let me just say that I think that NASA has accomplished many good things during its history, but as a Member of Congress, we need to assure the American taxpayers get their money's worth from the government's Civil Service and Space Aeronautics Program. This hearing is the first step in meeting that responsibility.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Chairman ROHRABACHER. Okay, now it's my turn. Thank you. The Ranking Member got the chance first. From now on, the Chairman goes first.
But today is a special tribute, and welcome aboard.
Fiscal Year 1999 begins on the 40th anniversary of the establishment of NASA, and while our space agency has achieved much over the past 40 years, it is the future and not the past that is our focus today. In that context, NASA's Fiscal Year 1999 budget, if we can believe it, is a tiny step in the right direction for this agency, but it is not a giant leap for America's future in space.
In a year where the President is proposing an overall increase in all research by 3 percent, he is cutting NASA by 3 percent. Even defense research, not an historic priority of this Administration, does better than space in the President's budget, and even this reduced cut could go up, and it could go up in a cloud of cigarette smoke if this tobacco settlement falls apart.
Now I know NASA's budget cut could have been worse. After all, 2 years ago, President Clinton submitted a budget projection of only $12.3 billion for Fiscal Year 1999, which would have amounted to a 10 percent cut, but I hardly think that we should be happy that our space program is bleeding to death a little slower. More significantly, how much money we spend isn't the only or even a very accurate measure of how good our space program is. In recent years, NASA has becomeand much goes as a tribute to Dan Goldin, who is with us today, of courseNASA has become faster, better, cheaper. And so it isn't just all reflected in budget number, but it's also reflected in what's going on in NASA and how well the programs are being administered. My hat's off to Dan Goldin for that in a number of areas.
Page 7 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC But even at reduced costs, the customer still isn't buying the product. The President seems to be throwing away money almost everywhere except NASA, and while Congress has increased NASA's budget from the proposed levels in recent years, no one, I guess except Dr. Weldon over here, is suggesting the kinds of increases that NIH or even NSF is getting to go to NASA.
And, finally, when the taxpayers are asked where they should cut the budget, they still suggest NASA right after foreign aid, and that's a problem. So later this year, I plan to hold one or more Subcommittee hearings on what we'll call NASA at 40. My goal is to look at what kind of space agency America needs for the future, instead of what we want from the status quo. Quite often, when we're talking about the budget, we're talking about just getting by this year and figuring out what we're going to do this year. Hopefully, these Subcommittee hearings will be aimed at trying to create that vision thing.
Now I'm not going to prejudice what answer we might receive at those hearings, but it's always a good idea to look at who is doing well, and while NASA is struggling to stay alive financially, there's another area of space activity that is growing rapidly, and I'm talking about the commercial endeavors in space.
Increasingly, entrepreneurs and companies are finding opportunities to create new commercial goods and services that will revolutionize our Nation's space capabilities. Drawing on the creativity and energy of free enterprise, these astro-businesses are earning more and more and making more and more customers, hiring more and more employees, passing on dividends to more and more stockholders, and enterprising more and more young people to follow in their footsteps, which means that they are making space more relevant to the American public because people are involved, not just as taxpayers and spectators, but as participants.
My point here is not that space commercialization will make NASA more cost-effective, but my point is that if NASA embraces the commercial space revolution, if NASA decides that it's its job to explore and open the frontier of space to the rest of the American people, instead of just carrying out a space program, a government space program on behalf of the people, then NASA will become more relevant to the public, and perhaps their attitudes will change, and they won't list NASA almost last on the listor should we say first on the list of getting cuts right after foreign aid.
Page 8 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC We can recreate space as more than just a government program. We can make space a broad, inclusive enterprise that calls on all of the American people to participate, and I see a future where students, as well as scientists, entrepreneurs, as well as engineers and investors, as well as industrialists, will all play a part as we explore, develop, settle, and make profit in this high frontier of space.
I guess you can call thatas I say, you can call that ''the vision thing,'' and, frankly, I don't believe the White House, that this White House, has an inspiring vision of space. It's not that the President is against reform or against space. In fact, his national space policy overall is pretty good, but he just doesn't seem to have much energy when it comes to space, and it's reflected in the budget and reflected in his personal involvement.
So, in this case, it will be up to the representative branch of government to lead the way in making our space efforts more inclusive and more relevant. It will be up to the Legislative Branch then to help determine what space policy is and what our long-term goals will be. It is the job we have already begun in this Congress with the House passage of the bipartisan authorization, as well as the commercial space legislation that we passed last year. And I challenge NASA to help us work with the Senate to secure the passage and enactment of those two bills as early as possible this year.
Mr. Goldin, you have often said, an agency that is pushing the frontiers has to take risks. Well, it works both ways. Sometimes you have to take risks just to get to the frontier. You have to be willing to sacrifice old bureaucracies and to create new enterprises, and to abandon the comfortable past, in order to reinvent a better future. It won't be easy, and I'm going to, of course, invite you and NASA to participate in these hearings that look at long-term NASA goals and long-term space policy for the United States, and I believe that we can work together honestly, and if we do, we can ensure that the American people achieve the kind of future in space that they want, and the one that the American people deserve.
Page 9 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC And, again, I'm very pleased to have had a close working relationship with the past Ranking Member, and I know in the future we'll have a very close working relationship as well. This is going to be, and continue to be, the most bipartisan Subcommittee in the House of Representatives, I hopeand if not the most bipartisan, we'll have the most cordial relationship and best working relationship.
And, with that, I will nowwithout objection, the written statements of other members will be made part of the record, and do you have a written statement, Mr. Weldon? Anyone that has a written statement, that will be made part of the record, and with no objection, that is so ordered.
With us today we once again have the Honorable Daniel Goldin, flanked by what looks like, let's seeor surrounded bywho is this now?
Mr. PETERSON. Mal Peterson.
Chairman ROHRABACHER. Mal Peterson, okay, for the record.
And, Mr. Goldin, would you please rise, so I can swear you in?
Now let's seeokay, repeat after me: I swear that the testimony I am about to give
Mr. GOLDIN. I swear that the testimony I am about to give
Chairman ROHRABACHER (continuing). Is the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.
Mr. GOLDIN (continuing). Is the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.
Chairman ROHRABACHER. Thank you. You're sworn in.
The reporter shall note that each witness respondedI guess Dan is the witnessthis witness responded in the affirmative.
Page 10 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Let's see, thank you for being here today, and we appreciate that we're getting to work on this so soon after the budget announcement. Frankly, I haven't had time to digest the entire budget announcement, and we appreciate your being here.
So, without objection, your written statement will be included for the record, and you may proceed with any oral remarks that you'd like to make. And thank you very much.
TESTIMONY OF DANIEL S. GOLDIN, ADMINISTRATOR, NATIONAL AERONAUTICS AND SPACE ADMINISTRATION; ACCOMPANIED BY ARNOLD G. HOLZ, CHIEF FINANCIAL OFFICER; MALCOLM L. PETERSON, COMPTROLLER; SPENCE M. ARMSTRONG, ASSOCIATE ADMINISTRATOR FOR HUMAN RESOURCES AND EDUCATION; JOHN D. SCHUMACHER, ACTING ASSOCIATE ADMINISTRATOR FOR EXTERNAL RELATIONS; EDWARD HEFFERNAN, ASSOCIATE ADMINISTRATOR FOR LEGISLATIVE AFFAIRS; PEGGY C. WILHIDE, ASSOCIATE ADMINISTRATOR FOR PUBLIC AFFAIRS; JOSEPH ROTHENBERG, ASSOCIATE ADMINISTRATOR FOR SPACE FLIGHT; RICHARD CHRISTIANSEN, ACTING ASSOCIATE ADMINISTRATOR FOR AERONAUTICS AND SPACE TRANSPORTATION TECHNOLOGY; WESLEY T. HUNTRESS, ASSOCIATE ADMINISTRATOR FOR SPACE SCIENCE; ARNAULD E. NICOGOSSIAN, ASSOCIATE ADMINISTRATOR FOR LIFE AND MICROGRAVITY SCIENCES AND APPLICATIONS, AND OHASSEM R. ASRAR, ASSOCIATE ADMINISTRATOR FOR EARTH SCIENCE
Mr. GOLDIN. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Distinguished Subcommittee members, I'm very pleased to speak with you today.
Last week the United States and 15 other nations signed the formal agreement on the International Space Station. These countries did more than sign on; we signed up. We signed up to exploration; we signed up to knowledge, and awe, and science and technology, and benefits for our children.
NASA has brought that same sense of commitment and conviction to making our budget work. We, more than almost any agency in government, are doing more with less, and we're doing what we say we're going to do.
Page 11 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Americans feel good about the country, and the space and aeronautics program is one of the reasons why. Programs like the Mars Pathfinder made Americans proud, and fired the imagination of young and old alike across the globe.
From Fiscal Year 1993 to Fiscal Year 2003, NASA's total budget requirements have come down10 years. We've made our budget challenges work for us. We're pleased that we helped the President achieve his historic zero-deficit budget.
We're a high-performance agency, and our budget cuts haven't changed that. Nothing says it better than this: The Fiscal Year 1999 budget is nearly flat, yet we have started 10 new programs.
Let me give
Chairman ROHRABACHER. Mr. Goldin, do you think your opening statement will be about 10 minutes, or what would you estimate?
Mr. GOLDIN. It will take another 5 minutes.
Chairman ROHRABACHER. Okay.
Mr. GOLDIN. Do you want me to stop and
Chairman ROHRABACHER. No, no. This Chairman plans to, just so the members will know, we will let Mr. Goldin finish his statement, and then we will break for the vote, and then come back with the questions afterwards.
So please proceed.
Mr. GOLDIN. Let me give you another example. In the 1980's we launched two solar system exploration missions: Magellan and Galileo. During the 15 months from October 1997 through January 1999, we will have launched seven missions. That's an average of one every 10 weeksthe last 6 of them, sum total, are less than half the price of Cassini.
We're doing exciting things in aeronautics, too. Over the past year, we joined forces with the aviation industry, the FAA, and DOD, and made an important new commitment to air travel. NASA will help build a stronger America by committing to air travel that is not only faster, better, cheaper, but much safer and much cleaner.
Page 12 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Last year, the Pathfinder aircraft soared to 71,530 feet, setting a new world record for propeller-driven subsonic aircraft. We'll be shooting for 80,000 feet this summer, and in the future, 100,000 feet. This capability will open up exciting new possibilities for research and commercial applications for remotely-piloted vehicles. I might say that program is measured in millions, not hundreds of millions or billions.
In the area of Earth science, you'll note the budget this year is lower than it's 5-year projection from last year. There's good reason for that, a reason we're proud of. We now have lower-cost spacecraft that meetor exceedour toughest requirements. This lower budget not only fully funds our current programs, it also provides funding for two new programs and enhances the research and analysis budget.
In addition to doing more for less and the initiatives I've mentioned, we're also delivering a balanced aeronautics and space program. In Fiscal Year 1991, 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're proud of what we've done.
We'll be working closely with you on all aspects of our budget, especially the International Space Station.
Let me take a moment to update you on some of the Station launches. The hardware will be ready for the first two launches in June and July as planned. However, because of the delayed AXAF launch, Shuttle program managers would like to explore the possibility of adjusting the schedules for Neurolab, the Node, and other flights in 1998 and 1999. This could maximize the Shuttle workflow and processing capability, and it shouldn't disrupt the overall Station assembly.
Page 13 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Because it's important to maintain a close interval between the FGB and Node launches, we may evaluate a similar shift in the FGB launch. We expect to make these decisions in the coming few weeks.
Mr. Chairman, I want to emphasize that privatization and commercialization are beginning to take hold at NASA. The transition is going to be very, very tough, and it will require risk, and I look forward to working with this Committee and the Administration to make it happen.
I might point out, however, as we commercialize, I ask this Committee not to look to NASA, but look to the people who have commercial contracts to deal with some of the very complex issues.
The women and men at NASA are doing an extraordinary job, and I want to thank them. They're more than good scientists and engineers; they're good managers, and they're doing more for less.
I want to thank particularly America's astronauts and all the people that support them. They're doing an incredible job.
And last of all, I want to thank you for your support and help.
I started talking about a very brave move16 countries signed up to the International Space Station.
I want to close by talking about another brave move, led by Representatives Weldon, Kucinich, Lampson, and Speaker Gingrich. Last November, 201 Members of the House of Representatives called for a stable funding budget for NASA. They called for priorities. You called for hope. You called for a chance at the next generation. I want to show you what that gets you, what that gets America.
Here is a picture we just got back from Mars, and we have the first evidence of an ancient flowing river on Mars. This is incredible because that program was done for a bargain-basement price.
Page 14 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC These are the latest-breaking pictures from the Mars Global Surveyor. This is what we do for America. This is what we do for America's children, so they see the wonder of the universe and feel the excitement of the future.
This isn't something NASA does by itselfnot by a long shot. This is something the Administration makes possible. This is something you make possible. This is something we do together.
Before I close, I'd like to introduce two new members of my senior staff: Dr. Ghassem Asrar will now head up Mission to Planet Earth. Ghassem, stand up, please. And Mr. Joseph Rothenberg, who is the Associate Administrator for Space Flight.
Thank you, and I'll be happy to take your questions.
[The prepared statement and attachments of Mr. Goldin follow:]
Insert offset folios 113-138
Chairman ROHRABACHER. Well, we appreciate the picture, and it shows you how much we can achieve through robot exploration of space and on Mars, without having to send a man.
This Subcommittee is in recess for 15 minutes.
Chairman ROHRABACHER. The Subcommittee is called to order.
Mr. Goldin, thank you very much for your opening statement.
I'd just like to note that on the Floor of the House of Representatives at this moment is a good colleague who is retiring this year, Ron Dellums, who's been a member of the California delegation for decades and has contributed a great deal to the debate that has inspired so many young people around the country over the years, a man with a fiery passion and principles, and I'm sorry that I'm not going to be able to be on the Floor listening to him talk about the things he's done over the years and the many great challenges that we faced while he's been a Member of Congress. Mr. Dellumsbut here we are doing the work of the Republic, and that's why we are all here. So although we'd like to be there with Mr. Dellums and listening to his remarks, I think it's important for us to get on with this particular business.
Page 15 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCREUSABLE LAUNCH VEHICLE
Chairman ROHRABACHER. Mr. Goldin, at your press conference on Monday, you indicated that your outyear budgets include funding for the development of a new operational space transportation system, including liquid fly-back boosters, or EELV, or an RLV such as Venture Star. Now wasn't the whole point of the X33 program, which funds not just an X-vehicle, but also several hundreds of millions of dollars in additional ground technology, wasn't this done to enable a company to commercially develop an RLV? And by saying this money is for an operational system, aren't you backing away from that particular focus that we had agreed upon earlier? Is this saying that this money is available a good strategy for negotiating the best deal that the taxpayers could be getting, when it comes to those people who will be looking to receive that money?
Mr. GOLDIN. I believe it's a question of definition of terms. The intention of that money is not to subsidize an operational situation, but the monies could be broken up a number of different ways, and let me just take the Venture Star, because I think this is one of the concerns you have.
There are technologieswe are defining technologies out of the X33 program with their tests that NASA rightfully ought to do. Let me give you an example. As we build some of these advanced systems, single-stage-to-orbit, you'll have to build very, very large composite structures. It exceeds the autoclave capability in the United States. So there's a technology called ''out-of-autoclave processing of composite materials.'' It may be a revolutionary new change. So it would allow companies to build next-generation launch vehicles for a much lower cost and not have to have the huge facility cost to go build an extra large autoclave. These are the types of taskscomposite rocket nozzlesthese are advanced technologies. It's in that domain.
Another area would be, which we do right nowwe're doing it with Kissler and Kelly Engineering, where we provide in-kind services, like computational fluid dynamics and use the NASA wind tunnel facilities. So I think, as they always say, the devil is in the detail. The intent is NASA ought to be doing advanced technology development, and as we go through experimental programs, we find the needs for new technologies, and that's the domain we will be limiting ourselves to.
Page 16 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Chairman ROHRABACHER. So the operational concept is just operational of development and not operational of a system after the development?
Mr. GOLDIN. Yes, it's supporting the development of next-generation systems with appropriate technologies and utilization of NASA facilities. That is the thrust of what we're trying to accomplish.
Chairman ROHRABACHER. At your press conference, you also expressed a concern that your budget doesn't fund Future X in the outyears. Why not? And don't you want to build several Pathfinder vehicles and at least one Trailblazer, and possibly in conjunction with the Air Force? Let me put it this way: Does your budget
Mr. GOLDIN. Yes, yes.
Chairman ROHRABACHER. Negate the idea thatgo right ahead.
Mr. GOLDIN. I'm confused. I've got to remembera Trailblazer isthe Pathfinder is the small one, right [speaking to his staff]?
Okay, the budget has money for Pathfinders, about every 18 months. That is in the budget. We don't have money for Trailblazers. Pathfinders are things you do in a few years for on the order of $100 million; Trailblazers are something that might take 2, 3 years for on the order of half a billion dollars.
We had to make priorities. We got a budget, and we'd love to do it. Believe me, we'd love to build some Pathfinders, but given all the budget priorities we hadfly the Shuttle safely, build the Space Station, support space science and Earth science, aeronauticswe just didn't have that extra amount of money, and perhaps in future budget years we could look at it.
MILITARY SPACE PLANE
Chairman ROHRABACHER. Of course, there was supposed to be some cooperation there with the Air Force in this endeavor, and that, along with other aspects of your budget, doesn't this negate the idea that NASA will build, for example, a military space plane demonstrator with the Air Force? And how much funding could Future X effectively spend, in your estimation, in the years ahead?
Page 17 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. GOLDIN. Well, first, let me say in Fiscal Year 1999 we have adequate resources to work with the Department of Defense. We are working very closely with the Unified Space Command. We're trying to define technology requirements.
And let me be very careful here. NASA will not develop military hardware, but what we will do is develop the technologies, through experimental vehicles, that will allow the military to go off and build weapon systems. We won't build weapon systems. I want to be very clear about that.
I believe that the first things we will probably do is start with Pathfinders. So given that we have Pathfinder money in there, I don't believe it will in any way jeopardize our relationship with the Department of Defense. We will be able to satisfy our needs, and I believe we will be able to satisfy theirs.
Chairman ROHRABACHER. Okay. This Chairman does not see anything wrong with cooperation with the military, and I don't seein the past the military developments have helped us on the civilian space side, and also, military developments have helped in the area of commercialization. I happen to believe that in the years ahead, in a post-Cold War world, if we do what's right, we're going to find a lot of spinoffs that are being developed in the commercial sector and in the civilian sector being used to benefit America's security interest, especially in the area of space.
Mr. GOLDIN. Mr. Chairman, I am very proud that NASA is working with the military to get maximum utilization of America's resources. The only distinction I wanted to make is we are a civil space agency, and therefore, we shouldn't be building production weapon systems. That was the distinction I was making.
Chairman ROHRABACHER. Right, and I know you're very proud of the fact that during the Cold War that you personally made contributions that help secure the peace and end the Cold War, and it was those developments, and especially space-based defense systems, that I think helped bring the leadership in the Soviet Union to a realization that type of competition with the United States was futile. So I'm hoping that in the future NASA and commercial endeavors will actually be able to make the contributions in the other direction.
Page 18 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC With that, we have 15 minutes. Mr. Gordon, would you like to proceed with your 5 minutes' worth of questions? Then we will have a break.
INTERNATIONAL SPACE STATION
Mr. GORDON. Mr. Goldin, in your testimony you state that NASA's overall budget increase was $442 million over last year's runout for the period Fiscal Year 1999 through Fiscal Year 2002. However, the budget request also indicates that the funding requirement for the Space Station is increased by $966 million. I assume that means that there is a half a billion difference there, which means that must be coming from other programs, is that correct? And if so, where will that be coming from? From where will that be coming?
Mr. GOLDIN. Let me tell you the numbers, as I recollect them. There is about $250 million in there for what we call Russian Assurance. We're building an interim control module at the Naval Research Lab which we put in the 1998 budget. We have a replenishment of the overrun that we had, which is on the order of the number that you just said. And then as a result of the Shuttle/Mir program, after the collisions and the fire, we felt that it would be very, very prudent, instead of relying on the Soyuz vehicle, which could only carry three astronauts or cosmonauts, we felt from a safety standpoint we needed a six-vehicle unit, which we called the crew return vehicle. So those are the items that we put back in the budget.
Mr. GORDON. No, what I'm asking is what's being what's being taken out, by virtue of
Mr. GOLDIN. Oh, we went through the NASA budget and
Mr. GORDON. Well, what's being taken out? Excuse me. Maybe I'm not stating my point well. Apparently, the Space Station
Mr. GOLDIN. Yes.
Mr. GORDON. Is taking a half billion dollars more out of other programs. So what programs are being affected?
Page 19 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. GOLDIN. Oh, for the most part, we took it out of infrastructure accounts. We took it out of reductions in facilities, and $200 million came from the Earth science program, which I refer to in my opening statement. Because we've been pushing to get the cost down for second-generation Earth science spacecraft, we saved $200 million. So those are the general areas where it came from.
Mr. GORDON. Well, I hope that we'll have a chance to discuss this more. I just have a concern about the Space Station cannibalizing the rest of the programs.
Mr. GOLDIN. Okay.
Mr. GORDON. And since we have a short amount of time, let me just ask also, I think in the Fiscal Year 1999 budget request, you indicate that the $17.4 billion is no longer a good estimate for the incremental cost of the redesigned Space Station. What do you think that new cost will be?
Mr. GOLDIN. We have an in-house study going on it, and we've asked for an external review of it, led by a gentleman named Jay Chabrow. We're expecting that report by late February/early March. At that time we will be able to go through all the numbers and be in a better position to discuss the overall costs. We presented this budget through 2003, so we don't have the total runout cost until that time.
Mr. GORDON. Well, I hope that we can look at that, and also why these numbers should be better than previous estimates that weren't accurate.
Mr. GOLDIN. Well, I can say to you that one of the major problems we had was the cost growth at Boeing, and since we took action about a half-year ago, the Boeing team has been underrunning their budget of about $600 million overrun, where we're carrying about $800 million worth of overrun. That's one of the signals, and we'll be happy to share the data with the Committee.
Mr. GORDON. Okay. Thank you, sir.
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Mr. WELDON of Florida. [presiding] The Chairman would like to keep this going. So I'll go next, and then if you'd like to go ahead and vote.
Mr. Goldin, I want to thank you again for coming here. I would also like to thank you for mentioning the work that we did with the House getting 200 Members to sign on in support of increased funding for NASA. I am disappointed that the President has chosen again to cut NASA, particularly in a setting where he is asking for increases in the other areas of research and development within our budget, to include, as I understand it, DOD itself. I consider NASA to be one of the pillars of our national research and development infrastructure, and to see it neglected again in this way with another cut, I was disappointed in.
However, I was pleased to see that the Space Shuttle program does have an increase, as well as a small increase to the funding for Kennedy Space Center. I can assume that those are to help cover the costs of the Space Station program as we get into more Space Station integration and launch an assembly.
UNITED SPACE ALLIANCE LAYOFFS
Mr. WELDON of Florida. As you know, and it was alluded to by the Chairman of the Full Committee, we've been through a very difficult period at Kennedy Space Center, as well as some of the other space centers, as it relates to the layoffs of United Space Alliance employees. What I was particularly disturbed with was very poor communication, not only between the agency and the contractor and this Committee and my office, but as well, and more importantly, the workforce involved.
My question to you is, can you assure me at this time that during the Fiscal Year 1999 budget process you will stay in close contact with my office and with the Committee to assure us that we do not have a repeat of what we had over the last 3 months?
Page 21 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. GOLDIN. The answer is yes, but I want to hold the United Space Alliance responsible for managing this program, and one of the issues, as we travel into the privatization/commercialization aspect of the space program is to start really looking for accountability by the contractor. As a government agency, we could only do so much, but we must hold the contractor accountable, and I'd like the CEO of United Space Alliance and the CEOs of the parent companies to lose as much sleep as I do worrying about Shuttle safety, worrying about the costs down, and I would hope that this Committee would hold them just as accountable as you want to hold this government employee.
Mr. WELDON of Florida. Well, I can assure you that I have every intention of doing that, and we are hoping to get some of those individuals before the Committee in upcoming weeks to discuss these issues. You do, of course, understand that we hold you accountable, and you hold them accountable; that is the pecking order around here. You and I have spoken extensively in private on this issue, and there's been a lot of public discussion in the media. What I'm concerned about now is the future, and I do hope that we will be able to maintain very good communications between the Committee, my office, your office, as well as officials with USA.
Let me move on to
Mr. GOLDIN. By the way, I accept total responsibility and accountability for the safety of the Shuttle, and I don't want to insinuate I don't want to have that there, but it's very important in our communication, as we go to commercial operations, where NASA will be, just as an inside role, ultimately buying a service that the companies understand they can't hide behind NASA's coattails. And my message is not to you as much to the corporations that seek to do commercial work for NASA. I appreciate your oversight. I appreciate your support, and I'm really speaking to the USA company right now.
Page 22 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. WELDON of Florida. My second part of my question is, in your opening statement you very quickly buzz through some issues about the Shuttle schedule. Could you just take a little time to explain that in a little more detail to me? Because I remain very concerned that if we have any further slippage in the Space Station schedule, that we will have a decline in the number of launches of the Shuttle, which could result in a call for more reductions in the workforce.
Mr. GOLDIN. There are two issues here. First, we're trying to balance the workload through the Cape, and because the AXAF spacecraft is not going to be launched when it's supposed to, we have a big, long gap, and upfront we have a number of launches that are close together, and it is costing us extra money to have people working on overtime to meet those launches, instead of spreading it out. It's a much more efficient way of doing things. We don't have a decision yet on it, but they're looking at just taking the number of flights we have and having a more uniform separation through the year because of the AXAF slip.
Mr. WELDON of Florida. Well, let me ask you a very specific question as it relates to this. At this point how many Shuttle missions are you anticipating in Fiscal Year 1999?
Mr. GOLDIN. Eight I believe is the right number. Let me just check. It is eight.
Mr. WELDON of Florida. Your safety analysis of the workforce after the layoff at USA indicates that they have the manpower to support going to eight Shuttles, eight missions, in Fiscal Year 1999?
Mr. GOLDIN. We believe that to be the case. However, I have asked the safety experts to review exactly where they are before we start ramping up to that flight rate, to establish that they have everything in place and they're ready to assume that.
I also wanted to add one more point. I've asked Joe Rothenberg, who's the new head of the Office of Space Flight, to start undertaking a study to see if we could have rapid response payloads available to do science or commercial activities on the Shuttle, in the event that we do have slippage downstream in the Space Station. He is off working that and will be able to report at a later time to the Committee about our approach to allow this continuity of flow through the Cape, so we won't face up to this situation, as we did this time when we were not ready. And we have done that as a result of one of the requests you made of us.
Page 23 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. WELDON of Florida. Okay. Are you ready? I have further questions. I'll either get them to you in a second round or I'll get them to you in writing. I'd like to now yield to the gentleman from Indiana, Mr. Roemeror I recognize him for 5 minutes.
Mr. ROEMER. Thank you, Mr. Chairman, and welcome, Mr. Goldin. I want to first off my remarks with congratulating you on the decision to send our colleague, John Glenn, into space. I think that is a decision wrapped around all the right stuff, and I hope that we continue to bring some of John Glenn's magic back to the space program that he was so successful in delivering in the 1960's.
HUMAN MISSION TO MARS
Mr. ROEMER. On a not so congratulatory note, I'd like to ask you a couple of questions about the NASA budget, and specifically the Space Station, which, as you know, I'm a strong opponent of. A recent article in Space News, January 26 to February 1, noted that human spaceflight has ordered the termination of preliminary design work on the crewed lunar mission in 2007, the Mars mission in 2011. Several previously-awarded contracts are being cancelled, including small business innovative research grants aimed at developing technologies. We're seeing a host of movements from very important budget items into spaceflight or the Space Station. Is this all a result of the cost overruns that we're reading in Space Station that these other programs are being hammered and cut?
Mr. GOLDIN. First, let me say there is no human mission to Mars in 2011.
Mr. ROEMER. Because it's been terminated or because it was never planned?
Mr. GOLDIN. No, just because it's reported in the newspaper doesn't make it a reality.
Mr. ROEMER. So you're saying Space News is wrong? You never had anything on the books
Page 24 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. GOLDIN. On that point they're wrong. Secondly
Mr. ROEMER. Answer the question about, why are these programswhether it was the Mars mission or whether it is grants in education or Space Shuttle safety, we've seen reports of close to a billion dollars that has been moved from some accounts into Space Station because of cost overruns and problems and delays.
Mr. GOLDIN. First, let me deal with the issue in Space News. What they were quoting from was an internal memo at NASA. It was not a decision. That memo was part of an open discussion process. We're the world's most open agency. We have a directive which says we are going to continue with the civil servants to explore mission needs for human spaceflight back to the moon, to Mars, or to maybe a research Station on an asteroid. We are going to continue to explore the technologies that may be necessary for those breakthrough missions. So this is where we're going with that.
Secondly, with regard to the program, this program has more science, aeronautics, and launch technology as a percentage than any program we've had: 43 percent of our budget.
Mr. ROEMER. What program are you referring to?
Mr. GOLDIN. The 1999 budget. When I became Administrator, human spaceflight was 48 percent; it is now 38 percent. And in fact, in this budget, by the Year 2003, it will be 31 percent. So we are not taking away; we have fully funded every science program in Earth science, in space science. In fact, we've added about 10 new programs. So we did not take away any
INTERNATIONAL SPACE STATION
Mr. ROEMER. Do you agree with the figures that we're seeing on the overruns for the Space Station being anywhere from $900 million to a billion?
Mr. GOLDIN. We have an overrun on the Space Station on that order, and that is correct. I do not dispute it, but what I am disputing is the fact that we are hurting the science program.
Page 25 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. ROEMER. Let me ask you another question. So we've got close to a billion dollar overrun on the Space Station, and you say it's not hurting any other programs. I guess I'm not sure that I would agree with that statement. But what is the aeronautics budget for this year?
Mr. GOLDIN. I need my glasses. Seven hundred and eighty-six million dollars.
Mr. ROEMER. And what was it indo you have figures?
Mr. GOLDIN. Nine hundred seven point one million dollars.
Mr. ROEMER. And what was the figure for aeronautics in 1994? Do you have that? That's all right; my 5 minutes are ticking away. If you can get that for the record, I would appreciate that.
Mr. GOLDIN. We will.
[The following information was received for the record:]
The Aeronautics FY 1994 budget R&D total was $864.2 million.
Mr. ROEMER. I also understand that you will not be under the $2.1 billion cap for Space Station, that you once again will exceed that. Is that
Mr. GOLDIN. That is correct. And it was felt that if we stayed under that cap, and not put the money in in the year of maximum development, we would have an even larger overrun in the outyears, and it was a calculated decision on our part to get the program done, rather than staying under the cap and adding a very significant amount of money in the outyears.
Mr. ROEMER. I know my time is quickly evaporating.
Chairman ROHRABACHER. In fact, it just evaporated.
Page 26 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. ROEMER. It just evaporated. But if you could, for the record
Chairman ROHRABACHER. You can finish the question that you're on.
Mr. ROEMER. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
If you could, for the record, Mr. Goldin, we understand that reports from Russia have indicated that they got about 50 percent of their budget last year, and that it may be even more difficult for them to get what they're asking for in their budget request for the Russian program this year. If you could get us, when you know what that level is of funding that the Duma is going to provide, since we have an increasingly larger amount of our NASA budget going to Russia, and that directly impacts our budget at NASA, too, I would appreciate that as well.
Mr. GOLDIN. In Fiscal Year 1999 there will be almost no NASA money going to RussiaFiscal Year 1999 on.
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Mr. ROEMER. And how much has it been going from NASA to Russia over the last 4 or 5 years? What's the total?
Mr. GOLDIN. I think the grand total is on the order of about $800 million.
Mr. ROEMER. I thank Mr. Goldin, and thank the Chairman for his generosity.
Chairman ROHRABACHER. We always appreciate the gentleman's very tough line of questioning. He's playing a vital role on this Committee to making sure that people know that everyone's going to be held accountable, and that's a very positive role.
Page 27 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC And I will tell you, I am not going to destroy this man's name again. Mr. Kucinich? Dennis, you're always welcome to visit us. And Congressman Kucinich is a strong supporter of America's space program, and we welcome his participation in the hearing today.
Mr. KUCINICH. Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman. It's a pleasure to have the opportunity to be a visitor to this Committee today. I'm grateful for the work which you have done as Chairman in moving your vision forward, because I think that you have observations and ideas that are important to this program.
I'm pleased to be here with so many members who have a commitment to the space program, and also with my good friend, Tim Roemer, whose challenges to the program serve to remind us of the answers that we have to provide to make sure that the program is going in the right direction.
I'm, of course, very interested in the progress of the program overall, and was glad to have the opportunity to work with Congressman Weldon, Congressman Lampson, and others in getting over 200 signatures to see that we had the type of support that was necessary in the Congress to be able to approach the Administration for substantial support for the budget.
I also want it said here that it's my belief that we are very fortunate to have as the Administrator Dan Goldin. I had an opportunity a week ago, Mr. Chairman, to go to the signing of the International Space Station documents, as a number of other Members here, And if you think back for a moment, because I think at moments like this sometimes we get so riveted on the present and even looking to the future that we forget where we start, if all of us would think back to the fact that we had together in one room countries such as Russia, Germany, and Japan, with whom we have been locked in either mortal combat in the past or into a protracted Cold War which cost this country hundreds of billions of dollars, and you consider that we now have a platform for peace called the International Space Station, and the driving force behind that has been Dan Goldin's commitment to pushing the program forward. And I have to tell you, Mr. Goldin, having had the opportunity to sit in that audience, it was absolutely awe-inspiring to see astronauts from various countries, administrators from various countries, representatives of so many nations there, coming together for a collective enterprise to push the future of man and the destiny of humanity.
Page 28 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Now that having been said, and I always think we need to remember, have a perspective about thisand, again, I will say this: As anyone who knows anything about my political career, I'm not easy to give praise if I don't mean it, but I can tell you that I think Dan Goldin is one of the reasons why this program has been as success, will be a success. We're lucky to have him.
You're going to be challenged by this Committee and other Members to try to make this work. I'll do that whenever I feel it's necessary, but I'm grateful for the work that you've done.
Mr. KUCINICH. I have one question; it's very important. And that is, when I look at the decisions that are being made with respect to the budget, there's a concern that I have, and others have, about the Agency's commitment to aeronautics, because a lot of money is being directed toward the Space Station. I have a lot of confidence that you're making the right choices, but I really hope that we could have a moment here for the public record to talk about aeronautics and what you hope to do.
Mr. GOLDIN. With regard to aeronautics, I do have the numbers here in front of me. The Fiscal Year 1998 runout planned to have $826 million in 1999; we have $786 million. It's $40 million less.
In this year's budget we propose the startup of the high-speed research 2A program, which is to try and see if we could build a full-scale mach 2.4 jet engine. We were going to do the airframe work in parallel with that, but we decided to delay the airframe work to the later years because the critical issue to work on was the engine. And we did delay that airframe, therefore; we did not cancel it. We think this was the right thing to do, given all the budget priorities. That is where we took our cuts in the aero program.
We have an incredibly robust aero program. We have signed up to 10 goals over the next 20 years that will revolutionize aeronautics for Americafor our economy, for safety, for emissions, for noise, for cost, and for comfort. These are things that industry can't do. It is probably the most comprehensive program we've seen in decades in aeronautics, and it's in partnership with the FAA, the DOD, the airframe manufacturers, and the airlines. We all jointly signed up to those goals, and we will, in submission to this Committee, formally make those goals available to you.
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Mr. GOLDIN. And it is not the dollars going in; it is what we have signed up to do. We're going to cut the crash rate on planes by a factor of 5 in 10 years and a factor of 10 in 20 years. I would say those are very, very tough goals, and I challenge you to look at those goals and see if we're not doing the right thing for America.
Mr. KUCINICH. So you don't really see any technology being lost or delayed, critical technology, as a result of even the slightest funding decline?
Mr. GOLDIN. No.
Mr. KUCINICH. Okay, I yield back.
Chairman ROHRABACHER. Thank you very much.
Could you expand a little bit on the money we're spending on this new engine, supersonic engine?
Mr. GOLDIN. Yes. The challenge in building a supersonic transport that will travel at mach 2.4that's three times the speed of the planes nowis to be able to do it economically. If you take a look at the Concorde, it was unbelievably expensive to operate, and as a result, it could never become a true commercial venture. So the key to it is to get the fuel consumption down and get the development cost down, and also the second problem with the supersonic transport, it flies in the stratosphere at a very high altitude, and it puts out oxides and nitrogen, which have been shown to destroy the ozone layer. So we'd have to get those emissions down. Finally, the noise levels are too high.
So the critical technology for the supersonic transport, as a result of the work we've done, comes right down to that engine. We're talking about combusters that could operate as high as 3,000 degrees Fahrenheit. Present combusters operate at about 1,600 degrees Fahrenheit. So that says you could no longer use metals; the metals will melt. So we have to develop combustors perhaps the size of this table made out of ceramics capable of handling all the jitter and noise and acoustics and not crack. This is an unbelievably challenging problem.
Page 30 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC On the Concorde, when it lands, the nose bends down, so the pilots could look out the window. That's very unreliable and very costly. We are looking at developing what we call synthetic vision, where the pilots will not have to drop the nose, pay the cost for weight and development, and be looking at screens, and they'll think they'll be looking outside, but they'll be looking at flat-panel displays.
We may be able to not only see visibly, but we may be able to see in the infrared. This could allow pilots to land in zero-zero conditions and see right through the fog, and see any objects on the runway. These are technologies that are absolutely crucial to the future of the commercial sector, the military sector, and all the other potential inputs to the economy.
Chairman ROHRABACHER. Let me ask, how much money is NASA in the budget this year committing to this engine project?
Mr. GOLDIN. Seventeen million in Fiscal Year 1999; $73 million in 2000; $97 million in 2001; $117.6 million in 2002, and $156.8 million in 2003.
Chairman ROHRABACHER. Okay, so this is a 5-year program that we expectwhen do we expect to see this engine developed?
Mr. GOLDIN. It's a 6-year program.
Chairman ROHRABACHER. A 6-year program?
Mr. GOLDIN. It goes on a few years. It is one of the toughest technological programs we've taken on, but it's revolutionary technology that will not just help aircraft; it's going to help the reusable launch vehicle.
Chairman ROHRABACHER. Sure.
Mr. GOLDIN. It will help a whole series of things.
Chairman ROHRABACHER. Yes. And the private companies that will benefit from this, is there money being kicked in by these companies, and who will have the proprietary ownership of this new technology? Will it be made available, then, in the end, to foreign corporations or just American companies? How are we going to structure this?
Page 31 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. GOLDIN. I believe where government money is put in and inventions are made on the government money, the public owns it. But we have protected it by signing a cooperative agreement with these companies, so it doesn't fall under the Freedom of Information Act and the data-sell shop in Tokyo and Tuloose.
Chairman ROHRABACHER. Right.
Mr. GOLDIN. So we protected it. Where the companies are putting in their own resources, and where they make an invention with their own money, they own that invention. So that is how we develop it. But for the most part, where the government money is being spent, we're going to make sure that the automotive companies, the materials companies, the transportation companies, the information companies will benefit from this technology.
Chairman ROHRABACHER. Do you have any idea offhand over this how much money the private companies are putting into this, if we're putting in the amounts that you just suggested?
Mr. GOLDIN. I will provide it for the record.
Chairman ROHRABACHER. Okay, thank you very much.
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Chairman ROHRABACHER. And we are going to go for a second round, but, first, we haveMr. Lampson is first and Mr. Bartlett.
Mr. LAMPSON. Thank you, Mr. Chairman, and thank you, Mr. Goldin, for being here today.
I want to say, first, how pleased I am that the work that Dennis Kucinich and Dave Weldon and I did in getting so many members of the House and the strong support shown by the House of Representatives for increased budget for NASAI think that spoke extremely well for what we believe in, and I appreciate what you and everyone at NASA is doing.
Page 32 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC I want to know, I guess, if we are under control for the long haul for continued cost growth? Are we stable to the point where we can begin to look far enough down the line to know what we're going to be doing with space exploration 10, 15, 20 years from now? Can we start those dreams and believe that we're going to achieve the goals of making it to the moon again, and to Mars, or wherever else is next? So would you comment, first, a little bit on that, please?
Mr. GOLDIN. First, let me say this Space Station program is not easy. I've been in the space business 35 years and never have I ever experienced something of this difficulty. If it was just the United States doing it, it's one thing, but we have launched from four different places around the world, four launchsites. There are six different vehicles on the record today that will come up to the Space Station, and with the opening of commercial ventures, it could be 10 or 15. Getting compatibility for that is unbelievable.
The Station itself, we've never done this before in space; we are never going to be able to integrate the whole Station on the ground. We're going to integrate in space for the first time. This is going to open up all new vistas.
Saying all that, I think we have indications in the last 6 months that we have stabilized. I say I think we've stabilized because I don't know what new problem lurks downstream, but we have a very, very efficient team. About 2,000 people have come off the Boeing job already. So we are on our downslope. That was from last February to this February. By next February, another 1,600 people will be coming off the Boeing team. If we continue down this staffing curve, we will achieve our cost objectives.
We had some very tough problems last year. You know, when the Russians didn't deliver, we cannot control the budget in Russia, but there are other reasons that we have worked with the Russians, in large part to figure out how to build the Space Station better. So in answer to the first part of your question, we believe it is stable today.
Page 33 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC With regard to the second part of the question, we have a bunch of really bright people, some in your own back yard in Houston, Texas; we have a few hundred people around the NASA centers that I have challenged to look at where we're going in the future, and to look at mission models: How would we get to Mars? How would we get back to the moon? We have a lunar prospector around the moon right now looking for minerals and water. We have spacecraft orbiting three planets right now. It's exciting. We also are working on the advanced technologies that could allow us to do it for a small amount of money. If we were to go to Mars like we did the Apollo program, we'd be talking in excess of a trillion dollars, and these young people are coming up with some incredible ideas.
So we're going to press forward. We're not going to throw money at it, but we're going to throw our minds at it. In the last 2 years we've made enormous progress in getting the cost down on projections and getting us closer to do these other things, and I wouldn't be too surprised if in the next few years we'd have some real major breakthroughs.
INTERNATIONAL SPACE STATION
Mr. LAMPSON. I wanted to hear some of that, but let me go back now to the Space Station and to the Shuttle. First, on the Space Station, there have been monies taken out, as Congressman Gordon made the comment earlier about his concern about cannibalizing programs. Has there been money taken away that would affect the long-term use of the experiments, the science, that we planned to have on the Space Station?
Mr. GOLDIN. No. What we have done is we have rephased the building of the facilities. We have not taken money out of their total budget. Because we had delays in the program, to build the facilities and have them sitting there, and waiting to go up into space while we had to undertake very critical development tasks, we don't believe would have been the right thing. The facilities we signed up to at the start of the program that will be on the Space Station are there today, and in fact, a whole number of those facilities were going to use old technology and not be productive. We have restructured the program where we're putting much, much more robust technology that will give us a much higher scientific yield. This is another reason we have rephased the program, and we are now really beginning to pick up a head of steam, and we'll have those facilities there. But I want to emphasize, we reprogrammed the money; we didn't take a nickel out of it.
Page 34 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. LAMPSON. So nothing should be slowed down
Mr. GOLDIN. No.
Mr. LAMPSON. From original schedule or expectation, or even hopes about when it will be done?
Mr. GOLDIN. We now have a research plan which, for the record, I'll submit for the members of the Committee, which shows how we plan on delivering the Station to orbit with all the facilities and do all the research work.
I gaveI was in error. Boeing came down 1,000 people, not 2,000.
Mr. LAMPSON. Some of that sentiment, Mr. Chairman, has come from members, or from employees, in or around NASA. If you can help get that information out to allay any of their fears or concerns, it would be appreciated. And I'll come back with other questions later.
Mr. GOLDIN. We will deliver every single scientific facility that we committed to do. And, in fact, there will be even more scientific facilities, and they'll be better than in the original plan.
Chairman ROHRABACHER. There will be a second round of questions for those of you have further questions to ask.
Mr. Goldin, I would now like to turn to Roscoe Bartlett, who is this Committee's Ph.D., a genuine scientist, one of the few scientists we have here in Congress. And, so, Dr. Bartlett, would you like to proceed.
Mr. BARTLETT. Thank you, very much. I think that NASA has an importance to our country beyond the specific programs that NASA in pursuing. In the late 1960's and early 1970's, I spent 8 years working for IBM.
We knew that we at IBM, and we in this country, were very probably going to lose our edge in computers to Japan for a very simple reason: Japan was turning out more and better, frequently better, scientists, mathematicians and engineers, than we were.
Page 35 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC I think that this puts our economic viability at risk. I think, ultimately, it will threaten our national security because we cannot have the world's best military without having the world's best scientists, mathematicians and engineers. And we desperately need something which, like putting a man on the moon captures the imagination of our people, and inspires our young people to go into careers in science, math and engineering. And, regretfully, today our best minds among young people are going into pursuits like political science and law, which I think we probably have plenty of people pursuing those things already.
So, I hope that we can find a way for NASA to again capture the imagination of our people at large, and to inspire our young people to become specialists in these technologies that are so vital to our future. I don't know how to do that, and I know you're trying very hard to do that, but whatone of the problems is that you're too good in NASA, you always succeed. And, so, what is really a big feat is now just, ho-hum, to the people, and somehow we have to convey to them how really remarkable many of your achievements are.
Let me ask just a couple of questions. We've had some increased costs; how many of those have been necessitated because of Russia's failures to meet the schedule?
Mr. GOLDIN. There's a good, a good fraction of our cost-growth has been due to Russia.
Mr. BARTLETT. We have, because of that, we have, according to one source, we have borrowed $600 million of life and microgravity research budget and put it into the Space Station. Presumably, a lot of that is to compensate for what Russia didn't do. Being a basic scientist, are we going to pay that back?
Mr. GOLDIN. I just indicated
Mr. BARTLETT. That this was re-programming and notthat's another way of saying, we took it, isn't it?
Mr. GOLDIN. No.
Page 36 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. BARTLETT. No, okay.
Mr. GOLDIN. We are going to deliver every single scientific facility to the Space Station that we committed to, every single one.
Mr. BARTLETT. So the answer to my question is
Mr. GOLDIN. The money has not been taken away.
Mr. BARTLETT. If money was taken, it's going to be put back.
Mr. GOLDIN. One of the issues we had wasthere were two issues. Issue number one was, the Station was delayed because of the Russians. And to go build the equipment and have it sit on the ground and wait to be launched didn't make sense when we had developmental needs.
The second issue was, we had a review of the equipment. It was using very old technology and just replicating it instead of using new technology that would have us have much lower maintenance costs, have much lower operating costs, much higher productivity. So, we have restructured the equipment. They've completed all the preliminary studies and are now into the development of that hardware.
So, I want to be very clear that we have not cut the science budget for Station.
The other point I want to make is, we committed to bring on 900 principal investigators in the life and microgravity research area and we have never deviated from that plan, and within another year to two, we will be up to those 900 principal investigators. So we have not taken away from the Science account.
MISSILE TECHNOLOGY CONTROL REGIME
Mr. BARTLETT. Thank you. On October 14 in 1993, you testified before this Subcommittee that if they violatethat's Russiaviolates the Missile Technology Control Regime, it would be cause for separating relations with the Russians. Since then, we've seen several credible reports in the media that Russians are violating the Missile Technology Control Regimes, and heard the testimony of CIA Director George Tenant just January 29 of this year at which he said, ''since I testified last year, Iran success in gaining technology and material from Russian companiesmeans that it could have a missile, a medium-range missile much sooner than I assessed last year.''
Page 37 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC As much as we want to continue our relationship with the Russians, are we going to be able to solve this problem or are we going to be committed to doing what you said in 1993 we would do if they continue this violation?
Mr. GOLDIN. I look for the foreign policy establishment of this country to give NASA guidance on whether or not they have violated the Missile Technology Control Regime, and until we get such guidance, we are going to proceed forward.
Mr. BARTLETT. So you still stand where you stood in 1993, and you're just waiting for those who have that responsibility to convey to you whether or not that's true?
Mr. GOLDIN. I await guidance from the foreign policy aspect of our government to tell us how we ought to approach this issue. I mean, we're a science and technology organization, we cannot issue judgments in the foreign policy regime.
Mr. BARTLETT. Thank you, very much. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Chairman ROHRABACHER. Thank you, Mr. Bartlett. And there will be a second round of questions, and the Chairman will begin.
Mr. BARTLETT. Mr. Goldin, when you were talking about this aeronautics program, with the development of the engine, we, in the past, this program has not been a program that was going to be looked at that long a period, or that extensive of a program, and it seems that a decision has been made this year to make this a major effort. I hope that when you report to me the costs and some of these other aspects that we're looking at, and how much money, especially how much money the private sector is putting in, I hope there will be private sector partners that are substantially involved in the program. I would hope that NASA doesn't feel that we can move forward on this without the industry playing a major role in this.
When you talk about commercialization and privatization, this is exactly what we're talking about. And NASA should bethis is the type of fundamental technology that NASA has a business in trying to assist the United States of America in developing, but, at the same time, those companies that will benefit directly, such as the airline industries, et cetera, they should be involved. And not only will it help financially but it will help in the direction of the program.
Page 38 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. GOLDIN. I want to respond by saying, we are talking about a plane that would be on the end of the runway in perhaps 20 years.
Chairman ROHRABACHER. Right.
Mr. GOLDIN. In the private sector, they have to turn their money around in 2 to 3 years. The kind of thing the U.S. Government does is veryin fact, I'm please we're doing this long-range, high risk, high payoff tasks. So, if we expect them to put in a very significant fraction this early, I don't know that there's one financial establishment that would provide those resources, so we have to look at it in that light.
Chairman ROHRABACHER. Okay.
Mr. GOLDIN. On the other hand, I think it would be very inappropriate that this be a cost-type contract where they get fees on something that could have a commercial advantage to them. So we're trying to shape a program that's very, very appropriate. And I'llI just don't know the data, but I'll be very happy to have open discussions with this panel on what the right approach is. We want to work with you, and we want the benefit of your guidance.
Chairman ROHRABACHER. I would expect, however, Mr. Goldin, that at least you should be able to point to efforts that were made. You know, there's one thing about saying, well, she'd never accept me if I proposed. You know, there's no chance that she'd ever take a guy like me, and, believe me, I just got married, so I know sometimes that's not really the case.
And, maybe there's some people in the private sector who might be interested in a long-term relationship.
Mr. GOLDIN. Yes.
Chairman ROHRABACHER. So, just don't give up before you try in that area.
Page 39 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. GOLDIN. We will not.
Chairman ROHRABACHER. Okay. In terms of one other area, before I have a couple questions that the Chairman of the Full Committee would like me to propose to you, or pose to you, that is.
Mr. Goldin, last September, this Subcommittee had a very excellent hearing, which I'm sure you're aware of and we have spoken aboutevery, is that mine or yours?
Oh, we've completed our business so we can relax now, okay.
Anyway, we had a hearing in this Committee, as you're aware, and there seems to be strong bipartisan interest in proceeding with a next step in what I would hope would be a major technological goal for America's space program, and that deals with the generation of electricity, and transmission of electricity, in space.
SPACE SOLAR POWER
Chairman ROHRABACHER. Now, I've heard that NASA resisted the idea of putting a mere $5 million in the Fiscal Year 1999 budget for solar space power, and I think that there might be a little more enthusiasm about this. When you talk about long-term initiativeswe just talked about an initiate that might take 20 years to come to fruition that would help the airline industry, and help us remain competitive, and, also, I might add, help America's security interests, as well. And in terms of development of a new jet engine, it seems to me that when we have a great deal of interest on the part of the members of this Committee and both parties, in this idea about the possibility of a solar electric grid of some kind and development, the generation of electricity in space, and the transmission of electricity in space, that there might be a little more interest on the part of NASA.
Mr. GOLDIN. I don't go by rumors. I'll tell you about what the Administrator did, and how the Administrator feels. We have $2 million in this yearsis it 1998 or 1999we have $2 million in 1998 that we reprogrammed out of our own resources in response to the Chairman's request, and I believe the budget has $5 million each in 1999 and 2000, to work on this to get it started.
Page 40 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC We don't want to start by throwing money at it because then we'll have a whole constituency that will have their patent leather shoes and attache cases up here to perpetuate something that may or may not work. So we're going to be very, very frugal.
I just spent yesterday with the folks from Alabama where we're planning to put the responsibility, at that NASA Marshall Center, for this activity. We're involving the jet propulsion lab, NASA Lewis, all the key agencies within NASA, to work on this. This has incredible technological risk, it has incredible potential, and that's the place we ought to be.
As we make progress, if it appears there are areas we ought to fund, by God, we will fund. And I will not respond to any rumors about whom on my staff said what to whom. The fact of the matter is, I reprogrammed $2 million and we put $5 million each in the 2 outyears, which was a discussion that my staff had with your staff, so I will not back off.
Chairman ROHRABACHER. Well, I would say that if we're going to spend a billion dollars over the next some years, whatever those years are, 5 years or 10 years, in developing a new engine that will be of great benefit to our country, the idea of putting some basic R&D money into trying to develop a system that would permit us to have clean energy from space, would be a good investment.
Mr. GOLDIN. I think it's outstanding. My only request is, we have one study with a lot of questions, what I'd like to do is let the peer review process proceeds. Let's see how to go, let's develop a plan, and then let's move on.
Too many times, NASA titillated the American public about good ideas, we put a lot of money in it, and we didn't get there. So this is a frugal way of going. I can only tell you, I'm committed to see if we can make it work.
There's a second benefit from this, even if we don't get a commercial application for clean energy on Earth, there is the potential for supplying clean energy at a much lower power level for exploration missions. So, there's a dual-use technology that I think has incredible possibilities, that would give us a possibility of developing a gossamer spacecraft. That's something that's built with ultra-lightweight materials at ultra-low costs.
Page 41 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Today you have solar cells you build individually. We're thinking of writing the solar cells on a substrate material, and, perhaps, making miles-square of this equipment.
This will be incredible technology, but all I ask is, let's take the time to understand it, then move and fund it as we go. And I'm prepared to do what's right here, and if we have to reprogram money, we will, and in future budget development, we will put money in. But I am very much against putting money in because I have an excited young man that's running all over the walls, bouncing up and down.
Chairman ROHRABACHER. Okay. Let me just note that I am interested in getting the private sector involved in this program, as well. And when I mentioned that the private sector should be involved in the engine development, this other idea that I just expressed about electric generation, is something that we need to use these, perhaps, as prototypes for developments of new technologies in the future.
There has already been an interest in the idea, in the concept of zero-gravity, zero taxes. And, which is something that we will be exploring with Chairman Archer and Speaker Gingrich, and they have both expressed interest in this concept for stimulating investment by Wall Street in space projects. Generation of energy in space may be one of those, and we will be looking forward to a hearing in the near future with you about how we can structure the tax system and other things to encourage private investment in space.
I will forego the questions that the Chairman wanted me to pose to you, until after the other members have had their say. And, who isCongressman Gordon.
Mr. GORDON. I will pass on to Mr. Roemer, I think he had a question.
INTERNATIONAL SPACE STATION
Mr. ROEMER. Thank you, Mr. Gordon. Mr. Goldin, I have two questions. First of all, if you could tell me, with the service module continuing to have problems and lag behind a little bit, when do you have to make a decision on the interim control module, on launching that?
Page 42 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. GOLDIN. The service module is about 2 to 3 months behind schedule, right now. The Russians have almost all the equipment and they're assembling the service module at the Khrunichev factory, and they're testing the electrical simulator at the Energia factory.
If they stay on the path they're on, and the electrical testing is successful, instead of doing the complete electrical testing at Energia, where the flight model will be moved in about March, at the end of April, after a preliminary electrical check, they will ship it directly to Baikonua, where they have a second test set. And if they remain on that schedule, by the end of April we will be able to hold a December launch date.
So, I would say that we're going to be looking at the schedule between now and the end of April, and if they stay on the schedule, we're going to be holding the date and we will probably not launch the interim control module. If we have problems in that time frame, we will then have to make some decision about the interim control module.
Mr. ROEMER. So what's your time frame on making that decision. At what point, with the Russian budget in question, with the Duma not allocating enough resources there, with some of the problems they've experienced with this in the past, it's already been delayed and rescheduled, what is your time frame?
Mr. GOLDIN. I would say we will get the data by the end of April. But I was corrected by my staff, that the ICM will have to be a March decision.
And I also want to say that the Russians have the equivalent of continuing resolution, and they have received their one-twelfth of their money for the month of January, we believe. Until they get the budget settled, it will be the end of March, so we anticipate they will be funded on continuing resolution at last year's levels.
Mr. ROEMER. Okay. Second question is, there have been, again, press reports and maybe you can clear this up if they're not accurate, that NASA has been considering abandoning the habitation module design and starting to design some type of inflatable structure called a Transhab. Are these reports correct, and, if so, what are your plans regarding the habitation module?
Page 43 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. GOLDIN. We have a year before we have to make any decisions on the habitation module. We have an activity going on to see if we can save money, and, if we can have a more effective habitation module by looking at this Transhab. At the end of this year, we will make a decision as to which way to go, and we will then, before we make that decision, notify the Congress.
Mr. ROEMER. And what are the budgetary considerations in this kind of process that you're going to go through?
Mr. GOLDIN. There is a potential for saving upwards of $100 million if we go with this Transhab approach. That is attractive enough to us to say we ought to take a consideration of it.
Mr. ROEMER. I thank Mr. Goldin and I yield back my time.
Chairman ROHRABACHER. Mr. Weldon, Dr. Weldon?
Mr. WELDON of Florida. I thank the Chairman. I just want to get back to the Shuttle schedule a little bit with you; I have a few more questions about that. That figure you gave me, I think it's seven missions in Fiscal Year 1999?
Mr. GOLDIN. Eight.
Mr. WELDON of Florida. Eight. Eight. Does that include AXAF slipping from Fiscal Year 1998 into Fiscal Year 1999?
Mr. GOLDIN. I believe the tentative schedule for AXAF now is December, but we want toso that would be in Fiscal Year 1999, so, but we want to validate that the contract will be really ready to deliver AXAF at that point.
Mr. WELDON of Florida. Because the budget, as it was submitted, has AXAF in August, I believe; correct?
Mr. GOLDIN. According to our comptroller, the budget input said that AXAF was in trouble, schedule-wise, and it was under review.
Page 44 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. WELDON of Florida. So it may slip into Fiscal Year 1999?
Mr. GOLDIN. And we believe that December is probably the most probable date right now, but we're waiting for, waiting to see whether the contractor will be able to deliver even on that.
Mr. WELDON of Florida. Well, I'm just referring the budget as it was given to me, and that would give you nine missions in Fiscal Year 1999, so then you're looking at
Mr. GOLDIN. Oh, if we have to have nine missions in Fiscal Year 1999, then we'll have to put in the appropriate money for that. We'll just have to wait and see what happens, when the launch is going to be.
INTERNATIONAL SPACE STATION COMMERCIALIZATION
Mr. WELDON of Florida. Okay. I've got a question for you about commercialization of the Space Station. You've talked before this Committee several times in the past that you would like to see commercial entities utilize the Space Station, obviously to help reduce the cost of operating it.
That's certainly something that I'm very interested in seeing. I have had commercial vendors and operators come to me over the past 2 years with concerns about developing the industries that will utilize the Space Station when its assembly is completed, and that we do not have enough time and space, and the agency is not devoting enough of its attention to allow these industries to utilize the zero-g environment of the Space Shuttle during assembly of Space Station and, therefore, the industries will not be there when we need them, once the Space Station is completed. Can you comment on that criticism?
Mr. GOLDIN. First, I'd like to talk about a couple ofyes, first, let me deal with that directly. We have added STS, 1995, which was an additionalpart of the issue was, we're consuming all the up-load capability to take the Space Station up.
Page 45 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Because of those concerns, we've added STS, 1995. We're working on a commercial basis with the Spacehab Corporation. In fact, they are putting some commercial activities on board the Station. We are now looking at a second launch somewhere in Fiscal Year 2000. We have not resolved what that would be, but we signed a contract with Spacehab for up to four additional flights.
So, we're going to explore the possibilities, and if there's enough commercial interest and we have the resources available, we could haveI know we're going to have a second flight, we're going to get as many as two more. This also fits into the category when I told you we're looking to see how we could fit additional flights in, in case we have, you know, a delay in the Space Station to keep the manifest going and to keep the crews sharp.
But one of the issues we have to do is to get a much faster response time. And one of the issues that Joe Rothenberg is taking up is seeing how we could cut the payload processing time. So we're going to have to work with the USA company down there at Kennedy to get the payload processing time down, and when we do that we could have a much more rapid response, and I think we could be much more responsive to the people you're talking about. We want to be able to serve them.
Mr. WELDON of Florida. One more, unrelated, question. Is there anything in your budget for funding of research on asteroids and asteroid collisions with the Earth?
Mr. GOLDIN. Yes. I'm glad you asked that question because we are going to, in the next few months, undertake a much more focused activity. We have about a billion dollars in small body missions. I believe we have four or five missions to small bodies, comets and asteroids, to be able to characterize them, understand them. We have another program where, from the ground, we're tracking them, and we're trying to get more facilities brought onto it by working with the DOD.
Page 46 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC In the next few months, we are going to put together a program office that will not just be looking at the scientific aspects of the asteroids but getting a more-focused approach so we can understand the potential for collisions with the Earth, and understanding what mitigating effects one might take by understanding the characteristics of these small bodies. So in 2, 3 months, we'll be able to report back to the Committee on the specific program office approach we're going to have.
SPACE SOLAR POWER
Mr. WELDON of Florida. I thank the Chairman, and I just wanted to share with the Chairman, I share your interest in space-based power generation, and am looking forward to working with the administrator and the agency on the years ahead on that.
Chairman ROHRABACHER. I might add that I've received a lot of comments from people on this whole idea of space-based electric generation and transmission, and when you talk about the vision-thing, this is an idea that seems to have excited a lot of people on both sides of the aisleanother great bipartisan endeavor. So, I'm not pushing or anything, Dan, but
Mr. GOLDIN. I'm there with you.
Chairman ROHRABACHER. Okay.
Mr. GOLDIN. I'm just trying to be a frugal business person, and hold our people accountable and not having them go rush off and build another government program. We're asking them to work with the industry. We're talking to power groups in the industry, we want to bring them in and work with us because we don't understand the marketplace.
One of the issues in the study is getting a return on investment. If we have something that works but the return on the investment is a tenth of a percent, that's not a good thing to do. So it's very important that we work in lockstep with the industry.
Page 47 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC And the other thing I'd like to do, is even if the industry put in some very limited money now, it would say they care. If the industry wants to work with usand I'm not talking about tens of millions of dollars, I'd be happy for some studies in the hundreds-of-thousands rangebut if the government puts up all the money, and then we have to fund the commercial industry to work with us, I would say that, that's not the right way to go.
Chairman ROHRABACHER. That's sort of the way I feel about that jet engine we were talking about.
Mr. GOLDIN. We're going to try to work that, too.
Chairman ROHRABACHER. And let me also commend you, this came out of Dr. Weldon's line of questioning, is, there's a great deal of interest in asteroids, as wellnot only in terms of security from asteroids, but also to better understand the potential that there might be some positive potential for asteroids, as well.
Mr. GOLDIN. Mr. Chairman, I might point out that NASA's working with a private company to have a data buy, because they're going to pay with their own money to go to an asteroid, and we're going to be working with them and supplying in-kind goods and services. We're there with you.
Chairman ROHRABACHER. Okay. And, Congressman Kucinich has another question.
Mr. KUCINICH. Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman and Mr. Goldin.
When Congressman Weldon and Congressman Lampson and myself began to circulate that letter back in November of 1997, in support of the entire program, one of the things that we pointed out was that we believe that the NASA budget had reached a point where further cuts would place the agency in irreparable harm and that the agency's missions would be damagedpersonnel and NASA's ability to plan long-term initiatives. That was a centerpiece of the letter which then specified, specifically, our concerns about the budget.
Page 48 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC One of the key elements of NASA's success has been the personnel. We have some of the finest scientific minds who have ever lived, in that agency, helping to build these programs. I know that the agency, right now, is in the process of executing an agency-wide buyout, and I'm wondering if, with 7-out-of-10 centers experiencing some small reduction in their budget in 1999, if you anticipate any further buyouts being offered to employees.
Mr. GOLDIN. The answer is, we are at about 19,200 employees, and by 2000, we have to get down to about 17,800. I'm proud that NASA has had a model program in downsizing in that we haven't had any forced, involuntary layoffs. We've been trying to deal with our employees with the dignity that they deserve. So we're going to continue to use the voluntary approach as our tool.
And if the employees are willing to move among centers, because come centers are below their targets and others are above, if we have flexibility from the employees to move, and we continue with the appropriate attrition rates, I think we're going to make it. And I think we have a very good chance of making it without any involuntary separations, and this is the direction we want to go.
Mr. KUCINICH. I think it's important for the employees of National Aeronautics and Space Administration to hear you say that because, as you know, there are always, when there are buyouts, there's always an apprehension as to whether or not that will be followed by a reduction in force. And your program has been solidified with the help of a lot of really dedicated people, and I know that you're very sensitive to these issues, and, so, your assurance that you're seeking to continue to work toward a buyout, as opposed to trying to look toward reductions in force is important because it's part of the morale issue that we need to make sure that we're always mindful of. I know that you are, and your comments here, I think, give, will give some assurance to those people who are doing their jobs and hoping to stay with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration for a long time.
Page 49 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. GOLDIN. We've had 5,500 people leave voluntarily; not one forced layoff over the last 4 years, and I'm very proud of that.
Mr. KUCINICH. So would you say that based onsince trajectories are one of your specialties, would you say that based on that, you should be on a trajectory to be able to accomplish, roughly, that 17,800 level by 2000, without the reduction in force?
Mr. GOLDIN. We have an excellent chance in doing it as long as the employees are willing to move and take slots in other places where we have, where they've undershot their goals, and we have the continuing attrition. I think we have an outstanding chance of making it without a RIF.
Mr. KUCINICH. Okay, thank you very much. And I also want to tell the Chairman, thank you for inviting me to participate in this, and it's an honor to be here in this Committee room, and I appreciate your commitment to Space and Aeronautics, and also the chance to work with Dr. Weldon and Mr. Lampson.
Chairman ROHRABACHER. Well, you have an open invitation, an open invitation to join us.
Mr. LAMPSON. Mr. Chairman?
Chairman ROHRABACHER. Yes, sir?
Mr. LAMPSON. Can I ask a very quick question to follow up a little bit.
Chairman ROHRABACHER. Go right ahead. Go right ahead and then we'll go to Dr. Bartlett afterwards.
Mr. LAMPSON. What about hiring new people to come in and take, take themake sure we don't have such a break that we lose hope for growth in the future? What plan is there that you're bringing new, young blood, good minds, into NASA?
Page 50 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. GOLDIN. Almost none. This is a very tough decision, but I feel it would be shameful to layoff people because they have been with NASA so that we could bring new people in. There's a certain level of ethics that are involved here, so until we get down to our headcount, we will just selectively hire people, and the when we drop below the headcount, we'll go out and hire as many people as we can.
Now, this is a tough decision. In a certain sense we run a risk that a lot of people may retire in 3 or 4 years and we won't have people to fall behind them, but to me, it's an ethical issue. You don't clean house and then go hire new, young people. That would be wrong, and I feel very strongly about it, and that's one of the reasons we've been able to avoid a RIF, because we put a value on the people who are with us, then we'll take a risk in terms of when they'll leave and replenish the agency. So that's a line I refuse to cross.
Mr. KUCINICH. Will the gentleman yield? Will the gentleman yield?
Mr. LAMPSON. Please, yes, go ahead.
Mr. KUCINICH. You know, I appreciate the Director's candor, and it's almost as if you could use an analogy to the major leagues. When you have a major league ball team, you might have a lot of good rookies who are waiting to get in, but you have to make sure people who can play majors stay in there as long as they can, long as their willing to keep playing. And I think that, certainly, NASA is the major leagues in science and technology, and we need to encourage people to show their interest in it, and to keep looking towards participating in the agency when they can, but as long as they know that it's not going to be that easy to get in, they also know that their abilities, they can have time to keep sharpening them before they get into the agency.
Chairman ROHRABACHER. Just a few words for the new, young generation here. There's something to say about being caring about older employees and making sure they're not put out to pasture without any means of support, but there's also something to be said about new blood, and new ideas, and a new generation of Americans who've got something to contribute, and there might be an older generation of Americans in the way in some places, of trying new ideas. And, just, we don't want to have a formula for having the old fogies preventing new ideas from coming to fruition.
Page 51 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC And believe me, there's a lot of young Americans who have that feeling now, especiallyand by the way, they're looking at the 1960s generation as being the old fogies half the timeso, go ahead and comment on thatfeel free.
Mr. LAMPSON. It's important also to have a continuityexcuse me, Mr. Chairman.
Chairman ROHRABACHER. Sure.
Mr. LAMPSON. The continuity from generation to generation, so that you understand that working along with the people who are working on one project, they'll have the knowledge of it as they come behind. And excuse me for interrupting.
Chairman ROHRABACHER. Sure. You know, I remember thethey were practicing the Lunar Rover in my District, and it was some place else, another part of the world where the Rover was. And I went into this very low-cost operation to see these kids who were, like, in their early-twenties involved in this project and they were so excited, and there was so much energy there. And they were using machines and little computers that were worth about one-tenth the amount that probably more-senior people would have demanded on the project. And there's something to be said about that spirit as well.
Mr. GOLDIN. I love young people, but you have to take a look at how the government hiring rules are. This is not utopia; we have to live within the rules we have, and there's a certain ethical commitment that I have as the Administrator not to just fire people because they've been with the agency for 20 years, so that I could then hire young people. We are selectively, we have some co-ops, we hire people in the hundreds, not the thousands, so there is a minor replenishment, but we don't have very much flexibility in the government. You have toif you separate people, it has to be by seniority, not necessarily by performance; it doesn't work that way in the government.
Chairman ROHRABACHER. Well, I now turn to Roscoe Bartlett who is living evidence that seniors have a great deal to contribute.
Page 52 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC [Laughter.]
And goes from the science profession to the Science Committee. Dr. Bartlett.
Mr. BARTLETT. Thank you, very much. I was just going to observe that, being 71, I would like to identify myself with the Administrator's position.
Mr. BARTLETT. For a few moments, I would like to turn to the Earth Science part of your program. In another life, I was a basic researcher, and what we did was to test hypotheses and search for truth. We didn't set out to prove the truth.
And there are a great many people who think that a major objective of your Earth science program is to prove the Vice President's truth that we're in a global warming phase and we need to rush to compile data to substantiate that truth.
It's my understanding that there are a lot of scientists, who are not at all vocal, who do not concur with this. And they're not vocal because they feel if they concurred with, that if they voiced their objection to this philosophy, that they would lose NASA funding.
And you don't even have to be a scientist to recognize that our Earth has been very different in the past. There's essentially incontrovertible evidence of several ice ages. We're still occasionally finding mammoths in the tundra, with subtropical vegetation, vegetation in their stomachs. At one time, the Earth was apparently warm enough that there was a north Florida-like environment in what is now tundra. It changed so abruptly that they were frozen without rotting, and we still have evidence of that.
One also notesyou don't have to be a scientist to understand thisthat as the Earth moves to either global warming or another ice age, it is not just up a smooth hill or down a smooth hill, that there are little undulations in the way. Just 2 decades ago, we were hearing from some of our scientists that we were heading for another ice age, now it's global warming.
Page 53 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC We've had about, what, less than, about roughly a degree-centigrade warming over the past 60 years, or something. And most of that occurred before the big increase in CO2 production.
To quell the fears of those whoI think the evidence is that even if we have that modest global warming, we could still be on our way to another ice age because as the Earth is moving to another ice age, there are little ups and downs, we may be on one of the little ups on the big way down to another ice age.
To quell the fears of those who think your program is simply focused on proving the truth of global warming, how, what NASA-funded research programs are led by scientists whose research indicates that human activity is not influencing global warming or that global warming is not occurring?
Mr. GOLDIN. First let me say, the Vice President wants NASA to seek truth, not to go after a pre-selected answer.
Mr. BARTLETT. That may be true; that's not the perception.
Mr. GOLDIN. Well, I can't deal with perception; I can deal with reality.
Mr. BARTLETT. Okay.
Mr. GOLDIN. Secondly, NASA has a wide-open peer-reviewed program that is reviewed not by us, but by the outside scientific community. We had a biannual review recently by the outside scientific community, and we have responded to every one of the things they asked for, one of which, they said, we didn't have enough research and analysis money for wide-open, peer-reviewed research, and we increased those funds.
NASA is not about global warming in our Earth science program. We're about understanding our environment and building predictive models of climate, weather, environment, resource development, and natural disasters, to better manage our resources on this planet.
Page 54 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC That is in our strategic plan. NASA satellites were instrumental in anticipating the El Nino condition. We gave months of warning so that people on the west coast of this country could prepare for it. I have a letter here, and I'll submit letters for the record, from commercial companies who are thanking NASA for opening up their ability to perform. I have one from Bechtel, who told us, in part, the NASA work in global information systems and remote sensing helped them win a $2 billion contract.
So, NASA does a broad range of things. I am very, very proud of the seeking of truth at NASA and, although people have perceptions, if someone is afraid, they need to openly talk about it. If they don't think it's right, they ought to come forward and say so, and they should not be afraid at NASA because we do not punish people.
Mr. BARTLETT. Can you provide them with that list that I asked about, of those scientists who do not believe in global warming, who do not believe humans are affecting our climate? Can you give them a list of those researchers who are being funded?
Mr. GOLDIN. I think I would prefer to have them come see me, and tell me what their concerns are. I don't even know how to go compile such a list.
It takes some courage to step forward if you have a concern. And I'd be very happy to speak to them one-on-one in my office; I'll personally get involved because I want to be sure people feel comfortable in coming to NASA.
Mr. BARTLETT. Well, this is a message, sir, that we need to get out. I'm a scientist, I'm very supportive of your Earth Science program. It is at risk because too many feel that it is a program directed to prove that there is global warming. I believe that you do not believe that that is true. What we have to do is get that message out to the American people.
Mr. GOLDIN. I'll be very happy to come visit with you and see how we can get the message out, but if you take a look at our strategic plan, if take a look at our scientific results, we're now even running the Earth's Space Science Program where people could even bid what the science ought to be; the principle investigator selects the spacecraft. It is completely wide-open, and I would challenge some of these people who have concerns to bid on the ESSP program. We created that programNASA doesn't specify the science. The scientists specify the science. It is a very wide-open program and I think that if they want to be concerned, I'd like to talk to you about process. I'll be very happy to talk about process.
Page 55 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. BARTLETT. Thank you. By the way, I visited Goddard, and I saw the very impressive El Nino modeling, and you were really ahead of the curve there, and the predictions of what was going to happen to our weather has pretty much happened.
Thank you very much, and I'll welcome the opportunity
Mr. GOLDIN. I'll get on your calendar, and I will work with you to make sure people feel comfortable in dealing with NASA on Earth science and not feel we're judgmental.
Mr. BARTLETT. Thank you.
Chairman ROHRABACHER. Mr. Goldin, would you like to make those letters concerning the El Nino
Mr. GOLDIN. Yes, I'd like to submit them for the record.
Chairman ROHRABACHER. Without objection, they are submitted for the record and they'll be part of the record of this hearing.
I'd also ask unanimous consent to insert in the record a written release from the National Space Society. Without objection.
I have a couple more questions that Chairman Sensenbrenner would like me to pose.
First of all, 2 nights ago, I got in from California, it was so cold here, it was so miserable. There was sleet, and here I'd come in from California, and I just said, thank God for global warming. Think how miserable I would have been without it, and, anyway we'll pass on that and we'll go someplace else.
INTERNATIONAL SPACE STATION COMMERCIALIZATION
Chairman ROHRABACHER. Now, a little bit about Space Station from me, rather than from the Chairman. I just, frankly, you're going to be asking for $200 million more for Space Station, sounds like, and I think that, as you're asking for more money for Space Station, we need to keep in mind that I do not believe that NASA has gone far enough in the commercialization area that I believe could bring in much more than this $200 million. And I believe that overis it a $900 million overrun that we just talked about, over a 5-year period, I guess, that we're talking about. I believe with proper commercialization, that money might be found in the private sector. Again, my no-gravity, no-tax approach, this is one area Wall Street might be able to fill the gap, if we've
Page 56 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC For example, I understand there's already a medical research company that's sold a lot of shares on Wall Street to do, they're doing medical research in Space Station. Well, why not other companies that will be doing researchgoing out and getting some money from the private sector to invest and help us overcome this overrun?
Mr. GOLDIN. First, let me say that we have the Jay Chabrow panel reviewing the numbers, and the numbers I gave you on overrun, I want to wait until we have a thorough outside review and inside review to finalize them.
With regards to the commercial activity, I agree with you. It's important, but it is going to take time to prime the pump. We have signed a cooperative space act agreement with the Space Vest Company. That's a venture capital firm that deals with investments in space. We are working with a group that we've signed another cooperative agreement to see how we could best take advantage of the commercialization.
And I have asked Joe Rothenberg to prepare the first step in a commercialization plan which he says he will have done by August, which we would like to submit to this Committee and work with you on it.
And we are also having private discussions with a number of commercial companies who want to put their own money into the Space Station but, because of the nature of the discussions and the competitive aspects of putting their money in, we cannot discuss it at this point in time.
But we want to do that. I think it's very important. I have designated that we're willing to commit up to 30 percent initially, of the resources on the Space Station for commercialization, and if we could get the 50 percent, we'll to go 50 percent.
Chairman ROHRABACHER. Okay. You know this Chairman is going to commit to you, right now, that we're willing to work with you on a stepped-up and a very rapid pace in order to try to put into law those prerequisites that might be necessary to get people to invest in space, especially the Space Station. And we're planning to have a space commercialization bill this year, and I would like to see elements in that space commercialization bill aimed specifically at Space Station in a way that we can try to get some money out of Wall Street or out of the private sector to invest to make up for some of the problems we've had in the past.
Page 57 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC It's much easier for us to try to tap these resources than it is to get the Republicans to think about raising taxes on whatever. So, this is one area where I think both, all of us can agree on, and we should try to move forward in all appropriate speed. In other words, this year I'd like to get that into law.
Mr. GOLDIN. We will work with you on it.
INTERNATIONAL SPACE STATION
Chairman ROHRABACHER. Okay.
Two questions posed, and then we have, Ms. Jackson Lee, I guess, has arrived, and we'll let her finish up. But first, these two questions from the Chairman.
If Congress gives NASA the authority to transfer an additional $200 millionI guess there it is, what we were talking aboutfrom other programs into the Station budget in Fiscal Year 1998, can commit to this Committee that additional transfers will not be required in Fiscal Year 1999?
Mr. GOLDIN. Yes.
Mr. GOLDIN. All right.
If Congress gives NASA the authority to transfer an additional $200 million into Space Station program, can you promise this Committee that the outyear budget projected here is enough to finish the International Space Station and that there are adequate reserves to deal with any and all significant threats to the program, including the possibility that Russia's contributions are not available?
Gee, I'd like him to be here to ask these questions.
Mr. GOLDIN. I don't believe I could give that same assertive answer because if the Russians drop out, we will need significant additional resources. And, the other point I want to make is that I don't know that we could commit to cover all and every contingency because we could have problems in space and lose a major piece of hardware and have to replenish it. And I don't even know how we could put monies into reserves for those things, so there are conditions under which I don't think could be able to answer that question in the affirmative.
Page 58 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Chairman ROHRABACHER. All right. IMs. Jackson Lee? We're happy to have you with us.
She's very busy and very active in several other Committees, and very happy that you were able to make it here today. Go right ahead, you have 5 minutes.
Ms. JACKSON LEE. Thank you, Mr. Chairman, very much. And I do acknowledge and apologize for my delay. We were dealing with tobacco just away and across the hallway, and I guess no one here smokes.
But, in any event, I do want to add my congratulations, Mr. Goldin, on NASA's 40th anniversary, and the work that has been done. And preface my remarks or my questions with an apology if they've already been asked and answered.
Again, congratulations, a second congratulations on the return of Senator John Glenn. The only thing that I think you've done with that is to cause the rest of us to be lining up, almost immediately. So I guess your responses or excuses will have to come quickly.
Ms. JACKSON LEE. But I have a series of questions, generally, that I just need to get for my own personal edification. Let me begin with, explaining what was generated the layoffs of USA in the Houston area?
Mr. GOLDIN. USA did an assessment based upon a much-reduced flight rate that they can operate safely and efficiently with a smaller work force.
I want to preface this by saying that USA has been hired by NASA to use private management techniques to cut the operating costs of the Shuttle while making it safer. And that is their objective.
If you're on a government-type contract, you're incentivized to increase the cost base to increase your profit margins because it's a cost-type business. In the private sector, we have incentivized the USA company to cut their cost base. They get 35-cents on the dollar for every dollar they take out below the negotiated value. So we want to incentivize them to make lots of money by keeping the Shuttle safe and cutting its costs. So we are going to constantly watch the USA company and to see their performance, and, oh, they have a contract renewal coming up in about 3 years. We are hoping that they will continually reduce the operating costs while improving the safety of the Shuttle and, I think, when we go to the private sector, this is one of the issues we're going to have to deal with.
Page 59 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Now, if we want to say we want to maintain a stabile labor force on the Shuttle, and we don't want to minimize costs, than we should have the government manage the contract. I know this is very difficult to say, but this is the course we're setting out on, and it is our intention to initially privatize the Shuttle and if we're successful, commercialize it.
I might point out that there will be new modes of transportation, and if the Space Shuttle sticks at the present high rate of $10,000 a pound, in 10 or 15 years, they will be out of business and there will be zero people working on the Shuttle.
So this is an issue that we all have to come to grips with and I'm not trying to come on strong and force an issue, but I'm saying, this is the direction that we're going in, and this is why I was so stern in the, earlier in the session when you weren't here, by telling the people at USA, I'm holding them accountable, I'm expecting them to perform and I'm expecting them to communicate a lot better with their own employees so their employees understand where we're going.
Ms. JACKSON LEE. Let mewhat I'm going to do then is give you a series of questions, so, with the Chairman's indulgence, my questions will have been asked, and hopefully he will allow you to answer them.
I want to follow up and say, are you suggesting, are you saying that there was no phone call or there was no dictate that precipitated the actions of USA today, for example, we are cutting your funds tomorrow, and, therefore, you have layoffs. Are you suggesting to me that this was an internal corporate action based upon a longstanding relationship and contractual structure.
Let me ask the rest of my questions; that's the first one.
The second one would be, with respect to Mir, and my understanding that this may be the last visit of representatives from NASA and our government to participate. Is this going to be in sync or in-line with Space Station coming on-line, or do we expect to be there a little bit further.
Page 60 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Have you looked atand I know you have, you've obviously been involved, can you give us comfort that you've pleased or satisfied or are okay with Fiscal Year 1999 budget. I've been calling the White House to try to be assured of funding, and wanted to hear your assessment.
And then let me ask and raise a point that I think I've raised since I've come here, and that is, diversification and opportunities for small contractors and diversification among NASA staff. I now raise it as it relates to NASA's staff here in Washington, and particularly NASA lab staff, and those contractors who work with the labs, particularly those, I still find a paltry representation of minority personnel, though there have been, certainly, strides. And I'm sure you'll have responses for me, but I'm very interested in what kind of progress or on-going efforts we are having to diversify our labs, our respective centers, and of course the home-base.
Thank you very much.
Mr. GOLDIN. Okay. First let me say, the communications on the part of NASA and the contractor, with regards to the recent downsizing of the staff was not good. I accept accountability for the NASA part of that. And I have committed that we are going to do a much better job, to Congressman Weldon. We did not communicate well.
Secondly, there was a specific purpose in getting more efficient. And we expect, for the next, you know for Fiscal Year 1998 or 1999, that there will be no further involuntary separations. I believe that there's a very robust picture for the people working Cape Kennedy, and Houston, and other places, with the build up of the Space Station, so as some of the Shuttle jobs come down, Station jobs will be coming up in those places. So I think there's a good future.
But the best future's going to be by figuring out how they're doing things cheaper to attract the commercial market, because the commercial market won't work in a domain where we constantly stay at high levels to keep a stability in the workforce. We have to treat the employees with the dignity they deserve and provide them other opportunities.
Page 61 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCMIR
Mr. GOLDIN. With regards to Mir, this is the last mission to Mir, and when Andy Thomas comes back in May of next year, we don't anticipate any further missions to Mir. We will have received all the data we need. There has been no request of us by the Russian Space Agency to have any further missions to Mir, and we will not have a mission to Mir unless it's in the direct interest of the United States and right now I see no direct interest to the United States in going back up to Mir.
Fiscal Year 1999; we have been given the challenge, and we're going to manage to that challenge. NASA is a tough Agency, but one of the few agencies to get a budget cut going into Fiscal Year 1999. But I take it as a challenge, and I take it as a sense of confidence in this Agency. Maybe we have some really good people that are better than the rest, but we've started 10 new programs this year, and I think that's incredible, so, we're going to make it happen.
Mr. GOLDIN. With regards to diversity, NASA is an agency that operates on merit, and we have a downsizing, so we cannot hire very many people. We're hiring hundreds in a workforce of close to 19,000. So there's not an opportunity to just go out and cast a net widely to bring in a more diverse workforce. We have the workforce we had frozen in place, but we're providing promotional opportunities to people and we've provided openly to anyone that wants to apply, and we cast the net widely to get the very best person for the job, and I think we have done a very good job.
If you take a look at our SES ranks, we have a significant improvement based on merit, and are casting the net widely. In our small, disadvantaged business program, I think we have the best record in the Federal Government. So I think we've done a hell of a job, and we've done it on merit, and I'm very proud of what we've done.
Page 62 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Ms. JACKSON LEE. Mr. Chairman, would you allow meI'm sure the clock must have rung, the bell must have rung, just an additional minute.
Chairman ROHRABACHER. Long-time gone.
Ms. JACKSON LEE. I probably won't take that long. Let me thank Mr. Goldin because he's always been straightforward and I've appreciated that. Let me end by thanking him but by being cantankerous and pointed.
First of all, I will start now in every hearing that I come to reaffirm that affirmative action has not been declared unlegal, illegal, excuse me, in this Nation with respect to federal law. There are legislative initiatives and there is certainly case law to be interpreted. And so I have a great concern when our representatives of agencies come forward and try to hedge around the question of affirmatively seeking out individuals from the minority population.
Your labs are desperately lacking and those contractors that associate around those labs are desperately lacking. Affirmative action does not extinguish merit or excellence. So with that, I would appreciate it if I could get the statistics on your small contractors and, as well, the kind of representation we have in the labs, and those contractors that have federal contracts.
I know that we can work together to do a better job.
Mr. GOLDIN. We will submit it to you, definitely.
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Mr. KUCINICH. Will the gentlelady yield for a second?
Ms. JACKSON LEE. I'd be happy to yield, if the Chairman indulges me, I'd be happy to yield to my very fine colleague.
Page 63 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Chairman ROHRABACHER. Actually, the lady doesn't have any time, but I would be happy to yield.
Ms. JACKSON LEE. I'm sorry. Mr. Chairman, you're very kind.
Mr. KUCINICH. I'll be very brief. In response to the concerns that the Congresswoman raised, I've had some experience with this issue, as well, in the Cleveland area. And what I found is this, that the Administrator is sensitive to that point. So much so that we're proud that we have the head of Lewis Research Center, Dan Campbell, who's an African American, and his staff is respective of the kind of concerns that you've expressed, as well as the contracting process has also been respective of that. We've had tremendous success in having some of the best people, I believe, anywhere, participate in that program. And it has been done because of Mr. Goldin's leadership.
And, so, you know I appreciate what you've done in Cleveland, and I know that your kind of foresight and commitment of heart and spirit on that, I'm sure it's going to be seen everywhere.
Mr. GOLDIN. Thank you.
Ms. JACKSON LEE. I look forward to that, thank you.
Chairman ROHRABACHER. And I might remind my colleague from Texas that she has every right to be cantankerous and to be forceful on the issues she believes in and she's watching out for the things she believes in, that's not being cantankerous at all, that's what we expect from people on all sides.
Ms. JACKSON LEE. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Chairman ROHRABACHER. And, I'd like to justam I supposed to say something at the end before I adjournI just, with this thought, we're ending this hearing now, and justI didn't say anything about John Glenn.
Page 64 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC I want you to know that my father was a Marine fighter pilot and when I was younger, I remember John Glenn before he got involved in the space program. And, in fact, my father was supposed to be a pilot that flew when he made a cross-country speed record for fighter plane that eventually catapulted John Glenn up to fame where he became an astronaut. But my dad's plane broke down, and it didn't work.
But, with that said, John Glenn isI commend NASA for this. I would hope, however, that we don't play games with John Glenn or the teacher going up. It's about time we review the policy of only astronauts in space. The fact is, we have every right as American people to tip our hat to John Glenn and salute him for the magnificent job he did for the United States of America in the early space program. We don't have to try to bend over backwards and twist words to try to make sure, make it seem like the rules are this way. No, I mean, John Glenn is a man who risked his life for his country, not only in the military service, but when he was in the early space program. I don't think many of the people outside the space industry understand just how risky that first flight was in 1963. And, I salute you and John Glenn and I think it's going to be a great mission. And it's going to warm the hearts of all of us to see that guy up there again, and let's think about not playing word games in terms of the rules. I mean that, I understand why we didn'tit was getting a little out of hand, maybe having so many people on the Shuttle, but we don't have to worry about that anymore. Let's make sure we call it as it is. We're going to have a teacher in space now, and we've got John Glenn. If there's something, if we want to honor some other American, we can do that without having to go through this word games.
So, I want to thank everyone today on both sides of the aisle who participated in this hearing. I think it's been very beneficial for all of us. It's been conducted in the spirit that I want to make sure we maintain in this Subcommittee.
And, Dan, again, we tip our hats to John Glenn and he's going to be a very famous guy in history. And the fact is, Dan Goldin probably will not be a very famous guy in history. The kids and the schoolbooks aren't going to look back and say, oh, yes, Dan Goldin, he was the Administrator of NASA during this time period. But you're doing your country a tremendous service, and a lot of the things that the kids will read about in history, and will note the new American heroes that we have in the years ahead, they are all going to rely on the work that you're doing right now, and we appreciate that. And thank you very much, Dan.
Page 65 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC And thank all of you for attending.
This Subcommittee is adjourned.
[Whereupon, at 3:42 p.m., the Subcommittee was adjourned, to reconvene at the call of the Chair.]
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NASA'S FISCAL YEAR 1999 BUDGET REQUEST, PART II: AERONAUTICS AND ADVANCED SPACE TRANSPORTATION ENTERPRISE
THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 12, 1998
U.S. House of Representatives,
Committee on Science,
Subcommittee on Space and Aeronautics,
The Subcommittee met, pursuant to notice at 1:10 p.m., in room 2318, Rayburn House Office Building, Hon. Dana Rohrabacher, Chairman of the Subcommittee, presiding.
Chairman ROHRABACHER. The Subcommittee on Space and Aeronautics is called to order, and thank you for being here today. I understand we're going to have a vote in about 30 minutes, 35 minutes, so what we're going to try to do is just be as rapid as we possibly can, and move forward so that if we get that call we can then drag it out, and then go get our vote, and maybe end the hearing right before we vote, if we can do that. If not, then we'll have to come back, but we'll try to move this forward as soon as possible because that is the last vote of the day. And knowing that there is a vote, I would ask unanimous consent to declare a recess at any time. With no objection, so ordered.
Page 66 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC So today, we have the pleasure of discussing some of NASA's most important work, developing and demonstrating new technologies with private sector involvement that will revolutionize how we travel in and above the Earth's atmosphere. By investing in these technologies, NASA's Aeronautics and Space Transportation Enterprise is helping to lead America into the 21st Century. With less than 10 percent of NASA's budget to spend, this office doesn't just have the job of ensuring that American industry will be unsurpassed in aviation and space technology, but that American industry will create a better future and get there faster and/or as fast as we possibly can.
That's an awesome responsibility for the two government witnesses that we have today, but one I believe they and their team are up to. Here are just some of the questions they are wrestling with, or should be wrestling with: How can we develop an un-piloted solar-powered aircraft to collect environmental and other scientific data, or test new sensor technology much more cheaply than we do today? How can we slash the cost of space transportation by not just one but two orders of magnitude? And, how can we revolutionize the general aviation industry and achieve truly personal airplanes, and at the same time, how do we manage the air space to handle them? How do we help Lockheed Martin build Venture Star without unfairly competing with the entrepreneurs who are today developing their own commercial RLVs? How can we push both the technical and economic limits and basically, produce a new, affordable way of supersonic travel? And, how can we enact a civilian space authorization bill that will indemnify and cross-waiver authority so that the X34 and X33 can fly without dragging along hundreds of lawyers underneath?
Well, that last challenge is our job here on this Committee, and we held a good hearing on that topic last October. And I would just like to ask my colleagues if they can contact your Senators to make sure that we get this legislation through, and urge them to pass S.1250 which contains this authority. So, then we can go to conference and send the bill to the President just as soon as possible. So, I will also be contacting Diane Feinstein, Barbara Boxer, and, in fact, it wouldn't hurt if everyone in this room called their Senators, and maybe even Christiansen and Payton can get ahold of Mr. Goldin to have a few visits of his own. I say all of this because we are partners with NASA in pursuing these challenges.
Page 67 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Speaking just about advanced space transportation, in recent years, NASA and this Committee, under both parties' leadership, have focused mainly on funding the development and demonstration of experimental space technologies. I, in particular, have championed single-stage-to-orbit technology. But the goal has always been not single-stage-to-orbit, the goal has been cheap access to space, and that depends just as much on competitive free-enterprise as it does on technology. That's why I've invited a leading space entrepreneur to talk to us about the commercial perspectives on this issue.
In closing, let me just say a few words about NASA's Fiscal Year 1999 budget and their submissions in these programs. As I told Mr. Goldin last Thursday, we're going to have to have a close look at the start-up efforts to build a full-scale engine for high-speed civil transportation. I'm going to see what the industry's role is going to be in this development. I think it's an important issue to look into if we're talking about high-speed research activity that the taxpayers are going to be funding, we'll see who this investment is going to pay off for, and whether we can get some of those people to invest in the endeavor.
Furthermore, I'm skeptical about conflicting stories we're getting from the highest levels of NASA about whether it is proposing to fund operational development of Venture Star or some other system, instead of just buying commercial launch services. And there's a difference here between funding operational and experimental developments. I believe everyone here knows that I'm the biggest champion of X33, and I think the industry team led by Lockheed Martin Skunk Works is doing a terrific job, but it is a difficult job. And I want to enact the indemnification and cross-waiver authority that they need so they can actually have their flight tests and flight test the experimental vehicle. And they're also, of course, putting in over $200 million of their own money, and money speaks in this town. So, it bothers me when before we've even flown the X33, that NASA sends a confusing signal to the industry and to Wall Street about whether it wants commercially-developed RLVs or government-funded Shuttle upgrades, or replacements or such. And we need more definition, we need to find out, you know, exactly what stand NASA is taking here.
Page 68 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Let me be clear, we can't achieve the scientific and commercial goals we all have for space unless we change the game in space transportation from being a socialist enterprise, a socialist transportation system, to a free-enterprise, capitalistic transportation system. That means free and honest competition: competition is a good thing, in both the technology development, and as well as their demonstrations, as well as in the end game, the actual usage of the technology.
I expect that we'll get further into these issues as we go into our questions, and I look forward to all of your testimony. I now would recognize our Ranking Member Bart Gordon to make his opening statement.
Mr. GORDON. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Good afternoon to everyone. I want to welcome the witnesses and spectators today to this hearing. As the Chairman has indicated, we'll be reviewing NASA's aeronautics program today. NASA and its predecessor, the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics, have carried out research initiatives that have made America the world's leader in civilian and military aviation. I believe the Federal Government has a continuing role to play in aeronautics research, but we will need to ensure that it is carried out efficiently and cost-effectively.
In that regard, the Vice President announced a major aviation safety initiative last year. I think it's an important initiative. I think it has the potential to deliver significant benefits to the flying public, however, it will only succeed if NASA and the Federal Aviation Administration properly coordinate their efforts. We cannot afford duplication, wasteful competition between agencies, or reinventing the wheel, instead of fielding air traffic systems that are ready to go to work. As you know, I sit on the Technology Subcommittee which oversees FAA R&D activities; I intend to use my position on both Subcommittees to help ensure this important safety initiative stays on track.
And, finally, the Subcommittee will also be examining NASA's space transportation technology program today. NASA, the Department of Defense, and the commercial launch companies have a wide variety of activities underway that are intended to reduce the cost of getting payloads into space. I hope that today's witnesses will help us understand how all these programs and investments relate to each other, and whether or not they're being properly coordinated. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Page 69 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Chairman ROHRABACHER. Thank you, and we usually only have statements from the Ranking Member and the Chairman, butwith your permission.
Mr. GORDON. Certainly.
Chairman ROHRABACHER. Mr. Weldon has a short statement he'd like to submit.
Mr. WELDON of Florida. I thank the Chairman, and I'd also like to thank the witnesses for being here. I look forward to your testimony. Mr. Chairman, some people may think that I, because I represent Kennedy Space Center, the home to the Space Shuttle fleet, might be opposed to the next generation of launch vehicles being developed, especially since one of them may ultimately replace the Space Shuttle, and indeed, especially considering that it may not necessarily be launched from Florida. Mr. Chairman, let me assure you and the witnesses here, nothing could be further from the truth. We have to lower the costs of getting to orbit, and I'll continue to be a strong supporter of NASA'S effort to develop the new RLVs. Of course, we'll also be working hard to make sure that they're launched from Florida, however, I don't necessarily see the future as Shuttle versus RLV. Indeed, since the Shuttle will still be the only crew-rated vehicle with significant payload and research capabilities for many years to come, I see the Shuttle and the RLV as complementary. For all of its faults, the Space Shuttle is still truly an extraordinary spacecraft, and we should not let past taxpayer investments go to waste. Nonetheless, we must move forward with more advanced launch technology so that we can truly commercialize space, and it's for that reason I'm very much looking forward to the testimony.
Let me also add that I was very pleased with NASA's plan to go ahead with the second X34 vehicle. I think that it's important for us to have that kind of flexibility in the program, and certainly, I'm pleased that will allow more of the testing to occur at Cape Canaveral as well. I thank the Chairman for yielding the time.
Page 70 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Chairman ROHRABACHER. All right, and the Chairman would prefer having these things launched from surfboards off the coast, but wherever they actually find the best way to do it is okay with me, too.
With us today are Mr. Richard Christianson and Gary Payton from NASA, along with Gary Hudson form the Rotary Rocket Company, and I wonder if you'd all please stand so I could administer the oath, and raise your right hand. Please repeat after me, I swear that the testimony I am about to give is the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.
Mr. CHRISTIANSEN. I do.
Mr. PAYTON. I do.
Mr. HUDSON. I do.
Chairman ROHRABACHER. Thank you, you're sworn in. The reporter will note that all the witnesses responded in the affirmative.
And Mr. Christianson and Mr. Payton are, respectively, the Acting Associate Administrator and Deputy Associate Administrator of Aeronautics and Advanced Space Transportation Technology. And I understand that we will be tag-teaming this presentation. You may proceed, then we'll go forward with Mr. Hudson's testimony, Mr. Hudson being the co-founder and CEO of Rotary Rocket Company, as well as a longtime champion of American commercial space enterprise. So, first of all, we'll have our two gentlemen from NASA, then Mr. Hudson.
TESTIMONY OF RICHARD S. CHRISTIANSEN, ACTING ASSOCIATE ADMINISTRATOR FOR AERONAUTICS AND ADVANCED SPACE TRANSPORTATION TECHNOLOGY
Mr. CHRISTIANSEN. Thank you, Mr. Chairman
Chairman ROHRABACHER. If you could summarize your testimony, if you have a long testimony, submit it for the record and just hit the high points for us, we'd appreciate that.
Page 71 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. CHRISTIANSEN. Exactly, we've talked about this ahead of time.
Mr. Chairman and members of the Subcommittee, I'm honored to be here to talk about the Aeronautics and Space Transportation Technology office budget for Fiscal Year 1999, as you know, the submission is for $1.3 billion.
I'm also humbled to be here to represent the efforts of nearly 9,000 civil servants that are at 5 of our research centers, and the thousands of contractors that work to lead the programs within the Enterprise. I think each and every one of these civil servants and contractors strongly believe that the research and technology they're doing is going to contribute directly to the future economic well-being and security of this Nation.
The work we do is pre-competitive, high-risk, high-payoff R&D. The technology benefits can and will lead to the public good, improving safety, increasing aviation system capacity, improving customer affordability, enhancing the environmental compatibility of these systems, as well as opening new opportunities in space. And we do it in partnership with industry, universities and other government agencies. We're proud of these accomplishments in aeronautics and space technology, and I'd like to talk briefly about a few of the accomplishments.
First, let me remind you that last year we came to you with the development of our strategic planning activities, and we talked about the Three Pillars for success in addressing global civil aviation, revolutionary technology leaps, as well as access to space. We have identified 10 goals that we've worked with all of our partners in government and industry in developing the 10 goals that are stretch goals in 10 and 20 year time frames. We are now, over the past year, working with them to turn those goals into reality by developing road maps on how we would accomplish these goals over the next 10 and 20 years.
The three program areas that we're representing here is aeronautics, space transportation technology, as well as commercial technology, which is something this Enterprise does in support of the entire Agency in trying to bring out the technology not only from our Enterprise but as well as across the Agency in being able to promote those into commercial application.
Page 72 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Moving back to the safety issue, as you've noted, we've begun with our support to the Vice President's commission and then in the announcement that came out, we have built upon our longstanding partnership with the industry and FAA in working to turn the issues of aviation safety from being reactive into beginning to address the future in trying to be able to predict and understand the system-wide effects of everything we do in flight, and to begin addressing, in a pro-active way, in a prevention approach, the issues regarding safety. In doing that, NASA has sponsored and led four major workshops that have included over 300 participants to define that investment strategy. We've also stepped up to reprogramming $500 million out of our ongoing run-out program to begin that effort, again, working in conjunction with the investments that FAA, as well as DOD and industry, already have in place. One example of an accomplishment in the coming year will be, again, a partnership with FAA to address icing issues in terms of looking at the Supercooled Large Droplets issues, and an issue, again, that is reactive but beginning to look at the effects of icing on small aircraft, and I think some of the research that we've done and some of the technologies that we've been developing within NASA will provide future solutions on that. That work is being sponsored out of our R&T Base program.
It is in the R&T Base program where we do a number of advanced concept activities that are not just designing computer codes but also bringing things to flight. As you'll see on one poster over here, this past summer the work that we've done to support our environmental research activities within the Agency, particularly addressing atmospheric science. The solar-powered Pathfinder achieved an altitude of over 71,500 feet while carrying science missions and beginning to address some of the data and process for acquiring data with scientists working real-time during the flights, not at the location, but at their homes over the Internet.
In conjunction with that, we've also worked to bring in an education element into that, in that the past activity in Hawaii brought in many of the K-through-12 students to participate in understanding not only airplanes but science, and how the information we gather on that relates to their world and the neighborhoods they live in and play in. Next summer we plan to begin development of Centurion which will in Fiscal Year 2000, we hope, reach altitudes of 100,000 feet.
Page 73 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC The next thing that we've done in-flight in the R&T Base has to been to continue pressing forward with our hypersonic research. In particular, the Hyper-X program is beginning to develop a number of research vehicles that, beginning in January of 2000, will first fly to Mach 7, going out to Mach 10, with the basic question that we're trying to answer is can a SCRAMJETa supersonic combustion ram-propulsion system, pure air-breathing, liquid hydrogen systemactually produce more thrust than the drag of the system. A very fundamental question, I think, and it has yet to be proven that we can do that with the existing technology and tools in-place.
As we move into Fiscal Year 1999, we are looking at leveraging off the great success from our High Speed Research program, a number of the technologies that we've come out with to datearound here are examplesand beginning to press forward. When we began the High Speed Research program almost 10 years ago with some basic studies, and then began the environmental assessment part in 1990, and then again beginning to address some of the hard technology issues in the 1994 Phase II program, we felt that as we accomplished these activities that through the process of modeling and simulation, we could, with a great deal of fidelity and confidence, predict the technology outcome should this go into development.
We're at a point now where we believe, though, that the proper next step is to go through an augmentation to Phase II, and actually start bringing the component pieces that we've been developing into play and actually put a full-scale demonstrator engine together, as propulsion is the key to any future High Speed Civil Transport.
Within our Advanced Subsonic Technology program, again, we are looking to realign the ongoing program to address specifically the strategic goals that we set out in our first pillar, global civil aviation, again, focusing specifically on safety, environment, and general aviation activities, as well as capacity. And one of the accomplishments that we've had in the past in that is with respect to some of the demonstrated cockpit system landing and taxiing activities that we conducted in concert with the FAA and some of their experiments at Atlanta Hartsfield this past year, as well as some really advanced, innovative work in the propulsion arena where we recently tested fuel injectors in lab that will allow a 70 percent reduction in NOx.
Page 74 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC The last element in aeronautics that I want to focus on is what we're doing in computing, and that's to begin to try to put the systems in place where we can begin to achieve very high-rateone-trillion operations per secondsolutions, because those are the kind of rates that we need to have for computing systems to begin to solve full aerospace vehicle solutions, in one full shot. At the same time, we will be playing a prominent role in the whole federal Next Generation Internet activity.
At this point sir, I'd like to allow Gary to tell you about the Space Transportation Technology achievements that we've accomplished to-date. Thank you.
Chairman ROHRABACHER. Mr. Payton, and you've got 5 minutes.
TESTIMONY OF GARY E. PAYTON, DEPUTY ASSOCIATE ADMINISTRATOR, SPACE TRANSPORTATION TECHNOLOGY
Mr. PAYTON. Okay, thank you, Mr. Chairman. I'd like to highlight just a few of the successes of the X33 and X34 program has had this past year, and then, as a reminder that we are a technology program, I have brought before you some examples of the most important technologies these programs are demonstrating.
Before we could fly, we did an environmental impact statement and as perhaps a record for a government impact statement, we started in the Fall of 1996 and finished in November of 1997. So, 1 year from start to finish for an environmental impact statement that included two rounds of town hall meetings at the impacted locations. The public was invited to comment and I would like to share with you some of the comments that came to us from those town hall meetings.
From a Damon Pott: ''If I had my choice of how the taxes I pay were to spent, they would all go to support this kind of effort.'' And from an e-mail from Dale Amon
Chairman ROHRABACHER. What Congressional district was he from?
Page 75 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC [Laughter.]
Mr. PAYTON. And from an e-mail from a Dale Amon: ''What could be better for the environment than a cheap way for a lot of us to leave it.
Happiness is the Earth in your rearview mirror.''
That environmental impact statement was important because we wanted to put that behind us so we could start the construction of the launch site at Edwards Air Force Base.
Turning to vehicle technologies in particular, I'd like to highlight the composite thrust structure we have laid out here. Even with the titanium end-caps on this structureand this is the structure that will carry the launch and landing loads on the rear of the X33this strut, even with those titanium end-caps, weighs about the same as a bag of sugar, and yet it can carry the load of 2 eighteen-wheelers on tips. Additionally, on the X33 program I have brought a sample of a metallic thermal protection system. This is panel from the bottom of the X33. This test article is going through testing at Langley Research Center right now. Six panels bolted together. This is 1,800 degrees temperature on the top and 400 degrees temperature on the bottom. And so this is the sort of structureand it's ruggedthat will protect the X33 and a potential Venture Star follow on from the heat of re-entry.
From the X34 program, I brought another example of the leading-edge thermal protection system for the X34. This is brand-new, it is the latest technology out of Ames Research Center. This test article has been tested to 2,400 degrees Fahrenheit, it replaces the carbon-carbon, nosetips and leading edges the Space Shuttle uses and the X33 use, and this newest technology weighs one-third of what carbon-carbon weighs.
Moving beyond X33 and X34, we are investing in more advanced technologies that would be part of the Future-X program. I have brought a test article here of a nose tip that is very pivotal to, if we're successful with this, if very pivotal to high-temperature re-entry vehicles like vehicles coming back from space and this temperature, this is a test article that's already been through our jet testing at Ames and it has withstood 4,200 degrees Fahrenheit, again, compared to about 2,400 for this in carbon-carbon. And with this sort of technology, especially applied to leading edges of wings we could have high lift vehicles coming back into the atmosphere and landing at any point on the globe where they need to be flown from for the next mission. And so we are demonstrating technologies in X33 and X34 that will be flying in the late nineties, and at the same time in the laboratories and wind tunnels and in the arc-jet that NASA has, we are proving the technologies that lead to follow-on vehicles even after X33 and X34. Thank you, sir.
Page 76 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Chairman ROHRABACHER. Thank you very much, Mr. Payton. What we're really talking about, is in a very few years we're going to have reached the threshold of a whole new era. In the past 2 and 3 decades, we've been dependent on technologies, some of them were developed way back in the 1950's and 1960's, and now we're about ready to enter a new era of space transportation and the technology is there. And what we have with us today also is someone who is an entrepreneur and we would hopewhat is he, the Hans Solo of this new eraand we would hope to see a lot of people with skills in the commercial area get involved. Gary Hudson is the co-founder and CEO of Rotary Rocket Company. You may proceed.
TESTIMONY OF GARY C. HUDSON, CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER, ROTARY ROCKET COMPANY
Mr. HUDSON. With respect, Chairman, I would prefer to be thought of as the Bill Gates of the
Chairman ROHRABACHER. Didn't Hans Solo get the girl at the end of the movie?
Mr. HUDSON. Good afternoon, Chairman Rohrabacher and members of the Committee. I'd like to really thank you for letting Rotary Rocket testify on this issue and I'll be as brief as I can be.
For decades, Congress has authorized billions of dollars for space transportation systems, and major aerospace contractors, figuratively speaking, have dined at that table, but have not yet really produced the breakthroughs that we all need.
Most recently, American taxpayers have provided nearly a billion dollars of funding for X33. Now you're being asked by NASA to set aside $760 million additionally, and we have to ask the question why. Apparently the shareholders of Lockheed Martin and the Board of Directors do not feel their firm can move ahead with an RLV development on a profitable basis unsubsidized.
Page 77 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC I'm here to testify that there are at least four companies in these United States which do have shareholders who do believe in their skills to make a profitable business out of this activity. These companies have bankers and other investors who are putting hundreds of millions of dollars at risk in a quest for private space transportation. Just to name the four briefly, Kistler Aerospace run by George Mueller, who is well-known to this Committee, who directed the Apollo program at NASA as Associate Administrator, heads their effort. They're already testing components for a two-stage fully reusable launch system. Later this year, it will begin flight tests. George has said that Kistler is spending a million dollars a day to achieve their goal. These are serious people and they are spending serious money.
Kelly Space and Technology, run by a good friend of mine, Mike Kelly, who used to work for Dan Goldin while at TRW, has recently successfully completed a towed test of his F106 demonstrator with a C141. Investors have reportedly poured several millions of dollars into his concept.
Pioneer Rocket Plane has Merill McPeak as Chairman, a retired Air Force Chief of Staff, and Mitch Clapp as the engineering genius behind the concept. Mitch was inspired by his participation in DCX to develop a new approach to reaching orbit. The Pioneer plan involves in-flight refueling. They, too, have private funding.
And, finally, my own firm, Rotary Rocket Company, has raised more than $17 million from private investors, such as author Tom Clancy, who sits on our board. We recently retained Barclays Capital, the investment group of Barclays Bank which is the eighth largest bank in the world, to be our financial advisors. This is the same team that raised $1 and-three-quarter billion for Iridium, Motorola's Iridium project. They are top-rank players in the world's capital markets. Money is no longer our primary obstacle, as I will explain momentarily.
Rotary has an exclusive relationship with the noted aviation pioneer Burt Rutan to co-develop our vehicle called the Roton. The first atmospheric test flight is scheduled within a year. We turned on the tooling, in fact, this week. And flight tests to orbit will begin in 1999, and all flight tests are going to be conducted from Mojave airport, the Civilian Flight Test Center near Edwards, California.
Page 78 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC I'm sure you can guess how these privately-funded companies feel about reserving three-quarters of a billion dollars to continue what we see as essentially an aerospace welfare system. We strongly believe that Boeing and Lockheed Martin and their contractors should be required to spend their own money if they want to be part of the 21st Century in space. Yet, Congress can still play a tremendously important role in supporting projects such as Future-X, and we encourage you to do so. But building day-to-day space transportation systems should no longer be a burden on the American taxpayer. In fact, I'd like to give the taxpayers a bit of a reward. We're so confident of ability to build a truly inexpensive transportation system, that I personally promise to this Committee, as I have to Administrator Goldin, that once our test flight program is concluded, we will fly Bantam class payloads, scientific non-commercial payloads for NASA, universities and amateurs to space for free as a gift to the American taxpayer. We will conduct 60 of those flights over a 5 year period.
Rotary Rocket company and our fellow private space companies do have problems that the Congress can help solve, it's just that raising capital is not one of them. One of our problems are provisions of the Commercial Space Act of 1984 as administered by the Office of Commercial Space Transportation within the FAA. They're the office in the FAA which licenses expendable vehicles and we've had a close working relationship with them for some time. But other parts of the FAA issue licenses to reusable vehicles, such as airplanes, that until now have only flown in the atmosphere. We're at a crossroads and we need to very seriously consider whether piloted reusable space vehicles carrying out routine flights should be regulated like ICBMs or like airplanes.
Already there are disturbing signs that the rocket side of the FAA is hamstrung by some provisions of the act, especially in regard to environmental issues. Rockets are subject to environmental review whereas aircrafts in development are not.
Kistler Aerospace, for one, has spent months explaining their approach to the government, but it's finally given up and intends to operate its test flights out of Australia.
Page 79 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC What concerns us greatly is how much this office, acting under the terms of the statute, must insert itself into our flight test program. Like any aircraft, we carry out flight tests in an iterative process. We fly a flight, we check for anomalies, we adjust the hardware, and we fly again, just as Boeing does in developing a new aircraft. We'll be making hardware and software updates two or three times a week during test flight series. If FAA-AST believes we need to brief them in advance of each of these minor changes, we too may actually have to reconsider the location of the flight test program.
A decade-and-a-half ago, I had the privilege of sitting in the East Room of the White House when President Reagan signed an Executive Order establishing the Office of Commercial Space Transportation. The President said this order would help, ''cut red tape so that we may see blue sky.'' Fifteen years later, I'm afraid aerospace socialism may still be an official policy in Washington. You can see it in potential planned subsidies for VentureStar and next year's $20 million for consultants to envision how NASA should create the best space architecture of the 21st Century. It's time for NASA, I think, to put its launch requirements up for bid as the law requires, and let the competition decide what companies and technologies are best-suited to fly them. And I thank the Committee for your time.
Chairman ROHRABACHER. Well, thank you very much, Mr. Hudson. Just for some of the young people that are here who may not understand the issue that he's addressing is that the Federal Government is now investing hundreds of millions of dollars in developing a new space transportation system, and he represents a company that's putting their own money into that and there are several other companies that are putting their own money into it as well, as he's come here to challenge whether or not we should put in another $760 million, which is the request, into development of this new space transportation system with the company that has got the government contract, as compared to these other companies who are putting their own money into it. So now that I've explained that to the kids, I'm going to ask our NASA people to tell these kids why that's reasonable. Why this guy's just way off-base in asking a question like that. And so they can understand, cause I'd have to understand, too, you know.
Page 80 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC [Laughter.]
Mr. PAYTON. The real intent of the $760 million is a funding wedge that the Administration has laid into the out-year budget for us to respond to the end of the X33 program. The national policy we're operating under forces, and I encourage it, a decision at the end of the X33 program in late 1999 as to whether or not to embark upon full-scale development of VentureStar. Nobody can yet predict the success or failure of X33. I've got a huge amount of confidence, but there's still a long road in front of us. The decision at the end of the X33 program is not just a two-pronged fork in the road, it is a spectrum of potential outcomes, and this $760 million is a wedge for us to respond to that spectrum of outcomes.
Chairman ROHRABACHER. So if we end uplet's say X33 is very successful. We all hope it is, that's why I've been a big supporter of that program. And we have, at the same time, way out of left field that nobody ever predicted, all of these entrepreneurs and Hans Solo lands in his jet and everything and he gets out and he says, try mine, you know it's not going to costdo you think at that point, after X33I didn't quite understand why we should at that point go with that $760 million in order to produce VentureStar, rather than just go with an alternative that's been funded privately all along.
Mr. PAYTON. One of the things that Mr. Goldin has very adamant to me and to both Lockheed Martin and Boeing, has been that there will be a competition for that $760 million and most recently he has stated a competition for any services to and from the Space Station, where NASA would be a user of a launch system not a developer of a launch system.
Chairman ROHRABACHER. Gary, are you satisfied with that, that we're going to try to structure that $760 million so that it's a competitive situation rather than just being slipped into the VentureStar program.
Mr. HUDSON. Mr. Chairman, I have to apologize for putting my friend Gary Payton on the spot on this issue, but I do see it as a wedge but perhaps not the same sort of wedge as NASA sees it. I think that this sends a very wrong signal to the financial marketplace which is, right now, bolstering its courage and making very substantial multi-million dollar investments in what are fundamentally competitive systems. So, you should also know two things about our program that I didn't have an opportunity to detail. One is that we actually do not seek, nor will we accept government funding for development. Secondly, we are a fully-manned, fully-piloted system at all points in the mission, so we do flight tests with a two-man flight crew, and we will go to orbit with a two-man crew.
Page 81 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Chairman ROHRABACHER. Let me ask a question about payload. The VentureStar has a certain payload goal in mind. Are these other systems that you've been testifying about comparable in the payload that they would offer or they would provide.
Mr. HUDSON. No, sir, they're not. When I taught at Stanford University some years ago, I actually invited Dave Urie, who is one of the designers of the VentureStar concept to attend a lecture and speak about this, and he pointed out they were aiming at markets in the 25,000 to 40,000 pounds range, especially to capture intelligence spacecraft and this sort of thing, because they needed to capture the entire federal transportation market, including Titan IV class. Anyone who looks at a business plan for the traffic model to Earth orbit knows that that's substantially oversized and it's the same sort of mistake that we made with Space Shuttle in sizing for 65,000 pounds in once-around missions and so forth. No student of business would size the vehicle that way.
Chairman ROHRABACHER. So, in other words, the competitors to the VentureStar are going to be, actually, in a different league in terms of their payload, and you don't foresee, for example, if in the future we'd want to put some sort of colony on the moon or do some work on the asteroids or whatever, that we might need bigger payload capacity, and that might be something that's worthwhile of $760 million investment?
Mr. HUDSON. Sir, I think if you look back to the Berlin airlift, which was done mostly with DC3s and DC4s that had payloads comparable to what ourselves, Pioneer, Kistler, et cetera, could lift, you'd realize that megaton payloads could be carried. It's better to build the size of vehicle to meet the hump in the marketplace and to grow it as time goes along than to size it too large initially. If VentureStar flies 10 times a year or 20 times a year it's not terribly economical. We'll be flying hundreds of times a year.
Chairman ROHRABACHER. So I guess what you're telling us is that it's better for us not to go after trying to develop a 747 until its time is right.
Page 82 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC And Mr. Payton, come on, let's hear your answer to him, and then I'll let Mr. Gordon have his time.
Mr. PAYTON. To address the question about the payload capacity for an operational VentureStar, that was completely Lockheed Martin's design choice. The number of flights per year, the payload per flight, was their choice. There was no NASA dictate.
Chairman ROHRABACHER. Mr. Gordon, why don't you proceed.
Mr. GORDON. I'll do a quick question.
Chairman ROHRABACHER. Well, look, the intent of the Chairman is to go ahead and keep this going, so go right ahead. And anyone that wants to return after the vote, there'll be a recess here, after Mr. Gordon, and then come back after the vote.
Mr. GORDON. While a lot of attention is devoted to the needs of the large commercial aviation industry, general aviation fills a vital role in connecting many small towns and cities. What, if anything, will the NASAFAA aviation safety initiative do to make general aviation aircraft safer, and what will you do to improve the safety operations at our Nation's smaller airports?
Mr. CHRISTIANSEN. For the past 5 years, we've worked in concert with the FAA and many members of the general aviation community in a program that we started called the Advanced General Aviation Technology experiment. The AGATE program involves of 40 members of the general aviation industry as well as FAA and NASA in a partnership to determine what are the best technologies that we can provide and how do we begin to take these pre-competitive technologies into the commercial market for them to expand their efforts. Also, one of the goals within our strategic plan is that we will provide enabling technology to allow the GA community to develop and sell 10,000 aircraft within the next 10 years, and that's quite a grand statement for an Agency that just does technology, but the point there was that we wanted to set a strong goal for ourselves to get the community interested and excited about a goal that they saw as very positive and then to lay out a road map for all the things that we need to do to address that, and it's not just things that we do, but things that they do. So, the safety of aircrafts as, how do you bring better information into the aircraft, how do we make the airplane as operable and as safe as, it's perceived anyway, automobiles. You can get in and go where you want. And how do we make the air transportation system be able to accommodate that through
Page 83 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. GORDON. We're going to have to go shortly, could you give some specifics about general aviation and the smaller airports.
Mr. CHRISTIANSEN. With the small airports, we think that the FAA is beginning to address that in terms of their overall modernization activity. The specific things that we're focusing on, is bringing in advanced technology cockpits and data link systems and weather information, real-time weather information for the pilots to be able to do in-route planning.
Mr. GORDON. Anything to add to that?
Mr. PAYTON. No, sir, I can't expand on that.
Mr. GORDON. Okay.
Chairman ROHRABACHER. We could, I thinkdo you need more than 5 minutes? I think we have 5 minutes for you right now.
Mr. WELDON of Florida. Great, thank you, Mr. Chairman. Mr. Christiansen, I'd like to ask you my first question. NASA is facing a decision point in Fiscal Year 2000 regarding which launch vehicle to make further investments in. I assume that decision tree has a number of launch vehicles in it, such as the Space Shuttle and VentureStar, and the decisions rely upon the success or failure of the various RLV experimental vehicles. Could you briefly describe that decision tree to me?
Mr. CHRISTIANSEN. Yes, we've had some recent discussions between myself and Mr. Rothenberg who is the Associate Administrator of space flight, and we've taken our proposal to the Space Transportation Council. It essentially lays out six specific issues that we need to address in getting to this decisionthat's the post-X33 decision that Mr. Payton laid out. We need to understand what the actual lifetime of the Shuttle is, and what safety issues there are that we need to look at for Shuttle upgrades. In the meantime, in the event that there is a decision by Lockheed not to launch an RLV, in the event they would launch an RLV, then our plan would be to begin building up technologies for a future generation and in the event that there is still some technical risk in RLV but the issues are near-term, in other words, a couple more years of technology development that's necessary, then we would look at that avenue.
Page 84 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. WELDON of Florida. Do you want to add anything to that, Mr. Payton?
Mr. PAYTON. Fundamentally, that's accurate. The government's action, truthfully, in is response to whether or not Lockheed Martin wants to embark upon VentureStar, full-scale development. And then our response is a weighing of relative benefits to committing to VentureStar, going with a new technology vehicle, or Shuttle upgrades.
Mr. WELDON of Florida. Mr. Payton, as I understand it, and this was alluded to earlier, I believe, the X33 requires third party liability insurance due to the unique public-private nature of the program. Since that type of insurance is prohibitively expensive for an experimental vehicle like the X33, isn't getting indemnification for your commercial partner as important as, say, all the technology and engineering work that's going into this?
Mr. PAYTON. Yes, sir, I would say third-party indemnification is crucial to the flight test program, and also, cross-waiver authority.
Mr. WELDON of Florida. Okay, I'll yield back the balance of my time.
Chairman ROHRABACHER. That's because meteoroids can actually be almost destructive as lawyers, at times. Mr. Cook, would you like to proceed, and then we'll recess.
Mr. COOK. I'll do it in less than 1 minute. If I can just follow up on the cross-waiver and indemnification authority that so far Congress has failed to authorize, is that causing any delays in the planned flight tests for the X33?
Mr. PAYTON. Not yet, but if we're in the same position next year, it will definitely hurt us.
Mr. COOK. So you think that's very important to accomplish, and how? Should that come through that National Space authorization bill or what needs to be done in your
Page 85 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. PAYTON. Sir, I would have to defer to the legislative experts at NASA for an answer on the legislative steps, but I do know that both of these topics, cross-waivers and third party indemnification, are absolutely crucial to us in order to execute an efficient flight test program.
Mr. COOK. Okay. I would just be most interested in hearing from NASA directly on what steps they might think are appropriate in that regard.
Mr. PAYTON. Yes, sir, we'll gladly answer that for the record.
Chairman ROHRABACHER. This hearing is going to be in recess for 15 minutes.
Chairman ROHRABACHER. The Subcommittee is called to order, and I'll be asking a couple of questions here and we'll go to Ms. Jackson Lee. And, first of all, let me ask a little about this Aviation Safety Initiative, and, quite frankly, because the initiative is sort of, you know, it's not quite totally defined yet, I'm a little bit confused about, you know, who is supposed to be in charge and who ended up being in charge, and let me just say this, which agency is it that's the lead agency for the White House Aviation Safety Initiative?
Mr. CHRISTIANSEN. I'd have to say, sir, the FAA is definitely the lead for aviation safety. It is their specific charter. For the implementation of the system and the regulations, that allow for safe travel, our role as we've worked with them for well-over 20 years that I'm aware of, has been in supporting the research and technology base that brings new ideas and concepts into the forefront that they regulate and certify and implement into the system.
Chairman ROHRABACHER. So the FAA is the lead agency, and NASA's playing a supportive role in terms of development of technology. I don'tyou know, it seems to me that when we're talking about FAA being lead agency then why is it that NASA rushed forward in order to volunteer its limited resources to fulfill the missions of this initiative?
Page 86 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. CHRISTIANSEN. In the spirit of cooperation, the FAA is under enormous pressure to modernize the entire air traffic system and the resources that they have are engaged in trying to make that happen. Their R&D budget actually is fairly, relatively small, and that's why, for the past many years, we've worked collaboratively, not because their R&D's budget is small, but because a lot of the work that we have done in NASA, and going back to NACA, was about solving the problems of flight. Many of those
Chairman ROHRABACHER. Let me note that safety is certainly a valuable way to commit resources. Obviously if things are safer, then it is well-spent money. We're talking here about half-a-billion dollars worth of spending over a number of years, but that necessarily, safety is only one thing that could be achieved by R&D money. R&D money, coming up with a new engine or coming up with new other technologies for other purposes, we're talking about the vision technology, we're talking about supersonic transports, these are all items that could be funded with the same safety money. Just seems to me that at a time when NASA was losing, you know, was not on the upswing in terms of the money it was receiving, it seems rather strange that NASA had to be the one to develop safety money and put their money into safety R&D.
Mr. CHRISTIANSEN. The position we took, and what the Administration asked us, was to be at the lead at trying to do the research that would allow the paradigm shifts that we think need to occur to make this significant change. We're talking about over 20 years, an order of magnitude in the rate of reduction of accidents. And, in order to do that, we couldn't just do the normal, as we've been doing it, react to accidents by regulating some small, new change. We needed to get out in front and look at entire new system solutions and that is one of the things we felt we could contribute to strongly at this moment.
Chairman ROHRABACHER. Whether or not that goal of achieving magnitudes of safety improvements versus incremental changes in safety improvements, is debatable as to what direction or how people should approach the issue of safety. But spending a half-a-billion dollars, I'm wondering, if we end up not achieving this magnitude jump, because it's not, you know, some of the technology may or may not be applicable, as compared to incremental change, which is always applicable. I think we're going to have to look back at this and determine whether or not that was a good decision, and I can't say right now. Obviously, if indeed the goals are met, then it was a good decision, because people's lives are saved. But if we end up finding that not's the case, that there's only been a small improvement in the amount of safety, then it will not have been, will not be a very good investment.
Page 87 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Now, in terms of this high speed and other research program I wanted to look into, was this high speed engine that Mr. Goldin testified about, and he said something about having this ready by the year, well, there won't be any aircraft on the runway until 2020, but yet, we are expected to extend the current program of developing this high speed engine through Fiscal Year 2007, and the spending will be in excess of $2 and-a-half billion. I guess what I'm wondering about here is, if this things onhopefully I'll be out of Congress by 2007 when this is all doneam I'm going to turn around, after all this money's been spent and then find that there's not even an airplane that's on the runway. In other words, there's no plane at the end of this research. I mean, there's no, ''Then we will fit this engine that we've got on so-and-so aircraft.'' There's not even that. All it is, is, and then we will have an engine. I'm not so sure that spending $2 and-a-half billion just independently of any particular aircraft design is necessarily a good idea. Maybe you can enlighten me why my skepticism is unjustified.
Mr. CHRISTIANSEN. Supersonic flight is a challenging environment, I think we can all recognize that and stepping up to the issues of how do we make supersonic flight economically viable for commercial transport is, indeed, even more challenging, and as I mentioned before, we began working High Speed Research in 1990 and then in 1994, specifically looking at some of the specific issues. The $2 and-a-half billion that you talk about relates to the entire program from the very beginning. The 2A phase that we're talking about here is a little over $800 million, and that's because the technical challenges in the complexity of building this engine in partnership with industry, I will add, is that kind of challenge. And it'll take time because we want to make sure as we go along that many of the appropriate technology decisions are made and, yes, the goal we have of supersonic transport is a 20-year goal, and these sorts of things take that much time to put into place. Will there be a plane? No. It's not our job to put an actual commercial plane on the ramp, that is for the marketplace to decide. But I think along the way, we are developing amazing technology and will prove them out that address not just supersonic transport, technology that can go into subsonic engines or even other areas that reduce emissions and reduce the NOx, make planes quieter and more fuel efficient along the way.
Page 88 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Chairman ROHRABACHER. Well, I would hope that this doesn't turn into another Sterling engine fiasco. When I first came here, we had been financing the development of this Sterling engine. I don't know, does anyone here if the Sterling engine is being used by anyone now, is that being used anywhere in the United States? And how much money did we put into the development of the Sterling engine, anyway? And, believe me, skepticism when you're talking about spending billions of dollars, I believe is a healthy thing for this Committee to have. And, I'll be looking very closely, I hope that instead of being a little nebulous as to how much the private sector is putting into this, as a partner, that next year, when you report to me, you'll be able to tell me that this company has dedicated this much and this much and this much.
Mr. CHRISTIANSEN. Yes, sir, the work that we're doing in preparing that is going in at the outset and addressing this as a cooperative development of technology with a large amount of company cost sharing.
Chairman ROHRABACHER. Okay, so we're looking forward to the details on that. Okay, Ms. Jackson Lee will now proceed, and I have another round of questions, as well, after she finishes.
Ms. JACKSON LEE. Mr. Chairman, as always, I thank you for your graciousness and kindness, and I also thank you for holding these hearings on issues that sometimes may be considered isolated or finite, but are extremely important. Might I, Mr. Chairman, let me make just a brief comment because you were kind enough, and as I came in to be in the first round, and you having another round, so that gives me some additional time. As I said, this is an important hearing because I've had the unfortunate experience of talking to the family or families of deceased airplane crash victims and I've had, I guess, somewhat of a pleasure of talking to an airplane crash survivor. So safety is for all of us. For those who have sacrificed lives because we might not have been as safe as we would have wanted to be and I'm reminded though there were many causes attributable to or certainly some controversial causes attributable to Pan Am 130, it's still intertwined with safety. How you monitor the travel of unaccompanied bags. ValueJet was certainly an emotionally charged and tragic set of circumstances, and I believe TWA 800, we are still gathering information.
Page 89 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC So, needless to say, this is something that I'm concerned about and I appreciate the skepticism of the Chairman, I appreciate the Ranking Member who offered to say, we want to see how this is going to work, how we're going to coordinate. So, if I might raise some questions as to how this will be effective.
The first would be that you're already experiencing, or NASA's experiencing budget cuts, so how would this initiativeand if you've answered it, please accept my apology. I want to add an additional comment, I think this is relevant for NASA to do because I think that as we continue to redefine NASA or expand NASA, it always good to add relevancy that the regular person identifies with, and everyone has, at some point, been on an airplane. They might not get to ride or to visit the International Space Station, so I think this is an appropriate task for NASA, so I'm interested in the budget cuts, I'm also interested in determining whether or not the airlines and aircraft manufacturers will be involved so that they can make an assessment as to whether or not these can be implemented functionally or effectively with respect to costs. I'd like also to know whether or not you have noted a coalition of airlines and airline manufacturers have gotten together; are we coordinating with them?
And, lastly, I have a monitoring question which is that as look at the schedule, you've got a 10 year and 20 year mark, but I think Congress works in shorter terms and we need to have the tools with which to determine whether or not you're being effective and I would appreciate you're answering those questions.
Mr. Chairman, I thank you, and let me just say one thing as I close, Mr. Chairman, this for my hometown press or any other press, I was noted that you were kind enough as I came into a meeting as I think last week in time to finish the questioning, I want to let you know that I was on the Floor of the House on several pieces of legislation and to those who don't understand that Congresspersons work here everyday and as they work, they have overlapping meetings and responsibilities. I think the lead-in to a quote I had by the hometown press, which I hope they'll quote this, is she popped in late. I don't pop in anywhere. I do come to hearings and fulfill my responsibility and I do thank the Chairman for his kindness. If someone is here to convey that to the hometown press, please make sure you do that. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. And thank you, gentlemen, for being here.
Page 90 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Chairman ROHRABACHER. You may proceed to answer the questions.
Mr. CHRISTIANSEN. I'd be happy to, I think I've captured all of the notions here. Yes, we did talk about the influence of stepping up to the aviation safety initiative in particular and addressing research and technology needs within the context of the $500 million is essentially being reprogrammed from within our ongoing work. This is no new money. We've done this before as national priorities have come up. Our program, being just research and technology, allows for a fair amount of agility. Yes, the budget decision that we made. We could have invested those dollars but, again, the Vice President came out and said this was a national priority and we agreed and we've been in this arena working, as I will say, in concert with FAA all along, shoulder to shoulder, for the 10 years that I've been here in Washington. I have spent a fair amount of time working with FAA myself as have many of the members from all of our research centers, whether it's on aviation safety or supporting air traffic transportation technologies or any other endeavors in aviation. We've always worked well with FAA and as we move forward with this initiative, we will be planning it together. Not just with FAA, but also with industry. They have been with us from day one as well.
Just yesterday, the airline and manufacturer's group that you mentioned had a session, and FAA and NASA were there. I made sure that my program manager for the aviation safety program that's led out of Langley Research Center was there with them to make sure that as we planned the government investment in aviation safety, that we are tied in together with airline manufacturer efforts.
With regard to monitoring, all the 10 goals that we have do lay out 10 and 20 year measurable, I might add, achievements that we hope can be made for the country and that our efforts, sometimes small as they may be, will require us bringing in a national effort to address that. Dan Goldin just yesterday, at a luncheon speech, announced that what we will begin to do is, as we turn these goals into road maps into reality, we will begin having annual assessments from a national perspective on how well we are doing at accomplishing these goals, so we will have annual assessments.
Page 91 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Ms. JACKSON LEE. Thank you.
Chairman ROHRABACHER. Would you like to follow up?
Ms. JACKSON LEE. I would like to follow up. Just help me understand on the reprogramming, what are we sacrificing, or is it a sacrifice, or what is losing out with these monies being reprogrammed?
Mr. CHRISTIANSEN. A number of the areas that we've reprogrammed in particular for 1998 and 1999, again, we started this $500 million investment this year, we've reprogrammed principally out of what we have as our basic research and technology line, so a number of the things that were coming to a natural conclusion, just sort of the normal evolution of tasks within projects, on average annually, about 10 to 15 percent of projects come to an appropriate end as we begin to plan new activities and a number of those in the basic aerodynamics disciplines, propulsion disciplines, avionics, the basic research that we've done, that's where we took, for these 2 years, the bulk of the resources to start that and then Fiscal Year 2000 time frame we will be starting a new focused program that then has the new resources added to that.
Ms. JACKSON LEE. Thank you very much. Mr. Chairman, I may have one question after you finish.
Chairman ROHRABACHER. If you'd like to go ahead and do it now.
Ms. JACKSON LEE. Sure. One of the things that I'm always pursuing when I interact with NASA is the opportunity for interacting with academic institutions and institutions of higher learning, and I in many instances emphasize institutions who serve minority populations. I'm not sure how the full complement of $500 million will be spent, but I'd be interested in whether there would be cooperative efforts. For example, I have an institution in my District that has a school of transportation that does research, and a school of engineering. Will there be opportunity to collaborate with potential academic institutions through grants and help do some of this research, or is this all going to be internalized?
Page 92 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. CHRISTIANSEN. No, by far and away, most of these resources will be employed through cooperative agreements with industry and universities, either one-to-one or in various combinations of partnerships. We are trying to make sure that everyone in the country who has something to contribute becomes a part of this, and as they bring resources, we put resources together with that to make sure that everything gets done.
Ms. JACKSON LEE. Well, I thank you. The science bill that we justwas passed and signed had an emphasis, this particular legislation, on working with Hispanic-serving and African American-serving institutions. I'd like that to carry through on some of the efforts that you'll be making and I hope my office can work with you on some of those issues.
Mr. CHRISTIANSEN. We'd be glad to come speak to you about specifics.
Ms. JACKSON LEE. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Chairman ROHRABACHER. Thank you, Ms. Jackson Lee. Just a note that last night, that I gave a speech on the Floor detailing, in honor of black history, the many contributions that black Americans have made in the area of science and technology and noted that, most of us know about Booker T. Washington and most of know about George Washington Carver, but most of us don't know many of the other names of people who have made major contributions in this area, in this arena, and that we've got a lot of Americans who have contributed so greatly. Like, for example, the fellow who, when you hear about the name the Real McCoy, the Real McCoy, when they say, ''Is that the Real McCoy?'', what they're really talking about is Ida McCoy, who was a man who had many patents on steam engines and, of course the steam engine propelled America for a long time, and when people were looking for parts to the steam engine, they wanted parts that worked and they'd say, well, is this the real McCoy. And how many people know that they're talking about the genius of a black American, the technological genius of a black American. And so I would commend the reading of last night's Congressional Record and I've got a list of black Americans who contributed a great deal to our country's prosperity and technological competitiveness, and I would mention that now because I do commend NASA for reaching out, but I think that even before there was a NASA, we had many, many great Americans, black Americans who were making their contributions. So, we need to make sure that continues.
Page 93 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC With that, now I'd like to ask a few questions of my own, especially about this engine that we're talking about, this high speed engine. What about, I mean, where does the SCRAMJET, RAMJET concept go into this new engine that you're building? Don't we already have some concepts there that might serve useful in terms of supersonic space transportation, in that atmospheric transportation?
Mr. CHRISTIANSEN. I think that the distinction that we want to make between ram or scram versus this particular supersonic engine that we're looking at for the high speed research is that, most notably, what we're trying to do is efficiently cruise long distances and since the world is kind of a fixed size, economically and efficiently carrying people for long distances in the studies that we've looked at, the number comes out around Mach 2.4 or 2.5 that is the best speed to go. Now, ramjets are fairly efficient and good at that speed, but have very little low speed capability for the landing phases and the other sort of things. They're essentially an afterburner going all the time. As you beyond Mach 2.5 to 3, you get into much more complex turbo machinery solutions, so that eventually what we're really looking for in a hypersonic type vehicle is getting through a ram into a scram supersonic combustion type system above Mach 4, probably up through Mach 12, and these results came out through the X30 studies from a while back, that that was the regime that you wanted to look at. Scram engines, in terms of being the most efficient
Chairman ROHRABACHER. Well, these supersonic transports aren't going to good except for long-haul flying anyway. We're not talking about short-term flying with these going at supersonic speeds, correct?
Mr. CHRISTIANSEN. That's correct.
Chairman ROHRABACHER. Okay, now wouldn'tMr. Hudson might be able to shed some light on this for us. What about the commercial transportation of individuals? Should we be looking more at a space-based system or should we be looking more to supersonic transport?
Page 94 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. HUDSON. Mr. Chairman, I'm reluctant to offend my NASA colleagues more than I already have today. As long ago as the mid-1960's, Philip Bono, who was a visionary for McDonnell Douglas Corporation, and before that, Douglas, actually suggested it would be more advisable to fly above the atmosphere than to try to burn a hole through it. And I think that we're coming to a convergence in the next decade, to decade-and-a-half, to 2 decades, between pure rocket, the turbofan combined with pure rocket, as compared to combustion in the atmosphere-type engines, like RAMJETS or SCRAMJETS or other combined cycle. So, I believe that there is a technological opportunity to look at what are called boost glide transports. Some work has been done by Mr. Jay Penn and Dr. Charles Lindley of the Aerospace Corporation on exactly these type devices which I'm sure my NASA colleagues can talk to you about.
Chairman ROHRABACHER. Well, I would hope that option is not just ignored because it seems to me that it's one thing to say, we're going to have this new jet engine and it's going to be designed to go, you know, 2 and-a-half times the speed of sound and get us a transport that can do that and go straight to Tokyo, versus a situation where a SCRAMJET or some other different type of approach could get us there to Tokyo in the same time frame but maybe in a different approach, and I'm not an expert enough to tell you which way is the best way to go, but I do know that sometimes people get focused in government on just one approach and we were talking here earlier about this whole approach in terms of SSTS and bringing down the costs of going into orbit and we've got to make sure that we just don't ignore some of the options that may be there. Now, let me ask you, in terms of developing the engine, in terms of the line of questioning I just carried on, does anyone here believe the Aurora project exists? How about you three, any of you three? How many of you would bet, if you had to bet your mortgage, how many of you would bet that the Aurora project doesn't exist? So, raise your hands, you would bet your mortgage that Aurora doesn't exist?
Mr. CHRISTIANSEN. All right, I'm willing to take that gamble, yes.
Page 95 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Chairman ROHRABACHER. All right, well, I bet we've got some takers in the room that might be willing toI don't know either. I've not been privy to any classified documents or briefings on this subject. I have not made myself available for those briefings and I haven't sought them out, and so I don't know anything that's in the classified nature, but if I was betting, I bet in the other direction, and if there is an Aurora project, I think it's time that we bring it out of the black. I think it's time if there is an Aurora project, it's time that it sees blue skies and that we all know what type of technology has been developed and there are too many people who claim that this thing exists and if it does, we've got engine technologyI don't wantwe were talking earlier, how much money are you talking about spending on RAM and SCRAMJET experimentation?
Mr. CHRISTIANSEN. Well, for the current project, we're putting in a little more than $150 million to build 3 flight vehicles.
Chairman ROHRABACHER. Okay, if there's already a flight system out there that is functioning, whether RAMJETS or SCRAMJETS, we don't need to spend this $150 million. The Cold War is over, and we should know about it, and so I'm laying that down in public right how, and I'm going to try to make it my business to push that point of view, and if this top secret program exists, and it becomes public view in the next couple months, you'll now it was due to my way of waking waves, if that what I'm supposed to do. So, anyway, we'll keep that in mind, if it does exist, I don't want you spending $150 million to replicate something that we've already got.
Mr. CHRISTIANSEN. May I request that I withdraw my bet that it does not exist, I'd like to keep my house, then, for the moment if you should be seeking that out.
Chairman ROHRABACHER. If I come to you asking you to put that house down, you'll know I know something that you don't know.
Page 96 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC [Laughter.]
Okay, Ms. Jackson Lee, do you have
Ms. JACKSON LEE. Mr. Chairman, you always spur on another inquiry and I respect your wisdom and I do applaud your statement on the Floor of the House and I think Dr. Charles Drew founded or discovered the blood plasma that saved a lot of lives in World War II. But I wanted to ask unanimous consent to have my record, excuse me, my opening statement or statement submitted in the record.
Chairman ROHRABACHER. With no objection.
Ms. JACKSON LEE. And I wanted to conclude by simply saying to Mr. Hudson, I've been briefed on your comments and say to you that I have visited the X33 and believe that it is a valid program that should be continued to its conclusion but not, certainly, to bias the creativity that you offer and companies like yours would offer. And the reason why I support it is I think there's a value to the unmanned and manned, and the sort of safety and cost factors in unmanned, once it is utilized, an unmanned vehicle, and so I think that we have come too far and I think that when I said I was interested in aviation safety, NASA has to make itself relevant for people to understand. I think we've come too far in the research to not complete the funding of it, but certainly I hope that opens the doors for entrepreneurs such as yourself to be part of sort of a cooperative effort the new NASA to move into the 21st Century, which I believe it will be more cooperative with companies of your size and your inclination. I don't know if you want to comment, but I did note a concernis it mister, looking in the wrong directionI did a note that you might have raised.
Mr. HUDSON. Thank you, our view would be that X33 should definitely continue. We have no quarrel with that program. The issue, in our view, is will there be subsidies, however they might be phrased, concealed or disguised, that would make it difficult to go into the financial marketplace and have to what amounts to, compete with the Federal Government. For my own part, a previous company of mine ceased operation because DARPA funding of the Pegasus activity when we were building a competitive system with fairly private funds. My Chief Technology Officer, Bevin McKinney, who was the founder of American Rocket, had the same thing happen to him after an investment of about $40 million, so that's where the concern is, not in the research activity.
Page 97 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Ms. JACKSON LEE. Well, I appreciate it. I think you have a sympathetic ear on this Committee with respect to commercializations of space which would include entrepreneurs as yourself and I think they can simultaneously work effectively with finishing out projects and working with larger corporations on important technology, but I thank you for your input. Mr. Chairman, I thank you.
Chairman ROHRABACHER. Okay, a couple of last questions here. Mr. Christiansen, when you we're answering the questions about general aviation and safety, you mentioned requirements and a certain amount of equipment that might be mandated for general aviation planes and developed for general aviation planes to have, but wouldn't, don't we have to be careful in terms of loading a general aviation plane and making it too expensive for ordinary people to use?
Mr. CHRISTIANSEN. The key to success of making the general aviation community and industry blossom is to make it affordable for the private citizen as well as the major corporations who happen to have a healthy bottom line and so the issue of bringing these kind of modern day electronics into the cockpit is the looking at bringing in the most cost-effective technologies that they can afford, and it's not just in the cockpit but all around the airplane including bringing jet engines down.
Chairman ROHRABACHER. Yes, affordable is an important word. Mr. Payton, clearly we should be investing in experimental vehicles and I've been a supporter of that for a long time. What is NASA's plan for spending the $17 million proposed for Future-X in Fiscal Year 1999?
Mr. PAYTON. We've got a batch, if you would, of technologies that are in the X33 and X34 programs. Probably early 1980's, early 1990's era technologies. What we're looking for in Future-X is the next generation technologies beyond mid-1990's and early-1990's and alternative designs, alternative technologies to what we've already been investing in for several years, and so, that will be the fundamental thrust of Future-X is putting those more modern technologies into the relevant environment so that we can improve them in flight in the relevant environment. So with the first Fiscal Year 1999 money we're looking for which technologies when applied to a system design have the highest payoff, whether it's a new generation leading edge materials, whether it's a new propulsion, that will be the driver for the highest priority. Which technologies do we take starting in Fiscal Year 1999, perhaps flying in Fiscal Year 2001, which ones do we take and which ones have the highest value to an operational vehicle? The notion we're starting in Fiscal Year 1999 is the small, comparatively small, project that focuses on one, single technology to demonstrate as opposed to X33 which is a new bird from nose to tail.
Page 98 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Chairman ROHRABACHER. Right.
Mr. PAYTON. And focus on one specific technology to demonstrate. That keeps the cost down, keeps the flight rate up, we can fly X33 and X34 in Fiscal Year 1999, we can fly the first Pathfinder in Fiscal Year 2001, perhaps, and then just every 18 months or 24 months after that, we'd keep proving newer and newer technologies in the relevant environments.
Chairman ROHRABACHER. How high in your priority list is Pathfinder?
Mr. PAYTON. My top priority is X33, X34 is next, and then Pathfinder.
Chairman ROHRABACHER. Okay, and do you plan to fund small companies with Pathfinder vehicles?
Mr. PAYTON. Because we do focus on one specific technology with each Pathfinder project, that does open the door for the smaller companies to come in with their good ideas, the high-leverage demonstrations, again, independent of whether it's a small company or large company.
Chairman ROHRABACHER. Okay, I thank you very much. I thank the witnesses. Again, I do support the investment of our dollars into experimental technologies, that's one of the purposes that we have here, the private sector cannot do that job, but in terms of development and in terms of commercialization of those technologies, I think that we have to very careful not to step on the toes of fellows like Mr. Hudson who want to go out and do the job and make a profit doing it with private money. So I would hope that in development of our reusable launch vehicles that we do not cut off a lot of people who are showing a lot of initiative out there in the private sector and that we take them into consideration when we're making our decisions.
Page 99 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Now, with that, I want to thank you again for attending today. Thank all the members of our Committee, Ms. Jackson Lee who stuck it out with me here, and with that, and before the witnesses take off, I'd like to go down there and take a look at aerospike engine with you but the hearing is now adjourned.
[Whereupon, at 3:00 p.m., the Subcommittee was adjourned, to reconvene at the call of the Chair.]
NASA'S FISCAL YEAR 1999 BUDGET REQUEST, PART III: THE SCIENCES AT NASA
WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 25, 1998
U.S. House of Representatives,
Committee on Science,
Subcommittee on Space and Aeronautics,
The Subcommittee met, pursuant to notice, at 10:07 a.m., in room 2318, Rayburn House Office Building, Hon. Dana Rohrabacher, Chairman of the Subcommittee, presiding.
Chairman ROHRABACHER. The Subcommittee on Space and Aeronautics is called to order. Thank you all for being here today. As is the usual case, the House is in session so if we have to break for a vote, I will ask that, without objection, the Chair is given unanimous consent to declare a recess at any time. Hearing no objection, so ordered.
Today we are going to review progress, problems and proposals for NASA's scientific enterprises. We'll cover Space Science, Earth Science, Life and Microgravity Sciences, and how the Office of Space Flight supports its scientific users.
But, I'd like to begin this morning by giving special recognition to two of our witnesses today. The first, Dr. Wes Huntress, who recently announced that he would resign as Associate Administrator for Space Science later this year. For 5 years, Dr. Huntress has managed NASA's Space Science program through budgetary, technical and programmatic and even public relations challenges that would have beaten down a lesser leader. So, inheriting an office that was addicted to budget increases, he made the tough decisions to streamline and rethink how to do Space Science. No other program has demonstrated the commitment to Dan Goldin's mandate of ''cheaper, better, faster,'' nor succeeded so superbly in its implementation. Dr. Huntress, it is a rare to find such a first-rate scientist who is also a skillful manager and a leader. It willmost people think of scientists as the guys who know what they pourwhat is itthey scratch their pancakes and pour the syrup down their back or something in the morning. But, you have shown that scientists can also be managers as well as experts in their field and leaders of others. It will be difficult to replace you but we must strive to do so so we can build on the strong record of accomplishment that you and your team have achieved.
Page 100 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Second, I'd like to recognize someone who is on Dr. Huntress's extended team but now has come to NASA Headquarters to lead that part of the civilian space program that we don't usually think of when we hear the phrase ''cheaper, better, faster.'' Joe Rothenberg left a revitalized Goddard Space Flight Center a month ago to become the new Associate Administrator for Human Space Flight. As his prepared testimony today demonstrates, Mr. Rothenberg thinks and talks differently about space flight than some who have been involved for as long as he has been involved. He joins us to talk about how the Space Shuttle and International Space Station programs serve the scientific user and how he will seek to improve that.
Now I know that there are some members of this Subcommittee who might like to use this opportunity to ask Mr. Rothenberg about his two big programs outside the scientific context but let's not go into that today. We'll have plenty of time to talk about those in the future. Today, he is prepared to ask and answeror answer other questions and I expect we'll have time to beat up on Mr. Rothenberg in the future about these programs.
And finally, I'd like to remind everyone that the person who hired and backed up Wes Huntress and who picked an independent thinker like Joe Rothenberg was a man whom we all occasionally liked to beat up, and I include myself when I say that sometimes we occasionally beat up on Dan Goldin. But, as we listen to the witnesses talk today about the progress in and the prospects for our scientific efforts in space, we should all remember that Dan Goldin deserves a lot of the credit for the things that we are talking about and the accomplishments that we praise today.
Now, let's get to the science. And this has been an amazing year since we last reviewed these programs. I don't know whether to talk about the Mars Pathfinder headlines or the quick reflight of the International Microgravity Lab Shuttle Mission or NASA finally taking the first steps to buy commercial Earth Science data, which I've been pushing for for a long time, or the entrepreneurial Lunar Prospector Mission that I hope we'll be getting the results of very soon and that's something we're all looking forward to.
Page 101 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Or, we could talk about the future; a Mars sample return mission that proves the technology for using local resources to ''live off the land,'' restructured Earth Science effort that gets affordable data to scientists so we can understand El Nino and how El Nino works before it washes away my entire Congressional District
Chairman ROHRABACHER. Or Space Station research that helps spinal cord injury victims recover from paralysis or other people who suffer maladies that have not been investigatedor remedies that have not been investigatedin zero gravity to see if there are solutions to some of these afflictions of mankind. And yes, a focused set of technology demonstrations that could enable both space development projects, like solar power, satellites, and future missions of human exploration, which points out a challenge and an opportunity for all of NASA's science programs.
I'm sure the witnesses know that, along with Chairman Sensenbrenner, I am an advocate of space commercialization. What we haven't talked much about it how science and commerce relate to one another and can be supportive in interrelation with one another as we move into the space frontier. It's useful to remember, as I pointed out last year, that President Jefferson sent Lewis and Clark into the Louisiana Purchase with two interrelated objectives: one was to map the land and chart the navigable rivers and collect other economically useful information, the other was to learn as much as possible about the plants, wildlife, geology, and other aspects of the natural environment.
While there may have been some historic squabbling between the Human Space Flight and unmanned science communities, commercial space development and publicly-funded Space Science broadly defined are not and must not be in conflict. In recent months, we have seen a private company announce its intention to send a commercially-developed probeI guess it's a probeto an asteroid which may also collect data for government-funded scientists. So, we see this already, this cooperation between the commercial sector and the public sector.
Page 102 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC This Committee has for several years been a strong supporter of the emerging commercial remote sensing industry which can and must play a much larger role in gathering information needed for Earth Science research. And, there is clearly a natural affinity between the life science researcher, the applied microgravity process developer, and the commercial infrastructure operator. But, it will take continued cultural change and many tough decisions by the witnesses here or their successors to achieve the kind of synergy that I believe is out there. It will also, in the case of the former Mission to Planet Earth program, require that the effort continue its transformation from a bloated and mismanaged project that's politically shielded from reality by people who have their own political motives into an honest and affordable effort to learn more about this home planet. And, I believe that transition is going on now.
I would like to recognize my new Ranking Member, Bart Gordon from Tennessee, not from Kentucky, to make his opening statement.
Mr. GORDON. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I knew I was from Tennessee.
Mr. GORDON. Good morning. I want to add my welcome to the witnesses today and I also want to join in thanking Dr. Huntress for his contribution to our country and wish him well in his endeavors.
By virtue of the number of witnesses we have and I think our Chairman has covered a lot of ground with his testimony, I'm going to make my testimony part of the record and just say that I hope that we can discuss some today taking some of the good science that NASA has learned over the years and talking about how we can adapt that to everyday life and how we can explain that to our constituents and citizens around this country so that they think that they're getting a dollar's worth of science for the dollar of taxes they're investing in you. So, we'll talk about that some more later. Thank you for being here.
Page 103 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Chairman ROHRABACHER. Boy, that was great.
Chairman ROHRABACHER. And I promise that if I'm ever the Ranking Member again and you're the Chairman that I'll do the same.
Chairman ROHRABACHER. Alright. Without objection, the other written statements will be part of the written record, and, hearing no objections, so ordered.
We have now a different policy than we had, you know, 3 or 4 years ago. We swear in all the witnesses, as you're aware, so what I'd like to do, I'd like you all to stand so I can administer your oath.
Okay. Raise your right hand. Do you swear that the testimony you are about to give is the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth?
Mr. HUNTRESS. I do.
Mr. ASRAR. I do.
Mr. NICOGOSSIAN. I do.
Mr. ROTHENBERG. I do.
Chairman ROHRABACHER. Okay, you're sworn in. And the reporter will note that each witness responded in the affirmative.
Since we have four witnesses and we want to get on with as many questions as possible, again, if you could summarize your testimony, get to the hottest 5 minutes that you've got in thatin your report, that's terrific and I'd appreciate that. However, your full testimony will, of course, be made part of the record.
And, first up is Dr. Huntress who we've said so many kind words about today. But, I want you to know that I've personally meant them and I give a lot of guff toyou know, I give a lot of guff to people who come up and are trying to do the best job they can and I know that most of the time. But you know, it's our job to really make sure the people who are doing a good job do even a better job. But, I want you to know that our compliments today were meant from the heart and we admire the good job that you've done.
Page 104 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC So, you may proceed with your testimony.
TESTIMONY OF WES HUNTRESS, ASSOCIATE ADMINISTRATOR, SPACE SCIENCE, NATIONAL AERONAUTICS AND SPACE ADMINISTRATION
Mr. HUNTRESS. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I do appreciate very much your comments this morning and also Mr. Gordon. And I would like to thank the Committee for the unwavering support this Committee has given to Space Science during my tenure here, and it's really largely because of that support that Space Science has been able to perform the way we have and to bring to you and the American public all of the exciting discoveries, some of which I will try to show you today.
I'll be providing you with a status on 1997, a preview of what we plan for this year, and an overview of the 1999 budget request that we brought to you.
Mr. Chairman, just a few short months ago NASA Space Science Enterprise released its new strategic plan and this plan is a culmination of about 2 years' worth of effort involving hundreds of members of the Space Science mission engineering, education, and public information communities and the plan sets forth a long-term 25-year view of the Space Science program. And, with your permission, Mr. Chairman, I'd like to submit the strategic plan for the record.
[The strategic plan referred to follows:]
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Chairman ROHRABACHER. So ordered, without objection.
Mr. HUNTRESS. Thank you. I'd like now to brief you on just a very few of the accomplishments of 1997. We had a lot of successes this year, Mr. Chairman, but none was more exciting thanor dramaticthan that Mars Pathfinder landing inon July 4. Our Pathfinder and that small Sojourner Rover just simply captured the world's attention with spectacular pictures, and the scientists and the general public alike were really thrilled by this mission. And we can attest to that by the almost 1 billion hits that we have had on the Mars Pathfinder website since that time. And all are anxious for our next lander mission on Mars which we are going to launch in less than 1 year from now.
Page 105 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Following Pathfinder, Mars Global Surveyor arrived at Mars orbit in September. It's now undergoing a long-term aerobraking process to lower the spacecraft orbit, but, in the meantime, we are taking some occasional science data and I'd like to show at least one result to you today.
Mr. Goldin showed you this during a previous hearing. It's going to be a little hard to see without the lights down but
Chairman ROHRABACHER. Try to get these lights down here.
Mr. HUNTRESS. This is just a taste of what you can expect when we get it into final mapping orbit. This is one of very manywhat look like riversacross the surface of Mars. We weren't sure what they were but it's become clear after this picture that, in fact, this has been cut by water. You can see in the upper righthand corner of the canyon the remnants of the river channel that actually cut this. First time we've had this kind of evidence. You can see layering in that structure, you can see where this river has meandered across the surface, just as some of our rivers do in the Midwest. And so, clearly, this channel was cut by flowing water over a time span of about a million years or so. And it's our first evidence that water was flowing on the surface of Mars in its early history over a long period of time.
Beyond Mars, the Galileo spacecraft continues to orbit Jupiter and some of the key findings from the spacecraft include data on Europa showing ice flows and clear evidence of melting of the service in the past and rafting of icebig huge ice chunks out into this liquid and then refreezing, giving us evidence that perhaps Europa may even now have a liquid ocean underneath its icy surface and all that might potentially imply about this icy moon of Jupiter.
Page 106 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC [Slide.]
The Hubble space telescope continued its headline-making performance in 1997. The second servicing mission last year enabled Hubble to deliver more scientifically dazzling discoveries than ever; among them Hubble showed us this pair of colliding galaxies, blazing with about a thousand brand new star clusters. This discovery is going to help us put together a chronological sequence of how galaxies collide and give us a preview, actually, of the collision that will occur between our own Milky Way galaxy and the nearby Andromeda galaxy some 500 or more billion years from now. I will have left office by then.
Mr. HUNTRESS. Closer to home, the NASA European Space Agency Solar Heliospheric Observatory, which we call SOHO, produced the first detailed view of the interior of the Sun, showing us this inner radiative core and a thick, outer convective skin. The inner zone rotates as a rigid body while the outer convective zone acts like an atmosphere, rotating differentially, just like our own atmosphere above our solid body of the Earth, and it's the source of sun spots and solar flares and most other activity.
Nineteen ninety-eight promises to be an even busier year for Space Science and we are off to a good start. In January, we launched the Lunar Prospector, which is our first return to the Moon in 25 years and the Lunar Prospector should also tell us among many other things whether water ice exists in any abundance at the south poles of the Moon, as suggested by the Clementine mission. We are scheduling a press briefing on this subject. I believe it's next week.
And the Explorer programwe will launch 5 Explorer missions; 2 University Explorers, 2 small Explorers, and the first of our medium Explorers. And we're particularly excited about these UNEX missions because they are built entirely by university students acting as a team to learn new skills for their future and for ours and, in fact, the first of these will be launched early tomorrow morning from the West Coast.
Page 107 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC [Slide.]
Mars Surveyor in December, 1998 will launch the Mars 1998 Climate Orbiter, followed by the Mars Polar Lander in January of 1999. These two missions will also carry two new millennium technology articleswell, it should be called Deep Space-2each of which is a perspective hard lander. This is a full-size model of one of these little small passive Mars landers. It's actually a penetrator; it hits the surface and this penetrator penetrates down about several meters and contains a very small science instrument to look for soil moisture and measure other properties of the soil. So, there's many exciting thing coming up in the next year. So the first of the new millennium programs, Deep Space-1, we'll launch in July to test 12 new technologiesincluding solar electric propulsionon a test flight that will take it by an asteroid, a comet, and Mars.
And the only Space Science mission that's really currently experiencing any significant problems at the moment is the AXAF mission. Here, the prime contractor has experienced difficulty in the electrical functional checkout of the observatory and we expect the launch to be delayed from August to December of this year.
The President's 1999 budget request supports a strong and well-balanced science program. It maintains support for the Origins initiative approved by Congress in the Fiscal Year 1998 budget. It also adds funding to fulfill much of the promise of the new Space Science Strategic Planthis plan I just showed you this morningwith new programs in the Evolutionary and Destiny themes. New in Evolution this year is support for continuing the international Solar Terrestrial Probe missions through solar maximum. It concludes continuing support for our new line of Solar Terrestrial Probes after the time diminution.
In the Destiny science theme, the President's budget supports three new efforts; first, GLAST and advanced technology for a future X-Ray mission to follow AXAF. First is the European Space Agency's Far-Infrared and Submillimetre Space Telescope. Our contributions to this will be mirror, cooler, and detector technologies to significantly enhance the capabilities of FIRST. GLAST, or Gamma-ray Large Area Space Telescope, is a follow-on to the Compton Gamma Ray Observatory, and the Department of Energy is our partner in this Enterprise and they'll be supplying a Gamma-ray detector technology for the mission.
Page 108 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC So, in conclusion, the 1999 budget request allows us to continue building on the momentum in Space Science that we have gained in recent years. It provides for a balanced program that is needed to deliver the very best science results to the Space Science community and the American public.
And I wanted to show you this chart, Mr. Chairman. This shows a 5-year history of budget requests since Space Science, beginning with Fiscal Year 1995. And, as you can see, we have turned a very dismal situation in the 1995 Space Science request into a healthy and supportive budget for Fiscal Year 1999. And, Mr. Chairman, you and your Committee have had a direct role in this turnaround and we thank you for that and your unwavering support here. I hope that you all take pride in what the Space Science Enterprise has done for the American public with this support and it's our intent to continue to provide exciting missions and discoveries and to continue our high level of performance in the future. Thank you.
[The prepared statement of Mr. Huntress follows:]
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Chairman ROHRABACHER. Thank you very much, Dr. Huntress. And, Dr. Asrar, Associate Administrator for Earth Science.
TESTIMONY OF GHASEM ASRAR, ASSOCIATE ADMINISTRATOR, EARTH SCIENCE ENTERPRISE, NATIONAL AERONAUTICS AND SPACE ADMINISTRATION
Mr. ASRAR. Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman, distinguished members of the Subcommittee. It is my distinct pleasure to be here with you this morning in one of my first significant public appearances as the new NASA Associate Administrator for Earth Science. I'm honored to be selected by Mr. Goldin for this challenging job at this important period in the history of the Enterprise.
Page 109 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC The key drivers for the Earth Science Enterprise are the development of a comprehensive understanding of the Earth's oceans, atmosphere, and continents and how they interact with each other in what is known as ''Earth system science.''
The NASA Earth systemthe Earth Science Enterprise is organized around six major functions. First, a team of scientists who will translate the data that we gather, based on the space-based or suborbital capabilities that we develop, into information to address key scientific questions about Earth and Earth Science. Second, a series of small-and medium-size satellites that we developed specifically to help us address those scientific questions or objectives. Third, a comprehensive information system. This is a departure from the traditional way of doing business in NASAthat we worried about the space-based segment and we didn't pay attention to taking good advantage of those investments and turning the data into information that could really benefit the customers and the end-users beyond the scientific community. It was with that understanding that we started, embarked on developing a comprehensive information system not only to capture the data from these space-based assets, but to turn them into useful information and, more importantly, making them available to the customers in a reasonable amount of time. We have just established a technology development program to enable advanced space-based observational capabilities.
The fifth element is an application research and commercial partnership program that will extend the scientific benefit of our investments to solve practical societal problems through partnership with the value-added and the commercial sector. The sixth element, which we believe is equally important, is an education program to invest in training the next generation of Earth scientists who will lead this Enterprise into the decades to follow.
Let me turn into sharing with you some of our recent accomplishments from 1997. The first image to your leftto my left, to your right, the black and white is a recent map of Antarctica that was acquired with a U.S.-Canadian radar satellite. Until this past fall, Antarctica, a region the size of Canada and Alaska combined, had never been fully mapped from space at such a high resolution. The results are really hot-off-the-press so you see the orbital tracks that are not quite smoothed out. But, by the time that we finish processing this data, we would be able to unravel some of the mysteries of Antarctica in terms of some of the varied lakes and there are about several kilometers of ice that have been separated from the atmosphere for more than several million years. The data resulting from this analysis would help us shed some light on the past history of the Earth's climate.
Page 110 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC [Slide.]
The next image to the left of the Antarctica map is ashows a set of observations that we gathered from a satellite in joint cooperation with France that captures the evolution of El Nino in the Pacific. The data from this satellite helped U.S. scientists to develop a predictive capability for El Nino this year 6 months in advance. Our goal is to be able to predict events likesuch as El Nino up to about 1 year in advance.
The image to the left of that which is basically the measurements of ocean surface windvector, this wind speed and direction, obtained by joint partnership with U.S.-Japanese satellite. Later from this satellite captured the storms in the Pacific for the first time and has helped improve our weathershort-term weather predictive capabilities on a near-real-time basis.
The lastthe next image basically captures the activity of phytoplanktons in the ocean. These are the microorganisms that sequester the carbon dioxide from atmosphere and serve as a basis for fish population in the ocean. Data is procured from a commercial vendor and the same data is being marketed to fishing, oil, and shipping industry in near-real time and for NASA applications in 2 to 4 weeks after that.
This last image that I will share with you basically captures for the first time measurements of precipitation over the tropical regions through a joint U.S.-Japanese mission, and the significance of these observations is their impact on the global water cycle which, in turn, impacts the agricultural and food production around the globe. The data from this mission will undoubtedly enhance our capability in weather prediction. We have been approached by Air Force and several international operational weather forecast organizations to have access to this data in near-real time for improvement of those weather forecasts.
Page 111 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Nineteen ninety-eight is equally an exciting year for Earth Science Enterprise. This is the year that we launch the first series of Earth-observing system satellites, notably EOS AM-1, the Landsat-7, and the QuikScat.
As I stated earlier, we are redefining future Earth Science missions to fully embrace the faster, better, cheaper approach. For example, the next series of EOS satellites will invest in new technologies up front to shorten mission development time to 3 to 4 years from 6 to 7 years at the moment. The upcoming QuikScat mission that I highlighted earlier will be a key test in our ability to reduce the development cycle. We plan to reduce the total cost of the next series of EOS satellites such that the average cost per mission will be down by a factor of 3. Towards this goal, we are developing a technology demonstration mission to obtain future Landsat class measurement by an instrument that is one-fourth the mass of the current Landsat satellite, ETM-Plus, uses only 20 percent of its power and costs about 25 percent of Landsat-7 mission.
On the domestic and international partnership, we intend to further expand our domestic and international partnerships. Today, combined international investment equals our contribution. We also intend to make data buys a normal way of doing business for this Enterprise.
In summary, we will establish the scientific and technological foundation to understand the Earth's atmosphere, oceans, and continents, and the interactions among them, towards developing a predictive capability for the entire Earth system. We will push the technological envelope to enable our future missions to cost less and deliver more in less time. We are determined, Mr. Chairman, to extend the benefits of our science and technology beyond scientific discoveries to solving practical societal problems such as agricultural food production, water resources, and fisheries to just name a few, through our applications and commercial partnership programs.
Page 112 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Thank you very much.
[The prepared statement of Mr. Asrar follows:]
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Chairman ROHRABACHER. Thank you very much.
We now have with us the Associate Administrator for Life and Microgravity Sciences and Applications, Dr. Nicogossian.
TESTIMONY OF ARNAULD NICOGOSSIAN, ASSOCIATE ADMINISTRATOR FOR LIFE AND MICROGRAVITY SCIENCES AND APPLICATIONS, NATIONAL AERONAUTICS AND SPACE ADMINISTRATION
Mr. NICOGOSSIAN. Mr. Chairman and members of the Subcommittee, I am glad to be here today and have this opportunity to discuss the President's Fiscal Year 1999 budget request for the NASA Office of Life and Microgravity Sciences and Applications.
As stated in Mr. Goldin's testimony on February 5, my office uses the space environment to expand fundamental knowledge in biology and physics while contributing to improved industrial processes and health care. We develop knowledge and technologies to support safe and productive human presence in space while encouraging commercial entities that seek to use space and promote educational opportunities in biology, physics, and chemistry.
In 1997, we completed two very successful international missions in microgravity sciences. As you stated before, Mr. Chairman, once again NASA demonstrated its strong commitment to research by re-flying the entire Microgravity Science Laboratory mission just 5 months after the initial flight was cut short, thus achieving all of the original science objectives and more. This was also an important test of the flexibility of the Shuttle for supporting future Space Station utilization missions. We continued operations on Mir extending U.S. presence to about 870 days while obtaining invaluable research results.
Page 113 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Nineteen ninety-seven was also a very rewarding year for many discoveries and technological activities for us. As an example, I am pleased to report that researchers at the University of California-Irvine have discovered the first-ever genetic connection between gravity and organism development. Investigators have identified what they generally refer to as a ''gravity gene.'' This gene is turned on and off in response to a gravitational load experienced by the organism that's affecting muscle development. Knowledge of this relationship between gravitational loading, the gravity gene, and muscle development will help researchers understand and treat muscles deterioration caused by space flight, inactivity, and perhaps in the future can be applied to treat certain muscular dystrophic disorders.
We have on display here to your left a poster which depicts this important finding and we hope that after the meeting you can have a chance to look at this presentationyou can have a chance to look at it.
We rely upon an ever-expanding network of partnerships within the scientific and engineering communities of the United States. We have a long-standing relationship in sharing common research interest with the international partners and the National Institutes of Health. As of October, 1997, NASA has signed 23 agreements with National Institutes of Health and these agreements have led to joint projects in areas such as biotechnology, infectious disorders, and other biomedical research in general and specifically to the forthcoming Neurolab mission to study brain function as part of the decay of the brain. Our most recent cooperative research initiative relates to aging with NIH.
In 1997, we established a strong partnership with the Juvenile Diabetes Foundation initiating research in non-invasive glucose and other blood components measurement technologies and more effective means of therapy for diabetes.
With the requested budget, we intend to continue to expand our community of outstanding peer-reviewed, investigating-initiated research and add to the pool of scientists involved in cutting-edge research in the areas such as ceramics, polymers, glasses and biologically inspired ''smart'' materials contributing to the human space flight while benefiting our national technological competitiveness in the 21st Century.
Page 114 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC So far, through Spacelab and the Shuttle we have demonstrated the importance of laboratory research in space. In the process, we have delivered important research findings and added to medical knowledge base to support a safe human presence in space. We are very excited about the future with our major research capabilities on the International Space Station. Mr. Chairman, I would like to thank you again for this opportunity and I request that the full text of my testimony which contains a lot of the achievements from last year and what we intend to do next year is introduced for the record.
[The prepared statement of Mr. Nicogossian follows:]
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Chairman ROHRABACHER. Without objection, so ordered.
And with that, we now have the newest Associate Administrator, Joe Rothenberg, who I mentioned earlier, of the Office of Space Flight. And Joe, please proceed
TESTIMONY OF JOSEPH ROTHENBERG, ASSOCIATE ADMINISTRATOR, OFFICE OF SPACE FLIGHT, NATIONAL AERONAUTICS AND SPACE ADMINISTRATION
Mr. ROTHENBERG. Good morning, Mr. Chairman and members of the Subcommittee. First, I'd like to thank you for your kind acknowledgement earlier and I only hope I can live up to the expectations of Mr. Goldin, the Committee, and my colleagues in developing a different approach for the Human Exploration and Development of Spaceone that is truly an enabling function for both the scientific research committee, commercial development, and exploration of space simultaneously, while at the same time recognizing there is a strong customer base out there in these communities.
I am pleased to appear before the Subcommittee to discuss the vision of the role that the Human Exploration and Development of Space Strategic Enterprise will have in the future. I am eager to share with you the activities that we are pursuing to increase the research capabilities on the Space Station.
Page 115 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC As Mr. Goldin testified on February 5, the International Space Station is moving forward with confidence towards the launch of the Station's initial Control Module, formerly the Functional Cargo Blockknown as the Functional Cargo Block, and the first node later this year. During 1999, we will begin performing research on the International Space Station. I am confident that we will find that this facility will provide us with unprecedented opportunities to conduct long-duration, on-orbit research.
While on-orbit research capabilities are very constrained during the early Station assembly period, research capability performance for the completed Station continues to meet or exceed specifications. The Space Station program and the research offices represented today in this panel have made significant progress this year in the strategic and tactical research planning process. Dr. Nicogossian led the activities to develop the ISS Research Plan which was submitted by Mr. Goldin on the fifth of February and the first 5-year strategic level utilization plan.
Beginning in the Year 2000, utilization flights will provide opportunities to initiate the outfitting of facility-class payloads that will support research in the areas which fit within the on-orbit resource constraints. To further support the NASA research program during the assembly process, NASA is evaluating additional Shuttle flights as a transition from Spacelab and Shuttle/Mir programs to the International Space Stations' research program.
I'd like to draw your attention now to the chart off to the left which is titled, ''A Strategy for the Exploration and Development of Space.'' This is an unveiling of something that I'm working on and I think I would like to share it with you at this time.
As we begin to look forward toward the future, the HEDS Strategic Enterprise is beginning to formulate a vision for both HEDS and the International Space Station which involves the entire science community. Within this HEDS strategy, Space Station should be viewed as a center or a facility for conducting scientific, industrial and technology research on on-orbit research facility. The research activity should be focussed on the scientific and commercial benefits of the human development in space. The knowledge gained from this broad-based life science and microgravity research program, the Space Science Robotic missions, and the HEDS technology willthe technology and development aboard Space Station will increase our capability to expand the human frontier. As the technology matures, it will enhance the capability to expand the human frontier. As the technology makes human exploration and the development of space more affordable and the scientific or commercial rationale for human presence being on Earth orbit becomes apparent, we will be positioned as a Nation to take advantage of the opportunity.
Page 116 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC And what that strategy depicts is investments in increasing the sustainability of humans by opening the frontier through research on the Station. When the opportunity is presented by theeither the rationale for scientific researchfor human involvement in scientific research, that isbeyond the Earth's low-Earth orbit or commercial opportunities with high return on investment are identified, I think at that point we will have the technology in place at an affordable cost to proceed on and take advantage of those opportunities. That's the underlying strategy that we're beginning to work on.
In my previous position as Center Director at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center, I was committed to enabling the Earth and Space Science communities to also use Space Station and take advantage of it. In my current position, I am continuing to pursue this commitment with several spacecraft study activities in support of a scientific community needs. As an example, we are evaluating the development of a free-flyer pallet based on the current Spartan spacecraft design that will be capable of an extended on-orbit life. Co-flying with Space Station, this free-flyer could be utilized for Earth and Space Science missions as well as technology demonstrations, potentially with a design that supports payload change-out on-orbit from Station.
To enable the future understanding and exploration of the universe, NASA has planned already a robotic mission fora robust program for robotic exploration of the solar system, as you've heard from Dr. Huntress. These missions will allow a virtual presence by humans, as well as providing for knowledge about the environment and potential for Human Exploration and Development of Space. One example of the integrated human and robotic exploration objectives is the Office of Space Science and the Office of Space Flight and the Office of Life and Microgravity Sciences and Applications joint effort on the 2001 Mars Surveyor mission, a collaborative effort that will include radiation and soil/dust measurement devices, a Mars In-Situ Propellant production precursor flight demonstration, as well as aerocapture and precision landing.
Page 117 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Pharmaceutical research using the microgravity environment on the Shuttle and Mir have already shown commercial promise in the growth of crystals and other materials. I believe the ISS Research Plan, along with the reality of the International Space Station, provides the opportunity to fully engage commercial interests in expanding Space Station's utilization. HEDS is committed to increasing the role of enabling both the service providers, such as Spacehab, and the industrial communities to take advantage of the potential economic return provided by the International Space Station.
In closing, the International Space Station is going to be a premiere research laboratory with a robust research program. I'm committed to make this happen. It will provide us with these opportunities for expanding scientific and commercial development beyond those currently envisioned. We're only limited by the imagination. The Space Station will provide us with the laboratory to learn to live in space and demonstrate the technology required to provide the capability to expand our frontier.
In my new role, I have just begun to look at how to guide the Enterprise from an infrastructure developing organization to a user-driven enablingenabler of human exploration in the development of space. This will be accomplished in partnership with the scientific community, academia, and industry. I believe if we do this right, and demonstrate we can do it at an affordable cost, the Nation will have both a rationale and mandate for human exploration of the universe. Thank you.
[The prepared statement of Mr. Rothenberg follows:]
Insert offset folios 48-50
Chairman ROHRABACHER. Thank you very much.
I'll ask a couple questions and I'd like to welcome a few other of our members who have joined us, but, especially Ralph Hall who is the distinguished former Chairman of this Subcommittee. And we always appreciate Ralph's institutional memory that he shares with us and makes sure that we keep on track and his guidance and I have personally appreciated that. And I think what I'm going to do now is move forward with a couple questions and then we will move on to our colleagues.
Page 118 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC And this is forlet me make sureit's Dr. Asrar. Make sure that'sam I pronouncing that correctly?
Mr. ASRAR. Asrar. Asrar.
Chairman ROHRABACHER. Asrar. Alright. Dr. Asrar, it's good again to see a scientist back in charge of your program. As you've probably read in Space News, I recently commented that it's sometimes hard for satellite builders, like the folks at Goddard and in industry, to remember that the goal is basically not building satellites, but instead it's collecting ''data'' or is it ''data?'' It's one of those
Mr. ASRAR. Both of those.
Chairman ROHRABACHER. Okay.
EARTH SCIENCE UNCOSTED CARRYOVER
Chairman ROHRABACHER. Andbecause that's what we're after. We're after information, we're after making sure that information can get to people and these people and the scientists will have a chance to work with that information and not just the job of building scientists. And, now that I've said that, and I think the Earth Science program is making progress in this area, but there are still some big problems, particularly in the finance of the program. For 2 years, NASA has been promising that it would improve the uncosted and unobligated carryover in this program, but at the end of Fiscal Year 1997, you had $697 million unspent. That's roughly half of your budget.
Worse yet, as of December, you still hadn't figured out how to spend $240 million. Now, isn't this the case of a program that'swell, it's not spending what we're allocating so maybe we're allocating too much money. Soor, is it that the money has just been poorly managed? Boy, thosethat'swell, there must be somea third alternative that I'm sure you'll enlighten us with. So, perhaps you could address that.
Page 119 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. ASRAR. Yes, Mr. Chairman. Thank you very much again for the opportunity. We have recognized that problem and we are taking the necessary steps to address your concern.
First, in the area of end cost thatI think there are three categories of problems contributing to this total sum. One is in the area of uncommitted, basically we'resome of the programs were being examined or we werefor example, the data buy arrangement that we had, about $50 million. It took a while for us to develop an announcement, solicit the proposals, and start some of these projects, as you are quite well aware of that, and that's a large sum of money contributing to this and caused it.
Another major area has been the Data and Information System development. As you are, again, well aware, we were reexamining our approach to data handling, processing, and distribution. The baseline approach had some problems running behind schedule and we were challenged by the Academy and were directed to identify alternative approaches to data processing and handling. And we had another solicitation and another group of proposals that we had to evaluate and we werewe're keeping close to $15 million for that particular activity and we managed to select those projects late last year and put them on the contract.
The third area that contributes to this very large sum is our Research and Analysis program. It is the grant award procedurethese are thewe have more than 2,300 grants issued to universities, private sector, and other government laboratories. And, historically, we have had problem from the time that we initiate theseselect these projects to the time that we actually put them under grant and contract themit's a procedurethese are the three major contributors, the end-cost
Chairman ROHRABACHER. Well, let me just note that we expect that this isn't going to be a continuing situation and there's a lot of other people screaming for money and, you know, if we have this situation continue, it's hard for us to fence off money for America's space efforts and your endeavors
Page 120 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. ASRAR. Right.
Chairman ROHRABACHER. If this type of situation continues. People are going to want to grab that money.
Mr. ASRAR. Mr. Chairman, you have my personal assurance that I am committed to fix this problem
Chairman ROHRABACHER. Okay.
Mr. ASRAR. And we have set a process in place that, over the next 12 to 18 months, reduces our end-cost atfor the operational systems to about 1 month reserve
Chairman ROHRABACHER. Well, let's put it this way
Mr. ASRAR (continuing). For the
EARTH SCIENCE COMMERCIAL DATA PURCHASE
Chairman ROHRABACHER. It's taken about, what, 2 years since the President requested $50 million for this data buy, commercially
Mr. ASRAR. Right.
Chairman ROHRABACHER (continuing). Data buy and, after 2 years, it's about one-tenth of the money that has been spent and it just seems to me that what we're talking about here is a resistance, number one, in this particular area, to the idea that you were going to get this from the private sector. It's a resistance to working with other people and other organizations, and I would hope with your leadershipand it is going to require your personal leadershipthat we can overcome this type of resistance. It's not good for the taxpayers and it's not good for the whole program.
Mr. ASRAR. Absolutely. You have my personal commitment and my personal assurance that I'll see to it that, again, the data buy becomes a routine part of our effort. Later this summer we will be in a position to select the final set of projects from the initial set of projects that we have selected for Phase 1 and we will be in a position to obligate and commit the funds in the data buy. But, that wouldn't be the end of the process.
Page 121 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Once again, as I stated in my testimony, we have made the data buy a routine process in our way of procuring those observations that you were referring to earlier on. We are going to exhaust every possible avenue
Chairman ROHRABACHER. Um-hum.
Mr. ASRAR. For getting our data from private sector and through partnerships first before we embark on developing a unique mission to accomplish those objectives.
Chairman ROHRABACHER. Okay. One last note and please do not infer when I ask about money that's not being spent that in some way I'm pressuring you to spend money. Let's put it this way. Whenif you were spending money unwisely, you know, I'd bewe'd be very upset and so we're happy that there's some thought been going into this and there's a delicate balance here that we're talking about and we have to be sensitive to that.
Mr. GORDON. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I represent 15 counties immediately surrounding Nashville and a little to the east. The counties that arethe suburb counties of Nashville are prosperous. One, Williamson, is the wealthiest county in Tennessee, but you go a little bit further out the ring and I have a county called Clay where it had the third highest unemployment in the Nation a couple of months ago. Now, the unemployment is down to 30 percent. But, every family is touched when you have 30 percent unemployment.
Another county is called ClayI'm sorry, Cannon County, in the town of Woodberry. Last year, at the end of the school year, their education budget had run out of money and so they couldn't use the schoolbuses for the last month of the school.
SPACE STATION FUNDING JUSTIFICATIONS
Mr. GORDON. Now, I know that the catch word at NASA now is faster, cheaper, and better, but no one really in my part of the country is celebrating that the Space Station is down to $32 billion. In Williamson County, they will tell me, why are taxing me so much, you know, to send money out in space? If I'm in Cannon County, they say, why are we spending money in space when we can't even run our schoolbuses?
Page 122 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC You know, to tell them that we've got a deal that a new spacecraft is only going to cost $165 millionwe got it down to $165 millionit's a little hard for them to appreciate. And I guess what I would like, if you might be able to help me to explain to the folks at home, why this is a good investment, you know, what this is doing for them, and why it's worth the schoolbuses not running the last year? So, Misterwould you start, Mr. Rothstein? [sic] Maybe you could start with us, since you're going to have to be accountable for awhile and explain how I might explain this to my constituents.
Mr. ROTHENBERG. It's a tough question but I will give you my best answer. Let me start withI believe that if we go back to Lewis and Clark, the example we used earlier, that we didn't know what we were going to find at that point in time and I recognize that was probably, at that time, a not very popular decision with some factions within the government for some of the very same reasons. That money was being taken away from needs to deal with domestic and social problems.
My belief is there's a couple of things about Space Station. One, learning to live in space is one thing, but we're using it for a research facility and that's really what we're here about today. It does offer the possibilityand I guess Dr. Nicogossian can direct the answersfor improvements in life on Earth; drug research.
There's some belief and some challenges alsoI must admit, not without controversythat the fact that we can grow three-dimensional tissues using a bioreactorone of the facilities we're putting on Space Station offers the opportunity for medical researchers to understand the impact of drugs on treating disease in a way that they can't do on Earth. And, on Earth, you can only deal with the two-dimensional development of tissue and it restricts our ability to do medical researchthe delicatethings that combat virusesdrugs that combat viruses, one example.
A second is that my belief is that as we learn to develop andwhat we might the capability to mine spacewhether it's this commercial endeavor for the asteroid, whether through the robotic missions we make a discovery of a mineral, or a finding with one of our return samples that has a high return on investment on industrial development for commercial return and benefit on Earth that can be an economic return to Earth in the form of, again, taxes on this but in the form of investment and jobs that create the capabilities to go out and mine an asteroid or mine a planet.
Page 123 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Finally, I believe that there is a human experience part of this that a lot of people in the country do look for. And that is the ability to one day possibly have the average citizensthe ability to not only be virtually present in space through virtual reality and robotics but actually one day be able to go up in space and actually take a voyage. Now, I realize that will not relate to somebody who today doesn't have a schoolbus and has to walk 5 miles to work. But I believe there's a lot to learn out there that we don't know and I can't do anything but chase that promise and hopefully produce a research program that exploits it and produces not only a better life on Earth, but some potential for a future return on our investment that we don't imagine today.
Mr. GORDON. Well, that's a $32 billion bet of what you hope will happen. Maybe Mr. Huntress canwe can look back on experience, rather than tell folks what we're going to get them. Maybe you could might tell us what we've given them.
Mr. HUNTRESS. Well, I think one of the things that it's important to let someone like that know is that 97 percent of the federal budget, you know, is really spent on individuals and less than 3 percent of the federal budget is spent on investing in the future, and in the R&D enterprise of this country. NASA is just one of those R&D enterprises. And what R&D is, is an investment in the future. The country ought to be solving its problems now, but spending a small fraction of that total budget on the future so at the same time we try to balance the budget; that we try to, at the same time, fix our problems that are right here today. A small fraction ought to be invested in the future. Just like an individual puts aside some small fraction of their income for savings.
And in NASA's case, those dollars are not spent in space; they are spent right here on planet Earth, and provide employment for people on this planet as well. And what we produceour productis intangible but important; and that's discovery and knowledge. And that knowledge and discovery is going to be important for their children, to provide a better planet for their children, and to provide, also, a competitive economy for this country in the future.
Page 124 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. GORDON. Thank you.
Chairman ROHRABACHER. Mr. Roemer?
TECHNOLOGY RESEARCH FUNDING LEVELS
Mr. ROEMER. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
I'd like to follow up on your presentation a little bit and on the gentleman from Tennessee's questions by saying that I really appreciate especially, Mr. Huntress, your presentation of what is successful in NASAso much of the faster, cheaper, better. Many of my constituents, when they look at the space program and they see Clementine or they see the Hubble, and they see so many of the wonderful pictures that have come back from the Pathfinder are excited and downright supportive of the kind of things going on in NASA. That's the faster, cheaper, better; and that's what we're doing, hopefully, more and more of.
And then on the other hand, you have the slower, bloated, not even mediocre Space Station which is taking up more and more of NASA's budgetcost over-runs, inefficiencies, rescheduling. And the scenario is going on and on and on, where we're seeing now, $50 million coming out of Earth Sciences, $50 million coming out of Space Sciencesas is requested by the Administrationfor $100 million Supplemental Request. That deeply concerns me. I think we've got a lot of very, very good things going on in NASA, and some very, very troubling one thing going on in NASAthe Space Station.
I guess my question would be to you, first of all, Mr. Huntress. Again, thank you for all your hard work for the country. I mean that sincerely, and I know you're in a difficult position.
Yesterday in the New York Times science section there was an article about a studya committee report by the National Research Councilsaying that they don't believe that NASA is putting enough into the cutting edge technologies. I would argue that the Space Station is eating up some of that seed corn money that we need for basic research. They talk about anywhere from $20 million to $25 million is needed to keep this cutting edge going in a host ofthey outline five or six different areas. Are you supportive of this report, and are you supportive of coming up, somehow, with this need $20 million to $25 million?
Page 125 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. HUNTRESS. Mr. Roemer, thank you once again for your accolades, and again for your support, along with the rest of the members of this Committee for Space Science. That's one of the reasons why we've been able to do so well.
The area of technologyI haven't had a chance to actually look at this report in its detailbut in the case of Space Science, we have only just recently, in the past year, acquired from the dissolution of the technology code in NASA, acquired the technology programs from that code and begun to integrate them into our science program.
Now one of the reasons why we are able to make better, faster, cheaper work is because of investments in technologies up front, before we do the missions, so that by the time we get ready to do them, we know what technologies we're going to use and what they're going to cost. And we can take advantage of the technologies to bring the cost down. And, in fact, our technology budget is up this year in Space Science and we actually have stewardship of a technology program for the rest of the agency in developing spacecraft technologies. And so our total technology budget is on the order of $400 million. And we have just finished a complete restructuring of that program in order to provide the appropriate structure to move forward from what was a fairly diversely scattered program. And we have just finished aligning it with our strategic plan here so that we can provide the technologies required for the future.
I think the budget that we have in Fiscal Year 1999 is adequate for doing what we need to do to realize what's in this strategic plan and for developing new spacecraft technologies for these gentlemen here.
Mr. ROEMER. Let me just stop you because I only have 5 minutes and I want to ask you a follow-up on that. They say in this report that certainly we've been able to develop off-the-shelf technology to do some of these things at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, but those days are numbered. We need to get back to original research and cutting-edge technologies which, they claim, are not in the budget. Are you supportive of $20 million to $25 million that would invest in NASA the things that they're doing so well and helping us keep this edgethis competitive edge and this cutting technologyto be out there in the future?
Page 126 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. HUNTRESS. I think in the area of the long-term advanced technologies we're probably not spending as much ofthe fraction of our technology budget that we're spending is not as much as it ought to be. I don't know whether it's $25 million or what it is, but we could certainly make good use of an increased fraction of spending there.
Mr. ROEMER. Mr. Chairman, could I ask one final question?
Chairman ROHRABACHER. Certainly.
Mr. ROEMER. Okay, thank you.
Chairman ROHRABACHER. As long as it's not about the Space Station.
Mr. ROEMER. What? Are you telling me what I can and cannot ask now, Mr. Chairman? You are powerful.
Chairman ROHRABACHER. No, go right ahead; anything you want. Anything you want.
MISSION OPERATIONS AND DATA ANALYSIS FUNDING
Mr. ROEMER. In terms ofand I'm not sure who is the appropriate person on the panel to ask this toin terms of some of the cuts that I'm most concerned about as I look through the report here, it says that: the Mission Operation and Data Analysis is actually declining. And this could raise serious concerns to me that while we're doing more faster, cheaper, better, and we're doing more missions out there, we have actually less money going to employ people to process and analyze the data. Why is this?
Mr. HUNTRESS. I'll try that one too, Mr. Roemer. Our Mission Operations and Data Analysis budget in total has been declining in the past several years. And the main reason for that is because we are reducing the cost of the MO partthe Mission Operations part. Because we're using new technologiesnew computer technologiestaking advantage of these so that we require fewer people actually to operate a single spacecraft. We can operate more spacecraft with less resources. We want to get into a situation in 3 or 4 years from now where we can operate spacecraft with our PC's instead of mainframe computers and hundreds of people.
Page 127 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC The DA partthe Data Analysis partwhich produces the science from the missions; I mean we have been very careful at protecting that part of the budget.
Mr. ROEMER. I just hope we're not leaving data that is not analyzed and not utilized. And we've heard from some scientists that worry about that.
Mr. Chairman, I thank you for your patience.
Chairman ROHRABACHER. That was a very good line of questioning. And again, you know, the purpose of these programs are not just to build the technology or not to perform extravaganzas for entertainment purposes, it's for gathering scientific information that can be put to useful purposes to help improve the quality of life of all humankind.
And with that, Ralph Hall?
SPACE STATION SCIENCE FUNDING TRANSFERS
Mr. HALL. Mr. Chairman, thank you.
As a strong supporter of NASA, historically, always, and almost 100 percent, I must tell you that I'm leaning more and more toward listening to Mr. Roemer than I ever have before with about $460 million transferred from the Space Station's Life and Microgravity Science Payload since 1996, and you're doing it slowly. I think you took $50 million out in 1996; $177 million out in 1997; $235 million out for 1998. I just think that's a sorry situation. And I don't understand, Mr. Rothenberg, you're the one that's getting the money. Mr. Nicogossian, you're losing the money. Are you sitting there supporting these transfers? Mr. Nicogossian, are you supporting these transfers?
Mr. ROTHENBERG. Sure. I think I can respond to that, Congressman Hall, first, and then let Dr. Nicogossian follow up.
Let's see, the fact is that it's true, we moved abouta total of about$462 million out of the 1996 to 1998 budget and added back in a lesser number of $350 million in 2001 and 2002. Part of the reason of moving it is we clearly were not ready to spend that money in those years. There was no question about that. The obvious question then is why didn't we move $460 million back inthe total number.
Page 128 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Two things have happened since then that allowed us to take advantage of some of the savings between the 462 and the 350inflation notwithstandingand that is: No. 1, we increased the participation by our partners, by our European and Russian partners. The glove box, the centrifuge, the research facilityEarth viewing facility for the windoware now being provided by our international partners.
The second thing that we were able to take advantage of is the capability of the cost of technology coming down. Some of the same technology savings with Mission Operations are also similar in the equipment we need to provide the facilities for research. And so the costs are actually coming down so that I chose a cost savings in putting in some of the same facilities.
As far as the content of the research program, I think Dr. Nicogossian would be better suited to answer that particular piece of the question.
Mr. NICOGOSSIAN. Mr. Hall, we are watching Mr. Rothenberg and his predecessors and his successors very carefullyboth the community and us. What we did as the researchthe decision flightmoved to the right, obviously, there was no reason, like I testified last year, to rush and to deploy some facilitiesor build some facilitieswhich might become technologically obsolete by the time you deployed them and to have them on the ground.
Some of the things that I talked in my testimony were actually things that we are doing to improve our posture on the Space Station by having time to introduce new technology. And we have been working very careful, very closely, with the Space Station people to make sure that technology is infused into the facilities. As a matter of fact, we have been all the time in touch with our science community, with our advisory structures on every single step that was taken. And we have also requested the NRC, for example, to conduct a study looking at the furnace facilities. And there you commented that we do something a little bit different with the furnace facility than what was planned originally, and we are in the process of implementing it.
Page 129 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. Rothenberg is correct saying that we have negotiated or bartered certain portions of our activities with our international partners. The financial partners are going to deliver like the refrigerator-freezers, and the centrifuge, hopefully, on time.
We do notour community and uswe can stand today and tell you that we have not de-scoped the research capability on the Space Station. And we are going to continue to work with the Space Station to make sure that we increase the op-mass, that we increase the crew time, and that we start as early as possible to the utilization on the Space Station. As a matter of fact, we are looking at flying some of the hardware that we have today early on during the build-up of the Space Station to test the environment and to understand how to do better research on that Space Station. Our major facilities are going to be deployed starting the utilization flight one in the Year 2000January 2000and I think those facilities are on track. And as far as I know, we have not de-scoped any.
We have also established a set of methods by which we can gauge the progress made by the Space Station in deploying those research capabilities. And those were established with our research community. And those methods will be used to help with assessing in real numbersif you wish, in quantitativelysome of the very few of the qualitatively assessing the progress made toward the utilization of the Space Station. But so far, no science was de-scoped, sir.
Mr. HALL. Well, the truth is somebody has overrun their budget and you've taken the budget out of the bioreactor budget that we set there. No one forced you to overrun that budget and there are people wasting away in cancer wards and young children and young girls have to hit themselves in the leg with a needle for diabetes every morning before they go to school that are waiting for something to come out of that Space Stationa product to come out of that Space Stationsomething other than vast expenditures of money and ticker-tape parades. I think the American people expect something for people who have put their hard-earned tax dollars into there and then for me to see that you took $50 million out in 1996, $177 million in 1997, and you're going for $235 million in 1988, makes me think that you have low regard for those people that I've just talked about. And I think your actions show that. Please tell me what your actions show otherwise.
Page 130 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. NICOGOSSIAN. The bioreactorlet me tend to disagree with you, sir. The bioreactor facility for the Space Station is being developed. We are taking steps at the Johnson Space Center to expand the bioreactor capability and the bioreactor office so we can really accelerate that type of research that you are talking about. We have entered into agreements with the National Institutes of Health and we have established a laboratory which is offering research on bioreactors for other government agencies. And they are doing more diverse research in the area of cancer and infectious diseases and others that we can imagine. And some of the members of this Committee have visited, actually, that laboratory in the National Institutes of Health. They have seen what we are doing.
We have an agreement with Trevarex, with the company who is producing those bioreactors commercially available, to extend that research in different universities, and we fund some of that research. We also have entered into juvenile diabetes into joint partnership, not only to extend the bioreactors, sir, but also to develop that technology that we were just starting to talk about that we are developing now where we have successfully demonstrated that you cannotyou canmeasure your blood glucose without taking blood, and because we need that technology also for space flight and we are pushing ahead with the juvenile diabetes to have that technology jointly funded and developed.
As a physician, I have a high regard for the patient's life, and I, you know, I know that the Space Station has been using for development some of the money which we have not spent and accrued as part of the science and technology facilities. And, like I told you before, so far, we have not de-scoped with any research requirements. The deployment of the facility is consistent with the Space Station deployment and sequence. And if we build those facilities and keep them on the ground, that will not do too much good for us. But with our budget that I testified today, we are charging ahead with whatever budget we have to go on to make sure that we contribute to health care.
Page 131 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. HALL. And you have a projection, I think, in one of the graphs here, or part of the NASA backup for your presentation today, showing that in Fiscal Year 1998, and then through 1999, and 100, and 2001 and 2002 that you are going to dramatically increase the amount of money that you've transferred out of there. What all has to happen before you're able to increase that money? It looks to me like it's just a promise. I can't see anything other than that. I've seen some definite action on transferring money out of a fund that we had proposed for use to seek the cures to the dreaded diseases that you are moving away from.
Mr. ROTHENBERG. Well, Congressman, what has to happen and what we're pushing very hard to do is: we have to complete the development of the Station and get it on orbit and provide the research facilities up there.
Mr. HALL. Well, you must have known that in 1996 when you took $50 million out. And what did you do with that?
Mr. ROTHENBERG. I'll have to get you that answer since I wasn't here in 1996.
Mr. HALL. And obviously, you miscalculated because then you reached in and got $177 million the next budgetary period. And now you are doubling that. Is there going to be anything left there to study, to operate the reactor, to give hope to those people that are betting absolute life on finding a cure in spacein the weightless environment of spacethat they've been unable to find here?
Mr. ROTHENBERG. Truly, that's what we have to do with the Station. I believe with the budgets I've seenand we will have a budget hearing in 2 weeks and answer these much more definitivelythat there is a robust research program still out there. I think you've heard Dr. Nicogossian say that the content of that program is consistent with what we plan to do. And the fact that we took the money out and put it back in in the out-years is consistent with what the facilities on orbit would be capable of doing; not the fact that we totally spent all the money in the in-years without leaving the money in the out-years to conduct the research program. I really would ask, if possible, Mr. Chairman, and Congressman Hall, that we defer that for the Space Station hearings which are coming up in, I think, in the end of March or beginning of March.
Page 132 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Chairman ROHRABACHER. I think you just got a little taste of what is going to be coming.
Mr. HALL. I yield back my time.
Mr. NICOGOSSIAN. May I add one fact.
Chairman ROHRABACHER. Yes, sir.
Mr. NICOGOSSIAN. Congressman Hall, currently actually, the bioreactor is flying on MIR. And one of the things that we are trying to do in space, as you recall, we find that the bioreactor on Earth cannot produce the tissue larger than the size of on centimeter on the ground. It falls unless you go to weightlessness and you can produce larger samples of tissue like we did on the previous MIR mission when we produced cartilagebone cartilagein space. And what we are trying to do, we are trying, actually, to address how our tumors do createdo getblood supplies. And we have that experiment going to better understand. Like, for example, we are growing base cancer cells with vessels to understand how the vessels feed, actually, blood to the tumors. That's what the experiment that is ongoing currently. We intend to build the next generation of bioreactors.
Mr. HALL. If I could have just an additional 30 seconds?
Chairman ROHRABACHER. With unanimous consent, certainly.
I hear no objection.
Mr. HALL. You, the Administrator for Life and Microgravity Sciences and Applications, and that's the study of human research, basically, and that's your prerogative, is it not?
Mr. NICOGOSSIAN. Yes, sir. We are the office which is involved in it.
Mr. HALL. The money has come out of that thrust and gone into another thrust of the Shuttle and Station programsastronauts. How much moneywhat percent of the money that we expected to go in to under your jurisdiction has beenwhat percent has beentransferred out? If you know it. If you don't know you can write it to me.
Page 133 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. NICOGOSSIAN. I told you, from the request that we are making for the Research and Analysis which is the $240 million for Fiscal Year 1999, none of that is going to the Space Station or the Shuttle. It's going to the principal investigators, and to the researchcooperative researchand to support flight investigations. But it's not going to support the development of the Space Station.
Mr. HALL. I thank you. I yield back my time.
Chairman ROHRABACHER. But the last couple of years, I mean, his question: what percentage of money has been taken for other purposes.
Mr. NICOGOSSIAN. We can go and provide that for you later on. But no money was taken from the investigator pool money, for the peer review research.
Chairman ROHRABACHER. And again, Congressman Hall's questions go right to the heart of the matter again. And it goes right back to the data collection and all the other things that we're talking about. We arethe purpose of the program is not to build a Space Station. The purpose of the program is to build a Space Station which will then provide us with information and a useful tool for mankind. And to the degree that we are taking away from that purpose, it's the degree that we are betraying the people who are paying for the Space Station. And so, thank you very much for that line of questioning.
Now, we're going to reward people who arrive with their time. Whoever arrives here first get a chance to ask questions first. I would like to note that Ms. Jackson Lee is here, and was here before Dr. Weldon, although we usually shift back and forth between Republicans. And we're very happy that you are not the last one to ask questions this time. Ms. Jackson Lee?
Ms. JACKSON LEE. Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman. It's a miracle of sorts since Wednesday seems to be a day when they triple book us in hearings and mark-ups. But I appreciate this hearing and would like to ask the Chairman to allow me to submit a statement for the record.
Page 134 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Chairman ROHRABACHER. Without objection. So ordered
NASA AND EARTH SCIENCE FUNDING LEVELS
Ms. JACKSON LEE. Thank you. And to associate myself with several of the points that were made. First let me thank Dr. Huntress for his years of service and commitment and wish you the very best as you proceed on to even greater and better endeavors, I'm sure.
I made the point when the Administrator was here, Dan Goldin, that even though it had been noted that there is an insignificant, as I have heard it described, budget cut or difference in the Fiscal Year 1999 budget for NASA, that I was displeased because I viewed NASA as having been one of the more efficient agencies in years past, even before we all moved into the balanced budget mode. So NASA's actually being cut more because it was cut previously, or had to work with such diminishing funds. So I was concerned that we were taking a backseat on this argument about more money. And I would appreciate, as I asked my question, why, in the internal mechanism of NASA, there was not an effort to eitherto not have any cuts because you had shown yourself to be efficient in the past.
And the reason why I say that is to add to my concern about the cuts in Space Sciences particularly as it relates to transfer. I will add my support for the Space Station, I continue to support the Space Station. But again, because of what it portends to do, it stands on its own two feet, and that is the feet of the kind of science that will come out of that.
So my question goes to the Earth Science budget in particular, noting that there is a $45.3 million decrease and then the decrease does not take into consideration the transfers. Two questions that I would like to have all of you answer, even if you say that Dr. X or Y is better able to answer it, and that is: atmosphere, weather, Earth conditions have risen to the national agenda. From California to Florida, people are frightened in their homes and in their communities. More than sports and the latest murder, people are rising to find out what is going on with the weather. The tragedy of 37 deaths in Californiaexcuse me, in Floridathe mud slide in California, and the constant rain has us all in a panic. I would imagine that the Earth Sciences effort is very much intertwined with that. You are now at the national forefront. Why then are we diminishing the resources and subjecting you to transfers? What does this do to your work?
Page 135 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC And then, I am from Texas and will say that I embrace the industry that has given us bread and waterthat is the energy industryso that all that may want to write about my comments, I am certainly one that recognizes the validity of that industry to our community. But at the same time, having constituents who suffer from asthma and other respiratory ailments, and myself experiencing the overlayor blanketfeeling sometimes with respect to the atmospherethe chemical smells, if you willand knowing that many of that comes out of your research as to its ultimate impact and how we can better address the atmosphere, and might I say the words of global warming. How is that going to all be impacted no matter what small way you are involved, by this continuous diminishing of your resources and internal transfers? And I'll finish by saying: why didn't you in the mix argue for NASA's budget being stabilized so that your moneys can be stabilized as well.
And I thank the gentlemen for their time, and I thank the Chairman.
Mr. ASRAR. Thank you very much. I'm very sorry that you were not present when I made my general remarks and to show and highlight some of the exciting results of our missions in 1997. We are indeed making a great impact on our ability to understand the causes of some of these various phenomena that you were citing, both in terms of atmospheric phenomena that's initiated in the atmosphere as well as in the ocean. I demonstrated at least two or three examples of where our measurement capabilities that we are putting in place are having an impact on short-term weather prediction as well as our ability to be able to understand these phenomena and predict them 6 months or 1 year in advance. That's the goal of our program. It is beginning. The data from our missions is beginning to basically materialize. And we are making the necessary arrangements to transfer thenot only the information, but also the knowledge that we gain from these missionsto the operational agencies such as NOAA, USGS and Coast Guard.
And we are determinedI stated that we are determined to continue to push that aspect of our program to show relevance of the science and extend the scientific discoveries beyond the scientific curiosity domain into practical benefits to the society.
Page 136 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC And as far as the tropospheric pollution and understandings of the impact of some of the human induced activities, we are just beginning to put in place a scientific program to truly understand those processes.
And historically, NASA has been staying out of the political debates and policy debates. We take the position on providing the scientific facts and allowing the policy makers to really draw the conclusions from those facts. And we continue to do so.
We at NASA have not invested in the past in understanding the chemistry of the lower part of the atmosphere called tropospherewhere we live. As part of our program over the next decade, we are investing a large sum of our scientific and technology development in understanding the nature of the troposphere, how these pollutants are transported from continent-to-continent because that is the key to our debate about the commitment of the nations to establishing sound international policy decisions.
Coming to your question
Ms. JACKSON LEE. Dr. Asrar
Mr. ASRAR (continuing). About how, what is
Ms. JACKSON LEE. Let me interrupt you for a second. I am being called to the Floor. And you would make a great opposition witness in not answering the question which isand I appreciate your point about where you've been involved. My concern, basically, is the utilization of funds. Do you have the funds to be able to respond to your emerging prominencewith El Nino, with the issues of global warming? And I can just sort of simply get a yes or a no, and how you're using the moneys that you have and how that is being translated into the important work that you do. And I do appreciate the explanation, but I will look forward to reading the testimony that I might have missed.
Mr. ASRAR. Yes, indeed we are. And the reason for basically the efficiencies that we are realizing from the program and the reduction in our budget, or being able to accommodate the requirements that we have within sort of the fixed budget, is the fact that we are adopting a new way of doing business. We are relying more and more on satellitessmall satellites. And we are investing in technologies up front, not in the context of the missions that we are developing. Therefore, the total development cycle of these missions are being reduced to 3 to 4 years instead of 6 to 7 years. We are working for ways and means of obtaining the data through commercial partnerships which basically does not require us investing up front in the space assets. These are a combination of different ways of doing business, or a new way of doing business, that we are adopting. As such, we are taking advantage of the efficiencies in getting our program implemented.
Page 137 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Ms. JACKSON LEE. You would like to see, however, your budget stabilized over a period of time.
Mr. ASRAR. Yes, ma'am.
Ms. JACKSON LEE. Does anyone else want to just comment very briefly? Mr. Chairman?
Chairman ROHRABACHER. Thank you, Ms. Jackson Lee.
Ms. JACKSON LEE. Time is gone?
Can anyone else say yes or nothe other gentlemen that are here?
Mr. ROTHENBERG. Well, since I'm a recipient of some of the benefits of the ability to do things faster and cheaper and helping us through some of our Space Station problems, I believe it's important that we get the development behind us and start using it. Because it does provide an opportunity to test the Earth and Space Science instruments that are far cheaperlower cost approachthan they have been doing previously. So, I think our contribution is to try to get the Space Station built as fast as we can and take advantage of the transfer of funds to do that on schedule.
Ms. JACKSON LEE. And you think, however, stabilizing Earth Science funds are stillstabilizing of Earth Science funding? Is that something that we need to look at?
Mr. ROTHENBERG. Well, I really can't comment on stabilizing Earth Science funding.
Chairman ROHRABACHER. Thank you, Ms. Jackson Lee.
Ms. JACKSON LEE. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Chairman ROHRABACHER. I might note, Ms. Jackson Lee, that before you arrived, when I questioned Mr. Asrar that we were noting that he did not spend a large chunk of the money that he was already allocated and that seemed to be more of a problem than not having enough money.
Page 138 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC With that, Dr. Weldon, who is concerned about the health
Ms. JACKSON LEE. Thank you.
Chairman ROHRABACHER (continuing). Implications that you brought up more than anybody else because Dr. Weldon is an actual medical doctor. And we certainly appreciate his many contributions to this Subcommittee.
Ms. JACKSON LEE. Thank you, and I join him in that concern.
Mr. WELDON. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I just had a few questions for Mr. Huntress regarding AXAF. How far behind is AXAF? How much will the delays cost the taxpayers? How has the contractor been held responsible for its performance? What happens to AXAF if it cannot be launched in December? How did the problem develop and why was it allowed to develop to the point where the mission was delayed? Those are a lot of questions, I realize, and if you forget any of them, I'll remind you, okay?
Mr. HUNTRESS. I think I've got them all. We'll try them all.
The facility was scheduled for launch in August. We now have a letter from the Marshall Space Flight Center, which is responsible for the development of AXAF that they believe that they will be ready for a launch on December 3, with a fair amount of margin towards that launch date.
We don't expect that this will be a budget issue. We will be using contingency in the program to pay the additional costs. In all of our programs we do hold contingency funds against difficulties in the development. And we have sufficient funds available for a December 3rd launch by using those project contingency funds and some Mission Operations funds that we would not otherwise use because we won't have had it launched that early.
If we don't launch it in December, there's still an opportunity in DecemberI mean in Januaryto launch it. There's a launch slot in January. We're working with Code M and Joe Rothenberg's manifesting folks, and they have offered us either or a December of January launch. We think we can take advantage of the December date.
Page 139 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC The problem here was with the contractor, TRW in California. And it had to do with software development. The software that was developed for integration and test of the facility prior to launch was not done well enough. They did not have a real good simulator for the spacecraft so they could do parallel software development at the same time that they were putting the spacecraft together. They have rectified that problem. They've undergone some tests last month that show that they've reversed the trend and that they are back on track so that we can, in fact, be fairly confident about this December launch.
Mr. WELDON. Just to follow up, you say it was a software problem for testing it out before it was launched. Was that something that TRW was responsible for developing and they failed to develop it properly? Is that what you are saying?
Mr. HUNTRESS. This wasthe software was to be developed by the contractor, by another division within the contractor. And as it began to be used in the test sequences, it was discovered that there were a fair number of bugs in the software, and they had to go back to get the bugs taken out. I think this was a, you know, failure in systems engineering, unfortunately. And that has been. The trend has changed, and those things are getting corrected.
Mr. WELDON. Is TRW being held accountable for that at all in the contract?
Mr. HUNTRESS. Yes. In fact, one of our sources of contingency funds here to complete this laboratory without any cost to the taxpayer is, in fact, by using contractor fees that TRW will not receive.
SOLAR POWER RESEARCH
Mr. WELDON. Very good.
I've got another question. Mr. Goldin testified to us back in the fall that there was $5 million in both the Fiscal Years 1999 and 2000 budgets for Solar Power research. And for some reason, which maybe you can elaborate on, that was moved from where it was residingSolar Power researchinto your area. Can you tell me what's going on with that? Any progress been made? And is the Office of Space Flight still involved at all?
Page 140 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. HUNTRESS. Yes, the money resides in what we call a Cross-Enterprise Technology Program. It's a technology development program that resides in Code S but we are stewards for that line, and in fact, need to support technology developments across the entire agency in that particular line, in fact. So that Code M is still responsible for the study itself, and the Marshall Space Flight Center in particular.
Mr. WELDON. Thank you. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Chairman ROHRABACHER. Thank you for your line of questioning on both of those.
Mr. Roemer has a couple of follow-up questions that he would like to ask.
SPACE STATION FUNDING TRANSFERS AND CONSTRUCTION SCHEDULE
Mr. ROEMER. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
I just want to follow up on some of Mr. Hall's comments. The famous bank robber, Willy Sutton, was once asked: why do you rob banks. And his reply was: well, that's where the money is. And it seems to me with the witnesses that we have up there today, that we're kind of taking from some accounts because that's where the money is, to fund the Space Station which is about $4 billion over cost, and which will probably continue to run into very significant problems in the future.
My question would go right to the heart of what Mr. Hall was asking about in terms of some of the research in science that has been promised by the Space Station. And as we read more and more about the Life and Microgravity Sciences Applications Office, we see that many of the shuttle missions now are being re-manifested not to help us with research, but to do the construction on the Space Station. So they're being re-manifested, and re-categorized, and the research is not going to be done. It appears too, that due to budgetary considerations that the payload capacity and the research on some of the shuttle missions is going to be opened up more and more to paying-foreign customers rather than U.S. researchers.
Page 141 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC And I guess I would just say to bothmy question would go to both Mr. Rothenberg and to Mr. Nicogossianand let me gently remind you that you've been sworn in by the Chairmanwhat do you know of nowyou're both very bright men, I'm sure you project these things way into the futurewhat do you know of now with respect to the Russian situation, with respect to already re-manifesting shuttle flights, with respect to more transfer authority that you already have through Congress that is going to further add to the cost of this Space Station?
Chairman ROHRABACHER. That was a pretty broad question, Mr. Roemer, could you be specific which one you want to answer first, then go. Because we've only got a few minutes left.
Mr. ROEMER. Sure. Mr. Rothenberg?
Mr. ROTHENBERG. Okay, let's see. One, obviously, we will be able to answer in more detail in a couple of weeks, but at the moment we do know that the Russians have not received the money they expected on the 15th of February. We do know that the Service Module which is due at the end of this year is at least a couple of months behind schedule. Mr. Koptev presented to both Mr. Goldin, myself, as well as the technical staff, a plan that recovers that schedule. We are very skeptical of it, to say the least. So
All of these right now add up tothe first thing: the money is a serious problem. But presuming they do get the money, and I don'tthat's a big presumption for the momentbut presuming they do get the money, we believe that on the outside the schedule may slip out to February or March. They're still not saying that. They believe, and they are pushing hard with their work-arounds to make December. Even if the schedule moves out to April, on the outside, we still believe within our reserves and within the budget flexibility we will be able towe will not need additional funding.
I can't predict what happens if we run into an orbit problem with Node I or an assembly problem with Node I. We're not prepared for major setbacks in the program with funding. But we are prepared with some of the contingencies and looking at, for example, looking at flights of opportunity that will put research in the program back on the shuttle if the station starts to moveif the assembly flights start to move for any reasonbecause we find something doesn't go together exactly as we expected and we need to reschedule a flight.
Page 142 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC But at the moment, that's everything I know. And I'm sure in 2 weeks I'll be able to talk in more detail and answer your question in more detail.
Mr. ROEMER. But March or April is a best-case scenario given that the Russians get the money, which it's highly unlikely they are going to get.
Mr. ROTHENBERG. That would be my
Mr. ROEMER. I thank you.
Chairman ROHRABACHER. Mr. Gordon?
SPACE STATION FUNDING PERSPECTIVES
Mr. GORDON. Time is running out, so I'm going to be very brief.
I told you about my constituents in Franklin and in Woodbury, and Selina a little earlier. Let me tell you one more quick story. When I first ran for Congress, as probably you know, it's an expensive venture. I had to mortgage my house. And I started seeing bills come in. And I noticed that some of the bills were for more than I thought they should be, or for things that I didn't think were necessary. And that's when I realized, that when you start having people spend money, they don't have to raise it, it's a lot easier. And so I sort of have a rule now in the campaign that nobody can spend any money if they didn't have to raise it. So that they understand a little bit more, you know, and decide: okay, is that worth a ticket, or is that worth the effort I have to make to do it. And often times it is. And they make those decisions.
We've got a situation here where it's really it's Congress that has to, I guess, if you want to say, make the tough decision of whether its raising taxes or spending limited resources for programs. Yet, you know, you have the ability or the benefit to be able to spend the money. If you want to be able to, I think, spend those resources, I think, it has to be on more than on a ''trust me'' basis. I think there needs to be a better education of, I would like to start with this Committee, and certainly myself, than on further of what has the Space Stationor what has NASAdone over these past 40 years. Not what you're going to do, you know, in the next 10, but what have you done to better, I think, shore me up and then in turn, help to shore up constituents across the country so that if tough times get here, if there's an occasion when you come backI can't imagine you come back and saying: uh oh, we messed up, we might have to have more money. I'm sure that wouldn't happen. But if it did, there probably needs to be some goodwill, both in Congress and at home, to be able to substantiate that.
Page 143 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC So, I would just suggest that it would be a good idea to start. And I think there is a good story for you to tell. And I think you need to be telling that around the country and here to build up that goodwill so that folks will be able to have the ability to maybe get those additional resources for you.
Chairman ROHRABACHER. We have to go and vote. So, we're going to call this hearing to an end.
Let me just note, you can sort ofthere's a little undercurrent going on here. And I think it has to do with cost over-runs in the station. And if we get more surprises, and I'm sure we're going to get a few more surprises before this project is over, that's the type of thing that is going to bubble to the surface. Listen, we're committed to this project. We want it to work. We want it to be successful. But we have got to watch out for the interest of the taxpayers.
And in terms of Earth Science, it is absolutely necessary that we get the financial house in order there because there's actually fewer excuses in this area than there is over in the Space Station side because there's some thingsyou know, we're putting people up there and there's certain things you've got to do in order to make sure this is successful. But with Earth Sciences, we're talking about management problems here. And again, I don't want to encourage you to spend money that you don't have. The last thing I want is for people to go out and spend their budget so that Rohrabacher won't say we don't need the money anymore.
So, I mean, we're counting on your good judgment and your honesty and your integrity and goodwill between both sides of the panel herethis side and that side. So, we're interested in working with you.
And I want to thank each and every one of you for giving us some good testimony today. And again, Dr. Huntress, congratulations. We've really enjoyed working with you. You've laid a foundation for some really wonderful things in the future, so thank you all very much.
Page 144 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC This hearing is adjourned.
[Whereupon, at 11:55 a.m., the Subcommittee was adjourned, to reconvene at the call of the Chair.]
Insert offset folios 281-285
NASA'S FISCAL YEAR 1999 BUDGET REQUEST, PART IV: HUMAN SPACE FLIGHT
THURSDAY, MARCH 19, 1998
U.S. House of Representatives,
Committee on Science,
Subcommittee on Space and Aeronautics,
The Subcommittee met, pursuant to notice, at 10:10 a.m., in room 2318, Rayburn House Office Building, Hon. Dana Rohrabacher, Chairman of the Subcommittee, presiding.
Chairman ROHRABACHER. This hearing of the Space and Aeronautics Subcommittee is called to order, and I'd like to welcome the witnesses and the guests. To start things out I think what we will do is rather than having an opening statement on my part, the Chairman of the full Science Committee is with us, and we'll pay him the courtesy of allowing him the first opening statement.
Chairman SENSENBRENNER. I think the Chairman for recognizing me. Mr Chairman, we all probably have seen the movie ''Titanic'' by now. There are very few people who haven't seen that movie. As we all have watched the film it's hard not to be angry with the ship's captain. He was warned that there were icebergs in the area, but he arrogantly ordered ''Full speed ahead,'' and then he went to bed.
The Titanic struck a single iceberg with tragic consequences. The Space Station seems to be careening from one to the next, none of which has been big enough to sink the program, but we should be worried.
Page 145 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC From Russian funding problems to U.S. cost overruns, from an inability to finalize the design to an insatiable appetite for raiding science funding, from a never-ending game of budgetary smoke and mirrors to an ever receding completion date, there are clear warning signs that this program is not being managed well at all.
In 1993 when the President redesigned the Space Station and invited the Russians in, he promised the taxpayers that it would cost $17.4 billion from Fiscal Year 1994 through June 2002 and then do 10 years of science. Now we hear that the program is almost $4 billion over that total. Completion has been delayed by as much as a year and a half, while the program now only commits the eight-and-a-half years of full scientific research.
Rather than fix the problem the President has cut NASA's budget and forced it to rob one program to fund another. The Administration promised the taxpayers that Russia would not be in the critical path. The President's Science Advisor and the NASA Administrator confirmed that in testimony to this Subcommittee in 1993.
In response to my concerns that Russia could not honor its commitments to the program, the President in 1994 promised me in writing that the United States would, ''retain in-line autonomous capabilities,'' aboard the Space Station.
Those promises were not kept, and as a result every time the Russians miss a milestone or fail to make a payment, that costs the American taxpayers money, and Russian nonperformance has lootedlootedthe reserves that this Congress has very prudently budgeted for unexpected contingencies in the construction of the American elements of the Space Station.
And the Russians have never failed to miss a milestone. That's one thing we can count on. When Congress raised the concern with the Vice President in 1996 he got the Russians to promise they would do better, and I was given a piece of paper with milestones signed by Misters Goldin and Koptev, Vice President Gore, and Prime Minister Chernomydrin.
Page 146 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Not one of the Russian milestones contained in that signed document has been kept. The same thing happened in 1997. The Vice President got another promise. The Russians broke that one too.
Now the head of the Russian Space Agency told the Associated Press in Moscow 2 days ago that the 1998 budget for the Russian Space Agency is not enough to honor Russia's commitments, but the problem rests with the Americans because we've been behind in one of the element's construction.
You'd think that the White House would impose some consequences on the Russians for their continued failures. Instead it has passed the bill onto NASA and to the American taxpayers. Frankly, Mr. Chairman, we should not use the NASA budget as a way of giving foreign aid to the Russians, and this has got to stop.
NASA can't fix these problems with the policy guidance and the declining budgets that the President has given it. Mr. President, Congress has kept its end of the bargain. We've gone along with your decision to include the Russians, and we've given the Station Program every dime you've asked for, but your Administration has not kept up its end of the deal. That needs to change, and it needs to change now.
We've tried to warn the Administration that there were icebergs ahead, but the President of this Titanic has ordered full speed ahead and retired to his cabin for the night. It's past time for him to return to the helm and fix the problems that his policies have foisted on the International Space Station Program before it collapses and the American taxpayers are out even more money.
I thank the Chairman.
Chairman ROHRABACHER. Thank you very much, Mr. Sensenbrenner. Today we should have a spirited hearing on NASA's Human Flight Programs as is indicated by the Chairman's opening remarks. Our subject is the progress NASA is making in turning Space Shuttle over to the private sector. This subject is how we are assembling and using the International Space Station and NASA's plans to demonstrate new technologies which will enable further exploration and development of space.
Page 147 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Of course, NASA isn't doing any of those things, at least not yet. So instead we'll be talking about cost overruns of the International Space Station. We'll be talking about the Russians and some of our successes or most of our failures in dealing with the Russians. Scheduled delays are again on the list of issues to be discussed, and finally we'll be talking about spending billions of dollars that we don't have in order to keep 1970's technology around for another 30 years. To continue Chairman's Sensenbrenner's metaphor, I don't know if it's the ice that's going to kill us or if it's just plain old sea sickness, but at this point we seem like we're drowning and we're looking for some kind of relief, even if it's drowning we're willing to get out of this mess. I don't know how much more of the International Space Station Program we can stand, if it's going on like this.
No matter what we do NASA just seems to keep coming back and asking for more. How many more times can we handle that?just over and over againit justwhile we're moving the goal post. We're moving the goal post.
And then if some of us here question that, we end up having our own commitment to the Program and to NASA and to manned space flight questioned. Well, first of all, let's say there wouldn't be an International Space Station without this Committee, and there might not be one with this Committee if we knew 5 or 10 years ago what we know today.
I daresay former Chairman Hall wouldn't have fought so hard to save the Space Station had he known that NASA was going to slash the time available for scientific and medical research on that Station. Former Science Chairman Bob Walker wouldn't have fought so hard if he knew how much effort would have been spent in ignoring commercial opportunities rather than trying to foster new commercial opportunities.
And there is an International Space Station, and there it is, and we're stuck with it, and yet it just keeps going on and on with a higher and higher price tag. Well, they say it's better to light a candle than to curse the darkness, so Mr. Rothenberg, I am putting you and your colleagues on notice that today we are turning on the lights, not just lighting the candles but putting the spotlights on, and we're going to examine these issues.
Page 148 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC You want $173 million in transfer authority for Fiscal Year 1998, but our support is going to come at a price. We've already put strong language in the house bill mandating a fix to the Station Research Program.
As far as commercialization, I have written testimony here which Boeing gave to the Senate, saying that there are significant near term prospects for the International Space Station and Shuttle commercialization, which I could very wellwhich they could very well provide needed cost-sharing, not just during the Space Station operations but over the next 6 years in the development of Space Station.
After all, we've watched the Russians keep their space agency afloat by making and selling advertising and selling rides. Maybe it's time for the land of Madison Avenue and Hollywood to take a hint from the Russians as to how to raise some money for their program and so for our program.
So I will seek to put language into the Conference Authorization which will enable and mandate NASA to have its Space Flight operations contractor and its Space Station prime contractor pursue opportunities to generate commercial revenue which could reduce the taxpayer's burden on these programs without competing for existing commercial service providers, like launch companies.
Hopefully, this will allow us to further increase the level of scientific and technological research that we're doing with the Shuttle and with the Station, including some long term goals.
Whatever happens over the next year, there is no reason that commercial activity cannot help make the situation better, and I want to hear how it can be made better. There is no reason for us to restore and not to go in that direction and not to restore the research accounts that are under attack. So that's what we're going to do.
Without objection, written statements of other members of the Subcommittee will be in the hearing record.
Page 149 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC [The prepared statements of Mr. Roemer and Mr. Lampson follow:]
STATEMENT OF THE HONORABLE TIM ROEMER
SUBCOMMITTEE ON SPACE AND AERONAUTICS:
FY 99 NASA AUTHORIZATION: HUMAN SPACE FLIGHT
MARCH 19, 1998
Mr. Chairman, I wish to thank you for calling this hearing to review the Fiscal Year 1999 budget request for the Human Space Flight program, including the International Space Station and the Space Shuttle. It is very important for this Committee to examine the ongoing problems associated with the drastic cost growth and overruns associated with bad planning and our increasingly shaky partnership with the Russian government.
I regret to say I told you so, but it is becoming increasingly clear that with the cost at over $100 billion and climbing, the Space Station looks more like a black hole for taxpayers' dollars than a scientific research facility. When the Administration approved the Space Station redesign in 1993, NASA promised the taxpayers that no more than $2.1 billion would be spent each year for the program. At that time, it was estimated that Russia's inclusion as a partner would reduce costs by $1.6 billion. Last year, NASA told us that the cap should be broken, despite Russia's repeated promises that the money and the critical hardware components like the Service Module would be delivered. At this time, NASA has ten weeks to decide whether Russia can be counted on to hold up its end of the program before we turn to the Naval Research Laboratory to supply the interim control module.
Last month, Administrator Goldin testified that additional cost overruns will cost the American taxpayers an additional $4 billion and that the first element launch will be pushed back by another two years. I believe this 21% cost overrun may be the worst example of mismanagement involving a federal technology program in recent history. Moreover, NASA testified before this Subcommittee that the Service Module was still several months late and that the FGB and Node will be launched later as a result of these continued delays.
Page 150 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Meanwhile, NASA is being forced to cut mission control, shuttle safety, and more deserving programs such as Mission to Planet Earth, space education grants and aeronautics. Already this year, $227 million has been diverted from Space Station science and $200 million has been shifted from the Space Shuttle payload and utilization operations. Additionally, NASA has requested $100 million more to be diverted from the Space Science and Earth Sciences accounts in supplemental appropriations request.
Throwing more money at the Space Station is adding fuel to the fire. We should not grant NASA's request for supplemental funding. Rather, we should hold NASA and the Russian government's feet to the fire. The American taxpayers deserve accountability and demand that the integrity of our space program be maintained. We should therefore not encourage this backdoor foreign aid program known as the International Space Station, we should demand that the spending cap not be exceeded, and we should work quickly to keep costs overruns and schedule delays to an absolute minimum.
STATEMENT OF CONGRESSMAN NICK LAMPSON
NASA'S HUMAN SPACE FLIGHT
MARCH 19, 1998
I, too, share the concerns of many of my colleagues concerning the increasing costs and numerous delays of the International Space Station (ISS). I certainly believe that this Subcommittee must have accurate cost estimates to advise the Congress on our future policy toward ISS. We need to know the immediate future of the ISS efforts both in the United States and abroad. I am hopeful that our witnesses today will provide us the information we require to do our jobs. However, I remain convinced of the importance and the magnitude of this project. Pioneering provides neither an easy nor inexpensive path to follow. With 60,000 pounds of flight hardware undergoing testing at the Kennedy Space Center, we can see that significant progress continues toward a launch. While there are a number of developmental issues that need to be addressed, at the same time, we must not allow these problems to distract us from the goals that President Ronald Reagan envisioned when he called upon NASA to launch a Space Station. The future of humankind will be greatly enhanced by this enterprise.
Page 151 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
Chairman ROHRABACHER. Now I turn to our Ranking Member, Mr. Gordon.
Mr. GORDON. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Good morning, and I want to welcome the witnesses today. I intend to have very brief remarks so we can hear from you. NASA's Human Space Flight Programs directly account for about 40 percent of NASA's budget or more than $5.5 billion a year. That's a lot of money by anybody's reckoning, and this Subcommittee needs to ensure that those funds are being used wisely.
As we hear from our witnesses, NASA's two main Human Space Flight Programs are the Space Station and the Space Shuttle. This Subcommittee is devoted tohas devoted a lot of attention in the past to both the Station and the Shuttle Programs. And I think the need for continuing oversight of these programs is even more important today than ever.
I am very concerned about the Space Station Program. By NASA's own account the Space Station Program has been experiencing significant cost growth and schedule delays, in part because of the funding problems of our Russian partners, in part caused by problems with the U.S. program.
I have to question whether we are headedor I question where we are headed with the Space Station Program. Using NASA's own numbers, the cost of the redesigned Station has increased by more than 20 percent, and some of the most challenging phases of the program still lie ahead.
NASA needs to remember that taxpayers' tolerance has its limits. Moreover, the Russian government continues to fall short on meeting its Space Station funding commitments. Does NASA have a definite point at which it is prepared to say, ''Enough is enough?'' We want to continue our partnership with Russia, but we cannot delay our launch schedule any further. If so, what is that point?
Page 152 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC NASA needs to be able to convince this Subcommittee it understands the problems, that it's prepared to get the Space Station costs and schedule under control, and that is has a credible plan for dealing with the Russian delays, and that it is not going to directly or indirectly raid the rest of NASA's programs to pay for the Space Station problems.
I hope today's witnesses will address these concerns. Thank you.
Chairman ROHRABACHER. First of all I'd like to ask for unanimous consent that if we have a vote during this hearing that we can call a recess and then we come back after the vote. So without objection that will be made an order.
Mr. Rothenberg, it is part of our duties to swear in now. We didn't always swear people in, but we have all three of you. I thought Joe was the only one. So, if you'll all stand up, we'll swear you in.
Raise your right hand. Do you swear that the testimony you are about to give is the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth.
Mr. ROTHENBERG. I do.
Mr. HOLLOWAY. I do.
General CHILTON. I do.
Chairman ROHRABACHER. Okay, and the reporter shall note that each witness responded to the affirmative. Thank you very much.
And now that we will proceed and Mr. Rothenberg, I understand that we usually have a 5-minute rule, but today, whereas you are the witness, we'll give you a little leeway on that, but you don't have to say everything in your written testimony, but certainly let us know the important areas and feel free to explain them in detail.
TESTIMONY OF JOSEPH H. ROTHENBERG, ASSOCIATE ADMINISTRATOR, OFFICE OF SPACE FLIGHT, NATIONAL AERONAUTICS AND SPACE ADMINISTRATION; ACCOMPANIED BY TOMMY HOLLOWAY, PROGRAM MANAGER, SPACE SHUTTLE PROGRAM OFFICE, JOHNSON SPACE CENTER, NATIONAL AERONAUTICS AND SPACE ADMINISTRATION, AND GENERAL KEVIN CHILTON, U. S. AIR FORCE, DEPUTY PROGRAM MANAGER, SPACE STATION PROGRAM OFFICE, JOHNSON SPACE CENTER, NATIONAL AERONAUTICS AND SPACE ADMINISTRATION
Page 153 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. ROTHENBERG. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I have tried to summarize and keep it as close to 5 minutes as I can. It should be very close, okay, and let me start out by saying, Mr. Chairman and members of the Subcommittee, I am pleased to appear before you today to discuss NASA's Fiscal Year 1999 budget request for the Human Exploration and Development of Space enterprise.
I'd like to focus first on the Space Station and three specific issues. One, we are making excellent progress towards the launch and assembly of the Space Station. The Functional Cargo Block was delivered to its Russian Launch facility at Baikanour and will be ready forlaunch ready for a June launch.
The U.S. Node 1, delivered to the Kennedy Space Center 8 months ago, is undergoing final integration and testwill also have launch readiness for a July launch.
We expect the U.S. Laboratory to be delivered at Kennedy in August of this year. It is currently about 6 weeks behind schedule. It was 8 weeks. We've already recovered 2 weeks, and we believe we have a plan to keep that on schedule for a launch in May of 1999.
During the course of 1998, virtually all of the flight hardware for the first six flights will be at their launch facilities.
The Phase 1 Mir Program has continued to play a successful role in minimizing risk, ensuring safety, and increasing the operational efficiency that we expect in an International Space Station, and I have included in my written testimony a list of specific lessons learned.
We are now turning more of our attention to utilization and research activities for the Station. We are committing to doing as much research during assembly as possible and have added some flights to do that. We are equally committed to ensuring the best possible research capability once the Station is completed. Again, my prepared statement outlinesthe testimony submitted ratheroutlines several initiatives we are taking in this area.
Page 154 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Each year in the Station so far we've faced problems and challenges, and each year we have been successful in meeting them. I have no doubt that we will continue down this path with the help of Congress and the Administration.
Your support underscores my second point I'd like to make about the Station. The President's Fiscal Year 1999 budget request along with the additional transfer authority proposed by the President meets the current needs of the Space Station Program. The proposed budget provides in run-out projections for key future requirements such as the Crew Return Vehicle, sustaining engineering, as well as restores reserves.
As you are aware, in September of 1997, NASA outlined for Congress a requirement for an additional $430 million in Fiscal Year 1998 for the International Space Station, which largely could be accommodated through our additional budgetthrough our existing budget. We are grateful and thankful that you supported the transfer of $230 million and added some amount above the President's request in this, but I feel it is imperative that the remaining $200 million be made available to the program through the transfer authority proposed by the President, and I seek your support for this transfer authority. That funding, Mr. Chairman, will permit us to respond to unforeseen technical challenge, provide us with a prudent level of reserves, and will save us money in the long run by avoiding the need to stop or defer work in other areas.
My final point is the Russian commitments. It's undoubtedly aware to everybody in this room that the Russian commitments must be met. The Russians have made some very impressive technical progress in the Service Module development during the past year. In fact they've got somewhere around 1,420 out of 1,500 components already on the flight article.
We've never questioned their technical ability. It's securing consistent funding that's been a problem and continues to be. The Service Module is currently 2 to 3 months behind schedule, against the December 1998 launch date. In my testimony I detail the steps currently underway by the Russians: A, to try to recover some schedule; and B, the plan that we have for meeting with them and making some decisions relative to the launch date.
Page 155 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC In April I will be attending the General Designer's Review in Moscow and in early May make a recommendation to our international partners as to the launch date for the FGB, Node 1 and Service Module.
Now turning my focus to the Space Shuttle, the Space Shuttle is flying safely more flights at less cost than ever before in the history of the program. Reliability has improved and risk of loss of vehicle on ascent has been reduced significantly. With the exception of two weather-related launch scrubs, we have now launched 16 Shuttle missions within a constrictive 5-minute launch window.
As you are aware, the investments we have made in the Shuttle upgrades are paying off. Our primary objective is to keep the Shuttle flying safely and efficiently. The Phase 1 projects, which emphasized safety and increased performance during the Space Station era are nearing completion. By incorporating the Phase 1 improvements, we have reduced the risk on ascent from 1:248 in 1995 to 1:438 today.
Additionally we have nearly doubled the Shuttle's payload capacity to Space Station orbit to 3,600 pounds36,000 poundsexcuse me. We are continuing program restructuring activities including requirements reduction, reducing civil servants, and privatization planning.
Our first step towards privatization, the consolidation of contracts to a single prime contract, is progressing successfully since the award of the Space Flight Operations Contract to USA in October 1996. Phase 2 in transition is now underway with the first production hardware contract, the Solid Rocket Booster contract, transferring to SFOC this Spring.
In 1999 the manifest reflects eight flights, including the Shuttle Radar Topography Mapping Mission, a joint Department of Defense/NASA mission to study the Earth. We are also working with our customers to increase flight opportunities.
In closing, these two programs are now joined together, and together they will enable our discoveries about out world and the universe that we can only dream about. The dedication of our workforce has enabled significant strides in the face of unforeseeable difficulty in both of these programs.
Page 156 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC The strength of this team is reflected in their pride and confidence that they make the final steps towards the First Element Launch of Space Station this year. I am very proud of our HEDS team and thrilled actually to be a part of it now. I expect a lot of new challenges as we proceed forward with the Space Station's Phase 2 on-orbit assembly activities, but I am confident that with your continued support, this team, along with out international partners, are ready for this enormous undertaking.
I thank you for this opportunity to speak today, and my team and I look forward to trying to answer all of your questions. Thank you.
[The prepared statement and attachments of Mr. Rothenberg follow:]
Insert offset folios 1-21
Chairman ROHRABACHER. Well, thank you very much. It was about a year ago, on March 4th in fact, when NASA Administrator Dan Goldin testified before this Subcommittee that the Station Program, ''continues to perform with the annual funding cap of $2.1 billion and the $17.4 billion completion estimate.''
Now it's only a year after he made that statement, and we're learning that assembly complete will be at least 18 months late and the total cost from Fiscal Year 1994 to assembly complete has risen by almost $4 billion.
The original estimate of the Station was $8 billion. The cost has risen in 1 year $4 billion. What happened, Joe? Tell me it ain't so.
Mr. ROTHENBERG. Well, there are some circumstances, but I really have a chart I think can help explain this and maybe clarify where we are and what the problem
Chairman ROHRABACHER. The chart has a big cover on it there I think. Okay.
Page 157 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC [Laughter.]
It's in a brown paper wrapper. Right.
[The chart referred to follows:]
Insert offset folio 22
EXPLAINING COST GROWTH
Mr. ROTHENBERG. Okay, I have a couple of things to say about this chart. I really would like to use it to make two points. Number one, I think theyes, indeed the Shuttle costs have grown, but I think what you count and how they grow could penalize us forever.
And I think what I really would like to do is explain that I feel isnumber one, identify where it's grown and why it's grown; and number two, identify what I believe is a practical management strategy and hopefully enlist your support in this that allows us to control the costs in the future and also count the costs properly associated with growth and development.
Chairman ROHRABACHER. Okay, Joe, before we go on with this, let me ask unanimous consent that Joe's explanation not come out of my 5 minutes of questioning, time questioning, because otherwise I will have no questions.
With unanimous consent, I think you may proceed.
Mr. ROTHENBERG. Thank you for your indulgence. I really do appreciate it. Let's see, the first point, and I am trying to stay close to this mike, and I guess it is limited.
Chairman ROHRABACHER. There we go.
Mr. ROTHENBERG. Let me start withI think it may be easier for me to step behind.
Page 158 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Chairman ROHRABACHER. One of those fancy laser pens, you know, that's modern age stuff.
Mr. ROTHENBERG. There's other agencies with more modern technology I think. Okay. Let's see. Let me start. The first point is if we look at where we are today, we did commit to a $17.4 billion cap. Subsequent to last year a number of things have changed in the program. Some haven't been identified.
Number one, last year we still had the Phase 1 Mir Program in the program. That was outside the $17.4 billion number that it was originally capped at. That's a perception problem, whether one wants to count that against the total cost of the Stationdevelopment of the Stationor not is someone else's choice, but the point is that number was not included in the $400 million that was for the Phase 1 Mir Program was not in the $17.4 billion.
Clearly, the launch has slipped 18 months. The program has slipped 18 months. We believe that the $17.4 billion really did produce a 6-person capability on orbit and at this point we believe the cost to produce that same capability to do research is $19.7 billion.
There is one lien against that, that we're well aware of, is that is in order to actually have six crewmen up there we need to finish in negotiation on an additional Soyuz capsule to provide crew return in the event of emergency. So that is a lien against that.
So one measure of where we are today could be the $19.7 against the $17.4 truly overrun. To get there what we added to the problem was a Crew Return Vehicle in that time, and that adds about $625 million to the program. We've added in the Russian Assurance Program which includes the Interim Control Module worth about $250 million.
We have truly an overrun ofthat is, increased cost for the work performedbad management, any way you want to count thatof about $900 million into the program, although there's a difference between the contractor's estimate and NASA's estimate. We are maintaining $900 million against the contractor's estimate of about $600 million for Boeing, and we're holding $800 million against that. And there's another $100 million of other contractors.
Page 159 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC In addition, the other thing that adds into that, that program, depending on where you move it to, that starts running the number up is the additional year of operations and research that automatically gets applied to the program.
One other thing that was added into the program is sustaining engineering in the years 1999 and 2001. There was an under budget for sustaining engineering. There wasn't enough sustaining engineering.
Those are the reasons, and there's a detailed breakoutI can give you the addsbut that's not the point I want to make with this chart. What I do want to make with this chartpoint I make with this chart ismy own personal experience on Hubble, Tommy's and other people's experience on the Shuttle, is the following: Number one, we are going to have a sustaining engineering workforce on board.
Assuming we meet this date to be measured against, 80 percent of the program cost in that year are really going to be towards doing the true research the program was set out to be and the operations in supporting it.
The development to deliver the final U.S. HAB Module, which actually adds the capability to have a seventh crewman up there, along with a Crew Return Vehicle is there, increasing the capability of the Station is what is produced in this time, but during this year we have the original six-man crew and the ability to do research.
What I would like to propose is somehow we get this to a baseline where we're measured against either one of these marks. I don't care which one. Or either one of these marks are fair to measure us against, but I do argue that the development cost are trickling down and are a very small portion of the program.
If we achieve what we really set out to do with this Station, I believe they'll be a continued low level of development going on, much of it funded I hope by commercial industry who wants to do more on the Station. They may or may not choose to procure that through NASA, but more importantly I mentioned we identified sustaining engineering. There are about 1,200 people onboard in this time who are part of the sustaining engineering workforce.
Page 160 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC If you look at what we did with Hubble, you look at what we did with the Shuttlewe need to put that sustaining engineering workforce to productive work over and above waiting for problems to happen and responding to problems. What I would like to propose is we develop an upgrade program that's consistent with industry requirements for commercialization of the Station as well as scientific requirements that are currently not on the baseline, live within this cap for these out-years and be measured clearly by when we complete development against either one of these milestones.
And if it stretches out, clearly we're doing operations and research, and we can't just keep adding in the operations and research budget just as the time-line moves. So my proposal is that we revisit how we are managing this program in these years, manage out against the fixed cap in the operations years, be measured against the amount of science and research content that we have in there and this development be added where truly is development that wasn't completed.
Chairman ROHRABACHER. You say there would be 1,200 people waiting for
Mr. ROTHENBERG. No. There are 1,200 people in the sustaining engineering workforce. Many of them are doing in-depth analysis on the performance of the Station, looking at parameters on subsystems or it's not unlike many of them are writing procedures. Others are validatingsupporting the validation of new hardware that's being brought up on board.
Chairman ROHRABACHER. Okay, but you're just saying that 1,200 people you're going to strive to see are put to work doing other things rather than just waiting.
Mr. ROTHENBERG. Right. As well as supporting the ongoing activity. I think you need that from a practical viewpoint if you want to retain good talent that understands the Station, you really need to give them development challenges and technology challenges to incorporate into the Station.
Page 161 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCCONTRACTOR PERFORMANCE
Chairman ROHRABACHER. Now let me go into my 5 minutes. Your contractor performanceI think itfrom what you just said that contractor performance resulted in a $900 million increase of this $400 billion$4 billion, excuse me.
Mr. ROTHENBERG. To be fair to the contractor, their estimate is $600 million. We have retained another $200 million in reserves against that because our estimate was $800 million is what it would take. In addition we kept another $100there's another $100 million of overrun in the non-prime contractors.
Chairman ROHRABACHER. So somewhere between a minimum of $600 million and a billion dollars perhaps contractor performancethese were cost overruns due to that. How do other agencies handle that? Do they just take the federal truck and shovel the money out the back and somebody didn't do their contract?
Mr. ROTHENBERG. Well, I don't want to defend the overrun because I can't. It was probablysome of it was growth internally and understanding of the job.
Chairman ROHRABACHER. I mean is thismaybe I amam I ignorant of the way the Federal Government does all of its work? If a contractor signs a contract, every time the contractor doesn't perform he doesn't eat it? None of these people are responsible like in the private sector?
Mr. ROTHENBERG. Unfortunately it's a cost plus contract with an award fee and they were appropriately penalized in their award fee.
Chairman ROHRABACHER. Okay. All right.
Okay, there will be two recorded votes. I am going to finish my questioning with the permission of the Committee, and then we will break, unlesswell, as a courtesy if Ralph Hall, former Chairman of the Subcommittee, would like to say just a couplewould you like to say something, Ralph? Do you have something to come back to?
Page 162 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. HALL. I'll come back if we're comingare you going to come back?
Chairman ROHRABACHER. We are going to come back right after the vote.
Mr. HALL. Yes, I have some questions.
Chairman ROHRABACHER. Okay. I'll just finish a few questions now. Then we'll break and then come back right after the second vote.
So it's costing us about a billion dollarin between $600 million and a billion dollars for contractor performance, and these are cost plus contracts so they've got us by the throat, rather than the other way around.
Mr. ROTHENBERG. Well it's a high risk development contract, yes.
RUSSIAN COSTS TO THE UNITED STATES
Chairman ROHRABACHER. All right. Excuse me. I already got that one. Okay, how much of the cost do we indicate this $4 billion came from problems with Russia?
Mr. ROTHENBERG. Our estimate is the total cost, if you used the $4 billion, is about a billion dollars.
Chairman ROHRABACHER. Okay. About a billion dollars. And the other isthe rest of it you're saying actually we've actually improved the products somewhat, and there's the new Crew Escape Vehicle and things like that.
Mr. ROTHENBERG. Correct.
Chairman ROHRABACHER. Would that beis there another factor I am missing beside those three?
Mr. ROTHENBERG. Well, you know, I do have a tally of the numbers over there, if I might return to the table at this point I can give you the
Page 163 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Chairman ROHRABACHER. Okay. Why don't you do that?
Mr. ROTHENBERG. Let's see. My breakout of the numbers is as follows. If I start at the $17.4 and you canwe'll go back and attribute itthere's about $400 million due to the Mir Phase 1 that's been added in this number which was in the budget last year but bookkeeped on a separate line. So that, when we talk about this $3.6 billion dollar growth that you read out, the $400 for Mir Phase 1 is added into that.
The second point is there's a Russian Assurance Program of $250 million, and that's directly attributable to the schedule insurance we bought. There's $625 million and the CRV, Crew Return Vehicle, through the budget year Fiscal Year 2003. There's about $900 million that we talked about for the overrun, and there's about $1.3 added in strictly because of the stretch of the schedule one year. The entire budget was added in for that year, regardless of the fact that in 2003 we began our research program. So that's how you get to the $4 billion.
TOTAL COST TO TAXPAYERS
Chairman ROHRABACHER. When this program is complete, what will be the total cost to the taxpayers of Space Station?
Mr. ROTHENBERG. In
Chairman ROHRABACHER. Of the American taxpayers.
Mr. ROTHENBERG. Through the operations years?
Chairman ROHRABACHER. No. Not in operations but the cost of building the Space Station.
Mr. ROTHENBERG. Okay. Going back to this chart, if I
Chairman ROHRABACHER. I mean total cost. I mean what the taxpayers will have taken out of their pocket in order to put that Space Station up here.
Mr. ROTHENBERG. Well, the only question I am tryingthe only thing I am trying to understanding a little bit is if I measure against one of those two numbers for development, if I look at where the development of the HAB Module which is the last data on there right nowI think that shows at $21.4 billion if I can read the number correctly on the chartif I go back and say where I measure myself against the original commitment, it's $19 billion.
Page 164 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Chairman ROHRABACHER. Repeat that again.
Mr. ROTHENBERG. It's $19.6.
Chairman ROHRABACHER. Nineteen point six. Now this is $19.6that's since when? This isn't $19.6 since the beginning of this program?
Mr. ROTHENBERG. No. No. There are costs prior that
Chairman ROHRABACHER. What did we spend? Someone went to Ronald Reagan in 1984 and lied to him and said it was going to be $8 billion. How much did we spend to the point that it became then, then you start again, and then it was
Mr. ROTHENBERG. Yes, there was a $10 billion
Chairman ROHRABACHER. Ten billion dollars.
Mr. ROTHENBERG. Ten billion.
Chairman ROHRABACHER. So $10 billion was spend from 1984 to when?
Mr. ROTHENBERG. 1994.
Chairman ROHRABACHER. To 1994. So we spend $10 billion there, and then from 1994 till the time it is up, it's $19.6.
Mr. ROTHENBERG. If you choose that
Chairman ROHRABACHER. Okay, so it'swellthat's what I am asking. So we are talking about a $30 billion expenditure. That's what we need to know. We need to know how much we are spending, and frankly thatI don't know who went to the White House in 1984 and intentionally lied to the President of the United States to get the United States hooked into a program that was going to cost three times as much just to get it up as what the President was told.
But whoever it was, if someone in this room was part of that team, you should be ashamed of yourselves. You've just violated the primary rules of democracy. We're based on truth and you have to have people who are elected representing the people, basing their judgment on truth.
Page 165 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC So if anybody in this room was involved with presenting that $8 billion figure to Ronald Reagan, shame on you, and right now we're left with trying to make this program go because we've been lied to so often in the past, and we're trying to find out what the truth is now to make sure we can get the job done and protect the interests of the American taxpayer.
Now with that we are going to recess. We are going to come back right after this next votethe last vote hereand Mr. Gordon and Mr. Hall will be given their opportunities, as well as the rest of the members. We're in recess.
Chairman ROHRABACHER. The Subcommittee will be called to order.
We now would like to turn to the Ranking Member, Mr. Gordon, for his time.
Mr. GORDON. Thank you Mr. Chairman. Mr. Rothenberg, I think in a nutshell I would summarize your testimony as saying that mistakes have been made in the past, you're here to 'fess up, try to give some numerical explanation, ask a new benchmark be set, and then hopefully also to say that, ''I am going to take responsibility from now on.''
And since the Chairman was the only I think person up here that was in the White House at the time in 1984, we'll let you do the search for the culprit of that gave the bad earlier information.
But is that a fair, a fair summary of your statement?
Mr. ROTHENBERG. Yes, sir.
Mr. GORDON. Okay. And let me say that I think there are a variety of reasons to have a Russian partnership, but also there are limits. In your testimony, as you were trying to put forth some of the reasons for the additional expenses, a part of it was slippage, and part of that is the Russians. Part of it was the so-called insurance module, and that's the Russians too.
Page 166 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Again I am not here to say that there's some benefit there, multiple benefits, but somewhere I assume enough is enough, and particularly if you are going to take responsibility for this, and that slippage is going to cost you money.
Since you have spent the money for the ICM, when are you are going to use it? I mean when are you going to say, ''We're going to have to get on with this,'' assuming that the Russians don't come forth?
Mr. ROTHENBERG. Yes, as you may or may not know, originally it was intended to have that ready I think this coming November, and any of my staff can correct me if I am wrong, this November 1998 to back up the Service Module.
As we watched it progress alongas we watched the Service Module progress last year, in spite of the funding problems they made significant progress technicallyin early part of this year we made the decision that instead of spending money to back up something that was more than likely going to happen, we ought to target it to protect against the next important Russian milestone, and that is the Progress vehicles.
Mr. ROTHENBERG. These are the resupply vehicles to supply propellant to the Space Station, and so we targeted it for a later flight. We, subsequent to that the Russians are still making progress with the hardware but we also had to develop a contingency plan as we did that, that looked at several possible slips. If it doesn't come, and our current projection internally is somewhere 2 to 3 months behind the December date is when we're likely to see it.
At that point we have a plan now that is laid out between now and May 15th which says we are going to make some measurements of their progress number one, technically at design review; number two, financially in terms of have they received the remainder of the 1997 funding as well as some of the 1998 funding or the 1998 funding.
Page 167 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC If at that point our assessment is they're going to be 2 to 4 months late or even up to 6 months late, we still think it's a better bet on insurance to target the ICM for protecting against downstream slippages of Progress, because we get it up there, we're going to need to resupply propellant, and so in May we will make a decision whether weif we don't see progress and we don't believe we're going to get it by Junethat's putting some cushion in our pocket of Fiscal Year 1999at that point we will pull the Interim Control Module back and exercise that option.
However, if we believe it will never come, and that's the next worse case, at that point we're going to have to come back because there's no way at that point we can carry out the program without their participation within the funding we have, no matter where we are, because we need to provide, as I point out, the capability to put propulsion on board and provide propulsion to the Station. That alone is a fairly expensive option.
We have to resupply the propulsion capability downstream. So the point is today we are on target for the middle of the nextnot the middle but March of 1999 as the most likely date. We've put 3 months more margin on that. We are going to assess where we are in May and make a decision relative to where the ICM should fly and also potentially depending if things are worse than they are today whether the Russian service module will meet any date.
Mr. GORDON. So in May you are going to determine whether the Russians are going to beif they are 2 or 3 or so months later than even you think now, then you are going forward?
Mr. ROTHENBERG. Yes, sir. There's a number of significant tests between now and then that will demonstrate.
Mr. GORDON. And then when do you determine that they're not going to be able to perform at all? What is that criteria? I mean when I say that, in general terms when do you expect that? When is that demarcation line that you're going to have to get on with it or you're going to have additional slippages, you're going to have additional overruns, and then the assurance that you gave us today that it's going to make you look bad?
Page 168 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. ROTHENBERG. I think the first time we can try to answer that question based on the evidence and information we have on that date based on fiscally being there, understanding the funding situation, will be May 15th. I mean if they're still
Mr. GORDON. Oh, you think you are going to know that by May 15th also?
Mr. ROTHENBERG. If they're still where they are today, a couple months behind schedule, they're making progress and gotten through all their tests, I think we have a fair confidence that they'll be there sometime in February or March of next year.
They have a work-around plan actually to get them back until December of this year, of pulling the schedule back. We're not confident that they can pull it off, but we're watching it. So what I am saying is they have a plan that's earlier than our contingency plan of next March at this point, and we are going to see where they are in May, and at that point we may have to pull the string and say from our view they're not going to make it.
Mr. GORDON. And with the Space Station in general, without arguing about the 8 to 20, you know, where we are going to go, somewhere there has to be a, you know, this is too much. Where is that for you? When do youwhen do you say that it's just getting out of hand?
Mr. ROTHENBERG. Again, from my viewpoint, I think we need to see where we are in May. At that point if we don't have confidence that we're going to get the Service Module at all I think at that point we need to come back and revisit how we can recover the remainder of the program, what it cost and what the program is and try to make the case one way or the other where we're going.
Mr. GORDON. Well, that's a sensible approach. It's anow it doesn't seem maybe that tough, but in May that will be, you know, a high standard, but I appreciate you coming forth with that information.
Page 169 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Chairman ROHRABACHER. I'd like to now give an opportunity to the former Chairman of this Subcommittee whose participation we appreciate very much, his continued participation in this Subcommittee, he gives us a great deal of institutional memory on these programs, and he's worked very hard, and during his time as chairmanship he exemplified that bipartisan spirit that I think we've tried to maintain.
So I'd like to recognize Ralph Hall.
Mr. HALL. I thank you Mr. Chairman, and I'll be as brief as possible because as you say and I've tried to be a very strong supporter of NASA. I hope to continue to be, but as you remember, I had problems with some transfers that you were making and that you had actually made and had projected to make.
SCIENCE FUNDING TRANSFERS
Mr. HALL. In our last meeting you suggested, Mr. Rothenberg, that my questions could better be answered at this hearing, and I guess I ask you again, have you miscalculated in taking the total of $460 million from the Space Station's Life and Microgravity Science Payload, and that's not a misstatement of the fact that you have a plan that transferred or is transferring $460 million from Life and Microgravity Science Payloads and even more in the future.
Mr. ROTHENBERG. That is an accurate statement as far as the money being transferred, and if I have the dates right, up through 1996 there was about $450 million I think, $450 million, and I've got the precise numbers; but at the same time we inserted back in the budget $368 millionlet me get the exact numbers so I don'tokay, it was $450 million through 1998, $452 million to be precise, was transferred through 1998, and I really do want to give the best numbers I know.
Mr. HALL. Well, let's just take them as you transferred them. You transferred $50 million out in 1996. Now, what's happened to that $50 million? You're carrying it on the books as something that you owe back to this account?
Page 170 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. ROTHENBERG. What we've carried on the books is we owe back to the account right now and have put in the budget in fact $350 million against the $462 we took. So make no mistake, there is less money going back in. We believe that we're going to have at least the same capability, if not more scientifically, at no loss to the U.S. researchers.
And then let me elaborate on that, if you would bear with me. The offsets from the Europeans and our Japanese partners, the Globe Box, the Centrifuge, adding Nodes 2 and 3, an earth-viewing window, and a number of other things will add back in capability at no cost to us. However, everybody is concerned that, are we bartering away research time from our U.S. researchers in order to money?
And the answer is when you look at the total amount after all of the puts and takes and the technology is number one, we believe we are putting back the same capability, even more, to conduct the research. There is a detailed research plan now that supports that.
The second point is that we actually have increased the time available to U.S. observersinvestigatorsfrom 71 percent of utilization of the Station to 75 percent. So we not only added capability, but we haven't bartered away any of the research time in order to get capability to it.
Mr. HALL. Yet you are decreasing by 2 years the life span?
Mr. ROTHENBERG. You mean because of the schedule shift?
Mr. HALL. Yes.
Mr. ROTHENBERG. Actually we
Mr. HALL. How can you do that when you are decreasing it by 2 years?
Mr. ROTHENBERG. Actually from my perspective we will be starting to be able to do research and haveagain I submitted for the record a fairly detailed research program actually starting in with the capabilities in early Fiscal Year 2002 when we have Utilization Flights 4 and 5 up there.
Page 171 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC The research program will actually start at that point. There's a detailed research program. The fact that the final Lab Module isn't up until a year later, and we've slipped it some time, it didn't take 2 years out of that research program.
Mr. HALL. Mr. Nicogossian prepares the budgetdoes it for the Microgravity Science Payloads?
Mr. ROTHENBERG. Yes.
Mr. HALL. He's generally the one that you look to there for
Mr. ROTHENBERG. Yes, I do. In fact, he's here.
Mr. HALL. And he was there when you transferred $50 million out in 1996 and then you transferred $177 million out in 1997. Right? Out of Microgravity Science, out of the Payloads, transferred it to a division that you ride herd on, Mr. Rothenberg? Is that right?
Mr. ROTHENBERG. Yes, sir.
POSSIBLE FUTURE TRANSFERS
Mr. HALL. It's a pretty good deal for you. I am not sure how good a deal it is for NASA or for those of us who are very interested in the bioreactor and the thrust that we're seeking up there. And there is a plan still to transfer more out, is thatthat's also correct, isn't it?to the tune of aboutlet's see, we've move $462 million out of the 1996 to 1998 budget. And what is the projection for moving in the future budget out of this fund?
Mr. ROTHENBERG. Okay, in addition there is another set of liens and I don't want to use that because we're actually
Mr. HALL. There is another what?
Mr. ROTHENBERG. Set ofI want to call them liens against our reserves.
Page 172 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. HALL. That's another plan to transfer.
Mr. ROTHENBERG. No, no, no. In this case it's a plan to pay back. Let me describe it first.
Mr. HALL. Well I am hopeful of that. Doubtful but I am hopeful. Go ahead.
Mr. ROTHENBERG. Okay. As far as our budget submittal, there was removed $50 million in Fiscal Year 1999, $35 million in each of years 2000 and 2001 but a put-back of $57 million in 2002.
In additionhere's where the liens word comes inin addition, we've got against reserves the ability to put back inwe're carrying a lien against reserves that we need to put back into the science program at least $50 million in Fiscal Year 1999, if we can't achieve some of the efficiencies we believe we can in the program.
So my only point is that number one, that we have taken some money, added back in $57 million and have another lien of $50 million, and the net loss in there might be aboutif you add these numbers upare $70, $120 versus $107, about $13 million over that time frame.
Mr. HALL. Mr. Rothenberg, you replied to a question I asked you back a couple or 3 weeks ago. Your answer was about responding to the transfers out and into your fund, the fund you ride herd on, you said, ''Let's see, the fact is that it's true. We moved about a total of $462 million out of the 1996 to 1998 budget and added back in a lesser number of $350 million in 2001 and 2002.''
ACCURACY OF NASA BUDGETS
Mr. HALL. You promised to add back. Those years aren't here yet. But you're still appropriating on the basis that they're going to need that money for the Microgravity and for the Science and Payloads.
Page 173 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. ROTHENBERG. Yes, sir.
Mr. HALL. And yet you appropriate for those very worthwhile projects, but you don't use the money. You appropriate it and get it into a fund, and then you transfer it. Now isn't that a little devious?
Mr. ROTHENBERG. Well, I hope to be here to look you straight in the eye in those 2 years and tell you that money is being spent for science.
Mr. HALL. But how reallyhow on top of the table is it to appropriate for something that is one of your calling cards, and that's the bioreactor and the biomedical thrust into space and the hopes of a cure for one of the dreaded diseases that people are living for and hoping for and praying for?
How really on top of the table is it to appropriate for that and immediate transfer out of it? And then the next appropriation time you appropriate for it again and then you transfer out of it? Now I have the alternative of saying, ''Let's just don't appropriate anything for the Microgravity Science Payload,'' but that's why I am still hereis hoping that we get some results, something that NASA can tell the American people, ''Here's the result of the vast expenditures of money we've made in space. We've got a cure for cancer, diabetes or whatever it might be.''
And how are you going to get that if you're cutting the time by 2 years and you're transferring all of the money out and then you appropriate more money the next time in order to transfer it back to another level?
Mr. ROTHENBERG. Certainly Imy only answer to that is that I, like you, really am in strong support of the scientific community. That's my background. They are my customers. My intent, and I'll use the word ''intent'' because I am here 8 weeks, is to make a partnership with Mr. Nicogossian on how that money, if it ever is touched again, what the process is, but our goal is try to guard that money.
Page 174 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC My goal isnot our goal, but my goal isto try to ensure that money doesn't get used for other things. I think we are at a point where we are going to have hardware on orbit this year. We will have hardware on orbit early next year that will be able to start the research program and using the Shuttle, and this money is going to be needed, and our job is to try to protect it.
Mr. HALL. I may want to come back and ask some more questions about why you shortened the Space Station's utilization phase and some other things there, but my real problem is whether or not you're going to continue to raid the research dollars for hardware and operations every time the Russians or some other international partner doesn't live up to their commitment.
And I really think that when the Congress really realizes is what you're doing is kind of like in Texas, the farm-to-market road program is a big calling card for their highway construction. It's not 5 percent of what they spend on overall construction, but that's the one they highlight. ''Look at our farm-to-market road program, how wonderful it is,'' and everybody votes taxes for it, and they don't use hardly any of the money for farm-to-market roads.
Well here you are saying, ''Look at the bioreactor thrust. Look at how popular a program and great a program and a wonderful program this can be, and we're appropriating big bucks for it,'' and you immediately send them out to another division. And then the next year, with a history of knowing you weren't going to use that money, you appropriate again and then you send twice that much out.
I think you ought to reconsider that. You know, be honest with us. If you are going to appropriateif you are going to appropriate for hardware and operations, tell us that's what it's for, and don't let us, those of us that hope for the success of a bioreactor in a weightless environment to produce and produce and produce and get something wonderful out of space, to have our hopes dashed by another transfer.
Page 175 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC I yield back my time.
Chairman ROHRABACHER. Thank you very much, Mr. Hall. Mr. Bartlett.
Mr. BARTLETT. Thank you very much. When I came to the Congress as a freshman, one of the early votes that I made was to cast the deciding vote of one Majority to make sure that we continued with Space Station. About that same time I also voted for the Superconducting Supercollider.
I voted for both of these for the same reason: I think that we desperately need something in our country that captures the imagination of our people like putting a man on the moon did, that inspires our young people to go into careers of science, math and engineering because, as you know, we have a great deficit in those areas.
For the moment it threatens our economic competitiveness. Ultimately it will threaten our national security. We cannot continue to have the best military in the world if we do not have the best scientists, mathematicians and engineers in the world. We are not doing very well of exploiting the opportunities we have for using this program to capture the imagination of the American people and to inspire our young people to go into careers of science, math and engineering.
Regrettably, today our best minds are going into social sciences and law, and so forth, and we need to get them in science, math and engineering. And discussions like the one we are forced to have today are no help at all. Our young people need to see that these kinds of programs are going, that they're well-managed, that they have the support of the American people, and that they are successful programs.
So I hope desperately that we can turn this around so that it can be the challenge to our young people that we need to bring them into these areas. Mr. Hall has asked the question very well, much better than I would have asked, about the science part of the program. I remain unconvinced that monies that are borrowed from science are going to reappear in the out years. I hope they do because that is a high priority for many of us.
Page 176 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCTHRESHOLD FOR REMOVING RUSSIA
Mr. BARTLETT. Let me ask you, and I don't know how you can answer this question, but at some point in time we have to have a threshold that when it's crossed we are going to realize that the Russians are not responsible partners, they can't pay their bills, and we've got to remove them from the critical path of the program.
When is that going to happen and how do we know that this thing is not going to just creep and creep and creep with the program being delayed with further degrading the challenge this ought to be to our young people?
Mr. ROTHENBERG. Let's see, let me start. I think, and when Mr. Gordon asked the same question but slightly differently, my first opportunity really to assess that and look at where we are, and my view into it is this coming May or at the end of April and give me some time to talk to the international partners and by mid-May.
I think that's our first assessment to see where we really are and start to look at it, and if indeed we haven't made the progress we think we have made, at least targeting towards a launch in the first half of the next year; I think at that point we have to reassess the rest of the program, and that's our first measure of it.
Mr. BARTLETT. You'll be prepared to come back to this Committee to give us a recommendation as to whether we need to continue as we are now or whether we need to continue on a program where we control all the critical path elements and the Russians are partners that cannot defeat the success of the program?
Mr. ROTHENBERG. I would hope I would be able to. I am relatively new at this game. I am here 2 months. I am a Project Manager by trade, a Center Director by trade supporting the research community. I know the signs to look for, and I hope to be able to make a measure of that in May, and then I need to work with all of the international partners and see what ourwhere we go from there.
Page 177 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCSHUTTLE FLIGHT RATE AND SAFETY
Mr. BARTLETT. Thank you. Mr. Chairman, I have just one brief question for Mr. Holloway and then I will yield back. The flight rate for a Shuttle during 1998 will be a total of 5 flights. I think the flight rate in 1999though NASA's 8-flight schedule will probably be 7, at best, providing components for the International Space Station are delivered on time for launch as scheduled within ramp up to 8 or 9 flights a year.
Do you have any concerns about the ability of the program to be able to resume that flight rate safely and what is your opinion of the overall safety of the Shuttle Program?
Mr. HOLLOWAY. First of all, we are very confident that we will be able to develop the capability to resume the flight rates of eight to nine flights a years out in the future. Historically the Space Shuttle Program has incurred 31 percent cost reductions over the last 5 years, and during that same period, as a result of doing that, the direct contractors have been reduced from 28,000 to 19,000. Civil Servants working on the program has been reduced from 4,000 to 2,000.
And in 1997 we flew 8 flights and flew them very well. Thewe believe that the program is performing exceptionally well during that period. I believe it's a stronger program, more resilient program, and a more responsive program than it was 5 years ago.
To give you an example of the kind of things that have been done in the past, in Florida in 1991 we flew 8 flights at that time, and there were 7,800 people working on processing the Shuttle, and working 9 to 10 percent overtime. During that year they incurred 114 incidences that we track and manage.
In 1997 we flew 8 flights, did basically the same work to prepare the system and did it with 5,000 people, and during that same period we had 14 incidences. So the Shuttle Program relatively, to our history, is gaining strength and increasing its capability and doing a much better job for a lot less resources.
Page 178 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC If we include inflation in what has happened in that lastsince 1991the Shuttle Program is operating with some 40 percent less resources than they have had in the past, and I believe that we're doing a better job. As you may have observed that during the last 16 flights we've launched on time, within our launch window, with 2 exceptions, when we have trouble with the weather and of course only the good Lord can deal with the weather.
So overall things are going exceptionally well. Now where we are today, we have recently incurred a relatively small, at least with respect to the numbers I quoted to you earlier, workforce reduction, I have a great deal of confidence in the Space Shuttle team.
They are a very skilled workforce, highly dedicated and motivated to make this system as good as it can be, and I am very confident that in the remaining months between now and when the higher flight rate will be required that we will be able to more than overcome the reductions in the workforce and we'll be able to operate at even lower costs as we go forward.
Chairman ROHRABACHER. Thank you very much.
Mr. HOLLOWAY. Thank you.
Chairman ROHRABACHER. Thank you, Mr. Bartlett. Just a note thatin light ofwhen you say lighting a candle there, we are talking about the difference between lighting a candle and shining a spotlight earlier in the hearing. At least I mentioned that.
You lit a little candle there about some of the things that we can look to and be proud of, and you can be amply proud of the accomplishments you're talking about and making the Shuttle more effective and cost effective for the taxpayers and safer because you were using workforce better, but what's sad is that all the good that you're doing is being sucked up by the Station's inability to get its act together, the people in the Station.
And that's just a sad commentary, and we've got to make sure that doesn't continue because when you save the taxpayers some money, it should be of benefit to the whole country and not just something that's sucked up by an inefficiency within NASA. So congratulations but I am sorry that it's not helping the country as much as it could be.
Page 179 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC You can be proud of what you have accomplished, and thank you for those words. Mr. Lampson.
Mr. LAMPSON. Thank you Mr. Chairman. Mr. Rothenberg, there is a independent cost review that's going on, Mr. Chabrow's cost review. If that independent review comes in with a higher cost estimate for the Space Station than the $21.3 billion that's estimated right now, what will NASA do about that? Will you request additional funding for Congress? Is there a plan in place? Can you comment about that some?
Mr. ROTHENBERG. Well I haven't seen the final report yet. That's the first thing, and they are having a discussion with that this afternoon with the NASA Advisory Committee. They're presenting the findings.
We had technical discussions with them early and raised some questions about the assumptions they made relative to the cost and schedules they were looking at, at that time.
My view is the following: Most of what they presented on is purely how much cost and schedule insurance we were willing to buy. There was no fundamental differences in what it took if we made the current schedules. Their concern is that something will happen downstream that we can't predict today, and have we put enough reserves in the budget for that.
Right now about $1.4 billion unencumbered reserves available to us, and the possibility of recovering another $300 or so million if some things go right in the future, right now our prediction is that's adequate reserves. They may ask for a higher reserve to protect against failure of the Russians beyond what we are already protecting for today.
And we'll have to look at the data when they see it and make an assessment, but right now I believe the difference will be in what they might present is purely how much insurance is prudent to put into the program in terms of reserves. And given an opportunity, as someone said, ''Do you want to put more reserves in?'' Any project manager would be a fool to turn that down if it was a prudent investment.
Page 180 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC I don't think he wants to sit on a lot of money, but the problem is then we'll be here talking to you about the uncosted carryover, and we'd have the other extreme on it. So we have to see what the data says.
Mr. LAMPSON. Had you all identified additional funding transfers that might come out of certain accounts, and if so, what would they be?
Mr. ROTHENBERG. You mean as a result of what the report
Mr. LAMPSON. Right.
Mr. ROTHENBERG. Again, in the preliminary discussions, even if I took the worst case, it didn't indicated that we should go make some funding transfers. That was not how we would solve the problem, and again, I don't really want to call it a problem, but how we would provide the level of reserves that they think is prudent to have in there.
SHUTTLE USE POLICY
Mr. LAMPSON. Mr. Holloway, about the Space Shuttle, we've talked some about trying to bring additional dollars in by allowing some commercial flights to occur. Do you think that's a wise idea?
Can you talk a little bit about what we might be able to do with commercial payloads, and you might also talk about what would happen if for some reasons something happened that affected our ability to use a shuttle to keep on schedule with the Space Station. And if so, what would happen with the liability? Should we be able to buy insurance to cover the loss of the Space Station or what
Mr. HOLLOWAY. Yes, sir. First relatively commercial utilization of the Shuttle, to keep that in perspective I think we need to understand that the efficient flight rate of the Shuttle is higher than what we are currently flying and that might evolve to a different number over time, but at the present time I believe it's in the range of 10 or 11 flights per year.
Page 181 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC At those kind of flight rates we can build external tanks and solid rocket motors at a lower cost and therefore reduce not only the cost for the added flights but the costs for the current flights during that time frame. So the overall idea of flying the Shuttle at a higher flight rate8, 9, 10 or 11 or perhaps evolving to 12 or so in the futurein terms of managing the total cost and of payload to orbit, I think is technically a sound idea.
And I would support that as long as we did it in an organized and methodical process. So the challenge of course is to determine a process of how we can do that and establish the ground rules and the laws of the country so that we'd be able to do that.
Mr. LAMPSON. How soon might we ought to considerwhen might something like that logically be able to occur?
Mr. HOLLOWAY. Well, I believe that you could start flying some commercial payloads, given authority to do so, in the period they would take those payloads to prepare for flight, but that is a function of the complexity of the particular payload and how long it would take for it to be developed and made Shuttle-compatible could range anywhere from as short as 2 years to three or three-and-a-half years, depending upon the payload.
So if we had the authority to proceed I believe we could start flying commercial payloads in 2001 or 2002, for example, and as early as two-and-a-half years from now.
Chairman ROHRABACHER. Thank you very much.
Mr. LAMPSON. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Chairman ROHRABACHER. And Mr. Weldon.
DEFENDING THE SPACE STATION
Mr. WELDON. Joe, I've got a question for you. When I got elected in 1994, one of the primary jobs the people in my District gave me when I came up here was to sell the Space Station to my colleagues up here in the House of Representatives.
They recognized, as I do, the value of the program, not only for the community but as well the whole Nation, and I think we've done a pretty good job selling our colleagues, working with other Republicans and Democrats in the House who support the Station.
Page 182 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC I think last year we had a record vote in support of the Space Station. I think the opponents of the Space Station are now going to be sharpening their knives. What do you recommend I say to that Congressman from say Nebraska who grows soybeans and doesn't have a Center in his District but gave me his vote every year when they hear the noise that we've been talking about here today, you know, cost overruns, multibillion dollar increases.
What do you recommend I say?
Mr. ROTHENBERG. Well I don't think an answer which I think would work in some places of the difficulty and the challenges of the program would be enough. I think that's a short answer, but on the other hand the fact of the matter is, is that it's a challenging program. It's going to be almost a billiona millionpounds of hardware up there, two football fields involving 15 different countries.
It's far more difficult than anything we've ever undertaken to assemble on orbit. Given those challenges, I look at a couple of things if I didn't make it clear before. We are actually going to start using the Station and using it for what it's intended to do and doing that scientific program somewhere in the endin the middle to the end of 2002. At that point it's starting to returnto make some significant return on our investment.
Mr. WELDON. How does it compare to other high risk R&D programs the government has undertaken? Do you have any comparison you can offer at all?
Mr. ROTHENBERG. I guess one of the difficulties we have here, Congressman, is that depending on how you measure the percentage of overrun, whether you measure it against $17.4 billion and add in the operations costs in 2003, the percentages vary; and it's anywhere from 7 percent to 15 percent or 13 percent of the total program.
It depends on how you count, but if one looked at it as 13 percent which is sort of the worst case number I'm countingI mean everybody may count slightly differently. If we can maintain that, I believe, considering the challenges, it's comparable and better than a lot. And the trick will be to maintain that and try to reduce it in fact.
Page 183 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCPERSONNEL LAYOFFS
Mr. WELDON. Tommy, I have a question for you. Last week Joe came by my office and we had a nice chat. We talked about a lot of different things. One of them we talked about was the layoffs that occurred within the USA Program, and I think it's been pretty well acknowledged by both Mr. Goldin and CEO of USA Paul Smith that whole process was not handled real well, that the communications particularly with the Committee could have been better as well as certainly with the workforce.
And Joe said to me that we could maybe get an after action review out of the agency on what could have been done better so that we avoid these kind of communications breakdowns. Can you commit to me that you'll work with Joe to deliver a product like that in a reasonable amount of time so we can look at what went wrong and what changes are being made?
Mr. HOLLOWAY. I can report to you today that my staff is already working on it with USA on the report, and after it's been developed and appropriately reviewed we'd be glad to share it with you.
CUTS TO SHUTTLE PROGRAM
Mr. WELDON. Great. I am looking forward to getting that, and I hope to see that soon. Let me ask you another question about the Shuttle Program. Do you think if there are any more cuts in the Shuttle Program that it could adversely affect safety?
Mr. HOLLOWAY. Of course that's a wide ranging question. Basically as we have the Shuttle budget baseline over the next 5 years I believe that it's adequate to fly the Shuttle, maintain a focus on our basic four principles of flying safely, meeting the manifest, improving our supportability, and reducing costs as we implement those other three in the range of what's possible to do so.
Additionally, we also believe that with the baseline budget that we'll be able to maintain and implement the Phase 2 Upgrade Program at $100 million a year, which I believe is the required level of funding to keep up the system working toward continually improving the Shuttle system, making changes that will increase the reliability, increase the safety, improve our ability to meet the manifest, and improve our supportability.
Page 184 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC So relative to the basic structure of the budget through 2003, I believe it's more than adequate to take care of flying the Shuttle, flying it safely, and implementing the Phase 2 Upgrades Program.
Now as we look forward to the future of what might happen downstream in terms of the architect for space transportation and think about the Phase 3 and 4 Upgrades if that should be the direction that we choose to go in that may require additional funding.
Mr. WELDON. Thank you. Thank you Mr. Chairman.
Chairman ROHRABACHER. Thank you. And now a mean who has been sharpening his knives during this entire hearing, ready to launch, Mr. Roemer.
Mr. ROEMER. Thank you Mr. Chairman. It really doesn't give me a great deal of joy to walk into this hearing year after year, Mr. Chairman, and see even maybe some of my most outlandish statement of 2 or 3 or 4 years ago come true. You know, NASA told usJoe, I know you've got a tough joband as I refer to NASA let me just refer to what they've been telling us over the last several years.
NASA has come up here and told us the Russian participation would save us money, and we're shipping hundreds of millions of dollars of taxpayer money now over to Russia. NASA told us that they would not exceed the $2.1 billion cap. Now we've seen that explode. NASA told us that the Service Module would not slip. It would not slip. It would not slip. It slipped, and it slipped, and it slipped again.
Now we've got $4 billion in cost overruns. $4 billion. Now I would challenge my Republican colleagues, if I was sitting in the Agriculture Committee, if I sitting in the Education Committee, if I was sitting in the National Security Committee, and we had a program sitting there in front of us where their credibility over the years had been wasted away on all these statements, and they had a $4 billion cost overrunI'll bet it would be the Republicans offering the amendments to kill or shut down the program, and we'll see what happens here.
Page 185 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC And I'll tell you where I really empathize with Mr. Hall, is that you have sold the American people the bill of goods that this is going to solve every problem out there from cancer to Alzheimer's to Parkinson's and then you go back and you take that research money out of those accounts to keep funding a bloated, inefficient, overrun Space Station.
THRESHOLD FOR CANCELLATION
Mr. ROEMER. I guess, you know, my question to you, and I've got a couple of them, is can you, Joeyou're new, you're looking at this with a fresh vision, you've got a difficult jobcan you or would you ever recommend to Congress in testimony or in a letter not that you can't do the Space Station but that with all these cost overruns and all these inefficiencies and all the harm it's doing to the rest of NASA, which is doing some great thingsand I applaud the hardworking people at NASA who are doing some wonderful things on Mars, recent things on the moon, exploration outside Saturn and Jupitercould you ever tell us that this budget is just going to hurt NASA too much to continue?
Mr. ROTHENBERG. As I said earlier, I think I need a little more time, and I've asked thatnot askedthe process we're going through is over the next 3 months we really want toand I guess May 15th is our targetto try to assess where the Russians are, truly where they are in the Service Module, at that point understand the capability of launching within what we think is a prudent time in order to continue the program down the path we are going.
And I did say earlierI am not sure you were in the roomwe thought that would be getting the Service Module off the ground, before June of next year would be the outside date.
Mr. ROEMER. But Joe, you can't be optimistic about even that March date. The Duma is not allocating enough money for most of the Russian space programs, monetary support. They continue to slip this program schedulewise. Kopter's recent statements in a host of areas are troubling. How can you be optimistic that they are going to now meet this new schedule?
Page 186 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. ROTHENBERG. Well, I
Mr. ROEMER. And if they don't meet it, are you then going to recommend to Congress that it just can't be done?
Mr. ROTHENBERG. Well, as I said earlier if May 15th our assessment is, is that they're not going to be able to deliver the Service Module at that point our only option is to look at what alternatives do we have for continuing the program, but it's a significant hit to any budget projections we have, and we'd have to come back to Congress and have that discussion then and come in with
Mr. ROEMER. Is that a discussion, Joe, that you're open to make to just ask Congress for more money or then are you open to saying, ''This is not worth the price to NASA and to the rest of the space program that's going so well. We would recommend Congress look at the option of canceling the Space Station,''?
Mr. ROTHENBERG. I guess in all fairness I really can'tI really can't answer that question honestly today.
Mr. ROEMER. Are you open to saying that we could cancel the Space Station?
Mr. ROTHENBERG. Am I open to saying it? If the cost of completing it is significantly
Mr. ROEMER. Where do we have to go, Joe, to significant? It's over a $100 billion. It's just had a $4 billion cost overrun. The Russians are not going to be on time. It's taken money out of almost every account in the NASA budget. Haven't we crossed that line, and once we get to March, aren't you in a position to then say, ''This is not worth it?''
Mr. Bartlett just said we need inspiration and imagination. We're getting it from NASA. We're getting it with the Rover and the Pathfinder. We're getting it from the Jet Propulsion Laboratory. And nobody's paying attention to it because of this, you know, ISS. It's not the International Space Station. It's an International Sucking Sound of money evaporating from every good, wonderful thing that NASA's doing.
Page 187 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. ROTHENBERG. Well, let me just give younumber one, I contend a little bit about the $4 billion number. We did go through the numbers earlier, and I don't call all of that overrun. Itcost growtha part of it is just due to schedule change, even though we're doing the research program we're getting tagged with development cost as the research program is being tied into the development cost.
Mr. ROEMER. I think my $4 billion is Mr. Goldin's figure in his testimony. My final question
Chairman ROHRABACHER. I am sorry, but if we're going to getwe've only got a few more minutes before the vote
Mr. ROEMER. Could I just submit some questions on the life of the Space Station in writing and hope to get the some time
Chairman ROHRABACHER. Certainly. In fact any member who would like to submit questions we would hope that you would answer them
Mr. ROTHENBERG. Absolutely.
Chairman ROHRABACHER. And answer them in a timely manner because sometimes we don't get answers for 6 months. And thank you Mr. Roemer, but I am sorry we have a vote coming up. We have one more member who hasn't had a chance to ask his questions yet. Mr. Cannon.
Mr. CANNON. Thank you Mr. Chairman. I suspect I'll have some questions to submit as well, but I would like to ask a few. Now the community is concerned, Mr. Holloway, the community is concerned with the direction that NASA appears to be headed with respect to the major Shuttle upgrades. Significant funds have been spent on the Liquid Flyback Booster studies, and it appears that more study work, and therefore more funds, is envisioned.
What are the mission and system requirements for the Shuttle that are driving the need for a new booster system?
Page 188 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. HOLLOWAY. Currently we have just completed a study ona system studyon a Liquid Flyback Booster. That study is currently under review through the NASA management system, and the overall requirements, thought process associated with the Liquid Flyback Booster revolves around two basic ideas.
First of all, that we believe that the Liquid Flyback Booster offers a characteristic that catastrophic situations could be managed perhaps better than they can be managed with the Solid Rocket Boosterin the Solid Rocket Booster situation. You have no opportunity to stop the thrust of the solid rocket motor and therefore initiate a successful separation from the system and recover the vehicle and the flight crew.
With the proper design and implementation of a Liquid Flyback Booster, the Liquid engines would be capable of being shut down, should they encounter a catastrophic failure and the resultant configuration could be recovered safely, both from a hardware and from a people point of view.
The second theme, if one chose to implement the Solid Rocket, the Liquid Flyback Booster, and the studies substantiate the suggestion is that it could significantly reduce the operating cost of getting ready to go fly and also improve the process and the amount of time that it took us to turn the system around and shorten one of the critical processes timewise in getting the Shuttle stack ready to go fly.
So in summary those are the three things that we think about when we think about the Liquid Flyback Booster.
Mr. CANNON. Assuming for a moment those are validwhat is the anticipated date for initially fielding a new booster system?
Mr. HOLLOWAY. Well I think first we need to review the studies that have been done and ensure that we're on sound ground, that we have adequate data on both the systems and the integrated system, that we have a good cost proposal, understand that we can build the system, and determine that it's in the best interests for both the program and NASA to do so. So there's more to come on this subject.
Page 189 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. CANNON. I take it to mean that that's a long time off?
Mr. HOLLOWAY. I don't believe that will be something that we should do in the next several weeks or months. So it's downstream.
Mr. ROTHENBERG. What weCongressman, we do have a briefing scheduled on the 26th for the staff here.
Mr. CANNON. Great. I look forward that. Thank you very much. Can I justactually I have several other questions along this line. If you need additional lift, have you considered the development of a larger stretched version of the current booster as a cheaper alternative?
Mr. HOLLOWAY. The 5th segment on the Solid Rocket no doubt could fill some of the requirements that I've spoke of earlier. Certainly it could fulfill the requirement to increase the payload and give us additional performance, andbut the overall concept of being able to terminate thrustalthough it might be able to be implemented in the solid rocket motor, it would notcurrently I do not believe it would be asa manageable system.
Also the cost reduction that I discussed would not, I don't believe, would be a substantial portion of a 5th segment Solid Rocket motor. VICALL is suggesting that we continue to look at the possibility of a 5th segment, and of course we will do that. In the long-term, the Liquid Flyback Booster of course fits in the overall strategic plan of the space transportation for the future, and NASA has plans and a committee that deals with that, that Mr. Ottenberger could talk to you about that I
Chairman ROHRABACHER. Okay. Thank you very much.
Mr. CANNON. I will submit some more questions.
Chairman ROHRABACHER. Right. Ms. Jackson Lee, and I apologize, Ms. Jackson Lee, because we willshe only has a couple of minutes for questions now. We will be adjourning right after those questions.
Page 190 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCJOHNSON SPACE CENTER
Ms. JACKSON LEE. Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman, and I will put my questions in the record that are rather extensive, but I wanted to pointedly ask and follow the line of my colleagues just briefly. It keeps going up and up and up. My concern is what happens back home and how the increase, the jump, the apparent lack of accountability, all be it having our support, impacts the likes of a Johnson Space Center that is on the edge, that it keeps going up, you don't get the money, and we have problems, such as the loss of jobs with United Space Alliance.
What is the accountability very quickly and how is that going to impact Johnson Space Center? Let me indicate that I am going to put it the record. In light of the President's trip to Africa, what you are doing in including African scientists and African nations in this idea of the Space Station and other research opportunities but just the accountability please. I'd appreciate it, and I'd like to put a statement in the record, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. ROTHENBERG. Okay, if I understand your question, and correct me if I don't, I think you're asking who is accountable for the performance of the International Space Station Program.
STATION COST GROWTH
Ms. JACKSON LEE. With the money and the increases. It doesn't look like we have accountability because we keep jumping up in the cost, and that impacts our centers around the Nation.
Mr. ROTHENBERG. Yes. Well number one, obviously the buck stops here. I am accountable for the performance of the program. Number two, in carrying out the program and the day-to-day management of it, the actual responsibilities instilled in Mr. Abbey and Randy Brinkley at the Johnson Space Center, who is responsible for the overall program management, but I am accountable.
Page 191 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Ms. JACKSON LEE. Let me do this then. Let me continue this dialogue because I really want to exploreI can't just accept you're accountable. I've got to find out where these increases are coming from and so with that, let me pursue our dialogue at a later time, and I yield back, Mr. Chairman.
Chairman ROHRABACHER. Thank you very much Ms. Jackson Lee, and I'd like to thank Joe for putting up with all of this and the fact is that we're all serious about it. We are, and you're serious as well, and you know that we can't continue to have the situation where you are asking for more and more money and you know that, and we know you know that, and I hope we can correct it.
And everybody in this Committee, Republican and Democrat, is willing to work with you, be as honest as we can with one another and try as hard as we can to make sure that this program is successful and that we saved the taxpayers money if it doesn't need to be spent.
So thank you very much. I appreciate you coming today, and we are going to be in touchcloser touchwith you in the weeks ahead.
Mr. ROTHENBERG. Thank you.
Chairman ROHRABACHER. This hearing is adjourned.
[Whereupon, at 12:15 a.m., the hearing was adjourned.]
[The following material was received for the record:]
WRITTEN QUESTIONS SUBMITTED BY CONGRESSMAN LAMPSON RESULTING FROM THE MARCH 19, 1998, HEARING:
If the United Space Alliance (USA) were allowed to fly commercial payloads on the Shuttle and if there were an accident while flying one of those commercial payloads:
QUESTION 1: Who would be liable?
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QUESTION 2: Should USA be required to buy insurance sufficient to cover the loss of a Shuttle for those commercial missions? Sufficient to cover the cost of any delay to the International Space Station that resulted from that Shuttle loss? Why or why not?
ANSWER 1&2: NASA currently indemnifies USA for all Shuttle flight operations. Liability for an accident on a commercial flight is not defined at this time but it is one of the issues that NASA and USA are addressing as we explore the potential for flying commercial payloads and eventually commercializing the Space Shuttle program. We are looking at various commercial options and the implications of each on NASA, industry, and other government agencies.