House Bill Increases Funding for Orion and HLV, Reduces Commercial Crew

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DRAFT HOUSE APPROPRIATIONS BILL
Editor’s Notes in [ ]

Notwithstanding section 1101, the level for the following accounts of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration shall be as follows:

  • Science, $5,005,600,000;
  • Exploration, $3,706,000,000;
  • Space Operations, $5,247,900,000;
  • Aeronautics, $1,138,600,000;
  • Education, $180,000,000;
  • Cross Agency Support, $3,085,700,000;
  • Construction and Environmental Compliance and Remediation, $528,700,000, of which $20,000,000 shall be derived from available un-obligated balances previously appropriated for construction of facilities; and
  • Office of Inspector General, $37,500,000:

[Editor's Note: The overall funding is $18.91 billion, about $90 million less than $19 billion in the authorization bill passed earlier this year by Congress. The agency's 2010 budget was $18.72 billion.]

Provided,

That within the funds provided for ‘‘Space Operations’’,

  • not less than $989,100,000 shall be for Space Shuttle operations, production, research, development, and support,
  • $2,745,000,000 shall be for International Space Station operations, production, research, development, and support,
  • $688,800,000 shall be for Space and Flight Support, and
  • $825,000,000 shall be for additional Space Shuttle costs, launch complex development only for activities at the Kennedy Space Center related to the civil, non-defense launch complex, use at other National Aeronautics and Space Administration flight facilities that are currently scheduled to launch cargo to the International Space Station, and development of ground operations for the heavy lift launch vehicle and the Orion multipurpose crew vehicle:

[Editor's Note: The legislation doesn't require an extra space shuttle flight next year, but it does provide a lot of money for the program. It's not clear how much the 21st Century Launch Complex program, which aims at overhauling the Kennedy Space Center's aging infrastructure, is reduced. The $825 million expenditure for space shuttle costs and launch complex development allows NASA to spend money on improvements to both KSC and Wallops Flight Facility, where Orbital Sciences Corporation will launch its Taurus rocket.]

Provided further,

That within the funds provided for ‘‘Aeronautics’’,

  • $579,600,000 shall be for aeronautics research and development activities, and
  • $559,000,000 shall be for space technology activities proposed for ‘‘Aeronautics’’ and exploration technology and demonstration program activities proposed for ‘‘Exploration’’ in the National Aeronautics and Space Administration congressional justification that accompanied the President’s Fiscal Year 2011 budget:

Provided further,

That within the funds provided for ‘‘Exploration’’,

  • not less than $1,200,000,000 shall be for the Orion multipurpose crew vehicle,
  • not less than $250,000,000 shall be for commercial crew,
  • not less than $300,000,000 shall be for commercial cargo development, and
  • not less than $1,800,000,000 shall be for the heavy lift launch vehicle system:

[Editor's Note: The bill provides an additional $100 million for the Orion program and boosts spending for the heavy-lift program by $169 million. Commercial crew is reduced by $50 million to $250 million, just half of what the Obama Administration wanted. The additional funding for commercial cargo is in line with what was previously agreed. The money would be given to the two COTS contractors, SpaceX and Orbital Sciences Corporation, for additional efforts to retire risks associated with their programs.]

Provided further,

That the ini1tial lift capability for the heavy lift launch vehicle system shall be not less than 130 tons and that the upper stage and other core elements shall be simultaneously developed:

[Editor's Note: This seems to be an effort by Congress to require NASA to use hardware developed for the Constellation program. More specifically, ATK's solid rocket technology. It's not clear what other technology exists out there that could lift 130 tons. Or why, for that matter, NASA needs a 130-ton to LEO capability.]

Provided further,

That the provisos limiting the use of funds under the heading ‘‘National Aeronautics and Space Administration, Exploration’’ in division B of Public Law 18 111–117 shall not apply to funds appropriated by this Act:

Provided further,

That within the funds provided for Construction and Environmental Compliance and Remediation,

  • $40,500,000 shall be available to support science research and development activities;
  • $109,800,000 shall be available to support exploration research and development activities;
  • $15,600,000 shall be available to support space operations research and development activities;
  • $300,700,000 shall be available for institutional construction of facilities; and
  • $62,100,00 shall be available for environmental compliance and remediation:

Provided further,

That of funds provided under the headings ‘‘Space Operations’’ and ‘‘Exploration’’ in this Act, up to $60,000,000 may be transferred to ‘‘Department of Commerce, Economic Development Administration, Economic Development Assistance Programs’’ to spur regional economic growth in areas impacted by Shuttle retirement and Exploration programmatic changes:

[Editor's Note:  Funding for Florida and other states affected by the shuttle's retirement and cancellation of the Constellation program.]

Provided further,

That following the retirement of the space shuttle orbiters, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration shall bear any costs that normally would be associated with surplusing the orbiters, including taking hazardous orbiter systems offline, and any shuttle recipient other than the Smithsonian Institution shall bear costs for transportation and for preparing the surplused orbiter for display:

Provided further,

That should the Administrator determine that the Smithsonian Institution is an appropriate venue for an orbiter, such orbiter shall be made available to the Smithsonian at no or nominal cost:

[Editor's Note: Free space shuttle for the Smithsonian!]

Provided further,

That any funds received by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration as a result of the disposition of any orbiter shall be available only as provided in subsequent appropriations Acts:

Provided further,

That funds made available for ‘‘Space Operations’’ in excess of those specified for Space Shuttle, International Space Station, and Space and Flight support may be transferred to ‘‘Construction and Environmental Compliance and Remediation’’ for construction activities only at National Aeronautics and Space Administration owned facilities:

[Editor's Note: NASA has some flexibility to channel space operational funding into infrastructure improvements if, for example, it doesn't fly a third space shuttle mission.]

Provided further,

That funds so transferred shall not be subject to section 505(a)(1) of division B of Public Law 111–117 or to the transfer limitations for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration described in the Administrative Provisions of that Act, and shall be available until September 12, 2015, only after notification of such transfers to the House and Senate Committees on Appropriations.

  • John M

    The Saturn V could lift 300 Tons, could be why that number was chosen for the heavy lift vehicle.

  • JohnHunt

    I find this depressing. If Congress actually used their brains, they would drop the HLV and put that money into the ongoing commercial development of a Lunar Ice To LEO (LITL) system so that, down the line, NASA could purchase that fuel in orbit. In that case the HLV wouldn’t be needed after all. Pork is short-sighted.