Hearing on Space Leadership Preservation Act Set for Thursday

Capitol Building
Full House Science Committee Hearing

The Space Leadership Preservation Act and the Need for Stability at NASA
Thursday, February 25, 2016 – 10:00 am

Witnesses

Panel 1:

The Honorable John Culberson
Member, U.S. House of Representatives

Panel 2:

The Honorable Michael Griffin
Former Administrator, NASA

Colonel Eileen Collins
USAF (Retired); NASA Astronaut, Commander, STS-93 and 114; NASA Astronaut, Pilot, STS-63 and 94

Ms. Cristina Chaplain
Director of Acquisition and Sourcing Management, U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO)

Background

The Space Leadership Preservation Act (H.R. 2093), to improve NASA’s management structure and accountability. The Space Leadership Preservation Act proposes a number of changes to the management structure of NASA and its procurement authority to address the issue of constancy of purpose.

The bill includes the following provisions:

10 Year Term for the NASA Administrator: The bill establishes a 10-year term for the Administrator of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. The Administrator shall be chosen from a list provided by a new “Board of Directors”.

Establish a Board of Directors: The bill establishes a “Board of Directors.” It provides the manner of the selection and appointment as well as the criteria to qualify for the board and the length of each member’s term. This section empowers the board to provide to the President and Congress a proposed budget for NASA; to provide a list of nominees to the President for appointment to Administrator, Deputy Administrator, and Chief Financial Officer, all Senate confirmed appointments; to provide reports on specific policy matters deemed important by Congress; to review current space programs and future space exploration plans; and to provide a recommendation to Congress and President for the removal of the Administrator for cause.

Budget Deliberation Review: The bill directs NASA to provide the “Board of Directors” with the budget they send to the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB), thereby allowing them to see any differences between what NASA asked for in a budget and what the Administration formally requested for NASA. The bill also requires the President to provide an explanation of any discrepancy in the budget proposal provided by the “Board of Directors.”

Long-Term Procurement: The bill provides NASA with the capability to enter into contracts for rocket propulsion systems and manned and unmanned space transportation vehicles and payloads, including expendable launch vehicles, and any other infrastructure intended for placement or operation in space or on celestial bodies, and services related thereto for periods in excess of the period for which funds are otherwise available for obligation under certain conditions.

  • I’m predicting Al Gore will step in and help either Bernie or Hillary clean up this mess.

    He did it the last time and it worked out as well as can be expected.

  • Douglas Messier

    I’m sure Mike Griffin would love to be NASA Administrator again. Under this bill, his tenure would last a decade.

  • NASA human space flight is already impotent and incompetent in the face of billionaire funded commercial efforts. It would be no great loss.

  • therealdmt

    Hmmm. This sounds like a good idea on the surface — to insulate NASA funding and programs from the vagaries of the political cycles.

    What if, however, we get a poor administrator — one not so terrible as to do anything to justify removal, but one who sets NASA off in a poor direction and/or doesn’t manage it well. In that case, we’re stuck with the same guy for 10 long years. Also, what happens if the facts on the ground change, such as through the introduction of a disruptive technology or approach, etc.? But we’ve got an administrator invested in a now-outdated approach and still with the rest of his or her decade to go…

    I’m not saying I’m against this, I’m just saying 10 years is a long time.

    Also, in the face of declining discretionary spending (of which NASA spending is a part) as a portion of the budget, what big, ambitious government space endeavor can survive, regardless of such a bill? I think the answer is rather to facilitate the development of private space capabilities and nascent markets, and to gradually hand over of as much space activity as practicable to private enterprise.

  • therealdmt

    Mike Griffin — that’s exactly the scenario I was thinking of in my above post

  • therealdmt

    In other words, let necessity (of facing budget pressures and changing political priorities that forever frustrate progress) be the mother of invention (of a more efficient, much less politically dependent way of doing things) rather than trying to build a unbreachable protective wall around the old way of doing things.

  • NASA is a federal scientific institution. The GOP branch of congress is anti-science. With science, every day presents a new way of doing things, so whatever it is you are trying to say is fairly easily dismissed.

  • TomDPerkins

    “NASA is a federal scientific institution.”

    That’s only it’s secondary purpose. It’s primary purpose is moving federal budget dollars into congressional districts.

    “The GOP branch of congress is anti-science.”

    No, but is is opposed to Leftists using government money to buy “science” which fraudulently supports policies the Leftists want.

  • I’m afraid I’m just not seeing that in NASA’s charter. The rest of your rant is uninformed and idiotic. You’ve already destroyed any scientific credibility you might of had with me, so don’t bother..

  • TomDPerkins

    I never claimed that was their charter, did I? Why are you making things up?

    It’s backed up–informed–among other things by the refusal of the climate fraudsters to release their work to public scrutiny or scientific duplication, even though it was done on the pubic dime. They can plead the 5th is they want to.

    You already have no credibility with me. You deserve none.

  • Gosh Tom, I never claimed that you claimed that. Parsing 101.

    What I am claiming is that you are a total crank ignorant of science, it’s results and its methods. Nothing more, nothing less. I’m not even going to bother with cites because all I would get back is nonsense cites from paranoid conspiracy websites and all I have to offer is peer reviewed scientific publications and competent blog analysis of those papers, books and results..

    In America you are free to hold any delusional belief you wish. I don;t even want to tax them unless you profit from them. In that respect I am a true Progressive Libertarian.

    That doesn’t include tea baggerism.

  • TomDPerkins

    You complained, “I’m afraid I’m just not seeing that in NASA’s charter.” right after I said the the true thing that NASA’s purpose was to move federal dollars into congressional districts. Did you, with that quoted statement, reply to me in a in a meaningless manner? Parse that out.

    “What I am … books and results. ” <– You have no evidence for that. Of course, there's only fraudulently manufactured evidence for AGW, and that doesn't stop you from spouting support for that nonsense at every opportunity. You cannot cite the AGW fraudsters being open and scientific in their methods or with their data, because they haven't been. I can show how the AGW frauds literally conspired successfully to have editors who approved the publication of papers which disproved AGW removed from their positions–so if only the "peers" who approve of AGW get to review the papers, where's the "science" in it?

    "In America you … I'm a scientist." <– More directly contradictory words have rarely been written.

    "I do enjoy engineering and mathematics as well." <– No, you don't. When they conflict with your politics you deny them.

  • I’m afraid I’m not following our logic and it would be a disservice to Doug to continue to pursue it, even though it is tangentially on topic. I did find Ms. Collin’s testimony to be a bit contradictory when she stated that she was shocked that Mr. Obama chose to defund Constellation and then in the same breath said she thought NASA should be run like a business. That was the most entertaining moment for me. My respect for her opinions are now diminished greatly. The rest of the testimony given from the usual suspects was fairly predictable. As are your comments here as well.

    Good luck with your scientific conspiracy theories. They become ever more cultish with each passing day. I do look forward to you and your cohorts overthrowing some aspect of well accepted science in the near future. I always love it when well established science is smashed to bits and replaced with an entirely new and novel theory.

  • TomDPerkins

    “I’m afraid I’m not following our logic and it would be a disservice to Doug to continue to pursue it” <– Which is why you volunteered this BS, "The GOP branch of congress is anti-science." And you volunteer the same with every opportunity.

    "Good luck with your scientific conspiracy theories." <– Stating testimony from the AGW fraudsters as recorded in the Congressional record. It's on film too. AGW is already overthrown, it exists solely in the political realm.

  • Great, I can’t wait to read the paper. And in that case Michael Griffin will make an excellent NASA administrator for President Donald Trump. SLS and Orion will put BFR and MCT to shame and all will be well in the universe again.

  • TomDPerkins

    “Great, I can’t wait to read the paper.”

    Sure you can. You’ve already ignored the mainstream media reports of the same.

  • windbourne

    The idea of a board of directors that leads the direction of NASA really does make good sense. In particular, with 9 members and a change ever 2 years, it should provide continuity.

    However, the idea of keeping the same director is a mistake. Far better to allow the president to appoint as they see fit. Their job is then to work with the board along with the president.

  • windbourne

    Yes, the GOP is anti-science.
    The problem is, so are the dems.

  • windbourne

    are you suggesting that Griffin was bad?
    While constellation was a cluster, he is the one that got a GOP congress to back funding of private space and without the massive fight that O has had to do to keep it going.

  • windbourne

    huh?
    I hate to point this out, but 2 of the entities to be doing human flights, are doing so under the NASA umbrella.

  • First of all, we are talking about congress here. If you can name a single democratic member of congress that admits to being a young Earth creationist or admits to not believing in evolution, then I would be willing to listen to what you say.

    In regards to NASA, SLS and Orion and possible flights to Mars, the problem here is the senile lady from Texas, Ms. Eddie Bernice Johnson, and the so called professionally trained woman from Illinois, the idiotic Ms. Donna Edwards. Ms. Giffords, the woman who created the current problem is with her hissy fit in the congressional hearing of 2010, is completely out of the picture. The problem with the rest of the democrats in congress is that they either don’t care or they are grossly misinformed. The most damaging people there are the republican congressional aides and former aides and we all know their names.

    The real problem here is NASA, the administrator and the employees, who have been so dumbed down by 30 years of post Reagan educational policy and their idiotic religious and political beliefs that nothing will ever change. It’s over for NASA with regards to human space flight, Chucky Bouldin knows it, the Prez knows it and all of the people testifying or participating in that hearing knows it, especially and including Eileen Collins. Her testimony was shocking in its disconnect with reality.

  • It was mandated by law. Lest you forget.

  • I guess you missed the Russians, the Chinese and Jeff Bezos.

    NASA human space flight is a luxury that will soon be defunded.

  • windbourne

    Tom , the dems scream about AGW ( good since it is obviously ) as well as oppose storage of nuke waste at yucca mtn ( also good because there is lots of energy left ).
    However, what do the dems do:
    1) work to stop building new reactors screaming about meltdowns. Yet, flibe and transatomic have ZERO chance of meltdown.
    2) those reactor can burn up 95% of nuke ‘waste’ while not digging any more uranium.
    3) old reactors are really not safe. They are gen 2 and 3 and can have meltdown.
    4) studies on AGW show over and over that wind and solar can NOT replace coal, let alone coal and nat gas, in time for us to drop our Co2 fast.
    5) even with science showing reactors are safe and great replacement for majority of fossil fuel electricity.
    6) same dems are pushing high speed twin rail, even though both economics and engineering prove that it will not pull any real amount of passengers without massive subsidies. And in CA, the dems are fighting against Hyperloop, though everything indicates it is superior to twin rail, roads, and aviation for 200-700 miles.
    7) dems continue to scream about cutting American emissions, while ignoring oco-2 empirical data that shows that China’s emissions are much higher than what china gov reports.
    8) numerous studies that show that our grid/utilities can handle 100% of EV passenger vehicles as long as less than 15% is charged in the daytime. In fact, they show that electrical cost will drop if less than 10% daytime charging. So dems give subsidies for low MPC EVs and hybrids, all of which will do daytime charging.

    The list goes on and on about how anti-science they are.
    So yes, the GOP is massively anti-science. So are the dems.

  • You are not going to drag me into an scientific argument using insanely idiotic technical reasoning anymore, that would be unfair to Doug. Good luck with the nuke thing!

    I am now dumber for having read even half of your rant.

  • windbourne

    no, you were dumber before. You just do not want to admit that your dems are just as anti-science as the gop.

  • windbourne

    what was mandated by law? COTS? Constellation? They are all mandated by law. And funded by budgets.
    And it remains that Griffin was behind both.

  • windbourne

    wow.
    Lets see. You gripe about NASA’s human space flight and say that it is only billionaires doing it. I point out that that 2-3 of these coming systems are partially to fully funded by NASA as well as has a lot of input by NASA.
    And then you throw in a red herring about Russians and China, along with a sub-orbital human launch system.

    Ok, that is about par for your irrational arguments.

  • There is a big difference between being anti-science and just being uniformed about it or not understanding it. You are the latter category as evidenced by your nuke rant.

    The GOP hypocritically rejects science while depending on it for everything in their daily lives, Democrats don’t do that. The GOP only pretends to love science when there is something in it for them personally, like money and votes, power and prestige.

    You, on the other hand, just get everything wrong about it. What I understand is that when I want to boil water, I use an energy source as close to that temperature as possible for maximum efficacy, minimum entropy production and the least amount of environmental damage possible. So that’s roughly 35 meV or so. So an optical photon at 75 times more energy works fine.

    I’m a physicist. You’re a minsunderstanding zealot.

  • I recall that David Anderman had something to do with it.

  • I’m pretty sure Blue Origin has larger aspirations than that.

    Boeing on the other hand doesn’t want to spend a dime.

    Do you have any conceptual visualization abilities at all?

    I’m sorry my ideas fly right over your head. I apologize.

  • windbourne

    having aspirations and actively developing are 2 very different things. But hey.

  • windbourne

    You are a physicists today and not an engineer?
    Wow, you changed your title regularly depending on what you are talking about, esp. when you do not have a leg to stand on:

    https://www.google.com/webhp?sourceid=chrome-instant&ion=1&espv=2&es_th=1&ie=UTF-8&client=ubuntu#q=Thomas+Lee+Elifritz

  • That’s generally how people find the things that I have written or stalk me. Take your pick. And I am what is appropriate to the scientific and technical subjects under discussion. I see you’ve conveniently changed the subject, and don’t seem to have a response to my premise, that you are a nuclear nut. I myself happen to be a water boiling and freezing fan, and a sunlight to electricity energy conversion enthusiast, but the difference between you and I is that I invoke actual numbers.

    Terrestrial nuclear energy for boiling water or making electricity is so 20th century, you need to get up to speed on that. Just like expendable launch vehicles built by NASA are, which happens to be another topic under discussion here.

  • You may continue to hold your delusional beliefs that commercial space launch and habitat operators are not going to build the reusable launch vehicles that they say they are. It worked for you the last five years, maybe it will work for you another five years. The testimony referred to by Doug’s blog post seems to indicate they want another ten year of NASA insanity, and by the looks of it it seems to be that they’ll get it.

  • Paul451

    IIRC at the time, he hated COTS and essentially had it forced on him. The concept was developed under O’Keefe. It was about the only part of the VSE plan under O’Keefe that survived Griffin.

    He was able to kill COTS-C (return) and delay COTS-D (crew) for four years, until COTS-D was resurrected under Bolden/Obama, and COTS-C was effectively delivered by SpaceX under their COTS-B bid.