House Approps to Markup CJS Bill Today for NASA and NOAA — UPDATE

House Approps to Markup CJS Bill Today for NASA and NOAA — UPDATE

UPDATE:   The time (10:00 am) and place (2359 Rayburn) have been added and “tomorrow” changed to “today.”   NOTE TO INTERNET EXPLORER USERS:  Due to some technical glitch, the hyperlink to the committee’s draft report is not working in some versions of IE, though it is fine in Firefox.  To obtain the report, go the committee’s main website, and scroll down under the photographs and it’s the first item.

The House Appropriations Committee is scheduled to markup the FY2013 funding bill for NASA and NOAA today, April 26, 2012, at 10:00 am in 2359 Rayburn House Office Buildiing.  The bill funds agencies under the jurisdiction of the Commerce-Justice-Science (CJS) subcommittee, which includes NASA and NOAA.  Subcommittee markup was completed last week.

The committee posted the draft report to accompany the bill, which provides more detail on what it has in mind for NASA and NOAA than the bill, which was released last week.

The House bill provides $17.6 billion for NASA, $138 million less than the President’s request.   The Administration’s proposal to cut funding for planetary exploration is of particular interest this year, especially its impact on robotic Mars exploration.  The committee’s report clarifies that it wants to add $88 million for the Mars Next Decade project, for a total of $150 million.  It does require that the National Research Council certify that any new Mars mission conform with the recommendation of the 2011 NRC Decadal Survey for planetary exploration that called for a program leading to return of a sample of Mars to Earth.  If the NRC cannot make the certification, the funding is to be reallocated to the NRC’s second priority for large “flagship” missions — a probe to study Jupiter’s moon Europa.

The committee’s report also has extensive language about the human spaceflight program, including the Space Launch System, the Multi-Purpose Crew Vehicle (Orion), and commercial crew.  The committee criticizes many aspects of the commercial crew program and calls for “an immediate downselect to a single competitor or, at most, the execution of a leader-follower paradigm in which NASA makes one large award to a main commercial partner and a second small award to a back-up partner.”






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