Key Senators Send Bipartisan Letter Criticizing NASA Implementation of Law

Key Senators Send Bipartisan Letter Criticizing NASA Implementation of Law

The top Democrats and Republicans on the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee sent a letter to NASA Administrator Charlie Bolden today criticizing the agency’s implementation of the 2010 NASA Authorization Act.

The chairmen of the full committee and of the Science and Space Subcommittee, Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-WV) and Sen. Bill Nelson (D-FL) and their Republican counterparts, Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-TX) and Sen. John Boozman (R-AR) charged that NASA “has not made sufficient progress in carrying out the changes” required by the 2010 NASA Authorization Act and “has not adequately complied with a number of reporting requirements” in that Act.

The five-page letter goes on to detail the Senators’ concerns about the pace with which NASA is proceeding with the direction in the law to build a new crew transportation system and requests that a senior agency official “who has first hand knowledge of NASA’s efforts to implement policy changes” in the law brief them every two weeks beginning the week of May 30, 2011. It then requests specific information about the reports that were required by the law, such as the names of the senior NASA officials(s) responsible for preparing, reviewing and approving them, various related studies that were “purportedly” presented to NASA while the reports were underway, and copies of all documents and communications, including emails, discussing different aspects of the reports.

The Senators also request very specific information about NASA’s work on the Multi-Purpose Crew Vehicle and Space Launch System required by the Act.

The subcommittee held a hearing today on the relevance of the space program to national imperatives. During the hearing, Sen. Hutchison, in particular, voiced continued concern that NASA is not implementing the law. A summary of the hearing will be posted soon.

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