Rep. George Brown's NASA Proposal for FY 95

Has implications for future of Mars exploration

The note below begins with a summary by Steve Squyres of Cornell University, then ends with a summary of the Bill proposed by Rep. George Brown (D-California).

Please note that Mars Surveyor information included in the text of Brown's bill proposal is given in Bold.

-- K. Edgett, 21 May 1994

Date: Thu, 19 May 94
From: squyres@astrosun.TN.CORNELL.EDU (Steve Squyres)

Subject: News from Congress

Hello: This afternoon, the House authorization subcommittee with NASA
oversight released their version of the FY 1995 NASA budget. In this version
of the budget, Mars Surveyor is eliminated. In its place, there is an
addition of $50 million to cover "Russian cooperation" at Mars. This is not an
adequate level to do a full-up joint mission to Mars with the Russians in 
1996, though it may be adequate to do something in 1998.

I have attached the text accompanying the bill below.

The House appropriations subcommittee has yet to speak on this issue. We also
have not heard from the Senate yet, so this should be treated as just the
first skirmish. It's clear, however, that we have our work cut out for us.

Cheers, SS

                      AUTHORIZATION ACT, FISCAL YEARS 1995, 1996


   The ``Augustine Report'' issued in 1990 has generally been acknowledged as
the most thorough review of space policy since the Apollo period.  One key
recommendation of that report is that the budget for the space program should
achieve a greater stability and should increase in real terms.  Since the
issuance of that report, the NASA budget appropriated by Congress has
decreased in real terms.

   Moreover, the five year budget runout has decreased substantially due to a
combination of overall budgetary stress and shifting Administration
priorities.  For the period of 1994-1998, the F.Y. 94 budget request for NASA
required a reduction of $8.1 billion.  In short, the NASA budget has enjoyed
neither the stability for the real growth envisioned by the Augustine report.

   This authorization bill is intended to define a path for maintaining
balance within the space program within the budgetary restraints that have
been imposed over the next two years.  The objective of the bill is to
sustain all of the investments that have been made in the space and
aeronautics program over the past decade including programs such as the Space
Telescope, the Earth Observing system, and the Space Station.

   This bill does not, however, provide a long term solution.  Continued
decline in Administration budget requests and Congressional Appropriations
will result in the need for major programmatic realignment of cancellations in
future years.


   This bill identifies specific areas where budgetary reduction are possible
other than the Space Station.  It also identifies specific actions that can be
taken to offset the adverse effects of such reductions and maintain a healthy
and balanced space and aeronautics program.

   For fiscal year 1995, the bill identifies $288.6 million in programmatic
reductions, relative to the request level of $14.3 billion.  It also provides
for $139 million in offsetting additions.  Thus, although a funding level of
$14.01 may be minimally adequate to maintain the F.Y. 1995 space and
aeronautics program without impacting the Space Station, program disruptions
and lost investments will occur.  A funding level of $14.150 will provide for
a healthy and balanced space program and more effectively capitalize on past

   For fiscal year 1996, the bill provides $14.4 billion, the overall request
level.  This funding level is still several hundred million below an
inflationary increase over the 1995 level.  In order to sustain the space and
aeronautics program over the long term, the Administration and Congress will
need to undertake an in-depth review of NASA's funding requirements during the
budget preparation cycle for fiscal year 1996.  Specifically, there is a need
for an objective assessment of the true savings obtained from the management
reforms undertaken as part of the National Performance Review and an assessment
of the actual budgetary needs of the ongoing and anticipated programs.


   Some of the major reductions identified in the bill are as follows:

1.  The bill provides for a reduction in the Shuttle flight rate of one
mission per year.  Continued erosion of NASA's budget in the out years may
necessitate an additional reduction in flight rate.

2.  The bill assumes a deletion of one Spacelab mission, MSL-1.  It is
possible to recover some of the science lost by this action on a series of
Spacehab missions and joint activities with the Russians.

3.  The bill eliminates the Mars Surveyor new start.  It is anticipated,
however, that increased cooperation with the Russian science community may
provide for a restructured joint mission.

4.  The bill defers work on an Ocean Color Imager and Altimeter now part of
the Earth Observing System.  Other potential flight options and mission
phasing is possible to counter this deferral.

5.  The Techsat program is held to 1994 levels pending a clearer demonstration
of industry co-funding as originally proposed.

6.  The bill provides for a moderate delay in the TDRSS procurement.

7.  The bill provides for a reduction in personnel funding due to the better
than anticipated success of the buyout program.

   The bill also provides for certain program augmentations and new
initiatives as follows:

1.  The bill provides for additional funding for the Global Geospace Science
program in order to accommodate the launch delay now anticipated.

2.  The bill provides for a moderate new start on a technology development
program directed at advanced launch technologies including SSTO and reusable

3.  The bill maintains funding for the University Space Engineering Centers
which have been proposed for termination.

4.  The bill establishes a new line for item for Russian cooperation in
science to complement the Russian cooperation in human spaceflight.  It is
anticipated that the initial focus of the cooperative program will be in Mars
exploration and recovery of the science lost with the Mars Observer.