Live Blog — House Science Committee Hearing on NASA 2011 Budget

NASA chief Bolden at JSC - Julio Cortez Chronicle

This is the House Committee on Science and Technology hearing concerning the proposed FY 2011 NASA Budget.

AmericaSpace Note: We came into this late but managed to get some of the highlights. We’ll clean-up in a bit…

Wow, unlike yesterday’s Senate hearing, House Science Committee 1/2 full.

Grayson (D FL-8)

Why did you not follow the advice of the Augustine Committee concerning the flexible path by continuing Constellation?

Bolden

We just couldn’t afford Constellation.

Grayson

What commercial launcher has handled human space flight.

Bolden

The Shuttle is a commercial entity.

Grayson

So you consider the Shuttle to be a commercial launcher?

Bolden

Yes.

Grayson

Let’s be serious, no commercial launcher has ever put a human into orbit.
You are taking a faith based approach to human space flight. And it’s going to hurt us.

Kosmas (D FL-24)

Concerned with loosing a highly skilled community in which 12% unemployement already exists. Specificity is one problem. But the bigger concern is that we will loose our lead in human space flight. We will loose the battle of intellectual leadership. And we’ll loose that which inspires people in STEM, human space flight. Not knowing where we are going is a lack of vision. We have no American vehicle to get us to ISS.
There is no proof of a commercial market for ISS human space flight.
What will it cost us to
Why have we eliminated the independent human space access?

Bolden

Shuttle cost around $2B.

Kosmas

She’s not going to hit on lack of specificity.
But how do we go about building-up infrastructure at KSC if we don’t know how and where we are going?

Bolden

This will be infrastructure work with range, in concert with the 45th Space Wing.

Kosmas

Cancelation of contracts of Constellation not only puts highly-skilled workforce at greater risk but prevents Congress as a body to have a say in America’s human space flight program.

Bolden

Continues to maintain that he has not cancelled any contracts

Kosmas

Even canceling contracts for 2012 has cost issues and raises Constellation’s costs.

Chairman Gorton

Rep. Kosmas brings a good point. We need to deal with this quickly so that the workforce knows what’s going to happen.

Davis (R TN-4)

NASA has a 1.5% budget increase but we are killing Constellation. World changed from space as we watched Apollo 11, from Challenger. But are we looking at a change as devastating as Challenger was or as Apollo 11?
We are the leader in human space flight and we don’t want to be hitching a ride with the Russians or the Chinese. This our country cannot afford that nor should we. Are we headed on a collision course if we cancel Constellation by depending upon commercial launchers for human access? In 10 years from now, what has more likelihood of success? Constellation or commercial launchers?

Bolden

If we followed Constellation, in 10 years we would not be on the Moon. It is his hope by 2015-2016, we’ll have access to ISS, maybe more than one source. Maybe by 2020 or 2030, we’ll have technology to go to Mars.

Davis

With Constellation, we would not be able to reach ISS by 2015?

Bolden

Under existing program, not an indictment of Constellation workforce or technology, and remember that the Augustine Committee found no technical issues with Constellation that don’t exist in other technology programs, we were so far behind due to lack of funding. Asking Congress to support $7B addition to get Constellation caught-up was irresponsible. AmericaSpace Note: We don’t know where that $7B number is coming from–the Augustine Committee said that Constellation needed $3B yearly for 5 years to get caught-up.

Davis

None of us are visionaries of the future. You have to convince me that the vision you have is better than what I’m seeing. I don’t see your vision.

Dahlkemper (D PA-3)
How can you inspire youth given what you’re doing to the human space program?

Bolden

We’ll connect students with NASA centers and get them connected to ISS where they can point a camera on ISS.

Dahlkemper

Do you see any problems in inspiring students with cancelation of Constellation and Shuttle?

Bolden

Summer of Innovation and Constellation would have had no impact on inspiring students.

Dahlkember

So Constellation had no ability to inspire students?

Wilson – (OH R-6)

Glenn Research has part of the Ares I and Ares V and will it be negatively impacted by cancelation?

Bolden

Rambling on about research aspects of Glenn work, says Glenn not a part of exploration but of research.

Wilson

Space power facility at Plumbrook was built for space environment simulation. But now its future is impacted

Bishop (R UT-1)

Goes after Garver. You two made some bad decisions otherwise we wouldn’t be here.
Gates was not consulted. Nobody at DoD was consulted.
Did you or anyone in your office consult with DoD on industrial base issues on terminating Constellation?

Bolden

I spoke with General Cartwright but they were not formal meetings.
That info will be provided.

Bishop

DoD Acquisitions report p. 47 says that canceling Constellation will have a significant impact on DoD solid issues.

Bolden

Not having direct discussions with anyone. Staff is.

Bishop

Do you have any clue what Russians will charge?
When you say you’re build a bold new path, with all due respect, when you say and the President says, that they want to inspire people to go into STEM, it does not inspire jr. high school through college when they see 20,000 people in this business getting pink slips.

Griffith (D AL-5)

We are reluctantly concerned at the changes you are proposing. We are witnessing a delay in Tankers. What if we see this delay when China and others are proceeding along? Space access is a national security issue. Privatized without control puts at risk the high ground of space. Only the USA can survive a challenge like the Challenger or Columbia disasters. How do we put a commercial sign on our national pride? There is great concern at this “unfriendly take-over”. We appreciate the statements of working with Congress, but you made this decision to cancel Constellation without consulting any of us on such an important decision. We are number one in human space flight, but if we interrupt the workforce, we will not be number one.
To privatize with a SpaceX or a Boeing when the process or judicial process may interrupt the letting of contracts puts at risk our human access.
It’s not about money. Why can’t President move $3B from Stimulus bill to keep ahead of Chinese?
If you asked the President, “Mr. President, in keeping with our nation being number one in human space flight, would you please take less than 1% of the Stimulus money and give it to NASA so that we can finish Constellation?”, he would do it.

Posey (R FL-15)

1% of Stimulus funds would fly the Shuttle, so money is not an issue.
We know who made this decision (Garver).
We are frustrated that Bolden would not tell who made the decison to cancel Constellation.
Obama made promises to close the gap and he hasn’t.
LEO will not keep us first in space.
Strongly support commercial spa
No profit in human space access unless we pay them. That’s not profit.
All us know that Constellation is not over budget, just under-funded.
No NASA workforce transition study despite Congressional mandate.
Why are we laying-off
Is Shuttle safety really an issue in continuing for flying Shuttle?
Endeavor has less than 30 flights when designed for 100.
Augustine even said Shuttle was the most dependable mode for human access.
Unlike Apollo’s giant step for mankind, this is a giant step toward mediocrity.
What would it take for you to renew your interest in Constellation?

Bolden

Wants to capture some of Constellation…not answering the question.

2 comments to Live Blog — House Science Committee Hearing on NASA 2011 Budget

  • Paul Vaccaro

    GO CONGRESS GO, Thak god they see what the Obama Admin. is doing, I know with a fact with proper funding Constellation will be a great stepping stone for deep space exploration, the moon is a perfect test ground for our astronuat corps who by tha way nobody active has ever done this before. My father and father-in law were engineers for over 25 years at KSC don’t let Bolden and Obama cripple our manned spaceflight program. remember you got to learn to crawl before you can walk. Oh by the way the Ares 1 launch across from my hometown was a magnificient sight, but oh I thought we were so far behind nope that’s right thats just the temporary occupant of the White House telling us otherwise. GO CONGRESS SAVE OUR NATIONAL TREASURE it’s Americas program not the White House…

  • GP500

    @ paul and others it’s history that made the difficult possition NASA is in now.

    Bush never took nasa serious, the only thing serious was war.
    Nasa had a plan and no resources, const. was a 3-legged dog doing a horse his work.

    There is a need for a restructuring of the still bureacrat organisation nasa is.
    it’s still sticking from apollo and the navy/airforce.

    “time to buy a new car” and you will miss the fun thing you drove in and it will be sold or crushed.
    But you have something new.

    it’s a shame the previous 2x bush haven’t made a clear path/reforms back then.
    They knew the Shutle would be to old, and didn’t want to burn them on the nasa subject.