|24 April 1997
Letter sent from NSS HQ to members of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on VA-HUD-IA, House Science Committee, House Subcommittee on Space and Aeronautics, just prior to floor debate of H.R. 1275. The letter was sent attention of each office's legislative assistant for space and science policy.
|April 24, 1997
Dear Member of the 105th Congress,
This week the U.S. House of Representatives may consider the Civilian Space Authorization Act (H.R. 1275).
NASA's FY 1997 budget is $13.7 billion ($14.07 in 1998 dollars). The Administration proposed to cut funding for the space agency to $13.5 billion in FY 1998 -- a $500 million decrease when adjustments are made for inflation.
Just last week the House Science Committee approved H.R. 1275, which authorizes budgets of $13.8 billion in FY 1998 and $13.9 billion in FY 1999. At these higher levels, NASA still suffers a real decrease in spending, although the rollback is less severe than that proposed by the Administration.
The National Space Society strongly endorses the Science Committee's efforts to boost spending for NASA and to provide additional resources for space transportation and space science. Traveling to space consumes a major portion of NASA's budget. It costs upward of $10,000 per pound to reach orbit today -- an exorbitant amount that inhibits the growth of space commerce and exploration.
By increasing our investment in space transportation, we can enhance research and development efforts to lower the price tag for access to space, as well as increase safety and reliability. NASA recently combined its Space Transportation Technology program with the Aeronautics program. America has continually made investments in aeronautics to develop new technologies. As a consequence, our aeronautical industry is the envy of the world. By applying the lessons learned in aeronautics to space transportation, we will be able to achieve similar successes and make significant reductions in launch vehicle costs.
Each of the past five years, NASA's budget has been reduced. The agency now spends 15 percent less than in 1992. America must invest in science and engineering to maintain its leadership in advanced technology and to keep our economy healthy. NASA is a major component of our nation's investment in the future. The Civilian Space Authorization Act for 1998 and 1999 is a step closer to stabilizing NASA's budget and to strategically providing additional resources for space transportation and space science.