Today, the Committee on Science, Space, and Technology’s Subcommittee on Space held a hearing titled, “Deep Space Exploration: Examining the Impact of the President’s Budget.”The purpose of the hearing was to examine the Administration’s management of the Space Launch System (SLS) and Orion crew vehicle development programs. The hearing also evaluated NASA’s plans for future major tests and milestones and how the budget requested by the Administration for these programs affects development schedules and milestones.
Testifying before the Subcommittee were: Mr. Doug Cooke, Owner of Cooke Concepts and Solutions and Former Associate Administrator, Exploration Systems, NASA; and Mr. Dan Dumbacher, Professor of Engineering Practice at Purdue University and Former Deputy Associate Administrator, Human Exploration and Operations Mission Directorate, NASA. Democratic Members of the Subcommittee expressed concern that the Majority did not invite a representative from NASA.
U.S. Rep. Ed Perlmutter (CO-07) asked several questions about the role of the committee in helping to provide a long-term plan that keeps the SLS and Orion projects on track. Click here to see Perlmutter’s full remarks.
Mr. Dumbachersaid, “Given the budget instability and continuous policy debates, the NASA / Industry team is making great progress. The team is dedicated to building all systems as safely as possible, as soon as possible, and as cost efficiently as possible. The Space Launch System, its Orion capsule, and their support infrastructure together create the needed foundation for US expansion beyond Earth’s boundaries. Each of the Programs is making significant progress, despite substantial fiscal obstacles. The team is diligently working to build this powerful launch vehicle, and its spacecraft, to reach Mars and eventually, go beyond.”
Mr. Cookealso discussed the challenges of dealing with budget uncertainty. He said, “The most challenging aspect of management and successful execution of these programs is the impact of constrained budgets and unplanned changes to operating budgets, whether real or contrived. The technical challenges are fun in comparison and engineers can solve them.”
Click here to see the entire Subcommittee on Space hearing.