WASHINGTON — NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine urged Senate appropriators to provide full funding for Artemis, because some members questioned the agency’s emphasis on lunar exploration programs.
In testifying to the Business, Justice, and Science Subcommittee of the Senate Appropriations Committee on September 23, Bradenstein said that NASA needs to cover the entire $3.2 billion required by the Human Landing System (HLS) program in its fiscal 2021 budget. Keep mankind returning to the moon as planned in 2024.
HLS received only about $600 million in the House spending bill passed in July. “We are grateful for that. I want to make it clear,” he said. “I also want to tell you that this is not enough to achieve a lunar landing in 2024.”
He added: “Accelerating it to 2024 requires a budget of $3.2 billion for the human landing system in 2021, which is in the President’s budget request.” “Everything the committee can take to help us obtain these resources is crucial.”
However, the senators did not immediately express their interest. The Chairman of the Subcommittee Senator Jerry Moran (R-Kan.) is the busiest question. He raised a series of questions about the Artemis plan and its funding needs, as well as what was made last year. The decision to promote the person. Return to the moon from 2028 to 2024.
Bridenstine believes that in the long run, speeding up the program will save money. He said: “The faster you go, the less you spend.” “We need to compress the timetable, we need to speed up the pace and minimize risks.”
Although Moran generally supports the plan, he did explore ways to reduce costs. Bridenstine pointed out in his testimony that NASA plans to retain at least two, and perhaps three, companies that are still in the HLS project when it decides on the next step early next year. He said, “It depends only on their recommendations.”
“Have you ever thought that you could go from three points to one point and skip two points in the competition?” Moran asked.
Bridenstine said that these ideas were discussed, but emphasized that he wants to keep the HLS plan competitive. He said: “I am worried about dropping to one.” “When you eliminate competition, you will inevitably drag out the program eventually, which will eventually lead to cost overruns and schedule delays.”
Subcommittee Senator Jeanne Shahin (DN.H.) questioned the importance attached to the Artemis plan, rather than the scientific and educational plans for which the budget request was to be terminated. She said: “Especially young people, I heard a lot of excitement.” “But, of course, we know that NASA needs more than just a moon.”
She and other senators proposed several of these plans, including the Roman Space Telescope, the PACE and CLARREO Pathfinder Earth Science missions, and NASA’s educational work, the STEM Participation Office. She said: “I hope to work with you with Chairman Moran to ensure that we can send humans to the moon and Mars without sacrificing other important NASA missions.”
Considering the proposed termination of the STEM participation office, when Bradenstein defended NASA’s education work, Moran replied: “I think the Senate will take a different approach from previous years.” Congress rejected the first three years of closure. Office proposal.
The next step in the Senate budget process is unclear. The new fiscal year begins on October 1, but the Senate appropriators have not yet flagged any spending bill, let alone a full vote on it by the Senate. The House of Representatives passed a continuing resolution on September 22, which will provide funding for the federal government by December 11. The Senate is expected to approve the bill to avoid a government shutdown.
In his opening speech, Shaheen expressed disappointment over the block funding process. She told Moran: “You and I are making bipartisan bills.” “We are ready to move forward in June.”
Moran said he firmly believes that he can work with Shaheen and other committee members to formulate a bipartisan bill that “will receive broad support throughout the Senate.” “We have the ability to deliver the product. We just need the opportunity to do so,” he said. He did not specify when to prepare such bills.