Subcommittee Discusses Need for Stability of Vision for NASA Human Spaceflight

Feb 27, 2013

Washington, D.C. — The Subcommittee on Space today held its first hearing of the 113th Congress to evaluate NASA’s policies, priorities and goals for human space exploration, as the Committee works toward reauthorizing the agency.

Chairman Lamar Smith (R-Texas): “Today, a question exists about NASA’s vision, namely, whether there is one.  But we must also recognize that even a vision, without a means to achieve it, can be fruitless and frustrating.  NASA too often is hampered by short term decisions that have a long term negative impact.  We must step back, look at the Agency as a whole, and work to put it on the long term path to achieve worthy and inspirational goals on behalf of our nation.”

Witnesses provided testimony on H.R. 823, the Space Leadership Preservation Act of 2013, legislation introduced by Reps. Frank Wolf (R-Va.) and John Culberson (R-Texas) that would institute a 6-year term for the NASA Administrator in order to better promote continuity between administrations.  The legislation was drafted in response to over-riding concerns within the space community about a lack of stability in the vision and purpose of NASA’s human spaceflight program over many decades. As the Science Committee begins the process of reauthorizing NASA, today’s hearing examined how the agency functions, providing a forum for witnesses to discuss how management structure and accountability at NASA could be improved.

Space Subcommittee Chairman Steven Palazzo (R-Miss.): “Today’s hearing begins a conversation about how we can work together – as a subcommittee,  Democrats and Republicans, members of the House and Senate, and with industry, academia, and the next generation of aspiring space explorers – to ensure our nation remains firmly fixed on an ambitious and worthy space program.  Even in these times of deadlines and cliffs, we must look to provide leadership for a long term goal for NASA and our nation.”

Space Subcommittee Vice Chairman Mo Brooks (R-Ala.): “Today’s hearing was a valuable opportunity to hear firsthand more details about the vital importance of maintaining NASA’s mission of space exploration. I appreciate the efforts of my colleagues to highlight America’s global leadership in space.”

The following witnesses testified:
Panel 1
The Honorable Frank R. Wolf
The Honorable John Culberson

Panel 2
Mr. A. Thomas Young, Chair of the Board for SAIC
Mr. Elliot Pulham, Chief Executive Officer, The Space Foundation