[FPSPACE] CEV issues....Griffin testifies that funding cuts will cause problems
pjp961 at svol.net
Wed Mar 14 19:26:23 EST 2007
Courtesy of Aviationnow.
NASA needs $750M to maintain CEV schedule
By Jefferson Morris/Aerospace Daily & Defense Report
NASA will need an additional $350 million in fiscal 2009 and $400 million FY
'10 to reverse the effect of the FY '07 continuing budget resolution and put
the Orion Crew Exploration Vehicle (CEV) back on schedule to debut in 2014,
Administrator Michael Griffin told House appropriators March 13.
The continuing resolution, which freezes NASA's budget at FY '06 levels,
amounts to a $545 million cut to the agency's topline compared to its FY '07
request. Griffin told lawmakers earlier this month that the appropriations
bill further directs a reduction to human spaceflight of $677 million, $577
million of which is coming out of exploration - primarily the Orion and Ares
Crew Launch Vehicle. This will push the Orion's manned debut back an
estimated six months to 2015 (DAILY, March 2).
Restoring the funding later to regain schedule will cost more than the
original amount cut, Griffin said, because "money added later always costs
more than money taken away now." By March 15 NASA is due to deliver to
Congress its FY '07 operating plan, which will detail precisely how it
proposes to deal with the funding cut. The slip to 2015 would mean NASA will
miss President Bush's originally announced deadline of 2014 for the Orion's
That first flight will travel to the International Space Station (ISS) and
is likely to have a smaller crew than the vehicle's maximum of six, Griffin
told members of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice,
Science and Related Agencies. He said it is imperative that NASA receive its
full FY '08 budget request of $17.3 billion to avoid further delay.
"I'm deeply concerned that the gap ... does not grow longer, and I'm asking
for your help on this point," Griffin said. "If the CEV is delayed even
further, then we will cede leadership in human space flight. Our leadership
in space and aeronautics is not a birthright. It is something we must strive
to earn every day."
The effect of the cut to Orion isn't really going to be felt in FY '07 and
'08, Griffin said. This led subcommittee Chairman Alan Mollohan (D-W.Va.) to
suggest that "we do have two years to address this," but Griffin politely
corrected him, saying that the prospect of being underfunded two years from
now is already prompting changes in the program that will be increasingly
difficult to reverse as more time goes by.
While Mollohan and other subcommittee members suggested that NASA is not
being adequately budgeted by the Bush White House to do everything that has
been put on its plate, Griffin maintained that "we can do this with budgets
that we have today, in constant dollars, projected forward." If the funding
is maintained, NASA will be able to return astronauts to the moon by 2020
and mount a manned mission to Mars by the mid 2030s, he said.
Griffin said that contrary to what some critics have maintained, NASA is
laying the groundwork for the Mars trip in its current activities,
especially the development of the Ares V heavy launch vehicle, which will be
capable of placing 130 metric tons in Earth orbit. The mass-to-orbit
requirement is the "biggest single driver" for the Mars mission, Griffin
said, since the Mars ship is projected to be roughly equal in mass to the
entire ISS and will have to be assembled in space.
"It will be heavy, and we don't want to take a decade to put it up in 20-ton
chunks at a time," Griffin said. "We want to be able to put it up in a few
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