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Wolf Asks NASA for List of All Space Act Agreements

U.S. Rep. Frank Wolf has asked NASA for a list of its Space Act Agreements. Credit: Bread for the World photo by Rick Reinhard

WASHINGTON — U.S. Rep. Frank Wolf (R-Va.), the lead NASA appropriator in the House of Representatives, is asking the agency to turn over a list of all its active Space Act Agreements by the end of the month.

In a Jan. 14 letter to NASA Administrator Charles Bolden, Wolf gave the agency a Jan. 31 deadline for providing him and House Science Committee Chairman Lamar Smith (R-Texas) with “a full list of active [Space Act Agreements], both with foreign and domestic entities.”

“THIS IS IMPORTANT,” Wolf handwrote below his signature in large capital letters.

NASA recently informed Wolf’s staff that the agency has more than 550 active agreements with 120 nations but maintains no public list of its international or domestic Space Act Agreements, according to Wolf’s letter, a copy of which was obtained by SpaceNews.

“While I suspect many of these [Space Act Agreements] are appropriate, I am concerned that NASA may be sharing sensitive technologies for foreign governments, especially foreign governments that may not share our national interest in space,” Wolf wrote.

Wolf chairs the House Appropriations commerce, justice, science subcommittee, which writes annual appropriations bills for NASA, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and other agencies.

NASA says it enters about 250 new Space Act Agreements each year, many of which involve allowing private companies, universities and other federal agencies to use NASA facilities for free or on a cost-reimbursement basis. NASA also uses funded Space Act Agreements as an alternative to traditional government contracts for funding certain projects.

NASA’s $1.2 billion Commercial Crew Integrated Capability program, the third round of the Commercial Crew Program to get a privately operated astronaut taxi flying by 2017, is an example of a funded Space Act Agreement. The funds are going toward design and development work on three crew transportation systems.

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