US House of Representatives

Committee on Science

The Honorable Daniel S. Goldin


National Aeronautics and Space Administration

Washington, DC 20546

Dear Mr. Goldin:

I want to express my concern that your joint NASA/ASI press conference on April 19th created an impression that commercial options for the habitation module are being considered far less favorably than the NASA/ASI option. While I appreciate the difficulties in managing cost overruns and applaud contributions from our international partners toward the space station, the NASA/ASI announcement may place obstacles in the way of commercializing the space station. A government-only approach stiffles venture capital and the entrepreneurial spirit needed in our nation’s space program.

As you begin negotiations with the Italian Space Agency on the Habitation Module, please consider commercial options equally in a cost-benefit trade space prior to future discussions. Full cost accounting, especially the value assigned to such a scarce resource as astronaut time, needs to be considered in this trade space. Certainly, Congress and the White House will want to review options for moving ISS forward once NASA has completed its bottom-up assessment. A trade study of habitation module options will assist our discussions considerably.

Working together, we can find the best value solution for the International Space Station and the American taxpayer.


Dan Rohrabacher


Subcommittee on Space and Aeronautics

Committee on Science