Washington, Houston has a problem

If you are concerned that NASA budget cuts are crippling the International Space Station

Attend the

NASA Budget Town Hall Meeting

Friday – June 29 at 5:00 p.m.

Nassau Bay City Hall – 1800 NASA Rd.

Sponsored by

Congressman Nick Lampson

Featuring Houston Mayor Lee Brown

Other Congressional and local officials

  • Hear more about concerns from Lampson, Brown and others
  • Send a message to Washington budget bureaucrats
  • Take action to get human space flight back on track

    Call LaBeth Ponish at 281-488-1187 for more information.


    Democratic members of the Harris county U.S. congressional delegation
    will meet with Mayor Lee Brown and citizens at a NASA Budget Town Hall
    Meeting Friday afternoon to discuss the major problems expected as the space
    agency reacts to drastic cuts in President Bush’s proposed space budget.
    Held on the lawn of the Nassau Bay City Hall across from the Johnson Space
    Center, the meeting offers an opportunity to learn about the budget’s
    impact to the International Space Station and large predicted job losses in the
    next few years.

    Unlike most of the federal government, NASA’s budget, as proposed
    by Bush, falls behind the pace of inflation and results in about a $300
    million cut and sets in motion a series of program cuts that will cripple the
    station currently under construction in space. The program cuts will
    starve contracts of billions of dollars by canceling the station’s
    propulsion module, habitation module, added solar arrays, and crew return
    vehicle. Republican leadership in Congress is expected to support the proposed
    cuts that will layoff thousands in Clear Lake.

    These cuts, mandated by the Bush Office of Management and Budget,
    will result in a “half-built” station that is defined as complete
    before it has the capability of sustained, world-class science. Without the crew
    return vehicle, crews will not grow beyond 3 members; allowing only the
    equivalent of half a person to perform science after required maintenance
    tasks. A large crowd of space workers is expected to speak out about their
    interests and concerns about layoffs already begun.

    U.S. Representatives Nick Lampson, Ken Bentsen, Sheila Jackson Lee,
    and Gene Green are expected to attend the event, while Tom DeLay, John
    Culberson, and Dick Armey, although invited, are not expected to attend. Clear
    Lake Republican State Representative John Davis is expected to attend.
    The attending legislators and Mayor Brown are working with local
    business, labor, education, senior citizen, and non-profit groups to protest
    the cuts and seek increases to protect Houston’s leadership role in human
    space flight.

    “The bottom line will always be, can we convince the
    congressional leadership, especially in the House, of the importance of a strong
    space station program?” said Congressman Lampson

    Bay Area New Democrats (BAND) say the NASA cuts represent the early
    impact of the Bush tax cuts on available federal money for important U.S. government programs. “I’m afraid current budgets mark the
    beginning of the end for Houston’s leadership in space,” said Darryl Smith of
    BAND. “Many space workers are disappointed that the NASA budget is being cut so
    soon after they voted George W. Bush into office. Unfortunately, laid
    off space workers won’t be able to enjoy any tax cuts.”

    Washington: NASA and Houston have a problem: the NASA Budget!

    NASA-JSC programs face the ax

  • Unlike most of the federal government, NASA’s new budget is being
    cut below the level of inflation. This is equivalent to an
    across-the-board cut of about $300 million, and the proposed budget leaves the space
    station billions short of program requirements. While Clinton and Bush Sr.
    cut NASA’s budgetary fat, our new president is targeting NASA’s
    muscle.

  • This budget slashes the space station program by canceling its crew
    return vehicle, propulsion module, habitation module, and additional solar
    arrays. Long before completion, the station will be identified as
    "complete." Stopping at a half-built station will shrink the station’s technical
    value and cost thousands of local jobs.

  • Some current estimates show JSC-area employment dropping by over
    15% as early as the fiscal year beginning in October 2002, followed quickly
    by much higher layoff rates in 2003 and 2004. Thousands will be laid off
    each year.

    Budget starves science

  • Loss of the crew return vehicle will limit the station to a maximum
    crew of three instead of the planned seven. After a required 2.5
    person-per-day maintenance on-orbit, there’ll be only "half a person" for
    science! After maintenance operations, there’s barely crew time for any science at
    all.

  • On-orbit science is station’s pay-off to the American taxpayer, but
    it is being squeezed out of ISS by cuts including cancellation of the solar
    arrays that power experiments. NASA will be blamed for a "bait and
    switch" when promises of world class science are replaced by assembly and
    repair projects.

  • The proposed budget cuts station science by 40%, including
    research hardware and operations. Only 10 of 37 research racks will be
    built.

    Proposed Bush budget cripples the station

  • it may be penny-wise, but
    is clearly pound-foolish

  • NASA’s budget proposed by Bush dumps key pieces of the station
    program in order to pay for current activities. DeLaying development of space
    station modules will ultimately make them cost much more. This budget
    reduces the number of shuttle flights per year and makes each flight cost
    more.

  • The president shouldn’t strip the rest of NASA to build a weak
    station, throw away ISS hardware in design and development, and risk lives due
    to poorly-planned cuts.

  • A space station worth being built is worth being built right, and
    our country can afford it.

    Bush’s approach to station drastically cuts capability and drains
    funds from other parts of NASA

  • Unfunded station projects erode other human space programs
  • OMB
    has directed a decrease in shuttle flights by about one flight per
    year.

  • Other NASA centers are picking up station work previously done
    here, thus striping away local science and exploration work. JSC will defer
    Mars exploration studies.

  • Shuttle safety may be imperiled as Shuttle upgrades are reassessed
    and cut.

    If President Bush’s proposed budget cuts are enacted, the effects
    at JSC may include:

  • Deferring all Mars/Advanced Exploration Technology work and
    placing facilities on stand-by

  • Deferring all Bio-plex work and placing those facilities on
    stand-by; leading to a probable decline in bio-research at the Medical
    Center.

  • Placing on stand-by or limited use a number of engineering and
    laboratory facilities

  • Downsizing the existing astronaut corps and future classes of
    astronauts

  • A phase out of the Trans Habitation technology
  • Downsizing training requirements for Flight Control
  • Downsizing or eliminating the planned simulator and training
    complex. Facilities will be closed.

    Band-aid approach creates a risky over-reliance on Russia and the international partners

  • ISS is already too reliant on Russian vehicles and that country’s
    weak economy. The U.S. shouldn’t have to rely on partners to complete
    the station it leads. NASA undertook the international goals that
    were estimated to save $2.5 billion; instead the cooperation cost
    unexpected billions.

  • Even Bush’s people admit the cuts extend the reliance on Russia and
    other internationals. Does it make sense to increase our reliance when it
    has already cost U.S. taxpayers 100’s of millions of dollars? For the
    long run, we shouldn’t commit key station functions such as propulsion to
    Russian capabilities.

    And don’t let anyone tell you space station is a failure; it’s a
    huge success!

  • Today, and for months now, we have a permanent U.S. human presence
    in space! Right now, we have the second expedition living in space,
    working to develop the station and begin scientific research. Despite many
    technical, operations and management challenges, the initial station orbits the
    Earth after a series of successful assembly missions.

    Are NASA and JSC being punished for the success of the space
    station program?

  • JSC’s director has been kicked out, ISS program management
    responsibility moved to DC, and programs slashed. It’s like Tom DeLay’s vendetta
    against Houston’s light rail. Bush’s Office of Management and Budget and
    House appropriators attack and criticize JSC despite its excellent job of
    building the highly complex station.

  • Station’s international affairs role for the U.S. has huge foreign
    affairs benefits for our country which far outweigh monetary costs. Keeping
    Russian space expertise away from rogue nations and focused on civilian space
    has been successful, but Russian delays forced the program to spend
    millions on delayed space station operations and caused our costs to rise
    dramatically.

  • Why do Texans attack NASA? Even though the Johnson Space Center
    defines Houston’s key role in space, it is not clear why Tom DeLay and the
    President want to punish JSC. Bush never visited the center as governor and
    DeLay rarely visits the area even though his district includes much of
    Clear Lake. Bush and Tom DeLay certainly have the power to support JSC and
    station; we just need to ensure they know how much we care.

    Station is estimated to cost more, but for good reasons.

  • The station program had a great string of successes despite the
    project being the largest and most complex space initiative ever. NASA/JSC
    program management estimated station costs reasonably considering the
    challenges of the program and international issues. Russian involvement was more
    costly than expected. Full-time space operations (24/7) have been
    expensive, but NASA now knows how to reduce costs based on experience.

  • The potential higher costs were uncovered first by station
    management, which quickly took steps to determine the reality of cost
    increases. While some have said the increased costs could be between 2-4 billion, this
    is a "worst-case" assessment and doesn’t account for program
    improvements.

  • NASA leadership should stand up and demand the budget necessary for
    a fully functional, safe space station. The U.S. economy is strong
    enough to support a world-class space station.

    Bush’s budget priorities may cripple civilian space

  • Bush has a double standard; he cuts NASA and throws billions into
    Star Wars. The administration increases by billions the budget for the
    unproven Star Wars "viewgraph" programs, but slashes budgets for a
    station program with people living in space. Star Wars has spent $95 B in ten years
    to only produce paper, while NASA spent about a quarter of that to put
    humans permanently in space on the world’s most advanced space vehicle!

  • This budget battle is only the beginning of years of extremely
    tough budget environment where all federal programs will have to fight to
    the bitter end for every dollar of rapidly declining federal funds caused
    by the recent tax cut. The worst is yet to come! A very small tax cut
    will mean little to middle class families with unemployed breadwinners.

    Budget cuts ultimately impact everyone in the Clear Lake area –
    Perhaps the beginning of the end of Houston’s space leadership!

  • The impacts to the Clear Lake economy will be devastating if the
    proposed cuts occur. It is time to restore NASA’s 2002 and out years
    budget to levels that keep both our community and the Space Station Program financially sound. The president’s budget stifles future
    technological advancements necessary to keep the U.S. a world leader in science
    and technology, and will suffocate the JSC economic engine.

  • The Johnson Space Center employs approximately 3,000 civil servants
    and 12,000 contractor personnel. In addition, because of the federal
    dollars spent in the Clear Lake area, an additional 30,000 jobs are created
    for our local economy each year. The current budget shows thousands laid off
    in just a few years.

  • Some say that the proposed cuts won’t impact them, they’ll just
    affect a hundred people here and a couple hundred there. Of course, the
    impact of losing your job is devastating to you and your family. And these
    cuts may mark the start of the reduction in JSC’s role in human space
    flight. Jobs will be cut from sub-contracts, prime contracts, and the
    government.

  • A slowdown now will result in a longer wait before any new starts
    can occur, that is, if our nation can afford them.

  • Layoffs and public concern about cutbacks will cause a decrease in
    demand for and value of local real estate. Ultimately even our great
    public education system will suffer due to decreases in real estate
    values.

    But we can save station!

  • While space workers have often avoided political involvement, this
    kind of "wake-up call" should convince people to take action.
    Civil service employees and contractors can do as much as other citizens, and in
    fact, they should do more since their very livelihoods depend on
    government programs.