NASA Refocuses A Critical Program | Chemical & Engineering News
Volume 90 Issue 24 | p. 30 | Concentrates
Issue Date: June 11, 2012

NASA Refocuses A Critical Program

Department: Government & Policy
Keywords: NASA, International Space Station, ISS, Commercial Crew Program, Frank Wolf

Rep. Frank R. Wolf (R-Va.) announced on June 5 that he has reached an agreement with NASA to limit the scope of the agency’s Commercial Crew Program (CCP) to help the program survive a tightening budget and possibly receive more funding from Congress. CCP awards contracts to firms developing commercial infrastructure to transport crews to low Earth orbit and the International Space Station (ISS). As the chair of the House of Representatives Appropriations Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, Science & Related Agencies, Wolf oversees NASA’s funding, which has included heavy cuts to CCP in the past few years. The recent House-passed fiscal 2013 Commerce-Justice-Science appropriations bill (H.R. 5326) would provide only $525 million of the requested $830 million for CCP. The agreement, which came soon after the first successful mission to ISS by a commercial spacecraft, will decrease the number of contracts awarded by CCP and focus the program on restoring domestic access to ISS since the retirement of the shuttle program last year. Currently, the U.S. depends on Russia to transport astronauts to and from ISS, spending some $400 million annually for this service.

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