General Principles and Reports
( Sec. 101) Directs the Administrator of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) to ensure that NASA carries out a balanced set of programs that include:
(1) human space flight;
(2) aeronautics research and development; and
(3) scientific research.
Directs the Administrator to establish a program to develop a sustained human presence on the moon, including a robust precursor program, to promote exploration, science, commerce, and U.S. prominence in space, and as a stepping-stone to future exploration of Mars and other destinations.
Authorizes the Administrator to develop and conduct appropriate international collaboration in pursuit of these goals.
Requires the Administrator to manage human space flight programs to strive to achieve:
(1) returning Americans to the moon by 2020;
(2) launching the Crew Exploration Vehicle as close to 2010 as possible;
(3) increasing knowledge of the impacts of long stays in space on the human body using the most appropriate facilities available, including the International Space Station (ISS); and
(4) enabling humans to land on and return from Mars and other destinations.
Directs the President, through a designated official, to develop a national aeronautics policy to guide U.S. aeronautics research and development programs through 2020, which shall include:
(1) national goals for aeronautics research and development and to describe the role and responsibilities of each federal agency that will carry out the policy; and
(2) priority areas of research through FY2011. Requires the development of the policy to utilize external studies that have been conducted on the state of U.S. aeronautics and aviation research and development and that have suggested policies to ensure continued competitiveness.
Requires the Administrator, at the time the President's FY2007 budget is transmitted to Congress, to transmit a report on the proposed NASA aeronautics budget.
Directs the Administrator to develop:
(1) a plan to guide NASA science programs through 2016 which includes addressing plans for a human mission to repair the Hubble Space Telescope; and
(2) a plan for managing NASA's facilities through FY2015. Directs the Administrator to develop a human capital strategy through FY2011 to ensure that NASA has an appropriate workforce to carry out NASA programs.
Instructs NASA, under the strategy, to utilize current personnel, to the maximum extent feasible, in implementing the vision for space exploration and NASA's other programs.
Requires NASA to provide a draft of the strategy to its federal employee unions for a 30-day consultation period.
Prohibits NASA from implementing any Reduction in Force (RIF) or other involuntary separations (except for cause) prior to March 16, 2007.
Requires the Administrator to study whether any of NASA's centers should be operated by or with the private sector by converting a center to a federally funded research and development center or through any other mechanism.
Describes documents to accompany proposed NASA budgets submitted by the President. Expresses the sense of Congress that each U.S. budget submitted to Congress after enactment of this Act should be evaluated for compliance with the findings and priorities established by this Act and the amendments made by this Act. Requires NASA to make available:
(1) information on corporate and center general and administrative costs and service pool costs; and
(2) the figures on the amount of unobligated funds and unexpended funds, by appropriations account.
Requires the Director of the Office of Science and Technology Policy to commission an independent review of the nation's long-term strategic needs for aeronautics test facilities.
Requires that such review take into consideration the results of a Department of Defense (DOD) study on DOD's plans to provide the required funding to pursue a development program for transition of hypersonic technologies to an integrated demonstration system that validates their affordability and effectiveness to support prompt global strike and assured space missions.
Prohibits the Administrator from closing or mothballing any aeronautical test facilities identified in a specified 2003 independent assessment by the RAND Corporation as being part of the minimum set of those facilities necessary to retain and serve national needs, or any aeronautics simulators, that were in use as of January 1, 2004, subject to stated stipulations.
Directs the Administrator to implement, by May 1, 2006, a national awareness campaign through various media to articulate missions, publicize recent accomplishments, and facilitate efforts to encourage young Americans to enter the fields of science, mathematics, and engineering to help maintain U.S. leadership in those fields.
Directs the Administrator to transmit, by April 30, 2006, a report describing:
(1) the expected cost of the Crew Exploration Vehicle through FY2020; and
(2) the expected budgets for each fiscal year through FY2020 for human spaceflight, aeronautics, space science, and earth science.
Directs the Administrator to develop a plan for updating NASA's space communications architecture for both low Earth orbital operations and deep space exploration so that it is capable of meeting NASA's needs over the next 20 years.
Requires the Administrator and the Director of the Department of Energy Office of Science to report on plans for a Joint Dark Energy Mission. Requires the Director of the Office of Science and Technology Policy to conduct a study to determine:
(1) if any NASA research and development programs are unnecessarily duplicating aspects of programs of other federal agencies; and
(2) if any such programs are neglecting any topics of national interest that are related to the mission of NASA. Allows such Director to contract with a nongovernmental entity to conduct such study.
Prohibits NASA from contracting for the development phase of a major program unless the Administrator determines that certain risk management requirements are met.
Bars the Administrator from delegating such determination requirement, except in cases in which the Administrator has a conflict of interest.
Requires the Administrator to transmit annually a report that includes specified information for each major program on which NASA proposes to spend funds.
Requires an initial baseline report.
Sets forth requirements for the notification and determination of:
(1) the development cost of a major program that is likely to exceed the estimate provided in the baseline report for the program by thresholds of 15% or more; or
(2) a program milestone that is likely to be delayed by six months or more.
Establishes, in addition, requirements for programs when costs will exceed 30%.
Authorizes NASA to award competitive cash prizes to stimulate innovation in research, technology development, and prototype demonstration that have the potential for application to NASA space and aeronautical activities.
Prohibits NASA from:
(1) launching a payload on a foreign launch vehicle, except in accordance with the Space Transportation Policy announced by the President on December 21, 2004; and
(2) launching a payload on a foreign launch vehicle unless NASA commenced the interagency coordination required by the Policy at least 90 days before entering into a development contract for the payload.
States that the first prohibition in this section shall not be construed to prevent the President from waiving such Policy. Prohibits the application of this section to any payload for which development has begun prior to enactment of this Act, including the James Webb Space Telescope.
Amends the National Aeronautics and Space Administration Authorization Act, 1968 to:
(1) include coverage evaluating NASA's compliance with the return-to-flight and continue-to-fly recommendations of the Columbia Accident Investigation Board as part of the review of safety studies and operations plans by the Aerospace Safety Advisory Panel;
(2) provide for the Panel to advise Congress (currently, just the Administrator);
(3) require the Panel to advise Congress and the Administrator with respect to management and culture related to safety; and
(4) require the Panel to submit annual reports, including in the first report an evaluation of NASA's management and culture related to safety.
Requires each annual report to include an evaluation of NASA's compliance with the recommendations of the Board through retirement of the Space Shuttle.
Requires the Administrator to: (1) transmit an implementation plan describing NASA's approach for obtaining, implementing, and sharing lessons learned and best practices for its major programs and projects; and (2) provide incentives to encourage sharing and implementation of lessons learned and best practices by employees, projects, and programs, as well as penalties for programs and projects that have not demonstrated use of those resources.
Requires the Administrator to develop a commercialization plan to: (1) support human missions to the Moon and Mars; (2) support low-Earth orbit activities and Earth science missions and applications; and (3) transfer science research and technology to society. Requires such plan to emphasize the utilization by NASA of advancements made by the private sector in space launch and orbital hardware, and to include opportunities for innovative collaborations between NASA and the private sector.
Directs the Administrator to conduct a feasibility study on the use of ground source heat pumps in future NASA facilities or substantial renovation of existing NASA facilities involving the installation of heating, ventilating, and air-conditioning systems.
Requires the Administrator to transmit a plan describing steps to be taken by NASA to protect from retaliation NASA employees who raise concerns about substantial and specific dangers to public health and safety or about substantial and specific factors that could threaten the success of a mission.