jump to navigation

Marcia Smith, Friday, 4-12-13 April 12, 2013

Posted by The Space Show in Uncategorized.
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
add a comment

Marcia Smith, Friday, 4-12-13


Guest:  Marcia Smith.  Topics:  NASA FY 2013 and 2014 budget and budget issues.  Please direct all comments and questions regarding Space Show programs/guest(s) to the Space Show blog, https://thespaceshow.wordpress.com.  Comments and questions should be relevant to the specific Space Show program. Written Transcripts of Space Show programs are a violation of our copyright and are not permitted without prior written consent, even if for your own use. We do not permit the commercial use of Space Show programs or any part thereof, nor do we permit editing, YouTube clips, or clips placed on other private channels & websites. Space Show programs can be quoted, but the quote must be cited or referenced using the proper citation format. Contact The Space Show for further information.  We welcomed back Marcia Smith of SpacePolicyOnline to guide us through important NASA FY 2013 and FY 2014 budget issues.  For more information and the latest developments on current space policy and budget issues, check www.spacepolicyonline.com on a regular basis.

Our program started with a tribute to Cosmonauts Day, a celebration of Russian cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin becoming the first man in space on April 12, 1961 aboard Vostok 1.  We then switched over to what has to be the most confusing and dysfunctional budget process ever, the NASA FY 2013 and 2014 budgets.  Ms. Smith guided us through the confusion which at times was no easy task.  We talked about the sequester cuts as well as “revisions” which adjust budget numbers at the end of a bill.  All in all, it is thought that NASA will face around a 7% cut for 2013 but this is still an unknown though it might be clarified on May 10 as that is when NASA & other government agencies submit their yearly operating plan to Congress.  During this first segment of our 1 hour 22 minute discussion, we also talked about the Budget Control Act of 2011 and its importance to NASA and the recently announced NASA Asteroid Retrieval Initiative.  In fact, our guest had much to say about this latest NASA program given it was announced in advance of NASA having the technology to be able to do the mission in the first place.  This subject came up multiple times in both segments of today’s program.  Josh asked about the NASA authorization expiring this year and if a new one would be put in its place.  Ms. Smith explained the authorization which is expiring at the end of FY 2013, making it clear what parts expire and what parts continue as law.  We then talked about both congressional authorizations and appropriations.  Returning to the newly announced NASA asteroid mission, Marcia broke down the estimated initial $105 million cost into specific categories.  It will be interesting to see how this plan is dealt with by OMB and Congress.  Marcia fielded questions about public/private partnerships & how they might do given our budget issues.  We also talked about commercial crew budgets for FY 2013 and the potential 7% cut which our guest said was not yet certain.  Also discussed was the funding for SLS, Orion and ISS.  Operating programs such as Curiosity on Mars were discussed but they work with specific program commitments and then go through a review process a few years later for any extensions.

In our second segment, Ben asked about the 2013 continuing resolution process which Marcia explained.  Don’t miss this discussion as you will hear about possible big decreases in the CR for the second half of this fiscal year.  A listener sent in a note asking our guest about the budget impact on DOD programs including space programs and NOAA.  This brought me to asking our guest about the state of the NASA budget this year as compared to previous years.  You might be surprised by what our guest said in response to my question.  The new NASA asteroid mission came up again, this time with caller Michael who offered us interesting points of view about NASA and this mission.  Part of this discussion focused on our thinking that NASA had not yet made a compelling case for the asteroid mission or the study initiative.  As the program ended, we talked about having public access to the NASA operating plan that will be submitted to congress on May 10.  In conclusion, we wait for May 10th and “crystal clear clarity” to a very confusing and dysfunction process for NASA and other agencies for FY 2013 and the proposed FY 2014 budget.

Please post your comments/questions on The Space Show blog.  You can email Ms. Smith through www.spacepolicyonline.com or me using drspace@thespaceshow.com as I will forward your note.

Cristina Chaplain, Friday, 8-3-12 August 4, 2012

Posted by The Space Show in Uncategorized.
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
add a comment

Cristina Chaplain, Friday, 8-3-12


Guest:  Cristina Chaplain.  Topics:  Government Accountability Office (GAO) and its work for DOD military space, the Missile Defense Agency (MDA), and NASA.  You are invited to comment, ask questions, and discuss the Space Show program/guest(s) on the Space Show blog, https://thespaceshow.wordpress.com. Comments, questions, and any discussion must be relevant and applicable to Space Show programming. Transcripts of Space Show programs are not permitted without prior written consent from The Space Show (even if for personal use) & are a violation of the Space Show copyright. We welcomed Cristina Chaplain to the program to discuss with us how the GAO works and what it does for space and NASA along with the DOD and MDA at the request of Congress.  Ms. Chaplain started with an overview of the GAO, its Congressional mandate followed by the use of examples to illustrate how the GAO operates.  Our guest referenced the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST), NASA programming, & the fact that GAO investigations/audits are meant to answer the specific question being asked by Congress.  As you will hear during the show, this is important because the organization only addresses the question being asked regardless of it being the right question.  Make sure you note this discussion as it will likely impact how you process news reports about GAO reports in areas that interest you.  My suggestion is to go directly to the GAO website, www.gao.gov, find the report in question, then check to see what the GAO is answering in terms of the mandate given them by Congress.  During our initial segment, we discussed, the GAO Cost Estimating Guide and their Best Practices Guide. Cristina talked about the new EELV July 2012 study, EVOLVED EXPENDABLE LAUNCH VEHICLE: DOD Is Addressing Knowledge Gaps in Its New Acquisition Strategy.  You can find this study at www.gao.gov/products/GAO-12-822. Ms. Chaplain also talked about the Bid Protest process, then I asked about GAO audits/investigations & about the new private space companies, SpaceX and the emerging new industry.  I also inquired about GAO findings regarding the use of the FAR contract as opposed to the SAA.  This is a most interesting discussion & analysis.  Later in the segment, Cristina received a question about the GAO role in the DOD EELV block buy program and if they considered the impact on the competition.

In the second segment, we talked about Operationally Responsive Space (ORS) & the GAO analysis, conclusions & FY 13 budget cuts.  This led us to talking about mission and program goals & is the project in question meeting these goals.  Return to the Moon and Constellation came up as did the Shuttle cancellation, along with questions pertaining to the MDA.  Whistle blowing was an important part of these discussions. Our final topics included vertical integration, suppliers, quality control, and the SLS program.

Please post your comments/questions on The Space Show blog. If you want to email our guest, you can do so at chaplainc@gao.gov. You can also subscribe to GAO reports, including their specific space, defense, science & technology reports, www.gao.gov/subscribe/index.php.