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Title of Law:National Aeronautics and Space Administration Authorization Act of 2008
Law #:Public Law 110-422
Passed by Congress:110th Congress (2nd Session)

The following are excerpts, highlighted in red, from the final legislation and/or conference report which contain references to and studies for The National Academies. (Pound signs [##] between passages denote the deletion of unrelated text.)

HR6063 Udall, M. (D-Colo.) 09/27/08
Enrolled (finally passed both houses)

To authorize the programs of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, and for other purposes.
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SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE; TABLE OF CONTENTS.

(a) Short Title.—This Act may be cited as the “National Aeronautics and Space Administration Authorization Act of 2008”.

(b) Table of Contents.—The table of contents for this Act is as follows:

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TITLE XI—OTHER PROVISIONS

Sec. 1101. Space weather.

Sec. 1102. Initiation of discussions on development of framework for space traffic management.

Sec. 1103. Astronaut health care.

Sec. 1104. National Academies decadal surveys.

Sec. 1105. Innovation prizes.

Sec. 1106. Commercial space launch range study.

Sec. 1107. NASA outreach program.

Sec. 1108. Reduction-in-force moratorium.

Sec. 1109. Protection of scientific credibility, integrity, and communication within NASA.

Sec. 1110. Sense of Congress regarding the need for a robust workforce.

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SEC. 202. GOVERNANCE OF UNITED STATES EARTH OBSERVATIONS ACTIVITIES.

(a) Study.—The Director of OSTP shall consult with NASA, NOAA, and other relevant agencies with an interest in Earth observations and enter into an arrangement with the National Academies for a study to determine the most appropriate governance structure for United States Earth Observations programs in order to meet evolving United States Earth information needs and facilitate United States participation in global Earth Observations initiatives.

(b) Report.—The Director shall transmit the study to the Committee on Science and Technology of the House of Representatives and the Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation of the Senate not later than 18 months after the date of enactment of this Act, and shall provide OSTP’s plan for implementing the study’s recommendations not later than 24 months after the date of enactment of this Act.

SEC. 203. DECADAL SURVEY MISSIONS.

(a) In General.—The missions recommended in the National Academies’ decadal survey “Earth Science and Applications from Space” provide the basis for a compelling and relevant program of research and applications, and the Administrator should work to establish an international cooperative effort to pursue those missions.

(b) Plan.—The Administrator shall consult with all agencies referenced in the survey as responsible for spacecraft missions and prepare a plan for submission to Congress not later than 270 days after the date of enactment of this Act that shall describe how NASA intends to implement the missions recommended for NASA to conduct as described in subsection (a), whether by means of dedicated NASA missions, multi-agency missions, international cooperative missions, data sharing, or commercial data buys, or by means of long-term technology development to determine whether specific missions would be executable at a reasonable cost and within a reasonable schedule.

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SEC. 303. RESEARCH ALIGNMENT.

In addition to pursuing the research and development initiative described in section 302, the Administrator shall, to the maximum extent practicable within available funding, align the fundamental aeronautics research program to address high priority technology challenges of the National Academies’ Decadal Survey of Civil Aeronautics, and shall work to increase the degree of involvement of external organizations, and especially of universities, in the fundamental aeronautics research program.

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SEC. 305. EXTERNAL REVIEW OF NASA’S AVIATION SAFETY-RELATED RESEARCH PROGRAMS.

(a) Review.—The Administrator shall enter into an arrangement with the National Research Council for an independent review of NASA’s aviation safety-related research programs. The review shall assess whether—

(1) the programs have well-defined, prioritized, and appropriate research objectives;

(2) the programs are properly coordinated with the safety research programs of the Federal Aviation Administration and other relevant Federal agencies;

(3) the programs have allocated appropriate resources to each of the research objectives; and

(4) suitable mechanisms exist for transitioning the research results from the programs into operational technologies and procedures and certification activities in a timely manner.

(b) Report.—Not later than 18 months after the date of enactment of this Act, the Administrator shall submit to the Committee on Science and Technology of the House of Representatives and the Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation of the Senate a report on the results of the review required in subsection (a).

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SEC. 505. SUBORBITAL RESEARCH ACTIVITIES.

(a) Sense of Congress.—It is the sense of Congress that suborbital flight activities, including the use of sounding rockets, aircraft, and high-altitude balloons, and suborbital reusable launch vehicles, offer valuable opportunities to advance science, train the next generation of scientists and engineers, and provide opportunities for participants in the programs to acquire skills in systems engineering and systems integration that are critical to maintaining the Nation’s leadership in space programs. The Congress believes that it is in the national interest to expand the size of NASA’s suborbital research program. It is further the sense of Congress that funding for suborbital research activities should be considered part of the contribution of NASA to United States competitive and educational enhancement and should represent increased funding as contemplated in section 2001 of the America COMPETES Act (42 U.S.C. 16611(a)).

(b) Review of Suborbital Mission Capabilities.—

(1) IN GENERAL.—Not later than 120 days after the date of enactment of this Act, the Administrator shall enter into an arrangement with the National Academies to conduct a review of the suborbital mission capabilities of NASA.

(2) MATTERS REVIEWED.—The review required by paragraph (1) shall include a review of the following:

(A) Existing programs that make use of suborbital flights.

(B) The status, capability, and availability of suborbital platforms, and the infrastructure and workforce necessary to support them.

(C) Existing or planned launch facilities for suborbital missions.

(D) Opportunities for scientific research, training, and educational collaboration in the conduct of suborbital missions by NASA, especially as they relate to the findings and recommendations of the National Academies decadal surveys and report on “Building a Better NASA Workforce: Meeting the Workforce Needs for the National Vision for Space Exploration”.

(3) REPORT.—

(A) IN GENERAL.—Not later than 15 months after the date of enactment of this Act, the Administrator shall submit to the Committee on Science and Technology of the House of Representatives and the Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation of the Senate a report on the review required by this subsection.

(B) CONTENTS.—The report required by this paragraph shall include a summary of the review; the findings of the Administrator with respect to such review; recommendations regarding the growth of suborbital launch programs conducted by NASA; and the steps necessary to ensure such programs are conducted using domestic launch facilities to the maximum extent practicable, including any rationale and justification for using non-domestic facilities for such missions.

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SEC. 507. ASSESSMENT OF IMPEDIMENTS TO INTERAGENCY COOPERATION ON SPACE AND EARTH SCIENCE MISSIONS.

(a) Assessments.—The Administrator, in consultation with other agencies with space science programs, shall enter into an arrangement with the National Academies to assess impediments, including cost growth, to the successful conduct of interagency cooperation on space science missions, to provide lessons learned and best practices, and to recommend steps to help facilitate successful interagency collaborations on space science missions. As part of the same arrangement with the National Academies, the Administrator, in consultation with NOAA and other agencies with civil Earth observation systems, shall have the National Academies assess impediments, including cost growth, to the successful conduct of interagency cooperation on Earth science missions, to provide lessons learned and best practices, and to recommend steps to help facilitate successful interagency collaborations on Earth science missions.

(b) Report.—The report of the assessments carried out under subsection (a) shall be transmitted to the Committee on Science and Technology of the House of Representatives and the Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation of the Senate not later than 15 months after the date of enactment of this Act.

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SEC. 601. PLAN TO SUPPORT OPERATION AND UTILIZATION OF THE ISS BEYOND FISCAL YEAR 2015.

(a) In General.—The Administrator shall take all necessary steps to ensure that the International Space Station remains a viable and productive facility capable of potential United States utilization through at least 2020 and shall take no steps that would preclude its continued operation and utilization by the United States after 2015.

(b) Plan To Support Operations and Utilization of the International Space Station Beyond Fiscal Year 2015.—

(1) IN GENERAL.—Not later than 9 months after the date of enactment of this Act, the Administrator shall submit to the Committee on Science and Technology of the House of Representatives and the Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation of the Senate a plan to support the operations and utilization of the International Space Station beyond fiscal year 2015 for a period of not less than 5 years. The plan shall be an update and expansion of the operation plan of the International Space Station National Laboratory submitted to Congress in May 2007 under section 507 of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration Authorization Act of 2005 (42 U.S.C. 16767).

(2) CONTENT.—

(A) REQUIREMENTS TO SUPPORT OPERATION AND UTILIZATION OF THE ISS BEYOND FISCAL YEAR 2015.—As part of the plan required in paragraph (1), the Administrator shall provide each of the following:

(i) A list of critical hardware necessary to support International Space Station operations through the year 2020.

(ii) Specific known or anticipated maintenance actions that would need to be performed to support International Space Station operations and research through the year 2020.

(iii) Annual upmass and downmass requirements, including potential vehicles that will deliver such upmass and downmass, to support the International Space Station after the retirement of the Space Shuttle and through the year 2020.

(B) ISS NATIONAL LABORATORY RESEARCH MANAGEMENT PLAN.—As part of the plan required in paragraph (1), the Administrator shall develop a Research Management Plan for the International Space Station. Such Plan shall include a process for selecting and prioritizing research activities (including fundamental, applied, commercial, and other research) for flight on the International Space Station. Such Plan shall be used to prioritize resources such as crew time, racks and equipment, and United States access to international research facilities and equipment. Such Plan shall also identify the organization to be responsible for managing United States research on the International Space Station, including a description of the relationship of the management institution with NASA (e.g., internal NASA office, contract, cooperative agreement, or grant), the estimated length of time for the arrangement, and the budget required to support the management institution. Such Plan shall be developed in consultation with other Federal agencies, academia, industry, and other relevant stakeholders. The Administrator may request the support of the National Academy of Sciences or other appropriate independent entity, including an external consultant, in developing the Plan.

(C) ESTABLISHMENT OF PROCESS FOR ACCESS TO NATIONAL LABORATORY.—As part of the plan required in paragraph (1), the Administrator shall—

(i) establish a process by which to support International Space Station National Laboratory users in identifying their requirements for transportation of research supplies to and from the International Space Station, and for communicating those requirements to NASA and International Space Station transportation services providers; and

(ii) develop an estimate of the transportation requirements needed to support users of the International Space Station National Laboratory and develop a plan for satisfying those requirements by dedicating a portion of volume on NASA supply missions to the International Space Station.

(D) ASSESSMENT OF EQUIPMENT TO SUPPORT RESEARCH.—As part of the plan required in paragraph (1), the Administrator shall—

(i) provide a list of critical hardware that is anticipated to be necessary to support nonexploration-related and exploration-related research through the year 2020;

(ii) identify existing research equipment and racks and support equipment that are manifested for flight; and

(iii) provide a detailed description of the status of research equipment and facilities that were completed or in development prior to being cancelled, and provide the budget and milestones for completing and preparing the equipment for flight on the International Space Station.

(E) BUDGET PLAN.—As part of the plan required in paragraph (1), the Administrator shall provide a budget plan that reflects the anticipated use of such activities and the projected amounts to be required for fiscal years 2010 through 2020 to accomplish the objectives of the activities described in subparagraphs (A) through (D).

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SEC. 701. RESPONSE TO REVIEW.

(a) Plan.—The Administrator shall prepare a plan identifying actions taken or planned in response to the recommendations of the National Academies report, “NASA’s Elementary and Secondary Education Program: Review and Critique”. For those actions that have not been implemented, the plan shall include a schedule and budget required to support the actions.

(b) Report.—The plan prepared under subsection (a) shall be transmitted to the Committee on Science and Technology of the House of Representatives and the Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation of the Senate not later than 1 year after the date of enactment of this Act.

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SEC. 806. ARECIBO OBSERVATORY.

Congress reiterates its support for the use of the Arecibo Observatory for NASA-funded near-Earth object-related activities. The Administrator, using funds authorized in section 101(a)(1)(B), shall ensure the availability of the Arecibo Observatory’s planetary radar to support these activities until the National Academies’ review of NASA’s approach for the survey and deflection of near-Earth objects, including a determination of the role of Arecibo, that was directed to be undertaken by the Fiscal Year 2008 Omnibus Appropriations Act, is completed.

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SEC. 1101. SPACE WEATHER.

(a) Plan for Replacement of Advanced Composition Explorer at L-1 Lagrangian Point.—

(1) PLAN.—The Director of OSTP shall develop a plan for sustaining space-based measurements of solar wind from the L-1 Lagrangian point in space and for the dissemination of the data for operational purposes. OSTP shall consult with NASA, NOAA, and other Federal agencies, and with industry, in developing the plan.

(2) REPORT.—The Director shall transmit the plan to Congress not later than 1 year after the date of enactment of this Act.

(b) Assessment of the Impact of Space Weather on Aviation.—

(1) STUDY.—The Director of OSTP shall enter into an arrangement with the National Research Council for a study of the impacts of space weather on the current and future United States aviation industry, and in particular to examine the risks for Over-The-Pole (OTP) and Ultra-Long-Range (ULR) operations. The study shall—

(A) examine space weather impacts on, at a minimum, communications, navigation, avionics, and human health in flight;

(B) assess the benefits of space weather information and services to reduce aviation costs and maintain safety; and

(C) provide recommendations on how NOAA, the National Science Foundation, and other relevant agencies, can most effectively carry out research and monitoring activities related to space weather and aviation.

(2) REPORT.—A report containing the results of the study shall be provided to the Committee on Science and Technology of the House of Representatives and the Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation of the Senate not later than 1 year after the date of enactment of this Act.

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SEC. 1104. NATIONAL ACADEMIES DECADAL SURVEYS.

(a) In General.—The Administrator shall enter into agreements on a periodic basis with the National Academies for independent assessments, also known as decadal surveys, to take stock of the status and opportunities for Earth and space science discipline fields and Aeronautics research and to recommend priorities for research and programmatic areas over the next decade.

(b) Independent Cost Estimates.—The agreements described in subsection(a) shall include independent estimates of the life cycle costs and technical readiness of missions assessed in the decadal surveys whenever possible.

(c) Reexamination.—The Administrator shall request that each National Academies decadal survey committee identify any conditions or events, such as significant cost growth or scientific or technological advances, that would warrant NASA asking the National Academies to reexamine the priorities that the decadal survey had established.

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SEC. 1109. PROTECTION OF SCIENTIFIC CREDIBILITY, INTEGRITY, AND COMMUNICATION WITHIN NASA.

(a) Sense of the Congress.—It is the sense of Congress that NASA should not dilute, distort, suppress, or impede scientific research or the dissemination thereof.

(b) Study.—Within 60 days after the date of enactment of this Act, the Comptroller General shall—

(1) initiate a study to be completed within 270 days to determine whether the regulations set forth in part 1213 of title 14, Code of Federal Regulations, are being implemented in a clear and consistent manner by NASA to ensure the dissemination of research; and

(2) transmit a report to the Congress setting forth the Comptroller General’s findings, conclusions, and recommendations.

(c) Research.—The Administrator shall work to ensure that NASA’s policies on the sharing of climate related data respond to the recommendations of the Government Accountability Office’s report on climate change research and data-sharing policies and to the recommendations on the processing, distribution, and archiving of data by the National Academies Earth Science Decadal Survey, “Earth Science and Applications from Space”, and other relevant National Academies reports, to enhance and facilitate their availability and widest possible use to ensure public access to accurate and current data on global warming.

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