National Aeronautics and Space Administration Authorization Act of 2008


An Act
To authorize the programs of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, and for other purposes.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,


(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:
Sec. 1. Short title; table of contents.
Sec. 2. Findings.
Sec. 3. Definitions.
Sec. 101. Fiscal year 2009.
Sec. 201. Goal.
Sec. 202. Governance of United States Earth Observations activities.
Sec. 203. Decadal survey missions.
Sec. 204. Transitioning experimental research into operational services.
Sec. 205. Landsat thermal infrared data continuity.
Sec. 206. Reauthorization of Glory Mission.
Sec. 207. Plan for disposition of Deep Space Climate Observatory.
Sec. 208. Tornadoes and other severe storms.
Sec. 301. Sense of Congress.
Sec. 302. Environmentally friendly aircraft research and development initiative.
Sec. 303. Research alignment.
Sec. 304. Research program to determine perceived impact of sonic booms.
Sec. 305. External review of NASA's aviation safety-related research programs.
Sec. 306. Aviation weather research plan.
Sec. 307. Funding for research and development activities in support of other mission directorates.
Sec. 308. Enhancement of grant program on establishment of university-based centers for research on aviation training.
Sec. 401. Sense of Congress.
Sec. 402. Reaffirmation of exploration policy.
Sec. 403. Stepping stone approach to exploration.
Sec. 404. Lunar outpost.
Sec. 405. Exploration technology development.
Sec. 406. Exploration risk mitigation plan.
Sec. 407. Exploration crew rescue.
Sec. 408. Participatory exploration.
Sec. 409. Science and exploration.
Sec. 410. Congressional Budget Office report update.
Sec. 501. Technology development.
Sec. 502. Provision for future servicing of observatory-class scientific spacecraft.
Sec. 503. Mars exploration.
Sec. 504. Importance of a balanced science program.
Sec. 505. Suborbital research activities.
Sec. 506. Restoration of radioisotope thermoelectric generator material production.
Sec. 507. Assessment of impediments to interagency cooperation on space and Earth science missions.
Sec. 508. Assessment of cost growth.
Sec. 509. Outer planets exploration.
Subtitle A—International Space Station
Sec. 601. Plan to support operation and utilization of the ISS beyond fiscal year 2015.
Sec. 602. International Space Station National Laboratory Advisory Committee.
Sec. 603. Contingency plan for cargo resupply.
Sec. 604. Sense of Congress on use of Space Life Sciences Laboratory at Kennedy Space Center.
Subtitle B—Space Shuttle
Sec. 611. Space Shuttle flight requirements.
Sec. 612. United States commercial cargo capability status.
Sec. 613. Space Shuttle transition.
Sec. 614. Aerospace skills retention and investment reutilization report.
Sec. 615. Temporary continuation of coverage of health benefits.
Sec. 616. Accounting report.
Subtitle C—Launch Services
Sec. 621. Launch services strategy.
Sec. 701. Response to review.
Sec. 702. External review of explorer schools program.
Sec. 703. Sense of Congress on EarthKAM and robotics competitions.
Sec. 704. Enhancement of educational role of NASA.
Sec. 801. Reaffirmation of policy.
Sec. 802. Findings.
Sec. 803. Requests for information.
Sec. 804. Establishment of policy with respect to threats posed by near-earth objects.
Sec. 805. Planetary radar capability.
Sec. 806. Arecibo observatory.
Sec. 807. International resources.
Sec. 901. Sense of Congress.
Sec. 902. Commercial crew initiative.
Sec. 1001. Review of information security controls.
Sec. 1002. Maintenance and upgrade of Center facilities.
Sec. 1003. Assessment of NASA laboratory capabilities.
Sec. 1004. Study and report on project assignment and work allocation of field centers.
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.
Sec. 1111. Methane inventory.
Sec. 1112. Exception to alternative fuel procurement requirement.
Sec. 1113. Sense of Congress on the importance of the NASA Office of Program Analysis and Evaluation.
Sec. 1114. Sense of Congress on elevating the importance of space and aeronautics within the Executive Office of the President.
Sec. 1115. Study on leasing practices of field centers.
Sec. 1116. Cooperative unmanned aerial vehicle activities.
Sec. 1117. Development of enhanced-use lease policy.
Sec. 1118. Sense of Congress with respect to the Michoud Assembly Facility and NASA's other centers and facilities.
Sec. 1119. Report on U.S. industrial base for launch vehicle engines.
Sec. 1120. Sense of Congress on precursor International Space Station research.
Sec. 1121. Limitation on funding for conferences.
Sec. 1122. Report on NASA efficiency and performance.


The Congress finds, on this, the 50th anniversary of the establishment of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, the following:

(1) NASA is and should remain a multimission agency with a balanced and robust set of core missions in science, aeronautics, and human space flight and exploration.
(2) Investment in NASA's programs will promote innovation through research and development, and will improve the competitiveness of the United States.
(3) Investment in NASA's programs, like investments in other Federal science and technology activities, is an investment in our future.
(4) Properly structured, NASA's activities can contribute to an improved quality of life, economic vitality, United States leadership in peaceful cooperation with other nations on challenging undertakings in science and technology, national security, and the advancement of knowledge.
(5) NASA should assume a leadership role in a cooperative international Earth observations and research effort to address key research issues associated with climate change and its impacts on the Earth system.
(6) NASA should undertake a program of aeronautical research, development, and where appropriate demonstration activities with the overarching goals of--
(A) ensuring that the Nation's future air transportation system can handle up to 3 times the current travel demand and incorporate new vehicle types with no degradation in safety or adverse environmental impact on local communities;
(B) protecting the environment;
(C) promoting the security of the Nation; and
(D) retaining the leadership of the United States in global aviation.
(7) Human and robotic exploration of the solar system will be a significant long-term undertaking of humanity in the 21st century and beyond, and it is in the national interest that the United States should assume a leadership role in a cooperative international exploration initiative.
(8) Developing United States human space flight capabilities to allow independent American access to the International Space Station, and to explore beyond low Earth orbit, is a strategically important national imperative, and all prudent steps should thus be taken to bring the Orion Crew Exploration Vehicle and Ares I Crew Launch Vehicle to full operational capability as soon as possible and to ensure the effective development of a United States heavy lift launch capability for missions beyond low Earth orbit.
(9) NASA's scientific research activities have contributed much to the advancement of knowledge, provided societal benefits, and helped train the next generation of scientists and engineers, and those activities should continue to be an important priority.
(10) NASA should make a sustained commitment to a robust long-term technology development activity. Such investments represent the critically important `seed corn' on which NASA's ability to carry out challenging and productive missions in the future will depend.
(11) NASA, through its pursuit of challenging and relevant activities, can provide an important stimulus to the next generation to pursue careers in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.
(12) Commercial activities have substantially contributed to the strength of both the United States space program and the national economy, and the development of a healthy and robust United States commercial space sector should continue to be encouraged.
(13) It is in the national interest for the United States to have an export control policy that protects the national security while also enabling the United States aerospace industry to compete effectively in the global market place and the United States to undertake cooperative programs in science and human space flight in an effective and efficient manner.


In this Act:
The term `Administrator' means the Administrator of NASA.
(2) NASA—
The term `NASA' means the National Aeronautics and Space Administration.
(3) NOAA—
The term `NOAA' means the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
(4) OSTP—
The term `OSTP' means the Office of Science and Technology Policy.

Approved October 15, 2008.