NASA Budget and COTS

December 18, 2007 at 11:19 am | Posted in Space Law | 3 Comments

United States Congressby P.J. Blount with the blog faculty
A move to consolidate 11 appropriations bills was introduced in Congress on Monday in H. Res 878 and was passed by the House. This resolution amends (H.R. 2764) and titles it Consolidated Appropriations Act 2008.

NASA appropriations are included in the bill at reduced levels than those originally passed by the House and Senate, and the controversial Mars exploration language has survived (see generally Commercial Space Watch).

It seems that the Commercial Orbital Transportation Services (COTS) dispute between NASA and Rocketplane Kistler has also recieved Congressional attention in the Omnibus bill (hat tip NASA Watch). In the Joint Explanatory Statement to Accompany Consolidated Appropriations Amendment Division B–Commerce, Justice, Science the following passage can be found:

The amended bill provides $160,000,000 for the Commercial Orbital Transportation Services (COTS) program, which is intended to demonstrate private sector technologies that could potentially resupply the International Space Station in the future. However, the Appropriations Committees note that one of the two COTS contracts is currently in dispute, and are concerned by NASA’s recent decision to re-compete the disputed contract before all challenges have been resolved. In doing so, NASA could potentially create a liability to fund three proposals instead of two as originally envisioned, increasing the costs of this program to the taxpayers. Therefore, NASA is directed not to select a new contractor until all challenges are decided. Further, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) is directed to perform a full review of COTS program expenditures and management.

If passed this couls slow NASA’s plans to recompete the portion of the funds that remained after NASA cancelled its Space Act Agreement with Rocketplane Kistler. For background check out Appealing COTS: RpK’s Avenues for Relief and NASA Moves Ahead with COTS Despite Bid Protest.

The full text of the Consolidated Appropriations amendment can be found at the House Committee on Rules website.


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  1. […] our report from earlier today on the same bill for some background […]

  2. […] Communis’ coverage can be found here, here, and […]

  3. […] it by Congress in the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2008. One of these restrictions is that it not proceed with making a new award until its dispute with RpK is […]

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