The report accompanying the House version of the 2010 defense appropriations bill approved by the full House shortly before it went on summer recess includes several space-related ; of interest:
- Perhaps the biggest item in the bill is language that blocks the Defense Department from spending any money appropriated for the National Polar-orbiting Operational Environmental Satellite System (NPOESS) “until the Undersecretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology, and Logistics certifies in writing to the congressional defense committees that the NPOESS program is being managed in compliance with the Department of Defense 5000-series acquisition guidelines and that the participants are complying with the MOA [memorandum of agreement] signed on December 18, 2008.” The report also calls for an updated independent assessment of the program’s cost and schedule.
- The appropriations committee, the report notes, “is concerned that there is no clear path for space system investment.” The report calls for the development of an annual long-range (30 years) report that “will provide a necessary roadmap for future government and industrial base investments.” The same section also presses the DOD to create a major force program category for space by the FY2011 budget submission next February.
- The report directs the Air Force and the NRO to create a “sustainment plan” for the EELV program that would allow it to continue until 2030. That plan would address in particular liquid-propellant rocket engine development “identify the minimum level of investments and areas of technology development required to ensure the United States has a robust and viable liquid rocket engine industrial base beyond 2015″, particularly for upper stages. The same report language also calls for a review of the merger that created United Launch Alliance, assessing the cost savings promised at the time of the merger. (Another part of the report calls for development of a “five-year investment strategy” for the next block of both EELV vehicles as well as the SBIRS missile warning satellites.)