Friday, 19 Feb 93 Washington, DC
1. SPACE STATION FREEDOM IS REDUCED TO AN AEROSPACE JOBS PROGRAM!
In 1989, NASA "rephased" the station after Congress balked at its
rapidly inflating price tag
(WN 24 Nov 89). One year later, the
price had once again swollen out of control, and NASA was told to
"descope" the design, cutting the crew from eight to four
(WN 19 Oct 90).
In the wake of new cost overrun revelations
(WN 5 Feb 93),
the space station will be "restructured." The FY 94 budget
request for the shrinking station will go down to $1.6B from this
year's appropriation of $2.3B, according to the plan submitted to
Congress by President Clinton on Wednesday. Will this reduce SSF
to the "man-in-a-can" scale of Mir? Some viewed the cut as an
invitation to Congress to kill the program, but according to Vice
President Albert Gore's press secretary, "The Administration is
committed to preserving the science(?) and preserving the jobs."
2. SUPERCOLLIDER CONSTRUCTION WILL BE STRETCHED OUT TO YEAR 2003.
Spending for the SSC in the Clinton plan would be $640M in FY 94,
up $108M over FY 93. It would go up 3% a year thereafter until
the project is completed in 2003. The added costs of a stretch
out will raise the total to $10B. Washington wags are calling
the SSC the "Krugercollider," after Senator Bob Kruger (D-TX),
named by Governor Ann Richards to replace Lloyd Bentsen until a
special election can be held this spring. Kruger expects to be
the Democratic candidate; his Republican opponent is likely to be
Rep. Joe Barton of Waxahachie, a tireless champion of the SSC in
the House. The Democrats cannot afford to lose the Senate seat.
3. THE ADVANCED NEUTRON SOURCE FINALLY MAKES IT INTO THE BUDGET.
Clinton's long-term economic stimulus package includes $26M to
initiate construction of the "next generation" reactor in FY 94.
Through FY 98, the Oak Ridge facility will cost $1.2B. Beginning
with the Seitz-Eastman report in 1984, one advisory panel after
another reported that the US trails far behind Europe in neutron
sources. The stimulus package also contains $372M in 1994-98 to
begin construction on the Princeton Tokamak Physics Experiment.
Where will DOE find the money? The peace dividend! DOE defense
programs will be cut $4.5B over four years, including elimination
of the controversial SP-100 space nuclear reactor
(WN 28 Feb 92).
4. SHORT-TERM STIMULUS PLAN CONTAINS $207M SUPPLEMENT FOR NSF
in the current budget! The unexpected prospect of fast-track relief
for the pinched agency appears to reflect a favorable response by
the Administration to the report of the Commission on the Future
of NSF (WN 20 Nov 92).
Most of the money ($197M) is for research,
of which $112M would go to five "strategic research initiatives":
manufacturing research, advanced materials, biotechnology, high-
performance computing and global change (WN 25 Dec 92). The other
$85M could help alleviate the crisis in physics caused by the
LIGO screw-up (WN 18 Dec 92).
Walter Massey will plead the NSF
case before the House Appropriations Committee next Tuesday.