Hoyer and Mollohan Send Letter to NASA to Ensure Federal Funds Are Used to Repair Hubble Telescope

For Immediate Release:

March 9, 2005

Contact:Stacey Farnen Bernards
(202) 225 - 3130

WASHINGTON, DC – Congressman Steny Hoyer (D-MD) and Representative Alan Mollohan (D-WV), the top Democrat on the Appropriations Subcommittee on Science, State, Justice, and Commerce today sent a letter to Acting NASA Administrator Frederick Gregory to ensure that the full $291 million appropriated in Fiscal Year 2005 is used to support a servicing mission to the Hubble Space Telescope.  The Hubble Space Telescope is managed and operated by the Goddard Space Flight Center which is located in Congressman Hoyer’s district.

“Last year, I helped secure nearly $300 million in the Fiscal Year 2005 Omnibus Appropriations bill to support a servicing mission to repair and upgrade the Hubble Space Telescope,” said Congressman Hoyer.  “In the bill, the Congress noted that a successful servicing mission to Hubble should be one of NASA’s highest priorities – clearly indicating its commitment to preserving Hubble.  I look forward to working with Administrator Gregory and Representative Mollohan to make sure the Hubble Space Telescope, which plays such a unique role in broadening our scientific understanding of the observable universe, is adequately funded and supported.”

“Hubble Space Telescope has contributed much to human discovery and has strong potential for further, significant advances to our knowledge,” Congressman Mollohan said.  “I share the belief in the need for this mission as stated by Representative Hoyer and our colleagues in the Congress, and I welcome the opportunity to work with NASA to ensure that it will be accomplished.”

The text of the letter to Administrator Gregory follows:  

March 9, 2005

The Honorable Frederick Gregory
Acting Administrator
National Aeronautics and Space Administration
300 E St., SW
Washington, D.C. 20546

Dear Administrator Gregory:
 
In the FY2005 Consolidated Appropriations Act (P.L. 108-447) and by direction included in the Conference Report (House Report 108-792), Congress provided $291,000,000 to be used for a servicing mission to the Hubble Space Telescope.  The conferees noted that a successful servicing mission to Hubble should be one of NASA’s highest priorities.  Significant progress has been made toward a robotic servicing mission for the Hubble, and we expect NASA to continue that progress, although not limiting the mission only to a robotic option.
 
We are in the process of reviewing NASA’s initial FY2005 Operating Plan, which identifies $175,000,000 for early design activities for the Hubble de-orbit and ongoing assessment of alternative servicing options, the outcome of which we soon will see in the Preliminary Design Review (PDR).  It is our understanding that a second operating plan will be forthcoming in mid-March, and we look forward to the detail on how NASA proposes to spend the remaining $116,000,000 of the FY2005 appropriated funds, and any remaining funds from the $175,000,000 not used for the PDR.  We look forward to the results of the PDR.

Pursuant to the statutory instruction, the full $291,000,000 appropriated in FY2005 should be used to support a servicing mission.  No changes to the program may be made without notification to and approval by the Committee on Appropriations of the House and Senate. 

Thanking you for your attention to this matter, and with kindest regards, we are

Sincerely yours,

/s
REP. STENY H. HOYER   
/s
REP. ALAN B. MOLLOHAN