House Panel Trims Space Budget

The House Armed Services Committee’s strategic forces panel on Wednesday reduced the President’s $9.9 billion request for national security space programs in Fiscal 2011 by $182.2 million during its markup of the defense authorization bill. The biggest loser was the NPOESS weather satellite program, down $300 million to just $52 million. “This cut stems from the lack of a clear strategy for restructuring the weather program,” said Rep. James Langevin (D-R.I.), panel chairman. The panel also reduced space based surveillance system funding by $30 million. On the plus side, it added $50 million to transition technology from the now-defunct TSAT program to other communication satellites, boosted operationally responsive space accounts by $40 million, and provided $28 million for a common upper stage for Atlas and Delta launch vehicles. On the missile defense side, it increased Airborne Laser Test Bed funding by $50 million. (Langevin statement)